Well I am back and have survived the Let’s Cross Kenya in 11 days road trip. It will take more than one post to write about it, after all I did cross the breadth of Kenya, bathed in the Indian Ocean and then drove back to tell the tale. I am still processing it, feeling the weariness and sore bum of sitting in a car for endless hours. Having exhausted my ipod’s musical offerings, played I spy countless times and gripped the seat nervously through some hairy Kenyan roads I can safely say that I am ready to leave the long car trips on the shelf for some time.
In total we drove 2818 km. The longest drive was 12 hours, the shortest was 6. There were 4 cars in our little convoy and the battle wounds were mercifully few.
One flat tire, deep in Tsavo National Park. The boys leapt out of the car with glee and put their new sling shots to good use, shooting stones at giant termite hills.
One front left hand side light casing flew off into some trees, thankfully avoiding the injury it might have caused to a hapless passerby.
One episode of running out of gas in Nakuru National Park. Through some extraordinary good fortune disaster was avoided when a safari vehicle passed by and loaned some rope so that we could tow the unfortunate victims of optimistic gas usage.
None of the mishaps happened to our car. Our car was the Trooper Car of the trip, although we did have one scary near accident when, narrowly avoiding a truck left in the middle of the road we spun 180 degrees. There were some horrible flashbacks to the Flipped Car of 2009, but we quickly recovered, breathed in some dust and went on our merry but cautious way.
Road trips are an ordeal, an adventure, a brave undertaking, not for the faint hearted. Especially in Africa where anything can happen and often does. So I feel lucky to be back safe and sound and even luckier for the amazing sights seen along the way.
17 of us left Kampala before the sun rose on December 27th. We were 9 adults, the oldest being 72 and 8 children ranging from 6-15. Our first stop was Naivasha where, with great relief we stiffly stepped out of our cars and were greeted by giraffes walking around the gardens of Sopa Lodge. The next morning with a guide to show us around we were fortunate to walk very closely beside these strange and glorious creatures. Oblivious to our presence, they just kept on chewing and looking for the choicest and highest leaf.
Naivasha was also where we climbed down into Hell’s Gate, so named by the Masai who witnessed the deaths of many by volcanic eruptions and tumbling rocks and then scrambled back up to Heaven where we gave thanks to a truly heavenly view. It was a good hike through a gorge that felt at once prehistoric and out of this world. It holds some fame for being the place where Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was filmed. Now I suppose I should see that movie, having never had the pleasure.
I made full use of the buffet and rain shower at Sopa Lodge, knowing that the next day we would be on the road for two nights of camping. Yes, me in a tent. Filled with some trepidation and a small petulant sulk I endured the 8 hour drive trying to set all princess tendencies aside and get into the spirit of camping. Tsavo has more elephants than any National Park in Kenya and within minutes of arriving we saw them; covered in red dust, tossing their trunks in the air with anger as we drove too quickly past, hoping to set up camp before nightfall.