Kampala, Jinja, Lake Naivasha, Crater Lake
15.06.2011 - 24.06.2011
We are back in Nairobi, picking up more people for the next stage of the tour. And saying a few sad goodbyes. I have just typed up a day to day itinerary so far and have notice how much we have actually done. And the 3 weeks has flown! We are again staying again in the area called Karen, named after Karen Blixon (‘Out of Africa’). One of the funniest things I have heard here is a Kenyan guy wearing an Aussie hat yelling out “A dingo stole my baby” to me.
I enjoyed Kampala, me and one girl on the tour had a very ‘western’ day there at the Garden City shopping centre, eating burgers and milkshakes and watching a movie, meanwhile the rest of the truck did a slum tour.
We then left for Jinja, Uganda’s adventure capital. We are already planning a reunion there it was so much fun. Our camp site was right on the Nile River and it was so nice to set up camp and know we were staying for 3 nights. No packing up tents and day packs. We got straight into the Chapati’s, which are DELICIOUS and overflowing with avocado (obviously not as expensive here as in Oz) and arranged a sunset cruise on the Nile – Lake Victoria. Turned out it is more of a Booze Cruise and we were forced to drink by the bar guys. “You guys drink too slow” and out came the Ugandan whisky bottles. We are a very musical group and as usual the night ended up with a lot of loud singing, continuing to the bus trip back to camp as we told people we were a travelling choir, and conga lined down to the bar to disturb everyone’s night. The next day I did White water rafting on the Nile. The drive there was beautiful, driving right through villages. We got a flat tyre, and as there was no spare we had to drive the last couple of km’s really slow. At one stage I looked behind and there must’ve been half a village following us! The first rapid – a Grade 5, 3m waterfall - was the perfect hangover cure. And the guides weren’t hard on the eye either. Ours was a Ugandan with an Aussie accent. He was HILARIOUS and we were in stitches all day. It would have to be one of the most fun days I have ever had. “If you fall out in the rapid, just chillax and enjoy the ride”. Easier said than done, especially getting stuck under the raft. We flipped a few times and one time the guide pulled me on top of the raft and we rode out the rest hanging on top. FUN! We partied on that night with all the guides at the bar and it was there I made the decision to go back and do it again in a tandem Kayak. Once again the first rapid was enough to wake me up. Always unnerving when your guide tells you he is shitting himself haha. It was a lot of fun, but definitely more scary than the rafting. The waves look a lot bigger from that small thing, and I did at moments wonder what I had got myself into. We were on the water for about 4 hours, and in between the rapids you just get to casually drift down the river, watching locals fishing and washing on the rocks. I really loved Jinja, the dirt roads, the villages, the weather and just being on the water. It just had a really nice vibe about it. One more day would have been great, just to relax on the river or look in some more shops (though it is probably best I avoid any more shops, I already have to send a box of things home).
We left early Monday morning and crossed back into Kenya to stay at a really nice camp site in Eldoret. Dinner was delicious, much better than any cook group meal.
Next stop was Lake Naivasha where our campsite was located right on the lake. Lake Naivasha is known for its Hippo population so we were comforted to see the electric fence to keep them from the tents. They leave the water to graze at night so although we were too scared to sleep, it was worth it to see them come up from the lake and eat less than 10m from our tents. We visited Elsamere, home of Joy and George Adamson (‘Born Free’) and had high tea in the gardens. A really beautiful location and was interesting to look around. She was an amazing artist! Also watched a short movie on Joy’s life and her work with wildlife.
On Wednesday we had the choice of a cycling safari through Hell’s Gate or a walking safari through Crater Lake Game Park. I did the walk and it was unreal! Although we had seen all of the animals before, it was pretty special to not be in a vehicle at all and just out in the open. There were so many Zebra’s and Giraffe’s and we were able to get within 5-10m. We hiked to the crater and down to the lake looking out for monkey’s overhead. When we got back to camp, we took some boats out onto the Lake to go Hippo hunting. I was a bit worried as I am sure the hippo’s could swim faster than these boats, and the drivers seemed to think they could drive through anything so we got stuck a few times. But it was pretty amazing, for about $5 an hour on Lake Naivasha watching hippos and even giraffes on the shore. We would have seen about 30, and if I said I wasn’t nervous at all I would be lying. Then stayed up watching the shore line again that night to catch them out of the water.
Yesterday we arrived back in Nairobi and visited the Giraffe Centre. They offer free entry to school students to educate them in the hope they will grow up to be wildlife warriors. We were able to feed the giraffe, Daisy, and I put a pellet in my mouth and she gave me a big tongue kiss. Very rough tongue but my first kiss in Africa. We went out for dinner last night in Karen as a farewell to a few people who are leaving, and once again singing was a big part of the night. This morning I went to the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage which was great. A kiss from a giraffe one day, patting an elephant the next. All there is is a rope to separate us. Many are orphans from poaching, drought, being left behind stuck in wells as babies, or being driven out of their land with their families by humans and being lost in the confusion. They seem to do great work there to reintroduce them into the wild.
Tomorrow we leave for Tanzania.