Adventures in Kenya

Well, we are only three days into our trip and we have already seen so much and have had a lot of fun! Our group consists of eight so far but we will lose and gain some along the way. As of now, I am with two people from London, three from Australia, and two people from New Zealand… Clearly someone is the odd one out, ha! But everyone is really great and we all get along really well! Everyone is pretty similar in that they’ve traveled quite a bit so it’s neat sharing stories and even being able to relate to places around the world! We have quite a big, yellow truck named Shaggy which holds anything and everything we need. The truck holds 28 people on top where we sit so we have quite a bit of room right now to move around and such. The lower level is essentially for our gear so it holds our camping and food supplies along with luggage and the mechanic shop for the truck (which has already been utilized, ha). We have a wonderful tour guide named V, short for Violet, and a very experienced driver named Charles. We have already had the pleasure of receiving a free African massage courtesy of the roads we’ve traveled on. Lets just say they aren’t exactly smooth! We have traveled on quite a few gravel roads, roads that are covered in pot holes (no one can begin to complain about dodge street in Omaha, ha) and roads covered in water. This doesn’t seem to stop the local from Nairobi however. The concept of sharing the road and going one after another is a foreign concept here where streets are jammed packed with cars and scooters no matter the time of day. We watched with a bit of laughter as multiple cars from either direction tried to pass through the street filled with water. Most of the cars got stuck at one point or another but this situation was quickly fixed as they just pressed harder on the pedal, bumping into others while doing so…. It was pretty chaotic but also a bit comical. So, back to the roads, lets just say they aren’t in the best conditions and it just might be impossible to sleep on the bus, ha! Oh and there don’t seem to be any speed limits as Shaggy was pushing 80 mph! On the first day, we had the opportunity to visit, touch, and feed giraffes at a giraffe sanctuary in Nairobi. We learned that giraffes are the tallest land mammals and that there are nine subspecies of giraffe, three of which are found in Kenya, including the Rothschild’s, Reticulated, and Maasai. Giraffes can live up to 28 years in captivity but typically only about 10 years in the wild. Next we visited an elephant orphanage which was home to 20 orphaned giraffes who have lost their mothers mostly due to poachers. We watched them feed the baby elephants and play in the mud which was beyond adorable! All of the babies will be released once they are able to survive on their own. This trip isn’t exactly staying at 5 star resorts but rather we are roughing it a bit as we are camping and sleeping under the stars… luckily it doesn’t get too cold here at night. Well, for a girl who can count the number of times that she has camped in her life, this is definitely a learning experience… and when my kids want to go camping someday, I will at least be able to put up a tent! My tent partner is Olivia from New Zealand and the two of us are sharing a 36 square foot tent for fifty-some days… Bonding time! We have managed quite well with our tent however! We cook our dinner outside each night and we have breakfast by our truck before heading out for the day. Although it is quite different from any traveling I’ve done previously, I’ve enjoyed it so far! Yesterday we drove from Nairobi to the Maasai Mara and got to see a lot on the way from donkeys pulling carts, children herding sheep and cows to the beautiful, green scenery of Kenya, shacks, and wildlife such as wildebeest, warthogs, and zebras. In the Maasai Mara itself, we went on our first game drive that night and another game drive this morning. The park was about 1500 square kilometers and Charles knew every bit of the park. We got to see a lot over the course of the two days from impala, warthogs, topi, and ostriches to buffalo, giraffes, hippos, and elephants. We even spotted lions and cheetahs, two animals harder to find in the African bush, so we were quite pleased with that! After our game drive, we stopped at a Maasai village where we got to meet Maasai villagers and have a tour of their village. We were greeted with a welcome dance by the warriors and the woman and got to see the Maasai warriors jump while dressed in their traditional attire. Their village is enclosed by sticks and contains the houses and animals of the village. They bring the animals in at night so that they don’t get killed by other people or animals, especially hyenas and lions. They live a polygamous lifestyle in which one’s number of cows determines his number of wives. A cow costs 16,000 Kenyan shillings or about $200 US dollars. Each wife lives in their own separate hut which they (the women) build of sticks and cow dung with the roof made of straw. The cow dung makes the homes waterproof. We visited a very small home which was made up of a kitchen and two bedrooms that six people, two parents and four children, chicken, cats, and dogs shared. We visited their shop and then walked a few blocks to the community school. Years ago only certain individuals from the village attended school but now all off children get to attend school. The school didn’t consist of much as the pre-high school rooms were empty and made of tin while the high school rooms at least had a chalk board and desks. It was really neat meeting the Maasai people and learning about their ways of life! We are currently on the way to Naivasha for some more fun and adventure! Although we are doing quit a bit of traveling, the scenery is absolutely beautiful and there is quite interesting things to see making the rides not bad at all (talk to me again in 50 days… Ha!). Well that is all for now!
~Susan

Giraffe Sanctuary
Giraffe Sanctuary

elephant feeding
Elephant Feeding

elephant playing in the mud
Elephant Playing in the Mud

lion---so so cool!
Lion

game drives!
Game Drive

Kenya--so beautiful :)
Kenya–so beautiful

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