. We passed by Mount Longonot which is a large volcano with crater, and you can actually hike up it, but it takes all day. The we saw our first zebras just hanging out on the side of the road. Of course we made the driver stop :) Then about 15 minutes later there was a giraffe just standing by the road too, but he said of it is only one, and we will see many others so we will stop later. There were lots of baboons too. We made a turn towards Lake Naivasha and Hells Gate National Park. There were 100's of greenhouses. These places employ MANY people and these flowers are sent all over the world. There were signs posted everywhere that pictures were not allowed...of course I got a few though :) Finally after about 2.75 hours we were at Hells Gate National Park. We paid the entry fee or $25 per person. You could get a bike for 500 KSH with is about $7 but we decided to hike. The lady said we could go 8 km. We said round trip...4 each way, and she said yes, so we told the driver 2.5 hours until we would be back and we took off. At first there wasn't much and I was a little depressed that we paid $25 a person to get in. Fischers Tower looked cool and that was the first neat thing we saw. We learned that you could climb the tower for 500 shillings and we said that we might try on the way back. Then we rounded a corner, and there was a family of warthogs, then about 25 Thompson Gazelle, then impalas. Then there were over 50 water bucks, then about a dozen more warthog families ranging from 4-8 per family
. The mom and dad would usually stop to look at us and the babies would continue prancing along with their tails straight in the air. These animals were close...and we were on foot, out in the wild...what an experience. Then an Acacia tree FULL of weaver birds. Very bright yellow! Then there was a herd of zebra, then a group of impala. We stopped counting because as your turned 360 degrees in any direction at any time, you could count over 100 animals. There were only about 5 cars passing the entire time, we were the only people on foot, and in the first five minutes there were a few bikes, but for over 2 hours and 15 minutes of the time, it was just Miles, me, and the animals!!! We learned when we saw a distance sign that the lady had meant 8 km each way, but we had no way to contact our driver, so we realized we would not make it to the gorge. Oh well. At one point there was a helicopter that flew over, and later our driver told us that the prime minister of Kenya had landed in a helicopter at a political rally. The driver had never been to one so he stopped in just so that he could say he did it. We put our cameras away on the way out so we would not be tempted to stop and take pictures of the same animals we had already seen. As we walked along we found a Swiss Army knife on the ground. We did have time for Miles to climb Fischers tower ( included the helmet, ropes, and harness). After I saw how hard it was for him, there was NO WAY that I was trying!!! As we neared the exit there were over 100 babboons
. They were so funny, doing all sorts of things, like hanging from trees, climbing the rocks, knit picking, puddle drinking, post sitting, and running around. They were fun to watch. We got in the car and started to talk about lunch. We said that we preferred to only spend about 800 shillings on lunch and he said he wanted to take us to a lodge but that it might be 900-1000 shillings. On our way to lunch there were about 10 giraffe on the side of the road so we stopped for pictures. We entered the guarded gates of Sopa Lodge and we said we wanted something small to eat. The lunch buffet was really expensive but he showed us the swimming pool snack menu and it looked reasonable. There were several items listed less than 500 shillings so we told James ok and he said we would meet us at the front desk. We got to the pool bar and he handed us a much more expensive menu. We said it wasn't the right one. For example, a hotdog was $10. We said we wanted the snack menu. He called up to the restaurant and finally he told us that it was only served after 6:00 pm. We said no and left only to not be able to find James. As it turns out there was a different places where the drivers could eat. Finally he showed up and we monved on to the next hotel. They had much better prices and for 1000 shillings we got a sandwich, a drink, and fries.
After lunch we headed to Lake Naivasha for a boat ride. The company was called Cresent Island Boat Cruise Compant and for 3500 shillings total we got to go on a boat ride We saw lots of birds including storks, cormorants, kingfishers, pelicans, cranes, ducks, geese, but the highlight was the hippos
. Our boat guide was cautious to not get us too close, but close enough for great pictures and to hear them. There were probably more than 10 in the first group we saw and about 7 in the second group. There were also fishing eagles. There were some fishermen, illegally gill net fishing so our driver got a fish from then, ran a piece of papayrus through it, then whistled to the eagle, threw in the fish, and the eagle swooped down and caught it out of the water, Miles got a still photo, and I took a video The guy made us pay 200KSH to do this (less than $3) Later in the evening we were looking at photos and deleting some that did not turn out. I saw the video, couldn't see what was going on, though it was a mistake video only to realize immediately that it was the eagle swooping down that I deleted. Needless to say, I was ticked at myself.
Then we went on a walking tour part where we got within 20 feet of a herd of wildebeasts zebras, waterbucks, and impalas. Our guide explained that the males fight, one wins 4-6 females and all the losers hang out with each other. Sometimes if one wildebeest has a bad behavior it becomes an outcast and lives alone. The zebras took off running and I said that something must have scared them but the guide said that they run from time to time just for practice. The waterbucks are beautiful and I would describe them as deer on steroids. We were already over budget but we gave that guide 100 shillings and the knife we found in Hells Gate
. He was very happy with the knife.
We started driving back but I reminded James that I wanted to play soccer with the kids. We found a poor village where we could see 4 boys playing. The kids were waving and saying hello. We stopped, and I had taken a soccer ball with me (I brought several to Africa but only one on this day) Our driver got permission for us to play soccer with the boys, because apparently there have been kidnappings, so he wanted the adults to know that these two very out of place white people meant no harm. We started with 4 boys which grew to about 20 or more within about 10 minutes. They were very good at soccer, I was very bad, and Miles was in the middle. :) I had a lot of fun! We posed with the kids for a picture, then we took the ball to one of the mothers to be in change of and keep because otherwise the kids would have fought. Our driver said if we would have stayed for an hour, there would have been over 100 kids, between there being a soccer ball, and us being white. It was a long drive back to the city. We drove most of the way in the dark with people passing where there wasn't room, and people were walking along the road everywhere and it was super dark. We made it to a fast food chicken place where we spent 725 shillings for 2 drinks, chicken bites, fries, and value sandwich. We got back to the hotel, said our goodbyes then started planning for the next day.
We went to the front desk to ask about checkout and where our next hotel was. We found a phone number and a map in the phone book and they called the taxi driver Eric. He asked some questions then I saw some small kids. I ran up to the room and got two glow sticks for each kid and two games. I think they really liked them! They went out into the dark and were lit up like little Christmas trees. Then back to business with Eric. He said that to keep us from 10:00-2:00 would be 3000 shillings and 1000 shillings for gas. Miles and I both thought that was expensive but that is basically $12 an hour to babysit our bags, take us safely from one hotel to another, and show us another part of Nairobi. We finally agreed and went to bed for the evening.
Oh my goodness, I don't even know where to start! We got up and ate the same breakfast we have been eating. James was late coming to get us. Apparently because our road is so bad his car literally bottomed out and he had to have people pull him out and get a repair. As a result he was 20 minutes late. We left at 8:00 with our driver to head to Lake Naivasha. We couldn't leave much earlier because we wanted to haze to settle for the Great Rift Valley Overlook. There were little shops along the rim to the valley, and it took over an hour to get to that point. The view was amazing. Of course we took pictures, and there was a sign that gave all the important information. 2140 meters elevation, running 9600 km from Israel to Mozambique. We spent 600 shillings at the shop on two bookmarks and a necklace that was made of rolled and laminated paper. We continued through little villages including some IDP's which are settlements made by the gov. and habitat for humanity for as many as 30,000 people who were displaced by something that happened as a result of the 2007 election