June 9, 2013

Baboon Cliff, game drive, and Sunday siesta

As I sit writing this, the light breeze blows the canvas tent where we eat all of our meals and cools the air, in spite of the equatorial sun. We are all sitting in the shade, enjoying our “calm before the storm,” or rather a few hours of free time before the week begins. Saturday morning started out with time to sleep in and enjoy a leisurely breakfast. We followed with a short talk about animal safety (hyenas and leopards are a small threat compared to elephants), and a warning against slapping flies on our neck. While it may seem harmless, Kenya is the host to Nairobi eye, which can burn one’s skin if the insect’s secretions come in contact with your skin when it is smashed. Nothing to worry about though, we all use common sense and wave the bugs away.

The rest of the day was ours to do as we pleased. Some of us ventured up to the main center in the Land Rover to connect to the outside world, or use the Internet, while others simply chose to sit back and relax. Lunch was delicious pasta with salad (fresh avocadoes!), and then around mid-afternoon, we drove up to a place called Baboon Cliffs. This is an apt name, as we disrupted a troop of baboons by their watering hole and chased them all the way to the cliff’s edge, where we coexisted for about an hour. We were there at a beautiful time of day – the sun was low in the sky and illuminated the savanna below in golden light.

After driving back and seeing giraffes, camels being herded, and the always-cute dik-dik, we had a delicious dinner and enjoyed the stars by a warm fire. This morning, we arose for an early morning game drive and were privy to a beautiful sunrise as the savanna awoke. We spotted many zebras, gazelle, impala, and more giraffes, all grazing in an open glade. The rest of the day has been spent devouring the novels we brought, with a friendly game of soccer interspersed here and there. I am still in awe of the environment around me. There is so much life to be seen here! It’s a humbling experience to be reminded that wild places like this still exist, and I can’t wait to see what else the savanna holds. – Ali Fretz, Goshen College graduate, Environmental Science & Biology

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