Christmas with animals in wild - Beaking Kenya News

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Sunday, 12 January 2020

Christmas with animals in wild

Rhino River Camp
We decided to spend Christmas at Rhino River Camp, and with animals at Meru National Park.
Early morning on Christmas Eve, we drove out of Nairobi — a longish drive but well worth it.
On the way, we listened to the hilarious impeachment version of the "12 Days of Christmas".
The following morning when we left for game drive, the carol was still playing in my mind — I had also recently written about the Kenyanised version sang at the Puppets254 show at Garden City Mall.
On that first day of Christmas at the park, we spotted a pride of nine lions lounging in a sausage tree — nine lions climbing rather than nine ladies dancing, as the original carol has it.
I reckon the animals and the birds must have known it was Christmas Day.
We then saw a Bateleur eagle dip his wings three times — port, starboard; port, starboard; port, starboard — before perching a high tree branch.
IDYLLIC PLACE
I guess he was trying to impress his mate, who was at home sitting on their eggs.
Back at the camp for lunch, we watched a couple of vervet monkeys swing with exuberance from tree to tree on the flimsiest of branches.
In the evening, a bush baby did an insect-catching pole dance for us on a standard lamp in the camp’s dining room.
The Rhino River Camp is set on the bank of Kindani River in an 80-acre land, which its website calls ‘privately owned wilderness’ on the western edge of Meru National Park.
It is not really my idea of a wilderness. It is certainly not a wasteland; much of it is a lush forest of raffia palms, tamarind and fever trees — something like the jungle of the Tarzan films I watched in my youth.
The small camp itself is an idyllic place.
BUSH BREAKFAST
Five of its seven tents are on short stilts and by the river, which the genial manager, Fredrick Chileyi, told us is usually quite placid. But because of rains, it was more like a torrent.
The accommodation is in typical luxury safari tents — more like cottages made of canvas and wood.
They are simple but spacious, with a comfortable double bed, electricity and power points, a small dressing area, and a bathroom with a shower heated by solar panels.
Also, each has a separate ‘meditation’ tented area for those who want to be on their own.
The bar lounge is tastefully designed, open to the river, and looking down to a small swimming pool. The food in the dining room is tasteful, too — imaginatively presented by an attentive chef.
But twice we had our breakfast in the bush, a full English-style breakfast with eggs and bacon, sausages and beans, hot coffee and healthier things too.
WILDLIFE
For all our game drives, we were in the hands — and grateful for the eyes — of the camp’s Samburu guide and driver, Peterson.
We needed the trained eyes of both Peterson and our safari guide son, Andreas. The park is challenging, even in the dry seasons, because much of it is forested.
But it has lots of the more easily seen elephants and buffaloes. It also has a rhino sanctuary. And if you have patience, there are lions and leopards to be spotted as well as over 400 species of birds.
The camp is now being managed by Gamewatchers Safaris as one of its series of Porini Camps. For a few months there will be attractive introductory offers. Check with info@porini.com or 0722-509200.

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