Friday, August 14, 2009

Africa Part II: Mt. Kenya

Our next stop was at Mount Kenya National Park where we stayed in a lodge with a view of a watering hole. Actually, there was more than a view. You could go into a tunnel and look out barred windows at the watering hole! I was about ten feet from a waterbuck! We also saw cape buffalo, bushbuck, warthogs, baboons, an African fish eagle, a black and white Colobus monkey, and some others.

During the dinner at this lodge, a staff member came around asking what animals we would like to see and checking them off on his sheet. If the animal came by during the night, they would knock on your door and tell you the animal. We crossed our fingers that we would hear the knock and then, "Elephants!" or some other exciting animal even though we signed up for everything. (Hey, this is still the beginning of the trip! We still pointed and took pictures of every creature we saw!) During the night, we did get a knock. "Giant forest hogs!" What? We stumbled out of our beds and looked out into the night to see some giant forest hogs, before getting back to our beds for the rest of the night. It did turn out to be the only time we saw any giant forest hogs though!

Two rather exciting things happened at this lodge. The first was that there were several Syke's monkeys running about outside the lodge. While we were in the tunnel, we saw some trying to open the window of a couple of rooms. We started thinking, our window is locked, right? I ran up to check and then came back to the tunnel. Very soon after, we saw them manage to open a window, sneak in, and come back out with some snacks. Sneaky monkeys.

The next exciting thing happened in the evening. Just outside our window was a post with a small area on top for something to climb upon. We knew something would be visiting this post at some point because there was a leg of some animal tied to the top. In the evening, a genet came and climbed up the post to the top. What a beautiful creature! I don't have very good pictures of the genet because we couldn't use flashes and it was night. (Later in this trip, I had another close encounter with a genet when one ran right by me, brushing my leg! I didn't get a picture of that one either.) Here you can see the post, the watering hole, and the mound from the tunnel all viewed from our window!

In the morning, on the drive to our next stop, we were treated to a nice view of Mount Kenya.

More pictures at flickr!


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