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Nyamera�s Stupidest Kenya Trip So Far � Trip Report 2008

Nyamera�s Stupidest Kenya Trip So Far � Trip Report 2008

Aug 17th, 2008, 10:25 AM
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Nyamera�s Stupidest Kenya Trip So Far � Trip Report 2008

First I�d like to explain the stupidity. Since 2003, I�ve been to Kenya 5 times including this one and I�ve always wanted to stay. This time I was so old and had spent so many years living only for my Kenya trips that there simply was no other option, but I still couldn�t find a hole in the Kenya wall to stick in a toe. Next year I�ll be really old and I don�t even know if I�ll be able to go to Kenya. I hope any first time visitors now understand why this report is oozing negativity. Had it been a �once in a lifetime as there are so many other places to visit� kind of a trip, I�d be planning my second Kenya trip by now.

My photos can be seen here: http://www.kodakgallery.com/ShareLan...localeid=en_US
They are even worse than last year even though this year there was light and a completely different weather than previous years. My only explanation is that my eyes were very irritated due to sun and wind and I just aimed my camera blindly hoping there would be animals in the pictures. There are some amazing animals out of focus.

My itinerary ended up like this:
19 June Terminal Hotel, Nairobi � 2 nights
21 June Nyumbu Camp, Maasai Mara � 6 nights
27 June Terminal Hotel, Nairobi � 3 nights
30 June Fisherman�s Camp, Lake Naivasha � 7 nights
7 July Terminal Hotel, Nairobi � 5 nights

Now I�ll try to remember what happened.
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Aug 17th, 2008, 10:27 AM
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Day 1
As always I took the morning flights to Amsterdam and Nairobi so that I would arrive in the evening and start my Kenya trip with a good nights sleep. I also slept almost all the time on the plane, but not so much the night before as I had to get up at 1am and leave home at 3am. My father drove me to the airport and I made notes of the wildlife seen along the way 16 roedeer and nothing else the worst gameviewing so far.

I was worried about what Nelson, cleaner at the Terminal Hotel, would say about my choice of safari company. Hes my friend and he has a safari company that I hadnt booked with. Id asked about where he gets vehicles and guides, without getting a proper reply, and that would be an explanation for my disloyalty, I thought, but I wasnt sure. At Arlanda airport I tried to decide whether to buy him a t-shirt with a moose on it or The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein. I finally settled for the book.

On the flight to Nairobi, the British Somali man sitting next to me waked me up for my vegetarian meal. The tomato soup was quite tasty, but with just a little bit of turbulence, all passengers would have arrived in Nairobi looking like after a mayor crash. The plane looked completely full.

In Nairobi I usually take a taxi to my hotel but this year I was picked up by Ernest Kamara, who was going to be my driver-guide from As You Like It. I asked him if I should call him Ernest or Kamara, but didnt get a straight answer and as everybody else called him Kamara, I did the same. A man called Simon, if I remember correctly, accompanied him. Id chosen As You Like It because its owner, Vivien, was the owner of the Mara camp I was interested in, Nyumbu Camp, and because Kamara was the best driver/guide. At $1645 for 6 nights it was my so far most expensive safari. It would have been even more expensive if it wasnt because I got to use the old Landcruiser.

We saw some sleeping marabous on the way to the Terminal Hotel, Kamara and Simon liked my Daim http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daim_bar . I was dropped off at the Terminal and Kamara would pick me up at 7.30 Saturday morning (it was Thursday evening).

This year the Terminal was 1400 shillings for a single. They keep raising the prices, at least for the singles, and its no longer inexpensive. A triple is 2000 shillings. Nelson would be there in the morning and Jacob took my heavy (19 kilos at Arlanda) bag to the room. Before leaving he buttoned up the top button on my shirt and told me to look smart. Is that proper behaviour of a hotel employee? I remember that on my first trip to Kenya I thought people said I looked intelligent. Now Jacob didnt think I looked smart enough.

There was a healthy population of cockroaches in the room. As long as Im not responsible for the cleanliness, I dont mind. I actually prefer them to other insects as theyre so intelligent that theres no risk Id accidentally crush them when sleeping, not that thats something that often happens with other insects.

I had some Daim and tap water, showered and went to bed.
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Aug 17th, 2008, 10:31 AM
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Day 2

I was up early and had breakfast at the Dove Cage. The morning was cloudy and a bit chilly. Nelson had many things to tell and as Im a bit slow I didnt quite catch it all. He had lost his phone (recovered his number) and some small money during the troubles. The rest of the staff had slept at the hotel, but he went to and fro by matatu and sometimes 14 kilometres on foot. The worst problem had been food prices and availability. He had also sms:ed me about these things during the troubles. There had been insufficient rains and many food growers had been displaced from their land. Nelson predicted a serious famine in a couple of months. His safari company, now called Terminal Tours, had a new website and its own Mount Kenya guides. Some safaris were done in conjunction with Gametrackers. The boss didnt know anything about the company and would have preferred Nelson to just do his job. He doesnt pay enough for that though (some US$150 a month) and Nelson has many children, of which only 5 are his own. Nelson also has many projects to help people in his home village. The previous year I had mentioned that I was desperate to stay in Kenya and would consider marrying a Kenyan. Nelson had thought of that and had a nephew who really was like a brother whose wife had left him and who was working most of the time. I felt like he didnt quite understand me. Was the nephew a gold level KPSGA guide? Nelson expected me to visit his village and some women that I had done business with. I said it would be too embarrassing to meet the nephew, but I really was worried about shower facilities and pressure to make donations I cant afford. Ill visit that village when Ive found a way to stay in Kenya.

Out on the streets of Nairobi I met Chris who does all kinds of business and who the previous year had cycled to Kilaguni and Ngulia in Tsavo West (Im not convinced) to find out some things for me. Seven people had nearly killed him during the troubles and he had had to shave his dreadlocks so that nobody else would want to kill him or mistake him for a killer. Chris said that things were very bad and that he would have to follow me until I gave him some business. The quickest thing I could think of was photography business at his favourite sight the Dedan Kimathi monument, the original Rasta.

Some people wanted me to have a look at shops with curios made by IDPs (internally displaced people). I had a salad at Java House and returned to the Terminal where Nelson invited me to afternoon tea. After some not too clever shopping, I joined Nelson in the staff room for African tea. When the word Kenyan was mentioned, the door opened and another staff member, Sammy, walked in saying, no, Im not Kenyan, Im Ugandan. I believed him, but Nelson said he just looked Ugandan because he was Luhya, from the west. They are darker and rounder. Sammy grabbed his jacket and told me that you could no longer go out at night without getting killed. It was getting dark, so I asked him if he would die. He wouldnt because the city wasnt dangerous, but in Kangemi where he lived you just eat and go to bed like a little baby or (he made the international sign for having your throat cut). After hed left, Nelson told me how hard he had to work since he was the only Kamba at the hotel and that most guest where there because of him. I could believe the latter, as the hotel doesnt even have an email address. Then Nelson saw a friend from the Netherlands and invited him to tea, but the friend declined the invitation.

