Leaving the beach is always hard. My family belong to the tribe of beach bums: for us the ocean is our world. While some in our group described themselves as “Mountain Men” and kept a wide berth from the salt water, we couldn’t stay out of it. We climbed back into the car with skin that smelt of sea, sand and SPF 15. We wanted to keep the scent, the stickiness and the dried sea salt as long as possible. As we drove away from the coast our car was quickly making promises to return (by plane) as soon as possible.
The chief planner of our trip had made the fool hardy decision to drive straight from the coast to Nakuru. Even an optimist could not imagine reaching Nakuru in less than 13 hours and there was a general agreement within the group that such a drive would simply crack us all up. So we decided to stop back in Tsavo to break up the journey, this time about 20 mins from Voi Gate, between East and West Tsavo. We found a little lodge run by a Swiss woman that was a perfect stop over for the night.
Sagala Lodge is a small but sweet, neat and tidy lodge with 20 bandas and a swimming pool set in front of a Baobab tree. We arrived at 4.30 and quickly jumped into the pool. We knew we would be back in the car at 7.30 am so we just needed a quiet yet energetic few hours to stretch and play. The highlight of Sagala lodge for me was the Swedish couple I met. I noticed a Defender parked behind our banda with a tent that protruded from the roof, ladders, food cooking on a small kitchen that seemed to be built into the side of the car; it looked like some serious campers on a serious journey. Turns out they were some intrepid Swedes, a couple with two small girls, (4 and 6) who were driving from Stockholm to Capetown. There I was feeling like a rock star on our 11 day road trip across Kenya but within minutes of meeting this small family I felt like a bug on their wind screen. Two continents, 20 countries, 9 months! With two little girls. Amazing. I quickly took Trooper and Princess over to meet them as there is great value in meeting such individuals who embody bravery, determination and a true adventurous spirit. It all goes without saying that they must be incredibly patient, organized and nice to each other.
At the moment they are somewhere near Mount Kenya and will be arriving in Uganda sometime this month. Their blog can be found here.
The drive to Nakuru took 9 hours. We had to cross through the centre of Nairobi which had us straining our necks to see the capital city. We have never actually been to Nairobi, yet, so this was our first impression. Pavements! Tall buildings! Parks! Traffic! For the half an hour that we drove across down town Nairobi I had the sense that we were in a serious city, plumped with self importance and age.
Between Nairobi and Naivasha the route takes cars past one of the most extraordinary viewpoints. There is a look out where one has the opportunity to stand and gaze across the rift valley, over the Masai Mara towards Tanzania. On the outbound journey towards the coast we had driven past at great speed while with rubber necks we had strained to see the awe inspiring view. I promised myself that on our return we would pause for a moment or two and admire the view. Really, what type of traveller would drive past that? It seems we were the only ones with that idea and ended up stopping alone. Not everyone in the group was on the same page in this respect and this can be a source of stress in a large group. Particularly when one car is lambasted for holding the others back by a meagre 10 minutes.
It was a tired and tense group that descended in Nakuru. But when we saw the divine little place we would be spending the next two nights our spirits began to lift.