Saturday 29th of October 2005

Place: Dubai to Nairobi, Kenya
Climate: quite hot, around 300C
Health: Both Henk and Anit in good condition
Thought of the day: How will it be at Hans and Marian (Henk)  Dubai is the place of my dream, I will come back here one day for sure (Anit)

At 5.30 am we were picked up by the Emirates driver who brought us to the airport. Bye, bye Dubai. We were quite early, but we made use of the business lounge and woke up by the cup of coffee. Welcome in the world of luxury! We flew to Nairobi in business class again. Although we were a bit tired of the busy days in Dubai, we were fascinated again by the Emirates amusement offer on board and hardly could sleep in the end.

We first flew over Saudi Arabia and than for the first time in life we saw Africa continent form the plane window. FascinatingÖnot possible to sleep. We got good meal, we drank some wineÖlife is beautiful. The flight took 5 hours, we watched the flight map to locate our plane. Look, we are right above the equator!

At around 1pm we arrived in Nairobi. We were picked by Hans, our friend who lives and works in Nairobi. We were going to spend one month at his and his wifeís place.

Hans and Marian are Dutch and have been living in Nairobi almost for a year and they kindly offered us their guest house to use during our stay. We were warmly welcomed by them and we learned to know Isaac, Hansí employee. On the way from the airport to their home, still near the airport, we saw first giraffes! We were really lucky to see them there.

When we got home, we left our luggage and went to do some shopping. In the evening, we went out to the Japanese restaurant for the welcome meal with Hans and Marian, Kim (their daughter) and Marieke (Kimís friend). We had many adventures to share and we could talk for long hours about them.

It was a nice evening and we were happy and ready to discover another fascinating country.


Sunday 30th of October 2005

Place: Nairobi, Kenya
Climate: warm, around 280C
Health: Both Henk and Anit in good condition
Thought of the day: Sleep, sleep, sleep we need it or at least I!(Henk) I imagined Africa completely different; Nairobi is a huge and developed city (Anit)

Today we slept quite long because we still needed some sleep from Dubai. We stayed only with Marian since Hans, Kim and Marieke went back to the Netherlands. We talked a lot about our adventures and simply rested the whole day, checked out e-mails and started organizing safari. We had one month for Kenya with 1,5 week for us and 2,5 weeks for us and Anitís mother Halina who was going to arrive in Nairobi on 12th of November. We didnít have anything organized yet but as always we had our LP guidebook which we have studied carefully a long time. We already had some ideas: to see animals and to spend some time at the seaside. We collected information form Marian, Lonely Planet and from Internet and we started to make a plan. We didnít expect the prices for all these attractions were so high. It looks like Africa will be the most expensive country for us.

In the evening Marian cooked a delicious dinner and we discussed our possible plans for the coming month.


Monday 31st of October 2005

Place: Nairobi, Kenya
Climate: warm, around 280C
Health: Both Henk and Anit in good condition
Thought of the day: People here are very friendly (Anit& Henk)

Today is the time to start exploring Nairobi. After breakfast we met Isaac who picked us up and together with Marian we went to see the Karen Brixen place (author of the book ďOut of AfricaĒ) . We first had a lunch in a lovely garden and than we visited the coffee plantationsí headquarters. As in every visited country, we tried to learn from Isaac some Swahili words to please the locals. Later we went to the Nakumatt, local supermarket to do some shopping. It was surprising that this supermarket sells such a wide range of articles. Our imagination about Africa was different, we thought it was a more poor and less developed country, with no food and poverty all around. But what we saw there, doesnít differ from a supermarket in Poland or in the Netherlands. Later on, Isaac brought us to the Hansí office where we saw the hole company and met some of the employees.

When we came home, we continued to prepare our visit plan. We called some companies from Lonely Planet, we checked Internet, we asked Hansí employee to check out some lodges in Masai Mara National Park. We knew we had to visit Masai Mara NP because this is a must when visiting Kenya. This park has a lot of animals and they are easy to spot because of savanna landscape with low grass and a few trees. Marian recommended us to fly to Masai Mara because it was a great experience. You fly in a small plane and very low above the ground so you can even spot animals!

We liked the idea and decided to organize such a trip when Anitís mother would come.


Tuesday 1st of November 2005

Place: Nairobi, Kenya
Climate: 280C, still dry season
Health: Both Henk and Anit ok
Thought of the day: Elephants are beautiful animals (Henk) (Anit)

Today we were picked up by Isaac again. Together we went to visit Nairobi Elephant Orphanage.

It was founded by a British lady and its main purpose is to rescue and bring up young elephants that have been victims of hunting. When they gain maturity and are able to survive in the jungle, they bring them to national parks, mainly Tsavo West NP.

You can visit this orphanage between 11.00-12.00, the feeding time. The personnel bring elephants and one rhino and while feeding them, they tell everything about the life of an elephant.

Itís very nice to see them playing in the mud and very interesting to learn about their habits. In the end, you can give some donations and buy some souvenirs.

Later this day we drove around in Nairobi, did some shopping again and visited one travel agency recommended by Marian. It takes time to organize our safari tours.

In the evening we checked out e-mails, read guide books and had delicious dinner with Marian. After the big loss in weight in India we where now gaining again with all this delicious food.

Today, when working on our safari trips, we found a company called ďPlanet SafariĒ, recommended by Lonely Planet, which had a reasonable offer for Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru and Amboseli NP. We made appointment for the next day to discuss the details. Although it was a budget safari, the price was still quite high for us. It means we will have to negotiate hard.  


Wednesday 2nd of November 2005

Place: Nairobi, Kenya
Climate: around 280C
Health: Both Henk and Anit feeling ok
Thought of the day: Finally, we will go for our first safari! (Anit & Henk)

Today we spent on organizing our trips. It was not that easy as we thought also with a close eye to our budget. As agreed yesterday, after breakfast, together with Marian and Isaac we went to visit Planet Safari. It was located at Moi Avanue, in the city center. When we finally got at the 9th floor we met Charles, the manager. He offered us a 7 day safari to Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru and Amboseli. We would go by mini bus with an open roof and a very good driver and guide in one person, David. They already had some other people for this trip and we simply could join them. The price after negotiating was 940 US$ for the 2 of us including all. According to Lonely Planet it was the cheapest option possible, so we decided to go with them. We signed the contract, paid the money and were very happy to finally see some animals. Well paid the money. We did not have enough cash on hand and had to get some out of the ATM. Hakuna Matata (= No Problem) said Charles, but I will give you somebody to escort you. So Sammy (who would be later our cook) a big guy joined Henk to the ATM to get the money and back to the office.


