beginning of the overlanding, Masai Mara

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Africa » Kenya » Nairobi Province » Nairobi
August 28th 2011
Published: September 19th 2011
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Next morning we had organized a taxi to take us to Mombasa to the bus stop. We got there almost an hour early, much better than being late though. Finally we got on our bus and it was the aircon version, very comfy, but it took a while for the aircon to cool the bus down sufficiently. We stopped halfway at the same place as on the way to Mombasa and had some empanadas (they call them meat pies) then oiled on again and left for Nairobi. We arrived at about 7.30 at the bus stop, and had called ahead to a taxi driver who gave us his card, but he sent his mate who waited for us since 6pm when the bus was supposed to arrive! We felt bad so paid extra even though he didn’t ask for it. We arrived at the hostel as the manager was leaving, so we were lucky, we got our key and went to our room. We wanted dinner and the restaurant at the hostel was closed after 8! We went across the road to Java coffee house and they were closing up. WE walked up the side road and found a Chinese restaurant that was empty but still open and had some great fried noodles with beef and chicken with cashew nut. It was a little expensive but good food. We went to bed after that, tired and full.
Next morning we had a sleep in, and a lazy morning, breakfast was at 10.30 then we needed internet but the cyber at the hostel was closed since they were having technical problems. So we took the laptop and went to Java coffee house where they have free wifi if you are a customer. We had amazing milk shakes and skyped mum a bit, and tried to check bank accounts and email, but they wouldn’t load. So we dumped our stuff back in the room and walked to another cyber nearby and got on the email there which was good. We drew money out of an ATM nearby then tooka taxi to the centre of town, we got him to take us first to the shop where we could buy mattresses for our 2 week camping trip, then to get US dollars at one of the only forex bureaus that was open after 12pm on a Saturday then back to the hostel. We went back to Java to have lunch and skype some more which was nice. We were pretty full after that. At 4.30 we took a taxi to the Boulevard hotel where we were to meet the rest of the guys on our overlanding truck leaving the next morning and our guide, Amy. The meeting was brief, but we freaked out! The travel agent we booked through didn’t tell us that the gorlla permit wasn’t included, and its $500US cash that needed to be paid either right then or the next morning. They didn’t tell us anything abiut needing to be prepared with cash, but apparently everyone else in the room had been told! We felt ambushed!! We waited until everyone else had been processed then talked to Amy about it, she called the head office, but was told we haven’t paid for the permits, but luckily, she is an aussie, and she offered us to send her the money and she would get the US dollars, since all the bureaus would be closed the next day. So nice!
We went back to the hostel feeling angry at the agent, so we went to Java again and tried in vain to get onto hotmail to check through all our email correspondence. We couldn’t. Eventually back in the hostel restaurant we got emails on the phone while we watched Liverpool play on the tv. They kicked us out at half time when the restaurant shut which didn’t help our mood. We sat in the lounge and Dario wrote the email we would send on the laptop while I chatted to a German 19 yr old girl who was building her house in Diani beach, was going on tv in the next part of the Heidi Klum next top model in Germany and owns a cement mixing truck that she hires out in Diani as her income. We were tired after all that so went to pack everything and went to bed.
Next morning we went across to Java for breakfast on my birthday! Pancakes and a chocolate milkshake! Yay! We got a taxi at 7.45 ish to the Boulevard Hotel and dumped our big bags in the truck before hitting the wifi and sending Amy the money for the permits. Eventually we were all assembled and ready to go. We picked seats for the day, we sat across from Polly, a brit travelling on her own, and Brent an aussie travelling on his own. Everyone on the truck is nice and we all tend to get on well so far. First we stopped at a shopping centre just outside the centre of Nairobi to buy food and any snacks etc we wanted. The drive for the rest of the day was long, but we stopped in a nice spot on the side of the highway for lunch. Then the roads turned horrible and we bumped our way along until we got to our campsite next to the maasai mara. Amy managed to talk us into permanent tents that they have there with beds in them, so we didn’t have to put up tents! The site was nice, and there were cows all around the outside of the camp, the maasai keep cattle, and they all wore bells, so it was noisy as they walked past in the early evening. Dinner was late since Duncan our cook needed time to prepare everything once we arrived around 5.30pm. Everyone on the truck is part of a team and we rotate duties each day. I was supposed to be cleaning the truck, but since it was my birthday Dario wanted to do my duty and helped them clean the truck.
