Missing Kenya #2: Wildlife

Yesterday we drove back to Tenwek after a World Harvest Mission retreat to the coast (which was lovely, by the way, maybe more stories later). We were driving across the Rift Valley floor, which we've probably done 50 times, and we saw two ostriches (do we need to clarify that they are wild?). We've never seen ostriches there before, but low and behold.

There is a decent amount of unpleasantness about driving in Kenya, but there are also a few upsides, the biggest being the animal life. Every 3rd grader can tell you that there are a bunch of big animals in our neck of the woods, and they're right. There are a few general categories of this goodness, and we will miss them all.

1. The Straight-Up Safaris:
When you set aside a few days and drive a couple hours away, you can see some of the world's best wildlife. This is a great time, that we've enjoyed on several occasions and blogged about previously. There are definitely the most dramatic sites here.

2. The Home Life, especially the birds:
Anywhere you go in East Africa, the birds are tremendous, and though we never really paid attention to birds before, we've become decently well-versed in various sorts while living here. Even at Tenwek, there are a number of nice ones, including the black and white casqued hornbill, which was photographed above from our front porch. This bird is about 2.5 feet tall.

3. Other people's local wildlife
Anywhere you go, even if it's not to a "safari" location, it's always fun to guess what type of wildlife might reside there. It adds a new little dimension to any trip. Above, we were eating at a local restaurant 1 hour away, and the rooftops were invaded by little vervet monkeys.

4. Driving in the Rift Valley:
This gets a category of it's own. Our most common road trip is to Nairobi, and this takes us straight through the floor of the Rift Valley, just north of Masai Mara Game Reserve. There are 4 main animals seen there: baboons, zebra, Thompson's gazelles, and giraffes. However, as mentioned, we saw ostrich there yesterday and have also seen Grant's gazelles. If you veer off the road a bit, as we did to visit our friends, you might see warthogs, wildebeests and more. The picture above was a few months ago, driving down to said friends. As you can tell, the road isn't great, so a rest stop to watch the giraffes is doubly welcome.


nic hawbaker said...

I'm loving the memories and posts. Keep them up. The anticipation for #1 is keeping me awake at night. Ok, well, not really. Trauma surgery makes sure that I sleep hard when I get the chance to sleep. But seriously, thanks for the posts. It's sad, but I'm only 2 months into residency and have the itch to travel. A itch that will have to wait a while to be scratched.

Looking forward to seeing you two, correction, the four of you, in November.