My Memories Of Kenya
by Gabriele Muellenberg
(Los Realejos, Tenerife)
Kenya is the only country that still has much wildlife despite its exploding population of an estimated almost 35 million of African tribes by 2007. They, however, seem to invade wild country territory belonging to game like everywhere on the dark continent.
I've lived in South Africa for 25 years. I went to Matopos Park (then Rhodesia) in the Seventies, to Wanky National (Rhodesia) and to different places in Krueger Park where I liked Oliphants Camp in the north best.
The incentive for it was one of my elder brothers who had just sold (in 1974) Hillbrow travel a well known travel agency in Johannesburg which was known by all its foreigners. Needless to say that they all brought back stories of incredible animal encounters in Kenya's National Park. The most amazing was the one by an old elephant bull named Achmed who liked to sit on Volkswagen beatles. Dear old brother of mine was an expert on advising on Kenya travel. Ngorongoro lodge was one of people's favorite places to hang out with luxury surrounded by Africa's charm to see wildlife.
My brother simply wanted to do one more photo safari of game parks in Southern Africa in 1975 and invited me to join.
The experience was of course unforgettable for me. However, my brother forever told me that I should not expect the amount of wild animals seen in his Kenya films - in Southern Africa. Nothing beats the east African country with wild animals roaming freely was what he always said. Dear old brother of mine was an expert on advising on Kenya travel.
My brother was a great fan of super 8 filming at that time as digital wasn't common as yet.
He had several films of travels done to the planes of the Kilymanjaro and, in fact, all over Kenya. Each of them was more impressive than the other.
To see hordes of impala racing over endless seeming planes is breath taking. Never again have I glimpsed such grace and elegance.
Large groups of wildebeest inspire awe where the mighty elephants must of course not be forgotten. Hyenas mingling by a kill is the less pretty side of such movies.
Sound was not included in them in my brother's early days of filming. However, one could well imagine the roaring of a lion at sun set and the chatter of monkeys at sun rise. I remember having seen lions spread out on strong tree branches and I can still see the gathering of all animals by a water hole where giraffes look so strange when bending down while spreading their legs.
The sight of the beautiful Kilimanjaro near the Kenyan border is another topic. Often have I seen it from the top of a jumbo jet in the decades from the mid twentieth century until its end. The enormous mountain rising up from within a large plane filled with God's beast and dotted by scrubby bush and the occasional Acacia or Baobab trees is stunning every time. When the main peak is snow capped only sun rise can top its beauty which was usually the time when the big Lufthansa Jumbo went past it with me. One of those jumbos, by the way, crashed on take off at Nairobi airport in 1974 whose reported tragedy is still on my mind.