The last days of my Kenya holiday… a very special gathering of half the family at Maanzoni. It is now my favourite part of the country.
Leaving the bustle and chaos of Nairobi city centre on a Friday afternoon, we head south and arrive at the turnoff, via the new by-pass, five minutes short of an hour later. We become different people as we unhook our seat belts and take the rockiest of roads.
My daughter personally greets “her” zebras and gazelles as they whisk their tails and watch us creep by. So peaceful and quiet. Everywhere green shoots are showing after the recent rains. No long grass, and no giraffe in view. That’s the trouble when it rains: the animals disperse, not so dependent on the dams and rivers.
Over a delicious home-cooked lasagne, we exchange news, consuming several glasses of cider and red wine. Feet resting on the veranda wall, we watch a herd of zebra pass through. Frogs are orchestrating loudly in the background. Hadada ibis raucously announce their presence. A single resident heron, a pair of yellow billed ducks, and several Egyptian geese enjoy the waters.
As soon as I remove my hearing aids before going to bed, the world goes silent. No need to light the odourous mosquito repellent, I realise – the insects don’t disturb my sleep one bit. I never hear a single whine, although there’s a bit of blood on my pillow in the morning. I must have inadvertently squashed one after it had bitten me, but I know they’re not malarial in this place.
Before breakfast, I wander round the half-full dam. Although it is cloudy, my face burns as a result of not wearing a hat. Everything is so green, short short grass, but the black cotton soil is spongey with all the rain.
We lay Roy to rest beside a bush, and wind down slowly.
You have been well rested for now eight months
Listening to the goings on and the goings out,
To the silence and the din.
We now think it’s time you spread yourself thin – take a look around, and settle down.
Although Maanzoni you did not know, you know it now I hope,
And fit right in.
May you rest well beside this bush, forever embraced by Kenya –
Your life for so long.
The animals will enjoy your space,
The rain will fall with fury and grace,
The dam will empty and fill again,
The wind will whisper and howl,
Let this now be your special place, having won a dam fine race.
Some decide to cool off in the dam, buoyed with an inflatable dragon, a crocodile and a floating bar.
We play darts and a card game, then enjoy an enormous speciality home-made pizza. I zizz a bit on the seat which hides the generator; the bed in my room is really too high for me to comfortably heave myself upon.
We pack up and as we drive the corrugated track toward the main Nairobi-Mombasa road, we spot the elusive giraffe browsing disdainfully near the gate.