Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hell's Gate

Last weekend Grant, myself and the three other volunteers went on a weekend trip: to Lake Nivasha and Crater Lake on Sat (see previous blog) and Hell's Gate on Sunday. Hell's Gate is the only park in all of Kenya where you can go on an unguided biking safari tour. It is also the park that inspired the scenes from the movie Lion King!!

We woke up especially early on Sun, and rented mountain bikes from the camp we were staying at. 2 km into our bike ride in the park, Grant's tire broke...literally. The pin that holds the back tire to the bike broke. At this point, one of the volunteers had ridden ahead no where to be seen, and of course was the only one who had a cellphone with her. I gallantly volunteered myself to go ride ahead and find Heather to tell her about Grant's broken bike and to use the phone to call the camp for another bike.

5 min after leaving Grant and the two other volunteers I came across a lonesome African Waterbuffalo next to the path I was biking on. If I had not learned the day before that the Waterbuffalo was the 2nd most deadly animals to humans I wouldn't have thought much of seeing it. And I later found out that a buffalo on its own is more dangerous b/c they are more scared. My heart was racing and I realized how stupid I was to be biking alone in this large park with wild animals. Now that I was scared, my imagination began to go wild. After a minute or two and still not finding Heather and seeing big dark creatures up ahead, I decided it was in my best interest to turn around and get help from the group. However, this meant I had to ride by the buffalo again! This time as I got close to it, it began to walk towards me (about 20 feet from me now). I don't think I have ever biked as fast as I did at that moment. I do believe there were angels surrounding me--thank you God! I had been so scared that by the time I made it back to the group I was in tears.

But, in the end everything turned out well. I walked back with Grant to the entrance of the park to collect a new wheel for his bike and the other two volunteers biked hesitently ahead to find the other volunteer (which they did about an hour later). There were no more sitings of buffalo that day. We did see Baboons scaling the rocky cliffs, zebras, giraffes, elands, gazelles, warthogs, and impalas.

At the far end of the park there was a huge gorge that was used as the inspiration for the movie Lion King. We saw the place where the wildabeast stampeed killed Mufasa (single tear)-- Emma you would have loved it! We made it safely back to the campsite, but not without Grant's bike breaking down for the 2nd time, about 5 km from the campsite--this time the front wheel pin fell out! Grant only payed 1/2 price for his bike (after a heated discussion with the bike renter!!!)

We are now back safely at our home in Nyumbani. We only have 1.5 weeks left of teaching. I can't believe how quickly it has gone by. Today I went on a nature walk with my 2nd graders, picking leaves to then color, and Grant was teaching the 6th graders about the history and geography of Africa. It is hard work being a teacher!!

Thank you for everyones' comments on the blog. It is so nice to hear from you all. We love you and miss you.

Claire and Grant

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  1. Amazing pictures guys and the blog has made very interestign reading! I sent you an email also by the way.

    Hope the two of you are keeping well.

    Much love,

  2. Yikes, a too close encounter of the wild animal kind. Glad all's well that ends well. What amazing adventures you are having. BTW, if Waterbuffalo are the second most dangerous animals to humans, what's #1?


  3. I'm glad to see that everything is going so well! What you're doing is amazing.

    PS- I'm very interested in hearing the answer to Janice's question :)

  4. Probably the Mosquito, or maybe the Hippo! Claire, Grant, can you find out? :)