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Published: April 30th 2011
6 January 1984 Friday. My day started early in Heidelberg where my business meeting ended at noon. I was greeted by a blizzard as I walked to my car for the drive home to Boblingen. The two hour drive took at least three. I picked up Linda and our baggage, and drove to Munich in continued poor conditions. We arrived at the airport in time to catch the 9:30 pm Condor flight with our German tour group to Kenya. Joe and Carol, our friends from work, met us there as they would be going on this vacation with us. The plane was full and I didn’t get any sleep for the 8 hour flight directly south, crossing the equator in the process.
7 January 1984 Saturday. We arrived in Mombasa, Kenya about 8 am, and after clearing customs and immigration and meeting our guide/driver, our first stop was the airport restrooms, which were rather dirty. We had to quickly change from winter to summer clothing. It was great to escape the blizzards of Germany!
Only two Germans joined us for the safari, Herman the German, who was the vet for the German Olympic equestrian team, and Willie the Miner.
Arrival in Mombasa
slide was copied backwards...sorry about that
All three hundred other Germans headed directly to the beach.
We loaded up the Land Cruiser and headed north to Tsavo East National Park. Upon entering the park we were greeted by baboons and hyenas and wart hogs which would scurry around with their tail straight up. We had lunch at the lodge that was perched on a high ridge overlooking a pool below where birds and animals gathered to drink. I think this was the site used in the closing scene of “Out of Africa” where the lions rest on Robert Redford’s grave. As it was midday, we didn’t see a wide variety of animals.
We continued to Tsavo West National Park where we saw more animals: African elephants, lions, cheats, zebra, giraffes, and a multitude of species of antelope. Our destination was the Taita Hills, where we would stay at the Salt Lick Game Lodge, which is on stilts to permit animals to go under the rooms to the salt lick in the center of the lodge area. After a buffet dinner, where we avoided anything that was not cooked, I turned in having not had sleep since the previous morning in Heidelberg. Linda, Joe and
Carol left instructions at the desk to be woken up if any of the Big Five animals came to the salt lick during the night.
8 January 1984 Sunday. At breakfast Linda, Joe and Carol shared their sighting of the night before, which I slept through. We then drove to Amboseli National Park at the base of Mt Kilimanjaro. The roads were very dusty and the back of our Land Cruiser had a gap that permitted the dust to roll into the vehicle. We arrived at the Serena Safari Lodge by lunchtime. The other guests just starred at us as we were covered with dark dirt, like Al Jolson from the early movies. We had a great buffet lunch, again avoiding the fresh salads and any fruit we couldn’t peel.
After we showered and then used the swimming pool for the rest of the afternoon, until it was time to go on safari, with early mornings and evenings the best time for spotting. We saw several cheetahs chasing giraffes with Mount Kilimanjaro as a backdrop, and a pride of lions picking over their wildebeest kill. After dinner and conversation we turned in.
Our room was in a
and the only thing keeping us from being eaten
thatched hut. We were awoken during the night by baboons or some other creature that had climbed onto the thatch and was picking away, perhaps looking for bugs.
9 January 1984 Monday. We took another early morning game drive and spotted the last of the Big Five, a leopard and its cubs. Our guide was expert at spotting animals in the distance and would drive across the savannah to get near them. We didn’t have much traffic from other vehicles, and were mostly alone having this wonderful experience. We saw a storm approaching and a pride of lions in single file came over the ridge roaring in defiance. We then drove back to Mombasa to our hotel on the beach.
10 January 1984 Tuesday. We joined the other Germans on the beach. But since we were right near the equator and not used to the blazing sun, we got burned within minutes. Our plan had been for Joe and I to stay in Mombasa and for Linda and Carol to fly to Masai Mara for an overnight safari, but they convinced us (didn’t take much) to join them. We signed up for the tour at the hotel desk.
We tried the shaded hotel pool after a buffet lunch, which help us cool off in the blazing heat. Dinner was also buffet. The meals on the entire trip were delicious with a wide variety of choices, including local food.
11 January 1984 Wednesday. So bright an early the tour company picked us up in a van and took us to the airport where we climbed aboard a six passenger plane. We climbed to 10,000 feet and were freezing.
We were met at the Masai Mara National Park by our guide/driver and taken to a Masai village to meet the people and buy souvenirs, including beaded necklaces and bracelets and a spear. The guide then took us to a river to see hippopotamuses. We then checked into Keekorok Lodge which was a bit more primitive in that it didn’t have a swimming pool and their huts were not fenced off so wild animals could come up to our door. At night we were told not to leave our hut without calling for someone to escort us.
By then it was time for our evening safari to spot animals. I won’t bore the reader with the list of
the kinds of animals, suffice it to say that being on safari was the most interesting and different vacation we have been on.
12 January 1984 Thursday. We took another early morning safari, and by noon we were in the air on the way back to Mombasa. We were so happy the ladies had convinced us to take this safari. We spent the resat of the day by the hotel pool. At dinner that evening I ate something I shouldn’t have and became another statistic with gastrointestinal issues sometime during the night.
13 January 1984 Friday. Fortunately, the Imodium worked and we were able to catch our flight back to Munich and the drive home to Boblingen without incident.
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