This is the next instalment of my Special Moments, Magic Memories series for the 2022 A to Z Blog Challenge.
Today we’re going to visit Kenya and discover some super-WOW moments! I mentioned that our eldest daughter had been posted to Nairobi and so with much excitement Mr Cassmob, middlest daughter and I set forth in 2013 to visit her and have some safari adventures. Others warned us of potential doom and terror attacks, but we set forth regardless. Little did we realise their prophesies would be prophetic as the Westgate shopping mall near our daughter’s home was taken over by terrorists and many people killed as the days passed. The sound of gunfire and helicopters overhead was disconcerting to say the least. Another “there but for the grace of God” moment for us, as our plan had been to go there after lunch.
We enjoyed this trip so much that I’ve written about it several times on my blogs:
- Kenya and Kiva
- Kiva Genealogists for Families showing how Kiva helps families in Kenya be independent.
- Into Africa I’d forgotten this poem I’d written but it captures our experience well.
Magic Memories of Kenya come from both large and small sights and events:
- The amazing friendliness of the Kenyan people wherever we went. The guides were fabulous advocates for their country, greeting you daily with Jambo (Swahili for hello) or Sopa (Maa) and teaching their group some local words.
- Giraffe were at the top of my wish list on safari so you can imagine my amazement when there they were, right near the airstrip.
- Shown our glamping tent, we were amused to learn that we had to secure the padlock on the zip each time when we went out – the monkeys had figured out how to open the zips!
- We did three separate safaris in different areas while we visited giving us different perspectives on animals and the geography.
- And then there were the elephants wandering round our raised tent at Elephant Bedroom Camp (safari 3). Just Wow again.
- Arriving at Sleeping Warrior (safari 2) near Lake Elementaita, we walked into reception and our jaws dropped. All we could say was “wow” and “that’s amazing!” – apparently a very typical response from visitors as the view ahead took our breath away.
- Sitting by the fireplace at night, then being wished “lala salama” (sleep well) as we were returned to our cabins where we found hot water bottles warming our beds, and a flask of hot water for coffee or tea. Bliss!
- Giraffe were high on my priorities as I’ve mentioned, but the most magic moment was seeing a very new baby being introduced to the extended family one morning. Beyond “WOW“. We have a photo of that on our wall.
- The other super magic moment was watching a mother lion with her cubs and her sister’s cubs – they take turns baby-sitting. The cubs were beyond adorable and their antics so cute and sassy, and they stole my heart. Wow indeed! Another photo on the wall of our home.
- Seeing leopards and cheetahs was the icing on the wow cake.
- We’d timed our trip to coincide with the great migration of wildebeest from Tanzania to Kenya and kept our fingers tightly crossed. We were so lucky to witness thousands make their way across the river braving crocs and the risk of being tramped by the sheer numbers. The South Africans in the next 4WD amused us with repartee about rugby matches but we were certainly “outgunned” by their monster telephoto lenses.
- Visiting the Karen Blixen Museum and the Kazuri bead factory, both near Nairobi, were interesting and we could recommend them – but they just don’t compete with the animals! Colleagues and friends were pretty happy with the haul of bracelets and earrings we brought back as gifts though.
Would we do another safari? Absolutely! The only thing that deters me is that it might not live up to expectations, or diminish the golden glow of those initial safari experiences.
Back in 1977, with two little kids in tow after travelling for weeks, we didn’t have it in us to make the trip from Delhi to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. Over the years we’ve often regretted that so for a big anniversary, just ahead of covid, we took a small group tour of India’s Golden Triangle. One of the funniest things was two broad-beamed Aussies squeezed onto a rickshaw as we zigged and zagged through the narrow streets of Delhi.
Yes, we did see the Taj Mahal and it was every bit as impressive as we imagined, as were the crowds! Perhaps it’s Wow factor was moderated by having seen so many pictures and videos of it.
What did capture our imagination was some of the amazing palaces and other buildings we saw. It’s so easy to become culture-centric and not realise just how much other countries have to offer and how far back that culture goes. Rather than go into detail I’ll share some photo from Jaipur and India of places that caught our wow factor.
Have you ever been on a safari or is it on your bucket list? What was your favourite thing about it?
Have you travelled in India? Were you backpacking, travelling independently or on a tour, large or small? What surprised you?