Monday, February 6, 2017

Not About Cho’ Life

Greetings Fisi Blog readership.  In terms of importance, one underrated aspect of camp life in the Mara is access to the “choo” – the word for bathroom in Kiswahili (pronounced cho).  Given the likelihood of GI infections and other bugs of that ilk, it’s always nice to have nearby choo you can run to.  However, living in a tented camp without askaris (guards) or fences is a reality out here, and one that you need to respect if you plan to continue living.  Hordes of dangerous animals migrate through camp every night to reach a productive swathe of grassland on the plateau behind the forested hillside our camp rests on – the herbivores to consume said grass and the carnivores follow to prey upon the herbivores.   Most of the time it isn’t safe to leave your tent in Serena between the hours of 9:00PM and 5:00AM. The species you need to especially watch out for are cape buffalo, hippos, and elephants, with lions and leopards also presenting a significant threat but not as likely to get taken by surprise and charge you.  Obviously, documenting nocturnal camp life if pretty difficult given the aforementioned set of circumstances.  But there is good news!

A collection of fauna that enjoy the Cho' Life
I’ve recently acquired a game camera from the US of A and have deployed it in strategic positions around camp to capture the wildlife we encounter on a daily basis around the choo.  The species captured so far, include: a lion, our resident leopard (affectionately named Carlos), impala, a hippo (one of the thousands of pictures of them that I have), one of our three resident genets, some baboons from the local troop, a young bushbuck, one of our fisi friends from North Clan (shamefully didn’t show us any spots), a dik-dik, and our resident white-tailed mongoose.  Some animals not captured yet, but seen frequently enough are elephants, giraffes, cape buffalo, warthogs, banded mongoose, and dwarf mongoose. The most glaring omission is an individual known as the “Choo-ffalo” – a crazy, old cape buffalo who loves the choo for reasons unbeknownst to us Fisi campers.  You would think there would be other cool hangout spots much more luxurious than our choo – but the Chooffalo doesn’t feel that way so more often than not he’s grazing somewhere in the vicinity after the sun sets.  He’s a really great guy though.

All hail His Grace, Carlos of House Chui, First of His Name, King of the Jowls, Lord of the Night, and Protector of the Realm

Keep your fingers crossed and hopefully soon we’ll get some cool footage on the game cam.  That is after I fix it up a bit.  About two weeks into shooting, Scar (the infamous one-eyed lion of Serena pride) and his brothers decided they didn’t like their close-up and pawed camera off the tree mount I had set up along one of the Hippo Highways.  This must’ve been an inside job and Scar knew which way the camera would be pointing, as we didn’t even get a single shot of the event!  It survived the battering somehow and will be as good as new with some strategic application of Gorilla glue.

1 comment:

dee said...

Great post, can't wait to see who else you can get. How 'bout checking out the taka taka pit and the lab tent?

Michigan State University | College of Natural Science