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Picnic in the Bush

Tanya waiting for me to help push the jeep off the termite hill! Masai Mara, Kenya safariIt was a relief to climb out of the jeep and stretch our legs. The terrain was conducive to a bush picnic: open, flat and safe from ambush by predators.

Kantim reversed his state-of-the-art jeep up a termite hill and switched off the engine. With its rear wheels now elevated, gravity would provide the necessary force to kick-start it when the handbrake was released!

Hungry and eager for respite from the scorching, midday sun, we headed towards the shade of the thicket and sat on a fallen branch to eat our picnic lunch. Kantim warned us to check for snakes in the crevices of the wood. I promptly slid onto the grass and opened my lunch box.

Perhaps the scrumptious spreads served thrice-daily back at the lodge had spoiled us. I prodded and scrutinised the two, dried-up pieces of unbuttered bread, a boiled egg, a sweaty chicken drumstick, a pungent banana and a green orange. All lay with unpalatable limpness in the cardboard box. I pondered how long the chicken had been unrefrigerated and handed it to Peter, the big Aussie, who warmly received it. Were the others entertaining thoughts of starving children to help them through their meal too?

Relaxing after the picnic, Masai Mara, Kenya safariMy eyes feasted on the heat-hazed panorama while the tip of my tongue levered a lodged lump of banana sandwich from the roof of my mouth. It would have been an odd scene to any passing Maasai tending his cows; us sitting there - a marriage of Kipling and Blyton - eating our picnic in the bush surrounded by gazelle, zebra and wildebeest. They swished their tails and grazed in the long African grass, occasionally looking in our direction and licking their nostrils.

It was time to find the rhinos. With a less than satiated appetite, I gathered my rubbish, brushed dried animal droppings off my backside and headed towards the jeep.

Masai driver Kantim: his ear-lobe wobbled when he went over a bump. Masai Mara, Kenya safariTanya and I stood side-by-side and placed both hands on the rear of the jeep. On the count of three, we pushed with all our might. Nothing happened. Kantim thoughtfully released the handbrake and we tried again. This time the vehicle jolted and with a cough, a splutter and a mouthful of carbon monoxide we were spared a night in the wilderness.

A beaming Kantim slowed down enough for us to catch up and we set off to find the rhinos. It amused me to watch his stretched ear-lobe, swinging to the rhythm of the jeep, like one of those pointless, distracting toys that drivers have dangling from their rear-view mirrors. Meet the fourth of Africa's 'big five'...

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Have you been to Kenya? Is there a wildlife park or lodge that you would recommend? Write a review here about your 'big five' safari holiday and tell others about your experience - good or bad. Perhaps you know of an excellent budget campsite - or a luxury lodge that should be avoided! Otherwise, feel free to post a question. Let's share our Kenya safari wildlife experiences...

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