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raymondk’s Travel Diary

Monday, 23 Apr 2012

Location: nakuru, Kenya

MapThursday 19 April

Fred collected me from town after updating the blog and we went to the barbers on the slum where I had a cut, head and neck massage face scrub and about 3 other treatments for about 90p, great value. We then went to Freds for a meal of chicken stew, spinach and chapattis delicious. The evening was rounded off with word games, hymns and a blessing from Alex.

Friday 20 April

I was collected from the house at 7.45 by Julius one of the drivers, as it turned out he is a freelance tour guide and gave me a fantastic insight to some of the tourist and archaeological attractions en route from Nakuru to Mai Mahiu. We arrived on time at 10am but my connection minibus had not arrived so I had some time to browse the souvenir shop and got into an argument with the attendant about the ridiculous prices she started her bargaining at. Itís so much simpler when prices are labelled and it certainly makes shopping less exhausting.

Soon after I met my fellow travellers who had come down from Nairobi: These were Sara and Andy, a German couple travelling though Africa, two American women Gwyn and Robin who were en route to a World Health Organisation conference in Ethopia and Dan from Huddersfield, recently retired from 16 years in the British Army. We dove along the floor of the Rift Valley (see early photos) to the town of Narok where we had lunch.

After about another 30km the surfaced road ended and we were onto red dirt tracks of rocks and mud, it made for an uncomfortable ride where we got bumped and bruised against the side of the van. It then got worse as bridges had been swept away and we had to drive across the rivers. The Masai waited on the banks ready to push us out if we got stuck.

Finally we arrived at the camp were shown our tents and after a quick tea we were off to the Masai Mara National Reserve with the roof of the van up for viewing. It is really beautiful with rolling hills and plains framed by dark wooded mountains; it looked like Jurassic Park so I wonder if it was filmed here? Immediately after entering the park we saw Zebras, gazelles, vultures, buffalo, Giraffes and Elephants. The there was a different family or group of animals every 100 Ė 200 meters and often interspersed amongst each other grazing or lazing.

We did a circuit of the north west of the park spotting for about two and a half hours before heading back to the camp for dinner and chat. It rained heavily through the night and with the frog/toads and other animal noises it was difficult to sleep.

Saturday 21 April

Another early start and we were out in the van, by 7.30, we saw lots of different species and within 30 minutes we were about 30 meters from a pride of 11 Lions who were eating their way through a buffalo they had taken down shortly before we arrived. We could hear the growls and tearing of flesh as they tucked in. They started playing with one another once they had eaten what they wanted and would then return for another nibble before retiring for a snooze under the bushes. It was an amazing spectacle we watched them for about 90 minutes before moving on.

Shortly after Issac our guide noticed a leopard sitting in a tree, when we got closer there was a gazelle hanging from a tree where she had dragged it after the kill, it had a leg torn off and its intestines were hanging out its front. She was obviously very tired and was having a good rest and keeping an eye on her prize to make sure nothing else came near.

We also saw a family of elephants chasing some lionesses away from their calves, when we followed the lionesses they had 4 cubs and were obviously living separate from the pride until the cubs are older.

We stepped into Tanzania where the Massai Mara becomes the Serengeti and then went to see Hippos and a crocodile at the side of the Mara River. We travelled about 90km through the reserve and saw too many animals to list but a few km nearing our approach to the exit we saw two lions mating which was somewhat unexpected!

On our return to camp we were taken by some Massai tribes men for a tour of their village and they talked about their traditions including herbal remedies, passage to adulthood, invited us inside their mud houses, (different from Miriamís). One of the highlights here was the Massai dancing the men dances and invited us to dance and jump with them. The higher they can jump the less they pay for their wives. They gave me a massai blanket to wear and their weapons and imagining how hideous I looked I couldnít stop laughing as I danced and jumped in the mud and manure. (I promise pics when I get the time).

Sunday 22 April

A 6am start for an early game drive, this time we were looking for morning kills and rhinos. We found neither but did see an ostrich, giraffes, elephants, lions having a rest, meerkats, mongooses, vultures, a hippo runningÖ very funny (remember Reggie Perrinís mother in law). Back for breakfast and then the long drive back to Nakuru.

Monday 23 April

At school I took the oldest children for an English lesson, past, present and future tense. They were very good and the teacher was on hand to explain some of the lesson in Swahili, it seemed to go well. We sent the children home after lunch so we could, concrete the classroom floors. I went home to explain I wanted to use the internet and would be late home for dinner. Its now 8.30 and Iím off home I have a maths lesson to prepare for the morning. Lets hope the concrete sets!