Experience the difference

Wanderlust Magazine

 

Number Crunching in Kenya

Over 40 lions, five leopards, five cheetahs, 23 hyenas, 18 jackals, five bat-eared foxes and 60-plus mongooses – not bad for 12 days on safari

We’ve just returned from Kenya where numbers dominated the thoughts of our nine-year-old son, Joe. In fact, Joe himself discovered that he was worth two cattle or 10 goats, although we never got round to sealing the deal with our Maasai guide.

 

20th August 2010

Over 40 lions, five leopards, five cheetahs, 23 hyenas, 18 jackals, five bat-eared foxes and 60-plus mongooses – not bad for 12 days on safari

We’ve just returned from Kenya where numbers dominated the thoughts of our nine-year-old son, Joe. In fact, Joe himself discovered that he was worth two cattle or 10 goats, although we never got round to sealing the deal with our Maasai guide.

Joe also kept a tally of the number of photographs he and his sister, Ellie, took (1989), the number of meal courses we ate in three weeks (215) and the number of hours (eight) that we staked out a river crossing on the Mara River waiting in vain for the wildebeest and zebra to plunge across. He tried counting the vultures (hundreds) massed on the riverbank, too gorged on drowned wildebeest to fly, and admitted defeat with Lake Nakuru’s flamingos and the endless procession of elephants trundling to and from the waterhole at Tsavo East’s Satao Camp.

Statistically, Kenya is truly mind-blowing to a child. It’s a place of big game and big numbers, particularly when you visit, as we did, during the height of the Great Migration when hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebra stream into the Masai Mara – under the watchful glare of its famous big cats.

 

While Joe was happily counting predators, his parents were noting some other equally interesting figures. Following the violent political unrest in 2007 (when visitor numbers in Kenya crashed by almost 80 per cent), tourism is bouncing back. A recent referendum on constitutional reform (backed by 67% of voters) can only serve to boost the country’s positive image.

If there’s one number that seems to dominate many safaris, it’s the number five, as in ‘Big Five’. We saw them all – elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo and leopard – but Joe and Ellie didn’t become too obsessed with ticking off the cast of The Lion King. A good family safari has as much to do with small wonders, and our guides had a knack for focussing our twins’ gaze at the detail around their feet.

They used long grass stems to ‘fish’ in burrows for baboon spiders (they’re large, hairy and, according to Joe, have eight eyes). They watched safari ants raiding a termite nest and discovered how whistling thorn acacias deter browsing giraffes by unleashing their very own ant armies.

Then there were the obligatory lessons in animal droppings – from chocolate-coated-raisin-size dik-dik dung to loaf-sized elephant offerings. The latter is particularly good for an impromptu game of bush football – which reminds me of yet another statistic from our trip: Joe won 3-0.

 

Ngerende Special Offers

Stay a minimum of 5 nights; 2nights at Ngerende in the Wild and 3 nights at Ngerende Island Lodge and GET A FREE BALLOON SAFARI
Book the wedding package, for a minimum of 5 nights and the COUPLES WILL GET A FREE BALLOON SAFARI
Book two nights at Ngerende Island Lodge and automatically get a third night free! A SAVING OF 33%
Guests on honeymoon at Ngerende Island Lodge will get a 20% discount, chilled bottle of wine on arrival

    • ngerende-in-wild-03.jpg

      ngerende in the wild

      A luxury camp offering either a river or lake/savannah views of only 4 suites. Combine luxury with a real bush experience out in the wild......more

      ENQUIRE NOW!
    • pay for 2 & get a 3rd night free

      Easter is just around the corner, experience a touch of authentic Africa and fantastic game viewing on our flying packages at our 3 lodges in the Masai Mara. Pay for 2 nights get a 3rd night absolutely free. ENQUIRE NOW!

    • press coverage

      The lodge continues to be featured on both international and local press media. Read more on articles featured on the press about Ngerende Island Lodge...more

    • join our mailing list

      Fact Sheet