Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Camp Conditions in the Mara

One of the first questions I asked Kay when trying to figure out what I was getting myself into was "What are the living conditions of camp?" Her response was vague but I was excited to hear that we would have actual beds and our own tents. A bed was more than I had initially hoped for. When I made it to camp, I was in for a big surprise.

We are spoiled!

Not only do we get our own tents, my tent has turned out to be bigger than any room I have ever lived in by myself. There is plenty of furniture in each tent, making it possible to unpack. It's amazing how much unpacking your bags completely can make you feel settled and at home. AND the tents have electricity.

We have a shower AND it has HOT water!
We have amazing cooks that prepare all our meals and wash all our dishes. AND mamas come in from Talek to take care of our laundry.
Camp is located within a restricted area of the park so the only visitors we have are animals. My first week here, on our way back from evening obs, we had to go through a herd of giraffes that were just hanging out in our driveway. There was one just a few meters from our tent. There are tons of animals that live or visit camp. In Talek Camp, we get vervets, baboons, bush babies, genets, puff adders, elephants, giraffes, fruit bats, and more species of birds and insects than I could ever identify or list here. In Serena, the boys get lions, leopards, elephants, hippos, and much more. For a biologist, sharing your living space with so much wildlife is paradise.
Plus both camps are in beautiful settings. Talek is on the banks of the Talek River and is a lush green wonderland when it's raining. Serena is located on the side of a hill with views across the Mara to the escarpment.

Both camps have turned out to be much more established and comfortable than anything I had imagined before coming to Kenya. I almost feel silly calling it a "field camp" when I compare it to other camps I have worked out of in the past. We really are spoiled. Conditions like this make living in the bush for a year or more a piece of cake instead of a trial that must be overcome for the sake of the research.

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