Thursday 3rd of November 2005

Place: Nairobi, Kenya
Climate: warm, still dry
Health: Both Henk and Anit in good condition
Thought of the day: Sofar I like it here very much (Henk) Itís difficult to get use to security guards walking around here (Anit)

Today we didnít do anything special. We sat in the garden since the weather was good, played with the dogs: Tarzan, Diesel and Spike.

George, the garden man and security guard in one person worked the whole day around the house. In the evening he was exchanged by two other men, for security reasons. It was really strange for us and difficult to get used to guards continuously walking around the house. We heard it was better in Kenya to have guards for safety reasons.We personally didnít experience anything dangerous like we did in India, but it is always good to live according to the rules of the country you live in.

As always, Marian cooked a delicious dinner, we had a nice chat and later packed our bags for the safari.


Friday 4th of November 2005

Place: : Nairobi to Masai Mara NP
Climate: warm, around 280C
Health: Both Henk and Anit in very good condition
Thought of the day: Safari here we come (Henk) People we go with seem to be very nice, itís going to be a nice adventure (Anit)

As agreed, at 8.30 we were picked up by the driver form Planet Safari. When we arrived in the office, we met other tourists: Angela and Shoan from UK, Vivian and Mohamed from Kenya, Adrian from France. We could choose between a jeep and a minibus. A jeep was stronger, and was much better to drive in case of rain and soft ground. The disadvantage was little space inside. The minibus was only 2 wheel drive but had a lot of space and everybody could seat at the window.

David, the driver, encouraged us to go with him in the bus and so we did. First destination was Masai Mara. We drove from Nairobi to the Rift Valley  where we had a short stop at the view point.

In Narok we stopped again for the lunch. We already got to know other people and they all seemed to be very nice. On the way David told us already a lot so we were also satisfied with him and this is good since we both have become quite critical regarding tour guides. On the way to Masai Mara we already saw giraffes, zebras and gazelles walking freely along the road. After 2,5 hours we arrived in Masai Mara. Our camp site was just outside the gate (itís cheaper to sleep outside the park). There was a big fire place in the middle of the camp site, a dinning hall where we had our meals, bandas (tents put on the wooden platforms and covered by the roof made of straw, simple toilets and showers.

Welcome to nature!

Real Masai people worked in this camp. This was the first time we met the real Masai. Everybody got a 2, or 3-person tent and had some time to unpack the bags. Afterwards we went for the first game drive in the park. David opened the roof so we all had possibility to see the animals. We were very lucky this day. In not even two hours we saw so many animals! The sunset was gorgeous and the landscape beautiful. We saw zebras, gnus, gazelles, impalas, ostriches, elephants, giraffes and lions. We already love this place.

 

When we came back to the camp it was already dark. After dinner we sat around the fire place and chatted with other people till late in the night.


Saturday 5th of November 2005

Place: Masai Mara NP
Climate: warm, around 280C
Health: Both Henk and Anit in good condition
Thought of the day: We have to see a cheetah today (Anit)

6.30 in the morning, we go again for the game drive. It was quite chilly, we needed to put on warm clothes. Park looks different in the morning, just after the sunrise. We saw again zebras and gnus which are always together because gnus have only 7 minute memory and to migrate, they need to follow zebras. David stopped by every passing car. Somebody told him there was a cheetah not far away. Yes, we are going to find her. This was not difficult because from far we already saw a lot of other cars and people taking pictures. David said it was a low season (November) but we couldnít say so considering how many cars were there in the park. In the high season there must be more cars than animals! When we approached the hole group of cars, we saw this proud animal. She was looking at the group of gazelles as if she wanted to find there her dinner.

 

Cheetah is a very proud animal, always looks somewhere far away and doesnít seem to notice safari cars. We drove around until 9.30 and came back for the breakfast. During the day we went with a Masai to the top of the hill near our camp. We were supposed to se a nice view from the top of the hill. However, on the way up, Angela felt bad and we all decided to come back to the camp. On the way back we visited one lodge where we had a drink together. Henk enjoyed the real Kenyan beer called ďTuskerĒ with a real Masai. Would have bee a good beer commercial.

Second game drive was at 4pm. Again we saw a lot of animals. David has his eyes around and can spot animals even when concentrating on the road. We all tried to spot animals to help him of course. In principal it is like hunting, the only difference is that you don't have a gun, but your photo camera. The adrenaline is more or less the same to spot more animals and more different ones.

When we came back to the camp it was already dinner time. We ate all together and afterwards we sat by the fire again. Masai people offered to show us some traditional dances. We watched them and later sat together and talk about Masai culture. Interesting discussion.

In the night we heard some strange noises. As we heard next day, it was a hyena wandering somewhere next to our camp.


Sunday 6th of November 2005

Place: Masai Mara NP
Climate: very warm, 300C
Health: Both Henk and Anit in good condition
Thought of the day: I love nature (Henk) Even if you see the same animals, their behavior is always different, no way to get bored (Anit)

Today, after breakfast we went for a long game drive. We first drove to the Lodge to fuel the car. Later we came to the Kenya/Tanzania border which is indicated by one concrete pole.

After a while we arrived at he river where we had a 10 minute walk with a guide to see the hippopotamus and crocodiles. We didnít see much though. Hippos stayed under water what is their normal behavior during a day. They go out only in the night and eat grass. What we saw were a couple of ears emerging from the water and one crocodile.

Today we had a picnic in the bush. We arrived at the picnic area and had a very tasty meal there. On the way back we had another game drive.

Suddenly Henk spotted something but was not sure what it was. When we stopped the car to see what it was, he lost the object. But than Anit saw something moving about 300 meters away. Yes, it was a lion. We asked David to driver closer. In Masai Mara you can go off road in some areas and so we did. When approaching this animal we saw it was a lioness holding something in her mouth. When we came closer, she disappeared. Than suddenly we saw her carrying a small baby lion of only 7 days old!

We quickly discovered that she was replacing her cups from one place to another. It was a great view and our greatest discovery in Masai Mara. Henk was very proud that he spotted it first.
 

