My Vacation: Leopard Spotting in Kenya
Brendan Harding is a fiction and non-fiction travel writer and pens a blog about his global adventures. He's currently working on a novel set in the remote bush of Eastern Kenya, where he's spent a lot of time volunteering. He shares this report from a recent trip to Kenya.
Best memory (below): Nothing had prepared me for this moment. I was at the banks of the barely-moving Ewaso Ng'iro River in Northern Kenya's arid Samburu region when I suddenly noticed, five meters above me in the sunlight-dappled branches of a Sausage Tree, a leopard draped languidly across a thick bough. He glanced briefly towards me, licked his lips and yawned. I held my breath and stared, unable to believe that I was here, standing beneath a great tree, in the wilderness of the Kenyan bush with a leopard only meters above my head. For forty minutes I stood inanimate, watching the rise and fall of the leopard's chest.
Best moment: Walking through Northern Kenya's Kamala Game Reserve. I was in the company of the Samburu people and their animals as they migrated in the constant search for water for both themselves and their livestock.
What I learned: From this trip I learned how lucky I am to have been born where I was born (in Ireland) and the privileges that come with that quirky stroke of geographic luck.
Best meal: A bonfire-lit meal in the middle of the arid bushland of Samburu, accompanied by the sound of Samburu warriors singing.
Most fun: A walking safari in the company of two Samburu warriors and a Kenyan Wildlife Service ranger through the Samburu bush following the tracks of a hunting leopard.
Don't miss:The Saruni Samburu Lodge in Samburu.
Best tip: The Samburu people are hospitable, fun-loving and possess a deep understanding of their habitat. However, they are among the poorest of Kenya's tribes and will gratefully accept medical-related gifts like Aspirin, pain-killers and bandages, for which they have little or no access to. Be sure to ask the village elder's for permission first.
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