Road to Mara, Kenya
” I am afraid there are no seat in the Club World, would you be willing to travel in Premium ?” the lady at the British Airways check in counter dropped the bombshell.
“No way, I have paid the fare and I am not asking free upgrade !” I told her. It did not make sense. A plane going to Nairobi will be full in Club World but will have seat in Premium and in economy. Besides, one get upgrade in similar circumstances.
” Well, 99% chance is you will be okay” she handed me my boarding card and other documents. I went to the BA lounge and deposited my hand luggege. Then i headed to Iris Recognition Registration Office. I wanted my Iris photographed so that on return to England from abroad, I will go to the Iris Recognition Camera, look in the camera mirror and get through Immigration without queing to show my Passport. It took 10 minutes to do all this. Then I headed to duty free shop but held on to my money, being retired and on pension now !! No more impulse buying.
Plane left in timeat 8.30 PM and i did get a seat in Club World. After dinner, i made the seat into a flat bed and watched a film “Namesake”. Then I dozed off. But it wasn’t a proper sleep, just half awake and half sleep. Dawn was breaking when plane landed in Nairobi. Outside i was met by a rep from the agency who drove me to Wilson airport. At 10 AM, a twin engine propeller plane took off with 20 of us and deposited 45 minutes later on a dirt airstrip. I had to change the plane to a single engine 6 seater flying machine which took six of us to Masai Mara, skillfuly landing on a dirt strip. A 4WD Land cruiser collected me and drove 20 km to Kicheche camp. On way, we saw games that included Zebra, Giraffe, Impala,Thompson’s gazells, Black Back jackal, Ostrich, Secretary Birds etc. On arrival at the camp, I was taken to my tent by the manager Andy and his lovely wife Sonja. The tent was Jumbo in size. It has two beds, fully carpeted, ensuite shower and flushing toilet. There was a varendah. It was like a small one bed room bunglow.
Being tired i had hot shower and dinner. An Ascari accompanied me to the tent and after depositing me inside, he fastened the zip warning me never to open the zip again till morning. Then he walked back alone in the darkness, shining the torch right and left.
I was still awake and the time must have been 1 AM when I heared the lion call, not more than 3-400 yds from my tent. 10 mnts later, he called again. I could figure it out as to where he could be. he was no more than 50 yds from my tent. 20 mnts later, he called for the third time. But this time it was more than 1/4 mile away.
I turned in the bed and tried to sleep.