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A Visit to Kenya, 2006        (see picture links below)

Following is an album of Miriam and Alan's vacation trip to Kenya in December of 2006.

For Miriam, it was her first trip to Africa. For me, it was my "return to Africa" as I lived in Kenya in 1975 to 1976. We were there during extended rains that thankfully always seemed to be somewhere else but whose effect left the landscapes lush, green, with tall grasses and wildflowers. Although our luggage was lost for most of the trip, we didn't let it dampen our spirits or alter our course.

A brief description of our trip is as follows. It can basically be broken down into four main sections.
Samburu Trails Trek  -  In northern Kenya, in the Karissa Hills, we signed onto an expedition led by Rosalie Faul and her daughter Sissa. As a family business, they have done these for the last sixteen years. For six days and five nights, there was Rosalie and Sissa, Miriam and myself (we were the only paying customers, so this was all for us), 19 donkeys, 4 mules, and 8 Samburu young men (not yet of warrior status). Over this period we hiked from the valley floor at 5,000' to the upper ridge at 8,000', back to the bottom on the other side, then back up to 8,000+ before descending to our origination point.

Each day involved walking approximately 4 to 6 hours, with Roaslie, her daughter, and Bino, the only Samburu who could carry a gun (M3 automatic) used in case we were to surprise an elephant or buffalo on the trail and needed protection. When we arrived in camp in mid/late afternoon, camp was already setup and afternoon tea brewing.

During the walks, we interacted with the Samburu men, learning a few Samburu words along the way, and had the opportunity of walking out to a Samburu 'manyatta', an enclosure for the nomadic group of women, children, men folk, cattle and sheep.

Overall, these 6 days were among the highlights of our trip and was a totally unique experience to "walk through Africa".

Mutamaya Lodge on Mugie Ranch  -  Three hours drive from where our trek ended is Mugie Ranch, a private ranch owned by a wealthy Swiss man who also owns Sterling Wines in California. This is a 50,000 acre working ranch of which half of it has been set aside as a game ranch, and in which the rhino population is tracked and studied. Mutamaya Lodge is a luxury lodge, with seven rooms.

The quarters were beautiful and our room had a view of a water hold where animals gathered to drink. We went on afternoon game runs as well as night time runs with a flood light. Here we saw our first lions and rhino. We spent two days there before traveling on to Samburu Game Preserve.
Samburu Game Preserve  -  We hired a four wheel drive vehicle, then hired a driver and a cook, and had them pick us up at Mugie for the 6 hour drive over unpaved roads to Samburu (a road that several years ago was declared unsafe due to bandits).

Samburu is a game reserve I had been to thirty years earlier and I found it just as charming and beautiful. It sits in northern Kenya, is semi arid and very mountainous, and is the gateway to Kenya's northern desert and Lake Turkana bordering Ethiopia. We found a picturesque camping spot along the river which runs through the park. Crocodiles sunned themselves along the banks and vervet monkeys and baboons attempted to raid our camp regularly. We spent 5 days here, with game runs at 6:00 am, back at camp for breakfast and relaxation, afternoon game runs again, followed by evening meals around a campfire and watching for glowing eyes in our torch lights as we scanned the camp's perimeter during dark nights.

Visiting my 'old' (as in long ago) friend David  -  When living in Kenya in '75, I met David Silverstein and we became friends. David, a doctor from Chicago, stayed and settled in Kenya, becoming a prominent cardiologist and physician to the now ex-president. He and his wife Channa invited us to stay at his 'weekend' retreat, a 60 acre ranch on Lake Navasha (two hours north of Nairobi).

David's property encompasses a beautiful house atop a hill and leads down to Lake Navasha. Taking a walk from the main house is like walking through a zoo without bars. One sees zebra, giraffe, impalas, eland, warthogs, and (at night, when NOT on foot) hippos who come out to feed on the lakeside grasses). We took night time game runs, had drinks overlooking the lake at sundown, spent many a wonderful meal looking out over the lake and the volcanic range of mountains. These were four incredible days, spent over new years, and we could not possibly thank them enough.

Picture Links

There are two links to the same gallery. The first one is done in a resolution of 1024 x 768 (size). If these pictures are too big for your screen and you need to scroll up and down to see them, try the second link whose resolution is 800 x 600 (smaller). Otherwise, they are the same photos.

Tip: Press the F11 key on your keyboard for maximum viewing area. Press it again and your browser will return back to the original space.

"Our Trip to Kenya"    (Our entire trip, with captions)
Larger Picture Gallery   -   (1024 x 768 - largest)
Smaller Picture Gallery   -   (800 x 600 - smaller)

"Just Wildlife"              (Just wildlife... mostly)
Larger Picture Gallery   -   (1024 x 768 - largest)
Smaller Picture Gallery   -   (800 x 600 - smaller)

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