Tuesday, June 24, 2014

AFRICA: KENYA MOUNTAIN LODGE NATURE WALK

We arrived at the Serena Mountain Lodge in early afternoon (see previous post) and were given the afternoon to rest. For a not-so-small fee, the lodge offered a nature walk on their extensive grounds, and some of us decided to do that instead of taking a nap. Part of the draw was these awesomely chic rubber boots and trench coats, provided by the lodge.
They reminded us of a walk in the rain forest in the Amazon we had taken together five years earlier when similar attire had been provided for us.

Our guide was a knowledgeable young man who had studied environmentalism for three years before he got this job:

The area we walked through is part of the preserve and was accessed through a locked gate. Inside the gate was a rather macabre graveyard of skeletal remains:
Our guide identified the largest artifact as the upper jaw of an elephant. Those two ovals with the squiggly lines are teeth.
The elephant's lower jaw has two matching teeth. These teeth are perfect for grinding up grasses. I'm guessing they work even better than my BlendTec.
There were also Cape buffalo skulls:
I think they put these here as a warning about what can happen if you venture out on your own:
Our guide, preceded by a gun-toting scout, led us through the forest:
. . . like sheep:
. . . and was really good at pointing things out:

Our "escort" paid close attention to the dark forest around us:
Our guide noticed these tracks in the mud. He definitely has better eyes than I do. The first is a hyena print:
. . . and the second is a leopard print. Hmmm. Where's the guy with the gun?

After walking for a little while, we came upon a nice surprise. The lodge had set up a refreshment booth in the woods for us. They offered coffee, tea, or warm milk.
A row of teacups was set out waiting for our selection, and our waiters came down the line and poured for us. It was oh-so-British!
I had hot milk. It had just a little bit of sugar in it. Wow, it was tasty. I'm going to have to try this at home.
Several in our party offered to "warm up" their drinks with a dash of fire water. With or without the secret ingredient, it was a very fun treat.
(Photo by JKM)
After we walked a while longer, our guide pointed to something moving high up in the trees. At first I thought it might be a skunk:
But it turned out to be a troop of colobus monkeys:
Their faces look comically human. This one looks like a grumpy old man wearing a Russian fur cap:
Who knew what else was lurking in the trees and bushes? The forest was very dense:
. . . but there was magic everywhere.



Next up: Mount Kenya

8 comments:

  1. Near the equator, but nice and cool because of the high elevation. A worthwhile walkabout.

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  2. Mushrooms for dinner? Where is Andrew when you need him?

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    1. I'm always on the lookout for mushrooms for Andrew. Too bad he wasn't around to tell us if they were edible. I'm guessing they aren't.

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  3. I thought you would never see elephant bones of any kind. Tarzan said it was because the elephants all went to the secret elephant graveyard to die.

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    1. Hmmm. Tarzan is never wrong. Maybe these were plastic.

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  4. I think the personalities you rubbed shoulders with in the form of guides and waiters must have been at least as interesting as the scenery.

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  5. Loved the British touch with the "tea" waiting there for you. Did you get finger sandwiches, too? Funny shot of the gun guy checking his phone--I have some of the gondoliers in Venice doing the same thing. Some things are universal, right? I can't work out why you are wearing rubber boots and raincoats. I'm supposed the ground is muddy, and there is a possibility of rain?

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  6. Letterpress, yes it was pretty muddy in some parts, and we were at a pretty high elevation where the weather was cool and could change into rain in just a few minutes.

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