Sunday 6th September
After a night sleeping on the side of the road we were all up early as Jacqueline was on cook group and she set her alarm to make sure she was up at 5.30am but her clock showed the wrong time so she actually got up at 4.30am! So we all had breakfast slightly earlier than planned!
It also gave us a bit of spare time to sort some bits on the truck, one of which being the box of cartons of UHT milk! They had got hot in the truck as we traversed the desert in Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia and most of the cartons had blown up and some exploded. There was manky milk all in the plastic box and it stunk to high heaven. So Killian dug some pits and a few of us emptied the milk into the pits, some of the milk resembled cottage cheese! Definitely not drinkable!
Anyway once that was sorted and the plastic box washed we headed off to the Kenyan border.
On the way we saw some camels and ostriches, for those of you who are interested in flora and fauna!
Once through the border we drove to our stopover for the night in Marsabit. We are still trying to work out whether it was named Marsabit because it looks a bit like Mars. The landscape does look slightly lunar/mars -esque.
We eventually arrived at Henry’s Camp and as I was on cook group I had to start preparing the hundreds of vegetables Mikkel had selected for dinner! It took hours of peeling, chopping and cooking but eventually we had dinner sussed. It wasn’t an easy feat as there were gale force winds sweeping across the camp, let me tell you peeling potatoes in the dark in gale force winds is no mean feat!
Nicole and I decided to upgrade to a dormitory bed that night to save us camping in the wind, we have now created an upgrade eventuality list so we can assess each camp and the weather and make an executive decision on whether we camp or upgrade. So far we have no camping in extreme heat, rain, cold, mud and when we have bad backs. Tonight we added wind to that list. To be fair once Em had given us our camping allowance towards the dorm we only had to pay $1 for the upgrade. Bonus! $1 to not put our tent up in the dark and during a gale and not have to take it down either! No brainer.
Monday 7th September
Up early as on cook group, we had a challenge as we had no milk and no bread so cereals and toast were out! However, Wilma and I managed to knock up some amazing porridge, as the oats and water were cooking we boiled some chopped dates (that Malcolm donated) in some water with sugar, spices and orange juice and zest (donated by Ciara). I have to say it was lovely and everyone else thought so to. It had the taste of christmas to it!
Anyway after we had scrubbed the porridge pot clean we packed up and headed back into Marsabit for shopping and cash. Wilma and I helped Mikkel with the food shopping before grabbing a few bits of our own.
Once on the go again we headed to Samburu National Park and our campsite for a couple of nights. The campsite was basic but along the river which was a beautiful spot for sunrise and sunset. We looked at the upgrades but for the small basic room with bathroom they wanted an extortionate amount of money so we opted for camping in the tent but found a super spot under a corrugated metal roofed garage, so if it rained we would not get wet! So we knocked up the tent and settled in for the night.
Tuesday 8th September
Up early for a safari on a truck in the National Park. We drove through the park and managed to cop site of oryx, guinea fowl, giraffe, zebra, ostrich, elephants, dikdiks and a jackal. Just before heading for a drink we managed to spot a pride of lions dining on an oryx under a tree. Which was pretty cool, although obviously not for the oryx. Bizarrely enough there were loads of oryx standing around all looking in the direction of the lions and their friend who was lunch. Shows a degree of intellect I suppose.
After the safari we headed back to the camp for lunch and then a little afternoon nap until 4pm when I got up and cleaned the truck (as this is now my new chore within the group..along with Alison and Andrew F).
I also had to take Nicole’s place on cook group as she was not feeling brilliant so helped knock up mexican fajita type meal for everyone. Was relatively successful even though the yogurt Mikkel got for ‘sour cream’ was vanilla flavoured and sweet, no one really noticed which was handy.
I then hit the shower in the dark and had a quick singsong whilst cleansing myself…Sister Sledge’s We are family.
Wednesday 9th September
Woke up early, breakfasted and then left camp at 8.15am heading to Naro Moru. We drove all morning, stopping in town for lunch and a shop in an actual supermarket! Thank god for Nakumatt the African supermarket with everything you could need in it! Also on route we crossed the equator and stopped at the equator sign for a quick pic.
We arrived at the campsite early afternoon and proceed to upgrade to a dormitory as the prices were cheap and we didn’t feel like camping! As it turns out we had the dorm to ourselves so Nicole spread her 5 bags around 4 of the beds and I put my bag on the bed above me. Nice to have a bit of room to spread out and sort the bag! We spent the afternoon chilling around the pool using the poor wifi before we headed back to camp to sit round the camp fire and have dinner with the group. They somehow produced bbq sausages and chicken and jacket potatoes from a camp fire and Ciara and Leanne had knocked together Banoffee Pie for dessert.
