We took off this morning for the Shenkele Game Reserve, which is home to the last 700 Swayne’s Hartebeests in the world. As we drove along the crowded highway in our caravan, we passed cart after cart carrying large loads, including huge yellow plastic jugs of water, hay, and people. The drive took seemingly forever due to the many delays caused by donkey carts, sheep and cattle.
The road to the Preserve was sandy dirt. Children waved to us as we passed by their thatched houses and their herds. Dust hurled up to block our sight.
Most of the people who live in this area of the Rift Valley are Muslims, and they anoint their thatched huts with decorative toppings that add to the charm of the round houses.
Once at the Preserve, after bouncing mile after mile over rutted, dusty, eroded soil, we see people dotting the horizon in the hot sun cutting the Preserve grasses with small sickles. Our guide tells us that the grasses can be sold for a lot of money to make the neat thatched roofs of the huts.
Seeing the bathroom at Preserve headquarters, many chose to use the bush instead.
Because of the people, the animals are scarce. We finally see some three or four Hartebeasts jumping through the grass in the distance. I’m not much of an animal fiend, and I could have done without driving for hours on dusty, bumpy roads to see a few brown specks bouncing through the distant grass. Up close, they look somewhat like deer, I suppose.
But I really enjoyed the people watching as we jounced down the dusty path.