I went to Nakumatt Lifestyle to buy some baby bananas and drinking yoghurt for breakfast. The man, I cant remember his name, standing next to the shopping baskets greeted me shaking my hand, telling me how welcome I was to Kenya and his shop. He did this every time a visited Nakumatt during this trip and I have a slight feeling he was making fun of me in some way. I decided just to have some tomato soup and pineapple juice for dinner at Books First, opposite the Terminal. Some very load music was playing and the restaurant was full. Then I saw someone waving. It was Nelsons Dutch fiend who invited me to share his table. He wasnt eating. I think he preferred drinking and thats what he was doing. He was staying in Kenya for several months, most of the time in Nairobi enjoying the nightlife. He was amazed that I hadnt been to the Madhouse that was just around the corner. I think he meant the flying saucer shaped place called Florida 2000 in the guidebooks. There you walk in circles all the time and can just say bye bye to people you want to get rid of apparently therere quite a few of those - and the music was very good, he told me. He had mixed feeling about Sweden as you sometimes can drive for hours without seeing any people. Thats about the only positive thing I can say about my country - that sometimes there is some space. When the bill arrived it was handed to the Dutchman (dont remember his name) and my soup was mixed with his wine. He insisted on paying and I didnt protest too much, but said Id buy him some wine if he were around when I got back from the Mara. He thought I should invite Nelson instead. I started calculating and felt quite content that I had got back the money Id given away half involuntarily during the day. Apart from Chris there was another case of which I dont remember the details and if I write about everything Ill never get to the wildlife that I suppose most readers are interested in. The tomato soup was good, but had lots of chopped coriander that stuck on my teeth.

I went to bed with mixed feelings: the marvellous unreality of going to the Mara the next day mixed with the stress of how much more impossible finding a way to stay seemed when on the ground in Kenya.
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Aug 17th, 2008, 10:34 AM
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Day 3

I was up at 5 and picked up by Kamara at 7.30. He gave me a blue As You Like It t-shirt with a crowned crane logo. It was cold and drizzling. The policeman at the permanent checkpoint after leaving Nairobi couldnt find anything on As you Like Its old Landcruiser that warranted a fine. I got off quickly at the Rift Valley viewpoint where I didnt see any hyrax and didnt want to buy any heavy soapstone. After Maai Mahi there were tommies, zebras and bustards. Everything was noticeably drier than the previous year and I couldnt notice any improvement on the road except for a stretch before Narok. After a brief nose-powdering stop in Narok we continued towards the road to Sekenani Gate. Id never approached the Mara from that direction before and was alarmed at the resemblance to Samburu. Kamara thought Samburu was much more desertlike, but I had been there during a normal June. There were herds of zebras and wildebeest, giraffes and the first topi, on his own in a zebra herd. There were also cows and shoats and very little grass. We sneaked westwards behind Mara Simba and Talek and soon we were at Nyumbu Camp. The sign said, Nyumbu Authentic Safari Camp and it had been almost exactly a 6-hour drive. It was very, very hot.

Behind the car park there was a quite big, solid or half solid building where I suppose the kitchen and some staff quarters were. We were welcomed with juice and hot towels and there was some kind of briefing that I dont really remember, but it felt a bit too much like Intrepids. Fortunately, Nyumbu couldnt quite live up to it. The undulating surroundings were beautiful with tall, bad, dry grass and thorn trees, mostly whistling thorns. I could see a small herd of topis up on a hill. We had lunch that was tomato soup and buffet. The soup didnt taste very much of tomato, but everything else was really nice. At Nyumbu they hadnt been informed/didnt remember that I was a vegetarian, but there was more than enough food that I could eat. There were two American couples staying at the camp.

Then I was taken to my tent that was enormous. There was one double and one single bed, a laundry basket, a long low table, shelves with towels and space to put clothes and a rack where I could hang clothes. In the bathroom there was a bucket shower, a canvas washstand, and an eco-toilet. I had a big bucket full of water and a mug to pour it with. The used water was thrown out through the backzipper of the bathroom. The toilet had a bucket of earth and a mug. Instead of flushing you sprinkled 3-4 mugs of earth. It was not much more work and it was less noise polluting. All this could have fitted in a tent a third of the size of this one. Do people need to dance in their tents? My smiling tent steward, Peter, explained how everything worked. The tent was situated on a low stone and concrete platform and there were paths of the same material in the camp. I prefer not to have any solid structures, but maybe its useful when it rains.

Instead of having a rest, I went out to have a look before the 4pm game drive. Fortunately, Nyumbu is unfenced, but I didnt see any animals in camp. Outside there were some zebras and I was attacked by tsetse flies. The tsetses actually made me feel clever, as I had suspected that they would be there. I inspected the solar panels and got ready for the game drive.

A mature Maasai man with long ears and the name Kiringai would be accompanying us on the game drives. I wondered why it on the map looked like Nyumbu was in Olare Orok Conservancy, but Ive been told that it was in the pristine Nyumbu Conservancy and Kamara said that the Nyumbu Conservancy didnt exist. There was just someone who was paying three rangers. All the Olare Orok signs that we came across were smashed to pieces.

In the area around Nyumbu there were always zebras, topis, tommies, impalas and the occasional kongoni-hartebeest and Grants. We saw them all on the first game drive and also a jackal, and two hyenas that were running around, probably with a purpose. There were a couple of big giraffe herds mixed with zebras. One giraffe calf looked very young. Giraffe calves are extra cute because of their short backs and very vertical necks.

Id been told that Kamara was the best driver-guide and he probably was the best driver, but as a guide he was about average, which, for some reason, in Kenya isnt that impressive. I had expected to learn a lot, but I didnt. Some of this can be explained by my behaviour: Im not the most communicative person and I was standing up in the wind and sun almost all the time, so there couldnt be that much communication. The edge of the seat was almost straight under the padded edge of the roof where I was supposed to lean my arms; I had to bend my legs backwards a bit and my upper body forwards, so I often stood on the seat and thus I was even higher up. I dont know if Im too critical and demanding. On the first game drive there was a vulture on a thorn tree. I asked Kamara what kind of vulture it was and he got out the bird book. There arent that many vulture species in the Mara and it was quite obvious when we got nearer that it was a lappet-faced, which Kamara also found in the book. Kamara had some other qualities and I wouldnt be complaining if it werent because of the pre-trip exaggerations.

When back in camp the American couples told me that, as I was on my own, theyd come up with the idea that we should have one big table. They also decided to ask their guide to share the table. Then Peter asked me when Id like to have a shower. I replied that I always shower before I go to bed, so he could fill it up at dinnertime and then Id have the shower when I was ready. Peter preferred me to tell him right before showering so that the water would be hot. It felt like Id experienced this before.

