As the grey skies and thunderous clouds drive wildlife and tourists into hiding, at the STE camp, our daily activities continue as usual. Daudi and Chris are hopping into the nearest car to embark on yet another task, while Lembara, the old and precious camp assistant is helping Steven our talented cook around the kitchen. A few of the other camp staff enjoy the shade from one of their huts chatting loudly after a long day of hard work. Life at camp remains as fluid as the flowing waters of the Ewaso Nyiro River on whose banks it is situated.
A few days ago, the scorched baked earth drank the first of the rains.I watched as the land transformed right before my eyes. The browns and yellows, characteristic of the arid thorn bush landscape I had come to know and love, crept away and were replaced by a range of leafy greens. All of a sudden, the place was a burst of color!! A radiance of purples and pinks, white and yellow flowers came out to flaunt. Out of the bare ground, sprouted the greenest grass I had ever laid my eyes on. It gets greener and greener by the minute!! Even the leafless scrub that I had previously lost hope for, was alive with flowers!! I honestly could not believe all that was hiding beneath, waiting for the right moment to display its grandeur.
With the rains and the winds, the wild comes alive. Out emerge various cold-blooded reptiles; snakes, tortoise and savannah monitor lizards. The scorpions too seem to enjoy the new conditions, along with a variety of termites and other flying bugs.
The waterbucks, impalas, gazelles, and other herbivores are no longer restricted to the lush patches found along the riverbanks; they are now able to venture into other regions of the reserve, without the worry of not finding good browse, graze, and water. The resident elephant families too, take this chance to head out further into the hills. They are a no-show under the umbrella shades of the acacia trees. Their absence is a sad reality for us and other elephant enthusiasts who enjoy their presence in the park. Sadly, even our usual dinner guests, the genet cats Janet and Genie, do not come by as much.
Samburu baby boom
In the world of animal behavior, it is well known that the calving season for many animals is usually in tune with the coming of the rain. This is quite understandable as it is a time of abundance. With enough food and water, mothers are able to raise their young with ease, show them the world, nurture, and prepare them for the hardships they may have to face in future.
We have spotted some elephant families with as many as six new calves, a mama lioness with three cubs, and many kids among the impala herds. Just today, one of the camp staff rescued a baby dikdik from the sinister claws of an eagle by throwing stones to scare away the eagle after hearing the baby’s cries in the vicinity. Crazy huh?! Though badly bruised with superficial wounds we were able to reunite it with its mama. Given a fighting chance, it lives to see another day.
Nature at its best
Dusk is setting in, with the last of the birds chirping their magnificent songs to escort the sun as it goes to sleep. Amid all this, I remain snuggled up in the warmth of my tent, listening as the raindrops hit the thatched roof above my refuge. Thoughts of the amazing times spent at the Samburu Game Reserve trailing through my mind.
It is as clear as the blue sky that the splendor of the wild and its unfathomable intrinsic goodness is one thing that mankind and all its modernity have taken for granted. I am indeed very fortunate to have gotten to spend time living in tune with nature, one with the cycles that are a result of the clashing of the elements, earth, water, wind (air), and fire.