Yes, Vervet monkeys stole our food, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
After bidding goodbye to our hosts, the Prettejohns, we drove down a “carkiller” road back to Nanyuki and stopped at the Nakumat. The Nakumat started as a mattress store and piece by piece has become a grocery store chain. What?
Anyway, after gathering supplies for Meru National Park camping, our fearless leader, Nigel Carnelley, gathered us again and off we went with a bag of fresh samosas and sesame treats. Great traveling snacks.
About five hours driving and we began to see tea fields stacked along the hillsides and a crop of trees I have heard of but never seen, Quat or khat. This leaf is harvested and sent to the Middle East as a stimulant to chew. It is very popular with the truck drivers for long hauls and Nigel said when you see a group of men sitting under a tree in the shade in this countryside, they are usually selling and chewing khat. Maybe a little like the cocoa leaves I saw sold on the street in Cuzco, Peru. It is a huge business.
Passing tall acacia trees full of Society Weaver bird nests and large termite mounds, we arrived at our bandas and set up camp. A light, spitting rain, cooled us off as we prepared a sundowner and our supper. Mosquito nets unfurled and it was lala salaama, goodnight.
The next morning, a quest for eggs from the locals began but no luck. The canteen where the KWS ( Kenya Wildlife Service) Rangers buy their supplies was closed. Maybe because it was Sunday. I have gone the entire trip with really no clue as to what day it is and don’t care to know. What good is that going to do me? Basic needs are all I’m concerned about at this point. Water, food and shelter. It is purely by the grace of God that the cars are still in working order. Everything we do seems to be a car’s worst enemy.
After a brunch of “raffles”, a couple of pieces of bread with tasty fillings and cheese stuffed in the middle then put over the fire, we packed a lunch and began our day’s exploration. Heading in the direction of the Tana River, we stopped in the shade for a “shandy” This tasty mixture of ginger beer and a Tuscar lager hits the spot on the Equator. It’s hot here! Crocs lay in the sun on sandbars in the middle of the river. A peaceful scene. Following a Tom Tom set for Africa, we followed a dirt track that ran along the river. It wasn’t long before we realized…oops. We are lost.
We continued what seemed to be a logical trail, cutting small trees in half that had fallen across the road. I picked up a few large land snail shells that had been cleaned out of their occupants by a mongoose. Apparently, one of their favorite foods.
It’s starting to get dark and then finally, there it is. An actual road.
We found our campsite, all hollering and patting each other on the back for the great adventure, however, upon inspection, realized Vervet monkeys had broken into our food store while we were gone and had quite a dinner of Cane Gin and assorted other delicacies. We hoped they had quite a hangover in the morning.