Jump to content

The Kuku That Didn’t Kill Us (culinary adventures in Ithumba & other tales)


Patty
 Share

Recommended Posts

East meets West

The genet came to say goodbye and we left fairly early for the drive to Tsavo West. We were told a river crossing wasn’t possible so returned to Kibwezi over mostly the same road except for a “shortcut” to Ikutha. According to all of the villagers we passed, this road was nzuri sana. We didn’t think it quite as nzuri as they did and I’m not sure it saved us much time. The road came out by the Air View Lodge in Ikutha complete with a plane painted on the side. Was it under the flight path of aircraft going to and from Ithumba airstrip?

 

From Kibwezi it took about an hour to Mtito Andei gate where we entered Tsavo West. Immediately we noticed the change in landscape and greater abundance of game. We detoured around Ngulia Valley looking for dogs but finding a leopard instead. Zebra, lesser kudu, ostrich, fringe eared oryx, giraffe waterbuck, a monitor lizard and many vultures on a zebra carcass were some of the other game encountered. We arrived at Finch Hattons in the early afternoon and got our favorite tent #7. They initially tried to put us in a refurbished tent but we wanted to be by the hippos.

 

A very cheeky vervet monkey grabbed my bread roll with lightening fast speed at lunch. The second time he tried I was ready to chase him away. Leely and I went on an afternoon game drive while Mark stayed back at camp. We came across some baboon, black backed jackal, banded mongoose, southern ground hornbill and a few but not too many tsetses. The next morning we say goodbye to Leely as she’s off the to Mara. She wanted to know how she was going to get to the airstrip and we told her it was not too far of a walk and to remember to run up and down the airstrip to clear the zebra off ;) No, we took her and waited with her of course. The plane arrived at 8:30am but 2 passengers from Kilaguni were missing. The pilot declared he was going to wait a few more minutes and shortly after a truck came roaring in with a cloud of dust and the driver gave a big thumbs up when he pulled to a stop.

 

Our remaining time at Finch Hattons was spent going on a few game drives, walking around camp and some more lazy game viewing from our verandah. It’s hard to tear ourselves away from the springs as there always seems to be something interesting going on. Late afternoons and early mornings were special as the birds came in to roost or were departing for the day. The kiboko alarm goes off here at 4:30am, sometimes they let you sleep til 5:00am so we never missed the morning fly out. The birding was also excellent during the day in camp.

 

One day it was suggested that we should take a walk with David one of the housekeepers as he was an avid birder to the hinterlands of the camp where they had torn down some of the original tents and there was a clearing with some wetlands beyond. It was a paradisiacal scene and I was able to get some nice (for me) jacana shots. This wasn’t an organized activity or anything we paid for. At the end of our stay we thanked David by leaving him my copy of the Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania.

 

On one morning game drive, we spotted a pride of 10 lions. They were still some distance from the road when we saw them. We stopped the car and they slowly walked our way crossing the road in front of us. It took them a while to across. Half of them sat down next to the road, rolled around and the cubs growled at us a bit before deciding to finish crossing. We had this to ourselves until they were on the other side before 2 other vehicles arrived. We decided this was way too crowded for us :P and left them to their viewing.

 

On our last morning at camp, we were awoken by the hippos again, had coffee with the herons and hammerkops and spotted 2 bushbuck and some Skyes monkeys. We said goodbye to everyone, headed out at 9:00am and exited Mtito gate 2 hours later. I used the restroom here. They were clean! They had paper! The toilets flushed! And they had soap! We headed toward Kibwezi and turned south at the Chyulu Hills NP sign as I had wanted to stop at the Sheldrick Umani Springs camp under construction. This was about a 40 minute detour one way off the highway, 10 minutes of nzuri sana, 30 minutes of African massage. They were surprised to see us but gave us a little tour. The main building and sleeping cottages overlook the swamps where we were told eles and buffalo visit.

 

We stopped at Hunter’s Lodge for lunch and dined outdoors by the springs. The setting is nice, too bad about the state of the lodge. We saw marabou stork, black headed and purple herons, hadada ibis and vervet monkeys. There was a dead fish on the floor inside the lodge. Not sure when they were planning to serve that. We had some thoroughly cooked but very tough beef instead. Sometime during the drive Mark mentioned he needed a “bush break” (that was the exact term he used). Instead of driving the couple of km or so to the next gas station, Ben immediately pulls over to the side of the Mombasa Hwy. Julius would never do that. It was all I could do to keep myself from falling over laughing. Ben took him quite literally :D

 

We had planned on taking our time and arrived at the airport at 6:00pm for our evening flight. We said goodbye to Ben, contemplated our return but have yet to get back.

Edited by Patty
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well Patty, Taking two years to file a report must be some kind of record. I trust the interval was well spent and nothing serious to affect your typing fingers??

Enjoyed it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well Patty, Taking two years to file a report must be some kind of record. I trust the interval was well spent and nothing serious to affect your typing fingers??

Enjoyed it.

