The heli flight was spectacular to Sibiloi National Park and included an impromptu stop for afternoon tea high above the shores of Lake Turkana. Within minutes several natives appeared from nowhere and were fascinated by the helicopter and by us. It is so surreal to land in a spot that would be impossible to get to any other way and suddenly be confronted by curious onlookers!
Back we go in the heli where we saw huge Nile Crocs all along the shoreline, a few hippos here and there, the occasional canoe on the shore and small clusters of tribes that fish the lake for Nile Perch. The area seems quite arid and barren and other than herds of goat and cattle we did not spot much game. By late afternoon, we landed at Ileret for our stay at the Turkana Basin Institute and were met by Louise Leakey whose family put Africa on the map as far as paleontology is concerned.
Other than scientists and researchers, no one has camped at the Institute and had the amazing experience of “hanging out” with Louise and seeing and learning about their dig sites and findings. All around the main porch and lab areas were major fossils-incredible!
The vertebrae in question! Louise tried explaining to the tribe that had gathered that this was the vertebrae of a dinosaur that probably lived 75million years ago and the elder said so “190__ what?” and he was convinced it could only be part of a femur because certainly there was never an animal that large! He finally left in disgust!
Our final afternoon was spent by the shore of Lake Turkana. Those that went by truck were not so happy when they got stuck in the sand. Those of us that came by heli cheered the crowd up with sundowners! Ben the pilot lost his iphone and was distraught until we swooped in the next morning on our way out and he found it! Yay, Ben!