Saturday, November 8, 2008

It’s Mt. Freakin’ Kilimanjaro!

A hot shower, a cold drink and a good meal makes the safari life pretty comfortable. After a good night’s sleep, we woke early for a dawn game drive, hoping to catch lions on the prowl. We didn’t see any, but we saw lots of other animals having breakfast. As the sun came up and the clouds pulled away from Mt. Kilimanjaro, we could see how majestic it really was. This was no little hill in the background. I can see why the challenge of “because it’s there” could be enticing to mountaineers. However, it wasn’t enticing to me at all. Instead, we climbed to the top of a much smaller hill, where we had 360 views of the park with Kilimanjaro on one side. It was a beautiful way to start the day, and my pictures can’t capture the vastness of it.

Back to the lodge for breakfast, a rest before lunch and then heading back to Nairobi. We had wanted to take a box lunch back with us, but that seemed to very much confuse the hotel staff who insisted that it would not be as relaxing as having it in the dining room and would also take over an hour to prepare. We finally convinced them that we could put items from the lunch buffet in a box ourselves, but that seemed very much out of the ordinary as well. Finally, we were allowed to make a plate of food, send it back to the kitchen for wrapping and it would be delivered back to us. In the meantime, we were told to sit, have a drink and a snack and wait. So much for an early departure.

When we finally started to head out of the park, we were rewarded with what we had hoped to see all along - lions. The previous day we had seen a few while they dozed, but we came across a group that was a bit more active. It wasn’t exactly the excitement of seeing a hunt or cubs, but it was still pretty darn good. From even a short distance, they don’t seem particularly threatening, but we still kept safely away, even in the van. We watched them for a bit, and then began the bumpy, dusty road back to Nairobi.
And for those blog fans who were disappointed that I didn’t go into the Karen Blixen house my first weekend in Nairobi, I returned a few weeks later and the tour. The most interesting tidbit is that the no one agrees on how she died and diseases ranging from lung cancer to malnutrition to syphilis are all given. Photos were not allowed inside, but here are few of the house and grounds.

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