To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries
- Aldous Huxley

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Back in Kenya - We were literally talking shit

Once again we woke at times only drunks are stumbling home to take down the tent, have breakfast and departed from rain soaked Jinja, across the border and back into Kenya.
The ride on the first day took all day to get to Lake Nakuru. We stayed at a place called Kembu Camp, which is a big farm area with lush green grass to put up our tents.
Once the tents were up and as we were in the shower it said they were on tight water restrictions, which I am sure they were taking the piss because rained more in a few hours there than it does in Melbourne for half a year. Thankfully because of the grass we didn’t get our feet dirty after the shower and stayed relatively clean, something which I very thankful for.

A good nights sleep and we were up early the next morning to visit Lake Nakuru National Park for a game drive and bird watching.
Due to the rain we had a lot of roads inaccessible and we were not able to see any Lions or Leopards but I enjoyed it. It is a smaller National Park and doesn’t have elephants, but we saw a couple of White Rhinos, Jackals and their pups, Hyenas, Flamingos, and got close to Buffalo, Baboons, Monkeys, Zebras, Impala and some other animals.
A lot of people didn’t seem to enjoy the game drive but I actually liked it. I liked having a change up and seeing the different types of birds rather than focusing on the big 5 and other, more popular animals.
We finished around 1am and headed to our next destination, Crayfish Camp in Lake Naivasha where it started raining on the way. For a change.

Hi...and thank you for reading my blog. You make me smile

Troopers that we were, we were one of two couples who didn’t upgrade to a cabin whilst there for the nights. I think because of the downpouring of rain we’d had the previous nights and the promise of more on the way everyone was sick of risking getting their stuff wet in the tents. We decided early in the trip that we wouldn’t upgrade rather we’d get an air mattress to replace our camp mats we used last time. Well worth the purchase if you ever do an overland/camping trip, it is comfortable.

Funnily enough it did not rain during the two nights we were there which even worked out even better as we were able to do some washing of our dirty clothes. I had planned on going for a boat ride on the lake hoping to see the Fish Eagles but the planner disappeared and I was unable to do so. So I had a much-needed sleep in and at 3pm we, along with about 10 others, headed to Elsamere Cottage, the home of Joy and George Adamsom. Joy Adamson was an Austrian ex-pat who moved to Kenya in a bid to marry every man in the country. Failing just short in this goal, having only married 3 men – finally settling on George – she moved onto animals and paintings and was famous for her books on Elsa, a female lion she had an incredible relationship with after George, who was a hunter-turned-game warden, rescued her as a cub after her mother was killed. Joy’s relationship with Elsa was written about in a couple of books, the most famous being ‘Born Free’. She also had a relationship with Pippa, a female Cheetah and a leopard whose name I cannot recall.

The justice system over the imprisonment of the person accused of killing Joy Adamson

Joy died in the 1980s, stabbed by hired help over a pay dispute, although a Google search on this suggests there might be a conspiracy in regards to this. George was shot and killed a few years later trying to rescue a tourist in northern Kenya.
We watched a documentary on her before we were able to explore their museum, seeing their various knick-knacks and awards for their services to conservation. Once we were done we had a high tea of cakes, scones, and other savory snacks and we able to explore the cottage.
The cottage was beautiful, a place I would love to live in. It has a wonderful view of Lake Naivasha, and a wide-open backyard leading to the jetty sprinkled with various trees and plants as well as resident Baboon’s and Monkeys who are keen on impressing upon people how hungry they are.
We returned to Crayfish Camp and had dinner and spent some time with the others on their last night on tour before going our separate ways.

The next morning we packed and headed back to Nairobi. Thankfully the drive was short and we arrived at Acacia Camp early enough that we were able to go to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a place where they rescue Elephants or Rhinos who have lost their mothers and look after them and then reintroduce them into the wild. Thus far they have been 100% successful in the reintroduction of Elephants into the wild.

The Trust is only open from 11-12 in the morning where you can watch the Elephants feeding. We were able to watch 27 of the young elephants guzzle down their milk and then try and push in on others being fed. They are very active and quite funny because they can be so awkward, as if they aren’t quite used to their size. Once we had finished watching, we decided to sponsor a baby elephant named Lemoyian, a baby boy who was trapped in a man-made well and lost his mother.

