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Published: September 1st 2017
Ake at Diani Beach
A few days on the beach, a hike in a gorge and a hike on a volcano
In the previous blog post we wrote about the animals we encountered in Kenya. Here we will tell you all the non-animal related activities we did on this journey.
We first came to Nairobi and there we stayed for two days. After that we went to Diani Beach
near Mombasa and we spent a few days mainly doing what people do on beaches, that is desperately trying to ward off sand from getting onto our towels, into our shoes, into our clothes and into our bags.
Diani Beach we found more relaxed than we expected. Reports from other travellers said that there it is a crowded place. We didn’t find it crowded. Either we were there off season, or Kenya sees fewer tourists today than before or the reports were wrong.
If you like beaches, relaxing and/or kite surfing Diani Beach is a great place to visit. If you wish to snorkel it is not so good.
Selfie at the beach
We might actually push it as far as saying that for snorkelers Diani Beach sucks. The only thing we saw was thousands of sea urchins and two star fish.
After Diani Beach we went to Hell’s Gate National Park
. We have already in the previous blog entry mentioned the animals we saw there. There were three other features in the park we would like to mention here. In the park there are
• two volcanic plugs – in the end of a volcanic outbreak lava can remain in the volcano’s vent and when it cools down it forms a plug. If the surrounding rock is softer than the plug it erodes away over time and the volcanic plug is left standing like a pillar.
• Hell’s Gate Gorge – a narrow gorge which over millions of years has been cut out of the rock by a small creek. Although it was a bit rough to get down into the gorge the hike along it was so rewarding that it made it worth the trouble
• hot springs – Hell’s Gate lies in a geothermally active area and
This is how happy Emma is when she gets to be on a tropical beach
in a few places there are small springs ejecting hot water
• geothermal power stations – they are harvesting hot water from the ground and use it to power a turbine which creates electrical energy.
Not far from Hell’s Gate NP there is another interesting national park – Mount Longonot National Park
. It is a small national park which includes the volcano Mount Longonot and its immediate surroundings. There is a hiking trail from the park entrance up to the rim of the volcano. That hike is doable for anyone who is fit enough to walk a couple of kilometres. It involves a bit of easy climbing but the challenge is not so much the trail but the 400 meter or so vertical difference between the gate and the rim. It’s like climbing the stairs of Empire States Building and a bit more. Most people can do it as long as you allow the time.
There is also a trail which follows the rim all around. That trail is only recommended for people who are reasonably fit. It is more than 7 km long, it
Local children playing in the waves
Even if you live in a tropical paradise it is still great fun to play in the waves
is a pretty big volcano, and is much harder to walk than the straight up tail to the rim. We did the entire hike and although we exercise regularly it didn’t come easy to us.
We normally try to keep a positive and light tone in this blog. We want people who read this to feel good afterwards. Some readers claim that we make them feel bored instead of good, but that not our intent. It is just because we are less good at what we do than we want to be. But here in the end we are going to mention three things that are likely to make any normal person sad or angry or frustrated or disappointed but most likely all of the above. We won’t write anything more that is fun to read so feel free to skip the rest of the text if you want.
• Poaching – In Kenya, as in many other countries in Africa, poachers kill elephants and rhinos only to get their horns. The authorities in Kenya take this problem seriously and have hired guards and rangers to
Palms and beach
Palms and beach at Diani Beach
protect the animals. This is the main reason why the entry fee to the Kenyan national parks is very high. To draw attention to the problem with poaching the authorities have at least twice collected confiscated ivory and burned it.
• 2013 Westgate Mall shooting
– in 2013 a group of terrorists entered one of the largest shopping malls in Nairobi. Before the police got the situation under control they had murdered over 60 people.
• the bombing of the US embassy in 1998
– This terrorist attack was a coordinated attack on two US embassies, the one in Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania and the one in Nairobi, Kenya. We have mentioned this attack before in one of our blog entries from Tanzania. The terrorists set off a large explosive device hidden in a truck. In Nairobi 213 people were killed and around 4,000 were injured in the explosion.
Sorry about the dull ending. But let’s face it, these things are also part of life and even if we want to we must face these realities from time to time too.
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