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Hemingway Adventure

Amboseli National Park, Kenya (second day)

Mt Kilimanjaro, Kenya 
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Michael Palin - Hemingway Adventure'In Africa a thing is true at first light and a lie by noon.’ Hemingway noted this on his second, longer trip to Africa in the 1950s and for everyone, from pampered tourist to native goat-herder, the hour of dawn is the best time.

It’s prime time for Kilimanjaro spotters too.

At 6.30, having been woken by the traditional on-safari cup of tea, I stick my head out of the tent and there, so close and so high that I think it must be a cloud formation, is the rim of the great mountain, peeking out above a cornice of dark cloud.

By the time I’ve found my notebook and pen it’s disappeared again. Hemingway complained that on his second trip the mountain didn’t show itself for three weeks and I become despondent, but by the time I’ve dressed and walked up the hill to the spreading timbered and thatch-roofed space where we eat breakfast, the cloud has rolled back to reveal the whole long crest of the mountain, ‘as wide as all the world’, as Hemingway described it in ‘The Snows of Kilimanjaro’. It is an unbelievably powerful sight. On the eastern tip of this great ridge a glacier catches the sun.

Hemingway would probably have been out by now and bagged a gazelle or two, but things have changed. Most people who come to Africa nowadays shoot the animals with Leica and Pentax rather than Mannlicher and Browning. National Parks have been created to protect the animals (Amboseli opened soon after Hemingway’s last visit) and white hunters have largely been superseded by black rangers and game wardens.
Amboseli National Park, Kenya 
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Amboseli National Park, Kenya (second day)
  • Country/sea: Kenya
  • Place: Amboseli National Park
  • Book page no: 163

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