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A Kenya-Safari that is different: Working like a gamekeepers

Do you miss being on the scent as a scout and photo-hunting squirrels and rabbits in the native forest has lost its attraction? A Ranger course in Kenya stimulates unknown instincts...

Umbrella acacia during sunset in Kenya
Picture by T. Micke

The attack came totally surprisingly! Not three meters in front of our open Jeep the elephant threateningly raises his massy head with great eyes. Like a haunch he swivels his proboscis, bounces intimidating with the ears, to appear even bigger and stronger, and then lowers the head with the clear intention, to drive against us with active force.

Luckily, he changes his mind after the first three steps. Good luck too, that the elephant was only two months old and with its "snorkel" just reaches the tail top of his mammoth mother, which unaffected pleasurably defoliates an umbrella acacia a couple of meters further.

Elephant mother with its hatchling in front of the snowcapped Kilimanjaro
Picture by T. Micke

"Just a meter tall, but already courage and instinct of a full-grown bull", explains us Chief-Ranger Ngonze smiling, who leads the new gamekeeper courses in the Kimani-Range of the African Safari Club in the south of Kenya: "Sonny just wanted to protect his mother, who in contrary to him knows exactly, that there is no danger going out from our car. Only imagine, the fellow would weigh seven tons, being two levels high like his father. Your hair would have fallen out with shock, during the same funny threatening gesture..."

Gamekeeper Ngonze explains, how lions attack a Gnu
Picture by T. Micke

The next day in the Zebra-Lodge at crack of dawn: Unexpectedly the alarm-clock comes to my rescue, as I just seem to be defeated in my fistfight with a 250 Kilo heavy lion. The lion is left behind in the Dream-Savannah and his disappointed roar is fast being drowned from the bird singing, which through the mosquito net sounds into the bungalow in concert volume. My roommate, A Gecko called Alfred, with whom I have arranged myself with, because he keeps the apartment free from annoying insects, is just going to sleep behind a corny Kilimanjaro-picture on the wall. Outside my gamekeeper-aspirant-colleagues make noises, cause in a couple of minutes we hit the road by foot to our first morning stalk in the bush.

Water buffalos belong to the most unpredictable and therefore dangerous animals  Africa’s
Picture by T. Micke

"The first bullet ", explains Ngonze, and inserts an impressive full metal jacket into his gun, is only for the warning shot. "The second" – he shows us another projectile – "is indeed, for slaying."

"And the third?", somebody from the group is asking, when Ngonze wordless reloads a round. "This one will be employed, when the second does not fit. Mainly the water buffalos are unpredictable."

How comforting. As we hastily trudge form the homey camp at the foot of the Kilimanjaro into the Savannah, we suddenly all awake at once. A bunch metropolis Indians, who for the first time in their life could become a part of the food chain...

Baby-Giraffe in the African bush
Picture by T. Micke

Four days takes the special course, for which the "African Safari Club" flies in interested guests with a small bush-plane from the coast to Kimani this year. It can be completed with some days beach vacation on the seaside of Mombasa.

Yet then one is no real gamekeeper after all, but has learned a lot about animals, plants, being on the scent, the role of the Rangers in the reservoirs up to the point of the astonishing sexual life of the Native Massai, which in other respects passes by the ordinary Safari-Tourist.

For people considering this too intensive or too theoretical, there is a possibility of booking an "ordinary" week-Safari (starting from 5 days) in the distinguished and very clean held lodges of the private-reservoir in the southwest of the Amboseli-National park.

Air-Taxi of the " African Safari Club " in the Kimana-Reservoir in Kenya
Picture by T. Micke

As a matter of fact reservoirs are not zoos, there is no guarantee, that one is able to see all big quadrupeds (during our journey the lions won the peek-a-boo). Still one has to admit there are less beautiful sights, than for example watching two semi-full-grown elephants tusk-fencing in the middle of a guzzling herd in front of the evening scenery of the Kilimanjaro.

A young Muran, a Massai-Warrior in Kenya/Kimana
Picture by T. Micke

Who decides to spend a beach vacation in the beach hotels around Mombasa, should admittedly face lowering one’s sights: The plenty of souvenir-sellers on the beaches are so importunate, that it is impossible, to approach the sea, without being pressed upon with wood-giraffes, Massai-headdress or city-tours. And unfortunately the intrinsically awesome beach and the shore close water were entirely covered with algae and seaweed, at least during our vacation in November. Yet excellent food and an exquisite guest service compensate what is lost after all.

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© A report by Tobias Micke (19-12-04) – Contact