Knud Henrik's diary 2 August 2006: Kenya

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Last updated 2007.11.21

As always, the stay at Kijereshi was very pleasant. Afterwards, we came to discuss why Kijereshi is such a pleasant place to stay. Not that is a high level of luxury, very spacious rooms, very fancy food or something the like. Our conclusion was that it simply is because everything is in order. When you sit down in a chair, you can rest assured that it is not broken. Not that every chair everywhere else necessarily is broken, but there is a certain chance that it will be. At Kijereshi, you really relax because you don't need to worry about things that may not be in order. The staff shows a attentiveness for details, that might seems unimportant but which makes the stay worriless and hence relaxing. Of cause, it is also good to have some nice food, but in general we shall not complain about the quality of the treats we have had. At Kijereshi, you immediately sense that the cook showed the attention to have a taste of the soup and to add that little something, which makes the difference.

Actually, the setting of Kijereshi is quite boring, a completely flat landscape strewn with acacia trees. However, exactly that type of landscape is so very typical of the African savannah as we know it from the Serengeti. Enjoying the sun setting behind the acacias while listening to the cacophony of the birds, baboons and all the other wild animals, is just so adorable.

Unfortunately, our itinerary didn't allow us to stay more than a single night (nor did the budget...), so Sunday 30 July we went on. We drove up along the eastern shore of Lake Victoria and left Tanzania at the border point of Sirari, crossing into Kenya. The part of Tanzania south of the border looks rather dry. On the other hand, the part of Kenya just north of the border exhibits a marked difference. This area all the way up passed Kericho is so very green and fertile. This is tea country and the light green colour of the small or vast tea plantations cover the rolling mountains. Very beautiful.

We had been recommended a hotel in Kericho, Midwest Hotel. There was a little confusion about the proper name but once found we installed ourselves. The rooms were OK, but the manager should put some attention to the restaurant, I think. Especially dinner, but also the breakfast didn't score high marks compared to our prior African experiences, definitely not considering the price.

From Kericho heading east towards Nairobi we almost touched upon the Equator. I didn't put on the GPS navigator in time but the northernmost position measured was a mere 9 minutes south, just some 16 km south of the Equator. Besides the beautiful tea plantations the road crosses the Great Rift Valley and once again we enjoyed the fabulous sceneries.

We had not booked any accommodation in Nairobi which might have been a good idea. As we didn't like the idea of driving all the way through the city centre in the morning rush hour when we had to catch our early flight we tried to find a hotel on the airport side of the city. However, asking around the only hotel in that area was very flashy and expensive. After some inquiries and quite a lot of driving around (that is, wasting a lot of time in the heavily congested traffic in the city centre), we ended up at a funny place, mostly used by overland tourists. Basically a camp site, but also offering some rooms, nice facilities, a restaurant and even an internet café.

We had planned for one full day in Nairobi, leaving time for the must-do: a visit to Karen Blixen's farm, "at the foot of Ngong Hills". 'Ngong' means 'fist' in the Maasai language and legend has it that God wasn't pleased with the doings of the Maasai people. He smashed his fist into the ground in anger, thereby forming the knuckles-like contour of the Ngong Hills. We had a very informative guided tour around the house, learning a lot of details about Karen Blixen.

For years I have been telling the tale about when I scratched a giraffe behind it's ear and now we had to repeat the exercise at the Langata Giraffe Centre. In fact, we did have the funny experience of hand-feeding and ear-scratching a few of these not very wild Rothschild giraffes (there is only one species of giraffes, but 8 or 9 sub-species, primarily differing in the spot pattern). However, the whole place was loaded with tourists and school children and curio shops and snack bars, in short: very zoo-like.

We spent the afternoon re-packing our things for the coming aeroplane trip. Then we invited Japhet for dinner at the Carnivore Restaurant, a place reckoned for the variety of exotic meat. After almost exclusively having been eating meat for a couple of hours none of us could stuff down a single bite of camel, ostrich meat ball or roasted crocodile (OK, the majority of the treat was more usual kinds of meat, like beef, pork, chicken and lamb).

This morning we packed our sleeping bags for the last time on this journey, stuffed everything into the car and headed for the airport. As I'm writing this we are somewhere above the Sahara and we'll land in London in some four hours. Two hours of waiting and two hours of flying and we'll be back home in Denmark.