wild shopping in Kenya

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In Africa shopping is often an adventure. Well, who needs the thrill of the mall when you can strike a deal in a hippo-infested papyrus swamp? And for carnations too. I was most impressed by this young man’s opportunism, though puzzled too. Flower-buying customers seemed in short supply in this particular location. I was in the wilderness grounds attached to the Safariland Hotel on the shores of Lake Naivasha when he popped out of the papyrus. I had been wandering alone there (as I did over several days), not on the look out for retail therapy, but for Cape Buffalo (as indeed the sign warned me), and also for hippo whose very loud grunting was resounding off the lake. Both creatures can be deadly if you catch them, or they you, in circumstances not to their liking. 

In short then, I was engaged in my own form of adventure bird-watching, while the Team Leader, aka Graham, was back at the hotel, involved in workshop brain-storming with fellow scientists from across Africa. The other surprising factor is that I had some money on me so was able to buy a bunch. The flower seller kept his stock hidden from view in a swamp puddle. It seemed he was recycling the discarded side-shoots from one of the local flower factories. There are several of these huge horticulture enterprises along Lake Naivasha’s shore, all abstracting and polluting the only freshwater lake within Kenya’s Rift in order to export perfect metre-long stems of roses and carnations to Europe. The seller was thus making an opportunity out of stock control squeamishness over European “standards”. But as you can see, his little posy is very pretty. The flowers lasted ages, even surviving a hot drive back to Nairobi. A good buy all round.

You can read more of this story at CARNATIONS, CROOKS AND COLOBUS AT LAKE NAIVASHA  For now, here are more views of this unique wildlife outlet store:

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DP weekly photo challenge: adventure

Ailsa’s Travel Challenge: merchandise

16 thoughts on “wild shopping in Kenya

  1. “Well, who needs the thrill of the mall when you can strike a deal in a hippo-infested papyrus swamp?” Npt a question I’ve ever had to ask myself, I must admit. I’ve had to figure out which day was less likely to be the day terrorists would plant a bomb in the open-air market … but hippos were never an issue. I think I prefer the hippos, actually. I love your posts. This was great, thanks.

    1. Whoah there, Marilyn, that is a pretty scary shopping question – which day were the terrorists least likely to plant a bomb in the market. Certainly puts things into perspective. Glad you liked the post.

  2. Certainly one of the more unusual retail opportunities, and pretty flowers nonetheless! Now about that sign: do the buffaloes know that they are not to be in front of this sign, only beyond it? Someone must have taught them to read….

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