Kenya is awesome! Let’s first start with that. This was my favorite country on the trip and we are already planning on when we can come back. But let’s start at the beginning…
We arrived in Kenya on Monday afternoon and Bill opened this leg the following morning. The one difference is that Monday night Bill gave us our scavenge books so that we could begin to plan our scavenges. This leg had an option for an overnight safari and we needed the extra night to plan and book.
We took one look at the book and knew that we had to do a safari in the Maasai Mara Reservation. After looking at the map and using the phone directory to call around we were able to book one night at the Governor’s Camp.
Tuesday morning came and we were all so pumped to head out to the reserve. Our driver, Simon (who would play a leading role in why this leg was so awesome) picked us up bright and early and we began the 6 hour trek to the reserve. The first 4 hours of the drive were great but then we turned off onto the “bumpy” road and then the journey got a bit more unpleasant. However, as we got closer to the reserve the amount of exotic wildlife that we could see through our car window got increasingly more interesting and the uneven road became just an afterthought.
As we drove into the camp we knew this part of the trip would be absolutely amazing as we were ushered over to this beautifully laid out lunch right on the edge of a river filled with hippos. After a quick bite to eat we were shown to our tents (SO COOL!) and then ushered onto our first game drive. I have been on safari in a small reserve in South Africa but that paled in comparison to the amount of animals we saw on this one game ride.
After about an hour into the drive we came upon a Maasai village which allowed you to tour their village for a small fee. The tour began with a song and dance from the beautifully dressed Massai women and then continued with a walk through their village and into their Chief’s hut. It was incredible to imagine that people still lived in such primitive conditions yet all of the kids ran and played like the happiest people on earth. We also got to see all of their crafts as they set up an entire market on the outskirts of the village.
That night we went to sleep to the sounds of hippos playing in the river right by the camp, and it was so cool to hear all of the sounds of the jungle right from our bed. We woke up super early to take a sunset hot air balloon ride over the reserve. I will let the photos below speak for themselves as this trip was so peaceful and so beautiful.
From the time we landed a bunch of trucks picked us up and took us over to this area at the bottom of one of the hills for a picnic breakfast. Can I just say – who gets lucky enough to have an entire cooked breakfast sitting at a breakfast table in the middle of the Maasai Mara?! Such an unforgettable experience.
After breakfast we took a short game ride back to our camp and then packed up (very tearfully) to head back into town. We found out that on our way back we could do one of the additional scavenges which was to take boat over Lake Naviasha and have a drink at the Country Club. This sounded like a very fun idea, until we reached the boat area and it was pouring with rain. Needless to say we did it anyways and got completely soaked while laughing hysterically at each other as we headed out on this very creepy, supposedly hippo infested lake. (No photos because of the rain.. You’ll have to wait for the go-pro footage)
One our way back into Nairobi from Lake Naviasha, our super awesome driver, Simon, invited us to have dinner at his home and meet his 3 year old son Troy. This was the highlight of our trip, as from the moment we opened the door to Simon’s house Troy came over singing and dancing and so excited to make friends. We had an amazing meal in his house and when we went to say goodbye Troy made the saddest face and started to cry. As we pulled away from the house, Simon told us to look back and we could see Troy sitting in the window watching us go. 😦
The next morning we arranged for Simon to pick us up bright and early and take us around to some of the exciting scavenges in Nairobi. During the journey we learned that Troy was home as school was on a break and we begged Simon to let him come with us as we were headed to the Elephant Orphanage and the Giraffe Reserve. He said yes and after a quick detour Troy was back with us! Our first stop with the elephants and Troy was a little afraid but so excited to see the baby elephants – as we all were. We watched in awe as the babies held their own bottles and fed themselves, while bouncing each other and trumpeting around the place.
After the elephants we headed to the giraffe reserve where we got to feed Kelly and Ed, two beautiful elephants. Giraffes are one of my favorite animals and it was awesome to get to feed them, pet them and be kissed by them (see photo below!). Also having Troy there was awesome as the moment he saw the giraffes we did his signature dance and raced over to see them.
From the elephants we went to the Mamba (Crocodile) Village where we saw many sized crocodiles and turtles and were very nervous as our guide jumped into the enclosure to poke one of the biggest crocodiles to make him move for us. We thought for sure we were about to witness someone being eaten! But alas, all was well.
From the time we left the crocodile area the rain began to pour, and it didn’t stop. The roads filled with water and at some points it looked like a river was running through Nairobi city. We had planned to walk around tour and complete some of the scavenges in the city center but didn’t think it was smart to try walking through the river and decided to return to the hotel instead.
The last thing we had planned for the night was to eat at this very well-known restaurant called the Carnivore. The plan was to leave the hotel at 6:45 for our 7:30 reservation but Simon called to say he was stuck in a lot of traffic and it would be best to take a taxi instead. We hailed two cabs and started our journey around 7, well we did not make what would normally be a 15 minute drive until 9:45. I have never sat in traffic that was so horrendous but the city had flooded, one road was blocked by a tree, another by a fallen transformer and there was also a very tragic collapsing of a house in the downtown area which was the perfect storm that lead to the worst traffic ever.
Once we finally arrived at the restaurant we had a lovely dinner of all kinds of meat. This is the kind of place where they come around with roasted meat on a stick and cut it directly onto your plate. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was very cool – it made the horrendous journey seem worth it.
This morning we got up early to complete one more challenge – riding an ostrich. Simon picked us up and we headed out to the the farm. We drove for about an hour until we came to the turn off to the farm and Simon noticed that the track looked very muddy and wet. We tried our best but after about thirty minutes trying to navigate complete mud roads we decided that we did not have the time to make it the 7 km of bad road – and if we got stuck we would be late for 11am check in at the end of the leg. Such a bummer.. but think it was the smart decision.
Instead we did a couple quick scavenges in town and then headed back for check-in. Bill has told us that we will be leaving the hotel tonight at 7pm to a catch a flight to…. we still don’t know. This was the last leg of the journey for Chris and I as we have to return home on Monday and will begin the long trek back across the pond from this evening. I am trying to encourage Savannah to finish blogging for the last country… so if you agree hackle her and make her do it!