 I, too, would be this happy if someone fed me a giant-ass bottle of milk everyday

We left the Trust and headed to Giraffe manor where we were able to learn about the giraffe programs in increasing their numbers in Kenya (currently the numbers are increasing) and be able to feed them if they were interested in the food. I wasn’t overly impressed with Giraffe Manor, though it was cool to get close to the giraffes. Once we finished at the Manor we headed to the Galleria, a shopping mall about a 10-minute walk from our camp. We had lunch there and browsed a bit before walking back to the camp where we heard of the terrorist attack at another shopping mall in Westlake.

You can get pretty close to them

Funnily enough, because it was the last day for some of the campers, we were planning on meeting at a restaurant in Westlake but we had to quickly change plans and unfortunately some were not able to make it and others were not willing to leave. In the end only 5 of us headed out and we went to Carnivore, a popular restaurant nearby.

The 5 of us waited almost an hour for a taxi we thought was booked but never showed up so we asked one of the managers at the camp if he could book us a taxi seeing as we were getting close to our booking time at the restaurant. Eventually the manager said he would go to the main road and see if he could hail a taxi. We waited for a couple of minutes before he returned with a beat up old white car that did not look like a taxi in any respect. There was also a lady in the front seat.
The lady got out and the manager told us he would take us to Carnivore. We negotiated the price and jumped in, fitting 4 people in the back and me in the front thinking the restaurant was only 4km down the road and only a 5-minute drive. As we left, the lady was still standing out the front of the camp.
20-minutes later we were still driving and it occurred to us that we actually weren’t in a taxi but some random guys car. We asked the driver if he was taking us to Carnivore and he didn’t respond which increased our apprehension on whether we were being taken to the restaurant or just being kidnapped.

Eventually the driver said he knows we are going to Carnivore. We turned off the main road we drove into the back alley roads where it looked more likely you would find bodies and not a restaurant, but like a beacon of light, there was the restaurant. Our driver who doesn’t speak very good English pulled through and we got there in one piece and no ransom demands.

Carnivore was brilliant, it’s an all you can eat meat restaurant that actually starts with a soup. Seems a bit of a waste to fill up on soup when you are greeted with about 30 different rotisseries of meat just waiting to be devoured by us meat-eaters. Once the entrĂ©e was completed we got stuck into the mains where servers come around with a different kind of meat on skewers and cut a piece off if you would like it. We sampled pretty much everything, including: Ostrich, Ostrich meatballs, Crocodile, Beef, Lamb, Chicken wings, Chicken breast, Chicken liver. The five of us sat around for our last meal together as Dan & Christine were leaving us and trekking Mount Kilimanjaro while, Danni, Ruth and myself were continuing onto Tanzania the next day.
We spoke of all things from our trip, our plans, the food, and when all that was done, we spoke about shit. Literally.
All our great experiences dropping el numero dos in the toilet, or in some cases the river out in the middle of nowhere. It was at that point I/we realized how well we really got on and how comfortable we were talking literally about anything.

We had dessert, Cheesecake, Pineapple Pie or Choc Chip Blondie, and unfortunately had to start heading back to our camp.
This time we got a legitimate taxi, who, like the other “taxi”, immediately needed petrol. We commented on this and the driver said they deliberately had little to no petrol in their car to dissuade carjackers from stealing their car, which is apparently a common theme. Failing in his first attempt to get petrol (because the petrol station was closed) we drove a little way in the opposite direction to get some and we were once again full of thoughts of kidnappings however we managed to survive our trips unscathed and reached our camp with no kidnappings or ransom demands.

We awoke the next morning and said goodbye to Dan and Christine…twice…before we begun the next part of our journey to Tanzania with a whole new bunch of people.
Kenya is a really nice place, especially western Kenya with the green fields of tea leaves giving it a fresh, clean look. It also has a lot going for it with multiple wildlife parks and their attempts in conservation, whether by the government or private, to increase the dwindling numbers of endangered species (and doing pretty well I think) to attract tourists as well as their exports for tea and coffee. Unfortunately the terrorist attack at the Westlake Mall may add to the stigma people already have for Africa, particularly Eastern Africa and may scare away people who were sitting on the fence about visiting.

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