Dinner was buffet style as well. It looked like Kamara was eating from a different buffet than I, as he was focused on meat and I on salads and desserts. The Americans were very, very nice, but I had a hard time keeping up with their conversation about grandchildren (I think). Not only did I have to think of something to say, but it also had to be socially acceptable and even nice. To them it came naturally and they must have thought I was very stupid and boring, which I probably am as I would have had the same problem even if theyd been talking about something interesting. At the same time I was trying to catch something of what Kamara and the Americans driver-guide, James from Nature Expeditions, were talking about in Swahili. I dont understand much when people are talking, but I know some grammar, have a wordbook and can understand and make myself understood in writing. As Im quite paranoid and prefer people to think I know less than I really do, I hardly said a complete sentence during this trip. Now I think that was a mistake. By the way, Nature Expeditions is the safari company of Nyumbu Camp and Nyumbu Camp is owned by As You Like It (I never quite got it). When I was thinking of moving to the campfire, there were strange noises and then some Maasai dancers appeared. They were Nyumbu staff and even the cook joined in. The different songs, dances and jumping went on for a long time and they seemed to enjoy it. They were actually good and didnt sing Jambo Bwana, but this performance was repeated every time some guests were leaving the next day and it became a bit much.

Kamara and James joined me at the campfire, but the Americans disappeared. Never during my six-night stay did any other guests show any interest in the fire. The nighttime game viewing was very bad. There were no animals at all, but we heard zebras and hyenas and domestic dogs. James was very worried for the future of the Mara and said he would like the Mara Conservancy to take over the whole thing. He had some theories that Brian Heaths skin colour was the reason there was no corruption in the Conservancy and I wasnt very convinced. The latest disaster on the Narok side was that the senior warden had given Somak Safaris permission to build a lodge in the Lookout Hill area where there are forests that are the breeding ground for the black rhinos of the Mara. They were in fact already building the lodge. Somak Safaris are incidentally the only place in Nairobi where you can buy park tickets for the Narok side. James didnt know what to do. He couldnt get any support from his community because of the problem with illiteracy. Theyd just think a new lodge was a good thing that would bring jobs and that James was envious. I said I could try to inform tourists on the Internet, if I got some more information and Kamara said that Vivien (owner of As You Like It) would be on the phone with ministers before knowing what it was all about. She had been very energetic with some rangers that didnt do enough to help an orphaned elephant calf and she had helped so many people. Peter kept appearing to ask me when I wanted to have my shower and I kept saying that he could just bring the water and go to bed and that Id shower when I was ready. It would be my own fault if the water were cold. Finally he did take the water to my tent and after a while I went to bed after the torture of an almost cold shower in a cold tent.

It was windy and the tent made a lot of noise. I thought two elephants were leaning against it and that it was going to break. Then I thought that people were trying to get in, probably dead people, and for the first time ever I was completely terrified in a tent in Kenya. I got up with one of my torches and closed the bathroom zipper. After that there was less noise. I heard hyenas and zebras, but no lions.
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Aug 17th, 2008, 10:35 AM
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Day 4

As always (on safari) I was up at 5 am, thanks to my two alarm clocks. Every night at Nyumbu I had to say, no thanks, I dont need a wake-up call. Unlike other camps they didnt bring morning tea to the tents, at least not automatically, and I think thats good. We were going on a full-day game drive and were taking lunch boxes, so we were having breakfast at the camp. I suppose you could take both breakfast and lunch with you, but I didnt want to complicate things. Later breakfast times had been suggested to me by waiting staff, but I requested breakfast at 6.30, which really is the time you have to be out, and I was feeling like I was missing a lot of amazing animals. I hadnt heard any lions during the night, but the previous year at Bushbuck, the night I heard no lions was the night they killed a giraffe 50 metres from camp. I did NOT want any eggs. The sole idea of a cooked breakfast makes me feel sick and I was in a hurry, but Kamara had a full plate of eggs and sausages.

We were on our way before 7 and the topis were around. To prevent my usual safari eye problems I was wearing sunglasses against the wind. When Kiringai spitted out of the front seat window, my glasses got sprinkled. I considered asking him to stop spitting, but I didnt he stopped anyway. The morning was a bit chilly, but there were almost no clouds, which I found strange for the Mara in June. After an hour or so we were out on a grassy plain without much wildlife, but we could see two Intrepids vehicles (if I remember correctly), the first other vehicles we had sighted. They were watching three lionesses that looked hungry. They would have to move somewhere else to get someone to eat, as the grass looked completely empty, but maybe there were some hidden warthogs. Suddenly we were at Olkiombo airstrip, inside the reserve. Id thought wed enter through some gate, but if you dont have to do that, Nyumbu has an excellent location for reaching different parts of the Mara. We saw elands that we hadnt seen in the Nyumbu area, but later there were elands there as well. As we got closer to the Mara River there were very many zebras and they were happily accompanied by topis. We alighted from the Landcruiser to have a look at hippos and then Kamara started baiting birds, which was good as its the only way I can get decent bird photos. There were mostly weavers and babblers. It felt very good to be back at the Mara River.

The sun was getting rather fierce and the zebras were moving closer and closer to the upper part of the double-crossing point upstream from the Serena I think its called Paradise Crossing. Many topis did what they do best: they were standing on termite mounds, and admiring zebras surrounded one of them. There were three vehicles waiting for the zebras to cross the river and I decided that we too should wait even if we would have to spend the night there. I was so pleased with having my private vehicle, my private driver-guide and my private Kiringai, whatever his title was. There were some crocodiles that were waiting as well. A sole wildebeest was looking more determined than the zebras and eventually he crossed. The zebras didnt follow the wildebeest. I was sitting on the roof in the scorching sun, but felt safe using protection factor 45. Only one other vehicle was still there. Its occupants had a white, or rather a toasted pink coloured, driver-guide, which is rarely seen and looked very expensive. The zebras approached the river warily and one by one to have a drink, bolting at any croc movement. After a while they started moving towards the other crossing point and the topis lined up behind them. I wanted to tell the topis that there was a bridge further south.

Finally the last vehicle left and we were on our own. The zebras slowly returned to the first crossing point and some more, but not many, wildebeests appeared. It was almost 2pm and we decided to have lunch in the Landcruiser. My eyes were in a bad state even though Id kept my sunglasses on almost all the time. I tried to wipe off the running mascara with a tissue and water. I have a hair problem that I had to attend to as well: my mental health would be so much better if my hair was wavy, but its straight with shorter strands that are nasty, ugly wisps that drive me mad. On safari I wear a lose braid instead of a braid put up with pins and the way it is messed up by the friction against my back is worse than a swarm of tsetse flies. And, I was red like a tomato, from the heat, I thought. Kamara and Kiringai looked nice and fresh: they never opened the roof hatch above the front seat, the little hair they had always looked the same and they had good naturally upturned eyelashes. I wanted to kill them, but they would never had understood why they had to die and I wouldnt have liked to start the Landcruiser on my own so close to the Mara River. Ill not mention lipgloss, in case I would offend any safari purists reading this. When Id started digging into my lunchbox, I looked up and two zebras were crossing the river! Nobody followed them, but a stallion got very upset that they had crossed, calling them and trotting up and down along the river. I had an Aspirin with caffeine, as I do most days when I cant take a siesta.

