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White Knuckle Safari by Stewart Downing

After I caught my big GT, Heather and I took a break on the beach for 5 days while Steve and Jeannette went further north up the coast to Lamu for a few days relaxing on its deserted beaches. When they came back we saddled up for a Safari and spent a very enjoyable night in the bush.

Our safari wheels….

Loading up for Safari

We arrived after a savage 2 hour drive along the jungle roads that were either full of pot holes, un-graded, or flooded! We seemed to miss out on all the rain though, and arrived at Dave’s Camp on the edge of Tsavo East, by around 3pm.

We were greeted by a couple of trackers that Steve knew, and one of them told us there had been a recent lion kill; and did we want to take a look? Lead on; was our joint response! We drove through the bush for about 15 minutes and soon caught up with the lioness and her 2 cubs. What a sight  – they were taking shade in a bush, and she had dragged the remains of her kill into the shade too, in an attempt to keep it cool. It was a male Warthog, which she must have worked very hard to kill, in order to sustain both herself and her young. We took a few shots and some video, and after about 20 minutes decided it was time to back off and leave her alone, as both cubs trotted off to safety very quickly after we arrived.

Daktari eat your heart out!

We had a bite to eat back at the wonderful Lodge on the banks of the Galano River, and then headed off for our evening game drive. It was brilliant, perched up on the special roof seats of our Land Rover 110, giving us the best view of the game and the ability to take photographs, and record video easily. I spent quite a lot of time driving our group around the reserve, and had some great laughs off-roading, while trying my best not to unseat anyone on the roof! Most of the time, anyway.

Among many other animals, we spotted Orynx, Buffalo, Gazelle, Water Buck, Dik Dik, Warthog, Giraffe, Hippos and various monkeys, plus a few crocodile. We were not expecting to see any Elephants as the region was unseasonably wet, allowing ample water and grazing well away from the river valley.

We drove up the Lely Hills for a sun-downer, and were thrilled with the 360 panoramic views we got at the summit. The photos do not do the breathtaking views any justice, as they can not indicate the sheer scale of the landscape. We cracked open a bottle of wine  and toasted the day away on top of those beautiful hills, while watching out for tiny black scorpions in the rocks that we were walking over, oh, and Black Mambas too! Despite the imminent danger we were all facing, we were having a fabulous time with the very raw Africa.

Sundowner Time!

It wasn’t long before it was fully dark though, and we made our way down the track back towards the camp, taking care not to go off course, or let in any one of the Tetse flies that were now swarming the vehicle and its lights. Those things can make you very ill very quickly, so we were all very careful not to invite them into the truck on the way back to the camp!

When we arrived back at base, we were well ready for a shower, as we were all covered in the red dust of the bush. So half an hour later we met up in the main lodge and enjoyed a great roast lamb meal cooked by the trackers, followed by pineapple fritters and Kenyan coffee.

Unknown to myself and Heather, Steve had a surprise for us, as apparently, he had asked one of the trackers to try to snag a crocodile from the river, using a rotten chicken that he had brought with him. The guide came up to the dining room, and told Steve that he had tempted one out of the river with the chicken tied to a piece of rope, but that the croc was so big, he was afraid it might eat him!

Baiting up for a Croc

I said to Steve that we had to take a look at this !!!

I tell you how things turned out for us and the big croc next time

Until then, be lucky…..

Stew and Heather

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