In one of my crazier adventures,
I decided to visit Kitum cave which lies on the slopes of Mount
Elgon in Kenya. Kitum cave is well known because this is the
only place in the world where elephants go underground into the
caves at night to scrape the cave walls for the salts the rocks
contain. The vegetation in the forest is low in sodium so they
come here to satisfy their salt need.
The cave also became well known
when it was featured in the book "The Hot Zone" which
described two instances of Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever
being contracted here. It is a deadly virus that is closely related
to Ebola. Symptoms begin with a headache and fever, then your
internal organs begin to dissolve and liquefy.There have only
been a few case but the mortality rate of anyone catching it
here has been 100%
So, the hazards here include:
- Catching a rare, Ebola like
disease that causes you to bleed out from every orifice in your
- The possibility of encountering
irate elephants in an enclosed space.
- Other wildlife such as leopards,
hyenas and dangerous cape buffalo frequent the caves.
-Other biohazards such as Rabies
and Leishmaniasis from
the bats and hyrax.
- Cave collapse. Since these
caves are mined by the elephants, they are far less stable than
most other caves.
During this trip, I was bitten
by one of the Egyptian fruit bats. It bit through my glove and
broke the skin so I had to wait a week or so to see if I started
to develop any symptoms. If I had, my condition would've gone
critical very quickly. Even though I did not become sick, I still
had to undergo a lengthy series of rabies vaccinations, just