After dinner we headed off to our dorm where all sorts of noises were coming out of the bushes and trees…it sounded like we had landed in Jurassic park and I was half expecting a pterodactyl to appear out of the bushes!
Thursday 10th September
Today we had a well deserved lie-in and mooch around. We sat on a camping chair on the veranda having breakfast which was lovely as the view took in Mount Kenya in the background.
The day comprised of lying around the pool, sunbathing and using the wifi (when it worked!). Wilma and I were having a relaxing time sunbathing until an Austrian guy turned up and started snapping what I can only imagine are marketing shots for the campsite. Wilma and I were smack bang in the middle of his shots so look out for our modelling debut in the marketing brochure if the Naru Moru River Lodge Campsite soon!
Lunchtime saw me tucking into a Kenyan version of a green Thai curry before more sunbathing, mooching and washing before dinner and bed.
Friday 11th September
Today saw us leave at 9am and head towards Nakuru National Park and our campsite, Punda Millias.
The drive wasn’t too laborious and we managed to arrived mid afternoon and have some time to chill out before a traditional Kenyan dinner and bed in our banda that we upgraded to! Nice little open room with beds and mosquito nets. Beats that tent any day!
Saturday 12th September
Up early, headed off at 6.30am to Nakuru National Park. Drove around for hours watching zebras, water buffalo, gazelles (both kinds thompsons and grants), impalas, water buck, baboons, giraffes, hippos, rhinos (think white), gold crested cranes, flamingos, secretary birds, maribu storks, marshall eagle, lions, ostrich, wart hog, eland and a few more.
It was going so well until we broke down mid-safari, it sounded to me like no fuel was reaching the engine….not that I am a mechanic but having owned a couple of Alfa Romeos I am relatively knowledgeable about mechanical issues!
Nelson (the driver) got out and checked the fuel line and tank, plenty of fuel so we couldn’t suss it out. He needed an assistant to turn the engine over whilst he pratted about under the cab so I volunteered to jump out and help. So there I am in the middle of a national park helping to fix an engine all the while keeping one eye out for a lion….luckily the only animals around were zebras who appeared to be looking on with great amusement!
Eventually Nelson sussed the issue was no power to the fuel pump so a quick change of cable and off we went.
Back at 6pm, put the tent up as no accommodation for us due to some team building conference being hosted at the campsite. Then we had a bbq buffet before hitting the showers and then hitting bed. The music from the after conference party went on until 2am so had a bit of bop lying down in the tent before crashing out.
Sunday 13th September
We had a nice leisurely morning, Nicole and I sat in camping chairs in the sun by our tent until mid-morning, then headed to the bar for a BLT before going back to chill in the sun.
Early afternoon we headed into town to the trusty Nakumatt for a food shop as Wilma and I were on cook group and had to procure ingredients for our meal. We spent an hour or so shopping then headed back to the camp and started preparation for dinner.
We cooked bbq corn on the cob, chicken, green bean salad with garlic and rosemary oil dressing, italian rustic potatoes in garlic and rosemary oil and bbq tomatoes…so a right old feast! We also bbq’d a dessert of bananas with chocolate and honey.
After cook group we spent about an hour washing up and putting everything away before having a shower and another sing along with Wilma. This time we had a mega mix of songs including Elton John, Madonna, Blondie, Eurythmics and some more Sister Sledge. We were having a right old-time singing in the showers, unbeknown to us the whole campsite could hear! Still it was a bit of entertainment for them!
Spent the night back in the bands tonight for free as the owner of the camp upgraded us all for free in recompense for the noisy night before! Free upgrade……bonus!
Monday 14th September
Up at 5.15, left at 6am due to the long drive to the Ugandan border and through to Jinja. There is not much to say apart from the drive was long, we spent 3 hours at the border as Mikkel needed to get some paperwork for the truck from the post office and they wouldn’t let the truck move until he had gone off done it and come back with the paperwork!
I think this was our longest day on the road so far….we arrived in Jinja at 10ish after an unplanned diversion through a banana plantation as Em and Mikkel took a wrong turn!
We arrived at the camp and as it was raining and we were staying for 4 nights (two upgrade criteria) we opted for a self-contained room with a bathroom. So no tent putting up for us…we wandered off into our room and went to bed so we would be full of beans for Uganda in the morning!