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Reading ‘The Dark Defiles’ in Naivasha

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NB BACKGROUND GIRAFFE.

The book: The Dark Defiles, Richard Morgan

The place: Naivasha

*

I can already tell that this is one of those series that I am going to be somewhat heartbroken on finishing. I managed to give myself a bit of a break between the first and the second books, but I finished the second one late on Friday night and had to go immediately onto the third, which I’m now about a third of the way through. Slow down, self! This is the last one! There will be no more!

(Richard Morgan has a rather excellent blog, incidentally, albeit insufficiently regularly updated. It’s almost like he has more important things to do than publish multi-thousand word blog posts for free. Chh.)

Just back from a couple of nights at Sanctuary Farm on Lake Naivasha, which was pretty gorgeous: I’ve been to some properly amazing places in Kenya – which I have detailed at tedious length – but never anywhere I felt so casually surrounded by animals as at Sanctuary; please note the giraffe calmly posing in the background of the photograph above, which was taken from our back porch. Also seen: plenty of wildebeest, plenty of zebras, some form of Generic Hoofed Animal (TM my friend Hannah) that did some very impressive leaping about, and, last night, a parent hippo and three baby hippos making their waddling way back across the lawn to the lake.

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This dude ambled past while we were on our way to lunch.

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Zelfie.

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Sitting by the fire at dusk. Later, I managed to upend the fire-plate by resting my feet on it too vigorously, bringing a cascade of flaming logs onto my legs and nearly setting everything on fire.

Aside from the hippos, the only animals we were warned about were buffalo, but they were in short supply. Unfortunately this afternoon our buffalo luck ran out, when we decided to stop on our way back to Nairobi to climb Mount Longonot. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for ages, and it was very much worth it, stunning views back to Lake Naivasha and the Rift Valley, and then, from the summit, a great crater gouged out of the earth and surrounded by crags. We were smugly pleased with ourselves for leaving it until 3.30pm to start the climb, as the weather was perfect and there weren’t too many other people about – said smugness promptly evaporated when we ran into some buffalo on the way back down and were thus trapped on the mountain. We retreated uphill, and eventually managed to get hold of someone from KWS by phone, who initially blithely instructed us to walk past them, clapping (“no, we are NOT going to do that,” my companion said firmly); a series of phonecalls later we were assured that someone from KWS would be up to rescue us, and meanwhile we whiled away the time standing on some sandbags, playing my running playlist at top volume and intermittently banging on a metal sign, in the (mistaken) belief that making a lot of noise was the right thing to do, to keep the buffalo away. After about half an hour, an absolutely lovely Turkana chap called Paul appeared, clad in camouflage gear and carrying a gun, and led us on a forced march down the mountain, in a race against buffalo and time, as it was very close to getting dark. Lesson learned: do not mess with buffalo; probably the potential negatives of climbing a mountain near dusk outweigh the positives. Worth it, though.

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Longonot Crater.

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View from the top…

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…and back towards Lake Naivasha.

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Rescue shot! Thanks, Paul.

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Written by Jess

May 29, 2016 at 4:01 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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