Location: Jungle Junction, Narobi
Miles travelled: 451 Miles (Jinja to Eldoret - 195 Miles, Eldoret to Naivasha - 165 Miles, Naivasha to Nairobi - 91 Miles)
Today we mostly listened to: Prince and MJ
It has been a while since I last wrote, mainly because we've been quite busy. After leaving Jinga, we said goodbye to Lisa as she was heading West, whilst we were going East. We left The Haven around 10am for the border. Ric realised when we were quite far away that he had left our precious worcestershire sauce at the campsite - he had been showing the barman how to make a good Bloody Mary the night before - doh!
We got to the border around lunchtime and had to pass around 50 trucks stopped in, and blocking, the road. It was your typical African chaos - no order or sense to it all. We've now completely lost our British reserve and find ourselves pushing and shoving at borders now - it is the only way to get through in a short amount of time! We also had to dodge the usual 'fixers' that try to help you at borders and then request money. Given that we've passed around 12 borders already we've pretty much okay dealing with them ourselves now thankyou very much!
We drove on to Eldoret and stayed at a really great campsite called Naiberi River - I highly recommend it. We managed to get a very good curry - I love that about parts of East Africa, you can pretty much guarendee a good curry! They also had a wonderful fire in the bar so we sat their for most of the night enjoying our Tusker beers.
The next day we awoke early, and for me, with immense excitment in my stomach. Today was the day we would finally get to visit a cheese factory. Some people have a thing for chocolate, some for a nice juicy steak or even red wine. My nemisis is CHEESE. I know it can be bad for me and adds cellulite to my hips. I know it will clog up my arteries and is probably the reason for my slightly high cholesterol, but I LOVE it. More than bacon in fact which I have often talked about in blog posts. I never realised how much cheese we eat at home before we came away. Luckily we've nearly always been able to get cheese in some form or another since we left, but usually the nasty processed kind, so I was extremely excited about going to a factory where they offered a selection.
We were given a tour of the factory, which would never pass any EU standards, but to me was like heaven. The local farmers from all around Eldoret bring in their Milk which then gets tested for its 'goodness' by the testing man. Once this is done it is pasturised by heating and separated out in to cream and milk, and after that the cheese is made.
After the tour we were offered a tasting and a chance to purchase the cheese we had seen being made. We bought over 2kgs, despite having a tiny fridge in Monty. As we were making our purchase who should arrive but yet another Dutchie. If anyone loves cheese as much as Ric and I it would be a Dutchman. He was there purchasing, amongst other things, Gouda. Cheese is such a European thing. The Kenyan chap giving us a tour of the factory admitted that before he worked at the factory he had never tasted cheese. Now he loves it, but still can't stomach the blue cheese and looked at us in curious wonderment as we devoured the sample slices given to us.
So enough about cheese. After the factory we motored on to Lake Naivasha and found a lovely campsite called Fishermans. It is right on the Lake and has many hippo visitors each night. We went to sleep that night to the sound of hippos coming ashore to graze. I was immensely glad for the electric fence they had! I think Will was even more glad given that his tent is on the ground.
The next day we decided to hire some bikes and visit Hells Gate National Park. I think Will was a little tired, having slept for the last 7 nights in our spare one man tent. Will is quite a tall chap, so when he is in it you can see both his head and feet sticking out! Anyway, after a slow start from all of us we set off for the national park, reaching the gates around the hottest part of the day - brilliant!
It is a really fantastic park, not least because you can cycle and walk around it. There aren't any lions inside, but there are cheetahs and leopards. All we saw though was antelope, warthogs and zebras, which I was quite happy about given our mode of transportatation. We decided to visit the gorge - a dry riverbed which often floods very very quickly when it rains and bubbles with hot water vents from the earths core - hence the name of the park. Luckily it was a very dry and sunny day for us, so no risk of flash flooding
After cycling for a couple of hours we reached the entrance to the gorge, where we had to get off our bikes and take a guide. The friendly chap from the Kenya Wildlife Service took great pleasure in saying to us...'welcome to HELL!', before giving us a cold drink and saying we were most welcome. We were fortunate enough to get an absolutely lovely chap as a guide called Joseph. As he took us around he told us all about the recent trouble that happened in Naivasha during the last Kenyan election. Although Samburu himself, he had a good Kikuru friend who lost both his wives and all his nine children in the violence - his house was set alight by a local mob. We asked him about his hope for the future, but he wasn't particularly positive about the current political situation.
On a more positive note, as well as being a guide he is also a music teacher at a local Masai school. Being Samburu he has a great affiliation to his sister warrior tribe and is very active in local Masai issues in the area. There is a geothermal power plant on the edge of the park, utilising the hot bubbling water that comes from below the earth to create much needed power for the country. However, as is often the case with big business, they are doing nothing to support the local Masai community and are in fact trying to push them off their land to create a bigger power station. Joseph is actively campaigning to ensure that the Masai community (of which there are around 20,000 in the local area) don't get a raw deal out of it. They refuse to be moved in to town environments, being pastoral nomads this makes sense, and want any new area they move on to, to have decent housing and schools. Not too much to ask for really, but quite a dilemma in a country with a growing population that demands more and more energy.
After the trek around the gorge we weren't looking forward to the long up-hill cycle back to the camp, but actually it turned out to be a lot quicker than we thought. We got back within daylight with enough time to enjoy a few Tuskers in the sun - lovely.
So this morning we had a leisurely breakfast of cheese and mango, along with some beer bread we baked in the fire embers last night - delious! We then decided to take Monty to a local welder in Naivasha to get the anti-roll bar mended once again and also the fuel filter changed. We were very happy with the job until we got to a petrol station about 10 km after the garage and realised that we had left the fuel cap there by mistake. Doh! After a quick 360 and return journey to the garage we were able to confirm that the cap was well and truely lost. Nevermind, a quick call to Chris at Jungle Junction and he assured us that someone would have a lockable cap ready and waiting for us when we arrived there. True to form, and going against the grain of the normal African trend, he did - along with two fuel filters and some new windscreen wipers - WE LOVE CHRIS FROM JJ's.
So we had a final meal with Wilhelm in Nairobi and we very sadly waved him off to the airport.