Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Excitement for KM/Knowledge Services in Eastern Africa

Kenya’s Young KM Enthusiasts Have Projects Ready to Go

The latest SMR International e-Profile takes a look at the Information Africa Organization (IAO), reflecting on the potential that this exciting new initiative has for KM/knowledge sharing in Eastern Africa, as well as for Kenya’s role in the global economy.

Among programs currently being given attention is a plan to capture agricultural information from village elders and others who have traditionally shared their skills and management expertise through oral tradition and apprenticeships. The current plan is the focus of a group of ambitious pioneering students who have come up with a vision for capturing indigenous agricultural knowledge for posterity.  Nerisa Kamar and Geoffrey Opile, pictured here, are part of a group studying agricultural information at Egerton University, located in Njoro, near Nakuru in the Rift Valley Province, and the driving force for their concept was the title of a recent course – Agricultural Knowledge Management – in which students were exposed to information gaps in agriculture that have led to a decline in agricultural productivity. Opile, a lecturer at the Rift Valley Technical Institute and Kamar, a consultant in The Sergio Vieira de Mello United Nations Library at Nairobi, are working with other students to bring the idea to the implementation stage, with the goal of capturing and disseminating agricultural information and knowledge for sustainability.

It is a perfect role for educated young Kenyans who are looking to not only build careers for themselves but to contribute to the national well being. As these young people learn about ICT and the principles of KM/knowledge services, and then use what they learn as they interact with local citizens who have knowledge to share, everyone stands to gain, at all levels of Kenya’s society.

 The January, 2010 SMR e-Profile can be accessed directly. It is also available at SMRShare, SMR International’s knowledge capture site. Readers can connect with Kamar and Opile through LinkedIn, and they actively seek information and advice from others interested in this work.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

More Impressions....

OK. Perhaps I have been giving a little too much emphasis to the wildlife, and since I’m about to embark on yet another safari (not a long one – just a few days) I’ll go back to an earlier theme: how interesting it is to me to be living in a society that is so different from what I’m accustomed to in New York.

I’ve already written about how welcoming everyone seems to be but I can add a little to that.

One thing I’m noticing is that the locals are richly rewarding to meet (and they are generally referred to as “nationals” – I suppose from the strong U.N. presence in Nairobi – and I’ve noticed that the word “natives” isn’t used very much here).

Part of that reward comes from the beauty of the learning experience here. Everyone seems to want to know more about the world beyond Kenya. One’s driver, barber, house staff, business associates (not so much the professional classes but definitely among the support staff), the bank tellers, the lady making your sandwich in the client cafĂ©, they all want to learn about the world. Of course they want to know where you are from (and many times, even before I’ve told them I’m from New York, they bring New York into the conversation, and many of the young people speak of New York as their “dream city”). And the Kenyans really want to know what experiences you have had in other parts of the world, and they are very anxious to tell you about Kenya, and compare Kenya to other places.

They are very locally focused. For the Kenyans, things like their tribe (no matter where they live now or how educated they are or professional their work is), their part of the country, and – to a lesser extent – their religious connection are very important to them (I had a bank teller tell me ask me the other day about my surname, and after I told her a little of what I had grown up with about the family name, she commented that I was particularly blessed because with a name like “St. Clair” I am bound to be “much closer to the Lord.”

And that kind of thing creeps into the conversation on a fairly regular basis. People talk about how blessed we are when we have good health, they speak about how God is looking after them, and they are truly pained about the earthquake in Haiti, with several people having mentioned to me that they could not understand how the Lord had let that happen but that the earthquake would draw people closer to Jesus. I don’t argue or even discuss, because somehow there is something particularly touching about this, and particularly when such soft, very gentle (never pushy as with the religious fundamentalists in America) comments slide into a conversation.

Family is hugely important to the Kenyans, and everyone I meet – without exception – wants to know about my children, my grandchildren, how often I’m with them, are my “aunties” and all my uncles worried that I’m spending so much time away from them. At first I didn’t understand – we Americans don’t bring family into the conversation at quite this level – but the more I was with native Kenyans the more I realized that this is very, very important to them, to establish a connection of commonality through sharing experiences about our families.

