I never knew a morning in Africa when I woke up and was not happy; Ernest Hemingway’s words resonated in my mind, as I woke up to the sounds of buffaloes and zebras bent to water quenching their thirst at the watering hole. There’s something about waking up to that beautiful sight that made me feel so grounded in Kilaguni, as if I had no connection to the outside world or technology. In a way, it forced me to be in that moment; just enjoying the wildlife orderly striding in rows as they headed to the waterhole.
Still reeling from the previous night’s adventure out in the wild, I couldn’t wait to find out what the day had in store for us. If the bush dinner experience was anything to go by, definitely breakfast out in the bush would be nothing short of amazing. Our hilarious driver, tour guide and wingman
(story for another day) picked us up at around 8:30am, and we sauntered off to Lion’s Rock for breakfast. I tried to spot any wildlife along the way, but unfortunately the animals seemed too shy to prance around the terrain for us.
There’s nothing like an early morning breakfast at Lion’s Rock, while overlooking the vast African plains. For a moment there, Lion Rock took me back to my childhood days, with memories of Mufasa and Simba on Pride Rock overlooking their vast kingdom! We were met with a glass of chilled champagne, at the foot of Lion’s rock; the picturesque view at Lion Rock is too incredible to explain. Nature really has a way of speaking to us; it’s as if you could hear the backdrop of Chyulu Hills telling you, you had their strength and you could hear the vast plains telling you, you had their peace and calm; that’s when I realized I could never have enough of the scenery in front of me, and decided to join the rest of the gang as we sat down to enjoy the full English breakfast, set before us!
After breakfast, we decided to head over to Mzima Springs- situated inside Tsavo National Park; despite the dusty terrain ahead, our guide always stopped to pick up plastic water bottles thrown along the way by tourists, showing just how much Serena is committed and passionate in conserving the environment. We finally arrived at Mzima Springs, our game warden for the tour; a stern, witty lady took us around the nature trail, while I lurked behind amazed by the set of crystal clear ponds, fed by the melt waters of Mount Kilimanjaro. The highlight of the tour for me, definitely had to be the submerged chamber; which had an amazing panoramic underwater view, and I kept crossing my fingers hoping I would meet a crocodile glass to face, but I just had to settle for the fishes and hippos instead.
Done with our nature walk around Mzima Springs, it was time for us to head over to Shetani Lava, my five year old self wasn’t mature enough to stop giggling every time I heard that name mentioned, until I learned the history behind the name. The name came about after the locals, having witnessed a molten flow coming from the black cone “shetani” whose fiery activities must have been quite scary some hundred years ago. The lava flow is quite extensive and has a beautiful, yet dark, gorge aura about it; I tried to imagine just how mortified it must have been living in those times; with the man-eating lions of Tsavo roving around and the volcanic flow; Tsavo West surely had more drama than a hospital scene in a Mexican Soap Opera!
Despite having seen plenty of wild animals since we arrived, I still got excited every time we managed to spot a few wild animals on our way back to the lodge!
Exhausted from the morning activities, I headed back to my room for a small siesta, since we still had one more nature trail to explore in the late afternoon. Accompanied by a guide and a pretty game warden, we headed out in the wild for a nature walk. My concentration span failed me yet again, I kept getting distracted by the buffalo footprints and fresh dung along the path, and wondered what would happen if we came face to face with one. There’s a thrill about being out in the wild on foot, and not knowing what might happen next, which made the walk quite intriguing, yet I felt relieved when we got back to the lodge.
After a day full of activities, it was time to mellow it down and unwind at the Sundowner; with the clink of ice and a chilled drink, my companions sat down contemplating on the day’s adventures; in a moment, I would join them, but first I took my camera and just stared at the amazing sunset in front of me with Mount Kilimanjaro seductively showing it’s splendor on the horizon. I had never seen quite a breathtaking sunset like that before; the beautiful hues on the clouds, the sounds of elephants splashing away at the watering hole, everything felt right at that moment, and in a way it’s as if the sunset was saying; “shine like me, go beyond yourself, listen, live in the moment.”
With our vacation coming to an end, we decided to take it slow and enjoy the last night marveling at the animals heading over to the watering hole, in a way I kept wishing time would stand still just to allow us to absorb the experience we had,had during the day.
The next morning before we left, we decided to take advantage of the jogging and fitness trail; I’m ashamed to say my childhood was robbed by Sweet Valley High, Danielle Steel and John Grisham books, which led to me, never bothered about bikes and learning how to ride them. With a few falls here and there, I realized I wouldn’t be giving it a try anytime soon.
It was time for us to say our goodbyes to Dan, the very polite manager at Kilaguni, and the rest of the staff who made our stay in Kilaguni quite memorable. A few of the things that stood out for me at Kilaguni was, the passion and dedication they had in conserving the environment by making sure the roads were litter free and the consideration they had in mind for disabled guests with a ramp heading down to the viewing terrace at the bar. I definitely planned on coming back again soon.
As we drove back to Nairobi, I couldn’t help but contemplate on how infinitely rich and beautiful our country is. Going on safari helps you put so much in perspective; there are so many things that one goes worrying about, that are of no importance whatsoever, if we just took the time to breathe and live in the moment.