Kenya- Part IIWritten by admin on January 22nd, 2009
Two officials made it quite an interesting border crossing into Kenya, as once we had finished immigration and customs they then decided that we should pay an extra $40 for a foreign permit for Bob.
We had successfully driven all the way through Kenya before without needing this permit, so were pretty sure that we did not really need it. At pretty much every border we have been to, there seems to be an additional cost that you NEED to pay, however it is very difficult to know whether the officials are telling the truth or not.
We debated for about 30 minutes the reasons we didn’t think we should pay it with them. Half way through one left the room and when he returned the official we had been talking to said to him that it was OK, and explained the situation – we “did not need to pay anymore as it was Felicity’s sister’s wedding in Kenya next week and we were just going to attend the wedding,” which made us exempt from this particular fee! Not sure how he got to that story, but we were happy we didn’t need to pay and we left laughing along with the officials who also found their attempt at getting some additional cash out of us amusing!
Tuesday 30 December
We spent the day in Diani visiting and meeting with the staff at one of the volunteer projects in the area. After a hard day’s work we needed a break, so got a couple of hours kite surfing in. However, frustratingly most of this time was spent in, or under the water, rather than doing some cool riding!
Wednesday 31 December
After catching up on some tidying and doing the never ending job of cleaning the dust off Bob and everything in him we had a lovely BBQ dinner on the beach in the evening. We then headed up to a friend’s house right on the beach and celebrated seeing 2009 by having bubbly on the beach at midnight while watching the fireworks. Just further along the beach there was a big party with some apparently famous DJ, which we joined in until the bouncers chucked us out for just strolling in off the beach without paying.
Thursday 1 January
Slightly bleary eyed we headed off to a camp in the hills where some of the volunteers stay. This was a perfect place to enjoy New Years Day and recover - beautiful scenery, peace and quiet and great accommodation. We stayed in an open fronted banda looking out over the forest, with a swinging sofa, so you could lie and just enjoy the view.
Friday 2 January
Marc’s Dad (Tony, Mr Crotch), sister (Becky, Stinko) and brother in law (Greg, Geegar), arrived today looking like they could definitely do with some sun. We all met up at Pinewood Hotel where Greg and Bec were staying while the bungalow at Chale Sea Villas (a considerably more budget option) where dad was staying with us was prepared. We had dropped in prior to their arrival and been told by Christopher, the manager, that the room was ready for us. However, on inspection we felt that the lack of mattresses in one room, no fridge, not clean and with someone else’s toothpaste and shaving foam still in the bathroom was not ready and told him politely to pull his finger out.
After a quick catch up and beer we all hit the poolside, so they could start working on their tans.
Sunday 4 January
We had been giving some hard consideration to whether we should buy our own kite and had been offered a really good deal on some second hand gear. The cost of hiring equipment, the hope that if we needed to we could sell it again in S.A., and a kind present from Marc’s gran made our decision and we picked up our gear late afternoon and had our first test runs. After an initial period of getting used to the new kite we were up each time and enjoying the new board.
Monday 5 January
Today we drove with Greg and Bec to Tsavo East National Park to check out some volunteer programmes and have a safari in the Park. We arrived early afternoon and were warmly met by the project staff and showed around. The accommodation was great and we told them not to fuss and that we would do all of our own cooking etc., so they pretty much gave us full run of the Camp’s facilities.
We took ourselves out for an evening drive on the large game farm where the Camp was based and soon found some giraffe. We then headed for a sundowner spot that had been recommended. En route we saw an elephant bull approaching a long way on the track that we were on. He was moving very slowly, but as we got a little nearer we noticed his walking pace had gradually started to increase and then he seemed on a bit of a mission. We stopped and waited and then as he got closer and closer decided to turn around. While we looked for somewhere to turn he broke into a trot and then as Felicity perfected an eight point turn he accelerated into a run and let off a trumpet, at which point Marc shouted to forget the bushes and just turn around. He was quite close by the time we were safely pointed in the opposite direction and had made nice photo for Bec!
So as not to encourage him to chase cars in the future we didn’t rush off, but waited for him to calm down a little. Now that we had a good escape route we didn’t back down to a couple more idle threats from him, as he stood eating by the roadside. When he had calmed down sufficiently and was a safe distance from the road we continued on our way for a drink in a nice open area with the sun setting behind a large hill.
Back at camp they had lit us a fire and we sat around having a few drinks, cooked ourselves a good braai and chatted to the Camp staff and volunteers. A good end to a day in Africa!
Tuesday 6 January
We were off at the crack this morning, keen to get into the Park early for our safari. Before we had left the ranch we had seen a herd of buffalo and one of the grumpy old males initiated a bit of a mock charge.
We had only driven about 3km in the Park when we saw some lions, which was a promising start. They were quite a distance from the road though and in true lion fashion doing very little, so we soon decided to move on and come back to them at the end of the day.
As we wound our way close to the river we saw a lot of general game and loads of elephant with some close and very relaxed sightings of lone bulls and breeding herds with very small calves chasing each other around and learning to use their trunks.
After a while we came across another pride of lions that had killed a zebra and dragged it into a bush. Every now and again one would walk out of the bushes, so we got a better view.
At about midday we decided we needed a picnic site to get out of the heat, as it was getting sweltering, so we made the quite long drive to Croc Point and a small falls that had been recommended. It was a nice spot and we had lunch and then brief snooze in the shade of Bob’s awning.
At about 3 and still very hot we started to make our way back to Voi Gate. Along the drainage line we had more good sightings of giraffe and eles and with no other vehicles around.
On reaching Voi Gate we learned that we had half an hour longer in the Park than we thought and went back to watch the lions over a cold beer. This was ideal timing, as they started to become active, walking closer to the road and we eventually counted a pride of 10.
Wednesday 7 January
In the morning we went to visit the local school that the project was working with. This was a very rural school and needed a lot of work on the buildings to be done. Greg and Bec found it quite interesting to see this as well.
We then returned to Diani. When we got back to Pinewood we found that dad had cut a deal and checked himself in there. We didn’t blame him either; whilst we really liked Chale and found it a peaceful place to stay on the beach as part of a trip across Africa it didn’t touch Pinewood for a nice week’s holiday. Also, not such a lively place to stay on your own for a couple of days.
After a bit of a kitesurf in the afternoon and no drastic improvement in our skills – out OK, flying back 50/50 chance we all met for dinner at Pinewood. Dad then convinced us ‘Oldies’ that a night at Shakatak (which we renamed ‘Shark Attack’) would be fun. This was a local cheese place, but Wednesday night seemed to be African dance music night and it wasn’t until about 01.00 that they played more than one tune that we recognised in a row. We then cut some very crazy shapes on the dance floor, scaring most of the local prostitutes off it, until we overheated and called it a night.
Thursday 8 January
Greg, Bec and dad’s last day and a final day off mixed pool, beach and kiting activities, allowing them to get nicely frazzled before flying home.
We had a final couple of farewell drinks at the Beach Bar at their hotel before saying our goodbyes, as they had a seriously early departure for the airport the following day.
Sunday 11 January
We decided to spend a couple of extra days in Diani after Marc’s family left to catch up on emails/work and do some kiting. We generally spent the mornings meeting with our partners, visiting projects and on the computer and a couple of hours each afternoon kiting. Ending each day with a BBQ.