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6:16 PM Mon, Nov. 12th

Local car buffs encounter wild animals on safari

Tourists and members of the Masai Mara tribe investigate an anthill in a photo taken by Yvonne Broadribb during her 1991 trip to Kenya. Photo: Courtesy

Tourists and members of the Masai Mara tribe investigate an anthill in a photo taken by Yvonne Broadribb during her 1991 trip to Kenya. Photo: Courtesy

GOLDEN VALLEY - One of the more interesting aspects of an African safari is you can expect the unexpected.

In June 1991, Yvonne Broadribb and her friend Claire Burton were on a 10-day tour of Kenya that included five days on safari and five days of relaxation at Mombasa Beach.

"One day we'd been hiking before returning to our campsite," Broadribb said. "There were several groups of us and five campfires were going.

"A large antelope came flying through the camp at incredible speed. It knocked over a tent, so something evidently was chasing it. Our guides went out to have a look around but didn't find any predators."

Yvonne and her husband Peter Broadribb have been married 32 years. Both were born in Middlesex County, England.

Peter was a truck driver and mechanic for more than 40 years. He also is a drag racing enthusiast, who has been working the past five years to restore a D/gas 1955 Chevrolet, a car he purchased without an engine. "I was about 15 and used to read Hot Rod magazine," he said. "An American drag racing team came to England for a visit to Blackbushe Airport."

"I lived in Eastcote and made the 140-mile roundtrip on a bike to see them."

Peter raced in England during 1985-93. He owned his own streetcar, a 1973 Chevy Nova.

"I was crew chief for a car in the dragster class at Santa Pod Raceway," he said.

"We were points champion in 1992."

While retired today, Peter stays active helping Yvonne with construction on her 1954 Chevy Bel Air. The couple also is building a motor home out of a semi-truck and that project is 75-percent complete.

Yvonne had long wanted to go on a safari. She asked Claire, who worked with her, if she would like to make the trip and she agreed.

They flew from Heathrow Airport in London to Nairobi, Kenya. After one day at a hotel in Nairobi, they divided the two suitcases they brought between them into one for the safari and departed the city in a Landrover-type vehicle.

Their itinerary took them first to Shaba National Reserve. That was followed by a visit to Lake Nakuru, an alkaline soda lake famous for its flamingos. The final stop on the five days of that portion of their tour was the world famous Masai Mara Reserve.

There were eight members in their tour group riding in two vehicles. Five guides accompanied them, with three remaining in camp while the other two guides took the tourists out to see the wildlife.

"I spent most of the time standing up on the front seat of our vehicle with my head out the top and a video camera hunting for animals," Yvonne said.

She has a sizable photo collection from the safari. Animals she got to see included lions, one leopard, one cheetah, elephants, giraffes, hippos, one crocodile, zebras, vultures and other numerous bird species, wildebeests and Thompson's gazelles, a favorite prey of cheetahs.

"I didn't see a hyena during the trip," Yvonne said.

"The cheetah was lying in grass. I have a passion for cheetahs. They're very hard to find."

Meals in camp were cooked in an "oven" resembling a large tapered bucket with a lid.

Cooking sheets of assorted diameters fit inside the oven at different levels, depending on desired heat and cooking time.

The main cook was nicknamed "Peter Pan," Yvonne said. Food was excellent and was cooked over wood collected from local dead trees.

There was one other animal encounter that left a lasting impression. Groups went out from camp in vehicles twice daily for 2-3 hours per trip.

Upon returning one morning, a herd of elephants was milling around the campsite. They eventually moved on and activity returned to normal.

Peter and Yvonne moved from England to Lake Havasu City in 1993. They stayed there for about one year before finding suitable property in So-Hi Estates and moving there the following year.

"We just fell in love with the desert here," Peter said.

Yvonne said she worked in the quality control division for Kodak for 19 years in England.

She has been a Realtor with GV Properties for the past seven years.

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Neighbors is a feature that appears Mondays in the Kingman Daily Miner. If you have an interesting story you'd like to share, contact Terry Organ at 753-6397, ext. 225.