Thursday, August 2, 2012
After an ‘early night’ to get us ready for the next day, the group woke up at 6:30 am and proceeded to wait for two hours for our bus to arrive. While we waited, we warred with the monkeys, who are even more prevalent and annoying than the squirrels back home (bigger and more dexterous too!). Although we previously had a few run-ins with bold monkeys (we think they were Sykes monkeys), we were quite surprised to find they had made their way through the eaves into the boys cabin and had stolen all of the bread, plastic bag included.
After that little adventure, we all piled onto our bus and headed off to the Giraffe Center (giraffe is twiga in Swahili, we learned). Located 5km south of Rowallan Scout Camp, the Center is an environmental success. The Rothchilds giraffes, which had previously numbered about 150, have now been increased to over 500 due, in part, to the Center’s success. Back in London each person was asked what he or she wanted to experience. There were many comments regarding making a difference, but Caitlind summed it up in one word: giraffes.
She describes her love for giraffes as “like 17 five year olds at Christmas”. The center has a viewing platform where visitors are at eye-level with the giraffes. Treats, which resemble pellets, are available to feed them. Visitors can feed by hand or put a treat in their mouth to experience the giraffe’s 40-odd centimeter long tongue. It’s called a giraffe kiss. Knowing this, we blindfolded Caitlind and carefully lead her up to the platform. We removed the blindfold. She screamed… and laughed… and jumped up and down. When she kissed the giraffe we saw those 17 five year-olds.
After a quick lunch on the bus, we headed to downtown Nairobi. The National Museum of Kenya is located on the north side of the city center and is located on beautiful grounds. Although highly rated, the museum was an odd assembly of old and new exhibits. The information on African mammals and birds was superb, but the exhibits themselves were dusty and dark. There was an amazing collection of fossils of international significance but they were geared more for visitors with an interest in paleontology. There was a reptile/amphibian exhibit that was fairly interesting, but was overshadowed by the hordes of cute school children in matching uniforms running around (it was their last day of school!). After the museum we returned to Rowallan Scout Camp for dinner and to pack for our bus trip the next day.