home / Mailing List Update / 30 August 2005
30 August 2005

Debbie writes... We are in Kenya and having an absolutely wonderful time - been here for a month already and still have more exploring to do. On Thursday we leave the gorgeous house we have been staying at (Kuota) and bid farewell to the amazing staff - this will truly be a sad moment. Kuota has been incredibly special! Words and pictures cannot capture the magnificance and beauty of Kuota. There is an auro of warmth and happiness as you enter the front doors - and once inside you never want to leave. The staff have treated us like royalty and we have treasured every moment - they have been utterly wonderful. Martin and I feel totally privileged to have been invited by Brian (our good friend from the UK) to stay at Kuota ... his African dream.

Some of our friends visited us from the UK - which was particularly special! It was so wonderful to see everyone again and catch up with each others' news. Some had come over to climb Mt Kenya with us, and others to climb Mt Kili. The climb up Mt Kenya took us 4 days and was a gorgeous route (Sirimon/Chogoria). Unfortunately Day 2 was a long day and involved climbing from 3,300 to 4,200m which was a big jump in terms of acclimatising. This took its toll on us and as a result a few of us were rather ill. Thankfully, this did not stop us all from summiting Point Lenana at 4,950m - just as the sun was rising (6.30am). It was breathtaking!!

Mt Kili was a totally different kettle of fish! All was going smoothly until our summit bid - we started our final ascent at 11pm on Day 4. The wind was howling a gale-force and the temperatures were around minus 20/30. It was severe weather and as a result we were all freezing to the bone! Unfortunately I was very ill on the way up, but despite Martin's pleas, I was determined to keep going! Our guide was absolutely brilliant and supported us every step of the way. If it wasn't for him and his brilliant porters, many of us would not have made Uhuru Peak (5,895m) - I definitely would not have! When we got to the top (6.17am) the sun was just about to pop over the horizon - everything was a beautiful pink! We were all overcome with emotion - hugging and sobbing (in between gasping breaths). After an obligatory photograph (thankfully Simon took his camera out, the rest of us were too cold to even think of getting our cameras out), we frantically started our race down. Kili was conquered ... but it was a challenge!

Some of our UK friends were desperate to go on a safari (having never been before) ... so in Kenya one must visit the Masai Mara. Our timing was perfect as it slotted in with the Wildebeest migration - this is when the Wildebeest migrate from the Serengeti National Park (Tanzania) and move northwwards to the Masai Mara. We were rewarded with observing literally thousands and thousands of Wildebeest. Sleeping in our tents that night we heard nearby hyena cries - the next morning we discovered two evening kill close to our campsite. It was rather exciting to think that there were lions nearby that night. The other highlight of our Mara trip was observing 4 cheetah in the tall grass. I had never seen a cheetah in the wild, so to see 4 was quite remarkable.

And then it was time for all our friends to head back to the UK. After spending such a wonderful time together, it was very, very sad saying goodbye. The memories of Kenya, and in particular Kuota, will be treasured for many years to come. It is special here and we will definitely be coming back...

Well guys, our next chapter is about to begin - Ethiopia (tbc), Uganda and Rwanda - where we will be trekking with gorillas. Can't wait...



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