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Published: March 16th 2009
July 20th Thursday LONDON
So after spending yesterday with Nicole, having a nice catch up over a few bevvies, and sleeping in her lounge room, we get up at a ridiculous hour and Nicole escorts me to the airport. My first time at Heathrow and it wasn’t as big as I thought it would be. I check my bags in (15.3kg) and I want sure why I wasn’t feeling excited. I mean I was, but it was like it hadn’t really hit me that I was leaving for Africa, a place I have been dreaming about since I was a kid. All those geography lessons at school dreaming about the nature of Africa, and all those documentaries I watched and taped so I could watch again. My tummy had a case of the nerves though. So I say bye to the UK and Nicole and jump onto the plane.
I had no one next to me on the plane so I could spread out, I even had a nap before we left London as we were delayed (the Heathrow experience wouldn't have been right without a delay). So I was off to Africa, first stop Delhi to drop off
and pick up, second stop Bombay. I had a 7 hour stopover and the airport had no food and the only TV wasn’t in English. I was bored out of my brain. Once on the next flight to Nairobi I happened to look out the window just at the right time to catch a glimpse of the African continent coming into view. I was now flying over Africa, oh my god. I saw a meandering brown river, patches of green and some funny looking squarish orange patches too. I also saw the heavy mass of clouds over Mt Kenya. When coming into land I saw my favourite trees for the first time, the Acacia and it brought a tear to my eyes. After watching all those documentaries I am now here fulfilling a dream, and it feels good.
So I hang at the airport for Robin’s flight from Sydney to arrive and when I see her coming through the doors we both screamed like little girls. It was so great to see her. I couldn’t believe how big her sleeping bag was, I almost saw that first before seeing her! We got our transfer to our pre-tour accommodation with
My new home for the next 58 days; CHOBE
This truck/bus was amazing, had everything we needed on it, including fresh water and a fridge. I want one
the driver whizzing in and out of lanes. On the way we saw Marabou Storks in the Acacia trees that actually looked fake at first.
Our first night accommodation was in Hotel Boulevard and it was a pretty good room. We headed back into town later so I could get some money out, something that would prove to be a very annoying and stressful activity throughout all of Africa for me. The Hilton came to my rescue on this occasion. We had our pre-departure meeting, a bite to eat and then Robin and I just headed to our room to catch up and I decided not to shower and promised myself to get up in the morning and do some yoga before we left. To tell the truth I didn’t feel as pumped as I thought I would have. It was great to see Robin and to finally be here, maybe I am just concerned about getting my money out, I am sure once the tour starts I will be all fired up!
22nd July Saturday DAY 1 NAIROBI to NAKURU
I woke up and couldn’t be buggered to do yoga! I was a little nervous about
The Rift Valley
Which actually starts in Jordan and finishes in Mozambique, going for about 6000km.
starting the tour, I probably foresaw the dilemmas of the morning, with the hotel wanting to charge Robin and myself for our transfer and night accommodation (even though its part of the tour). We grabbed Helen (tour leader) but Robin had to pay and will later be reimbursed (which she was). We put our packs in our own lockers, checked out the vehicle (called Chobe) which was to be our home for the next 58 days. All aboard and we make a quick stop at a supermarket for the vital snacks and then head to our first official stop of the tour, a lookout over the Rift Valley. The locals were all trying to sell us stuff which felt just like Asia. I noticed that the locals also lay on the grass or dirt on the sides of the roads and I'm unsure why, I guess some of them may be waiting for a lift! The dirt is very red and everything looks so fertile.
