He is amazingly patient with the kids, and they love him to bits.The most obvious danger is stepping on snakes or scorpions – which can be fatal for children – so although we rarely see them it’s important to always be aware that they are present.I had a miserable experience of it myself at 13 – which I think is too young – so I wouldn't want our kids to go through the same.
He is amazingly patient with the kids, and they love him to bits.The most obvious danger is stepping on snakes or scorpions – which can be fatal for children – so although we rarely see them it’s important to always be aware that they are present.
I think a little exposure is fine, but I am hugely wary of the pitfalls of having one’s nose in a screen all day long.
At the moment, thankfully, they are caught up in the magical world of books and I see in them the same happy expectation that I had as a child whenever I opened up a new story.
Prevention is mostly about looking where you’re putting your feet (being aware that a snake with a raised hood can spit in your eyes) and knocking out shoes before putting them on in the morning. One of the bulls who particularly likes camp is called Sarara – he’s really beautiful, enormous, but also quite feisty.
The other danger is when there are elephants in Camp, which is quite a common occurrence – especially when the Acacia trees are in seed. He’s convinced it’s his patch and we are all trespassers.
about the challenges of working and raising kids amongst one of Africa’s largest free-roaming populations of elephants, in a stunning landscape full of hidden dangers... Did that influence your decision to raise your kids there?
What did you get out of it that you hope your kids do as well?And rather than sing English nursery rhymes in nursery school, in Samburu they learn a wonderful array of African songs and games or play chase, with Mporian [our 'warrior babysitter'] being a lion.On the face of it, you are raising your children in what they consider a ‘dangerous’ environment.Was it a difficult decision to take over this camp with a young family in tow? I was going a bit mad being a 'mum in the suburbs', especially after the twins were born.My life pre-kids was very adventurous and mostly in wild places, as was my husband’s, so we were both pining for a bit of wilderness.Despite their size, elephants can disappear completely in rather innocuous looking bushes… I think the most dangerous situation any of the kids got in to was when Mayian (one of the twins and rather stubborn) was stomping along looking at her feet – having disobeyed everyone to come and find me – and walked straight into Sarara’s backside.When she saw his feet then looked up she got the most terrible fright.He swung around and shook his head at her, but luckily by then Mporian, who was hot on her tail, had managed to snatch her to safety. Is there anything you think they are missing out on?Living amongst Samburu nomads is the most incredible education for the kids – they absorb absolutely everything they see and hear, and just by living in the bush are learning all about the animals, bugs and birds, what they eat, where to find them, what their footprints or dung looks like, where they nest, how to identify their songs.I think if you grow up being exposed to very different environments it has a profound effect on you.Most importantly it helps you to see beyond your immediate neighbourhood, and to have a curiosity about the world.