Monday 7th of November 2005

Place: Masai Mara NP to Lake Nakuru
Climate: warm, still dry, around 270C
Health: Both Henk and Anit in good condition
Thought of the day: What will bring today? (Henk) Couldnít sleep at night because of this noisy hyena (Anit)

Today, at 6.30 we had the last game drive in Masai Mara. We asked David whether we could go and see the lioness with her babies again. Davis knows the park very good and he remembered very well the place where Henk spotted the lioness yesterday. When we came there it took us some time to find the lions. Davis spotted them first, mother hidden with her 5 babies in the bush. Amazing view!

When we came back to the camp, we had our last breakfast, packed the things and went to Lake Nakuru. On the way we stopped for the lunch and after 4 hours drive we reached Nakuru. We left there our luggage and immediately left for the afternoon game drive in the Lake Nakuru NP.  It was completely different from Masai Mara qua landscape, flora and fauna. Lake Nakuru is famous for millions of flamingos living here and the rhino sanctuary. We saw millions of rose flamingos, pelicans and African marabou.

There are 59 white rhinos in the park. We were lucky to see two. One of them we could see really from close.

After a short walk at the lake, we went up to the observation point. Amazing views on the whole park.

On the way back we saw Kirk's dik diks (smallest buck in the world), monkeys, hyenas, zebras, buffalos, and even giraffes. Lucky again!

This night we stayed in a budget hotel in Nakuru which was very fine.
 

Tuesday 8th of November 2005

Place: Lake Nakuru to Amboseli NP
Climate: warm, dry, around 260C
Health: Both Henk and Anit feeling very well
Thought of the day: Only 2 more days and this safari is already finished (Henk) David is a good guide, he knows a lot about animals (Anit)

After breakfast we left to Nairobi. We stopped there for lunch, David went to the office and after 2 hours we left again in the south direction to Amboseli NP. It was a long way. Especially the last 2 hours were very tiring because of poor condition of the road. In result we had two flat tires. When we caught the second flat tire we were just in the middle of the park, it was already dark and we didnít have any spare tire more. Fantastic, what now? David didnít allow us to get off the car and together with John, the trainee, tried to fix the tire. From time to time they checked out the bushes around with their pocket torch to see if there were any animals aroundÖ thatís was exciting and a bit scaryÖWhen the fixed tire exploded with a huge noise, we could do nothing but ride on the tree wheels for about 1,5 hours.

When we came to the camp site, the dinner was ready.

Sammy, the cook, prepared delicious meal and after this adventurous ride it was what we all needed.
 

Wednesday 9th of November 2005

Place: Amboseli
Climate: quite warm and dry, around 260C
Health: Both Henk and Anit in good condition
Thought of the day: The more wilder we sleep the closer Anit sleeps with me (Henk) What if these hyenas come into our tent in the night??? (Anit)

Anit couldnít sleep this night because of yelling hyenasÖ They must have been very close to our tents. The camp site in Amboseli is beautifully located in the hart of the park. It is fenced but the five wires are not enough to stop a strong and hungry animalÖall these thoughts make your night sleepless in Amboseli. For sure, Anitís night, Henk seemed not to hear much.

We had two game drives today, one in the morning before breakfast and one in the afternoon. These periods are best to spot animals, they are the most active.

The landscape here is completely different than in Masai Mara or Lake Nakuru. There are almost no trees and there is the mighty Kilimanjaro in the background. We were lucky to see the snowy top and to capture the famous Amboseli view: elephants in front of mighty Kilimanjaro. 

We saw elephants with the longest tusks in Africa.In the afternoon David took us to the observation hill where we made a walk up to see the park from above. They say Amboseli is the paradise for photographers and we certainly agree with it.

In the evening Sammy prepared delicious dinner and put on fire. We chatted with David and Sammy and went to sleep with hope that hyenas leave us in peace this night


Thursday 10th of November 2005

Place: Amboseli to Nairobi
Climate: warm, some rain, about 260C
Health: Both Henk and Anit in good condition
Thought of the day: This is the way of doing safari, sleeping in tents and with a good guide David and an excellent cook Sammy (Henk) We should organize one more trip here with my mother (Anit)

After breakfast we put down the tents, packed our things and went back to Nairobi. Because Sammy with his field ďkitchenĒ joined us, we were fully packed and probably exceeded the limits of the car. The result was 3 flat tires!

Besides overweight, the bad roads and very old tires all contributed to these three accidents. Kenyan people as we noticed, are very relaxed and donít worry if they have to drive only on three wheels. To get a spare tire is not always possible in Africa and the one you get is often of the very poor quality. So instead of driving 5 hour back, it took us about 7. We had a 1 hour break for lunch and the rest time we spent on driving and looking for a spare tire. 20 kilometers before Nairobi, when our bus had only two tires left, David was so desperate that he wanted to organize a matatu which would take us to Nairobi. Knowing how dangerous matatu is, we all preferred to wait until our bus was ready. After a long while we took off again praying for the safe arrival.

Late in the afternoon David brought us home. Despite all the hassle with tires, we enjoyed this safari very much and made appointments for another one, this time with Anitís mother.

 

Friday 11th of November 2005

Place: Nairobi, Kenya
Climate: warm, little bit rainy, 25 0C
Health: Both Henk and Anit in good condition
Thought of the day: Canít wait till I see my mother again (Anit) Is everything organized for the visit of Anit's mom?

According to Marian, the best place to do the souvenir shopping is the Masai market in Nairobi. They not only have a wide range of souvenirs but also for a very reasonable price. We decided not to buy overpriced souvenirs in the parks, but wait and buy some nice stuff at this market when Anitís mother comes.

After breakfast we first went to visit the giraffe center in Nairobi. This is a place where you can feed and kiss giraffes and watch the film about their life. We enjoyed it very much. Especially feeding was a nice experience when you put a piece of dry food into your mouth and giraffe tries to get it with her 45cm long tongue. The real French Kiss????

Later we went to the Mada Hotels to pay for our second safari. This trip would be more luxury what also means more expensive (700 US$ per person for 4 day safari). We go again to Masai Mara, this time together with Anitís mother who is coming tomorrow from Poland. The biggest attraction will be flying in a small plane from Nairobi to the park. We plan to stay there for 4 days in a lodge.

In the evening w went out for nice dinner with Hans and Marian and shared our adventures from the first safari.


