Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Kenya - Day 4
(This post is brought to you by Olivia Gilliam. Photos are on their way!)
This morning we started our day off with 6am coffee and cookies and then a game drive. On this drive we went up to Simba Ridge where we got an incredibly wide sweeping view of the riding sun. Animals were left and right, we passed a large herd of Cape Buffalo and saw our first Eland, and same as the day before, we saw the sun shining on the very top of the scraggly, just visible peak of Mount Kenya. After our morning drive we came back to camp, ate another delicious breakfast and then headed to Lewa Headquarters, where the Northern Rangelands Trust and Lewa Security Team work. John, a part of the security team, showed us the main Ops room. This room is covered in maps, has two flat screens with interactive, tracking maps, and different radios connecting them to the rangers, safari guides, as well as the local police. John explained the jobs of the rangers and how they are integral to the security and prosperity of Lewa and it's animals.
On the way to our next activity we happened to pass one of the two female rangers at Lewa. We stopped and met Caroline, which was one of the most special things to have experienced on this trip so far. She talked about how growing up, going through the Lewa schools she always was in scouts and always wanted to be in something structured with marching, military-esque. When asked about the training to be a ranger, she laughed and said "You can get through anything with a smile and positivity."
After our security tour, we got to witness an awesome demonstration of one if the anti-poaching teams, lead by a man named Joseph, and their ability to use dogs to track a scent. We were lucky enough to see the Bloodhound, Tip, in action. Three girls and two anti-poaching team members went to hide, so we could put Tip to the test. After the group was hidden, Tip was harnessed to signal that he was now "on duty" and about to track. Joseph then showed us the steps to get Tip to track and a few minutes later, he had followed the hiding group's exact tracks and found them behind a large bush.
The rest of the day consisted of a drive to the nearby town, Isiolo, where we bought seedlings and a water tank to install at the school we are visiting tomorrow, and a sighting of 20+ elephants in one small area while we were on our way to watch the sunset at Lewa House. On the way home from our sunset viewing, we stopped on the path that cuts through the grounds and turned the engines and lights off and just looked up at the stars through the vehicles' open tops. The longer we stood there, our necks craned up, the more our eyes adjusted and more stars appeared. Once our eyes had fully adjusted, the Milky Way was visible and the stars were seemingly more populous than ever before and reached from horizon to horizon. After a day of so much activity, this serene moment was a perfect way to end the day.
⁃ Olivia Gilliam
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