Out of Africa

Back in the day, in the early 1980’s I was very interested in Karen Blixen, her life and the lives of the people around her. I read Out of Africa, and Judith Thurman’s bio of Blixen, along with biographies and auto biographies of her contemporaries. I was thrilled when the movie was made (even if Robert Redford was just wrong wrong wrong for the movie) and couldn’t wait to go see it. Wilf and I went with our friend Elizabeth. A few minutes into the movie Streep recites the opening line of the book I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong hills and the tears began. By the end Wilf said he had to wring his socks out with two weeping women on his hands. But – the story, the music, the cinematography!

We arrived in Mombasa and immediately transferred to the airport for a very special excursion. We flew to the foothills of Kilimanjaro to Ambolesi National Park.

12 person planes

As much of Kilimanjaro as we would see:



Enough water comes down from the mountain to make permanent water places in the midst of the near desert. As we were coming in to the air strip I realized that what I was seeing below was elephants standing in the water. The flight up was so wonderful and so interesting that I could have turned around and gone straight back. But there was more.

We’ve been so busy looking at the ‘charismatic megafauna ‘ that I haven’t really talked about the beautiful birds. Like the crown bird:

Or the maribou stork

Or all the fast moving little birds. And then there was this guy – who is not beautiful.

Jackal sitting right beside the road, licking its paws. We couldn’t figure out why it was staying put. We moved onto a bridge over a small culvert and then we knew. It’s very dead lunch was tucked away in the culvert. Bad smell.

After a lunch and an afternoon drive (it’s kind of embarrassing how quickly ‘oh, another zebra’ sets in) we flew back down to the coast.

It was a wonderful day and I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to have seen it all.

The next day the afternoon movie was Out of Africa. I was a little worried – what if it didn’t stand the test of time?

I needn’t have worried. When the lights went up there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Author: Sharon

I like to make things. I like to travel. I like to talk about what I'm up to.

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