August 9 – Hello Safari!

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We arrived in Nairobi and what a difference. Paved roads, a bustling city with some modern features. Hiways, that I learned have been built by the Chinese, with overpasses and traffic patterns. Our driver told us that we would probably hit lots of traffic and our ride could take up to 2 hours. I told him we have good traffic karma and that we wouldn’t hit any traffic at all. In the end, I was right. We breezed through the city to our hotel, a 5-Star hotel called the Southern Sun.

What a difference from just a few days ago in Gulu. We were only staying one night in Nairobi as we connected with my brother, Ken, for our safari in Amboseli National Park for 2 nights and then the Masai Mara for 5 nights. We awoke yesterday morning and headed for a buffet breakfast. Everyone ate well with the American Style cuisine. The kids were able to find hard boiled eggs, some bacon, yogurt and other goodies to fill their stomach. Nice to find a place where everyone in our family can eat. It was great to see my brother and I am looking forward to seeing lots of animals and taking tons of pictures.

We left the hotel at 8:15 AM for our 4 plus hour drive to our first camp site, the Porini Camp near Amboseli National Park. We were joined by a mother and daughter pair. The mother, Geeta, is a GP doctor in Kuala Lampur and her daughter, Kirthi, is a doctor in Australia. They were both very nice and rather quiet. We are staying in the same camp and eating meals together, but we are riding around in separate vehicles.

We arrived at the campsite around 1 PM and settled into our tents. The staff here is extremely nice with numerous members of the Masai tribe as our staff. Our driver, cooks and waiters were all locals but our head camp person, Harry, is from Nairobi. Our driver’s name is Suruni and our waiter is Sammi. On our first afternoon we were taken by 4×4 to a local Masai village to experience what local life is really like. To say it was interesting is an understatement.

I thought the poverty in Uganda was bad, the kids at the Masai village looked so sickly with flies all over their heads and runny noses. The women of the tribe had earings made of beads that stretched their earlobes. That is something you see with many of the Masai, extended earlobes stretched by putting in bigger and bigger sticks of wood until there is a big hole on the bottom of their ear. Not exactly my style but they seemed to like it. In addition to the ears, many Masai communities brand their young on their cheeks.

Their huts were built from sticks as their base and then covered in mud. When entering a hut I could barely stand up and it was pitch black. We took most of our party into the hut and it was extremely cramped. Around the village were lots of goats and different pens built out of stick and tree branches. They were very basic but enough to serve their purpose. At the end we took a few pictures with the entire tribe.

On our drive back to camp Suruni and the other driver stopped for a Sundowner. They took out gin and tonic, some wine and juice for the kids. There was a bag of potato chips, which everyone dug into. We stayed until dark and then drove back to camp while looking for some nocturnal animals. It was a very nice experience. On our first afternoon we saw numerous animals, including giraffe, zebra, antelope, dik dik, wildebeest and more. It was a great start to our safari.

Today we were awoken at 6 AM to prepare for a 6:30 AM breakfast. We leave for Amboseli National Park at 7 AM with an opportunity to see hundreds of elephants an other assorted animals. Looking forward to our first full day of animal watching in Kenya. Off to breakfast.

‘Til next time …..

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