Monday, August 7, 2017

Impala Sanctuary at Lake Victoria

Since LeRon and I are home for at least the next three days due to the elections here in Kenya, I'm working on posting pictures I took in the past few weeks. 

We've driven ourselves (i.e. have done our own safari) in several parks and reserves in Kenya:  Nairobi National Park, Nakuru National Park, Tsavo West National Park (as well as doing a game drive with all the senior missionaries), Hell's Gate National Park, Shimba Hills National Reserve (with Elder & Sister Jensen down in Mombasa) and we've been on game drives with a guide in the Masai Mara.  It's been an amazing experience.  Seeing that we were in Kisumu and there is an Impala Sanctuary there, we knew we couldn't miss it.

By the way, just so you know, our missionary work always comes first.  If we are going to be in an area for our mission responsibilities, then we take time to also see the parks if we can.  And we always share the gospel with those we meet.  First and foremost we are here to do the work of the Lord.  But senior missionaries can also enjoy the beauties of nature here.  My friend, Diane Clifton Hallstrom, wife of Elder Hallstrom of the Seventy, told me before I came here to be sure and do a safari or two.

In Kisumu, we met with the branch clerk and president so LeRon could do the audit.  Then, because the Impala Sanctuary is just on the outskirts of Kisumu and five minutes from our hotel, we spent a couple of hours there enjoying the scenery and the wildlife.  And because we have our Alien Cards and are thereby temporary residents, we get the resident rate which is good on the pocket book.

The Impala Sanctuary, which is on the north shore of Lake Victoria, is home to free ranging impalas and zebras as well as a hospital of sorts for animals that need help before they can be returned to the wild.  (For you Albertans, it's kind of like the Coaldale Birds of Prey Center).  It's the smallest reserve or sanctuary in Kenya.  I didn't take many pictures of the animals because many of them looked old and sick and I felt sorry for them.  I was hoping to hear the roar of a lion, but all we heard were lots of very loud grunts from the three lions that were there.  And the leopard sounded like the engine of a motorboat!  So interesting.


Upon entering the Impala Sanctuary, we weren't sure where to go.  Parks here are not big on signs.  So we ended up at the Impala Sanctuary EcoLodge and took a short walk around it.  Here's LeRon on the bridge heading to the lodge.


From the Lodge you can look out at Lake Victoria.  According to Wikipedia (which knows everything of course), Lake Victoria is Africa's largest lake, the world's largest tropical lake, and the world's second largest fresh water lake (after Lake Superior).  It is the head water of the Nile River.  It's an impressive lake, looking as vast as an ocean.

The workers encouraged us to stay here at the Eco Lodge but . . .

Here are the little cabanas that one can stay in.  We've stayed in eco lodges before -- one in Burma (now called Myanmar) that was amazing.  But I think I prefer the lovely Acacia Hotel that we're staying in here in Kisumu.

Love the rope banisters!

And love this rope and wood bridge.  Sadly it didn't swing as we walked across it.

These impalas were within a few feet of us.  I didn't even have to zoom in.  I guess a sanctuary is just that -- a place where you feel safe.

Some people call the impala the "Macdonald's" antelope because of the "M" on its rump.

We have deer at home in Alberta and they are lovely animals but we never get to see them up close like this.

Lots of school children were here on field trips.  In fact, there were 10 or more busloads of them.  Many of them waved at us and called us "mzungus" which means white foreigner.  We waved back and headed down to the lake, knowing that some of the students were following us.  We wondered if they would have the courage to talk to us.

Elder Torrie was excited to dip his fingers in Lake Victoria.

A beautiful view across the Lake.

These two young ladies followed us but did not dare to speak to us.  Finally their teacher asked if the girls could get a picture with white-skinned me.  Of course!!  They were so shy that they never said anything nor did they smile but they were thrilled to get a picture (or so their teacher said).

Now their teacher has joined the picture and one of the girls has finally managed a small smile.

It was about 6 p.m. in the evening and the sun would soon be setting.

Here I am at Lake Victoria.

And not that many feet into the water was a hippo!  Click to enlarge to see the big mouth.  Hippos are very dangerous creatures because they can run so fast on land.  But in the daytime they stay in the water.  By about 7 p.m. they will come out of the water to forage.  They travel for several miles to forage at night.

Was hard to get a photo of the hippos -- there were more than one.

These girls waved at us to say hello.  I asked if I could take a picture.  For the first time since we got here, one of the girls asked how much money we would give them for the picture.  That has never happened before.  Most people love to have their photos taken even though they know they will never see the photo.  I told them that we were missionaries serving here in Kenya from Canada and that we didn't have much money.  And the girls said that was okay. -- we didn't need to pay them for the picture!!  Whew!  I wondered how I was going to get out of that one!
After I took one picture, more girls arrived to be in the photo.

And then another girl showed up.  I know.  You will say that this is a boy, but no she is a girl.  Most young girls in the "upcountry" areas of Kenya leave their hair as short as boys.  It's probably easier to take care of and for sure cheaper.  African hair is very wiry.  If it ever looks soft, you know it is a wig or fibers woven into their hair.

I enjoyed visiting with the lady holding the baby.  She's one of the young girls' teachers.  They would be traveling to their homes by bus that night -- a three-hour bus ride on rough and narrow dirt roads.  But she said how happy the kids were to have come to the sanctuary.

As it was almost 6:30 p.m. and time for the sanctuary to close, we headed back to the gate we'd come in and found it padlocked and people gone.  Oh my.  What to do?  So back to the Eco Lodge we went and the girl there (whom I had talked to earlier) called a guard to go with us to another gate to let us out.  Whew!  I guess we could have stayed at the Eco Lodge.  On the way out, we saw zebras grazing by the lake.  You know how I love zebras!!!  Good-bye Impala Sanctuary.



1 comment:

  1. You and I apparently have different opinions about bridges. I definitely think that bridges should NEVER swing! So I would have been very happy about that bridge.

    ReplyDelete