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New country, new update.

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

Extremely slow day/week/month in the travels of Steve. I’m in a new country so I figured its worth at least an update.

Really not wanting to leave Nairobi, I packed my bags and headed out on the slow route to Uganda. The slow route consists of taking mini-buses and stopping every couple of hours and checking things out instead of bombing straight through for 14 hours.

My first stop was going to be at Lake Naivasha. Here there is a nice campsite along the lake, a climbable volcano with crater lake, and Hells Gate National Park which is supposed to be a nice place to take a mountain bike ride through some beautiful terrain as well as being able to see some animals. That was the plan at least. The plan ended as I watched the town drift by and we didn’t stop. It was another one of those times when you don’t understand the minibus system because even though the sign on the top of the mini-bus says Naivasha, they don’t actually stop at the town. You have to yell at the driver to stop and to let you out. The challenge with that is having never visited a place, you don’t know where your supposed to get off. I just assumed that we would stop or the driver would know since I paid for only up to Naivasha. Long story short, I landed in Nakuru. They had a proper game park there but it requires joining a tour so I just stayed the night and wandered through Kenya’s fourth largest city.

Next stop was Eldoret, pretty much the same city layout, so not much to add.

After Eldoret and the usual border exchanges, I was in Uganda. Uganda I consider as being the end of my “Africa” section. They offer the Mountain Gorillas, river rafting on the Nile, the source of the Nile, and Chimp tracking. There are some very nice mountain ranges bordering the east and west as well. For me, I was just wanting to take a quick jont through the country and head back and out of Kenya to Ethiopia.

Earlier, I called Uganda the last of the “Africa” countries because the remaining countries of Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, (and possible Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea), kind of do a radical culture change, something that I am really looking forward to. No more Lions, and monkeys, and such, but different types of people, food, landscapes, and travelers.

In Uganda so far I have stopped at Jinja which is home to the Source of the Nile (river rafting) and Lake Victoria. I did a couple of days there just to spot things out. I haven’t decided if I will do the rafting trip, but I will decide later on my way out of the country. I am 60-40 against at the moment.

Right now I am in the capital city of Kampala, just taking it easy and hanging out with a couple of Israeli travelers. Israel is a country I am looking forward to so have been getting a lot of information from them. Also met a guy from Russia who is part of a traveling club in Russia who help travelers. That ought to be very helpful later.

Next off is a ride out to the East and to do some trekking to the lakes region, the Ssese Islands, and possible to a Chimpanzee Reserve.

Thats about all.

Hurt me, Back to the beach. Tiwi Beach, Kenya.

Friday, March 16th, 2007

Mombosa from my hotel.
Mombasa. Another place where showering is considered the dryest part of the day.

Shot out of my tent at Tiwi Beach.
The view out of my tent on Tiwi Beach.

M  bandit
This guy just popped his head into my tent while I was luckily there reading. A pretty cheeky bandit.

Beach shots Beach shots 2
Beach shots.

My best buddy.
Home sweet home.

Pretty colors
I thought this was a colorful shot. Tranquility.

Okay, I bitch and whine about the beach but yet I spend half my time there. Well, the same reason for the last safari is why the beach. From here on out it is going to be some overland stuff far from any beach, sand maybe, but no ocean. Plus, I spent $50US on a visa, so damn well going to use it.

Tiwi Beach, via Mombosa is on the south east corner of Kenya. Once I took a look at the map, I was depressed to notice that it was pretty damn close to Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. In fact, it would have been so much easier if I would have made the couple of hour drive up from Dar to Mombosa rather than back in land and then right back where I was. Just another favorite thing of mine, ten hours travel one way, and then turning right around for another ten hours ride right over the same set of tar. Just beautiful. Oh well, I’m tan, and I know the area really well.

Mombosa is Kenya’s second largest town and almost a replica of Dar es Salaam. There is a heavy Muslim population with a great beach flavor. Found another Somalian restaurant where I stuffed my face and tried to get my body back into shape (Fanta belly). Other than that, it was steaming hot and nasty, where the weather was concerned. I made it a couple of days before making a run out to the beach and miles of endless beaches.

Tiwi Beach and Twiga Lodge where I stayed was one of the few places that allowed camping, so that was a further reason why I went to the beach. They had an excellent camping area right on the top of the beach under palm trees. How can you beat that? Monkeys and firewood thats how. Lots of monkeys hanging around just waiting to rip you off if you left any shred of food lying around even to the point where they know how to unzip your tent fly. Firewood for a beach fire was good as well as it just got swept ashore so all you had to do was wait until the evening so that it had a chance to dry out, gather up an armload, and you are cooking. Nice.

Now, I am back in Nairobi, where it is nice and cool and the hostel has satellite tv and there is a few shelves of books to trade for. Just outside is a guy selling local food out of a pot and I can get cheap sodas as well. I am happy here.

Box two of tourist stuff was shipped today as well as I might make a run to Uganda this weekend. One box cost $40US to ship (up to three months), outrageous. Oh well, thats the last of the tourist stuff for a while.

Beyond that, nothing. Just life on the road.

Photos: Masai Mara, Kenya

Friday, March 9th, 2007
Welcome to the Masai Mara rolling hills of the Mara ... [Continue reading this entry]

The last safari, Masai Mara, Kenya

Friday, March 9th, 2007
After arriving in Nairobi and spending a few days testing the mugging waters of downtown, Nairobbery, I moved to the backpackers in the nice area of town and set my target on visiting the must see Masai Mara. The Masai Mara ... [Continue reading this entry]

Goodbye Tanzania.

Sunday, March 4th, 2007
$1000US to climb Kilimanjaro. $120-150US per day to visit Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. Touts on every corner wanting to sell the above. I opted for plan D. A Banana Split at McDooleys and I left. Felt kind of bad at ... [Continue reading this entry]

Photos: Dar and Zanzibar

Thursday, March 1st, 2007
The other way down the street [Continue reading this entry]

Spice Island, Zanzibar.

Thursday, March 1st, 2007
With my tent in hand, I took a Ferry across the Zanzibar Channel (I don't know if thats the actual name), to the island of Zanzibar. It was a slightly rough two hour, forty dollar (ouch) ride on a ... [Continue reading this entry]

Exotic normalcy.

Thursday, March 1st, 2007
Before I go on, it must be said that for me, my two weeks in Dar es Salaam turned out to be very enriching. Not in the exotic sense, like being in a foreign land, but for me, a ... [Continue reading this entry]