Kenya: Jul-Aug 2000

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Note on picture quality - Digital cameras were just coming into an affordable price bracket. We shared a Sony that could store around 30 pics on a 1.44Mb floppy disk. The quality was not brilliant. All other pics were scanned from 35mm prints on a cheap (although expensive at the time) scanner .
During the Summer break of 2000 Me and Karen went to Kenya.
One of the places we visited was an island off the northern coast called Lamu. A very laid back Island that was one of the main points on the hippy trail. We planned to go for a few days and ended up spending a week there - it is very difficult to leave the peace.
Hassan was our "Bob Marley fan" boat captain. Hakuna Matata (no worries!) was his favourite saying. As a Disney non-fan I didn't realise that this saying was being adopted by "Lion King" Disney fans. On return to UK I was peed off to find that what I thought were cool African T-Shirts were giving people the impression that I was just another Disney geek. I stopped wearing them.
We joined an africa overland expedition for its 2 week Kenya leg. The main goal for this leg was to find the mountain gorillas. Mad Kiwi Dougie was the driver and expedition leader. He ran the trip like a military exercise and drove the truck like it was a tank. Dougie did some of the cooking but we had to take it in turns to do all the prep and cleaning up afterwards.
We passed through some amazing places with all of the expected African wildlife - except the all elusive leopard.
We camped out overnight for almost all of the trip. Luckily, Dougie liked his beer as much as we did. We had no luck finding the gorillas and followed them across into Uganda. Still no luck. But then we got word through the bush telegraph that the gorillas were in Rwanda. It had not been that long since the killings in Rwanda so we had a meeting to decide whether we would risk going in. Mad Kiwi Doug was of course keen to go and we had come a long way to go back disappointed. So we went into Rwanda. First stop in Rwanda was a bar (of course).
The gorillas were on a mountain in th Mgahinga National Park. Gorilla poaching was rife so we had armed guards with us. Poachers are severely dealt with and think nothing of shooting anyone to protect their identity.
The guards were a freindly bunch who genuinely cared about the gorillas. We set off up the mountain. It was hard work. As we got higher it got harder to breathe giving unpleasant shortage of breath panic attacks.
Then a sign -
Gorilla poo !

Our guide was now making all kinds of grunting noises - to calm the gorillas and let them know we come in peace, he said.
I though the bloke was a nutter, but sure enough, we soon got our first glimpse. The kids were the first out to play - of course!
Beating their chests and showing off in true human fashion. But mum wasn't far away and was very protective of her children.
And as for Dad...
He was wandering around making sure that everyone was happy. I'd hate to have been there if he wasn't happy.
Carrying a few hundred pounds of solid muscle around gives you an appetite.

And of course, Dad likes to stetch out and chill after a hard morning eating and guarding. ...
It is hard to think of this happy family other than in human terms,
It is hard to think of those that kill them for profit other than as inhuman.
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