Thursday, May 11, 2017

Kenya - National parks and Mombasa

A long, long time ago, Chris and I made a trip to Kenya (1981). In those times, it wasn't usual to arrange the trip yourselves, so we had someone to arrange it for us. We flew to Nairobi via Rome (where a handsome customs officers tried to persuade us to stay in Rome for a couple of days... so he could show us the city). In Nairobi we were met by our guide and chauffeur, Daniel. A very nice guy, who was quite knowledgable.

Daniel drove us to the Amboselli Serena Lodge, where we could leave our luggage and start on our first ride through the reserve. It was quite something (remember, I was in my early twenties and my sister wasn't even 20) to see all those wild animals: elephants, zebra, antilopes, lions, .... The lodge stand in the middle of the national park, at the foot of the famous Kilimanjaro mountain. When we woke up the first morning, we could see the snow covered top of the mountain clearly.

Two days later, we left the Amboseli park and drove via Namangua to the Nairobi national park. We had a picknick in the middle of the savanna, not far away from a den of (sleeping) lions. I never felt afraid! After lunch we drove on to the Masai Lodge, in a mountaneous area, where you could use the blankets at night. We spent the night there and our trip the next afternoon, after spending some more time in the park. Daniel made a stop at Mayers Ranch, They have a Masai Manyatta (a place where young Masai warriors are trained). We watched some tribal dances and got a lot of attention from some young Masai, who wanted to buy our shoes! I remember it were linen shoes, white in color, and very comfortable.

Late afternoon we drove on to Lake Naivasha, where we'd spend the night in the Safariland Lodge. The next morning we made a boat trip over the lake to the bird sanctuary. After lunch, we set off to Masai Mara. It was rather a long ride, and we got into bad weather.  A heavy thunderstorm, which caused our jeep to nearly capsize. Luckily, with our help, Daniel could push it back on track.

In the Masai Mara national park, we stayed at the Fig Tree Camp near the Talek river. I had quite an adventure there. We had dinner there (quite tasty) but the next morning I was sick as a dog. I kept vomiting and accordingly to my sister I stank hours in the wind. The camp manager came to see me and said she'd call the Flying Doctors when my condition would not improve by noon. She gave me some parts of water mellon and told me to try and eat them. At first, they left my stomach as soon as they were in, but after a while my stomach seemed to calm down and I could eat more watermellon. The best thing? The next day we drove back to Nairobi and there I had a lunch of fries and steak! My sisters still cannnot believe it.

We took a flight from Nairobi to Mombasa, where we would stay another week at the Nyali Beach Hotel. Lovely! The sun shone hot there (which was a nice change from the rather cool temperatures on the savanna) and we had a great room. We also met a bunch of nice and interesting people. I remember two brothers from the Alsace region in France (they spoke a mix of French and German), the CEO of an oil refinery in Cyprus, the Dutch representative of Shell (there was an oil conference being held at the hotel during our stay), one or orther sheikh (who wanted to enlist us in his harem), and someone who must have been related to Richard Branson.

Of course, we also made excursions to the town of Mombasa, where we visited the old fort and loved to go shopping for small mementoes.

Those weeks spent in Kenya were really nice and will remain a great source of memories.

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