Thursday, May 19, 2011


I have, on occassion, entered one or two writing competitions (generally the type that gets you a free trip) and while I know that my writing is not prize-winning, I continue to hope that the judge will have really bad flu, be completely fuzzy and oblivious and just choose mine so that he/she can just go to bed already. But it occurred to me that the article I wrote for the last one predated the existence of this blog, so I am now adding it to the repertoire. For a brief time before I headed into Sudan I lived in Kenya, and did a little travelling there as well. What a gorgeous place....

Amboseli Game Reserve

Having never stayed in a Kenyan National Park before, and the sum of my experiences to that point having been South African National Parks, it hadn’t crossed my mind for a second that finding food and drink would be a problem. Until we arrived at our ‘rest camp’, and discovered how loosely they use the term ‘camp’: Waist high fences are your ‘protection’ from the animals, and long drops and cold showers are the extent of your “convenient and adequate ablutions”. CafĂ© or food stalls? Sorry, what?

Luckily our driver, Mariepe, was a Maasai man who lacked the ‘safe’ gene, and, ignoring all signs saying “animals will rip you limb from limb after dark if you leave the camp”, with us in tow he headed out into the bush with his panga and found us the local Masaai tribe. To their obvious hilarity and many repetitions of ‘crazy misungu’ (white person), they finally led us to a goat carcass hanging from a tree, chopped us off a couple of hind legs and added some ‘ugali’ (local version of maize meal) to the package. I am sure the price we paid funded the purchase of at least one herd of goats.

With our rather dubious meal packaged in two-year-old newspaper we headed back rather quickly to the relative safety of our camp and fire. Mariepe volunteered to prepare the ugali, and proceeded to cook it into a state not unlike play-dough. By this point I had diced and braai’d the goat, so Mariepe gave us a brief lesson on how to eat. One must pick up a piece of ugali, flatten it in ones right hand (the left hand should not to be used for eating) and use this as a spoon to scoop up a piece of meat, some meat drippings and some salt, and eat it as a whole parcel. Wish some shyness, and much giggling, my travel partner and I complied with instructions and found ourselves eating a very respectable meal.

There are few things quite as beautiful as watching the sun set behind Mount Kilimanjaro, eating something local and surprisingly delicious, and listening to hyenas call to you from the other side of a one meter fence you pray they can’t get over. ..

Mariepe, our driver, at the Magadi Hot Springs, en route to Amboselli

1 comment:

thecaptainnemo said...

Mmmm, Nsima and roast goat, makes me home sick for Malawi. Sounds like a great trip.