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Friday, January 25th, 2002

Chololo Ranch, Kenya

Masaii Warriors Jumping

After last minute photos of Mt. Kenya, and a tent take-down demonstration, our home in Nanyuki was packed up and we headed north. Next stop, Chololo Ranch, Laikipia Plateau. The ride was brief but exciting…we saw our first cat sighting of our trip – the elusive cheetah!

Here in Chololo, we got to camp in the actual reserve! Amazing! We arrived at camp around 4pm, with the temperature reaching 300˚C…well, not quite, but you get the point. Since Chololo is home to many wild African species we were warned of the potential dangers of the area. These included lions, leopards, cheetah and baboons. But we were assured that because of the time of year it was unlikely to see any dangerous snakes. Low and behold, no more than ten minutes later, screams of “Look, a baby cobra!” were heard echoing throughout the camp.

That night, most fell asleep after the long hot day. The next morning, before hiking up “Pride Rock” to view the beautiful sunrise, Meredith entertained us with her stories of wild animals that kept her awake all night. We nodded and smiled politely, and asked if she had taken her malaria pill that night. Later on that day, her stories were taken more seriously when our armed askaris informed us that a pride of eleven lions had in fact circled our camp during the night. Now more aware of the potential dangers, we slept lightly, awakening at the slightest sound. We ended up getting woken up by lions, leopards, hyenas every night we were there. One night we woke up to the grunts of lions just outside our tent. They were so close! It was pretty scary actually. Jenn (my tent mate) and I lay there in the centre of the tent trying not to breathe or move! Apparently there were 3 circling our camp that night, and they literally walked right down the path behind our tent (according to the armed askari) so we hadn't been wrong thinking they were that close! 

One morning most of the camp headed out on a field trip to a local Masaii village. There we learned about many traditional activities, including: fire making, blacksmithing, tribal dancing, marriage rituals, board games, and of course, no visit would have been complete without a cow bloodletting demonstration! Another highlight of the visit was a donation to one of our village guides names Agnes. This money will be put towards a semester of high school for the young girl.

 

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