Monday, 23 January 2012

Camping fun!

Mama keeping a close eye on kids at sunset...
Look carefully and you can see the tents...
It's been a while since we headed off into the bush with a car full of camping equipment, so we decided a couple of weeks ago that it was time it happened again. We invited a few folk, and in turn they suggested a different destination from our original idea - a new area we'd not been to before between here and Lake Natron, rather close to the Kenyan border. In the end it was a relatively select band of campers, but much fun was had by all.

Kitty being a lion

We set off on Friday afternoon, drove almost to the Kenyan border before hitting the dirt road and heading west into the hills. With the Mancub manning the GPS to find a spot on a sand river chosen in advance from Google Earth (check the spot: 2.707889S, 36.376861E) we soon found ourselves the perfect campsite and prayed that the rain would hold off. (Having seen how fast these river flood when the rain comes it wouldn't be a good camp site at times!) Rapid tent pitching and firewood gathering left time for tea before setting off up the river to find a suitable spot for sundowners, which also alloed us to find the nice fresh lion tracks in the river just up from our camp.

In a change from previous protocols we tried sticking the little ones to sleep in the back of the landrover - Kitty was fine with this, but the Mancub kept being woken by his big sister squashing him and ended up in the tent with us (where he spent most of the night patting Mama to check she was still there!). Both enjoyed playing in it during the day though! Other interuptions during the first night were the lion who decided that just as we were hitting the sack he'd start to call and every ten minutes or so he'd get a bit closer. Somehow Mama managed to sleep through the most impressive ones, being awake only for the first two, whilst I was lying there hoping that the kids would stay asleep despite the noise. Which, of course, ensured that 10 minutes after even I was impressed by how close he was getting the Mancub woke up and needed me to go out and get him. With no moon I had a good shine around with our little headtorch before hopping out of the tent... He was quiet after that, mind (in the morning we found is tracks about 100m away and he'd taken a detour through the bush to avoid us, I presume). And beside further Mancub calls unil we put him in with us the only other interruption was the sound of an earth bank collapsing next to one of the other tents - happily only showering them lightly...

Nice view - but you can't see how grumpy the kids were from behind!

Satuday we decided to climb one of the nearby rocky hills, hoping for a view of the plains and down to Oldonyo Lengai. We gradually lost the others until it was just a family adventure - but having scratched ourselves and scrambled up major cliffs pushing children before us we decided berhaps the others had the better idea in the ehat of the day! Still, it was a good view, even if we did decide against the final summit, and beautiful habitat to explore. The kids recovered quickly after lunch and more fun was had by all.

Sunday we set off looking for beasties down the sand river towards the swamp at the end and enjoyed lots of giraffe and gerenuk, but sadly none of the hoped for oryx - must have been somewhere else. It's great to be somewhere you can camp wild for a weekend and not see a single person but your company the whole time! The afternoon's entertainment was a quick trip across the Kenyan border to renew our visas before heading home to baths and showers. And no news of new babies (I think there's some sort of "Occupy Uterus" protest taking place)...
Can she beat Aunty Y to baby?!


  1. Wow! That lion got pretty close! I would be scared.

  2. Happily, paws are no good for opening zips...