And probably one of the best places to experience the welcoming and the friendliness of the nationals is in the shops (well, except perhaps for the large supermarkets where on rare occasions one might run into an occasional disgruntled checkout clerk). All in all, though, the shops are very pleasant for browsing and a nice afternoon can be spent wandering through the shops of a big collection of businesses like Village Market, despite the fact that the name is something of a misnomer.

The name implies – at least to me – a sort of neighborhood market with mom-and-pop stands, but Village Market is not that at all. It’s a large shopping center, although the design and lay-out are not anything like the huge shopping malls in America. It’s designed around a large central court with tables and chairs and several restaurants surrounding the court, similar to the restaurants surrounding the piazzas in Europe cities and towns. The wait staff bring the food out to their customers, and all the tables and such are mingled into the large court (there are several other restaurants as well, each enclosed and with its out outdoor seating area).

The only thing I have a little difficulty with – as a “get-on-with-it” American shopper –is the lack of pricetags. Except in the supermarkets and one or two larger stores, you have to ask what the price of an item is, and it is always much more than I think it should be. Still, as compared to American or European prices, most consumer goods are generally much cheaper, as my Western colleagues are fond of reminding me. But without a pricetag you have to work your way to the price, and sometimes you can’t help but suspect if you’re not being quoted the muzungu price (“the white man’s price”). So I wander around a lot when I’m at the shops. I don’t buy much (don’t really need much) but what’s on offer is lovely to look at.

The Maasai Markets are another story altogether. These are made up of conglomerations of many (and I mean MANY) small vendors, some of whom have little stalls or even tiny shops. Most of them, though, simply spread a cloth on the floor or pavement (or the ground, depending on where the market is located) and put their goods out on that. It’s all very crowded and sort of loud and the negotiation for the sale begins at a very high level. I’m not very good at this, so I don’t spend much time in these markets. They’re a good place to buy souvenirs to bring back home but for the most part, I do that from vendors – same set-up but just not called “Maasai Markets” – when I’m on safari or on the roadside as I’m being driven back and forth.

As to why the markets are called “Maasai Markets” I’m not sure. I gather it has something to do with the Maasai tribe having started them, or some distinctive Maasai characteristic, but I’ve not figured it out yet. And there are plenty of merchants in these places who are not Maasai at all.

So who knows?

Other impressions: A visiting, very open, and perhaps somewhat playful Westerner has to be careful about how he speaks. The Kenyans are – despite being so welcoming and with a lot of singing and laughter amongst themselves – a fairly straight-forward people, and they listen very carefully and respond to exactly what is being said. So sometimes an attempt at verbal humor or silliness can backfire, for the Kenyan listening is probably going to be taking what one says at face value. Having the personality I have, there have been some awkward moments when I’ve actually had to back up and say something like, “I’m only joking,” or “it’s a joke.” When I asked a Kenyan friend about this, she pointed out that Kenya is still a very new country, and despite the great differences in income, the vast majority of the people are dealing with basic, subsistence issues and there hasn’t been much time to grab on to the subtleties of verbal humor with language. My friend used a very stark example: when a woman has to spend four hours of her day getting water to use for cooking and washing, all the time with a child (or two) flung around her neck or riding on her hip, and then has to find food to prepare for the family meal and do the wash, there isn’t much time for learning how to sneak a little humor into the conversation. The example seems extreme, but from my observations as I visit Kenyan friends, it has the ring of truth in it.

A final comment: we seem – finally – to be past the very cold and very rainy weather, and Nairobi’s annual and expected January/February hot weather seems to be here. It’s not unpleasant yet, and the lovely walk to work every morning – about a mile and a half – continues to be very, very pleasant, although the walk back in the afternoon is usually aborted if my driver happens to be in the neighborhood. I make it a point of pride not to call him – I’ve lost a number of pounds and I’m determined to keep the weight off, hence the determination to keep walking.

But on a hot Kenyan summer afternoon – probably upper 80s with a very pristine blue sky – well, if Charles happens to drive by, I’m going to get in the car!


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Lake Nakuru Safari: The Zebras

As usual, it's hard not to look at these beautiful animals and not think
about anointing them as "my favorites."

But that seems to be something of a theme with Mr. Guy these days, doesn't

While we saw quite a few animals at Lake Nakuru not looking too well-fed,
because of the drought, the zebras seem to be doing fine. I suppose they are
mobile enough to get around to where there is plenty of green grass for them
to graze.

