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Hemingway Adventure

Amboseli National Park, Kenya (second day)

Amboseli National Park, Kenya 
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Amboseli National Park, Kenya. Seeing game on foot is not an option for most tourists, but it was the way Hemingway preferred to do it. Thanks to my trusty escorts, Ali in the cap and Jackson in the Masai robe, I can get safely close to flamingo and elephant.
Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureHemingway, obsessive hunter though he was, was not the kind of sportsman to shoot from cars or hides or after dark when the animals were blinded by powerful lights. For him tracking on foot, using the knowledge of animals inculcated in him by his father and grandfather, was the best and fairest way for a man to hunt.

Today I’m going out into the bush in that spirit, in the company of my two guides, Jackson, a Masai, and Ali, a Kenyan Moslem.
It is the day to christen my Hemingway Jacket, which I spotted in a magazine at the Chicago gun range and which I find is still produced by Willis and Geiger to his original design.

What do I get for my $153? Well, as far as I can gather from the catalogue, a walking munitions dump. ‘Added shell pockets, recoil pad, expandable chest pockets, two huge bellowed cargo pockets for shells and a sleeve pocket for shooting glasses.’ The last item is a reminder that Hemingway suffered from poor eyesight for most of his life and, before dealing with a charging rhino, had to pop on a pair of little round specs which made him look more like a professor of poetry than a great white hunter.

First we drive a couple of miles or so to Lake Amboseli which, despite a year of drought, still retains water from the El Niño downpours of the year before. The grass cover is still green, and rich stands of vegetation mark fertile lava flows from the mountain.

In the near distance we pass ostriches ruffling their feathers and a pair of zebra mating and the occasional elephant plodding, but the most common beast in the bush is the cow, usually preceded by some solitary walking figure, often no more than a child.

A larger herd of elephant is indicated by footprints on the track, so we climb down off the vehicles and proceed on foot - something generally discouraged amongst tourists.
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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: 164

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