Another hour passed and suddenly a big group of zebras were in the river with the intention of crossing as quickly as possible I think its safe to say that was their intention. I got up on the roof again and felt like I was in exactly the place where I should always be. Though I was a bit irritated that not all people agree about whats my place in the world. The water wasnt high and those who crossed in the right place didnt have to swim. Some slipped and fell on the crocodiles lying in the stream like battle ships waiting to attack (as Atravelynn so aptly put it), before getting on their feet again to continue. The crocs dragged away a wildebeest that was lucky and got loose. A zebra and another wildebeest were less lucky and got killed. If I had been there to tick off on a list with the pyramids, Taj Mahal, wildlife in Africa etc, Id have preferred not to see any kills. Though I almost didnt see them as the sun, the wind and the irritating obsession of having to photograph all the time had made my eyes quite useless. Once on the Mara Conservancy side the zebras and wildebeests hurried up the rocky slope and I lost sight of them when they got into the bushes on the top. I heard some excited words from Kamara and Kiringai, and Kamara asked me, did you see? I had missed a lion that jumped up from the bushes pouncing on a zebra that had just made it across the river. For over 20 minutes new groups of zebras kept jumping into the river. When the crossing stopped there were several very upset stallions that now had some of their mares on the other side. I dont think that being the only vehicle at a river crossing had anything to do with the troubles. In 2007 I was stuck in a hole close to the Mara River for 4 hours at the same time of the day.

There were lion coloured things of different sizes in the bush on the other side of the river and they were probably eating a zebra. Further downstream a gang of crocs were doing the same thing, taking turns showing their pale chests while chewing with their snouts in the air. Now was the time to cross for any topis tired of the Narok side, but they werent interested. A mare and a foul took the opportunity though.

When we were about to head out onto the Paradise Plains, an Explorer vehicle appeared. In it were four girls in their 20s and Dennis, my driver from Intrepids 2007! Instead of telling him how happy I was to see him - after saying that we had just seen a river crossing - I asked him if he got the photos I sent him and why he hadnt replied. He had received the photos, but could only send emails when in Nairobi, which I already knew. Dennis wanted to know when Id be back and I told him that they would have to take down the fence first. The girls said that there was no fence where they were staying and they looked at me like I was really nasty. Then I said that Ill be back if I got a really good offer for Explorer. If I were American Id have started crying and Id given Dennis nice gifts for his children. Not that he has any children. Though that could have changed in a year. I need to change my behaviour.

Once out on the plain we came across another Heritage vehicle looking at a cheetah that came walking. The cheetah sat down on a termite mound. Some 100 metres away there were three, I think, other Heritage vehicles looking at another spotted cat on top of another termite mound. We went to have a look at the leopard, but it was getting late and we had to go. After another quick look at the cheetah we were racing back to camp. I dont know how fast Kamara was driving, but standing up in the wind it felt like he was speeding. Sometimes I thought I saw servals and I asked him to stop, but I dont know if there were any. Drops of rain were falling; it got dark and when we were close to camp, the skies opened up and the rain poured down forcing us to close the roof hatch. It wasnt that easy to find the way to Nyumbu in the dark, but once there, a member of the staff was waiting with an umbrella. It had been a nice 12-hour game drive.

I straightened out my hair and my eyes and noticed that my forehead and nose were very burnt. For a few seconds I wondered if making someone drive me around for 12 hours even though most of the time had been spent parked next to the Mara River - could be considered abusive.

An American group of 12 people from the same family had arrived. James and another guy from Nature Expeditions were their guides. I asked Kamara if he was tired, but he was used to driving from Lake Nakuru and then going directly on a game drive and he never got tired and never ever slept during the day. Though he said that the next day wed go on a morning and an afternoon game drive and I said that we could do full-day game drives on alternate days. I mentioned a packed breakfast, but the chef had already retired to his bed. We would have breakfast in camp at 6.30. None of the Americans came to the campfire and neither did any animals or James. Kamara said that there were animals when there was water in the ditch bordering the camp. Peter wanted to know if my water had been cold the previous night and I said that it had been almost hot. He insisted that it would be so much better if we walked to my tent together and I agreed to come with him and get a bucket shower photo. I had forgotten to apply my eucalyptus-based mosquito repellent and the mosquitoes had found me. The night was less windy than the previous night, and again I heard hyenas and zebras.
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Aug 17th, 2008, 10:36 AM
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Day 5

We were on our way before 7am, the morning was very cold, Kiringai was spitting again and close to camp we encountered an elephant family on the move. On our way to Talek Gate I was reminded that Talek really is quite a big town. On my first trip to Kenya I stayed at a camp in the area other camps have popped up like mushrooms since then - and regretted not having checked out the town more thoroughly, but now Id not like to stay in such a developed area. For the first time this trip we passed through a gate. As a contrast to 2007 there were almost no minivans in the Talek area. The reason for this could have been that the big lion pride wasnt around either, or at least we didnt see them. We did see the collared hyenas and the waterbucks that always hang around near the gate. I never know where I am on game drives, but for this trip I had brought a map and I kept asking Kamara about our location. His explanations were rather approximate though. The Posee and Meta Plains were empty, empty, empty, except for small groups of topis and zebras, warthogs and some shy elands. There was a bigger herd of giraffes and an elephant family with a very angry calf. He just couldnt stand us and kept mock charging and trumpeting. It must have been so frustrating for him that his mother and aunts didnt assist him in turning the Landcruiser into a flat piece of metal scrap. Next to a small river/ditch Kiringai discovered rhino tracks and I almost thought that at last Id see a Mara rhino, but it was nowhere to be found. Instead I found a tortoise. We saw some nice topis next to the gate. Kamara said that he never called them nyamera and that its mainly done in Tanzania.

We were back in camp for lunch and I felt a bit irritated, as I would have preferred lunch next to the Mara River. Back in my tent I fortunately managed to set one of my alarm clocks before falling asleep and at 4pm we were out again.

We headed in another direction and came upon three vehicles next to some riverine trees and a thicket. For a while I thought there were lion cubs in the thicket, but the attraction was a leopard with a cub in one of the trees. They were only visible for brief moments when moving to new branches. After some time one vehicle left, another moved to the other side of the river and we followed it seeing a hippo out and about on the way to the crossing. On the other side the leopardess was more visible and I discovered that there were two cubs sitting in different trees. The mother got down to the ground and into the bushes and the cubs started growling. I might be mistaken, but it sounded like they wanted their mother to help them descend. They managed to reach they ground by themselves and then they followed the mother along the bushy edge of the riverbank. They got out of sight and as it was getting late, we and the other vehicle left. After crossing the river we approached the approximate site were the leopards had disappeared just in case wed be lucky and there came the mother walking in the open with the cubs trailing behind her. They descended into the river again and crossed in a sandy place with almost no water. Then they had a quick drink a bit further down, the mother lay down on the little beach and one of the cubs approached her, they rubbed cheeks, the cub had few slurps of milk, got up and played with mums tail for a moment and then disappeared into the papyrus. The second cub repeated the same procedure and then mother and second cub followed the first cub into the papyrus and we returned to camp.

