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twaffle

My 'Childish' Trip Report - 40 years late!

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twaffle

Zaminoz … thank you, I am sure you must have some pretty interesting childhood photos and memories you could share also.

 

Rickmck … glad you're enjoying it. Wish I had a loyal subject who would sit and scan slides for me. :)

 

Hari … Thank you also. I am enjoying putting it together as well. The memories have been a bit hard to face sometimes. BTW no cheetah in Uganda, but some photos coming up of them, just for you! :)

 

I have some updates on earlier questions:

 

Regarding rhino.

I have found Dad's old "Uganda National Parks" book (only 2 parks at that time!) and it has an interesting entry on the rhinos.

Black rhino being naturally occurring in both park.

It says though, that at the time of writing (1961),

"the white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cotton) is being introduced to the Murchison Park from the West Nile. These animals are not indigenous east of the Nile: indeed large rivers appear to act as a complete bar to the distribution of both types of rhino."

One would assume from this that the white rhino found west of the Nile was the Northern white and that if they did indeed successfully introduce them in Murchison Falls, they were wiped out along with everything else.

 

Elephants.

I made the comment about the elephants in Queen Elizabeth Park having the downward tusks of the forest elephant and I found this interesting entry.

"The Murchison Park elephants are typical East African Bush Elephants (Loxodonta africana africana). Those found in parts of Queen Elizabeth Park have definite affinities with the West African or Congo forest Elephant (L.a.cyclotis). They are somewhat smaller, their heads appear more elongated in shape when seen in profile and they have longer, thinner and straighter tusks, usually lighter in weight."

I found that incredibly interesting. Were these a cross breed between the savannah and forest elephant or were they true forest elephants?

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twaffle

Just realised that I've already posted some cheetah in Amboseli for Hari! I am getting tired and forgetful! :)

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madaboutcheetah

You did post it, Twaffle ...... and Thanks for that!

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Atravelynn

What a treasure this illustrated account is. You need to show this to your kids.

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twaffle

We moved to a lovely house made of traditional Kenyan stone in a suburb called Muthaiga. This is the suburb where all the diplomats live so it was very well kept with beautiful gardens and houses. Muthaiga is on the other side of the city to the well known suburbs of Karen and Langata where the houses were more often owned and occupied by local white Kenyans, rather than Embassies, oil companies and the like.

 

When I was eventually sent to boarding school in Australia, I met the son of the New Zealand High Commissioner to Kenya who happened to fly the same route as I did. Because I was travelling alone, he used to save a seat for me on the plane I connected to in Perth (he connected from NZ in Sydney or Melbourne). It was such a nice gesture but sadly I don't remember his name now.

 

This house was my favourite of any house I have ever lived in. Not the biggest or the fanciest but it had a good and happy spirit and I thought (and still do) that it was beautiful.

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The following photo shows the end of the house with the window to my brother’s bedroom. My bedroom was next to his and was little more than a widened passage way. Early one morning I was woken by my brother screaming like a banshee “burglar, burglar” the noise was horrendous. Not just my brother screaming but other louder, higher pitched wailings and screechings. Bravely I ducked under my blankets as my father raced past with his heavy stick which was always by his side of the bed. I can’t tell you how terrifying this all was. I expected to hear murderous sounds from my brother’s room, instead of which I heard laughter!

It turns out that our Siamese cat had followed a stray cat in through the louvred window and they were having a battle to the death on my brother’s bed.

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It was hard to remember that we were in Nairobi not many years after the Mau Mau uprising. Security was an issue then, as it is now. We had a high hedge, (these days they have razor wire inside the hedges) and a gate which was locked at night. We had a security guard who patrolled the house and garden at night. I used to hear him scrunch on the driveway past my window and I would hide under my blankets (a common practise for me, I must say) sure that it was a panga wielding burglar. It never was. We only ever had one burglar that I can remember and he was in Kampala and the dog got him. In retrospect, my life has been coloured by a vivid imagination!

 

 

We spent Easter of 1967 in the Cherangani Hills. These hills are in the Western highlands of Kenya and unlike many parts of that country are not of volcanic origin.

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Country towards Elgon.

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Looking South.

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This view is of the road back to Kapenguria from Elgon which is the town where the 6 leaders of the fight of Independence were incarcerated.

