Kenya to Uganda
Crossing the border into Kenya was a surprise breeze considering all we had heard about getting a foreign vehicle in, especially a Southern African registered one. As soon as we had left the gate the notorious quality of the Kenyan roads hit us was a thud, where dodging potholes was impossible, even in our nimble beast. Never the less we hammered on to Mombasa, which turned out to be a bustling city, rampant with Tuk Tuk’s and chaos around every corner. Our route took us across the ferry into the town centre, where after an illegal U-turn had us arguing with a cop. Thankfully he let us go on a warning with us ‘promising’ to abide the road rules, if Tuk Tuk’s ever do that anyways. We located a backpacker’s called Tulia and compared to its surrounding’s it was like finding an unopened chocolate bar in a rubbish dump, so we enjoyed our first ice cold Tusker whilst meeting a bunch of good people.
The following day saw Cal overcome with Malaria, which had been contracted somewhere in Tanzania several weeks prior to entering Kenya. Thankfully we were heading to Malindi some four hours from Mombasa where we were lucky enough to have been offered accommodation at family friends of ours Karin and Mark. This was the perfect place for Cal to combat this nasty parasite. A three-story mansion with huge comfy beds and nearby access to a toilet made this battle a relatively easy one. Within 3 days Cal was back on his feet, enjoying the Tuk Tuk battles in the streets of Malindi as well as walks to the beach and soaking up the sun at the Driftwood beach club.
After almost two weeks we proceeded to make our way towards Nairobi, our initial end goal for the expedition. Our first stop off was in Kilfi, another coastal Kenyan town with a good vibe. We stayed at Distant Relatives Eco Lodge which was a fantastic time filled with great people and plenty to do. We had picked up a lad in Malindi to join us for a while and he suggested we stop off at Vipingo Ridge at his Uncle Frosty’s house, where we ended up playing a couple rounds of golf. This course is the only PGA accredited golf course in Africa and was a hell of a lot of fun despite not being able to hit the ball with any kind of pro status.
It was now time for our three-day haul west toward Nairobi which turned out to be great fun. Following the old Mombasa-Nairobi railway line, termed the ‘Lunatic Line’ when it was being built because of the huge amount of death caused by lions and fatigue crossing the country, it was a trip filled with some interesting historical background and stunning open scenery. We approached one game reserve and conservancy, told them what we are doing and asked if we could interview a game ranger or manager but unfortunately, they weren’t too keen. This made asking for accommodation even less plausible so we cruised on back into the darkness and through the thickest sand we have encountered yet only to pitch our tents in some local village house still under construction.
The next two days went relatively easily and we finally entered Nairobi with huge smiles feeling pretty chuffed we had reached our goal with not a single mechanical issue or any other problems, it was a grand day! We spent the next two weeks in Nairobi formulating plans for our next step and where our beloved Tuk Tuk would take us next. An idea to continue north into Europe unfortunately was not doable so we decided to loop back round returning south and adding another country to our list, Uganda.
Whilst in Nairobi we stopped off at the Nairobi Giraffe Centre and checked out the work they are doing there. One can feed the giraffes from a raised balcony and the sloppy tongues wrapping around your fingers is quite an experience. These are not giraffes in captivity it must be mentioned, they are rehabilitated giraffes. The centre is home to 12 Giraffes which come from all over Kenya to protect them from poaching. Classified as endangered in Kenya the centre is protecting and rehabilitating the giraffes. After three years in the centre the giraffes are moved to Nairobi National Park next door where they roam free in the large park. Babies are born in the centre and once they have reached a certain age, they to are moved into the park.that have been found neglected or injured in the wild and are brought to the sanctuary where they are nursed to health and then released when ready into Nairobi National park. Some Giraffes are born in the sanctuary and again once of a right age a deemed able to survive the wild they too are released into the National Park.
Cal then ran into some more medical issues requiring a root canal for a poorly maintained tooth. This ‘little’ bump in the road caused Willie and Cal to temporarily separate as the Tuk Tuk had to be out of Kenya during this time. Willie was then forced to drive +600km into Uganda on his own in only two days, a huge feat to be pushing that hard, all alone and in a very slow vehicle to which he succeeded brilliantly. Cal wasn’t too far behind him catching a ride with a good friend we had met in Nairobi, Aofie.
Kenya was a great treat for both of us and we really enjoyed our time there with all the stunning scenery and places we saw as well as all the people we had met. We felt proud that our beast had taken us this far and suffered less trauma than both of us together. Hats off the this valuable, tough, durable and absolutely incredible part of our team. Next step; Uganda.