Kenya 2013 Diary: Day 3

15th February

I woke to the sunset with a wonderful clear sky over the waterhole.

Nakuru Sunrise

We were taken back early to Outspan to collect luggage and meet Amos again. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to use their wifi again, which was a bummer as everywhere else was extortionately expensive. Jumping from one van to another, we were on our way to the equator and then down to Lake Nakuru national park.

Driving through Kenya you see loads of small shops selling everything from beds to meat to clothes. These are actively encouraged by the government and banks provide “micro finance” loans to those who want to start one. This is an attempt to reduce unemployment and they all seem to do well, according to Amos. Kenya’s economy is in a boom and has been for 9 years and the building industry has benefited greatly.

We stopped on the equator line and had a demonstration of the Coriolis effect.

There was a small shop there which would have been a nice place to buy some souvenirs but I was followed around the shop by quite an aggressive lady so I walked out and took in the view.

A bit further on we visited Thomson falls.

Thomson Falls

Something to be wary of is those trying to make money out of tourists at these places by pretending they don’t speak English for you to say no to something. A man forced a chameleon onto us without us asking and demanded 200KSH each after the fact, but thankfully Amos had a go at him in English and Swahili and we didn’t have to pay. It’s a shame since I would’ve asked to hold him and 200KSH isn’t much… but he has to learn. It’s the same with souvenirs. Everything is about the same price equivalent to the UK but the prices they set in small roadside shops is set far too high since they assume we’re rich. I found Kenya to be similar to Egypt in this respect. Whenever we stopped somewhere it would be, “Hello, welcome to Kenya! Isn’t it a great view? Would you like to buy something? 15,000 KSH.” I understand haggling, and I’m not very good at it but sometimes I wonder if some people, no matter how many times they encounter tourists, don’t understand that not everyone from the UK is rich. To be fair, it’s all down to stereotypes but it is frustrating when I genuinely want to spend money in a shop. Would more purchases at lower prices make you more money? I have no idea and I shouldn’t judge but it does seem a shame. My brother wanted a set of coasters made from stone. We later found this in a hotel shop for 1000KSH, but this shop wanted 9,000. That’s about £90 (depending on the exchange rate which fluctuates a hell of a lot, I might add). The guy didn’t seem to understand that we didn’t just not have the cash but we didn’t have that much money at all. He kept saying “we accept visa”. That’s nice. Maybe I just need to get better at haggling. Thankfully we found a better price for more unique things as gifts on our last day. More on that later

The third amazing thing of the day was passing through the Great Rift Valley. There aren’t any words for this sight… Here are some pictures.

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After an extremely long drive we arrived at Lake Nakuru Lodge, again in the national park itself. I would highly recommend this place. Our rooms opened up onto a view of the park and as we arrived some zebras were right by the fence.

We went on our first game drive at 4pm and made our way down to the Lake. All the vans are kitted with a radio all on the same frequency so the drivers can communicate when they find animals and they all speak in Swahili. There are fewer flamingos than there used to be after industrialisation of the town (Nakuru) sent heavy metals into the lake. The majority of the flamingos flew to another lake. We found two giraffe, zebras, birds… and then Amos gets a call on his radio. We did a quick reverse and were off in the opposite direction. He was after a black rhino – a rare sight. On our way we got stuck on a large lump in the road and had to get out and push. I’ve got to say I was a little nervous since we couldn’t understand the Swahili on the radio and we didn’t know how close the rhino was. Turns out it was about another half a kilometre away so there was no need to be anxious, although it was rather exciting.

We found the rhino out in the open but you could smell him before you could see him. Amos says he was a black rhino which eats leaves off trees while the white rhinos are grazers. it seems strange he was out in the open (grazing?) if he was a black rhino. Although. they are sensible creatures and don’t have their dining table where their toilet is. So maybe it was that.

Zebra crossing

This was as close as we could get

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