And I never tire of looking at them, always trying to spot them as I'm
riding around on safari. Especially at a distance, the zebras are very
pleasing to the eye.

I didn't know there were two kinds of zebras. Guess I had never paid much
attention to their stripes. The ones at Lake Nakuru are Plains Zebras, with
stripes that reach all the way around to under the animal's belly. The
others are found in the dry regions, and they are known as Grevy's Zebra,
distinguished by narrower stripes and a white belly. So now I know, and I'll
pay more attention when I look at zebras from now on.

Fascinating factoid: the stripes are as unique as the human fingerprint.
Never knew that, did you?

Lake Nakuru Safari: Finally The Flamingoes

It's hard to describe the beauty (or the numbers) of all the flamingoes at
Lake Nakuru. When I first started thinking about coming the Kenya, one of
the first things I learned about was the influx of flamingoes to Lake
Nakuru. And of course as I described this phenomenon to my two friends who
are - how shall we put it? - seriously attached to the flamingo as a bird
and as a decorative object in their homes, the idea of going to see the
flamingoes themselves and learning a little something about them became too
strong to resist.

For people who are simply moderately interested in flamingoes (somehow that
spelling for the plural looks funny to me but that's what's in the books!),
you might like to know that there are two species: the greater flamingo and
the lesser flamingo (sort of reminds one of "St. James" and "St. James the
Less" in the Anglican churches, doesn't it?). They all feed on algae and
some sort of microscopic things, and they are very sensitive to changes in
the environment which is why (I'm told) there are fewer flamingoes at Lake
Nakuru. Apparently with the shrinking lake - due to the drought - they can't
get what they need and some are going elsewhere. In Kenya, the greater
flamingo (surprise!) is the larger of the two, but greatly outnumbered by
the lesser flamingo which is almost always much more pink, especially around
the bill.

The birds are not always at Lake Nakuru. In fact, for many years more
flamingoes seemed to go to Lake Bogoria than to Lake Nakuru, but as it was
explained to me, that was primarily for breeding and then they would come
back to Lake Nakuru. Not being a bird-enthusiast (well, of the kind that
usually makes their way to this part of the world), I didn't spend a lot of
time thinking about going to see the flamingoes at Lake Bogoria. Besides, it
is very hard to get to, and I suppose I'm just not that much of an
adventurer. It's nice to know, though, that the flamingoes have somewhere
else to go if the algae is drying up at Lake Nakuru.

In a way, because of so many flamingoes it is hard to focus on other bird
species at Lake Nakuru. I was also impressed with the white pelican, which
is easy to spot throughout the Lake Nakuru National Park. But it's the
flamingoes which are so impressive. Somebody remarked that seeing them at
Lake Nakuru is probably the most fabulous bird spectacle in the world. I
don't know about that, but I do know that seeing so many of them together is
pretty amazing, and even if this year there are a few fewer than the usual
(sometimes as many as up to 2,000,000 flamingoes!) crowding about the lake,
they are a sight to see.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Lake Nakuru Safari: Coke's Hartebeest

Despite the misspelling in the caption (which you might not be able to read anyway), this is really a large antelope known as COKE’S HARTEBEEST. Also called the kongoni, this animal is very beautiful to see from a distance, as I’ve pictured them here. Very slender, and known for having a slender heart-shaped face, the hartebeest (hence the name, from the Dutch) is very graceful and, for all I could see, extremely quiet and unbothered. We spent a long time just sitting in the vehicle looking at these splendid animals grazing on their grass. So peaceful and, well, they kind of made you want to join them (which wouldn’t be the case if there were a hungry big cat anywhere around – but then they wouldn’t be around either, would they?).

Hemingway: Hunting His Hyena and Hunting His Lion

What’s going on here? I had hardly sent over my last blog post – describing some of my thoughts about the hyenas and the lioness we saw on the Lake Nakuru Safari – than I picked up my Kindle to continue with Hemingway’s Green Hills of Africa and found myself at the section where he’s just ended the conversation with the German about hunting kudu. Then came the next day’s hunt and all the talk about the fisi and how M’Cola laughs at him as a hunter or bird shooting or even the religions that get talked about. And the fisi – the hyena brings the biggest laughs, not from the hyena but from M’Cola, who just can’t stop laughing at him.

And all about the hyena being a dirty joke and the bird shooting a clean joke but it’s all a joke to M’Cola. 

