Travel Diary - Towards Tsavo!
October 26 by Bev Hooper
We awoke to cloudy skies this morning which quickly cleared to reveal Mount Kilimanjaro looming to our right with a fresh dusting of snow.
Today we crossed the Okitoktok Road where police were conducting vehicle checks which could have included our camels. Luckily they were more interested in the fact that we were walking to the coast than what was loaded on to the camel’s backs (not that we were carrying anything that was not allowed but unloading and reloading 17 camels takes time) so our progress was not impacted.
We stopped at the Big Life conservancy office and met with Francis Legei who explained that Big Life manages 1.6 million acres of land with 375 rangers deployed to reduce human/wildlife conflict by educating land owners of ways to protect their livestock without conflict, and compensating land owners for their loss of livestock shoud it occur. A white board in the office listed incidences and their outcomes, usually involving elephants which was a grim reminder that the struggle between wildlife and humans continues. Francis originally lived in Laikipia so when we told him that this is where the camels were from he was delighted to greet us and of course visit with the camels.
Our day consisted primarily of wending our way through populated area including small villages where villagers were in disbelief that we were walking or “footing” as the locals say, to the coast. Many shook their heads in disbelief while others simply told us they were sorry to hear that!
We travelled 21.5 kms today eventually reaching out camp in the bush where we once again started seeing wildlife including ostrich Thompson gazelle (named after Joseph Thompson), and many elephant tracks! With Kilimanjaro to our right and the Chyulu hills to our left we will spend the night and set off tomorrow for three more days until we reach the gate to Tsavo National Park.
A huge thank you to Fred and Sophie who have been posting the blog for us from their home in Scotland while Roisin was away climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Also a huge congratulations to Roisin and her niece Kiara (age 12) who reached the summit! Once at the top Kiara announced she wanted to do it again! We had the pleasure of walking on safari with Kiara in 2022. Bev sat with Kiara after walking 270 kms together over 10 days (and she helped the drovers along the way) and told her that after completing that walk there was nothing in this world she couldn’t accomplish. Well it’s certainly holding true - look out world, here she comes!!!!