Saturday 12th of November 2005

Place: Nairobi, Kenya
Climate: warm and dry, 25 0C
Health: Both Henk and Anit ok
Thought of the day: Good to see my mother again, itís almost the end of our first trip (Anit), Just a bit relaxing and final preparations for the next safari (Henk)

Today we did some shopping for the next safari. We bought water and some wine. The rest day we spent on preparing for the trip. In the evening we went again out to a very nice and good Brazilian restaurant not far away from the airport. At 21.30 we were supposed to pick up Halina, Anitís mother. The KLM flight from Amsterdam was on time. When we welcomed Halina we decide to have a drink together in the Inter Continental hotel. This evening Anit and her mother spent long hours on talking about adventures from the world trip.


Sunday 13th of November 2005

Place: Nairobi, Kenya
Climate: warm, dry, around 270C
Health: Henk, Anit and Mama in good condition
Thought of the day: Nice to see how my motherís dream about visiting Kenya comes truthÖ(Anit) Yes, I agree (Henk)

Today after late breakfast we went to the Karen Brixen museum in Nairobi. It was Anitís mother biggest dream to visit this place since she read and saw the movie ďOut of AfricaĒ several times. Several times, better to say more than 6 times! After lunch in a nice restaurant, Henk, Anit and Halina went to visit the museum. There was a guide who told us interesting stories about the life of Karen Brixen. In the museum we could see interiors and articles which we saw in the film. Some things where original from Mrs. Brixen and some where attributes from the film (e.g. the pants of Robbert Redford). For dinner Marian cooked a delicious meal and later we packed our things for safari next day.


Monday 14th of November 2005

Place: Nairobi to Masai Mara NP
Climate: very nice and warm, still dry
Health: Henk, Anit and Halina in good condition
Thought of the day: I have never flown with such a small plane (Anit) Masai Mara, here we come again (Henk)

In the morning, after early breakfast Isaac brought us to the Wilson National Airport from where we we supposed to take a small plane to Masai Mara NP.  The plane was on time. It was a Cesna Caravan with 15 seats. Henk was lucky, he could sit next to the pilot. It looks like he is also flying, but thanks God not of course!

Henk was very happy, because he has always wanted to become a pilot and now he could taste it a bit from real close. Anita and Halina sat right behind Henk. The pilot put his thumb in tha air, asked if we all were ok and took off. That's a different kind of security instructions?!?!
Great, in such a small aircraft you feel every single movement. Especially Anita got a bit dizzy but mostly we were fascinated by the great view from above of Nairobi and later Masai Mara NP. After 30 minutes we had a short landing already in Masai Mara to leave some other tourists. After another 10 minutes we landed again not far away from our lodge. The starting/landing lane is nothing more than a dirt road in the middle of nowhere with animals walking around.

The car form our lodge was already waiting for us when we landed. On the way to the lodge we had our first en route safari. For Henk and Anita it was a second time in Masai Mara so we already knew what to expect there, for Halina, however it was first contact with wildlife and when we saw the first lions, she couldnít believe her yes. There are so many animals in this park.

After 30 minutes we arrived at Fig Tree, our lodge. It is very nice located, in the bush, at a small river. There was a nice open air restaurant, buffet, fireplace, bar, shop and swimming pool and even an observation tower. We got two big, military-style tents next to each other. Each tent is attached to a concrete toilet and bathroom. The tents are located at the river.

After lunch, we had some time for rest. At 3.30 we had coffee/tea and at 4pm we went for the first game drive. Our safari car was an old military truck without any roof, just with metal bar supporters. Halina was amazed by the amount of animals we saw. Itís amazing that they are not afraid of cars and come very close treating us like another animal. We took again thousands of pictures and made some films on video camera.

When we came back, it was already dark. We had a delicious dinner and sat at the fire place afterwards with a nice glass of wine. It was a very nice day.


Tuesday 15th of November 2005

Place: Masai Mara NP
Climate: very nice and warm, still dry
Health: Henk, Anit and Halina in good condition
Thought of the day: I think I will never get bored here on safari (Anit)

Today we got up at 5.00am in order to spot a hippo which lives in the river just in front of our tents. Itís not easy because hippo goes out at night and in the dark you hardly see anything.  We didnít see hippo but we climbed the observation tower and watched the sunrise from there. It was very nice to capture the sunrise in Masai Mara with a balloon raising form the ground just in front of us.

Such balloon safari is a great attraction but it costs a lot, actually we think that 385$ for 40 minutes per person is too much. And on top this, you canít really see the animals from above, so whatís the point of doing that.

After coffee we went for our early safari. Masai Mara looks different in the morning and gives you a lot of pictures possibilities.

When we came back we went for breakfast and made use of the swimming pool; that's what we call safari deluxe.

At 4.00pm we had another game drive. We thought about changing a car because our driver and guide were not so talkative and enthusiastic, what after David, guide form our first safari, didnít satisfy us. We changed the car and we ended up with a group of Dutch people and a Polish-English couple (see below).

 

Sammy, the driver and Stevo, the Masai guide were much better and the whole group was simply more pleasant and active.

This game drive was very exciting because we spotted a leopard which is a rare animal to spot.It is very shy and doesnít like to show him/her-self to tourists. It always hides in the bush. As crazy we drove around the bush for a half an hour and finally we saw her! However, she was too quick to make a good picture of, but it was fascinating and we all appreciated Sammy and Stivo for their enthusiasm.

We agreed with the hole group to go next day for a long safari to spot hippos and crocodiles. There is a special place, a river where these animals live, and to do this trip we had to take with us picnic breakfast.

In the evening we enjoyed a glass of wine at the fireplace and had a delicious dinner together in the lodge restaurant.


Wednesday 16th of November 2005

Place: Masai Mara NP
Climate: warm and  dry, around 270C
Health: Henk, Anit and Halina in good condition
Thought of the day: Great idea to go for this half-day safari (Anit) (Henk)

As agreed yesterday, at 6.15 we left for our half-day safari. On the way we saw a lot of animals and Halina saw African elephants for the first time. We also saw a BBC team filming a Cheetah sitting on the small hill under a tree in savanna landscape. They hoped to film her while hunting but on our way back they were still waiting and cheetah was still sitting and resting. Good luck guys. They told us we could see the movie in two years time on BBC channel.