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Returning to Nairobi with a stop near Lake Elmenteita. My mother driving the car which hated her.

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Looking down into Menengai crater.

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twaffle

Sometimes we would travel upcountry to Molo. It wasn't a safari trip, we didn't go wildlife watching. It was more of a 'chill out' time. They had horses at the Highland Hotel which we would ride. I have had a look on the 'net and the Highland Hotel is still there and they still have horses. It is sad that our safari trips to these countries doesn't seem to allow enough time to visit some of the beautiful country which isn't Parks & Reserves. I know it is unlikely that I will be able to visit some of these old haunts but the photographs show some magnificent scenery.

 

This is me on a pony at Molo with the syce.

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This is a view of the village of Molo.

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Another popular place for a visit were the tea plantations of Kericho.

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I have included this photo of my brother's birthday party for two reasons. First of note is the empty Vermouth box and the other is the stylish way I wear long white socks with sandals! :huh:

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For those who have visited Nairobi, here are a couple of view of Nairobi in 1967.

This one is from IPS building looking towards the supermarket area. The construction in the front isn't identified but I wondered if it might be the Hilton Hotel which was completed in 1968 and is circular. I don't know, just speculation.

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This view shows the roundabout and the New Stanley Hotel.

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My friend was very fortunate to own a couple of horses and we would ride from her house out through the forest to the stables where they were kept over night. Then the syce would ride them back the next day, so that we could ride them again after school. Her father would follow us in his car as we rode through the forest as there were leopards and monkeys still inhabiting it. One day we were attacked by a troop of monkeys. They jumped from the trees and surrounded us. I like to think that they leapt on the horses and that we bravely galloped away, but the reality is much tamer. We always knew when there was a leopard about, although we never saw one, as the horses would stop and snort and then get very agitated.

 

This photo shows me riding at the sports grounds where they were stabled. I can’t believe my dreadful riding style and NO hard hat! But I was happy.

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twaffle

Well, enough of the family album. On to more interesting subjects. Let's visit Ethiopia with my father. I didn't go on this trip as it was for business but he visited a couple of interesting places.

The following two photos are of cattle then camels taken from the air.

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This photograph is taken at the old Italian airport building at Assab which is now in Eritrea.

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Enroute to Dallol in the Danakil Depression.

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Danakil.

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An active volcano in Danakil.

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An older cone.

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A little pool in an old crater.

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Flying up to Asmara Highlands also now in Eritrea.

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twaffle

The trip down the escarpment to the Rift Valley is a winding steep road which takes you past the Italian Church built by prisoners of war in World War 2.

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Dad’s Alfa on the escarpment (to keep Game Warden interested!).

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Heading in the other direction took you past the falls at Thika on the way to Mt Kenya and beyond. I don't think these falls are visited as much these days, I think the township has caught up with what used to be countryside.

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On the way to Mt Kenya, our picnic spot at Sagara (shown on another thread).

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The Abedares at dusk.

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Nairobi National Park always seemed to deliver some good sightings. It was a great place to take visitors if they didn’t have time to go further afield.

Giraffe

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Ostrich

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Ostrich mating.

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Cheetah on a kill.

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I sat in the middle of the back seat of the car, vinyl hot against my legs. Elbow digging into brother one side … good, got a response there … leaning against sister on the other, definitely a response there. Why do I have to always sit in the middle. It’s such a long and boring drive, nothing pretty to see on the side of the road. Little tin huts with barbers cutting men’s hair, another selling cooked maize, dead dogs on the side of the road, their stomach’s distended in death. I’m so hot, are we there yet. Dad says we haven’t even reached the bridge over the Athi River but here it is coming up. Oh dear, there’s been a crash … I won’t look in case I see something dreadful. I can’t help myself, I look anyway and will never forget what I see. The metal railing of the bridge has gone straight through a young boy in the back of the car, I feel weak with the horror of it. My mother makes soothing noises but I think I’ll be sick.

We have hours and hours of this driving. Thank goodness we always stop at Tsavo. So much traffic, we follow a small blue car filled with people, they look like they are having more fun than we are. Hands waving out of the window, they are packed in. The car is swerving from side to side, I don’t know what they are thinking. Then it happens, one swerve too many and too hard and the car rolls. People going everywhere. Aren’t we going to stop and help? No, we drive as fast as we can to the nearest town to ring for help. I don’t know what happened to all those people stuffed into that car … I hope they survived.

