The group I’m travelling with are lovely, and after getting to know each other over dinner after the pre-departure meeting I was looking forward to getting the show on the road! Wifi on a camping trip is not readily available, so blogging is difficult and I’m updating when I can.
Driving out of Nairobi, our first stop was a vantage point overlooking the Great Rift Valley at 2410 meters altitude, both beautiful and diverse.
We drove through the town of Maai Mahiu which means hot water. The name came from the hot springs which are now dried up. Smaller towns mainly consist of shacks, concrete blocks, wooden huts and the odd shipping container with hand painted signs.
Vegetation is so diverse, including a lovely looking tree that has thick and upturned cactus-like branches, and is scattered across the landscape. Our guide said the sap is poisonous, and that a boy in his town got the sap in his eye whilst playing and they had to use breast milk to soothe it!
Our truck, named Simba (means Lion) was super slow so we abandoned it in favour of a bigger, faster one! Soon we were speeding through Narok, the last big town before the Maasai Mara itself – this is where the Maasai do their shopping.
There was so much to see on our long drive… Men herding their goats and cows across mud and grasslands alongside the road, a lone calf playing catch up behind. I’ve never seen so many Donkeys in one place before, and these little Eeyores were used as mules to carry goods across distances often with cart in tow. Women sitting at the side of the road, selling fresh fruit and veg sown from their land.
Through Maasai territory, our group spotted Zebras, Gazelles, Wildebeests and even Giraffes – heads high above low branching trees. Cow bells clanged as herds of cow hurried to move out of the way of our oncoming truck. Maasai men, standing dressed in robes of red, watched us pass.
Looking to the ground, the terracotta coloured earth was sparkling in the sunlight, like fragments of quartz were mixed within it. Through the short trunked trees covering the horizon and could see clear pathways through the plains, worn by animals and a few Maasai.
I saw the tiniest baby Gazelle standing in the undergrowth watching as our tour bus rocked, jumped, crashed and banged past along the uber bumpy road – our crew told us it was nicknamed an ‘African massage’. I’m so grateful for my sports bra!
Trees overhanging narrow tracks scraped painfully, thorns screeching against the outside of the truck like nails on a blackboard as it clawed it’s way through rough terrain littered with trees to Acacia Camp.
Camping was more like glamping in these permanently erected tents, with pitched thatched roofs over them. They each had two bed frames and mattress with a bedside table. After dinner cooked by our chef, we sat in the bar drinking Tuskers beer and Coke.
It was dark by 6:30pm and the women’s washrooms didn’t have a light so it was head torches all round. As we lay in bed, we heard security staff driving around, barking dogs and the unmistakable noise of hyenas!