Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary
18.07.2009 24 °C
Sorry for the long wait but internet access is not really heard of in the middle of an elephant sanctuary and this is my first full day off since I left.
The travelling to our first base went smoothly (well the Kenyan roads weren't so but it made it more fun). For the first twelve days I was based at Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary in the Shimba Hills. It was absolutely breath taking, the campsite was on the top of a hill and we overlooked an area that is populated with around 200 elephants and is also a route used by them when they migrate so not a morning passed without seeing an elephant before breakfast.
The camp was not as basic as I first thought, we had two standard toilets which flushed most of the time and the showers worked enough to get rid of the layers of dirt we would all end up coated in by the end of the day but hairwashing was very restricted and I had to put up with washing it every 6 days. The food is great, chapattis are amazing I could live off them!! The staff are really supportive too so you always feel at ease.
My time there was split between game drives, making elephant dung paper, helping at the local school, digging, hoeing and planting.
I was really lucky on the game drives and at one point we were in the middle of a herd of approximately 50 bull elephants a couple of which were not too impressed by us and they pretended to charge but there was always a ranger on hand which was reassuring.
Visiting the school was such a humbling experience, the kids have nothing, most of them don't even have shoes on their feet but they are so happy and love to learn and always help when they see you struggling with a heavy wheelbarrow even if they are half my size. They are also amazing at sport and even though I tried my hardest my volleyball skills were definatelty not up to their standards!
The low point of my trip so far has to be the fact that I had an ant living deep in my ear but after a lot of struggling i finally managed to get it out and let it free so I really am turning into a bush baby :-)
Making the elephant dung paper was fun, the dung had already been sterilised so it wasn't as dirty as I first thought but it does have a certain smell which has taken over my backpack!!!
Hoeing and digging! Where do I start! We spent most of our day hoeing paths, vegetable patches, digging out trees and planting more and it is exhausting but was rewarding when you could see the patch that you had cleared.
Spare time was spent in the sun (the weather has been great it only rains for about half an hour a day) and in the evenings we would sit around the camp fire with friends chatting and relaxing.
Sorry its bitty but this all happened a week ago and I can't remember much more...hakuna matata!