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Kenya

In Africa, Travel by Brit Hemming Comments

Getting to Nairobi was a breeze. I had a short flight on Kenya Air. They served coffee and a wonderful breakfast which I was not expecting at all for such a short flight. To my pleasant surprise the nice lady at customs informed me that I am able to travel in and out of Kenya on my single entry visa as long as I do not leave the East African Community. This is great news and should save me $50usd. After going through customs I grabbed my bag, a few of the other travelers were laughing and some made a comment that my travel pack is bigger than I am. I smiled back and made my way to the exit. As soon as my eyes adjusted to the bright sunlight I found my name on an orange piece of paper held by my driver Joshua. The airport transfer turned out to be a bit of a waiting game. My flight arrived in Nairobi at 11am and we had to wait for two more girls coming in on a 1pm flight. By the time we finally reached camp it was 4pm and we had a per-departure meeting at 5. The meeting was very brief, we were informed that we would be leaving at 8am the next morning and we had needed to pay our local payment. After the meeting I had some dinner with two new friends at the bar and then crawled into bed for an early night.

The following day we had a very long drive to Masai Mara. I spent most of the day looking out of the bus window and admiring the scenery. It is very dry and flat compared to Rwanda. One thing I’ve noticed here in Kenya is the amount of litter all over the streets and in the fields. It’s a shame that such a beautiful landscape is covered in so much garbage. We stopped at the Great Rift Valley right before lunch to take some photo’s. When we finally got to Masai Mara it was dark. We spent the night in Safari tents which were already set up for us with beds inside. The following day was an early start for a short drive into Masai Mara Game Park to do a game drive. We saw Zebra’s Wilda beasts, Elephants, lions, and buffalo. After the game drive we went to a traditional Masai village. The Masai men started off our visit with a dance that involved jumping very high. In Masai culture if you can jump very high your dowry cost is reduced when you get married. Instead of paying 10 cows for a wife it becomes less and less the higher you can jump. They also told us that in this particular village the first born son was responsible for helping raise the cattle while the second born son was able to attend school. You can tell who has had the opportunity to go to school because their ears have not been stretched. The Masai people survive off a diet of cows milk, cows blood, cow’s meat and corn. They do not eat any other fruits or veggies. They attend school from ages 7-14. At age 14 the males in the community are circumcised. A year later they leave home to spend 5 years in the bush learning how to hunt and become a man. They return to the village a warrior at age 20. The different pattern clothes that they wear symbolize the different families which they come from. I found this particular village very touristy but it was still interesting and informative nonetheless.

The next day was another early morning drive to our next camp which was in the Kenyan highlands about 3 hours from the Ugandan boarder. The Kenyan highlands are beautiful. The scenery is similar to Rwanda. Full of tea plantations and very green. They call this part of Kenya the food basket. Mostly all of the fruits and veggies come from this region. This is also the region where most of the Kenyan Marathon runners come from. As the sun went down you could see many people in pairs of two going for an evening run. Running is a sport taken very seriously in this region. When we finally arrived at camp the sun had long since set. We opted to pay $5 to upgrade to dorms and avoid setting up our tents late at night just to take them down again early the next morning. The dorms were beautiful, some of the best I have seen so far with bathrooms and showers in the dorm. No hot water but I suppose you can’t have it all. The building was made of stone and the dorm beds were wooden giving the place a very rustic atmosphere. The mattresses were very comfortable with very warm wool blankets. After dinner and a freezing cold shower I settled in for a good nights sleep.