 

The view from Kilaguni Lodge, Tsavo West National Park.

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The waterhole

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Lions sunning themselves in Tsavo West.

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I remember it like it was yesterday. The road was dusty and bumpy and our little car bounced around as we flew out of seats and then down again with a thud. We were having the best fun. The thick bush of the game park surrounded us and as we rounded a corner we came face to face with an enormous bull elephant. It was not impressed. Ears back, trunked tucked up it just came at us. Dad just had time to hit reverse and back we went, faster than ever we had been going forward. My mother was horrified. Fortunately the elephant gave up before the car did but we never, ever went on safari again without a cushion in the seat next to my mother so that she could bury her head in it in emergency situations.

 

Elephant in Tsavo West.

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Fish in the Mzima Springs.

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Oryx.

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Were always glad to be away on safari. The very best of times and memories.

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Game Warden

The posts get better and better. Tell your dad we all appreciate his work from 40 odd years ago...

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Geoff

Extraordinary. I've been spellbound by this whole fantastic post.

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Game Warden
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Heading in the other direction took you past the falls at Thika on the way to Mt Kenya and beyond. I don't think these falls are visited as much these days, I think the township has caught up with what used to be countryside.

Twaffle I found an interesting entry in "Exploring with Martin and Osa Johnson" - Kenhelm W: Stott, Jnr regarding the falls at Thika:

"At Thika we decided to stop for the night at the Blue Posts Hotel. It is situated about four hundred yards from two beautiful waterfalls, one the Chania River, the other the Thika." Martin Johnson. (Diary entry, Feb. 28, 1924.) Then considered the end of civilization and the starting point for many a safari, it now lies beside an off-ramp from a freeway.
Stott Jnr's book was published in 1978.

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twaffle

GW - I'll tell Dad. I think he is a bit bemused that his slides have seen the light of day and that anyone is interested. I tell them that it is Africa that fascinates and that his slides of Japan will gather dust forever! :D

The Thika story is very interesting. When you look at the Johnson info and The Flame Trees of Thika it is hard to see the sad changes. Progress?!

Geoff, thank you for your continuing interest. The positive comments from everyone has given my memories life again. It has been many years since I have been able to share my history with anyone. My kids will be interested when I'm too old to remember! :huh:

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Jan

Twaffle, I visited Thika in 1976 on the way to Samburu, and of course have read The Flame Trees Of Thika by

 

Elspeth Huxley. I'm so enjoying your photos.

 

 

Jan

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twaffle

Thank you Jan, I loved The Flame Trees of Thika, both book and TV series.

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Jan

Yes I saw the T.V. series. Wasn't Haley Mills the star!

 

 

Jan

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Game Warden

In all its glory...

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twaffle

Thanks Matt, I loved the series so much I bought the DVD set a few years ago so that I could share it with my kids. They were spectacularly disinterested! :huh:

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rickmck

Aargh... Where's the rest of the episode??? After 10 minutes of watching, you leave us with a cliff-hanger like that???

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twaffle

The Game Warden's idea of a joke perhaps? :huh:

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twaffle

Hang on in there fellow travellers in time … only 4 more years to go!!!! :huh:

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twaffle

Sometime it feels like we are travelling to the same places again and again but I am trying to keep the photos and memories in chronological order. Many of the conservation areas available now were either not proclaimed or hadn’t been developed. A list of the National Reserves and Parks which had been proclaimed by 1963 makes interesting reading:

Nairobi Royal National Park

Tsavo Royal National Park

Gedi Royal National Park

Olorgesailie Royal National Park

Aberdare Royal National Park

Mount Kenya Royal National Park

Lake Nakuru Royal National Park

Uaso Nyiro National Reserve (could this have been the precursor to Samburu?)

Marsabit National Reserve

Masai Amboseli Game Reserve (administered by an African District Council)

 

Notably, the Masai Mara is included under “other game reserves” along with Meru as newly established reserves. Undoubtedly, this information was just published before independence and things would have changed progressively after. In fact I noted that "an African District Council Game Reserve has been established at Mara river in Southern Province." It didn't even have a name.