Kiringai said that the river where we saw the leopards was Olare Orok. Now I think it could have been Ntiakitiak, but Im very disorientated. When we were there I had a feeling that we were outside the Reserve, but now I dont think so. I dont even think we did any game drives in Olare Orok Conservancy, except for the area around Nyumbu.

James from Nature Expeditions asked us to phone him if we saw leopard cubs, or anything of that ilk, again. The Americans hadnt seen anything at all. After dinner, Kamara told me that he and James had to drive to Talek for some nighttime shopping since the kitchen had run out of important breakfast items. Some guides like to escape to town as soon as they get an opportunity, but they really didnt appear to be of that kind, at least not Kamara. One of the waiters, Samuel, joined me by the fire for security reasons! Though I never understood what the danger was. I talked about finding a way to stay in Kenya and Samuel told me about an English woman who had bought a plot and built a house not far away from Nyumbu. I could work for a couple of years in my country and then do the same. I dont think Samuel had a realistic view on how much money I can get hold of at home. His comment to the advice Id got on a blog about marrying a member of parliament was that the managing director of Basecamp, where he had worked before, had married the daughter of an important woman minister. I wouldnt say great minds, but Kenya-orientated minds think alike, its just that some do more than thinking. Somehow we got into religion and I wondered why all Kenyans were religious. Samuel had some new information for me: people dont fear God; they fear being cast away by their families and if your parents have given you a Christian name, youd better spit in the morning to bless God. I did know that spitting was a way of blessing for the Maasai, but I didnt know that spitting out of the window of the Landcruiser in the morning was a way to bless God.
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Aug 17th, 2008, 10:38 AM
  #7  
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Day 6

We drove almost straight to the place where we had seen the leopards the previous evening. They werent there, (because?) instead there was a lion lying in a bush. The lion didnt look like he had any plans to get up and do anything. I heard a drumming and it was Kamara tapping his fingers on the side of the vehicle. If we would have been the only people the lion would see that day, a little bit of interaction wouldnt a have been a problem, but this was the Maasai Mara and making noises to attract the attention of lions is definitely against the rules, for good reasons. I tried to think of what to say, but Kamara stopped by himself.

Out on an almost empty plain with tall yellow grass we found an elephant herd with a calf so tiny that you almost couldnt see it. We followed the elephants and after an hour or so they reached a river with hippos (Olare Orok?) and descended to have a drink. Nature Expeditions two minivans with Americans from Nyumbu appeared out of nowhere. I would definitely not have liked to share a minivan, but I envied their sunroof, as it was getting very hot. The elephants walked into the water and crossed the river. They were supposed to get up on the other side in a single file following the matriarch, but one of them took a shortcut climbing onto a rock, which made the matriarch furious, and she pushed the insolent elephant back into the river.

The elephants disappeared, but we found something better: a big herd of topis. They were standing in the sun with their eyes closed and were accompanied by some zebras that for some reason didnt have the same eye problem as we have. There were a couple of kongonis as well, but I dont remember if their eyes were closed. Suddenly we found ourselves on the Governors airstrip reading a sign with some words that I dont remember, but it was something about how very forbidden it was to drive on the airstrip. We had a look at the nice green hippo soup next to the airstrip and I tried unsuccessfully - to photograph some African jacanas. The hippos were better at collaborating. Close to Governors Camp there were plenty of giraffes. Without Governors vehicles, the area with its green grass and riverine woodland would easily be confused with paradise and at midday, as this was, there are no vehicles. Its a place where you could look around and say, waterbuck at 12 oclock, lion at 1 oclock, impala at 2 oclock, zebra at 3 oclock and so on round the clock. In the shade of a tree almost on the road a lion was lying flat. Kamara started tapping on the vehicle door and I said that lions need a lot of sleep. They are lazy, said Kamara, but its not the same, as I know being a very sleepy person. At the same time Kiringai opened the vehicle door and picked up a pebble from the ground. Kamara told him that it wasnt good to disturb the animals, but the pebble was already in the air over the Landcruiser. The lion didnt even lift his head.

We alighted for lunch at the hippo-viewing site upstream from Governors. A huge biomass of hippos was sunbathing at the other side of the Mara River. To be able to finish this report some time soon, Im avoiding writing about food, but I could mention in what order I ate the fruit in the lunchbox: I started with papaya, then watermelon, then orange, then banana, then mango, and I saved the pineapple for last as its my favourite.

After lunch we came across some very boring baboons. Baboons are usually entertaining, but these only concentrated on foraging, picking nice blades of grass, and didnt even pose for a photo. The lilac-breasted rollers knew how to pose, but not how to be in focus. Further eastwards we spent a long time with a herd of some 300 buffaloes. We got some angry stares, but all in all they were extremely pleasant to be around and they had some tiny calves. The warthogs also liked to be around the buffaloes. Governors vehicles started appearing and 2 of them came to look at the buffaloes. They were nice and open-sided, but Id preferred to be without them. We moved on and found three topis. One of them looked young, but was almost fully-grown. He galloped slowly across the road and into the grass, apparently just for fun. Then he came back at top topi speed (and that is fast) with a cheetah at his haunches. We got between them and the cheetah stopped and started to walk away. I thought it a good idea not to follow her too closely in case she was hunting. There were some tommies that looked like more suitable prey than a topi. Kamara didnt think that she was hunting, but that the topi had just galloped into her whiskers. A Governors vehicle appeared and drove up to the cheetah that disappeared into a long strand of croton thicket. We continued back to camp and on the way we saw many nice topis in very tall grass.

The 12 Americans were leaving the following day, so there was a very long Maasai song and dance number and James held a speech about being ambassadors for Nyumbu. There was a problem: we would have to have breakfast in camp the following day, as the kitchen staff couldnt find a thermos for the tea! I didnt have to say anything. Kamara said the obvious, just pack some juice.

