We’ve been in Kenya a while now and the place is teeming with wildlife. It’s like we’ve been living in a David Attenborough documentary. Yesterday I was sitting stroking a baby cheetah next to a waterhole where giraffe, zebras and antelopes were peacefully grazing and drinking. It was hard to take it all in. It felt like we were looking at a fake backdrop to an old Tarzan film, rather than actual reality.

We’re spending a week acclimatising out in the bush at the tented home of my sister-in-law, Jophie, and her husband, Alastair, a slow talking, bona fide bushman. While the children have been busy making mud pies and bouncing on the trampoline, oblivious to the animals, I’ve been gaping at the elephants, baboons, ostriches and everything else that wanders by. One zebra in particular has been causing problems by wandering into the camp and chasing the children. Alastair scares it off by throwing things at it.

Much more friendly and cuddly is the pet cheetah. Although we have to be wary of it around the children – you can see the way it suddenly crouches and becomes alert when one of them starts wandering off alone – little Ossian gave it a loving stroke today, while cousin Eve, who is five, let it maul her foot playfully. “It tickles,” she giggled as it clasped its mouth around her ankle.

All the wild animals are making it hard to get out running, but in one way that’s lucky, as I’ve picked up a slight injury. At least I hope it’s slight. About a mile in to my first run in Kenya in Nairobi, my calf suddenly tightened and felt very sore. I looked it up on the internet, which is always the worst thing to do. Rest it for eight weeks, said one site. Forget running ever again, said another.

Someone out here told me it was probably the altitude, and that it would soon be better again. It’s now a few days since I last ran and it feels fine, but I really need to test it out with another run. Alastair recommends doing laps on a 200-metre loop along a dusty track just outside their camp, where the bush is fairly open. Any further along the track and I could stumble on rhino, buffalo or even lions, he tells me. Which is good to know. Even the 200-metre loop feels a bit on the risky side. I’m sure the extra few days’ rest will do me good.

Next week we head out on our own to Iten in the Rift Valley. Running country. I hope the leg is better by then.

The book Running with the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn will be published in 2012

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