June 4, 1987

Lion Tracks Outside My Tent

A summer backpacking In Kenyawith the National Outdoor Leadership School

The brochure from NOLS, The National Outdoor Leadership School, described one of their programs in East Africa. I didn't know anyone who had been to Africa. I was looking for a big change and a backpacking trip to Kenya sounded like just the thing.

The course described climbing Mount Kenya, a photo safari to Lake Nakuru and Masai Mara, hiking in the Maasai home of Nguruman, flying to the Lamu on the muslim coast after taking the night train to Mombasa, and sailing down Kenya's coast in an ancient dhow. But besides that, we would see a Kenya that few tourists get a chance to. I would witness a Maasai warrior graduation, find lion tracks outside my tent, sleep in a Maasai boma (house) and get invited to a wedding on Kiwaiyu. I would be gifted with potatoes from a farmer whose kids had never seen a wazungu (white person). And hearing a charging water buffalo ahead on our path is something I'll never forget. NOLS, besides teaching me extensive outdoor skills, would give me a chance of a lifetime to meet another culture on it's own terms, and come away better for it.

Ahead you will read the journal I kept during my trip to this East African nation. This was my first real trip anywhere and I wanted to remember it for years to come. You will read about beautiful days and spectacular sunsets, my fellow students and instructors, the people of the cities, country-side and the coast, wild animals like lions and elephants, blistering heat and bone-chilling cold, about following animal trails and sailing along in a dhow. And this is my story. Enjoy!

Lalmba: The Worlds Smallest Relief Organization

I am dedicating my Kenya travels to Lalmba,
an organization that has been dedicated to helping
those in need in Eritrea, Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia
for over 35 years.