We all sat around a fire while we waited for dinner, drinking warm beers since the only electricity at this place was from a generator and it hadn’t been on all day. Polly made everyone sing happy birthday. Then we had dinner near the truck in the fold out chairs that come with us everywhere. Yummy rice with veggies and beef stew. After dinner, Dario made me sit in the middle and brought me a cake he had bought me in Nairobi and he had iced it with Nutella! Everyone sang again which was lovely and the candles were lit momentarily, but the wind was so bad, but I didn’t care, it was so nice. Everyone had a piece then we packed up and half the people went to bed since we had to have brekky at 5.45am next morning and half stayed in the bar and had a few more beers. We went to bed, I had a horrible headache after just 2 beers, and it last for about the next 24 hours.
Next morning everyone was up by 5.30 and we had breakfast until 6.15 before piling into the truck, leaving Duncan the cook behind, and went to the Maasai mara for a day of game driving. We got through the gate and off we went. A bunch of the people on the truck haven’t seen most of the wildlife before, so we stopped for Zebra, Wildebeest, Gazelles and Impala before we found a lion. He was old and injured and so skinny the poor thing. He was missing one of his big claws too and had a horrible limp, he could hardly walk at all. Later, Alouis, our driver (who is a Maasai and has killed a lion a long time ago) said that he noticed the rangers were monitoring the lion and he reckoned they would kill something to feed him. We saw a single lioness later on sitting on a rock watching some buffalo, and we found a dead buffalo that had died of disease or something within the last 12 hours so was starting to smell bad and bloat up, nothing was eating it. Everywhere around the place there were bones and carcasses that vultures were eating, so it was obviously an active place for predators.
For lunch we stopped at a place called the Hippo Pool, part of the river where the great migration crosses and all the epic videos of crocs killing zebra etc happen. But we had missed the migration. Dario, Lisa and I helped Amy with lunch prep, everyone else went on a walk with a ranger to see further down the river, they saw crocs and lots of cultures eating dead wildebeest. We had our lunch, sandwiches and cordial then packed up and headed out of the park, having a game drive on the way. We saw loads of elephants and giraffe on the way back out. Most of us opted to do a walk through a maasai village so we got dropped at a village near the camp grounds. Alex was our guide, he was the chiefs son, and next in line to be chief and had gone to high school and so spoke excellent English. He showed us where they keep the baby goats, and we got to hold them and they told us they were about to take them to their mothers to be fed. Then we walked into the village and saw where the cattle are kept at night. Apparently 6 boys will stand guard in case predators come in the night. We saw the men do their jumping dance and we saw the women dance separately. Then we were invited to see inside a maasai house. There were puppies everywhere too, they use them as guard dogs, they bark at any lions etc that come close at night time. We were taken to their little shopping area but it was too expensive for us. Then he walked us back to the camp showing us a school on the way where the maasai children now go and lots of trees that have medicinal properties. We arrived back and had time for showers (cold) before dinner at 6.30. Then Amy told us about the next day, before we packed up, paid our bills at the bar and went to bed.
Next morning breakfast was at 6.15 and we packed everything up and headed off at 7. We drove all day again to get to Kisumu by about 5. We stopped for lunch on the side of the road again and played a little game of cricket which was fun. I was the only girl. The campsite in Kisumu was really nice, on the bank of Lake Victoria. The ablutions were a bit dodgy, but we slept in tents that night so had to put them up and we helped others who hadn’t done it before. We all had a few drinks before dinner, and charged all our applicances on a massive power board from the truck! There must have been 20 things plugged in at once. We had dinner, hung around a bit while Amy told us about the next day, then most people went to their tent to sleep.


6th December 2011

Wounded Lion on the Mara
I also took some pics of a wounded lion on the mara this past Oct. Perhaps we could trade pictures to see if it is the same one?

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