As the ardent Kenya lover knows, the country that straddles the equator enjoys distinct seasons influenced by the monsoon – two wet and two dry periods.
During the course of the year, the monsoon’s low pressure belt moves between its northernmost point over Arabia and its southernmost point over Zambia. As it travels between these two extremes, the low pressure belt passes over Mount Kenya between Mid-March and June, then again from October to December dispensing much needed rain.
In January and February, however, while the low pressure area is situated over its southern extreme, it drives predominantly north-easterly winds across Mount Kenya. Unable to carry along moist air from the Indian Ocean, it results in the lowest rainfall of the year.
The green pastures of our conservancy, home to some 1,500 animals, give way to dry grass. Even the smallest uneaten leaf is longing for the occasion drop of rain, a mere 37 millimeters last month.
The dry seasons at Mount Kenya follow the same rites of passage – cool nights reaching 40 degrees Fahrenheit give way to steadily rising temperatures reaching their peak, 85 degrees Fahrenheit, by noon. By then, the morning dew has been consumed by the merciless rays of the sun.
Famous botanist Olov Hedberg has given this fluctuation in temperatures the aphorism “winter every night and summer every day.”
On Saturday afternoon, however, we were treated to a spectacle of a very special kind. As the clouds wrapped themselves around Mount Kenya unusually low, all eyes turned skyward in anticipation of much needed rain. Slowly at first, it arrived in big drops sweeping over man and beast. It flowed downhill in little trickles forming puddles that the thirsty soil drunk greedily.
At any time of the year, precipitation is vital to the survival of Mount Kenya’s fauna and flora. Lacking it, the wildlife at our Conservancy relies on its caregivers to supplement the daily food ratio with expensive hay. Sadly, the rising demand has resulted in a simultaneous increase in cost and, once again, we turn to you, our loyal friends for support.
As if to remind us of her presence, the sun soon peeked through the clouds. 2 hours after the rain had started, nature treated us to a spectacular rainbow.
We are hopeful that the subtle green that has appeared within hours of the rain means renewed life in the weeks to come and so we continue to search for rain clouds over Mount Kenya.
Please will you consider making a donation towards food for the animals in our care? The following link will guide you: www.animalorphanagekenya.org/donate