Well we’re back again; having been off the blog for a while we thought we should update you all on our travels and reassure you that we haven’t got lost somewhere along the way.
We left you having just completed the hell road in Northern Kenya and it was in a sorry state that we bounced into Nairobi on totally blown rear shocks. Holed up in Karen we finished off a few beers and heaved a huge sigh of relief that it was all over. We got the shocks replaced and located the short circuit that had been our undoing in Marsabit National Park, did a massive load of laundry, cleaned out the car, went shopping in a proper supermarket and generally started to relax.
Patched up and raring to go we embarked on the next exciting leg of the journey. We travelled through Kenya visiting various national parks, the highlight of which (for me anyway) was camping on the shore of Lake Borgoria watching the flamingos from our exclusive and luxuriously padded hide (i.e. the roof tent). Travelling in Kenya is more of a camping trip compared to the travelling in The Middle East and North Africa, and to be honest it’s good to be able to buy western food and stay in nice campsites.
We had a great introduction to the safari experience and leaving the parks of Kenya we headed into Uganda where the first thing we did was to turn the wrong way into the one way system in central Kampala resulting in 2 hours of sitting in traffic before finally arriving to the campsite which, as luck would have it, had no electricity or hot water that evening. TIA.
Leaving Kampala the next day was quicker than we had arrived and we embarked on a very frantic but fantastic 10 days of racing around south west Uganda seeing the Gorillas in Bwinidi Impenetrable forest (which is, as it says on the tin, impenetrable), chimpanzees, tree climbing lions (which watched 3 lionesses and a cub for 3 hours during sunset on our own!), elephants, lots of monkeys including the beautiful and my favourite Black and White Columbus Monkey and a staggering array of birdlife including an Eagle Owl which may well be the most exciting animal ever.
To add to the list of cool and interesting people we have meet on our travels, it was in Uganda that we met Andrew, a spider expert who was teaching in Kenya and who will be spending the next year studying spider venom back in the US of A. Cool. By the end of the 10 days we were well and truly knackered, and enjoyed a lovely evening sitting on a veranda listening to the rain, chatting with cool people and drinking whisky. A great way to finish up a great few days.
Onward ever onward (phew its tiring just writing about it) we made the 5 day trip from South west Uganda to Northern Tanzania, stocking up on food in Kenya and watching the mother of all storms unload into the streets of Kisumu while a bolt of lighting hit so close you could feel it.
Arriving in the Serengeti stop over camp (just outside the Serengeti) we had a morning to catch our breath before heading into the 120km Western Corridor of the Serengeti where there are few wildebeest (due to the lack of rains this year) but countless miles of corrugations …..
The Serengeti is an amazing place and the abundance of wildlife is staggering. As we couldn’t afford a guide we wondered how successful our game drives would be, but getting up at 4.30 and leaving camp at 5.55am (exactly 5 minutes before the park opens and the first car out of camp by a long way) we headed down to the Simba Koppies where after a few hours we stumbled upon a pride of 25 lions, lionesses and 14 cubs, plus a dead buffalo providing breakfast for the hungry pride. This was an awesome find, and as we had no guide, and therefore no radio, we got to watch them for 2 hours before another car showed up, something pretty much unheard of in the Serengeti. Within 10 minutes of the first car showing up 2 more turned up with more dust trails on the horizon and getting closer. We smiled to ourselves as we left the area, giddy with the thought that the lions were dispersing and that we would be on only ones lucky enough to watch that particular pride eating, playing and socialising that morning.
Next stop was the Ngorongoro Crater which was fantastic, then it was on to meet up with my parents, brother, girlfriend and my best mate JC who had come out to Africa for a holiday and to celebrate Paul’s 60th Birthday. We had a wonderful few days going on safari with them, and Paul managed to blag us into a very expensive lodge for next to nothing which was really cool and allowed us more time to hang out together.
After 2 wonderful but all to short days it was time to say good bye and keep moving, and after stocking up with food and servicing the car we arrived in the Usambara Mountains which is where we are now having a holiday and relaxing. It’s the first time we have been able to stop for more than a day since Egypt, and it is really great to be able to relax.
We have also recently discovered that everything in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia needs to be booked in advance, so we need to plan out the rest of the trip on pretty much a day by day basis so we can book campsites in the national parks etc.
It’s a lot to do, and it’s a bit of a shame as it take the spontaneity out of travelling, buts it’s worth it.
Man, you wait till you see what we have planned…