I’ve been to Tsavo West park over 20 times. But yesterday was the best of all those times. First it was the first time I was going there as an adult. And second it was impromptu. There is something about adventures that you had not planned for that makes them more thrilling. Like everything just takes you by surprise. And I’ve realised that your perspective changes as you adult. Like when we went to haler park as an adult, I couldn’t believe I had been there before because the guide gave us detailed information about everything, things they don’t tell high schoolers or primary school kids.
And the best part is that we went in the evening. We entered the park at 4pm. And you are supposed to be out by 6pm. This post will have lots of pics since I couldn’t help it. The scenery was too good. Plus I couldn’t get enough of the elephants. Tsavo is truly the home of elephants.
We saw this herd barely 10minutes into the park.
Hotels inside the park, ensure they give visitors maximum value for their money by doing as much as they can to bring animals close to the hotels. So if you are in Tsavo, specifically for Elephants, and you don’t feel like a game drive, Just find a hotel. They have watering points: where they did a borehole and bring water on the surface of the ground. This automatically attracts animals since Tsavo is basically an arid and semi-arid land.
Tsavo has a Rhino Sanctuary that has about 70 Rhinos. I didn’t know that before. That should be among the highest numbers of rhinos in one place in Kenya. And they are well guarded to the extent that one rhino has 2 armed guards. One can only get in from 4pm-6pm. And you are definitely assured of seeing a rhino.
This herd was just grazing nearby Ngulia Hotel…
But my brother and I were too scared to get closer. An interesting fact about elephants is that you can share the same habitat, Just don’t make noise. They hate noise. And the most dangerous ones are mothers with their children nearby. They are always on the alert for any sign of danger.
Next we saw antelopes grazing…
We spotted several lesser kudus, but most were too fast for us to take pictures of.
From there we went to Kilaguni Serena Hotel.
Hotels here make you think again about your life. Like they offer the best of services yet we leave it to Europeans to enjoy. You get 5star class service and food while sleeping and waking up to the roaring of a lion and the trumpeting of elephants. People save up their whole lives for an African Safari, yet Kamau, Mwende or Naliaka might never even aspire for that kind of a week of travelling through the best that the world has to offer which is within our borders.
The backdrop here is simply amazing. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…..
We then headed to another hotel, Severin Safaris, to greet a friend of my dad. And here is where trouble started. We arrived there safely, greeted them. Stayed for like 5 minutes and decided to go to one last hotel, again, to greet another friend of my dad, before heading back home. Plus my dad had psyched us up on how that last hotel is among the best that Tsavo has to offer. So we just had to see it.
We had a tour guide. And my dad had gone to that last hotel countless times. But we still got lost. It was approaching 6.30pm when we left Severin Safaris for Finch Hattons-the last hotel. The sunset here was so pretty. The ball was pure red. Only problem is, my phone can’t capture that exact colour. Just multiply by 10 the small red colour you see here.
The sign board read 15kilometers to Finch Hattons, the last hotel we were going to see , so we approximated that by 8pm latest, we would be at Tsavo exit gate. We had already decided that we would lie that we had gotten a puncture no wonder we were late. Little did we know that by 8, we would not even be near Finch Hattons.
We crossed a river that leads to that hotel. And went and went. And took corners. And more corners. There were four males in the vehicle. Two who knew where we are going ;my father, who had used two routes some years ago and the tour guide who knew the roads by the numbers at every junction. The other two, one was clueless as me, and the other was the driver taking all turns he’s being instructed to.
The tour guide got confused in the process. He had not been in this sides at night. So the moment the sun set, he got lost. Completely. My dad on the other side, could remember where he used to pass through when going there. Problem was, the roads here are rough roads, so some of them after heavy rains, get deep gullies in the middle ,forcing diversions. Only problem with diversions is that, you might end up joining a totally different road. Which is what we did. And on we went.
But we saw amazing animals in the process.
That’s a pack of hyenas running away. They are not so clear, but this next one is of a hyena giving us a chase infront of us.
2 and 1/2hrs down the line. Remember there is no network in there. Phones only work near hotels. The fact that none of our phones has any network, shows that we are near nowhere. Rhumba music in the car is amazing. Rhumba soothes. You know kitambo, I used to think that adults who loved Rhumba, loved it because they understood the language being sang or the meaning of the songs. Kumbe it is simply because the whole song in itself is amazing.
The driver decided to inform us then that vehicle doesn’t have a spare tire. And since we’ve been driving for over 5 hrs, the fuel tank doesn’t look so friendly. And we can’t see anything. At first we didn’t want to admit that we are lost. But we finally did. And just then, we find a signpost indicating that we are 34kilometers to Finch Hattons. Remember we were 14 km almost 3hrs ago. We went and went and now we are 34km. People in the car were undecided about going to that hotel or just going back home. Only problem is, the way home is through that hotel.
The tour guide, who is very informed by the way, finally gets his bearings around. Apparently, where we are is near a hill called Poachers Look-out. It’s where Germans and Britons fought the First World War. And it’s nearer Ndilal-a place near Tanzania that Maasais live in close proximity with lions. We start heading back, and the next stroke of luck strikes, my dad’s kabambe gets network. All smartphones are not working. Here the rule of the jungle seems to be: the bigger your phone, the poorer the network connection. He calls the Hotel Manager: Jonathan, who informs us that we are only 5km to where they are.
And we’ve never been happier to see distant lights somewhere. We chase a hyena on the way(hehe)- as shown above
And we finally get there at around 9.40 pm. And this place is simply amazing! Like every single detail of it from the moment you step in, was carefully thought out. We are given hot towels to wipe off dust. And the hotel staff are wearing white Swahili kanzus complete with a maroon vest outside and maroon cap. Including the ladies, though theirs are the opposite, maroon maxi skirts and white tops. Apparently that’s their dinner wear for today. The chandeliers amazed me. You pay 40k for a night as a Kenyan and 100k as a foreigner. In Kilaguni it was approximately 18k for a night. But this place is so worth it. It doesn’t have a fence. So chances of you meeting a lion roaming around are high. Plus it’s next to an airstrip, so chances of mixing with the who is who in Kenya, randomly, are extremely high too.
Doesn’t this light look amazing?
Guess what the above one is made of? Kawaida dried sticks.. Yes, Just the local ones huko shags.
The kind of views that accompany your dinner in these kind of hotels.
And that is how we ended our night. On our way back, the driver saw a lion. He was going so fast. So we asked him to reverse. But I was scared, what if it jumps into the windows? We didn’t see it again. But there are lots of dikdiks on the way and hares.
That was one hell of an adventure. But since it’s not allowed to be in the park past 6 pm, I highly doubt I’ll ever have one like it. We did get trouble at the gate. They were not buying that story of Sijui our car broke down,which was a lie. But they weren’t accepting the truth either, that we got lost. We were at the gate at 11.30pm, but after haggling and threats of them impounding our vehicle, they finally released us. Tuseme tu don’t try this at home, unless you know someone or have enough money to buy your way out. Coz your truths or lies won’t do.