Today’s photo from our safari in Kenya features our beloved “Home, Sweet Home.”
It is hard to describe our sleeping / lodging conditions well. On one hand, it was REALLY NICE! On the other hand, it was not so nice as it looks in the photo…
I’ll try to explain.
We stayed at a resort within the Masai Mara National Reserve. There was literally no separation between us and the wild animals. I’m sure we were safe, but if you look closer at the photo, you will notice that we are basically sleeping in a tent!
The sides of this structure are literally canvas. There is a front wall of glass, but it is not really connected to anything beyond the wooden frame that is keeping it in place. There is a roof erected over the tent, but once again, it would be like setting up a tent in your backyard and then constructing a free-floating roof to simply cover it.
I’m sure the roof would protect us from objects randomly falling out of the sky, and I’m sure it makes the half-dozen rainy nights in the Masai Mara more pleasant to sleep through, but I am less worried about random objects falling from the sky and the threat of rain. I am more concerned about the claws of a lion or a stampeding wildebeest or elephant…
But aside from my morbid imagination running wild, I’m sure it was perfectly safe.
There was a solid structure built on to the back of the tent that served as a bathroom area with a western toilet, a double-sink vanity, and a shower. Ironically, these facilities were actually the nicest facilities we used while in Kenya. While we were at the resort I took a longer-than-necessary warm shower and enjoyed every single moment.
To get to our tent, we had to illicit the help of a Masai warrior. Because of the potential danger of nearby animals, we were not allowed to walk from the lodge to our tent without a Masai warrior walking with us, protecting us. This was the lodge policy—not our own imaginations running wild.
When we got back from our first game drive, the sun was completely down and we had to wait for a Masai warrior to escort us to our tent. When we arrived at our tent, we realized that we had made a massive mistake! We left our lantern on while we were gone!
This may not sound like a massive mistake to you, dear reader, but it was!
The light from the lantern had drawn the attention of every bug and pest within a two mile radius! When we opened the glass doors and entered our tent, we realized that we were living through the Bugmageddon!
There were literally THOUSANDS of bugs in our tent. It was insane.
They were all over our bed, all over our floor, all over our ceiling, all over our stuff, all over our everything!
There was a pair of shower flip-flops sitting next to the shower, so I grabbed one for me and one for Jodi and we instantly became exterminators. We violently swung the flip-flops through the air, destroying any and every bug we could find, desperately trying to reclaim our lost sleeping territory. We swung flip-flops until my arm was tired.
Thankfully, we were able to clear our bed pretty well, then we immediately dropped the mosquito nets to try to keep the rest of the bugs (who had somehow escaped our fury) from getting in.
We dropped down into the bed and said, “Okay, from now on, let’s just let the bugs do their thing… unless they are bigger than a quarter, let’s just let them live.”
We had just finished declaring our newly formed bug policy when we heard what seemed like a pterodactyl flapping its wings above our heads, just above our bed. It flew into the vanity sink and was making a terrible ruckus.
I had no choice. I had to kill it. That thing was definitely larger than a quarter. It sounded like it was the size of a quarter-pounder!
I slipped out of the bed, flip-flop in hand, and made my way to the sink to take care of business.
I got it. It was a big one, but I got it.
I turned around to announce my victorious strike to my bride, who was elated to find out that the beast was no more. But when I turned back to look at the massive beetle I had just killed, I noticed that it was slowly crawling away.
How is this possible?! How is that thing moving?!
I didn’t have my contacts in, so I had to stick my face up closer to get a better look.
The beetle was definitely NOT moving—or, at least it was not moving on its own. It was big dead.
It turned out that the beetle was being carried away by an army of ants. My kill was apparently their lunch, and I’m thinking they were planning to feast for days…
It’s the circle of life…
Whatever. Not my problem. With the threat of a pterodactyl attack no longer looming, I made my way back to the bed and slept like a baby.
We woke up early the next morning, ready for another game drive before heading back to Thika. The sun was not yet up, but we were packed and ready for the day. We flashed our light like we were told to, which was supposed to summon a Masai warrior, but no one came. We flashed again, and still no one came.
“Let’s just go for it.” I said.
Jodi was not overly confident that we should just go for it, but I was tired of waiting… so we carefully and cautiously just went for it.
I could see the lantern of a Masai warrior not too far away, so I just started walking towards that. I had a light of my own, so I could see what was going on… kind of.
We made our way safely to where the Masai warrior was, and we followed him back to the lodge. We walked over a massive pile of dung (probably elephant) to get there, and we saw half a dozen zebra just off the path as we walked.
What an adventure. I would do it again in a heartbeat… but if I do get a chance to do it again, I’ll remember to turn the lantern off before the sun goes down.