MOUNT KENYA WELCOMES US FROM AFAR
The crack of thunder sounds again, silencing the sounds of children walking home from school. A light drizzle turns into steady rain and slowly rivulets of dirty brown water form on the dusty road. We have our first sighting of a black rhino since leaving Nairobi, but its metallic gleam betrays its factory origins.
Our Nissan Patrol is heavy with supplies including eggs from Mweiga which were added to the supplies purchased in Nakuru. Enough to last our stay? Amos will have to cook in the rain but perhaps there will be some shelter. Fanwel was wise not to come on this road trip.
Drought is once again in the news with relief supply trucks passing us at regular intervals on their way North. One can’t begrudge the country some rain so we move through the Treetops gate with good cheer even if slightly daunted.
We wind down the final rutted track to find the Tusk Bandas sitting in a clearance with beautiful views towards Mt Kenya. It is after 5pm and weary with travel we go in search of the caretaker. The place is empty, locked up and desolate. The equatorial twilight will come and go in a short time. Luckily, we have mobile coverage as long as we stand on one patch of worn down grass.
Phone calls to the safari company’s base, contact with KWS headquarters and still we wait. The bushes are alive with birds and streaks of blue sky appear in the clouds. As the light diminishes further the noises in the bush become more ominous and we sit perched on benches on the verandah trying to look composed and calm.
We are, after all, on African time.
IN THE END, ALL THAT MATTERS IS THE ADVENTURE
The light disappears quickly on the Equator and as Mt Kenya fades into the twilight zone we hear distant voices coming up through the thick forest. I try not to imagine poachers and bandits as the voices become louder and louder when finally out of the bushes come a man and woman carrying supplies. They are profuse in their apologies, and the caretaker explains that a Kenya Wildlife Service vehicles was supposed to bring them to camp with their supplies but didn’t turn up so in desperation they walked. All I can think of is how brave they are, walking through dense undergrowth where the danger from buffalo is very real, just so we aren’t left stuck in the dark on our own.