For the last few weeks I have been out of communication range, away from the high tech world that we consider such a part of our regular daily life, away from the internet! And it has been marvellous. Not only because I had no access to that highly addictive world of social media and instant communication but also because of the reason I was so removed. You see, I went to Africa!
About a year and a half ago a girlfriend of mine returned from safari in Africa (her second) and just looked and at me and said “that’s it, I’m going back in 2014” and my response… “count me in, we’re coming too!”. After much discussion we decided that the great migration from the Serengeti of Tanzania to the Masai Mara Plains of Kenya was the destination and September/October was the time.
Fortunately for us my friend Julie loves to research. She says that the planning and research stage before departure means that the holiday lasts for a whole lot longer. It was terrific. She would scour forums and reviews of all of the different camps and safari companies in the Masai Mara and send me little “what do you think of this place” emails. Got to say – they all looked great to me J Very high end and lux (although it turns out that they were officially middle of the road and there was a lot more serious lux to be had with some companies).
In the end decisions were made, bookings made and deposits paid. It was locked in and all we had to do was wait 18 months for the departure date to roll around. As you guys would know from reading this ongoing story, Dave and I went overseas and travelled around while we waited for Africa to come up on the horizon. And then it did. After so long of waiting and planning (well Julie planned, I just nodded in mute excitement) it was finally here.
Our trip was 3 separate safari experiences in 3 parks in Kenya. Masai Mara, Laikipia and Amboseli.
The first port of call however was Nairobi, Kenya’s capital and a city that has seen its share of unrest and strife in the last few years. Frankly we were nervous about being in Nairobi but it turned out our fears were groundless. The whole posh safari thing kicked in and we were picked up at the airport by our driver who took us to this delightful hotel (right next to the Israeli Embassy – great security).
I, of course, was completely beside myself. As a kid I was always fascinated by ‘deepest, darkest Africa’ and as an adult Sir David Attenborough and others had kept me fascinated about this amazing place – and here I was. Ok, so small ridiculous admission time… as we left the airport I saw an Acacia tree, that classic African symbol of the bush, and huge tears welled up and my throat closed tight. I truly couldn’t believe it. I was quite overwhelmed by the fact that we really were here! Great start I figured. If an acacia tree got me crying what would happen when I saw the animals 😉
Then as we drove down the road toward the hotel the driver was narrating what we were seeing and there was a huge group of trees roadside with a crown of Marabou storks (the garbage disposal system of birdlife in Kenya). The storks had taken up residence and were quite happily living off the human rubbish. They were huge and as we drove towards them one of the birds decided to take a walk across the road. Unfortunately it didn’t make it. A big truck cleaned it up. My last vision of said Marabou was a cloud of feathers pouring out from under a speeding truck and the sounds of our driver decrying the carelessness of drivers. Ok, so that circle of life stuff started before we even got out to the bush but that’s animals and vehicles so….
After a bit of a nap at the new plush digs (remember we have been backpacking for months and this place was lovely) we got the word that our fellow travellers had arrived. Billy and Julie had come via Johannesburg and when I raced into the lobby there were even more tears and much jumping up and down. Both of us had so been looking forward to this grand adventure and here we were – ready and roaring to go 🙂
So, the next few blogs, ok the next many blogs, are going to be about Africa. About what we did, saw and felt and what it was like to be in one of the most amazing places on earth for one of natures most awe inspiring spectacles. I can’t wait to bring you a little bit of Africa.
I figured that I would leave this here with a few photos just to tease you and leave you wanting more. And there is plenty more to come 😉