After a delightful breakfast of crepes, eggs, sausage and more we climb into ‘our’ van with ‘our’ driver, Mainia. We are now a band of 6 women, Sally, Mimi, Marge, Lauren, Nicole and me. (Interesting note: Lauren and Nicole, two delightful young women who are connected to the tour company are the youngest people in the van by at least 20 years and they have been out of college for almost a decade. Just a reminder that safari’s are for all ages).
In the 5 or so hour drive we begin to create the bonds that will add to this memorable journey. We arrive at the lush Serena mountain lodge, also known as a ‘tree lodge’ as it is built on tree timbers. Despite being planned as a day to rest Marge, Nicole, Lauren and I along with about 6 other members of our group decide to take the nature walk and are joined by two other hotel guests.
It is rainy season so boots and raincoats are provided if you are not prepared. Our guide Benson takes us through the narrow but worn path just beyond the lodge. It might seem like an easy stroll through the woods but the site of thetwo guards armed with rifles remind us that we are entering the territory of animals that may not be pleased we are visiting.
The rain does fall but we get an education about wildlife, get a view of an elusive buffalo and shy oryx and then enjoy some ‘tea in the bush’. We are truly surprised to come upon an opening lined with tree stumps topped with tea cups and table laden with coffee tea and treats. We take a break amidst the drizzle and then head out again. Despite the rain we experience the base of Mt. Kenya from the perspective of someone who knows and respects the land. There are some vibrant colors that splash out from the green and brown barks, brightening up the mud, these are the fireball lilies. We learn a bit more about trees that are communities and seem to grow downward and then head back to the lodge.
We barely have time to get dry before we see the elephants. They spend hours enjoying the water hole behind the lodge, playing, drinking, just being a part of this incredible world. The evening is topped off with a lovely dinner and view of the Genet cats hanging around outside our window.
Though we tend to think of Kenya as always hot and steamy, the nights can be very cool. How to keep warm? The answer; a water bottle provided for every bed, wrapped in flannel, a real treat.
Tomorrow more adventure.
Elephants at the watering hole