Rutundu for a long weekend
Rutundu beckoned. It's an annual escape to a part of Kenya that demands total and willing separation from the rest of the world. Phone reception dies soon after the turn off from the main road, and it's just you, the mountain breeze and an astonishing, ever-changing environment as you climb higher up the mountain. We were late (it's normal, something about living in Africa makes you believe you have all the time in the world), but we reached Rutundu as dusk crept over the sky; a cold wind whipped up but buffered by that warmth that bones seem to hold on to for a few hours, we tumbled down the path to the gorge and up the other side to these isolated, wonderfully romantic cabins.
The wood we brought, some of which was given to us by friends on Kakuzi, lit up the fire in the main cabin (the middle picture), and we snuggled in for thai green chicken curry re-heated on the kitchen stove. With no electricity, the cabins are warmly lit by oil lamps, bathing everything in a soft orange light. We slept like babies, finally severed from the ever invasive technology that rules our lives.
There is nothing quite like waking up at 10,200 feet. The air, while thinner than usual, is crisp and it almost slaps you in the face (in a friendly way) saying 'wake up!', time to enjoy nature. We indulged in an enormous breakfast (is it something about being on safari that justifies this gluttony?), a lot of chat from the boys (Wiz and James) about flies, rods, reels and lines, and then trotted down to Lake Rutundu, a five minute descent down a wiggly path.
People say Rutundu is a hidden gem... the crystal clear waters of this lake are cosetted by the surrounding bowl, which feels like it is hugging the water and protecting it from intruders. A fish eagle soared miles above us, and below, the trout cleverly evaded our flies' tempting flicker. We spent hours on Lake Rutundu perfecting our casts... but eventually I got bored of fishing and got a little obsessed with the flowers...
We fished from the jetty and we fished from the boat (assisted, as you can see, by some very pure 'Scottish Water') and a small dog. Notwithstanding that special water, it could be Scotland with the amount of tweed bouncing around that small boat! We were ably assisted by Rutundu's lovely staff who rowed us around the lake again and again searching for the whopper trout that we were convinced was there.
... and finally, as it was getting dark, James got his Rutundu fish! The fly was black woolly bugger (I think!), and the fish was delicious. We had it for breakfast, perfectly cooked and steaming with dill and lemon (dill is very much an essential ingredient for any safari to Rutundu).
After three nights at Rutundu, our lungs were stronger and our limbs relaxed, and we tootled down the hill back to reality.