We took boxes with breakfast with us and after a 2,5 hour drive we arrived at our picnic place at the river. Sitting on the river bank, we watched crocodiles and hippos and consumed our breakfast. We didnít see a lot of hippos, they were under water but when we later drove to another place at the river, the hippos probably didnít expect us and we saw them resting at the river bank.

Yes, we finally saw hippos! Above you see one splashing in the water ("Ik heb nog zo gezegd geen bommetje!"). When they saw our car, they rushed into water again but we managed to take some nice pictures of them.

On the way back we saw a real nature wonder. We can say one of the highlights of all our safaris. Sammy, the driver, spotted a Thomson gazelle which had just given birth. 

It must have been born just a few minutes ago because we saw the baby still connected to mother by umbilical cord. The baby was lying on the ground and the mother was licking it clean and dry.

We heard form Stivo that a small gazelle has 30 minutes get up and follow the mother, otherwise it could be attacked and eaten by lions or hyena or any other bigger animal. We watched the babyís attempts to get up and after a while it managed to stand up! It was amazing to see, such wonders you only see in TV!

When we came back to our lodge, the lunch was ready and after it we made use of the swimming pool again. In the afternoon we had another safari. When we came back we went with Monica and Mark (Polish-English couple) to the bar and had some nice chat. It was again a great day full of adventures.


Thursday 17th of November 2005

Place: Masai Mara NP to Nairobi
Climate: Warm during a day, in the morning and afternoon quite chilly
Health: Henk, Anit and Halina feeling ok
Thought of the day: I am happy my mother likes it so much (Anit) Masai Mara is a great park (Henk)

After en early safari we had bush breakfast. It was funny but a bit artificial for us. They put tables and a small buffet in the bush.

There was a cook and Daniel. Our waiter serving us. The biggest attraction were the monkeys which tried to get some food from us. We even tried to feed them but they were so smart that when we didnít look they jumped on the table, grabbed a tea bag and a glass and ran away to the bush.

After bush breakfast we went for a walk with Masai who told us some interesting stories about the life of Masai tribe.

In the end we also visited a Masai village where we saw a traditional Masai house, some traditional songs and dances and visited local Masai market.

When we came back it was time to pack our bags, eat the last lunch and say good buy (Kwaheri in Swahili) to the nice staff. We left the lodge after lunch and on the way to the airport we had last en route game drive. When we arrived at the airport, the pilot was already waiting for us. We flew first to another lodge to pick up some tourists and that 30 minutes back to Nairobi. This time Halina sat next to the pilot and Anit was wondering what to do in order not to vomit,  ha, ha, ha. In a small plane is just completely different feeling especially when it turnsÖ

When we arrived in Nairobi, we took a taxi home and together with Hans and Marian had a dinner at their place.


Friday 18th of November 2005

Place: Nairobi, Kenya
Climate: warm but a bit rainy, short rain season has begun
Health: Henk, Anit and Halina feeling ok
Thought of the day: Time for some souvenirs (Anit & Henk)

As advised by Marian, we decided to do some souvenirs shopping at Masai Market in Nairobi. Isaac took us there, left and would pick us up again over 3 hours. Marian went to do some shopping and Henk, mama and Anita hunted for some nice souvenirs from Africa. Indeed, they have nice things there, and when compared to prices in tourist locations close or in the parks, prices here are reasonable. We still had to negotiate because we already know this sales behavior form other countries: when they see tourists the prices tend to jump several times up.

We bought some nice things, had lunch with Marian and came home to pack things again for the next and last safari.


Saturday 19th of November 2005

Place: Nairobi to Lake Nakuru
Climate: warm and dry, around 260C
Health: Henk, Anit and Halina in good condition
Thought of the day: Good to see David again (Anit) Let's check the tires of David's car

David picked us up at agreed time. Today we started a 7-day safari with Planet Safari company for the second time.

Since we were very satisfied with the first trip organized by them, we decided to go with them again, this time with Halina. We even proposed our safari route, discussed it with David and proposed to Charles the manager of Planet Safari. He agreed on the plan and after 2 hours negotiation about price, we signed the contract. Sammy, the cook, who cooked for us in Amboseli park last time would join us for this trip as well. So now there are three of us + David. Sammy would join us tomorrow.  David kept his promise and changed all the tires to new ones. We went with the same white mini bus and there were no other people joining us on this trip. After two hours trip to Nakuru and a short stop at the Rift Valley observation point, we arrived at our budget hotel. Nothing has changed here until our last visit. We had lunch together with David and afterwards went for the afternoon game drive in the Lake Nakuru NP. We were lucky again to see millions of flamingos and other bird species. We also saw rhinos, Kirk's dik dik and a lot more different animals. Nature is so beautifull

Well, this was a good start of our second safari with Anitís mother. But we, Henk and Anit were more anxious about the next park, Samburu, where we havenít been before.


Sunday 20th of November 2005
 

Place: Lake Nakuru to Samburu NP
Climate: warm, around 270C
Health: Henk, Anit and Mama feeling good
Thought of the day: itís a historical moment: we are on the Equator (Anit)  

8.00 o clock in the morning. We are ready to departure but our David is late. When he arrived we made some jokes about yesterday party but he denied of course. Looking at his eyes and thinking back about the music e heard last night till late in the evening we knew better!?!?!? Half an hour later we left in direction of Samburu National Park. On the way we made a stop by Thomsonís falls which are actually little impressive. We took a picture and on the way to the car were harassed by the local shop owners as always in such touristic spots. They were so pushy that we landed finally in one shop but didnít buy anything.
On the way we observed the fascinating landscape, it was more hilly, we passed coffee and tea plantations but we didnít see Mount Kenya. Itís a pity that it was hiding behind the clouds. They say that you donít see Kenya unless you go to the north. Considering how different the landscape here was and how beautiful, they must be right. The road got worse and asphalt road changed to sand road. Close the windows! Otherwise we have dust everywhere!

The holes in the road were so huge  that we worried that car windows would fall out. But we had trust in David, which we built in the first safari with him. Sammy joined us during lunch. He came from Nairobi this morning; 5 hours with a Matatu!. Now the dream team was complete.

Houses and people were also different here. In Samburu there is another tribe, but close related to Masai. We gave out pens which Halina brought from Poland. Itís better to give children some food or pens instead of money. Anyway, itís wrong that children when they see a tourist bus, come to beg for money. We from the west learned them that because we feel sorry form them. But in this way we learned them how they can quickly get some money without work.
In the afternoon we finally arrived at the park gate. We paid the entrance fee and started our first game drive. It seemed that we couldnít spot many animals because of thick bush. But after a while we saw giraffes, very close to our car. We also saw lions, zebras, ostriches, gerenuks and buffalos. What an amazing park.

