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16. December - Amboseli, settling in

We departed for Amboseli at midday arriving at camp just after 17:00. The dirt road into the Park from the border town of Namanga was really corrugated, and we quickly realized how badly we needed new rear shock absorbers. The back of the car was wallowing back and forth, at times almost sliding off the road. Both Petter and Joyce are used to corrugations, but this was frightening.

The park looked extremely dry and barren. Last year we were in Amboseli during a period of tremendously high rainfall, but there has been very little rain since then. The long rains of March/April failed and it seems that the short rains of November/December have failed, too. One can’t help wondering if the extremes are a consequence of global warming.

It was wonderful to drive into the Elephant Camp – an oasis surrounded by palm trees in the middle of the park – and to meet our old friends, Josephat and Saruni, who are among its caretakers. Karen McComb and Graeme Shannon, with whom we are collaborating on a study of elephant social knowledge, came out to greet us, too.

We had an entertaining evening catching up on elephants and playbacks before Karen left the following morning to return to Sussex University.