Hot bath, Great Dane, Aussies in Distress but no Leopards.

We were greeted by a collection of cheerful dogs, ranging from Obelisk the magnificent Great Dane to Sock the Daschund puppy with one white foot. The children poured out of the cars and began to embrace and hop about with these fellow puppies, excited to use some of their pent up energy. The adults searched for beer and sorted out who would be sleeping where. The girls were all put into a little two story cottage with miniature deck poking through the leaves. We were shown to Acacia cottage. Kembu farm is a very special place.  It is owed and run by the Nightingale family who has lived on the farm for 5 generations. It is a working farm with cottages and camping, happy bar and campfire. On our second night there we were treated to homemade pizza cooked in the genuine pizza oven by Mr Nightingale and his sons. A true, welcoming family experience, it is the sort of place I could imagine staying happily for a whole week. Especially in Acacia Cottage.

Our cottage was like a story book house in the English Countryside. The walls were brick and adorned with old black and white family photos, the table, set with white linen and flowers faced the window which faced an ancient tree set upon a rolling lawn. It was the perfect space to sit and read. But best of all was the hot bath that I climbed into with some glee within minutes of arriving. It was a particularly relaxing place. So much so that we all decided to stay put and read the next morning. Then it was time to visit the famous Nakuru National Park.

This park is small, and is set around a lake famous for its flamingo population. It is also renowned for its Rhinos and leopards. I have now been on a considerable number of game drives and have been fortunate to see everything from Cheetahs to Hyenas, Rhinos to Lions, elephants to Giraffes and Zebra. The only animal that has evaded my beady eye is the leopard. Nakuru has the densest leopard population in Kenya so I felt certain it would be my lucky day. It was not to be. And it has now become a standing joke amongst Kampala friends who see these fabulous cats within minutes of their Murchison Falls drives. Instead I did see Rhinos and towards the end of the drive an Australian, standing in a bright red t-shirt behind his white car waving furiously with his arms to get our attention. Our friend had run out of diesel and how lucky he was that we were there, and even luckier to find a safari vehicle with strong rope to lend us so we could pull him out. It all could have been a lot worse. I did think for a moment that perhaps that would be the moment a leopard would come out and greet us, but gratefully it was not to be. The running out of diesel story meant that we were delayed leaving the park and therefore had to drive like a bat out of hell through the dark to return to Kembu farm. It was the one and only time we drove at night the entire trip and thankfully  only for 20 minutes. Driving at night in Africa is to be avoided; having had experiences involving scary cows, pot holes, bikes and sadly a crossing dog, I do not say this lightly. Our last night in Kenya and it was Pizza, a cuddle with the Great Dane and a hot bath before bed. We had an early start the next morning and at least 9 hours before we reached home.

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