17 March 2014

Camping with Africa's [dangerous] wildlife

I belong to a great homegroup from my church! In late January, we had a weekend camping trip at Lake Naivasha. We had an absolutely splendid time! This group shot was taken just as we started our hike at Hell's Gate Gorge. [In addition to those in the photo, there was also one more adult and three children.]

Our campsite

We camped right on the lake and enjoyed the beautiful fog rising from the lake both mornings.

However, the close proximity to the lake also brought hippos to our campsite! On the first evening, one of them got quite uncomfortably close to a few of us that were up late enjoying the campfire. The caretaker of the campsite did a good job of subtly encouraging the beast to move to a different area.

Later on, while trying to sleep, one of them grazed on grass right next to the tent we four single ladies shared! Munch, munch, munch... all through the night! Just before dawn, I heard it plunge into the water with a mighty splash! ***

Information about hippopotamus -
  • The hippopotamus is one of the most aggressive creatures in the world and is the most dangerous toward humans. They kill more humans than lions, elephants, or buffalo. 
  • Hippos weigh between one-and-a-half and three tons! They leave the water at dusk and travel inland, sometimes up to six miles, to graze on short grasses, their main source of food. They spend four to five hours grazing and can consume 150 pounds of grass each night.

In addition to the hippos, there were also a few quite active and noisy hyena near us. Their barking, yowling, growling, yelping, and laughing was not only annoying... it was a bit scary as well.

A herd of zebra, although peaceful and harmless, also disturbed my sleep. They have a funny squeaky-sounding bark. At one point, they left the area in a noisy stampede.

I thoroughly enjoyed tending the fires throughout the weekend. It was a challenge, though, as the caretaker provided us with wood that was either green or was a pulpy reed. Finally, we managed to buy a bundle of decent firewood from the nearby market. In the photo, I'm cooking sausages for breakfast. **

On Sunday morning, we had a lovely informal time of worship. A few pesky Vervet monkeys disturbed us, though! They first perched high in the acacia trees to scope out any potential loot. Then... down they swooped, snatching some of our bananas and leftover chapati! You can see a chapati in the hand of this one in the tree.

Our picnic site was a great spot to view Lake Naivasha.

Hiking at Hell's Gate Gorge was great fun. Here, the kids had climbed up high on some rocks.

Myself with Anna and Mandy, trekking through the gorge  It's known for flash floods, another danger-factor in our weekend. *

One can always see a nice variety of wildlife at Hell's Gate National Park.
In the foreground are Cape Buffalo, another dangerous animal. *

Waterbuck *

Another gang of pesky Vervet monkeys got into Mandy's car and blatantly stole some of our bananas!
And how do I put it nicely? Uh... one of them left behind a smelly mess of poo in the car!

Up on top of the gorge and done with our hike

Such getaways like this are so refreshing and healthy for me! And it's especially fun to enjoy them with great friends! It fits some of the criteria in my recent blog post on how to manage Missionary Stress:
  • Escape - I need daily, weekly, monthly, and annual respites. God made the Sabbath for people, so I must be sure to keep it. Reading, music, hikes, worship, and vacations are necessary.
  • Activity - Since stress prepares one for fight or flight - and as a missionary I can probably do neither - I must have some physical activity to use that energy. Sports, an exercise plan, and active games with family or friends can reduce stress.

- - - -
    * photos taken by Jabby 
  ** photo taken by Anna 
*** photo of hippo from the internet


Anonymous said...

Your camping trip sounded GREAT! PG

deb said...

It was indeed great! We went camping again last weekend. I'll eventually post some photos from that one.