Let me first say that, as my West African friend Simaga tells me, I have a “good wife”. This weekend would have been a disaster without her flexible and adaptable African attitude.
|Rainey and Asa atop the Karuru Falls |
with the Gura falls in the background
The kids had a fall break with a Friday and Monday off from school. We decided it was the perfect time for some quality family time in the wilds of Africa. I had heard a lot of neat things about the Aberdares National Park 2 hours north of Nairobi. In fact some friends had told us about a cabin you could rent from the Kenya Wildlife Service. It didn’t have electricity, but there was a caretaker who lived close by that would supply firewood, and keep the water hot. The Aberdares are a mountain range right on the equator but over 12,000 feet in elevation. It is not uncommon to have frost on the ground in the mornings – thus the hot water was a big selling point with Sarah and Rainey.
|This is the water fall, Kururu, that Asa and Rainey |
are at the top of in the picture above
|We met this guy on the road - or maybe 10 yards off of it.|
|Fresh leopard prints on the road not far from our cabin.|
We make a few more turns and finally confirm we are headed in the right direction. 3 hours and 45 minutes after leaving, and 1 hour 45 minutes after our friends told us we should be there, we arrive at the gate to the National Park. It was still raining and the guards laughed at the fact that I had a bag on my roof. I tried to explain it was waterproof but they just kept laughing.
|Asa curb stomping us in Monopoly.|
|All the boys rock hopping in Africa.|
We drove another 30 minutes through the national park on dirt roads with little signage and finally found our cabin. It was rustic, but about what we imagined. Beds were made, it was clean, and the fireplace was ready. The rain was ending and the air was cold. I would guess it was in the fifties and heading much lower with darkness coming. The caretaker brought us some extra lanterns and our first load of firewood. Sarah started unpacking the food and preparing supper.
Being the domestic despot that she is, she had made two casseroles that she could simply warm in our awesome cabin. She looked around in the sparse kitchen and there was no gas oven as had been advertised. Frustrated, she made alternative plans and decided to simply place the frozen casserole dish on the gas burner on low. I began unpacking the things from inside the car, all of which smelled like kerosene because my container had been leaking and our numerous encounters with over zealous speed bumps.
|Big Asa leading the way on our hike from the stream.|
|A little assist from Asa.|
|Off Road in Africa. On the hike down to the falls.|
It was all uphill from there. The next day was awesome. We saw elephants from our front porch, waterbucks in our yard, and Sarah had an up-close encounter with a Bush Duiker on a hiking trail. We found two of the most beautiful waterfalls we had ever seen, and visited “Queen’s Cave” at Magura Falls which is named for Queen Elizabeth. She was there visiting and having “high tea” when she received word that she had ascended to the throne when her father died. We made our way back to the cabin seeing various animals and came across some huge leopard prints in the road – we had just missed him! Sarah won our double elimination checkers tournament that evening and received a nice rock from Queen’s Cave as her trophy.
|Rou is on top of the world.|
|The Cape Buffalo met us in the fog |
on our way out of the park this morning.
Family vacations are never without their obstacles but we pushed forward and enjoyed the good things. I am thankful that even a long ways from home and our extended family, God has allowed us to have some neat times together making memories that will last a lifetime.
|Asa at Queen's Cave.|
|The whole fam. We had a 900' drop behind us!|
|These three are at Queen's cave|
(below the waterfall) - Queen Elizabeth
was here when she found out
she had ascended to the
throne of England.
|This is Gura falls as seen from the top of Karuru falls. These were made famous in "Out of Africa"|