Some weeks ago, prior to the apocalypse that we find ourselves in now, Mr Nomad’s old friend, Richie came to visit. He is originally from the UK but now lives in Australia and had been making numerous trips world wide, so we were lucky that Richie felt the urge to visit Kenya to discover for himself the magic of Africa. We duly obliged him and once we had retrieved him from the airport in Nairobi, we embarked upon the wonderment that is offered by Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
The African sun was scorching and in the blistering heat, we slowly crept around Ol Pejeta in the trusty hire car. The animals were plentiful and it was not long into the day before we had the pleasure of sighting hundreds of ungulates including zebra, Jacksons hartebeest, buffalo, Thompsons gazelle, Grants gazelle and the ever present impala. They were also many warthog.
Richie was amazed to see so many animals so quickly and although we warned him of the unpredictably of such animals, we were ever hopeful that there would be much more to come. Richie had expressed his desire to see a rhinoceros and we hadn’t been in the conservancy long before one such creature was spotted. In fact, the days at Ol Pejeta brought many rhino sightings to the point that we doubted that they are in fact, endangered. It was magnificent to see rhino’s in such numbers and as already stated previously, it was great to know that the hard work being done by the rangers at Ol Pejeta to protect such creatures is paying off and that there is a distinct lack of poaching.
We were treated to sightings of numerous cheeky black backed jackals and as we trundled along the vast plains, we headed down towards the marsh area, a lioness suddenly appeared in the grass to our right side. She was utterly unperturbed by our presence and slinked through the long grass, clearly stalking some impala. She crept past our car and she was so close, Richie was insistent we wind the windows up. It was unnerving how she paid us no attention whatsoever, staring intently at her target. We were all spell bound as she crept along, taking cover in a bush and melting into the foliage seemingly invisible to the animals which she preyed upon.
Dumb struck, we parked the car and watched the lone lioness for what seemed like hours, to see if she was going to strike. She sat invisible and unmoving for some time, and we were mesmerised by her patience. The impala that she was stalking were clearly on edge and they could obviously smell her.
A slight movement gave away her position and the impala scattered, terrified at the prospect of becoming dinner. The lioness sulkily got up and after sharpening her claws on a nearby tree, she went on her way and slunk back into the bush, vanishing as quickly as she had appeared.
We were all fascinated by what we had just witnessed. Whilst nothing really had happened, it was such a privilege to see a powerful lioness behaving so naturally despite the proximity of our vehicle. A stark reminder that we were in their territory, entirely at their mercy and only protected from their predatory nature by the safety of our large and impenetrable vehicle which on this particular day, we were incredibly grateful for. These majestic creatures are truly wild, and it is such a privilege to see them in their natural habitat.
We had also seen some elephants at the marsh and as we carried on with the day, we were to see many more elephants. In fact, we saw so many elephants, it felt like all of the elephants in the world! Like their physical size, their numbers were huge… they blocked the roads in front of us at one point and we had to wait for them to lumber out of the way.
They seemed to be everywhere we went…we saw herd after herd of numerous elephants and to our immense satisfaction, we saw many baby elephants. Reassurance once more that the hard work by the rangers to protect the animals from poaching has been rewarded in the large numbers of baby animals.
We also saw the Ankole cattle. They have huge horns and one can only wonder how they carry them! The cattle live along side the wild life at Ol Pejeta and roam freely through the day, and are housed in a ‘boma’ at night, protected from predators by an Askari through the night.
Towards dusk on our first day at Ol Pejeta with Richie, we stumbled upon a pack of hyena’s lounging around their den. We parked up the car and sat observing them in their natural environment, playfully gambolling around in the evening sun like harmless lambs, their cute cuddly faces betraying their deadly brutality. Again, we were mesmerised and we all agreed that Richie’s first day at Ol Pejeta had been magical, and unbeatable.
We spent the following day at Ol Pejeta once more and yet again, we were incredibly privileged to glimpse numerous big cats. We could not believe our luck! We had edged the vehicle through dense bush and stumbled across two lionesses with a couple of cubs, but we did not stop to observe them, anxious not to disturb them with their young. We were then provided with discreet information from a nearby ranger that there was a cheetah that had been spotted lazing under a tree. We made our way to where the cheetah had been seen and we were lucky enough to get a glimpse of this elegant creature, snoozing under a tree and with cubs.
She spent much of her time laid flat out in the long grass so she was difficult to see, and she certainly kept her cubs well hidden. Mr Nomad and I had never seen cheetah at Ol Pejeta before this day so we reminded Richie how lucky we had all been in seeing such magnificent creatures. Richie like us, was spell bound.
We again saw an abundance of animals and to Richie’s delight, we also managed to see giraffe. We had not seen any giraffe at all on our first day so we were over the moon that Richie was able to see them in their splendour on the second day.
The two days spent with Richie at Ol Pejeta had far exceeded our expectations and it was quite overwhelming to be able to show our friend the amazing sights that Kenya has to offer. Ol Pejeta is simply beyond compare and I do not believe there is anywhere else in the entire world quite like it. We could not wait to see what else was in store for our friend Richie!