 

Consequently, our trips focused on Nairobi NP, Tsavo, Aberdares, Lake Nakuru with occasional sojourns to the lesser known (at the time) areas. However, we supplemented these safaris with visits to wilderness areas and to the farms of friends. One such farm was in the foothills of Mt Kenya and we visited quite often. Like most farms at the time, it comprised a good quantity of plains game, primates and birds along with leopards which we never saw. Our days comprised riding the ponies, driving out in the old Land Rover, picnics, fishing in the Ewaso Nyiro (or Uaso Nyiro) and generally having a grand old time. The gardens were beautifully looked after and the vegetable garden was very substantial, supplying the farm with all their needs. As a child, vegetable gardens weren’t high on my list of significant sights, but even I was impressed. We also ate game meat as part of the normal meal but I don’t remember it being all that different from anything else.

 

To travel to Naro Moru we would leave home before light and breakfast on the road, usually at the same place. Dad had a small camp gas ring and we would have a cooked breakfast with views over the surrounding country. There weren’t many villages, but we nearly always ended up with an audience which we tended to get used to.

 

On a clear day we would get a fantastic view of Mt Kenya, shown here with wheat fields in front.

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Here I am holding one of the ponies, Lonestar, with my brother riding and my sister making sure he doesn't fall off. Little Huffle Puffle the Jack Russell is at our feet having fun. In the background is the guest's bungalow where we stayed. The vegetable garden is behind the bungalow.

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Here we are setting up our afternoon tea picnic with a view of Mt Kenya in the background and Huffle Puffle having a grand old time in the grass. Sadly, Huffle Puffle was taken by a leopard.

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Fading light on our picnic. Nothing grand about our sundowners! :huh:

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The farm ran Boran cattle

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and marino sheep

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Fishing was a peaceful past time and hopefully would supply food for the dinner table.

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Another favorite stop either on the way up or coming home was to visit The Outspan at Nyeri for lunch. The lunch on Sunday was stupendous! I remember it as being curry day but not as we would see now as being authentic; this was a very colonial affair. Numerous curries, different styles of rice and all sorts of condiments. As children, one of our past times to pass the time of day was to watch some of the adults try to pile the food so high that we were sure that it would spill to the ground in an untidy mess. Such small pleasures I remember. When I returned to Kenya for the first time with my children, I made a point of returning to The Outspan much to the agent in Nairobi’s amazement. It hasn’t changed so much, just faded. No longer a glorious outpost of Colonial splendour.

 

On our way to lunch passing the Abedares.

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The Outspan, used as a way station for trips to The Ark, in the Abedares.

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Looking down the river and across the valley from The Outspan.

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Lord Baden Powell's grave - Chief Scout of the World

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twaffle

When I look back on my childhood in East Africa I could have sworn that we only had a couple of beach holidays, however, now that I am looking through these slides I find that we went many more times than I remember.

 

Here, once again we are travelling down the dangerous and boring Mombasa road. Yawn!

 

Kilimanjaro with lots of snow, seen from the Mombasa road.

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Stopping for a break on the drive down. I think the huge trunk may be from a baobab. It certainly dwarfs the car.

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The beach hut we stayed in belonged to a business associate of my father's.

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View from the hut towards the beach.

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The beach was sandy and not too inhabited with other tourists.

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A live cowrie in the shallows.

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Another view out to sea in the early dawn. You can just make out the sail of a dhow in the distance.

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Naturally, on our return to Nairobi we needed another quick trip to the ever reliable Nairobi National Park.

Zebras at a waterhole

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Cheetah with cubs. I think these photos were taken at 2 different times because one is very dry and one quite green, but I thought I would save time and stick them in together. We are probably all a bit tired of constantly heading off to NNP! But then again, it could just be my shocking scanning technique....

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Lionness on the road by the speed limit sign.

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Lion and lioness in the long grass.

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Next we head to Johannesburg and Durban.

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Jan

Twaffle, more photos that I can relate to. I've also stayed at the Outspan and visited B.P.'s grave. Thirtyfive

 

years ago. It brings it all back. What a pity that your children are not interested in African stories. It's a good

 

thing that S.T. has so many admirers of your fascinating childhood. Keep up the good work, I'm one of your

 

most enthusiastic fans.

 

 

Jan

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twaffle

Jan, I am enjoying sharing my memories with you and my other ST friends. I hope to be as fit as you are and able to travel as often as you do. You are an inspiration!

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Jan

We're friends across the world, Twaffle.

 

 

Jan

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