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

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Kenya - Ken-ya believe it?

We arrived in Kenya at the god-awful hour of 3am and were, thankfully, greeted by our tour representative who drove us the 30-minute drive to our camp in Nairobi.
Thankfully our pilot on Egypt Air didn’t try to kill us by doing a trick landing like the one did in Cairo and due to the fire at the International Airport in Kenya we were skirted out of the plane and into a tent. It was so Africa.

Anyway, we arrived at our camp at around 3.30-4am and were allowed a 2-hour sleep before we had to get up again, meet the people on the 3-day tour (who were all Australian and mostly annoying bogans who decided to fill up the esky with beer and no room for us who don’t drink) and drive 8 hours to the Masai Mara.
We did stop at the Great Rift Valley, which gave some amazing panoramic views of the valley.

The Masai Mara is beautiful (except the rubbish, seems to be a theme) and after we arrived we pretty much had dinner and went to bed to get some much needed sleep after only having 2 hours in the past 36 or so.

The next day we went on Safari, which I will get to shortly, and the day after the others, thankfully, left us to head back to Nairobi to join their other tours (which isn’t the one we are doing, yay!) while we stayed in the Mara since our 56-day tour group is starting in Nairobi but heading here first.
So we pretty much had breakfast, said goodbye to the others, slept in, did the washing and watch a baboon run across our camp before dinner and bed.

We had a private safari on the Sunday, just me and Danni, which was a blessing since we could do it in a 4WD rather than a huge truck and get to go a little off-road to see some of the animals.
And we saw a lot of animals.
The funny thing about the Masai Mara Reserve is that it is naturally huge and leads on to the Serengeti, it doesn’t have as much flora and fauna as Kruger National Park does so there are sweeping views of flat lands and you can drive for 20, 30 even 60 minutes and see not a single animal and then you crest a hill and see hundreds or even thousands. Including Wildebeest, who are currently migrating south to the Serengeti in Tanzania in the thousands, along with Zebra’s and the antelopes. We were lucky enough to see the Wildebeest crossing the Mara River that is kind of the border between Kenya and Tanzania but also the risky part of their travel as the river is a playground for the crocodiles (and there were quite a few hippos). We saw a few hundred cross over and a few thousand more head on over to the river, but not cross, and then turn back and then head back to the river. This went on for a good hour or so before we left but there were easily over 2000 Wildebeests just meters away from us, as well as Zebra’s, who apparently wait until last to cross so they don’t get eaten.
We were also lucky enough to see the Big 5 (Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Elephant and Rhino) on the morning of our private game drive which is apparently one of the rarest things you can do, considering there are only 4 rhino in the reserve, it makes sense.
The leopard was content in sleeping in his tree, we didn’t get a great view of it until later where we snuck in for a look and were parked right under him. The next day we did catch him strolling along an embankment but didn’t get the great view of him there either.
There were a lot of lions, we followed one lioness as she hunted down an impala but failed to take it down. It was thrilling to watch though and there were a lot of cubs and infants playing around and we even saw a male and female in the throes of mating ritual. Another pride, including the male, eating and feeding their 6 cubs.
Buffalo are everywhere, you’d be unlucky not to see one, same with the elephants, giraffe, warthogs, and all the antelopes.
We were also lucky enough to see a female cheetah with her three cubs, so very tempted to take them home. They are adorable as cubs.
Once we finished our private tour we headed back just before it started to rain and relaxed until the tour group arrived. found me.

I was shocked to see the size of the tour group, there are 19 including us two and then another 7 coming with us to Kampala. Only 5 of us are doing the whole 56-days but I never imagined there would be so many.
They are mostly Australians, and funnily enough some are even close to where we live at home. They all seem like a good bunch of people, which is relieving after the bogans the other day.
Our first day with them was another game drive, which is mostly explained above. Then we had another dinner and went to bed as we were to bid farewell to the amazing Masai Mara and begin our journey to Uganda.

All that tea...

The next day was a long drive to a camp about 100km from the border of Uganda and boy was it a nice place. They had the most amazingly designed bar, hot showers and our cook – Dom – is a magician with food.
The drive itself was beautiful as we drove past acres upon acres of tea plantations giving us a purely green panoramic of Kenya. The rain hit us early and was on and off all day, but when it falls, it falls hard making our trip a little slower.
We hit the hay early as we had to get up early to get to Uganda.

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