2nd June 2007
A grand day out! We left Voi and drove back towards Nairobi before turning left into Tsavo West National Park. The scenery is quite different from Tsavo East, with mountains, valleys and vast plains. Eventually we had a fantastic view of Mount Kilimanjaro rising out of the clouds with snow on the top (Sadly the photo doesn’t do it justice).
After a long drive through the Park we arrived at Mzima Springs. The source of the water flowing into the Springs is in mountains to the north and it flows underground for about 50kms before emerging at this waterhole. As the water flows away from the springs it is collected in pipes in order to provide Mombasa and east coast towns with fresh water.
I also climbed down into a viewing chamber built into the river bank. I watched fishes swim by, but was somewhat disappointed that the hippos had cancelled their “Dance of the Hours” performance. Afterwards we drove off to a local lodge for lunch. It was on high ground and had a fantastic view across a huge valley. The long drive back took us through a rhino sanctuary within the park. The 36 rhinos were free to wander across hundreds of square kilometres, so it was no surprise that we didn’t see a single one! In fact it was rather lucky as I was asleep for most of the drive home.
3rd June 2007
It was a grey and cloudy morning when we set off to visit Lugard’s Falls, which is still inside Tsavo East. It rained on and off all the time and most animals were staying well under cover. The falls were formed when the Galana river was forced through volcanic rock, carving a path narrower than its own width and creating a number of waterfalls. The patterns in the volcanic rock were fascinating.
Below the Falls, where the river widens again, we saw hippos bathing and a large number of crocodiles, which shot into the river all together. We could see more crocodiles lying on a rock, eating what appeared to be a buffalo carcase. As we drove back, the rain poured down but our driver, always on the lookout for wildlife, spotted two lions with black tipped ears a fair distance from the road. We watched them for some time and were joined by other jeeps until, eventually, someone realised that these were not lions but termite mounds!! Our poor driver was teased mercilessly by his colleagues.
In the afternoon we had a talk from the Assistant Head of the Kenya Wildlife Service. He spoke about a new programme of funding which would be used to protect wildlife. Also, he spoke of the Kenyan government’s fight to persuade Botswana and South Africa from legalising the sale of ivory in order to control their elephant population, while Kenya was still struggling to build its own. In fact, in 2007 Kenya called for a 20 year moratorium on ivory sales. Just this year (2019), some southern African countries have been trying to get the ban lifted. At the same time it is estimated that about 30,000 – 38,000 elephants are killed illegally each year across Africa.