From Samburu we headed onto Sweetwaters Tented Camp. Picture pup-tents? Stakes? Treks to the latrine? Wrong! We roughed it in a tent with a large king bed and a single bed for Casey (not a cot or hotel variety fold-up—a real bed.) Then there were the ensuite facilities—shower, loo, basins, storage area. And this was the least luxurious tenting we enjoyed. Sitting on our porch, we watched over the watering hole as the warthogs, gazelles, impalas and more wandered in to catch a drink.
We arrived tired, hot and ready to be pampered—which we were. After following the porters to our tent and washing up, we went to the dining area for an excellent lunch, including unexpected entertainment. Maribou storks are quite ugly birds but do invite close attention as they stand around on one leg with sad begging eyes much like irresistible puppy dogs. We had one such charmer staring in the window at us through the whole meal. Luckily it was not an open area as at Samburu or the slingshot warriors would be needed again.
After lunch came one of the more isolated experiences of our time. Although one doesn't often think of camels in East Africa countries, they are in the Samburan portion of eastern Kenya. They are used as pack animals. A year ago, Casey had his heart set on a camel ride in Morocco and then we didn't go. So, when the opportunity came up at Sweetwaters, there was no way we could let the moment pass. Right after lunch, he got his wish and off he went on Peter, the camel.
After this adventure, we went for a short game drive with two specific destinations in mind—a Jane Goodall chimpanzee sanctuary and a Black rhino sanctuary. The black rhino has been in danger of extinction which has prompted prodigious efforts to save them. Thankfully, success is at hand. There is one very special rhino there—Baracka—who was blinded, probably in a fight with another male. It is sad to see him wander aimlessly, his horn has been cut off for his own protection and his sides bloodied from rubbing against trees and other obstacles. He is well-taken care of and supervised.
We continued our game drive as we wended our way back to camp, seeing many animals—elephants, giraffes, impalas, gazelles, etc. At one point we saw many vultures circling around which is a good indication that there might be something worth seeing. And , indeed there was; although rather gruesome. The smell preceded the view--vultures gorging themselves on a dead giraffe. It was not nice but definitely part of the circle of life on the savanna.
The next morning he awoke as a 12 year old, immediately becoming mature, grown up, no more childishness.... It was quite miraculous! Scherzo!
We were on the road early as we needed to get to the airstrip in time for our plane to the Masai Mara. We saved the birthday celebration for that night.
On the way, we stopped at the equator line where we stopped for a demonstration of water flow. I think Casey is going to blog about that. He now has been at the equator line in both Africa (Kenya) and South America (Ecuador.) What a life!
God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.