Kamara didnt have any ideas about how I could stay in Kenya, but knew how my trips could be cheaper: I should plan my next trip well in advance, talk to people I know and make them want to come. Nyumbu gave a free stay to the 16th guest in a group. He knew an American teacher who brought friends on trips and got his own trips for free without his friends knowing about it. I dont even know that many people, I cant plan things that long in advance and if I was to bring groups Id prefer to be a proper travel agent. Kamara said that many Kenyan members of parliament were quite young and could cheat on me.
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Aug 17th, 2008, 10:39 AM
  #8  
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Day 7

We were out at 6.30am and we found the elephant herd with the tiny baby closer to Nyumbu than the previous day. On the road to Musiara Gate a cheetah was walking in the same direction as we were driving. Then she walked into the grass towards some tommies. Kamara phoned Nature Expeditions and they arrived with the Americans who still hadnt left and we continued towards Musiara Gate. We saw a lioness that started to descend into a small bushy riverbed. For a second we also saw a very small cub, but they got into the bushes and we could only see one of the lionesss ears. It was almost 9am and we should have had breakfast at that spot waiting for the lions to do something. Kamara started following a track through Musiara but the track ended and he had to go back and try another one, and another. We returned to the place where the lions had been, but now there wasnt even an ear. After returning to the gate for some instructions we continued on a good track and soon there was a male lion on a hill next to a bush. I was getting hungry, so I opened a plastic box with Maria biscuits in it that always was in the vehicle. I stuffed myself with biscuits while staring at the lion and his friend who was lying flat in a bush, in the same way some people eat popcorn when watching a film. A thought we could have biscuit for breakfast and then have the breakfast as lunch and stay out all day, but I didnt say anything.

Then we were back at the hippo viewing spot for breakfast. This time most hippos were in the water. I tried to photograph a woodpecker, but you really cant tell whats in the photo. Suddenly a few Maasai appeared out of nowhere with bundles that they started to unpack setting up a small curio market. One of them had some lions teeth to sell. I dont know if they were authentic, but I told him that it was against the law to trade in lions teeth, which he found very funny. I bought a thin Maasai necklace from a seller with no lions teeth and as he didnt have any change, I also bought a boring necklace of the kind of which I have hundreds. Kiringai thought the boring necklace was better than the Maasai one and I dont think Kamara had any opinions about jewellery.

We left the sellers to look for something more interesting. It was very hot and there were no other vehicles anywhere. The topis were standing with their eyes closed and their heads low. We didnt see anything unusual, but there were lots of ostriches close to camp.

The Americans were getting ready to leave. One woman almost screamed when she saw my face and I understood her. Ive had some bad burning episodes when I was younger and should be very careful with the sun. Im probably too wrinkly for my age and now I was even wrinklier, red - and greasier than normal, as I put on generous layers of cream. The woman asked me if I was a photographer or something and I said that you could see on my camera that I was not. I should have told her that they could have come to the campfire to find out how not interesting I was. After lunch I slept for half an hour or so and then I tried to do something about the way I looked.

Then we were out again heading in the Ol Kiombo direction. We met the Nature Expeditions vehicles that had dropped off the Americans and James asked if we had seen the lion cubs. We dashed off to a spot were there were a couple of vehicles looking at a thicket were 6 lion cubs were playing rather wildly. The grass was a bit too tall for good vision. Kamara said that we could go to the other side of the bush, but only for 15 minutes, as it was an area where you were not allowed to drive. I thought we could wait until the lions came closer. One female was in the bush and two others were lying in the tall grass near us. More vehicles, mostly Heritage, arrived and a classic Mara traffic jam of some 8 vehicles was forming. Most of the vehicles went over to the other side, but then the cubs decided to join the lionesses next to where we were parked. A male was slowly approaching the bush where the cubs had been playing and when he was a couple of metres away two of the lionesses got up, froze for a second, and then they descended upon the lion like a growling lightning. The lion lay down in the grass and the lionesses did the same next to the bush. The cubs, that had been watching, trotted down to the lionesses to get licked. I heard a Heritage guide say that the lion must have been from the same pride as the lionesses, or they would have taken off with the cubs as soon as theyd noticed him approaching. Some of the cubs came up to us again. Kiringai started spitting at one of them. Spitting is blessing and the cub was fascinated, but I dont know if it was the most appropriate thing to do. It was getting late and the vehicles started disappearing. For some time Kamara had been saying that we had to return to camp, but we waited until the last vehicle had left.

Two young English brothers had arrived at Nyumbu with their two young driver-guides, or maybe one was a driver and one was a guide. After dinner the drivers came to the campfire. They told Kamara that their guests were very young, but had been to Zimbabwe and Uganda, so their family must have a lot of money. Kamara told them that I was a teacher and they didnt look impressed. In Kenya I say Im a teacher, though Ive never put my foot in a teaching college and Ive never wanted to be a teacher. Its just that Ive got the money for all my Kenya trips from teaching. The kitchen wanted to talk to Kamara and when he came back he said that they had asked him to drive to Talek for nighttime shopping again, but that the recently arrived drivers had volunteered instead. He had already had to go to Talek after lunch and he said that the camp staff werent very organized and the only camp vehicle was a tractor. When I was enquiring about going to Nyumbu I had asked about taking public transport to Talek and then do game drives in the camp vehicles, but in that case a Nature Expeditions minivan would have had to drive down from Nairobi. On the website there is a nice open-sided vehicle with a sunroof. Kamara had heard a lion early in the morning. Im always up at 5, but didnt hear anything. Now I had some hope of hearing lions, but there were only hyenas.
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Aug 17th, 2008, 10:40 AM
  #9  
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Day 8

This day we were going on a full-day game drive to the Mara Triangle west of the Mara River that belongs to the Trans Mara County Council and is managed by the Mara Conservancy. We entered through Talek Gate and headed southwest.

Next to Ol Keju Gem River there was a big Fig Tree vehicle and a leopard was sniffing out the side of the riverbank. There were double riverbeds with a rock part in the middle and very little water. The leopard crossed over to the middle of the river and had a drink from a puddle and the Fig Tree vehicle left. Then she (I think it was a female) lay down and started cleaning herself before rolling up to have a rest. She didnt rest for long until she got up, walked into the mid-river grass, had a look around and disappeared out of sight. And we continued towards Lookout Hill.

We drove up to the top of Lookout Hill. There was another vehicle surrounded by a group of tourists having breakfast. As there were no other vehicles in sight anywhere, they probably didnt appreciate our presence, but we were there on a mission: to find the new Somak lodge. We couldnt see any building work anywhere and Kamara said that the whole thing could have been a lie. I later emailed Somak without getting a reply and then I found information on the Mara Triangle website that they were developing an area along the Mara River. The most recent information I have is that Somak have stopped developing the area at the moment, and there will be an external task force coming down at the end of August to review all current and planned building of camps and lodges in the Masai Mara.

When we had descended the hill Kamara got under the Landcruiser to fix a small problem and I had a little walk looking at topis. Kiringai did some Kamara watching. Then we continued towards Mara Bridge. On the way we crossed a lovely little river and after crossing Kiringai saw something on the ground. He picked it up and it was a mussel shell that could be made into beads. It made me think of what the brown waters of the Mara rivers are hiding besides crocs and hippos. Next to Mara Bridge there were some hippos and many bones and skulls of the wildebeest that drowned in 2007. At the gate there were nice toilets with a mirror and some agama lizards.