We were going to camp at the camp site which is not fenced! It means we can expect face to face meeting with animals. Super, we love it!

We left Sammy at the camp site and went further for the game drive. David heard from other guides that there was a leopard spotted by some other car. He rushed to find it.

We saw a group of cars from far. It took us some time to get close, but finally we saw a leopard eating his dinner: a donkey!
 
This nice cat was so busy with the carcass that he seemed not to see the cars. Yes, finally we saw this shy animal, itís beautiful. Thank you David.

And thank you Sammy for delicious dinner which waited for us when we came back from safari.

This night we slept in very simple tents. There is no way to go to the toilet in the night so before sleep we all (Henk, Halina, Anit, two German tourists, who stayed at the same camping and David) went together for the last duty. We all had torches and David lead a group. We heard something, something bigÖbut we couldn't see anythingÖDavid listened and said: itís an elephant, something like 10 meters away! God, and now? We went quickly to the toilet one after another and David guarded us.

Hurry up guys, he said and listened in which direction the big beast was movingÖ Great! You want more adventure, here you are. Fortunately, in the morning we got up againÖ alive!


Monday 21st of November 2005

Place: Samburu NP
Climate: warm, 260C, short rain occasionally
Health: Henk, Anit and Halina in good condition
Thought of the day: I think this park is a number 1 regarding the variety and beauty of the landscape (Anit) Amazing the food Sammy cooks in the middle of no where

Monkeys were often our visitors when we stayed on the camp site. They are so smart, they watch us carefully and when we donít look for only a split second they jump and try to steal some food. They love plastic bags because they associate them with food. And so during every meal we had a great fun and played with them who is smarter and who is quicker. Sammy prepared a great breakfast and off we went again for the game drive. We drove for 1 hour without spotting anything! Yes, thatís Samburu says David, or you see animals very close to the car or you see nothing.

After game drive we went to the nearby lodge to have something to drink. Even though the lodge is beautifully located and is very luxury, we would not exchange it with our primitive camp just middle in the park. Besides monkeys, there are squirrels, impalas and many bird species visiting our camp.

When we came back from the lodge, we had delicious lunch, made by...................Sammy, it will cost us many, many kilos!

In the afternoon we went to the river side to see crocodiles eating a dead cow. When we were in the lodge there were elephants passing our camp not even 10 meters away, David said. Itís a pity we missed it.

In the evening we went again for the last safari in this park, this time to a different part of the park.


Tuesday 22nd of November 2005

Place: Samburu to Nairobi
Climate: warm and dry
Health: Henk, Anit and Halina feeling very well
Thought of the day: I wish we could see Mt Kenya today (Anit) The car is doing extremely well, considering these bad roads (Henk)

Today we got up at 7am and after breakfast packed our things and went back having en route safari on the way. The biggest attraction of this safari was a lioness which was trying to hunt for a zebra. We wanted to see a ďkillĒ but every time we saw an attempt it ended in failure. Yes, thatís nature. Anyway, it was exciting to see lioness waiting for this right moment and the zebra which discovered the danger and ran away in the end.

We passed Mt Kenya but again it was hidden in the clouds. On the way back we also made a stop at Equator. Later we passed amazing coffee/tea and pineapple plantations.

We arrived in Nairobi before 5pm and went directly to the office to meet Charles who promised to prepare some offer for us for a hotel at the sea side.

David brought us home and would pick us up again tomorrow in the morning.

In the evening Henk and Anit went out for dinner with Hans and Marian and Halina, feeling tired, stayed home to recharge batteries for tomorrow.


Wednesday 23rd of November 2005

Place: Nairobi to Amboseli
Climate: warm, a bit rainy, about 250C
Health: Henk, Anit and Halina feeling good and ready for next adventure
Thought of the day: So we go again to Amboseli (Anit) I am looking forward to Tsavo and the Kenian coast (Henk)

David picked us up in the morning as agreed. Before departure we had to go the office to take some other people.

As we found out later, these were two French girls speaking only FrenchÖGreat. That's what you get when booking budget safari. David and Henk's French is very, very basic and we Sammy, Anita and Halina donít speak French at all. With some small delay we finally left Nairobi and drove for 5 hours to Amboseli National Park. This time we had no problems with tires and the whole trip went really smooth. When we arrived, we left Sammy at the camp site and went for the game drive. Halina was amazed by the landscape here, again different. Every park has different landscape and is beautiful in its own way. In Amboseli the biggest attraction is the Kilimanjaro but this time we only saw its top. Regarding animals we saw elephants with the longest tusks in Africa and the group of 20 hyenas fighting for a piece of carcass.
 

There was heavy rain coming and the sky turned into such colors that we couldnít believe our eyes. We also saw hippos for the first time here.

In the evening we had dinner together and spent the rest of the evening on chatting and drinking wine.


Thursday 24th of November 2005

Place: Amboseli to Tsavo West
Climate: warm, short rain occasionally, about 250C
Health: Henk, Anit and Mama in good condition
Thought of the day: Again something new for us: Tsavo NP (Anit) Never traveled with an escort carrying AK-47

After en early game drive and visit to the observation hill, we packed our belongings and went to the Amboseli Lodge to pick up the guard with a loaded machine gun?!?! To have such a guard with gun is necessary because the road from Amboseli to Tsavo is said to be dangerous. There are bandits there who stop cars, especially tourists ones, and rob people from everything. Fortunately, we didnít experience anything like that. It took us about 2 hours to get to the park gate. On the way we stopped to see lava. It is a natural wonder, this lava comes from the ground and is perceived by locals as devilís home.


Tsavo is known from its red elephants. Actually, what we noticed was that not only elephants were red but all animals. And this because of red sand which is everywhere here. When we entered the park we quickly realized that we would not see much because of high grass and thick bush. We didnít worry much though because we were going to see the Mzima Springs full of hippos and crocodiles.

Mzima Springs give fresh water to Mombassa. It is a place where hippos and crocodiles life and tourists can watch them from the underwater tank. We first saw many fish but than suddenly Henk noticed a big gray mass moving and it was a hippo! It was floating under water very slowly with its eyes closed. Amazing to see, really.

