DIY Safari Update

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1. Go somewhere with good safari opportunities: We arrived in Kenya 9 days ago and, after a couple of days in Nairobi and a couple of days in Nanyuki, we finally got out into rural Kenya. We are staying just outside of Archer’s Post now at the tourist camp of Umoja Women’s Village. Archer’s post is the gate town for Samburu National Reserve. Safari opportunities abound!
2. Get a bushka: As noted in a previous post, this is not to be confused with Babushka—the Russian word for grandma. Rather, this is a bush car. But when said by a Kenyan it is a bushka. We are using a friends’ bushka for our game drives in Samburu and had to wait two days after our arrival for bushka to be ready at the mechanics. We then had to travel to the nearby (and extremely unpleasant) town of Isiolo to retrieve our bush car late last week. Lucky for us, we have five days with the safari car.
3. Wrangle some kids: One thing there isn’t a shortage of in rural Kenya is kids. When our friend told us to bring kids on our game drives to get into the reserve at a discounted rate, we were a little nervous that wrangling kids would be challenging. It isn’t. All we do is drive our bushka to the women’s villages in the area and we practically get trampled with kids climbing in for a game drive. They see bushka, they know the drill. Yesterday we had 9 kids and 4 adults in our five-seater SUV. Success! Aside from getting a discount at the gate, bringing kids is extremely fun. Most of them have lived only a couple of kilometers from this reserve their whole life, but have never seen the animals that live inside. It is so cool to see their excitement!
4. Finally, commence game drives: Since Saturday we have seen a plethora of wildlife in Samburu. Elephants here are like elk in Rocky Mountain National Park or Bison in Yellowstone: plentiful. T We’ve seen a variety of monkeys, including baboons that threw things at our car from above. We’ve seen zebra, oryx, impala, dik dik, and the amazing gerenuk (like a cross between an antelope and a small giraffe). We’ve seen a few Lion King characters: Pumba, Zazu, and even Nala (3 of them) on Easter evening. Besides watching animals and watching Kenyan kids watch animals, we’ve had additional adventures on Samburu drives. On our first day we came across two families and one of their cars was stuck in a rut. We helped them push it out and the next day they help us push bushka out of some very deep sand. Today I drove in Samburu for the first time, up and over and around bumps in our stick shift, rattling bush car! I have only driven a stick shift 2 or 3 times before, so I am learning in Samburu!
5. Drop the kids off at home: I swear I’ve never heard quieter kids than the Kenyan kids on safari. They are told not to shout because it will scare the animals away. They are, apparently, extremely obedient because, if they are talking at all, they do nothing but whisper for these hours-long game drives. But we have had a couple of groups that break into song after we exit the park. So, in our extremely loud and shaky bush car we go driving down the dirt roads with a bunch of kids sticking out the sun roof singing loudly in the Samburu language. When we drop them off at their villages all the other kids are there to greet us, high five us, and ask us when the next game drive is.

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2 responses »

  1. What a terrific adventure! I love reading about the kids and adults piling into your car. The images I am conjuring up are so fun. I know you must be in awe of all the incredible animals you are seeing. Being able to take the kids in with you makes this a “real life adventure”, not just some tourist outing. Keep posting…I love reading! Hugs to both of you! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Byers Peak « Happily Lost with Cece

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