When we entered the Mara Triangle it was already 11am and very hot. We had a look at an empty crossing point and the tall bad grass with scattered plains game. In some places the grass was burnt, which probably was a good idea, but it was just black with no animals. I thought I saw a lion in a bush, but it was a reedbuck, which is a rarer sight, but I didnt see it that well. We stopped for lunch under a tree surrounded by billowing yellow grass. Ive written about empty places, but there have always been some animals. Here there was nothing, at least no mammals, but there was a picnic table, which made it feel like Nairobi NP. I got a feeling that neither Kamara nor Kiringai were that familiar with the Mara Triangle. We returned to the Narok side before 2pm. During our stay in the Triangle we had seen approximately 6 other vehicles.

We kept to the southern part of the reserve driving towards Keekorok. There was tall yellow grass and few animals. Then we descended deep into the depths of safari depravity, game viewing at the Keekorok waste pit (known from A Primates Memoir by Robert M. Sapolsky). It was covered with a strong wire net on a steel structure, but the baboons had broken into it anyway. There were also some marabous, a monitor lizard and impalas with babies. On our way to Talek Gate we met a topi that stared at us and then ran away at top topi speed for a 100 metres or so. When we caught up with him, after having looked at warthogs, he was very recognizable among the other topis because again he stared and then speeded away to the first place where we had met him. I wonder if he was trying to say something or if he was just neurotic. Closer to Talek we met the elephant herd with the tiny baby again. A couple of minivans were looking at them.

After exiting Talek Gate we went in the direction of where we had seen the lion cubs the previous evening. They had moved, but we found them even though they were lying in tall grass, probably because there was a collection of Heritage vehicles. Now a male was lying close to the females and he was licking a cub. I dont know if he was the same as the one that was told off the day before. It was a bit windy and my wispy hair was extremely irritating. Game viewing would be so much better with curls bouncing in the air. I kept my sunglasses on even when it was getting dark, in part because of the wind, but mostly because of what my runny eyes had done to my mascara. Kamara said we would soon have to return to camp. The Heritage vehicles left one by one and then we too said goodbye to the lions. I didnt think too much about when Id next be on a game drive. Now I had to find a way to stay in Kenya.

We were back at Nyumbu after another 12-hour game drive. I do recommend full-day game drives. The best way to do them would be to have lunch in a place with shade and good wildlife and not to be too much in a hurry to sleep an hour or so in the vehicle, or in the grass if someone stays awake keeping watch. All game drive vehicles have mirrors. On a self-drive I would have no problem completely reorganizing my hair and washing my eyes and re-applying mascara out in a national park or reserve. The whole problem has to do with looking ridiculous.

Peter came to my tent when I was getting ready for dinner and I asked him about tips. I am quite cheap, but as I want to be popular, I always make sure I tip more than whats expected. First he said that tips werent expected, but after some pressure I got him to tell me what an approximate normal tip was. He mentioned a very low sum for the staff box and even lower sums for the waiter and for himself, and a little more for Kiringai. He couldnt tell me about Kamara, but it would have to be more important. I had a problem with my waiter: I didnt catch his name the first day and Kamara didnt know when I asked him. Then it felt like too late to ask. Thats the problem with travelling with a driver-guide; you dont spend enough time with the camp staff.

Fortunately both the English boys and I were leaving the next day. A song and dance number just for me would almost have been embarrassing. Kiringai thought it a good idea to wear a warrior wig and after the Maasai dance a member of staff did a solo performance. I thought he had gone mad, but the manager, Philip, who held the speech about being ambassadors for Nyumbu, said it was a Kamba dance. It was definitely more lewd and unhinged than a Maasai dance.

At night I heard hyenas and zebras, no lions.
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Aug 17th, 2008, 10:42 AM
  #10  
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Day 9

Since we were leaving early in the morning, I wasnt in a hurry and had requested to have breakfast at 7.30am to leave at 8.00am. I tipped and signed the guest book and Philip informed me that they had new tents with flush toilet and that I could tell people that they had a choice. Flush toilets seemed very unnecessary and water consuming to me.

Go to Nyumbu. Its a nice camp.

Done.

Kamara could have dropped me off in Naivasha, but my plan was to stay at Fishermans Camp thats more expensive at the weekend, and it was Friday. I had sms to find out if the lower rates were from Sunday or Monday, but I hadnt got a reply. We were returning to Nairobi.

We left at 8.30am and saw the last topi close to camp. Instead of heading towards Talek and Sekenani we turned north towards Aitong. Everything was very dry and women were carrying big plastic water tanks. Kamara said that they had to walk very far to get water. I was going to say, let them have water brought to them by Peter, but I didnt. Vivien had had a camp near Aitong, but sold it. The very big farm that has a sign next to the main road, Olerai Farm, had been the property of just one man, but now his 13 sons had inherited it. Kamara showed me an area before Narok that had been a forest not so long ago. Then he stopped to buy some charcoal for Vivien. It was much cheaper than in Nairobi. In a Narok we made a quick toilet stop. Vivien phoned and invited me to tea and I was very interested in meeting her. We saw some tommies and zebras and three giraffes before Maai Mahi. For the first time ever I got off at the Rift Valley viewpoint when there were only light clouds. There were no hyraxes though. A curio seller asked me, after finding out where I was from, to change a Swedish 10-kronor coin and I did even though Id have preferred to keep my 100-shilling note thats very useful. I think he was the same guy who last year told me he collected foreign coins and whom I gave 10 kronor. There was a dead donkey at the side of the road. We went through Kikuyu to avoid traffic jams. There was an interesting, but very dusty market.

We reached Karen and, unsurprisingly, a big gate in a high hedge. Inside there was a not very big one-storey house and some other buildings. Vivien was a smiling little white woman in desert coloured camouflage trousers. I really began to like her when she told Kamara that I was a medium. Apparently he had decided that I needed a large T-shirt. Vivien and the administrator of As You Like It, George, were very interested in my plans and started talking about arranging a trip with a vehicle for the same price as I was going to pay, and I had to stop them saying it was not possible as Fishermans was 1000 shillings per night and the bus would be almost nothing. They said you needed a vehicle for Hells Gate and George phoned Fishermans to ask their price for one. I didnt think of asking him to ask Fishermans when their lower price for a banda started. I was As You Like Its first guest for the year, but they had good bookings for the high season. When the troubles started and no tourists were coming, Vivien had gone to Iraq to train some special forces at a camp. It was very good money. I tried to ask how she got that job, but she just showed me some photos and told me about the shipping container that she had lived in (dont remember what it was called), that she had had her own shower and lost weight eating good Iraqi food with the Iraqis. It had been very nice to have people to talk to, as she usually only has her staff and him inside (there was a husband-like guy of whom I only saw the back in front of a computer). The owner of Fishermans had been in Iraq as well. What aspect of the Kenyan tourist industry qualifies you to train special forces in Iraq? I never found out.

Id definitely go somewhere dangerous to earn a lot of money. Though I find the business idea called the Iraq war so disgusting that it would not be an option. Perhaps I could train the Zapatistas, but I dont think theres any money in it and I dont know if I would have my own shower. If anyone knows of something dangerous, but not too immoral that I could do for a lot of money without getting dirty and ugly, please email sannasusathotmaildotcom (I am serious).