Up till now we mainly saw hipposí ears emerging from the water and now we could see how this beast moves under water. Great.

The budget hotel where we were to stay this night was really a LOW BUDGET hotel with cockroaches running everywhere! Yes, we definitely take something more comfortable at the sea side. In this ugly and dirty hotel even Sammyís food didnít taste that good anymoreÖBut they say it was the best hotel in the neighborhoodÖ

We will survive.

 

Friday 25th of November 2005

Place: Tsavo West to Mombassa
Climate: warm, 270C, but rainy in the afternoon
Health: Henk, Anit and Halina ok
Thought of the day: Last day of safari, I think I had enough (Anit) Last day safari, yes for now enough, but for sure I am gonna visit more parks in Africa!

Today we had our LAST safari. We are content, more than content, we saw so many animals and so many places, we can say we get to know the wildlife of Kenya quite well. Halina also is very satisfied and didnít think she thought she would see so many animals. Only David was a bit sad today Ė like different David, maybe because of the last day??? Maybe because of these cockroaches??? No idea. He brought us to the bus station where we were supposed to take a bus to Mombassa. It was very hot and we had to wait at the parking place until the driver finished his lunch. We thanked David and Sammy, said good-bye and left with the bus to Mombassa. The bus was full but we had good seats, in front so we could see through the front window. It took us 5 hours to get to Mombassa.

In Mombassa we were supposed to be picked up by Humphrey (Charles colleague), but he actually sent someone else. He brought us to the office where we heard about other plan that was agreed with Charles. Ok, hakuna matata, this is Africa, take it easy. We had to modify our plans, pay additional 30 euros and they brought us to Watamu, our destination at the sea side. The road in the dark was terrifying, especially people walking on this road which you canít see in the night. Also truck are with; No light, one light or two light and always with big lights so every driver will be blinded. Halina said in front and must have had the drive of her life. Henk next morning told her "Halina, you wanted exotic, we give you exotic". After long 2 hours we finally arrived at our booked hotel: Ascot Hotel. It looked quite good at the first sight, we agreed to stay for one night and went for the late dinner.

We had two cottages next to each other and the swimming-pool just in front.


Saturday 26th of November 2005

Place: Watamu, Kenya
Climate: sunny and hot, around 320C
Health: Henk, Anit and Mama feeling very good
Thought of the day: Wow, I have never seen such a white sand (Anit) Let's check out this place, I am not satisfied with the location and the price (Henk).

When we opened our eyes in the morning, we saw Halina already swimming in the pool. Hurry up, itís her birthday today! We had a small gift for her and went out to wish her ďHappy BirthdayĒ. She really enjoyed herselfÖAnd she liked the gift very much. After a swim we all went for breakfast. This was an Italian Hotel. It consists of cottages that belong to Italian people who come and live here in winter and the rest of the time they rent it to the tourists.

Since we didnít see the beach yet, nor the distance to the beach, we decided first to go and check it. And so we ended up in Barracuda Hotel lovely located at the beach. The price was a bit higher but the location and the whole hotel was much lively and offered much more activities. Negotiation didnít help but we all agreed to spend some more money and move here.

 

And this was a great idea. It was full of Italians! And all staff spoke Italian. They had animation program with activities almost every hour and a diving school.

Amazing was the swimming-pool with the giraffe-like bottom and pleasantly warm water. And the cottages? Lovely! They put flowers in beds every morning! We had cottage with ground room for Henk and Anit and upper for Halina, both with balconies and full of flowers.

Food delicious. Italian of course, Anitís favorite. They have restaurant with view on the sea Ė what do you want more in your life? When we came in the evening to the restaurant for dinner, we saw one chair of our table was decorated with flowers. Whatís that? Whatís going on? Yes, that was for Halina, because today was her birthday! We were surprised because nobody didnít expect that. It was organized by hotel itself after they saw in Halinaís passport that she had birthday. After the meal, all lights went off, and the group of singing and playing locals brought a birthday cake with candles! Wow, what a surprise. When mama blew out the candles, waiter cut the cake into pieces and handed it to all people in the restaurant. ďGracia Halina, GraciaĒ they said and waved towards mama. Ha,ha.

 

After delicious dinner, we watched Masai performance full of dancing and singing. Afterwards they offered Masai souvenirs and Henk bought a real Masai knife.

We spent rest of the evening on the balcony talking about the future and sipping delicious red wine.


Sunday 27th of November 2005

Place: Watamu, Kenya
Climate: hot, hot, hot!
Health: Henk, Anit and Halina feeling like new born
Thought of the day: I always found beaches and sea boring, but here, I love this place! (Anit) My girlfriend is amazing (Henk)

Busy, busy, busy. 7am we go for swim. The plan was first in the sea, than in the pool. But there was a low tide and no water in our Blue Lagoon. Ok, so we went to the pool. After swim, we had breakfast and than at 8.30 we went with a mini bus to the catholic church to see the gospel mass. Now, we can only envy such an attitude to the religion. Everybody involved, singing, dancing, playing on the bongos. Really impressive.

When we came back it was too late for aqua gym but we made our own gym and went for swim in the sea. Halina brought masks and pipes for snorkeling and this activity kept us busy for a couple of hours.

At 5pm there was coffee/tea time which we naturally made us of.

Since the Kenyan coast offers wonderful diving possibilities, Henk wanted to try to dive. He made appointment with the school, and had a free try in the swimming-pool under supervision of Fabrizio Ė the Italien diving instructor. It went good and next day he would go diving in the open water. Anit tried as well in the pool but Fabrizio was too quick for her and she got scared. The words "Take my hands and trust me" from Fabrizio did not bring much confidence She would rather watch than dive tomorrow. We agreed to go together, Henk for diving, Anit and Halina for snorkeling

Italians eat quite late because the diner was only at 8pm. Before that we made a walk in our Blue Lagoon around the small islands, which now, at low tide, were accessible on foot. There are corals there so you can see some sea life there. We saw some sea snakes and a beautiful red sea star.

After this walk we got hungry what made our dinner taste much better!


