Bl**dy Mara-vellous!

December 15, 2008

Thursday 11th December

In preparation for meeting our beloved corporate sponsor, Gary, in the Maasai Mara tomorrow we leave Carnelly Camp and drive to the Mara the hard way, over a donkey track which heads steeply up the edge of the Rift Valley and down the other side to Narok.  There is a paved road, but we think that’s for wimps!!  It was great fun and we get to see a lot more of rural African life doing it this way. 

I’m very excited to be in the Maasai Mara at last, and we start seeing plenty of game straight away.  However, our safari is curtailed by an enormous hailstorm, which turns the unmade road into an ice rink and as we skate around in circles, Elsie pirouetting beautifully, Sean reluctantly concedes that we should leave the park, so we retire to our soggy campsite and look forward to meeting Gaz at Kitchwa Tembo tomorrow.

Friday 12th – Sunday 14th December

Although I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks, nothing could have prepared me for this weekend.  I have heard so much about Kitchwa Tembo from Sean and Gary, but I wasn’t expecting this when we arrived!

Kitchwa Tembo Welcome

Kitchwa Tembo Welcome

Stanley, the Manager of the camp, met us as we exited Maasai Mara game reserve, and asked us to park under this tree, where a bar had been set up.  And I certainly wasn’t expecting what happened next, as Gaz pulled up with a mystery guest who turned out to be Janie. 

More surprises

More surprises

 I was absolutely over the moon to see them both, and that’s pretty much how I felt until we left.   We went out on a game drive that afternoon that culminated with Elly, our ranger, claiming to be lost, and then parking in a clearing which had been decorated with tilly lamps, and tables set up for dinner.  It was absolutely stunning, and even the rain couldn’t dampen the brilliance of the evening.  The staff simply put up a tent and carried it over our heads!  Janie and I improvised some millinery while we waited.

Sisters Inebria and Hilaria

Sisters Inebria and Hilaria

The next morningI languished in my luxuriously appointed tent with the worst hangover I’ve had in three months – funny that!  Sean however was undeterred and made of sterner stuff.  He alone went out on a game drive with Elly and sods law, saw firstly a leopard up a tree munching on a Topi calf

Lucky leopard, unfortunate Topi

Lucky leopard, unfortunate Topi

Then, the leopard can see something coming and exits stage left

Leopard making good his escape

Leopard making good his escape

and two young male lions appear, and over the course of an hour, extract from their burrow and kill two warthogs. 

Nature red in tooth and claw

Nature red in tooth and claw

Needless to say, he was justifiably horrifically smug when he returned crowing something about ‘early bird catching worm’ but I clutched my acheing head and tried to ignore him. 

The rest of the weekend was just as awesome.  The  food and ambience at Kitchwa are fabulous, and each member of staff is exceptionally welcoming, professional and friendly.   I’ll put some more pictures up when I get the chance, but now Sean and I are going back to our humble Hotel du Van and try and adjust our expectations on the catering front!  I recommend you all go out and find a friend like Gary, life wouldn’t be the same without him and we’re both completely overwhelmed by his generosity.  It really is hard to try and find the words to say thank you for something like this, so this’ll have to suffice.  Thanks Gaz XXXX

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One Response to “Bl**dy Mara-vellous!”

  1. vic said

    Wow! For the first time I’ve actually felt quite jealous. It’s great to hear you’re having such an amazing time. Hope you took those lion-evicerating-warthog shots with a suitably long lens!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Try hard not to get predated. LOLXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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