Zebra in KenyaHere are zebra grazing very near our van.

(From a 2002 trip to Kenya.) Zebra in Kenya

Leopard in KenyaHere’s a leopard a long ways away from our van. It had recently made a kill and eaten; here it’s resting.

(From a 2002 trip to Kenya.)

Waterbuck in KenyaWe got several good looks at the shy waterbuck, who spends so much time in the water that its flesh is specially adapted so as not to absorb too much. The enzyme responsible for this apparently also makes waterbuck flesh less than tasty, so it’s a doubly adaptive mechanism.

(From a 2002 trip to Kenya.)

Giraffe in KenyaHere’s the Rothschild’s giraffe in LNNP, munching leaves from a thorny tree.

Giraffe have long, flexible tongues, and can eat around the thorns fairly well.

(From a 2002 trip to Kenya.)

Lions in KenyaTwo male lions relax in the shade of a tree in LNNP, Kenya. It’s hard to beat this place for close-up viewing of a wide variety of wildlife!

(From a 2002 trip to Kenya.)

Ostrich in KenyaMale ostriches — like this one — are black; females are gray. Our guide explained the adaptive significance of the color differences: males sit on the eggs during the night, and females during the day.

At Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya, we saw one male ostrich and 16 females — which is quite unusual, as they usually live in pairs!

(From a 2002 trip to Kenya.)

Rhino-1

August 28, 2002 | Leave a Comment

White rhinos, KenyaThese photos are all of white rhinos, which have wide, flat mouths, live in open areas, and eat grasses. (Black rhinos are shy forest dwellers with a v-shaped mouth and prehensile lip for nibbling on shrubs.)

(From a 2002 trip to Kenya.)

Rhino-2

August 28, 2002 | Leave a Comment

Baby white rhino, KenyaBaby rhinos, born after a 16-month gestation period, nurse for 3 years.I feel sorry for the rhino moms; no wonder these animals are endangered!

(From a 2002 trip to Kenya.)

Rhino-3

August 28, 2002 | Leave a Comment

White rhino in KenyaMale rhinos can weigh up to two tons. Like dogs, they have a series of nodes on their penises; each has to discharge before the mating couple can disengage. This is probably the source of the myth that rhino horns can give a man “staying power.”

Again, I am feeling some sympathy for the female rhino.

(From a 2002 trip to Kenya.)

Rhino Rescue

August 28, 2002 | Leave a Comment

The Rhino Rescue Base is run out of Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya.

Because of poaching, the black rhino population has decreased from about 60,000 in 1977 to only 300-500 individuals today. Rhino horn is used — ineffectively — to cure yellow fever, protect from bewitchment, detect poison, and “make an old man like an 18-year-old boy.” In 1989, one pound of rhino horn scrapings could be sold for US$ 145,000.

To combat poaching, the government uses 1) law enforcement, severe fines and penalties, 2) wildlife conservation education, especially for young people, 3) meetings with tribes, and 4) benefits (such as schools, hospitals, water) for communities that cooperate.

Great Rift ValleyThe fertile Great Rift Valley stretches all the way from Israel to Mozambique. Here in Kenya, the Brits set it aside for the settlers’ farms; native Kenyans were moved out to other areas.

(From a 2002 trip to Kenya.)

Kukuyu village

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Kukuyu villageHere’s a reconstructed Kukuyu village at the National Museum in Nairobi.

(From a 2002 trip to Kenya.)

Church sign in rural KenyaThere were lots of small signs for Christian churches throughout rural Kenya. One of our guides explained, “Yes, there are small churches everywhere. It has become like a business.”

(From a 2002 trip to Kenya.)

Rural KenyaHere’s a typical roadside shot in rural Kenya: we passed by many small clusters of brightly-painted buildings that looked like deserted commerical areas. Some are open — and active — only on market day, one or two days a week. But many had been built in better economic times, and are now abandoned.

(From a 2002 trip to Kenya.)

Cement block homes in rural KenyaWealthier people (and there aren’t many in rural Kenya) have stone or cement block houses with tile roofs.

Cone house in KenyaThe most basic houses are made of mud and grass. As people begin to make money, they might build homes with wooden walls, and tin roofs.

(From a 2002 trip to Kenya.)

Roadside in rural KenyaThe buildings that say “hotel” — as one of these does — don’t rent rooms; they often sell just tea, or perhaps some snacks. This area seemed to be doing fairly well. Locals might buy a cup of tea while they wait for the bus.

(From a 2002 trip to Kenya.)

 

uses the same 26 letters of the alphabet as English, and consists of about 22,000 words. Many Kenyans speak three languages: their tribal language, Swahili (officially called Kiswahili), and English, which is the official language of instruction. Here are a few English/Swahili translations:

 


Hello

Jambo (used in tourist resorts)
Ujambo (singular)
Hamojambo (plural)

Welcome Karibu (I was slow to figure out why the Kenyans talked so much about “caribou.”)
How are you? Habari yako/gani
Very fine Mzuri Sana (It also took me awhile to figure out why Kenyans were always talking about “Missouri.”)

Primary School

August 28, 2002 | Leave a Comment

Schoolchildren in KenyaSchool in KenyaIf you add up the cost of uniforms, books, shoes (which children otherwise might not wear), desks (provided by the family), and mandatory field trips planned by teachers, the average cost for one year of elementary school in rural Kenya is 10,000 shillings. (From a 2002 trip to Kenya.) Rhino Primary School

Wildebeest

August 28, 2002 | Leave a Comment

WildebeestThe middle of a herd of wildebeest is a noisy place to be. It sounded as though we were surrounded by bullfrogs croaking back and forth to each other — or maybe geese honking.

(From a 2002 trip to Kenya.)

Bushell's zebraCommon or Bushell’s zebra grazing in Kenya.

(From a 2002 trip to Kenya.)

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