 

Don't exaggerate, it's only been 21 months :D Thanks, I enjoyed reliving it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A thoroughly good read!!!

 

Maybe trip reports are like a superior Malt Whisky -they just get better with age!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A thoroughly good read!!!

 

Maybe trip reports are like a superior Malt Whisky -they just get better with age!

 

Thanks, Rainbirder!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Just FYI, I've recently learned that the couple who owned Eastern & Southern Safaris have separated. The wife, Serah, who was always the driving force behind the company has since joined another safari company. She can be reached at serah@trevarontours.com and is hoping to bring many of the guides formerly with ESS on board.

Edited by Patty
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
Atravelynn

Thanks for completing the Malt Whisky, I mean the report.

 

I finally learned the meaning of the title. If there had been any lingering ill effects, you'd know within 2 years.

 

Hippos over Refurbishment! My motto as well.

 

A dead fish on the floor of a lodge would even give me pause. Hmm.

 

Birding with the housekeeper, excellent pass time.

 

Too bad for E&S.

 

Mahalo Patty!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...

~ Your Subsequent Trip Report & Shutterfly Photos — Wow, @@Patty!

 

I'd heard of Finch Hatton's but never seen it. Thank you for making it come alive, as well as the rest of Tsavo West.

Reading your narrative stokes my ambition to return.

Another first is Shutterfly — never heard of it until today. Easy to use late at night in Beijing.

Pardon the repetitiousness, @@Patty, but I really like and appreciate this other report.

To think that I'd have missed this had you not kindly posted those Tsavo images earlier today.

If you don't mind, I'd like to post a few of your Shutterfly images with comments, as I like them so much!

Tom K.

post-49296-0-96251500-1427821447_thumb.jpg

Well, well, well. Who do we have here? An Ngulia Hills leopard, no less. That's very cool!

post-49296-0-21854000-1427821579_thumb.jpg

What a fine Fringe-eared Oryx portrait! Hat off for that, @@Patty. I saw one at a distance, but nothing like your clear image. I recognize the wildflowers.

post-49296-0-29429900-1427821759_thumb.jpg

The insects in the Nymphaea sp. flower would attract several of my students. They're as interested in seeing East African invertebrates as they are in viewing large game animals.

post-49296-0-77558700-1427821923_thumb.jpg

Beautiful! Like the dragonfly at the upper left. The water, the plants, the terrapin — it's another side of a safari which is so appealing. Nice image, @@Patty!

post-49296-0-35600000-1427822103_thumb.jpg

Don't know where that was served, but count me in if it's ever again on any menu. Where I stayed was more than satisfactory, but I sure could've used a bite or two of that after a long, dusty game drive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I enjoyed your photo comments, Tom, and that dessert was at Finch Hattons. Unfortunately since my last visit, they've completely rebuilt the camp much more lavishly than it was before with a corresponding doubling of their rates. Not that it was a simple bush camp to begin with but what we enjoyed most was their incomparable setting (OK we liked the food too) not the ability to get spa treatments.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Girlsnstilettos

@@Patty, I've enjoyed reading your TR! I'm especially interested in what you have to say about Ithumba since we will be staying there for 2 nights. We're taking a charter and will be there 10am on the first day, spend the night, another full day and night, then leaving late morning on a charter flight to Amboseli. I probably won't want to leave, but there are a few areas I wanted to visit in Kenya. We are having a guide meet us there with the food we are having him bring. So use the freezer to store the meat! Your description of the not-so-fresh meat was hilarious :D After the morning feeding and 11:00 mud bath, we are going to drive around with the guide until it's time for the evening feeding. We want to check out Tsavo East while we have the chance. I'm excited to read someone has been to Ithumba and loved it! Thanks for the info, it's been very helpful

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, Girlsnstilettos! I hope you have a great time. I so miss Ithumba.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just FYI, I've recently learned that the couple who owned Eastern & Southern Safaris have separated. The wife, Serah, who was always the driving force behind the company has since joined another safari company. She can be reached at serah@trevarontours.com and is hoping to bring many of the guides formerly with ESS on board.

 

I should update this while I'm here too since Serah has formed a new company called Africa Safari Discovery http://www.africasafaridiscovery.com/ and Julius is working with her there. Not the best timing and I hope everything works out for them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 6 months later...

@@Patty

 

Thanks for the updates on Eastern & Southern. I used them in 2011 and had Ben as our driver based on you're reports on the other site. Really want to see Ithumba next year but having no luck in getting anyone interested in Africa.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@@dlo

Last I heard Ben was working with Lion Trails Safaris. Not sure if he still is. Bernard who runs Lion Trails also used to work for Eastern & Southern. Hope you make it to Ithumba!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just found this thread. Lots of lovely photos and some funny ones with the elephants (It looks like there was a lot of camaraderie around the dinner table, too!).

Really excellent birding shots, as well!

Glad this was bumped. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks @@Marks! Gotta watch out for those camera stealing eles!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy