Wednesday, October 10, 2012

M is for Mount Kenya

Six years ago, my husband and I were fortunate enough to take a photo safari through Kenya and Tanzania. If you've read my previous posts, you'll already know this trip exists as one of the true highlights of my life.

After years spent dreaming of Africa, I felt immediately at home with the golden savannas that stretched on forever, and the hot sun that loosens tight muscles and seems, indeed, to slow down time itself. 

What did surprise me was the cool, damp air on our first stop after leaving Nairobi. Mount Kenya is in the highlands of Kenya, so shrouded in mist that when we were there, I was only able to capture a shadowy shot of the mountain itself.
It is simply a magical place. The Mountain Lodge is wrapped around a waterhole that abounds with animals day and night.

Arriving just before dark, we found hot water bottles nestling in the cold beds to bid us welcome.


Sleep was the last thing we were thinking about. Each room has its own private balcony with a view of the waterhole and its visitors. Sitting there quietly watching Elephants and Cape Buffalo wander in to drink, the rest of the world ceased to exist for me. 

 With the shuffling of hooves and splashing water the only sounds to be heard, I thought I could sit there indefinitely and enjoy the privilege of watching these wild animals go about their evening as if we were not there.

Management informed us they 
could awaken us in the night if 
the more elusive animals showed up. As soon as the knock sounded on our door, I rushed out to our balcony and watched a leopard lap warily at the waterhole. 

I did not even want to take a picture for fear of disturbing him in any way. It was one of the two very brief times we were to see a leopard. 

I have no shots to show for it but my mind can instantly conjure up the long, tense lines of this striking predator who soon fled that open space for the safety and visibility afforded by the tall trees.

Monkeys are prevalent in Africa. Although undeniably cute, they are considered pests, and tourists are directed to not encourage them. 

As well as viewing the animals from above, the lodge features an underground tunnel leading to a viewing room with tiny barred windows at ground level. It is wonderful to see the wildlife close up, though a somewhat dubious pleasure in the case of the very homely Marabou Stork!

In the morning we were taken on a walk through the forest, escorted at all  times by armed guards as was always the case when we were out of our vehicles. We were advised to cover up well, with trousers tucked into boots to fend off the columns of ants that seemed to be everywhere.

After walking for 
a while, we came 
to a clearing, and 
were delighted 
to see that tea 
had been set 
out for us. 

Sipping Earl Grey 
from a china cup and 
nibbling thin biscuits 
in the heart of an 
African forest is 
only one of the 
many lovely 
memories I took 
home from my 
much-loved Africa.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

I'm surprised that the wild animals would come so close to the hotel, but I guess the water hole beckoned and made the risk worthwhile. So cool that you could see that!

Lynette Killam said...

It was very cool, indeed, Debra. Because the lodge is on a slope, completely closed off from the water hole and very quiet, the animals have learned there is no threat to them from its human inhabitants.

Unfortunately, it still leaves them vulnerable to the many poachers who encroach on African herds on a daily basis. The armed guards who accompany us everywhere are as much intended to guard the animals as the tourists.

Ann said...

The mist on Mount Kenya is lovely. What a fantastic place to visit, the wild animals would be so wonderful to see in their natural setting. The lodge looks so beautiful.

Katy Cameron said...

Looks like a fabulous base for a safari :o)

PS, in 3 1/2 hours I'm off to one of your other favourite photo haunts. Just wish I could get to sleep first!!!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Sigh. How wonderful. I can imagine EXACTLY what you felt, looking down at elephants right beneath you.........your photos are, as always, spectacular! I felt like I took a bit of that trip with you, through your words and photos.

Kay L. Davies said...

Lynette, I am always thrilled to see more of your photos from Africa. I'd love to stay in the Mountain Lodge there, overlooking the watering hole. How wonderful.

Roger Owen Green said...

great shots, but I'm so happy you didn't bother to take the leopard pic!
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Leslie: said...

OMG! What a fabulous adventure! I am green with envy. I must put this on my bucket list! Thanks for sharing your marvelous, magical photos!

abcw team

Pat said...

Kenya is such a beautiful place! The Mountain Lodge sounds like an ideal place to see all kinds of African wildlife! Great shots, and I love the "homely" Marabou Stork.