Musings of a Mouse, April 2020
Updated: Apr 8
Rocky Hollow, Laikipia. Hot sun and dry wind, but quite a lot of grass after good rains.
Milla and Richie chose to get married at home in the garden in Karen in October. We felt very lucky to celebrate such a special occasion surrounded by all our favourite people. Quite a few came (240) and we turned the tennis court into a luncheon banquet, followed by dancing all the way through to brunch on Sunday.
December took us to Tsavo to see the orphaned baby elephants (always endearing) at the The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. They thrive there with their keepers teaching them how to survive in the wild. Watching them learning to swim and clean their skins was highly entertaining; more like whale watching than conventional game drives. Although I did get goosed by an elephant while I was filming!!
We had such a wet Christmas and New Year as Kenya had a lot of unseasonal rains, (rising temperatures in the Indian Ocean causes a Dipole effect, wet Eastern Africa and dry Australia) so we had some serious adventures on safari. Driving in the mud took on a whole new meaning as the mud (in the Mara) was so saturated it just turned into glue!! We woke up on Christmas morning in Governors Camp in the Mara, (last minute changes are vital for keeping us all on our toes) and went roaring across the plains in a Land Rover (admittedly, they are better than our faithful Cruisers in the mud... but that alone) to find a beautiful male cheetah on the hunt, but not happy with heavy, muddy paws. The elephants had excellent four wheel drive, but even they were struggling across the rivers and muddy patches.
The BBC and some other wildlife film makers have decided that there are some northern white rhino in Southern Sudan, so we were asked to put together a camp for them. There was no space for forgetting anything – the closest shop is about a week away. Charlie, Milo and I spent a few weeks writing foot-long lists for packing and loading, from tents to frying pans and car winches to wine glasses! Quite a mission, but it would be amazing if they found them there. There has been a civil war for so long up there and nobody really knows what is left.
Hamish and Annabel, a charming English couple, decided they wanted to get married in the bush in Africa in February. So we set up camp for three days for 95 of their closest friends and relations, near Mt Kenya. With walking, driving, riding horses and bicycles from camp we had lots to entertain them, and then a huge wedding ceremony and party as well. Luckily the elephants stayed out of camp this time. Quite exhausting for everyone, but lots of fun. We then went on safari in the Mara and Shaba which quite replenished our energy levels .
We have just had the most lovely four days on Borana Conservancy staying at Laragai House, with the elephants coming into the dam below the swimming pool. We found the lions on a kill in the early morning, chasing away cheeky hyenas who thought they might share. Zebras by the dozen to ride through in the cool of the morning, let alone the delicious feasts we had everyday and the chilled rose at lunch time!
It's hard to imagine, the rest of the world is in such a state of unease and worry, and such a shock for all of us. The long term ramifications of a global pandemic like this affects third world countries so badly, with little cushioning in our economy and governments. It’s these growing economies that suffer the most.
In the meantime Rocky Hollow is growing slowly but surely, glass going into the windows and paint on some of the walls, it's getting very exciting, and we hope to move in by the end of the year. The recovery of the land has been remarkable and we hope to have a thick seed bed back in place across most of the land, after the fabulous rains we had. Charlie’s garden is getting well established and my herb boxes are growing the most delicious spinach at the moment, not to mention huge fat chillies.
In the meantime we are thinking of the future and how we can all recover from this. Community spirit across the world has definitely been rekindled (apart from the loo paper battles) with so much help from neighbours and friends. A feeling of awe and worry, kindness and sympathy from everyone. Even the banks are being kind!
Wilderness areas will need plenty of visitors to get the wildlife protection bodies back on their feet once it has all calmed down. We do hope we can give you the inspiration to go on a safari, and even if its not to Africa, but just down the road to the mountains, or forests, beaches or lakes.