Lovely Virgin flight but drinks cart sadly lacking before dinner and breakfast was a mini-wrap (nice idea, very tastey but not enough to keep you going till lunch time).
Travelling with Karen and David Clifford who used to live in Kenya and have been advising me about the location of this new project – sending 4 gap year/post graduate/career break sporty people out to a secondary school near Gilgil for a 12/14 week term to coach much needed sport after school and help in particular with science, maths and English during the school day.
We split (as Karen and David had friends to visit and had done all the things that I was going to do) and I headed off to Naivasha Lake in the Rift Valley to the Fish Eagle Inn on the shores of the Lake. I fell asleap in the car but the driver woke me up just as we came over a hill and the breathtaking view of the Rift Valley lay before us.
Once you hit the shores of the Lake (not in view) you are overwhelmed by the number of polytunnels growing flowers and vegetables for export. The companies have built unattractive style accommodation (similar to how I imagine prison-of-war camps were) for the immigrant workers. It is big business in the area.
On arrival, I sat by the pool for a while and then I decided to have some lunch and had fresh Tilapia from the lake and “ugali” a Kenyan basic (tastes like congealed wallpaper paste…). As arranged, the Inn put me in touch with a lovely guide called Joseph and we arranged my itinerary for the next few days. He lost no time and we set out at 2 heading for “Critter Lake” (I later realised that it was “Crater Lake” – no wonder I couldn’t find it in the guide book). Our driver was called Moses and I think he must have found his Nissan car that afternoon on the local scrap heap! Inside every bit of plastic or rubber had gone and it looked like someone had stripped off the ceiling too. I guessed the car was from the 70’s as there were no seat belts in the back. We drove clockwise around the Lake, through Kongoni, hitting the unmade part of the Lake road full of pot holes, and our first stop was a boat ride on Oloiden Lake (not in my guide books but well worth a visit). A boat was waiting and I donned my lifejacket and we headed off around the shores – not too close because that is where the hippos hang out. Saw so many families of about 20 hippos and the occasional isolated male feeling very sorry for himself.
There were loads of flamengos, as well as zebras, buffalo, giraffes, warthogs to name just a few of the animals that all grazed down by the water’s edge.
We then moved on to the Crater Lake Game sanctuary and got out and saw a wealth of animals. My pictures were very disappointing and I am cross with myself for not buying that new camera that was talked about. You just can’t picture animals with a little digital “cheapo”. I was told to bring mosquito repellent but wasn’t prepared for the swarms that enveloped us – luckily I had a long sleaved top which I begrudingly put on as I was hot already and then I donned a hat and sprayed my clothes as well with repellent but they did not leave us alone. That spoilt it for me.
I am so pleased that I have a guide because I am seeing things that I wouldn’t have found alone if I had just hired a bike and gone off exploring also I would have felt very vulnerable on my own. Besides, Joseph had given me lots of useful bits of information. Did you know that zebras are allergic to bee stings? (so if you come across a dead zebra, he may just have been stung by a bee…) or that no two zebras have identical patterns? ( find that one hard to believe but am not willing to check it out…)
From there we went to a lovely lake which is not in my guidebook and I dont have the name but (must find out) there is accommodation there and I asked them to send me the details because it would be a lovely place to stay.
I got back about 7 and showered and went for some much needed dinner and a couple of glasses of wine. My original idea of having a “wine free 3 days” having gone completely out of the window when I saw the steak. This budget hotel is very good value for money and in a great location – I can hear the hippos down by the lake in the undergrowth and at night they can come out so you have to make sure you are looking where you are going! There is a thin, electric fence that is meant to keep them out of the garden but I have my doubts that it serves its purpose…
Details of this teaching with sports coaching, of our sports coaching or teaching or care work in South Africa and our teaching,orphanage, building/renovation in July, community care projects in India are on http://www.volunteervacations.co.uk. You can give us a ring on 01483 331551/07833 208 158 for a chat or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.