Kenya Expedition

Published on 21 July 2010 Categories: Senior School

Safari Blog

After a delicious meal of the sacrificed goat, we left the next morning for Samburu National Park. On the way we stopped at a traditional Samburu village where we got the chance to see how the Samburu people live. It was really interesting for us as it was so different to what we were used to. We took part in some traditional dances and all the guys were put to shame by the Samburu warriors jumping! We continued driving into the park and began our first game drive.

At first all we saw were a few dik-dik and gazelles but then we were extremely lucky to see a leopard lounging in a tree right beside the track. This was very rare as leopard usually only come out at night. We continued driving and saw some giraffes very close to the truck. After an eventful drive we headed to our campsite. It was extremely wild as it was right next to the river with crocodiles. In the evening we played campfire games and then had a delicious meal.

The following morning at 6 we were woken for our second game drive. After a quick cup of tea and a biscuit we left the site in search of more animals. Not long into the drive someone caught sight of a cat in the distance. Our driver, OT, expertly tracked it down so we were within metres of our first cheetah. It was breathtaking. After a couple of hours we headed back to camp for breakfast. As we queued up for our food a very cheeky baboon managed to run in between us and swipe a jar of peanut butter from right under our noses! We then took a short walk to the nearby Samburu lodge hotel where we spent a few hours relaxing by the pool and taking a much needed shower. We felt so clean! Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the relaxation after our very full on few weeks.

Afterwards we headed on the second game drive of the day. Again we were really lucky and saw a family of elephants right next to the truck, including one about three months old. It was amazing to see them in their natural habitat but eventually we had to leave to return to the Lodge to see the crocodiles being fed. It was frightening to see them emerge from the river right next to where we were sitting and then see how easily they crunched through the bones they were given.

At 6 the next morning we headed for our final drive. Unfortunately we didn't manage to see any lions but we did manage to see another leopard! Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and thought it was a superb experience despite the fact that we had to lock our tents to prevent the baboons opening them and snacking on our malaria tablets!

We headed back to the camp at the Blue Line hotel but this time rather than put our tents up again we had the luxury of a room between five of us. Having a room meant that everyone had a great sleep before our 3am wake up call. After a full cooked breakfast at 3.30am, we started our 14-hour journey to the coast. Even though it was a long slog everyone was looking forward to relaxing on the beach and reflecting on our experiences of the trip.

Now we are relaxing - we have been swimming in the sea, taking long beach walks, snorkeling, banana boating and having camel rides. A wonderful way to end such a superb trip.

Emily Bedford, Iona Lyell and Eilidh Smith

Day 1:

It was a late wake up call, 8am. Everyone began preparing their bags and themselves for that challenge that awaited. At ten we had a delicious cooked breakfast, the last for what would seem like a very long time. After a two hour drive, Kenyan time, we reached the main gate, having survived one of the most treacherous roads in Kenya. The porters halved the weight of our bags by removing all unnecessary items, for example; law books, travel Ludo and deodorant. We started at 2600m, 2385m still to go. We walked at a slow but steady pace for three hours before reaching our first camp.

Day 2:

Up at 06.30 am, another late start. After a cooked breakfast of sausage and pancakes the staff were ready to go. After our lukewarm porridge we were not quite as fortified but ready to face the day nonetheless. We reached Shipton's Camp after a long day of walking and some incredible views. The main topics of conversation were football, how great the teachers are and a recital of Harry Potter 7 by Eilidh F. Everyone was straight to bed that night, exhausted from the day’s adventure.

Day 3:

This was yet another late start, 8am. We made it out of our tent to be greeted by another beautiful day on the mountain. At 10am we set off for an acclimatisation walk to help us get used to the altitude. We made it up to 4550m and enjoyed an incredible view of the peak that we would tackle the next day. The rest of the day we spent relaxing and preparing for the final ascent.

Day 4:

785m to go! Today we got up at 1am and after another ‘Michelin Star’ breakfast we were raring to go. Fuelled by determination we headed off into the darkness, and four hours of the hardest walking of our lives on the most adverse terrain known to man. We reached the summit, and what a view it was: seeing the sun rise from 4985m made the whole experience worthwhile and is an image we will never forget. As the sunrise hit us the feeling returned to our fingers and toes and after many hugs and photos we began our descent. After an eventful descent of the scree slope we arrived at Shipton’s Cave and packed our remaining equipment for continuing on our epic 14 hour journey. We finally made it to camp physically and emotionally drained, delighted that the porters had put our tents up!

