Oh my goodness it’s a Giraffe

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The next 2 days in Kenya are going to be combined into 1 post as I didn’t ACTUALLY write them when I was in Kenya, I made brief notes and now I have little memory on how amazing this weekend was!!  Also, you guys want to know what happened in the school, not what I got up to in my time off!

Day 9

Today started with a trip to Daniels church.  I wasn’t too sure what to expect.  I go to a pretty awesome church in the UK Equippers City.  We have a band with a guitar and drums and loud music and the first week I went we were talking about sex.  I also grew up in a Methodist Church, lots of “now we stand and sing” and very VERY structured prayer.  Now, I am sure lots of people love the Methodist ways (the denomination wouldn’t still be around if people didn’t) but they really were not for me.  I was BORED!! Even though we had a pretty young minister, who tried to make it fun for the kids, it was still kinda dull!!
So, I was hoping for the kind of African Church you see in movies, lots of singing in gospel styleeee, something cool.
Instead, I was transported back to those hard wooden pews from my childhood with boring hymns (not even the good ones like He’s got the Whole World in His Hands) and exceptionally structured prayer (I am talking read out of a book, repeat after me kind of thing)  can you imagine my disappointment?!  But an experience is an experience and I can now say I have been to church in Kenya.

After this service (which despite the boringness still managed to get me thinking about stuff that brought tears to my eyes, I think it may have been the minister talking about a young child dying of AIDS) it was a rush home to the van to start the SAFARI!!!
Now, both my mum and myself have dreamt of going on safari forever!  Mum was lucky enough to have the most amazing trip earlier last year taking in the sites of Zambia, Botswana South Africa and I want to say Tanzania but I may be wrong.  So for me to be able to even TOUCH on that experience is a dream come true.  I had saved a little bit of money and my wonderful wonderful grandpa had sent me a very early birthday gift which allowed me to head with Daniel and the Spanish Mamas to Tsavo East National Park.

Obviously, being in Kenya, and being with THE most disorganised host I have ever known, this was not going to be the simplest trip in the world.  Anyone else, when given around about 2 days notice, and having had the money from us all for at least a day, would have sorted out the park passes in advance.  Not Daniel.  Instead of heading straight to the park (it is around about a 2 hour drive from Ukunda) we head into Mombasa first to stop at KWS to collect the passes to let us into the park!  Then it was back on the road…Until the girls got hungry.  We stopped at this little dingy looking food place which was so typically Kenyan and amazing.  I was really not hungry, I felt a little sick to be honest so whilst the girls and Daniel ate Ugali and Sukuma with chicken, I sat and drank a lot of water and got a little attached to the really gorgeous kittens running around.

Back on the road and we FINALLY arrive at Tsavo:

And let the animal spotting begin!!! I am going to let the pictures speak for themselves here but I have to say, I have never realised how amazing this world truly is until I saw these sights.  We rounded the corner and there was a giraffe.  All I could say was “oh my goodness it’s a giraffe”.  How silly does that sound?!  I also got a little snap happy on safari and ended up with hundreds of pictures, I wont post them all…

These are just from game drive number 1.  The elephants blew me away (and scared me a little).  And the dramatic sky colour led to such a great downpour as well as some amazing photo backdrops (even if I do say so myself).

What these pics do not show are the 2 great spots we had on this drive! Firstly, we were happily driving along and came across 2 lions chilling out under a tree, close enough to see, not close enough to photograph.  Then, our driver got a call over his little radio that a cheetah had been spotted.  Apparently, he had a decision to make – put his foot down and hope for the best or just go ‘nah, we won’t make that’ luckily for me he chose option 1!  Off we raced to catch a cheetah stalking something, creeping through the grass, popping up and lying down at what appeared to be random intervals! It was amazing! But again, too far for a picture!

Then to top off my awesome 1st day on safari, I was walking to dinner through the Voi Wildlife lodge grounds which just so happened to be built next to a water hole, when I spotted a lion…no not just 1 lion…FOUR! They were all drinking at the waterhole what looks like mama and 3 not so small cubs! AMAZING!  We then sat and watched them for hours after dinner.  Actually a dream come true!  So off to bed on a bit of a high!

Day 10

Now, I don’t do early mornings, ever, not even at Christmas but when you put the offer of an early morning game drive in front of me this changes! So the alarm goes off at 5am ready for a 6am game drive!  tt was early enough for the sunrise!

Today I was hoping for some Zebras, a couple of buffalo and keeping my fingers crossed for the ever elusive Leopard.  I got Zebras, a LOT of elephants (which were just as cool if not better than yesterday – today we saw them at the watering hole cooling off) and a couple of buffalo oh and a hippo or 2…no leopard 😦  Only problem was, my camera decided it didn’t want to play any more so I had to take pics from my phone…They turned out surprisingly well!

Now these pictures shows both game drives (6am and ‘morning’) and after a great lunch it was time to hit the road home and its a good job we did as the heavens opened!!!

The journey home was almost a story in itself! Instead of choosing the high road and being stuck behind lots of lorries, we chose to take the dirt roads through Shimba Hills!!  In the dry these roads are pretty bad…in the wet…we were lucky not to have to get out and push!  And so, my 1st (but not last) safari was over.

As an aside to this…it was my mummy’s birthday today and I was really worried I wasn’t going to get to speak to her.  She means the world to me and to not talk to her on her birthday would have been a big deal!!  But, I managed to get hold of her, and hopefully cheer her up a little.  She was changing her life in the most positive way ever, taking a course in order to help her establish a charity in India and just so happened to be alone for the first time ever on her birthday! NOT COOL!!!

That’s all for today.  Tomorrow I will be back at school to start my last week 😦

Gems

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