Friday, January 28, 2011

KENYA Part 1: He even took the ipod on safari

Karen Blixen would have been horrified to see what sort of items would end up in my bags while I was touring Kenya's Masai Mara Reserve at the end of December 2010. I, unlike Karen who took a boat, flew to Kenya from Miami, FL. A short (well sort of) 18 hour airplane ride through London's Heathrow airport. I arrived in Nairobi to join the family for a 10 day safari/Indian Ocean beach resort extravaganza.

The living room opposite the fireplace inside Karen's house

NAIROBI, Land of the Kikuyus

Exploring Nairobi the first day, we ended up at Karen Blixen's house just outside the city close to the Ngong Hills. The colonial style house sits inside a spacious garden with a beautiful view of the hills behind. The house itself is very livable and cozy. I imagined what sort of stories she would have regaled her friends with by the fireplace, or what her thoughts might have been while gazing at the setting sun out the window of her bedroom. In her living room the table is set. Elegance and charm still bathe her brightly white bedroom, a Louis Vuitton trunk still open ready to pack some adequate wardrobe for a safari.

Karen's House outside Nairobi

Close to Karen's house is the Elephant orphanage, a David Sheldrick Wildlife Fund project, aimed at saving orphaned elephants and rhinos. These baby elephants are just precious. They come running towards bystanders who are positioned behind a rope, directly in front of where they get fed. And they run to eat like there is no tomorrow. Imagine a 1000 pound baby having a tantrum ! They then proceed to wash down the content of their bottles (they are bottle fed), drink up some water, run to the pool to get muddy and finish off by dusting themselves with the red clay on the ground. Now that's the fun part for the people in front of the rope really close to them !
Bottle feeding

The smallest baby as of Dec 2010

A short drive away is the Giraffe Center. For a small fee, one can actually see giraffes face to face. And their head is huge ! One of the attendant will give you some granules since the giraffe are on a strict diet.  You must climb onto an elevated platform to be able to see eye to eye with a giraffe considering their height is 14 feet . Their tongue is enormous and measures a whopping length of 18 inches. Their coat is soft and silky and they don't seem to be too keen on being petted. Once the food runs out so do they.

Feeding giraffes

The enormous tongue is able to reach food between large thorns of Acacias

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