Day 5:

Motivated by hot showers and Jamie Collier’s soon to be slaughtered goat we powered down the mountain. Our prize at the bottom, a matatu ride home.

On returning to our accommodation we took part in a traditional Kukuyi ceremony: this was to sacrifice a goat to the god Ngai. As the sun sliced through the canopy of the trees the select few were chosen to perform the act. The anticipation grew as the group gathered to witness the sacrifice. By this point the tension could be cut with a knife which Jamie was holding. Some stayed to watch and Marion Spielberg recorded. Just another five days out of our Kenyan adventure.

Jamie Errington, Mikey Scott and Andrew Connelly

Pupils on the summit of Mt Kenya

Expedition reaches Mt Kenya summit 12 July 2010

At 6.30am this morning 27 pupils and three staff reached the summit of Mt Kenya in time to watch the most amazing sun rise over Africa.

Kenya Expedition 2010 Week Two 8 July 2010

On Saturday after the daily flag raising and national anthem singing we split into our sub camps to prepare for the 2010 Africamp Olympics. A committee was formed to organise the day and Mr Crawford was the President. We spent the morning making banners and flags but most of the glitter ended up on the kids rather than on the paper!

After a filling lunch of ugali the athletes were ready to compete in a wide range of events, including the traditional sprint and shot putt (which was a brick that Miss Fletcher broke) and also the more inventive "rock and spoon" in addition to the very popular crab race. Everyone had to compete in one event and I think the only thing a Mzungu managed to win was the limbo. After the announcement of the winners, which was the team from Ulamba, who were closely followed by the subcamp Siaya we went back to the subcamps to practice for Africamps got Talent. Each sub camp had to perform a song and dance in Swahili or Luo and one in English and they were marked out of 10. After an interesting evening of performances Mama Safi's group were named as the most talented group due to the wazungu's enthusiasm. Full school assembly here we come.

After a lie in until the unbelievable late hour of 0730, we spent Sunday morning in church. This was actually a service at the orphanage which involved lots of singing and lively speeches as well as some entertaining challenges including blowing up a balloon with your nose. Then in the afternoon we headed the sports field of a local primary for the football tournament. This was great fun due to the Kenyans' great passion for the sport, the winning team was again Ulamba. We had more success in the traditional Mzungus versus Kenyans game with a triumphant victory of 1-0 due to some remarkable goalkeeping by Miss Fletcher!

Monday was the last full day of the camp and the final group headed off on the trip to Kisumu. The other groups continued with the planned activities including painting the walls of the nursery, teaching and sports. There was a brief interval in the afternoon which allowed dinner to be killed - nine chickens. Please note everyone should now fear the new head girl! The Kenyans watched and laughed as one chicken escaped and were amused by our horrified faces when the headless chickens twitched. Afterwards they were plucked and cooked and served as a final meal with ugali. In the evening there was a large campfire with performances from all the groups, some Scottish country dancing and of course a rendition of Auld Lang Syne with bag pipes.

After Tuesday's breakfast we started to dismantle the tables and chairs the children had built as well as handing out a new pair of shoes and set of clothes to everyone (60 people). All these clothes had been donated by people at GWC. This included a large number of GWC white polo tops and football strips. We then headed over to the shade of the large tree for the closing ceremony. This involved songs, the presentation of prizes and large number of speeches, most of which began with "I don't have much to say but..." All too suddenly it was time for the children to leave and the tears on both sides proved the friendships had been formed and the success of the camp.

We stood in the empty field feeling rather deflated but perked up with the prospect of a visit to Obama's grandmother. When we returned to Ulamba we packed up our things and also completed the nursery by painting several murals on the walls. It was sad heading to bed in the campsite for the last time, however the thought of embarking on the challenge of the next phase, Mt Kenya, excited us all.

By Kate Milne

Pupils outside orphanage

Week One

Our first week in Africa has gone extremely quickly - the past 4 days being spent here at the Ulamba Orphanage in Rural Western kenya. Divided into sub-camps we are working with children from the local area - playing games, doing crafts and building an extension for the orphanage under the hot sun. The children are truly fantastic - eager to learn, to participate and for us to get to know each other.

It has been an extreme change of both culture and diet, which largely consists of rice or ugali cooked by the groups on camp fires, and also we have had to cope with the extreme heat, but all in all I think we all agree that our experience in Kenya has been and will continue to be, unforgettable. We have found all Kenyans to be hugely welcoming and the children being no different.

As we continue with our work here we are becoming more and more involved with the children and the work being done here at Ulamba, and we are only hoping that our incredible experiences here will continue.

Ellen Halliday

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