Aberdares National Park – The Ark
It was January 2005, our third trip to Kenya, the itinerary was to fly from Mombasa to Nairobi, from where we would drive to Lake Nakura, Aberdares, Sweetwaters and onto the Masai Mara via the infamous road through Narok.
On the morning of the 18th we had driven to Aberdares country club for lunch before heading to the Ark for the night. Spending a night at either Treetops or the Ark is virtually compulsory if you are in Aberdares as both provide a good opportunity to watch wildlife visiting waterholes, particularly at night.
We spent a pleasant, but uneventful evening, at the Ark watching a small number of animals, mainly Elephant and Bushbuck, visiting the waterhole.
Some time shortly before midnight, the witching hour, we decided to take a turn round the Ark in the hope that something more interesting might be on the move. By now most of the guests had gone to bed and the night was cool and quiet. Yes it can get surprisingly cool at night, particularly in the nothern parts of Kenya.
An amazing variety of moths scurried arround the many lights that lit the Ark and nearby waterhole. Other than two Bushbuck, visiting the waterhole, all was quiet. We wandered through the viewing areas hoping to see something more exciting, but disappointed, headed back to the lounge for a night-cap before turning in.
On route back to the room I carried out a final recce during which I climbed a flight of stairs opening onto a veranda which overlooked the rear of the Ark and low and behold there she was. Earlier in the evening we had seen a leopard prowling on the far side of the waterhole.
Now she had decided to show her presence in the most dramatic way. Here she was, virtually below me, dispensing a Bushbuck which had strayed too close to her cover in the surrounding bush.
And then she was gone ……. prey and all…….
The following morning the main breakfast topic was of the Leopard which had made a kill during the night, but everyone, save a couple of staff, had missed it. Well not quite every one ………