And then how is this for a veritable Hemingway first line (for a section not a book): “The evening we killed the first lion it was dark when we came in sight of the camp.” Heart-stopping, of course. Breath-catching. And then you go on and read about the lion shoot and how late it is in the day and how sun is too low and if the lion gets to cover and you shoot him “it would be too dark to do anything about it without a mess.” 

Suddenly my little pictures of my hyenas and my lioness seem sort of skimpy, I fear!  

Bless you Mr. Hemingway for writing so beautifully (and to think we share the same birthday!).

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Two Predators

Lake Nakuru Safari

Some folks might think a national park would be too tame to see much action,
but there is no doubt that these animals would be dangerous if you saw them
at the wrong time. By the time we ran across the hyenas, it was early
afternoon and they were just resting in the sun, having had their mealtime
adventures the evening before or at the latest, in the early morning. So
these guys weren't too interested in running after food, but it wasn't going
to be long before they would start to get hungry. I have to admit that the
looks they gave us as we stopped on the road weren't too friendly. If we had
been a little closer, they might have started thinking of us as their
appetizer for the evening meal.

There are two types of hyenas in Kenya, I hear, the spotted hyena (which we
saw on our safari, pictured here) and the striped hyena, which I'll probably
see when I take my big safari to Masai Mara in the late spring. They are big
dog-like creatures, and the female is usually larger than the male. Hyenas
are hermaphrodites but only one set of genitals is dominant (which is how
the scientists can tell the males from the females, I suppose). Their
so-called "laugh" is what they are most famous for, but in fact it is not
nearly as distinctive - or as frequently heard - as a sort of whooping sound
that you hear all the time in Africa after dark, if you're near the wilds.

One of the great goals for safari travelers is to see (and check off their
list) the "big five." It's kind of a silly game, really, and doesn't really
mean a lot to a lot of people, but it makes for a lot of fun on a safari
where there is a group traveling together. Good conversation and some
healthy competition - and I'm still smarting from the disbelief of my safari
companions in Kruger Park in South Africa lo these many years ago, when
everyone else in the Land Rover was dozing and I - and only I - saw my
leopard on a branch in a tree next to a dry river bed. I looked right at him
as he was waking up from his own afternoon nap (and I'm sure he saw me
looking at him). He lifted his head, stretched, jumped down from the branch,
and went off, walking down the river bed. I kept whispering to everyone to
"wake up! wake up! it's a leopard!" but no one paid any attention. Back at
the camp, I fussed and fumed and swore I saw it, but no one believed me and
when it turned out that no one else had seen the big five - African buffalo,
African bush elephant, Leopard, Lion, and Rhino - I wasn't allowed to claim
my honors! Pooh!

Oh, well. Such is competition on holiday. All in good fun.

On our Lake Nakuru Safari, we saw only the buffalo and the rhino and we
weren't even trying for the big five (there are no elephants at Lake
Nakuru), so it wasn't an issue.

Then we came upon this lady lying in the grass. She wasn't particularly
interested in us (ours wasn't the only vehicle stopped on the road, since
someone else had spotted her some time before and by the time we got there
we were one of about six vehicles lined up along the way). As it turned out,
for some reason we were the closest (I think some of the others had just
heard she was there but didn't know where to stop and look). So we watched
her for a while, and she gave us a few cursory glances and then, high and
mighty as you please, just got up and walked away.

But not before we had had some excitement. In the car behind us was a group
of people who were obviously out to party. We had seen them at Makalia
Falls, and their radio was too jarring and they were really noisy, and
possibly a little drunk. Thankfully they pulled up quietly behind us when we
were stopped to look at the lioness and everything was just perfectly quiet
and still. Then suddenly we heard a car door open - not loudly - and one of
the men got out of the car, on the side of the road where the lion was in
the grass.

Not done! Our guide had a heck of a time trying to get him back in his car
without raising her voice. It's a criminal offense to get out of a car in a
national park (as in most countries where people go on safari) and this man
was clearly breaking the law. But when he saw the uniformed guide with us,
he did an about face (as it happens the guides wear the same uniforms as the
armed rangers, so he might have mistaken her for a ranger). He got back in
the car, slamming the door as he did so. And that's when the lioness decided
to take a walk, so we were all convinced that it was his shutting the door
that made her leave.

