Nairobi to Eldoret, Kenya

Trip Start Oct 01, 2002
Trip End Aug 08, 2005

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Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Hello, so we finally got around to writing a proper entry, quicker than we thought because we have been stuck here in Eldoret, Kenya for a few days due to truck trouble. We are both fine, having fun and enjoying the company of some new people on board the truck. Scott, the guy from Aberdeen is joining us to Cape Town as are Danielle & Rik from the Netherlands and Becky from England. Also, a French couple Leslie and Matt who we first met in West Africa, have joined us for a couple of months, so we have a full truck again. It all makes life easier, more fun and there's less work for us to do so even better.

Anyway, to update you since our last proper entry, we met Paul's parents in Nairobi on the 24th May and headed for the coast to a place called Tiwi Beach near Mombasa, collecting Kev's dad along the way. Tiwi is a picture perfect beach with palm trees swaying in the breeze and beautiful, clean sand and clear ocean. It's pretty undeveloped with just 5 places to stay and as it's low season we had it pretty much to ourselves. Everyone from the truck went and did their own thing during our stay of 9 days. It was really nice to have Kev's dad there and we found some time to relax. The weather was pretty changeable and it rained loads but we managed to fit in our scuba training. The open water course lasted for 5 days and we dived the reefs off Tiwi and Diani, a little further along the coast. The visibility wasn't always great but we saw loads of different tropical fish and Kev kept saying "Neiller had one of those in his aquarium" much to the amusement of our dive instructor, Leonard. The coral reefs and other animals were spectacular but the highlight had to be the turtle, which swam straight past us. Siān says she'll never be totally at one with the water but at least it's a step in the right direction especially as she only learnt to swim properly a few months ago!

We also went to stay overnight in a remote African village further up the coast, with Hamisi's family. Hamisi used to work with Paul 3 years ago when he drove for an overland company. They've remained good friends so we went to his village, camped outside his house and thoroughly enjoyed village life. The village was small, set amongst trees in swampy land with many mud huts and a communal mud hut with long drop toilet. Hamisi lives with his wife and 4 children and we sheltered with them in their hut when the rain started. We were actually quite glad of the bad weather as it meant that we spent more time inside with the family, helping with the cooking over an open fire in the kitchen. We sampled the local brew, palm wine which tastes pretty disgusting and which you have to drink through straws made of slim bamboo and another plant extract which forms a net tied to the end of the straw to filter any husks or ants that have gotten in. The village children were amused by our visit and we really appreciated the opportunity.

From the coast we headed back towards Nairobi via Tsavo National Park. The elephants and giraffe were the highlight but no sightings of any of the big cats. After dropping Paul's family at the airport in Nairobi, we headed north to Lake Naivasha. The campsite was situated on the lakeshore and has a short electric fence, which was turned on at night to stop the hippos trampling on you in your tents. You can hear them shuffling and grunting all night. We hired bikes and cycled to Hell's Gate National Park and were able to cycle around specified areas within the park. There were many more giraffe, zebra and antelope and the scenery was spectacular. We took a walk in the gorge that has been used in the set of many films, most recently Tomb Raider 2. It was also used to draw the sketches for Lion King. After a very long ride back uphill, we were just in time for afternoon tea at Elsamere ( honestly a coincidence!), as many cream cakes and home made biscuits as you can eat with endless cups of tea, it was the best food treat since leaving home! Elsamere is where Joy Adamson lived, the conservationist who raised and successfully released many big cats into the wild, including, famously, Elsa the lioness from the film Born Free. The house is now a museum and black and white colobus monkeys entertained us on the lawn, one of which caught Kev unawares as they raced each other across the lawn to our cream cakes!

After a couple of days in Lake Naivasha, during which we said a sad goodbye to Kev's dad, we headed to Lake Nakuru National Park where we did another safari drive. We saw many animals including thousands of flamingoes painting pink ribbons on the blue lake and then, at last, the head of a lioness poking out of the long grass. We watched her pacing about and climbing a tree and then the head of a male popped out of the grass a little further away. We watched them for ages, utterly mesmerized at seeing these animals for the first time in the wild, until at last they grew bored of the attention. The female retreated into the branches of a wobbly bush and the male gave a wide yawn and lay down disappearing into the landscape. We camped that night in the park, slightly worryingly in the camping area not far away from where we spotted the lions. Parking the truck, we were just setting up camp when we realised the tree overhead was the current resting place for many baboons. We decided to relocate when Siān, alone in the back of the truck, turned and saw beside her in the doorway a very large alpha male baboon. Okay, so she admits she let out a small scream but this did not deter the baboon, still in the doorway blocking her only exit. In fact it started to go further in when thankfully someone outside managed to scare it away. The next morning after being kept company during the night by a water buffalo and antelope sleeping nearby, we headed back into the park and again spotted the lions. This time they were eating their kill, a zebra. We were able to drive up really close to them in the truck and it was a truly amazing experience as the male defended his breakfast from the lioness. We also watched a family of black backed jackals, seemingly on a death wish, as they edged closer to the male, almost playing with him as they checked out the food. Reluctantly we left the lions dining and went in search of leopard, but alas it was not to be.

The next morning we enjoyed a nice walk through a forest in a valley and ended up at a bell shaped cave with a waterfall cascading down. From here we headed to Lake Baringo, where once again the campsite on the lakeshore was the hippo's munching ground at night only this time, no electric fence, apparently you are safe in your tent....We didn't really explore much, deciding instead to take a rest from our hectic and stressful lives (!?) and relax for the day by the pool next door. When we left the campsite the next day we headed to Lake Bogoria National Park, a brief visit during which we saw many more flamingoes against a foreground of geysers, the steam spiralling upwards from the hot bubbling pools. And finally we reached Eldoret, a small town with a campsite 22kms out of the centre. Due to the truck trouble, we are missing out a trip further north to Lake Turkana, instead we will head straight from here to Uganda via Kakemega rainforest.

That's everything for now, we hope all is well with everyone, and thanks for all the emails we've been getting recently, it's nice to hear from you all!

Take Care,

K & S.
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