Later we arrive in Lake Nakuru National Park. We set up for our first lunch which was brilliant and even had some cheeky blue-balled monkeys trying to steal our food, but don’t worry we
Panoramic Rift Valley
In some sections it's sinking over a meter a year. Copyright Robin
had sling shots to scare them away. Everyone pitched in and we were given our rosters as to what chores we would be doing for the first section. Helen jumped into the back of the truck with us to commentate whilst Dave got into the front with our trusty driver Patrick, who had to get out to sort entry into the park, to Dave’s surprise a monkey jumped into the front of the truck, Dave couldn’t find the door handle to get himself out so he yelled at the money a couple of times to “get out” but the monkey took Patrick’s banana in the process, we laughed for ages and didn’t let Dave forget it for the rest of the day.
So we head into the park where thousands of Flamingo’s come to roost in the alkaline waters of Lake Nakuru, which is a shallow soda lake surrounded by woodlands. We instantly saw Zebra, Water Buffalo, Wort Hogs and the Flamingo’s. There were a few dead ones around, having died from a disease, but this allowed for us to get some nice close ups of their beautiful feathers. One thing the photos do not express is the unique
Some Kenyan shopping
at the Rift Valley lookout
foul smell of the water. We move on and see some White Rhino’s, too far away to appreciate though, awesome nonetheless. We continued to drive around, saw some Baboons in a tree and I actually got to scare one out of the tree (by accident) after pulling my camera away from my face to see it right in front of my face, I screamed “holy crap” scaring the crap out of it, Ha, getting those monkeys back for all the pain they have caused me on my travels.
We set up camp and the cookers started on dinner whilst Robin and I went down to Makalia Waterfall which was the first waterfall I have ever seen that had brown water, something different I guess, but we got out of there pretty quick as we saw the baboons coming down the mountain and they looked a bit scary. At dinner we got to have a few beers which were leftover from the last tour and after our amazing dinner we toasted marshmallows and went around and introduced ourselves. This campsite had no fences around it so we got to share our campsite with the Water Buffalos, Jackals and Baboons.
23rd July Sunday DAY 2 NAKURU to ELDORET
Up at 6:30am to leave at 7:30am. I had a shocking sleep with weird dreams like I no longer had my tattoo, mum bought a snake which made me worry about Finchy and I kept waking up in hot sweats. I was impressed at brekky as they have Milo here so I got to have my Milo and cornflakes for the first time in ages. We were packed up early and had another incident with a baboon where one diverted us making a racket while another one came from behind and stole a whole loaf of bread, but not before going over the top of Dave’s breakfast on the table. We all cracked up and will now call him Monkey Boy. We headed out for an early morning game drive and didn’t see much at all, although I thought I saw a Rhino but that turned out to be a huge rock. We got a heads up and ended up seeing 3 lionesses. Awesome! They didn’t do too much, just layed around but it was still great to see. After that we ended up seeing heaps of everything, more White Rhino’s
We're on our way to Nakuru
like the condition of the roads? this is actually good so far
which walked straight past our truck, 3 adults an a baby which made me feel like I was in Jurrasic Park as they are so prehistoric looking, heaps more Giraffes, Water Buffalo, Water Buck, Thompson’s Gazelle, Impala, Pumba’s (Wort Hogs) and did I mention the 3 lions!!! We headed up to Baboon lookout to get an awesome view of the park where we also got to see some Dassies and Robin was very excited, one of her favourite animals. So in the first 2 days of gaming we have seen 3 of the “”Big 5” being Water Buffalo, Lion and Rhino. Apparently the Big 5 are the animals that were the hardest to hunt when hunting was allowed.
After leaving the park we headed to a little market place where the locals wanted to swap my hat and necklace for one of theirs. Every shop had exactly the same wood carvings and necklaces. Our next stop was Nameri River Camping ground and was pretty unreal actually, with the best showers I have seen backpacking, and the cutest dogs too! One dog even sat on a cushion on top of the bar! And the bar, it had waterfalls, fire, bridges,
Blue Balled Monkeys
yes they are actually called that...
darts, pool, but the only thing missing was other people. I had 2 beers in the bar after dinner and felt a little tipsy, but not a late one.
Injury number 1; cutting myself when cooking
KENYAN BEER: Tusker ****½
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