After a busy summer with SID, a few of us were ready for a holiday! We had planned to travel to Hell’s Gate, then Nairobi, onto Mombasa and end in Watamu. It was us three crazy gals on our own for the start, and we were bound to have a bit of an adventure doing it all.
We eagerly hopped on a bus and waved goodbye to our little Mbale, rushing to the back seat to spread out. The bus driver turned around from his seat and gave us a pretty big grin. I just waved at him, blinded by my excitement. He laughed and shook his head, saying “you really want to sit back there?” We just giggled right back and thought nothing of his remark. Not being on a bus in quite a while, we forgot about the whole lack of support behind the back wheel…. We also apparently forgot we were in Kenya, and that the roads were under construction or covered in pot holes. Needless to say, we had a wild ride. We bounced around and flew up off our seats. It was all fun and games until one of us smacked our heads pretty good… Seatbelts were fastened and the fun was over. But we arrived safely! Even if slightly concussed.
Our love for matatu stages has not grown in the slightest since being here, so arriving in Nakuru was stressful as usual. Especially with our huge packs on us and our lack of peripheral vision because of it. But we eventually got ourselves and our bags into a vehicle and headed to Naivasha. Our site looked beautiful and peaceful, right by the water. We sighed with relief and delight. Until we were told that our “little Kwazi” was not there. Instead, we were directed up a huge hill as the sun was coming down and we seemed to walk forever to this little shack in the woods. There were some unpleasant words said on the way up, as we heaved our bags up, step by step, our displeasure growing. After getting settled, catching our breath, and making our way back down, the anger subsided and we just accepted our fate up on that hill with the hyenas. We enjoyed lovely burgers and watched a hippo grazing nearby at the site’s restaurant. In the morning we woke (well I dragged the others out of bed) and got ready to bike into Hell’s Gate National Park (5 Km from our site). We weren’t totally sure what to expect but were excited. At 8am we were the first ones into the park. It was still and beautiful, with zebra, buffalo, springbok and warthogs running alongside us, or watching us from afar. I had been on a walking safari before but biking was a whole new experience. It felt as if we had the whole place to ourselves as we quietly rode along, looking for more animals. After about 12 Km we reached the gorge (or Hell) where you hike into. We straddled rivers, climbed up ledges, and fell down some (small) cliffs. But it was really fun! It was beautiful inside and incredible to see. By the end, we had biked 25 Km and hiked for 3 hours. Everything hurt.
Our way into Nairobi from Naivasha didn’t go as smoothly as hoped. Our matatu took us to the wrong place and we were lost and confused in a huge city. It was dark and hectic, but luckily a family friend came to the rescue. He took us in for the night and we enjoyed a luxurious bed, warm shower and for the first time in a while, the feeling of being totally clean! We were incredibly thankful for his gesture. The following morning he set us up with a driver and we went exploring! First stop was the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. In case you are not aware, I LOVE elephants. This was a highlight for me. For an hour, the baby elephants come out and get fed and have a bit of play time for a big crowd to see. We also checked out the Giraffe Centre and fed giraffes out of our hands and lips. Mmmm, stinky giraffe kisses are so scrumptious.
Finally we found a friend of ours and he took us for a final beer and some food before we loaded onto our night bus to Mombasa! To the beach!