We moved to Malawi when I was about 6 and lived in Blantyre for 3 years, my dad was in charge of running 3 small parks there – we were lucky enough to spend almost every weekend in the bush. He would be out there more often and would come back with amazing stories. He was camping one night by himself, it was full moon and if you have ever been in the bush at full moon you will know that it’s incredibly light. He was in his little one man tent with no fly sheet so he could enjoy the moon and see his surroundings pretty clearly. My dad is one of those people who is completely happy to go off into the bush for days and sometimes weeks by himself and has done it all his life. He was camping in Lengwe National Park when he woke up in the middle of the night to have a pee. Making sure the coast was clear he walked a few steps away from his tent to the long grass that surrounded the little clearing where his camp was. Still on the look out there seemed to be nothing and it was a very still evening, once back in his tent he did a massive fart, the long grass around him erupted, a huge herd of buffalo had surrounded his tent without him knowing and got an incredible fright when he let rip. He managed to go unscathed, the next morning he saw the extent of the damage caused, some of the park rangers who were coming to pick him up arrived at an unexpected scene, a completely flattened field, he was standing by the fire making tea, he looked up at their shocked expressions and said “I farted”. This story is told over and over again mostly after a few drinks at family gatherings and everyone roars with laughter like they are hearing it for the first time.
After 3 years of being in Malawi, we moved back to Kenya. Being Kenyan, moving back was so exciting and we were all so relieved to come home. Our family home is on Lake Naivasha just 2 hours from bustling Nairobi, my grandfather bought the house in the 60s and it’s right on the lake and has a view of Mount Longonot. It was built by Italian POWs after WWII. Naivasha is not short on wildlife especially hippos and buffalo, so going for a walk can be quite hairy and you have to be on the ball, it’s amazing how something so big can be so difficult to see. My room is at the end of the house with a window right above my bed, quite often I was woken up by insanely loud chomping, one evening it was too much so I jumped up, opened the curtain stuck my head out the window and shouted “SHUT UP!” – the hippo was far closer than I expected and pretty much at eye level got such a shock and did a sort of jump and grunt and legged it into the dark – all I could do was burst into fits of hysterics. In the mornings huge clumps of lake fauna would be left on the lawn after falling off their backs. Growing up in the bush in Africa has left me with a deep passion for the continent, a respect for it’s wildlife and people, and some hilarious stories.