It’s immoral to support saving wildlife at the expense of saving people. It’s that simple and today in Kenya I realized first-hand this travesty.
It begins with climate change. Surely you notice weather is changing where you live, and I’ve often explained that the developed world is more capable of adjusting to this than the developing world. But when you feel compelled to assist efforts to mitigate climate change in the developing world, shouldn’t you consider the people who live there rather than just the wildlife?
Evan got up at 5:55a (according to Evan) and was in the car with the rest of us at 6 a.m. It had rained so heavily during the night that my room attendant told me several bridges had been washed out.
Normally when we descend the crater at dawn the long drive to the “down road” is slow and difficult because it’s so foggy. That wasn’t the case, today. Normally it’s bitter cold (relatively speaking, in the 40s). Today it was in the upper 50s.
It rained all night. The unending thunder and lightning kept Tammy awake for much of the night and me worrying about what we were going to do the next day.
We went to the nearest ranger post and got careful directions to the next post down the line, joined a convoy with another vehicle headed in the same direction and sloshed our way from Kusini back to Ndutu.
Our last of four days in the Serengeti and we packed lunch for a long excursion to where we hoped to find the great herds. Hardly ten minutes out of camp and a baby wildebeest ran pell mell across our path.
Two minutes later it came back and we screeched to a halt as it faced us square on from the middle of the road. It had lost its mother and was starting to imprint on us. Only a hundred meters away five hyaena woke up and stretched their massive necks towards us.
It’s not a drought, but close. As I sit here at Ndutu, one of my favorite places in the world, the clouds are gathering. It rained heavily last night where we’re headed, and I expect on the last day we’ll intersect the great herds.
We left Gibb’s early as this family is really capable of doing. Sophia constantly complains of being tired and ready to go to sleep, but she’s the first up, the first to go to dawn cow milking, the first to spot the lion, and …
It was hot and we’d been on the road for nearly eight hours. The numbers of elephant and giraffe and other animals we’d seen in Tarangire was stunning but we were almost at camp and it was time to hit the showers and go for sundowners when…
…Tumaini hit the brakes and dust flew all around us like an explosion. When it settled, hardly ten meters away was the biggest lion I think I’ve ever seen.
After several days to recoup from the long flights, at no better a place than Ndarakwai Ranch in the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro, we headed into nearby Arusha National Park.
Evan Lavallee expressed typical ten-year old sentiment when he told the manager at Ndarakwai that he’d like to stay longer! The Lavallee’s had fed the bushbaby at dinner, seen a large variety of game on the drives around the 11,000-acre ranch and walked to the edge of a butte for a view of nearly 100 sq miles of West Kili veld.
In a friendly coffee house in Arusha this morning we discussed the historic election yesterday of Somalia’s first democratically elected president. There were only Tanzanians and me, but one of the Tanzanians had Somali relatives.
There are great hopes for President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed who has widespread support and seeks more U.S. involvement in addition to holding U.S. citizenship. His greatest challenge: He could be banned from entering the United States by Trump’s executive order.
Jim is headed back to Africa! For the next seven weeks you can follow his journeys here at africaanswerman.com. He’ll be traveling and working in Kenya and Tanzania.
[Several times in February]
Tanzania’s most important northern city, a growing metropolis dominated by the flower farm industry and tourism. One of the few cities with a really viable big game park only about an hour away!
[Several times in February]
More and more Jim is beginning many of his groups in the high foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Hardly a stone’s throw from Kenya’s Amboseli the game is pretty good and the scenery outstanding. On these safaris he’ll be staying at the Ndarakwai Ranch, which also vies as East Africa’s main warehouse for movie industry gear and prep.
[Several times in February and March]
Although this is not the prime season for Tarangire, even during its worst times it provides the best elephant experience found anywhere in Africa!
[Several times in March]
Jim has brought this overused but exceptional ecosystem back to reasonable use by spending most of his time in the remote southern end, where only a handful of the tourists usually go. This allows him to show his clients the unique diversity in plants and birds found in this small park without the hassle of crowds.
[Several times in March]
Africa’s most visited single game park never fails to live up to its reputation, but that often means crowds. Jim easily overcomes this simply by taking the time to stay on the east rim, which also allows his vehicles to be the first down at dawn.
[Almost two weeks in February and March]
This is Jim’s favorite place in the world, so expect many blogs from several different places in the park as he seeks out the Great Migration at the best time of the year to see it!
While wifi in East Africa improves daily, it’s not yet reached the finish line! Jim may be unable to file four times weekly as he is accustomed to doing, but he says he’ll try! Stay tuned!
Ambassador Carson’s warning yesterday appears to be true today. There are unsettling ripples all over Africa, all carrying the frequency of Trump mayhem.
Wednesday’s all-so-important Somali election is in real trouble because monitors can no longer go there (or more accurately, come back). Great hopes for Libya’s national coalition collapse. Egypt sends jetboats to threaten Ethiopia’s new dam on The Nile, Eritrea makes a new alliance with Saudia Arabia to destabilize Ethiopia. The Ivory Coast is challenged by new internal military struggles.
It’s all new and hard to unweave, and it’s all related to Trump.
Africans are putting together the first drafts of policy to deal with Trump and while it reflects the sophistication and skill of today’s African leaders, the outlook is grim. The much loved former U.S. ambassador to Kenya, Johnnie Carson, wrote today, the best Africa can hope for is “benign neglect.”
Which is unlikely if Trump twists the globe and learns there’s a continent over there. The case in point is Kenya. I implied yesterday that Kenya’s unexpected extradition of two alleged drug kingpins to the U.S. was clearly courting favor. Sycophancy aside, the country is preparing for the worse.