Monday 28th of November 2005

Place: Watamu, Kenya
Climate: hot and sunny, more than 300C
Health: Henk, Anit and Halina in very good health
Thought of the day: To dive or not to diveÖin Thailand (Anit) Time to dive now (Henk)

After breakfast we made preparations for diving. We go with a group of 10 divers to the open sea. Henk was going to dive, Anit and mother were going to snorkel. After some instructions, we got anti sea sickness tablets (they say that when you take Lariam, malaria tablets, sea sickness can get worse). We all went with a small boat around 300 meters away from the coast. When all the divers went down, including Henk, Anit and mother tried some snorkeling. But it was very difficult to see anything because all sea life is down, where the corals are. OK, you can see some big fish occasionally, but you must be lucky. When we came back on board, Anit felt sick and had to vomit. The boat was swinging so muchÖ And 10 minutes later the same happened to Halina. Great, we have a nice trip, we not only see nothing, but we get sick as well.

The divers are back, thanks God. Letís go back. Henk, after first dive was not really enthusiastic. He got water under the mask and couldnít get rid of it. He even hesitated to do the second dive. When he emerged the second time, he was all happy. This time he felt much more comfortable.

When we came back to our hotel we tried to organize snorkeling in the marine park located nearby. It was not possible today because of tide. Tomorrow in the morning there will be ebb again and they recommended us to go just then.

Curious how the other bays are, we made a walk to Watamu Bay this afternoon. What we saw was white sand and blue sea, not surprisingly, but we liked our Blue Lagoon somehow more.

Today in the evening there was another cultural perfromance. This time we could see another tribe performing different types of dances and playing. It was really great and Anit even joined the group during the famous Kenyan song: ďJambo, JamboĒ.


Tuesday 29th of November 2005

Place: Watamu, Kenya
Climate: very hot and sunny
Health: Henk, Anit and Halina feeling very well
Thought of the day: This is unbelievable how rich the sea life is (Anit) Sad news, our last day at Watamu (Henk)

Today, as agreed, we went with a small boat with a glass bottom to the Watamu Marine Park located not far away from our hotel. We took our masks and pipes and snorkeled around to see some fish. We didnít have to look for them long; there were hundreds of fish everywhere and different species. They had beautiful colors and the biggest one we saw was 1 meter long!
 
Henk was even bitten by one of them when he tried to feed them with bread. We stayed 3 hours in water, it was so fascinating. We highly recommend it. We didnít even want to come back, so nice it was!

At 2pm we had to leave to Mombassa. We all three liked this place so much that we wished we could stay longer. We packed our bags again, had a light meal, said good-bye to a very friendly staff and left to Mombassa. The driver brought us to the train station where we were to take a night train to Nairobi. Yes, some people say itís crazy, but we knew it is an adventure you have to experience once in your life. Well, it was a great experience. First we got a compartment with broken window. We managed to change it to another, with a window this time. Than the train didnít leave, why? We didnít know for a long time and later we heard there was a derailment of a cargo train and they had to remove it from the railway. Keep in mind there is only one railway from Nairobi to Mombassa. Than there was a cook announcing dinner by walking along compartments and hitting a metal thing to make sure everybody hears him. Keep in mind, the train was still in Mombassa train station.

The train was equipped with lamps and airco but both were not working. Instead, we got emergency lamps. Good organization, isnít it? When the train finally left Mombassa after 2,5 hours we were happy but not long because 1 hour later it stopped again for an hour. At this time were in restaurant enjoying dinner which we hardly could get through our throats and we prayed that our bags were still there (the compartments couldnít be closed). When we finally went to sleep, there was such a noise of a diesel engine that we hardly could sleep. Well, you canít deny itís a GREAT EXPERIENCE.
 

Wednesday 30th of November 2005

Place: Nairobi, Kenya
Climate: not so nice like in Watamu, around 240C
Health: Henk, Anit and Halina a bit tired after this looong train trip
Thought of the day: Time to say good bye to Africa (Anit)

Train form Mombassa arrived in Nairobi at 11am. We took a taxi from the station and went back home. Marian was waiting for us, we drank coffee and shared our experience with her. There was a lot to talk about. We experienced much and saw a lot in Africa which is now one of our favorite places in the world.

It took us some time to pack all our things and the souvenirs. In the afternoon, we took shower and prepared for the flight in the night. Isaac picked us up at 5pm and we went first to Hansí office. From there we went to the Carnivore restaurant, a very famous one in Nairobi serving game meat. It was very busy there and the meat (according to Henk) was not that good. We had the last chance to talk about our adventures and thank Hans and Marian for their hospitality. After dinner, Isaac and Marian brought us to the airport where we thanked again and said good-bye to each other.

Halinaís flight with KLM to Amsterdam was first so we helped her with check in. Than we also said good-bye and went to the Emirates check in. Our plane was 1 hour later. At the airport we bought a CD with our favorite Kenyan song: Jambo, Jambo.

Our plane was almost full, it came already full from Dar el Salaam and just made a stop-over in Nairobi. Because of that we didnít get seats together at first. In the plane we asked one gentleman to change place and so we were together again. We didn't sleep much this night. Henk watched some movies and Anit tried to sleep.
 

Thursday 1st of December 2005

Place: Dubai to Dusseldorf
Climate: Dubai still warm but Dusseldorf only 20C
Health: Henk and Anit healthy, only small thermal shock
Thought of the day: Europe, not Poland or The Netherlands is our home (Anit) Yep, first leg is almost over. Time went fast. Now it's time to sell some X-mas trees. (Henk)

We arrived in Dubai early in the morning. At 8am we had to take another plane, to Dusseldorf. The plane was not full so we could enjoy more space. We were very tired after one sleepless night spent in the train and one sleepless night spent in plane but Emirates have so many attritions on board that it is hard not to use them at all.

And this even in economy class!  We watched the forward and down cameras, we listened to the music, watched the films, played Black JackÖand talked about our great trip which end is going to happen in Dusseldorf. But the good thing is that it is only the first part of our world tripÖ
We flew with a brand new Boeing 777. What a wonderful and silent plane. Like mentioned lot's of entertainment on board and huge from inside.
The food was good and the flight went smooth.

We arrived in cold DŁsseldorf around 1pm. After waiting for our luggage for a long time, we bought train tickets and went to the platforms where we said good bye to each other, but not for long!

Until Christmas Henk will be in The Netherlands and Anit in Poland. We will be together again for Christmas with our families to thank God for this fantastic yearÖ

We leave again on 30th December from Warsaw to Zurich, and from Zurich to Bangkok. We already invite you for our next adventures in starting in Thailand!