Mount Kenya dominates the skyline and view to the east of Nanyuki, the small market town, three hours north of Nairobi, where Fowl Murder is set. It is an extinct volcano which last erupted 2.6 million years ago. There are three distinct peaks, Batian, Nelion and Lelana, named after Maasai chieftains. The photograph shows the view of the prominent Batian peak from Nanyuki.
There are eleven small glaciers on the mountain but they are shrinking. Although snow does fall, the amount is reducing and no new ice is forming. The three peaks viewed after a snowstorm from Timau, a town fifty minutes north of Nanyuki, are spectacular and all the more dramatic when the clouds clear leaving an azure blue sky.
Acacia trees are an iconic Kenyan sight. They are fast growing and deep-rooted, allowing them to thrive in dry and drought conditions. Sixty-four species have been recorded in East Africa and one of my favourites is the tall yellow-barked acacia tree, also known as the fever tree—which also happens to be my preferred brand of tonic water! Fever trees indicate the presence of water as they grow on the banks of lakes and riverbeds or in areas with high water tables. In the driest areas of Kenya, other varieties of acacias may provide the only shade in a vast, sun-drenched landscape. They are also nesting sites for birds and insects: on the right of the acacia in the photograph are the brown hanging nests of the weaver bird.
We played a points game when travelling in Kenya to spot the most bizarre sight on the road. It was usually won by a boda boda (Kenyan form of motorbike taxi) carrying an unlikely or downright dangerous load. A boda boda carrying a couch was usually eight points and with a man sitting on the couch, ten, but what could we then give a man carrying a goat, sitting on a couch balanced precariously on a boda boda? We just gasped in amazement!
This photograph is of a typical roadside scene. Donkey carts are a common sight and unfortunately are often overloaded. Expect to see Rose getting involved in helping donkeys and educating their owners as the Kenya Kanga series progresses.
This scene also shows a tarmac road, although the covering is thin and often develops potholes. The road is entering a small village and three strips of tarmac have been added to slow traffic. They are intended as rumble strips but are much larger so vehicles often try to get around them, like the donkey cart, which is why stones are added across the margins of the road.
Shopping Kenyan style! This is Tony who built some tables, chairs and bookcases for me. They could certainly be described as rustic but were authentic and I was helping a very cheerful and enthusiastic new business owner.
Here are some stallholders from the local second-hand clothing market, known as mitumba, relaxing and reading a local newspaper. Kenyan people are amazingly friendly, although you need to approach them first and be polite and respectful. You can see mounds of clothes behind them. These are the unwanted garments of charity and thrift shops which are bundled up and shipped by the container load to be sold in Africa. Rose loves shopping for bargain clothes at mitumba.
Kenya is probably best known for its amazing wildlife. When driving from Gilgil, where I lived the last two years I was in Kenya, I saw zebra on land bordering the road to Nairobi, and baboons running the gauntlet across the busy carriageway, hoping to find scraps of food thrown from passing cars. On safari we found the big cats the hardest wildlife to spot so it was amazing to encounter these two lionesses and their cubs whilst on safari in the Maasai Mara.
Most visitors to the Maasai Mara hope to see a giant herd of wildebeest cross the Mara river. This group spent half a day gathering on the bank before retreating so we missed the spectacle.
And finally, a spectacular Kenya sunset. Thank you for hosting me and Fowl Murder.
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