BootsnAll Travel Network

Jambo from Kenya!


Hi all! Blogging from Lamu, Kenya, a small island off the northeastern coast. Finished the safari on the 3rd. Was very cool, but I don’t have my journal with me right now, so details are already fading. Let’s see what I can remember.

Day 1: Met the group (five Brits, two Scots, three Aussies) at the departure-point hotel. Nairobi, BTW, wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d feared it would be. My expectations were so low, I guess if it wasn’t an absolute cesspool, I’d have been impressed. So, we left about 9:30 and stopped at this Starbucks-y place in the burbs called Nairobi Java House and – I RAN INTO SOMEONE I KNEW. From Madison. I took an ecology class a few years ago, the second half of which focused on Sahelian African ecology, and, I ran into the TA, who was there working on her post-doc degree. Crazy, huh? I had been thinking a lot about the class, too, in the last few weeks. So we exchanged emails and shock. Anyway, after that it was off to a place called Nakuru, to see flamingos, rhinos, zebras, water buffalo and lots of gazelle. The first zebra we saw, we all probably stared for 10 minutes, and as the trip progressed it was like, “Oh, a zebra? Bo-ring.” But excitement was fresh among the troops on day one. Camped that night at a rustic place, full of huge, biting red ants that crawled up your pants legs and stuck to your jeans. I began to worry.

Day 2: Off to another lake to see some hippos. Weather was doody though, and we got there late, so they just looked like big gray rocks in the water. And you can’t get too close, because despite how cute they are, they’re apparently very dangerous. If you get between them and where they want to go, you = toast. The campsite was considerably nicer though, thank God.

Days 3-4: I think we went to the Masai Mara this day. The women in the Flickr shot are Masai women, who accosted us upon entry to the park to sell beads and bracelets and stuff. I bought some stuff, so they let me take the photo. Spent two days here in lovely permanent tent thingies, saw tons more wildlife, giraffes, a lion close-up, etc. Toured a Masai village, and hung out in one of the houses with a woman and her kids. They stay in the villages for nine years before moving on, and the “road” and common spaces are made up entirely of cow and goat dung. Today, of all days, my camera battery goes bye bye. Some of my safari mates got great shots of the Masai women singing though, so we’ll see if I can get my hands on them.

Day 5: Travel day. Bo-ring.

Day 6: Hello, Serengeti. Saw everything, again here, plus huge herds of wildebeest. Not migrating yet, though, cause the rainy season has been long. Saw a huge herd of them running through a dry creek bed though…let’s see, camped this night in the park, and this is where accompanying National Geographic-like picture for this entry was taken.

Day 7: Off to Lake Victoria. Took a long boat ride and toured a village on the Lake. We were followed by dozens of kids, literally, all wanting to hold our hands the whole time. By the end, we each had at least 10 kids attached, one for each finger. Was very cool, but also felt a little weird walking through people’s homes. I like to think that they are getting at least some monetary benefit from it though, and I don’t know how else tourists could get a chance to interact with locals. Apart from doing something good for humanity like volunteering, and I’m way too busy being a hobo for that. Spent the night in a beach-side cottage.

Day 8: On to the Ngorongoro Crater. Flat tire #2. Got into camp late, ate dinner at 11pm, went beddie-bye. Up early on Day 9 for a jeep ride through the crater. Was amazing, incredible, favorite day by far. Our jeep had an open roof, so it felt like you were really out there with the wildlife. Almost right away, we saw two cheetahs sitting on a rock. My camera is crap for far away shots though, so I’m going to have to rely on my safari mates for those shots. Saw lions, hippos, wildebeests, etc.

Day 9: Left for Arusha, town in Tanzania. Got there mid-afternoon, had my first semi-warmish shower in days. Hung out, had a big feed, a few beers and hit the hay.

Day 10: The clutch goes bye-bye on the truck outside Arusha. Luckily, there was another truck owned by the same company at our campsite from the previous night. It was called into action to get us to Nairobi. Trip was uneventful, but we hit Nairobi traffic at around 5pm – holy mother of God. Got to the hotel around 7:30. 7:30! Showered and met safari mates for a splurge dinner at a restaurant called Carnivore. What do you think they specialize in? Ate meat, meat and more meat. Said goodbye to all around midnight.

That’s the safari in a nutshell, peeps. Was awesome, but I’m not a group person. Duh. 10 days was just a little too long, any longer and I would have had to strike out on my own again. No one is the boss of me! So, here I am in Lamu, after an overnight train ride from Nairobi to Mombasa, which was as cool as it sounds, where I had a great conversation with a Kenyan man about my dad’s age in the dinner car. Talked about Kenyan history, politics, national psyche – you name it.

Him: My daughter is 32.
Me: Me too. Him: Are you married?
Me: Nope.
Him (slight pause): Oh.

I’m an oddity here, people. I think I’ll start saying 22. Next was a bus ride from Mombasa to Malindi, on the coast about four hours south of Lamu. Something of a package-tour destination for Italians. Weird. People said Ciao to me as much as Jambo. Spent one night there, and it was off to Lamu where I now sit. Check it out on Wikipedia, people. Very chilled out, old Swahili culture, and by far the best Internet connection I’ve experienced in days and weeks, hence the long entry and lots of new pics on Flickr! That’s it for now. Off to photograph a fancy pool and hopefully have a dip in it. Then maybe a nap. Ahhh. Keep the emails and comments coming, love them! xxx


5 responses to “Jambo from Kenya!”

  1. Shawn says:

    The safari sounds awesome. Now that’s the style of thing I could be into hehehe. What a small world though, running into someone from Madison. Actuall Madison and Africa have a lot in common. It’s almost 100 degrees here today. DAMN! You’re not missing anything, at least you have some new exciting scenery to go with the abysmal heat. Yea 10 days in a group is a lot for you Ms. Stubborn LOL. Glad it’s still a blast. Sorry about your camera. Keep safe. Later 🙂

  2. kady says:

    Ummm, so how do we find the Flickr Picktrs?

  3. Kikosdad says:

    JAMBO! Hey that’s funny, I was just at JAMBA JUICE the other day. Do you have fruit smoothies where you are? Jack wants to know if you need any money? Wear your seatbelt, sunscreen and don’t harass the wildlife.

  4. KP says:

    So what happened with the fancy pool?

  5. Karen Erstad says:

    sounds cool, but if you wanted to see wildlife up close, you simply need to visit my house — it’s a zoo with little beasts squawking and screaming, although my beasts enunciate better than the hippos: “Mommy! Juice!.. Juice!” can be heard down the block.

  6. Dane says:

    Sweet Safari! Get to see any monkeys?

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