Middle of the night bathroom run… success! Morning bathroom run.. Water Buffalo! There are two sets of bathrooms at this camp site, the close ones that are squat toilets, that I went to in the middle of the night, and the nice ones with real toilets that are a good 100 yards away down the hill, which is where I was headed this morning. Thankfully we always wear our head lamps in the dark, as half way to the bathrooms I caught the eye with my light of a buffalo. Half asleep Lauren questioned whether or not it was just a cow, until I saw the shadowy figures of the herd. The worst part, is my tent mate was already at the bathroom, and ended up being stuck down at the bathroom until the herd moved past. I, on the other hand, quickly turned around, and headed back up, letting the others know to turn around as well.
The sad part, I am going to miss this. There is something kind of special waking up to wild animals in camp, even if they all could kill you! This is the second time that my tent mate has been stuck at a bathroom because of animals!
Breakfast was served, and our kitchen staff made cake, as we have another birthday today! Africa cake can be pretty dry, but this one was pretty good! I look forward to celebrating this girls birthday, it should be a great day! We got back into our vehicles and were off to go drive in the crater. When I initially thought about driving into the crater, I had a completely different picture in my head, but it was good regardless. The road was steep, but we made it down safely!
Highlights of the Crater drive included watching Hyena feed on a Wildebeest kill, and two female lions with their 8 or so cubs. Once again, the lions crossed the road with the babies, and we were so close to them. There was an incident with one of our travelers spooking the lion, and that added a bit of tension to the day, which was unfortunate.
We stopped again for another boxed lunch, which was pretty grim, and I only ate a bit of it, and ended up swapping vehicles for the drive back to camp. This caused a little bit of drama, but it was needed, and I actually had a really fun drive back. I was with the birthday girl, and I was happy to spend some of her birthday with her! I have learned a lot of patients on this trip, and to be flexible and go with the flow, but I also learned when I need to remove myself from certain situations. Being with people 24/7 can be challenging, but I think I have done pretty well thus far!
Back at camp, we said thank you to our guides, and started to get ready for birthday celebrations and dinner. This will be our last night in this group, which also means it will be our last dinner, which is a lamb or goat spit roast that is being prepared by the camp site. I am still not truly registering that I will be saying goodbye tomorrow. Some of these people I have been with since day 1, and it will be so hard to see them go.
Before dinner, we started the birthday celebrations with gifts and drinks. It makes for a nice end to this leg of the adventure! Dinner was good, although I only ate the sides and we had another cake made by Ma, the owner of the camp. A bit dry, but it was good… but two cakes in a day is a good day regardless! After dinner we headed to the bar for drinks and dancing. There were a lot of shots going around, which I did not partake, but it was a lot of fun. My night took an interesting turn, as I ended up having some really great conversations with some of the group members. It was a little sad that we didn’t have some of these chats before the last night, as they strengthened the bonds, but great regardless. These people have become my family for the last 40 days… it will be so different without them. They are very much a big part of what I will remember about Africa.
Tomorrow we head to Nairobi, where five members of our group will fly out that night, followed by the remaining eight the next two days. The five of us staying on will have two nights, one full day in Nairobi before we start the final leg of this adventure!