Not a pretty picture to think about, but this splendid lioness was worth the

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Is There Anything as Graceful as a Giraffe?

Lake Nakuru Safari

Sometimes - when the subject is as beautiful as this - the pleasure of
capturing these wonderful animals in a photograph is such a great feeling. I
distinctly remember thinking how much I would love looking at these pictures
after I had returned from the safari. I hope you like looking at them, too.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Secretary Bird and the Big Guys

I'm always perplexed when people ask me about my "favorite" anything. People
who know me know I'm an opera person, and as new friends discover that, the
next question is always "What's your favorite opera?" Can't say. It's
usually the one I've just come out of.

Same with the great cathedrals. After a couple of years of researching my
famous unpublished book on English cathedral libraries (and even while I was
working on it), I was often asked, "So what is your favorite cathedral?"
Can't say. Usually it's the one I've just visited.

So with the wildlife when I'm on safari. There's so much to see, and every
animal (and bird and plant - particularly the flowers) is just so
remarkable. But even if I can't identify a "favorite" I can have fun with
the different qualities of the different species. The old secretary bird,
for example. I first discovered her in South Africa, and I seem to remember
seeing her in a couple of other places (in Australia perhaps?). And I like
her a lot because she is so funny. This isn't a very good photo, and I'll
try to make another before I finish my African adventure because I love her
when she is waddling around with those great wings outstretched.

And why the "secretary" name? Apparently in the old days the protruding
feathers from her head (she's flattened them in this photograph - she knew I
was trying to capture her image!) look like the quills which in olden times
secretaries tucked behind their ears, stuck in their heavy hair-dos.

Perhaps. In any case, Ms. Secretary Bird could be a "favorite" candidate,
and she's just one of more than 500 species of birds at Lake Nakuru. I'm
sometimes sad that I'm not a birdwatcher, 'cause they sure do seem to have a
lot of fun (as noted - in a very ironic way - in the very sweet short story
in the 11 January issue of The New Yorker, "Safari" by Jennifer Egan).

As for the rhino (and here's your first peek at the flamingos - more to
come!), well, he may be big and cumbersome and (to some) very ugly but he
certainly is something to see. He's never very busy or frenetic (unless he
is disturbed or has to be on the defensive) but he's just there, cooling
himself in the water or munching away in the field. About a dozen white and
perhaps 50 black rhinos were brought to Lake Nakuru National Park in the
1990s and they've bred successfully, with about 100 of them at the park
today. And they are impressive, no question about it.

I seem to see the buffalo about everywhere I go, and I've got to do some
research, as I haven't yet discerned the difference between the water
buffalo and the Cape buffalo, both of which seem to be found here in Kenya.
I don't know which we saw here on the Lake Nakuru safari. No matter. They
are handsome fellows, and while this one seemed to be coming in our
direction a little closer than our guide liked (he - the buffalo - wasn't
moving fast but he was certainly determined to check us out), I was able to
grab at least one shot before we moved off.

Lake Nakuru Safari

Continuing to enjoy the beautiful Rift Valley, I was happy to begin my Lake
Nakuru Safari with a trip around the lake. [The word "safari" by the way,
simply means "to travel." To go on safari does not necessarily mean to take
on an elaborate journey, although today most people generally think of a
safari as a trip to explore uninhabited terrain and to view - and photograph
- the wildlife, especially any birds or animals one might not see at home.]
The lake, as you can see, lies in a remarkably lovely part of Kenya, and I
knew the experience would be rewarding from a visual point of view, even if
there was nothing else to catch my fancy.

Well, that was not to be the case. There was much to explore, and I got to
see everything I wanted to see. I had made the decision not to go with a
group for this safari. I specially wanted to go to Lake Nakuru - famous for
the flamingos (about which more later) - and for some reason I had the idea
that I would enjoy the experience more if I were not with other tourists. So
my driver and I did all the planning ourselves (well, it was mostly my
driver), and probably in the end I saved myself a lot of money. Nairobi is
the safari capital of Africa, and most of the agencies putting safaris
together for the tourists sort of assume that all travelers are high-end
tourists, which is not necessarily the case. So Charles and I decided to
tackle this one ourselves and we did a pretty good job of it (he says

One of the first subjects that comes up when you arrive at the Lake Nakuru
National Park and have settled yourself in with your guide is the drought.
For several years now there has been a shortage of water all over Africa,
but here in the central Rift Valley the drought has been especially bad. In
fact, until just a few weeks ago, there had not been any rain for over eight
months, and the last several years had been noticeably dry. That's strange,
because in other parts of Kenya - and especially in the Nairobi region -
this is one of the wettest years on record and the "short rainy" season,
which was supposed to have ended over a month ago, is still with us. And
very much so.

