The Kenyan coast has to come up any time you do a random search of places to visit in Kenya.
“It has to be different this time”, you say.
Your journey to Taita Taveta County will most likely be characterized by smooth roads, well, up until Taveta town. There are also high chances of spotting one, or many, humongous red elephants. They will be striding in indescribable majesty across the extensive plains, crossing the road once in a while right in front of your car just to remind you who is king.
You will then see a bird that you have definitely not seen before. It makes you start wondering when birding became one of the hobbies to consider. It is going to be an interesting trip, for sure. Or maybe, birds do not intrigue you. Still lost in thought on how close the elephant came, a zebra donkeywalks past the car. Such grace.
The rest of the journey will stir so many thoughts. Depending on your crew also, you’ll ask who owns the huge chunks of land, and how amazing it would be to have just a piece, away from the insanity that is our cities.
Simple KWS bandas will be your home for the next two days or so. The highly effective and friendly staff show you around. You already feel at home. It’s also worth noting that there will be hippos roaming the ground when night strikes. The elephants pop in anytime. They constantly need water.
Some people in your crew forgot what “good” food tastes like. They never have the time to cook given their crazy schedules. Lucky for them, however, there is a fast food right outside their estate. Deliveries are free too. Tonight is unusual. Fresh fish was given as a “welcome gift” by the rangers. You also knew it was to be on a self-catering basis. Potatoes are a constant; ugali is for the rich.
Bitter stuff probably makes you see the stars better, or at least appreciate them more. Funny it’s almost impossible to do bitter vegetables. You sip.
Tomorrow will come. That message is extremely clear from the moon’s brightness. When it does, you will rise and go explore.
You’ve heard that it is a pretty unexplored land. You don’t want to go overboard, but it seems appropriate to rise before the sun. Maybe then you’ll resonate with its persistence and the extent of its sufficiency. It’s not your everyday rounded mass of stuff. Okay, it’s probably an everyday one – unless you’re from the North Pole.
It arrives on time. You two are quite the opposites! It illuminates the sky in a way that one will never understand for as long as they live. It then becomes clear that the swift deer, the beautiful bushbuck, and other herbivores you’ve not seen before were also waiting for daybreak. The light is comforting, you think. It also increases visibility. That could be dangerous, or not. It presents an (almost) equal chance for everyone to thrive. At the end of the day, however, tales differ. Fewer antelopes will go to sleep, a few others will be birthed, a teenage lioness will be crowned queen for the hunt she brought home…
Lake Jipe stares at the sun, unshaken. It understands immortality. The villagers depend on her, and she has delivered – as far as she is concerned. Do still waters run deep? “It’s morning; stop overthinking,” you bash yourself. You want to have something to skim over during break at your boring or not-so-boring workplace. That calls for thousands of shots; nature is always the perfect model.
The reeds surrounding the lake are the ultimate hiding place for the hippopotamus. They’ll constantly remind you of their presence by making distinctive noises. Dozens of birds will land there occasionally. You’re now certain that birding is one of your hobbies.
Breakfast is made up of everything you barely use at home, especially fish. Don’t judge! You’re open to whatever the day brings. You still find it funny most times when we think of the Kenyan coast only beaches come to mind.
The patient ranger has to explain to you for the hundredth time why the hill you sighted is not hikeable. Surely hyenas, lions, and elephants can’t be that dangerous 😛
A castle sounds like something you would like especially given the original owner was called Grogan.
That sounds like the perfect way to spend an afternoon. You are tired from the journey but you want to hear none of that. The body obeys. You, your crew, and your curiosity head out to the castle. It’s the highest reachable point, after all. Well, except the unhikeable hill you’re still keen on deciphering.
The Grogan castle is a combination primeval architecture and some traces of modernity. The staff there is unbothered. There’s most likely some girls in the crew. Even better, it’s an all-girls party. They are a cool blend of we-have-to-take-1000-selfies and given-the-sun’s-position-we-can-take-the-best-landscape-pictures. So, the staff are just outliers.
They won’t even offer masala tea, SMH.
Back home where you can learn how to smoke fish. Better still, watch others fry theirs.
The boat awaits. A streak of colors stretch across the sky, each trying to be as noticeable as they can. It reminds you of individuality. Now, you have two options: to go for an animal ride or go across the river – into Tanzania. There’s never a wrong choice.
Still waters do run deep. It’s most likely your first time seeing so many hippos together.
You will not stop thinking about how well Mambo Mbaya (you may or may not forget the pseudo name he used) knows Lake Jipe. His understanding is enough to let him know which route to use and all that. He also knows whether or not the elephants will be coming for an evening drink. You pray. The universe blesses you with a herd of giraffes. Gratitude.
No two mornings are alike. The sun radiates differently, the birds are singing to a different tune… TO BE CONTINUED.
Cheers to wild experiences!
… Part 2
You will say goodbye to Leah. She will give you a kiss on the cheek – that’s how you know it was mutual.
You will go back to your crowded city wishing you were in the Kenyan Coast, more specifically Taita Taveta County – just like I do daily!
PS: As always, it’s impossible to fit all images in one post. Follow on Instagram for cooler stuff 😉