Leaving Nairobi we have another farewell – Simon departs and heads off on his own to conquer Egypt. We also have a new addition to the truck, Chad who is on his first visit to Africa and is enthusiastically looking forward to everything.
We stop on-route to take in the views of the Rift Valley, before arriving at LakeNaivasha. We spend a couple of days relaxing lakeside, and Chad takes in his first walking safari. We pass through Nakuru to check out the curio markets, spotting the vibrant colours of the flamingos on LakeNakuru from the road, and stop overnight at Eldoret in preparation for crossing into Uganda the next day.
We have an early start the next morning and cross into Uganda. We drive straight into the capital Kampala, and readjust to traffic and the sights and sounds of a big city.After a restless night, with the neighbouring disco playing until 5am, we head to the Equator where we stop for breakfast and a display of the water spinning in different directions in the northern and southern hemispheres. We drive through to Kibale, where Ches, Jose, Carrie, Sue, Willy, Chad and Ren depart for their gorilla trek.
After a quick briefing the next day, the group set out to trek the gorillas of BwindiImpenetrableNational Park.The park is known for its tough terrain, which Ches soon discovers and spends much of the day slipping and sliding.
The group are rewarded after a couple of hours trekking, encountering a family of around 30 gorillas.New to the area the gorillas are fairly skittish and not used to human contact, but our group trains their eyes to the trees and sight a silverback and a group of feisty youngsters. After an hour with the gorillas, the group heads back to Kibale where we celebrate Jose’s birthday with Mark’s famous spaghetti and a birthday cake made by Rachel and Rebecca.
We leave the next day, stopping overnight in Kampala, and then head to Jinja, known for some of the world’s best white water rafting. We settle in to the campsite and turn the bar into a disco, educating the other trucks on the finer points of Roxette.
The next morning Chad, Willy, Rachel, Sue and Carrie take on the mighty waters of the Nile with a white-water rafting adventure. With grade 5 rapids flowing direct from the source of the Nile, the group were expecting a rough ride, and they weren’t disappointed. With rough rapids the raft was upturned and the group found themselves dunked in the Nile.They managed to stay aboard for the 3 metre waterfall drop, but a later rapid got the better of Chad (with a little help from Willy) and he made another unexpected departure from the raft.The group were not meant to have a dry day – they got caught in a hailstorm, so between the rain and the dunking in the Nile, they were christened the “swim team” by the crew.
We drop into Jinja town and check out the local markets, while Jose and Carrie investigate the official Source of the Nile. We drive through to SipiFalls, taking in the amazing scenery on the climb to the campsite. From our tents we can see one of the three tiers of the waterfalls, which drops straight over a sheer cliff.
We spend the next day in SipiFalls where Jose, Carrie, Willy and Chad hike the falls, with Chad getting an additional perspective by abseiling down the largest waterfall. Carrie and Jose take in a coffee tour, grinding and sampling the local produce.
The next day is another early start as we cross back into Kenya and make our way to back to Nakuru.Sue, Chad and Ches get an early start for LakeNakuruNational Park, where they are hopeful to spot leopards and white rhinos.Once again, our group has luck on their side. Within 20 minutes of arriving at the park, two male lions are spotted sunbathing.The day continues with a sighting of a white rhino mother and her baby, an angry black rhino threatening to charge, and Nakuru’s most famous sight, the lake covered by thousands of pink flamingos. But the highlight of the day was getting to see leopards mating – a rare sight revered by even the guide!
The next day is back to Nairobi and after a quick truck clean, we prepare for a week off the truck.
After leaving us in Cape Town to travel in Nepal, Dean makes his comeback to the truck and heads off with Jose, Chad and Willy for a boys week in Lamu. They spend the week learning the finer points of donkey riding, adopting a pet chicken “KFC” and making a successful catch during a day of fishing.
Ches and Carrie have a busy week back in Nakuru, spending the week with the children at the local orphanage, where the kids wore them out with games, books and more.
Back in Karen, we have another goodbye, and Ren heads off the truck and back home to South Africa. Sue, Rachel and Rebecca have a week of pampering with DVD’s and relaxation on the menu, while Mark keeps busy working on the truck, giving Ruby gets a facelift with a new paint job in preparation for the next leg of the trip.
Back on the truck and the journey recommences. After an hour or more of battling traffic we are out of Nairobi and on our way to northern Kenya. Our first stop is Samburu Nature Reserve, and we game drive our way to the campsite taking in the elephants, giraffes, zebras and buffalo. We take a break in the middle of the day and hang out at the game lodge .Unfortunately the truck is assaulted by monkeys in our absence, and after cleaning up the “presents” they left for us we are back on the hunt for wildlife. Our afternoon drive takes us to paths less travelled and we find ourselves dodging acacia branches and moving trees, more than spotting the animals. We camp overnight in the nature reserve and after an earlybreakfast avoiding the baboons, we are ready to take on the roads to the Ethiopian border.
We have a 2 day drive to reach the border and the northern part of Kenya proves to be very dry and dusty. Soon enough, both the truck and everyone on it are covered from head to toe in dust, and we cross into Ethiopia looking forward to a shower.