But as you can see from the photographs, Lake Nakuro is really suffering.
According to some (our guide included), the lake is now over half its normal
capacity, and you can see how the shoreline has receded so dramatically. Of
course the wildlife are suffering, with many simply dying because they
cannot get enough water. And the saddest fact, from one perspective I
suppose, is Lake Nakuro National Park's famous Acacia Forest, reputedly one
of the largest (and most beautiful) collections of acacias in the world. But
now with the water table below them gradually drying up, even those splendid
trees - almost iconic in their connection with Africa - are suffering,
weakening, and many of them just falling over. It is very sad indeed.

As we drove throughout the park, we were delighted to see several small
streams feeding into the lake, and at least some water is being contributed.
But most of them are pretty muddy (as are so many of the other small rivers
I've seen when I've been driven around the parts of Kenya I've visited), but
the muddy water doesn't lessen the spectacle of grand old Makalia Falls. OK.
So it's not quite Bridal Veil Falls as my friends and I saw it last April at
Yosemite, when the snowmelt was at its height and the view couldn't have
been more breath-taking (and since I know they are reading this I'll ask
them to withhold any caustic remarks about Makalia Falls looking a little
puny - of course it is by comparison with Bridal Veil Falls or the even more
spectacular Yosemite Falls when the snowmelt is so fresh). Nevertheless, as
you can see, Makalia Falls is in its own right pretty spectacular.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Driving Past the Great Rift Valley

Any of the geography books you read about Kenya talk about how the country
is divided by the Great Rift Valley, and it is interesting to contemplate
how it all came about, how all that geographical and geological crushing
created such a huge space (they say it is about 5,000 miles from top to
bottom, going from Lebanon down to the lower reaches of Mozambique). Seeing
the valley was an added bonus for me, since I was on my way to enjoy my
safari in Lake Nakuru National Park, and my wonderful driver had the good
idea of travelling up one road and back another, so I would be guaranteed to
have a good view of this beautiful place.

So off we went, travelling first up the Naivasha Road, running between
Nairobi and Naivasha and joining up just beyond Naivasha with the other road
(designed specifically for viewing, with minimal truck traffic) to go on up
- paralleling the valley all the way - to Nakuru and beyond. Nakuru is
Kenya's fourth largest city (there are only four), so there is lots of truck
traffic heading back and forth between Nairobi and Nakuru, so it's easy to
see why they needed a second road. I'm glad they kept the trucks off it
(well, for the most part).

It's hard to describe the beauty of these views. The many lakes of the
valley add to the splendor, and make the trip especially satisfying. There
are no outlets for water in the valley, so it just backs up and forms into
these lovely lakes, and combined with the elegance of the several extinct
(thank goodness!) volcanoes, you can see why it is such a special visual
experience. And I love the names of the lakes: Naivasha, Elmenteita, Nakuru,
Bogoria, Baringo. Then when you start talking about the mountains as well -
Mount Elgon, Mount Longonot (not extinct, just "dormant" - oh, dear!), the
Menengei Crater - it becomes clear why the language is so lovely to hear.
Just wish I were better with languages, for I would love to be able to speak
Kiswahili or one of the many soaring Kenyan languages. It is a real treat
just to stand and listen to people talk!

This is great farming country - contributing a great proportion of Kenya's
foodstuff - and it's hard to think about how at the top of the valley it's
all desert, and then down at the bottom it's all flat arid plains. But why
not? Over 5,000 miles I suppose the landscape can change.

The roads (both of them) are pretty much up and down (and, yes, they have
their curvy and very scary parts) but there are handsome overlooks from time
to time, and it is very pleasant to stop along the way, snap some pictures
of the view, and have a casual conversation with the folks who run the curio
shops. Of course the shops are ubiquitous here, as in many other places
where visitors might pass by, but these particular curio shops seem to be
specially inviting. Very sweet people, not at all pushing one to buy, and at
the same time offering very nice merchandise at very reasonable prices. What
a nice way to begin a safari!