I’ve been trying to go through the photos we took in Kenya over Eid. I bought a new camera just before we left – another Fuji fixed lens, but with a 30X zoom and a lot more manual adjustments. Lovely little camera, and I learned a lot about it and about taking photos on the trip. I also learned a lot about what NOT to do… and have the photos (well, OK, many already deleted) to prove it. David used the old Fuji – and really took some great shots as well.
We landed in Nairobi very early in the morning – and the first stop was breakfast. We were in vans of 6-7 people, so everyone had a window. First impressions – just what I thought it would look like from old movies etc….. ancient vehicles ( one big bus, painted brown, was named “Amazing Grace” in pink letters – too dark to take a photo though) and people walking along the side of the streets and highways. There were lots of newer vehicles as well. Lots of vehicles period. We didn’t really see much of Nairobi – just ate and got out on our way to the Great Rift Valley.
I’m not sure what I expected of the scenery – but I was surprised at how green it was. There were many varieties of acacias, as well as what appeared to be giant cactus trees, but are, in fact, a type of euphorbia that we see as a houseplant in Canada.
I also was unprepared for the villages we passed through… the huts made of sticks and the shops along the road made of old, bent corrugated metal sheeting. And the colour – almost everything was painted in bright blues and yellows and reds. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised at that, as I know how African love vibrant colour.
The highway was very busy – two-way traffic and lots of large trucks. As we zoomed around them when the coast was clear, our driver, Antony, explained that this highway is the direct passage between the Kenyan port of Mombasa and Uganda. As Uganda has no access to water, all their trade comes through Kenya.
The Great Rift Valley is quite a sight! It is here that the continental plates are pulling away from each other – the valley is very deep, and will get deeper and deeper until the ocean floods in and separates the eastern part of Africa from the rest (don’t worry, this will take thousands of years).We stopped at one of the view points, lined, as usual, with all kind of souvenir shops. The view was amazing, and so were the wares in the shops. We discovered that the ebony tree has pale-coloured bark and wood, with only the core being the hard black that we associate with the name. We looked, but were not ready to buy yet.
It was here that we spotted our first wildlife – spider monkeys on the branches of a nearby tree.We drove along the bottom of the valley now, past a series of lakes, Magadi, Elmenteita, Bogoria, Nakuru and Naivashu, many of which have a high mineral content as they have no outlet to the sea.We stopped at the Equator – suitably marked by a huge sign and a demonstration of how water flows in different directions on each side of the equator. And shops……… the lovely lady who took our photo beside the sign then had us hooked to buy some of her wares. We bought some coasters, and a really neat stone box-shaped like Africa, where the key piece to remove is Kenya. I paid way too much, but it is still really nice.
After came some really bumpy roads, and we had to ford the river where it was flooding. Some boys were there guiding the vehicles through to make sure they stayed on the path and didn’t hit any rocks. We finally arrived at Lake Baringo about 2 pm, all famished. We got our rooms, ate, and then went in small groups for a boat ride on the lake.
But I’ll show you that in a separate post.