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  • Writer's pictureroshperrett

A Boat Ride into the Unknown on Lake Jipe - But First, a Nature Walk - November 13

We decided on another rest day as John and Amanda needed another day to reach camp after dealing with washed-out roads and an unanticipated wash-out that led them into a ditch. They finally reached camp, and the huge job of restocking the safari began.



This morning started with a nature walk, something that we love to do with Barabara, as it is always interesting to hear his knowledge of the wildlife and what has happened in our area the night before. Today we learned just how many hyenas are in the area! We walked appropriately 10 km (always good on a rest day!) to a rock face that, to our surprise, became part of the walk. Here Barabara, Karasha, a local Masai guide that Barabara has named marefu “tall” appropriately, Kathy and Bev started their ascent literally on all fours up the cliff face. For those rock climbers following along, you would have been impressed by our climbing skills! We certainly were! We climbed up to a cave that was filled with crystal-clear water. Not wanting to miss an opportunity, Kathy and Bev plunged their heads into the cool water - bliss!! The views of Lake Jipe were outstanding from the top. Our next goal was to climb down…hmmm. Barabara, of course, knew the way to go and coached us on every step. We reached the bottom, looking up at our accomplishment - a good morning!!



The day before, we arranged for a boat ride on Lake Jipe; as we mentioned before, Lake Jipe is known for unanswered disappearances. Stories of people disappearing from the lake and their bodies showing up near Mount Meru at the opposite end of the lake fully intact about 1-2 months later. Another local story is that on the hill above the lake, there is a witch doctor (Machawi) who has one eye (cyclopes) and one breast who casts spells on the people below causing them to disappear! When we walked into the area the day before, the location of the witch Dr. was pointed out to us. We wondered if she had tattoos too based on our previous experience, haha! So we approached our boat ride with some trepidation.


Our ride started with a bit of concern right away as the 40-horsepower motor we were shown quickly materialized as a 25-horsepower motor that seemed hesitant to start - was our tour over already?? At last it caught and we were off!! Pole pole (slowly) we left the shore and headed directly towards the Tanzanian border, which straddles the lake. Our driver explained that both the lake’s inlet and outlet were at the same end of the lake…hmmm. We rounded a small island which was full of papyrus grass and entered Tanzanian waters - funny, nobody asked us for our passport. A quick turn right and once again we found ourselves back in Kenya. From there we toured the papyrus-filled shoreline with its abundance of bird life, then found our way back to shore. It was a beautiful tour, and Kathy, Bev, Rory, and Simon, as well as our captain, were all back on shore feeling very relaxed. Had we just debunked the folklore or were we just lucky??

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