flamingos1We landed in Nairobi and thankfully we’d already gone through the visa saga, so we got through reasonably quickly, got our bags, then waited about 30 minutes to buy some more US dollars. No transfer waiting for us (which we’d organised), so we headed to where the tour group told us to go for a taxi – glad we had a backup plan! Traffic was terrible! But our taxi guy found a less congested way and got us there in one piece. Obama was starting his first speech after his arrival in Ghana.

Low and behold, after 2 email confirmations our room was taken and there was no sign of our booking anywhere. So luckily they had a temporary tent setup and we opted for that. US$6 each, can’t complain! We walked 15 minutes to the Fairview Hotel where the pre-departure meeting for our tour was to be held. On the way, we were walking down a quiet street and a guy came running up behind us. I nearly had an accident of the toilet variety, but he was just running past us. Nairobi is notorious for muggings, ok?!

We got to the hotel and the reception staff had no idea what we were talking about when we asked for the Africa In Focus tour meeting. I started to get a little worried and I looked through the tour notes and found no sign of a number to call. Damn. As I was about to tell Kim this news, he’d found the tour guide had just rocked up and asked for the Africa In Focus meeting room. Of which they also had no idea about :)

So we had the meeting, discovered that the US$2800 we’d been carrying around Rwanda and Nairobi was yet to be collected (dammit), met everyone and then had dinner with a subset of the group. A few laughs, we opted for the safe option and took a taxi back to our backpackers. It cost more than our accommodation, but better to be safe than sorry!

Next morning, I wake up to a very upset Kim who proceeded to tell me the events of the night.
12:30 – Kenyan women decided to have a chat and a laugh outside our tent
03:00 – The guy in the tent next door coughs up a lung
05:00 – Roosters from the house 2 doors down started crowing
05:05 – Roosters from our place started crowing
05:10 – Roosters from the house on the other side started crowing
05:30 – The guy next door coughed up his one remaining lung
06:30 – Some huge whopping bird started making a racquet right above our tent – this woke me up too.

We packed up and walked to the Fairview hotel again for our departure. No incidents this time. We rocked up to discover we were by a long shot the lightest packers (whoo), but then again, we have 6 months of this and it all has to be carried on our backs daily.

We then meet George (the guide), Will (the driver), Ebron (the chef) and Benji (the truck) and discover the huge external lockers we have, the huge indoor lockers with safe and the mountains of legroom space. This thing is luxury! We even have a library! We figure we can get used to this!!

We set off for our first destination, Nakuru, here in Kenya. We stop off at a lookout point to view the Rift Valley from a high point. It’s stunning and so peaceful. This is the first time we see the cameras come out. Given a selling point of Africa In Focus is the photography workshops on tour, we were expecting to see some SLR’s and of course, we did!

Back on the bus, our next stop is Nakuru town itself. And we get our first taste of the hagglers. If only they would realise they’d be a lot more successful if they didn’t shove things in your face and crowd you. *Sigh*. Oh well, this is Africa. We head to the supermarket to stock up on anything we need for the next few days then head to our campsite – Kimbu (Swahili for Chameleon). We were told that we could find Chameleons in the hedges, so we spent a fair amount of time searching for them, to no avail.

We had a tour of the farm we were staying at. Saying hello to a dozen horses who were very friendly and keen to give the dogs a hard time. We then saw the cows get milked (not like I haven’t seen that a trillion times in my life) and some calves get fed (as per before). But it was a nice walk :)

After freshening up and some washing, we sat down to an awesome dinner – looks like we’ll be eating like Kings and Queens for the duration of this trip! After 3 courses, the 5th generation owner of the camp took us on a Chameleon hunt where we spotted a good 8 or 9 of them in the dark. They were only about 7-9cm long, but boy where they cute!

Early night as it was a 5am wake up call for our first game drive! 5am we were supposed to be up, but we somehow missed the wake up call and were glad when someone knocked on our tent at 5.30am to check we were awake. We dashed around and got ready by 6am, only to find we were now departing at 6.20am.

We boarded 2 minibuses which drove us to Nakuru National Park where we started our first game drive. Welcomed by loads of baboons and monkeys, we set out in search of the big… 4 (no elephants in this park).

We saw loads of animals including (in no particular order):
– Lionesses (5 in total)
– Black and white Rhino’s
– Pink flamingos
– Pelican
– Storks
– Kingfishers
– Dikdik (the smallest antelope)
– Warthogs
– Zebra
– Giraffes
– Wild dogs
– Wombat looking things
– Waterbuck
– Impala
– Gazelle
– Hyena
– Buffalo
– Eagles

A pretty successful day we think – apart from the driver falling asleep at the wheel while driving! We head back home and on the way I tried to bargain a magnet down from US$10 – what a rip! I told them US$8 (still can’t believe I offered even that much) but they wouldn’t back down, so I gave up.

Next day we had a wee sleep in and headed for Lake Victoria in Tanzania. On the way we got our first photography workshop which was all about aperture, shutter speed and the different depths of field. It was great as I found a whole new button to use on the camera! Whoo!

We stopped for what we thought was a toilet break (ok, I was busting, so any chance I could get was a good one) and after the bushman’s dunny, we realised we were having our first truck breakdown. Yay! Will had spotted an oil leak, so he happily fixed while we fetched anything he asked for. Not a long one as about 20 minutes later and a lollypop each and we were back on our way.

We stopped at a supermarket to stock up on some groceries (for most this meant beer/wine) before heading off again to the border.

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