Vivien had just had lunch and kindly invited me to some steak. I reminded her that Im a vegetarian and had some salad. A young girl and an older man were working in the kitchen and came serving some extra avocado and then pancakes and tea. Vivien kept apologizing for the informality.

Vivien and George came up with a Nanyuki trip idea. Theyd see if a couple of Americans were interested in 2 nights at a moderate hotel with visits to Sweetwaters and Mount Kenya the following week. Vivien was coming as well, which made it sound very fun. Then they came up with the price of $500. It was far too expensive, but I just said that Id think about it. My plan was to see if Id find something better in Naivasha and then negotiate the price if I was still interested. As the city centre is awful they also started looking for a place in Karen where I could stay. A nice rotweiler called Major and a loaf of fluff called Fluffy appeared. I think there was a dog under the fluff, but Im not sure. Major and Fluffy almost went mad when Kamara appeared. He was very popular. In the garden there were squirrels, cordon-bleus and mannekins. Kamara told me that staying in town, as I had decided, was a lot better if I was going to take the bus to Naivasha and that Vivien just didnt think that I should stay where the Africans were, as she was still in that kind of thinking. I also got to know that Vivien was 67. At the other side of the house there was a small stable where Vivien was going to show me her horse, but he wasnt there. She found him with a young man next to the laundry line. He was a big, shiny thoroughbred stallion called Callimachus. Also, there was another dog. I dont remember his name, but he didnt get along very well with Fluffy and they had to be kept apart from each other.

The reason for the flush toilets was that some irritating authority had forced Nyumbu to install them, as it was considered a permanent camp.

Finally we were off to the Terminal Hotel. Kamara told me that I had to start running a lot more and maybe I understood what he meant. We caught the rush hour and got stuck in traffic jams. I dont really know for how long we were stuck, but it could have been for hours. I just looked at Nairobi from another perspective. Kamara thought that I should negotiate the price if I was going to Nanyuki, as the price Id been told was just something out of Georges head. Nelson was in the reception when we arrived at the Terminal and the first thing he said, to Kamara, was now she looks like an African and Kamara said, she is an African. But, I wasnt black at all; I was not even brown, but red and peeling. I was disintegrating like in a B horror movie, and whats African with that?

I freshened up, went out to send an email to Fishermans and talked with Nelson. His Dutch friend had said that I didnt talk much and that irritated me. I dont normally talk that much, but thought that I had talked with the Dutchman. I told Nelson that his friend drank too much and something more. We decided to have dinner next day. It got late and I walked down Koinange Street to eat something somewhere. A man in a bowtie took me to the place where he was working in a back alley. I had to have my bag searched to be let into the local dont remember the name of it - that was in a basement. It was very dark and looked like some kind of club, and it was almost empty. There were no non-meat dishes on the menu, so I left. The man with the bowtie showed me Friday on Loita Street where I had some tomato soup and passion juice. The tomato soup was OK, if I remember correctly.
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Aug 17th, 2008, 10:44 AM
  #11  
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To be continued
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Aug 17th, 2008, 11:51 AM
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nyamera
thanks for posting.
but frankly - it's exhaustive to read your report due to the loooooong link posted.........

sad - as i am very interested in what you have to report.
i'll come back later when my nerves are somewhat more stable ;-)

div
divine54 is offline  
Aug 17th, 2008, 12:12 PM
  #13  
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Div, Ive only posted the first part. Perhaps writing the report is an attempt at therapy for my nerves.
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Aug 17th, 2008, 12:22 PM
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I'm on Day 3 and am thoroughly absorbed. Too bad it's my mom's birthday and I need to run off and do things for her.

Have also viewed some of your photos; what are you talking about? They're good. You sure saw lots of cubs. And lots of topis.

Thanks for giving us the good, the bad and the ugly--in short, the real, and all filtered through your unique and charming perspective --in your report.
Leely2 is offline  
Aug 17th, 2008, 12:56 PM
  #15  
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Happy birthday to Leelys mum!
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Aug 17th, 2008, 01:22 PM
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nyamera,
now i have read your report
very interesting!

what is sad is that your driver didn't get you the right information about the wherabouts within the conservancies and the reserve
in that regard
don't you think it's better to stay in a camp where you can rent a vehicle for sole use so that its driver guide, who is pretty familiar with the places and also the expected wildlife, can serve your expectations much better?

i hope they don't built more lodges and camps within the reserve or the surrounding councils.

what was interesting to me: you make use of mascara in the bush!
to me it seems you are pretty much down to earth when it comes to safari, safari tents etc. and using mascara on safari is a contradiction - as far as i am concerned;-)

i am really looking forward to read more of your trip experiences as yet i have not found a clue why this trip was "stupid" yet.

seems the mara was pretty empty vehiclewise which definately was a bonus!

div
divine54 is offline  
Aug 17th, 2008, 01:46 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 4,232
nyamera,
considering your photo footage i would definately say this was a wonderful safari!

i am quite jealous in view to your leopard and lion cub encounters!
wunderful pics!
the leopard cub suckling, the leopardess almost posing for you, the tiny lion cubs, the cheetahs........gorgeous!
i cannot wait to get to the bush myself!

thanks for sharing!

div
divine54 is offline  
Aug 17th, 2008, 02:02 PM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,309
Div, Im glad your nerves have stabilized.

Sole use is too expensive and Nyumbu didnt even have camp vehicles, but I usually prefer camp guides and vehicles, also because they mostly are open-sided, and often Ive had non-sole use vehicles for myself.

Well see what the task force comes up with at the end of this month.

Contradiction is my middle name.

I was thinking of putting an (S) after all signs of stupidity, but then I thought it wasnt necessary and now its too late.

I only saw more than a handful of vehicles at the lion cub sightings and most of the time there were no other vehicles around. It was approximately the same in 2007 at the same time of the year though.

The cats collaborated quite well, especially the leopards.

Thanks for your comments. When will you be in the bush?

Nyamera is offline  
Aug 17th, 2008, 02:05 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 20,132
I can't imagine why you think the pictures are bad - they're wonderful.

I so want to read your report but the formatting is too lg. for my poor eyes to adjust to.
I'm curious enough though to put my lens in later and plow forward.
cybor is offline  
Aug 17th, 2008, 02:13 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 4,232
nya
i am visiting south africa (briefly) followed by bot, zam and zim in oct/nov 08 - can't almost wait to leave............
april 09 will be SA and zim or bot and in sep/oct 09 it MUST be the mara again!
it's amazing - one has always a reason to get back on safari - next time i hope i see such tiny leo cubs )

as you say SUV is too expensive. that's also our concern but my husband is a wildlife photographer so it pays off. and we love to stay with animals for hours on end........
in the earlier days we went to kicheche mara camp because they don't pack their cars to the limit and they do UNLIMITED game drives which is almost unique in the mara!

maybe you consider that next time.........

div

the reading is much better when you "open" a "reply"
;-)
divine54 is offline  

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