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Hemingway Adventure

Amboseli National Park, Kenya (second day)

Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureI’m in a twin-engined Cessna 206, built thirty-one years ago, flying east from Tortilis camp towards a low range called the Chyulu Hills, which lie between the National Parks of Amboseli and Tsavo.

Hemingway knew of Tsavo by reputation, for it was immortalised by one J. H. Patterson in his book The Man-Eaters of Tsavo, an account of two lions who preyed on men building the Mombasa-Nairobi railway, eating twenty-eight of them before being caught. The lions’ stuffed remains became star exhibits at the Field Museum in Chicago, one of young Ernest’s favourite haunts.

Hemingway knew the Chyulu Hills from direct experience, for in his second African trip, in 1953, he stayed close by when he took on the job of Honorary Game Warden. The man who is flying my plane there today, skimming it over a sand-coloured plain sprinkled with zebra and wildebeest and herds of Masai cattle, is the current Honorary Game Warden in the area. His name is Richard Bonham, a Kenyan with an interest in up-market safari lodges. He’s short, wiry and weathered and somewhere around fifty though his outdoor complexion and sun-bleached hair make him look much younger. He’s anxious about the fate of two Masai children and their herd of goats who went missing from their village last night.

He’s also very worried about a constipated cheetah, one of a pair which he took in recently after they were orphaned and couldn’t hunt.
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  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Amboseli National Park, Kenya (second day)
  • Country/sea: Kenya
  • Place: Amboseli National Park
  • Book page no: 168

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