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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Nairobi Park Diary: Warty goes wallowing

A warthog family enjoying a mudbath./GARETH JONES
A warthog family enjoying a mudbath./GARETH JONES

Walter Warty awoke with a grunt and mumbled to his dear wife Wartilda: “Mmm, how about us all going to the Athi Health Spa this morning for full mudpack treatment?” Wartilda squealed with delight and quickly gathered her six piglets.

The family trotted over the dry, dusty plains to eventually arrive at the Athi dam. Then Walter stopped suddenly, as did the rest of the family, as they looked at the strange creature near their favourite mud pool. One of the piglets grunted to Walter: “What is that, daddy?” Wartilda said: “My child, it is one of those grumble-shines. They have a strange smell and are mostly filled with untrustworthy humans.”

I sat waiting patiently as a family of warthogs approached a mud pool at the end of the Athi dam. They froze nervously for a few minutes, while they decided if my parked vehicle was a threat or not. Then, as if by adult warthog approval, they all moved down to the mud pool and proceeded to enjoy themselves by rolling in the mud. Soon, most of their bodies were covered in glistening wet mud.

Walter complimented Wartilda and told her that the mud spa treatment really made her look wonderfully piggy. The piglets also enjoyed the muddy moments as they playfully chased each other. All too soon, Walter gave the instruction for the family to leave and grunted to Wartilda: “Oink, oink! What a wonderful time we had. We must return tomorrow.”

Warthogs are an important part of the lion diet when migrating herds are absent. As we drove away, I wondered how long it would be for this warthog family to remain as it is before one of them became lion dinner.

The park is open daily from 06h00 to 19h00.

For more information on the park you can link to the following websites: or or on Facebook

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