Tuesday, March 19, 2024



Yes, it’s that time again.  GR2 is sitting all lonely and sad so its time to join her for our last leg in Africa. The usual long tedious flight, but at least its direct to Mombasa from Dubai. Entry easy until they want to charge us duty on parts for GR2. John negotiates and we leave with everyone happy. Top up our Sim and taxi to AM Motors the Isuzu dealer where GR2 has been sitting for 3 months. It is incredibly hot and sticky.

The next 2 days sees John working alongside the mechanic to do some maintenance and I reluctantly do chores, heading out on the streets to find bread, groceries and an ATM for cash. All good except the ATM. It looks too dodgy to use, so when John catches a tuk tuk to the hardware shop I hop in too to find an ATM. Locate a nice modern one, but it refuses to give me cash and then has the nerve to say it is retaining my card. A frustrating hour in the bank to retrieve it!

The next day my chore is to get insurance. The tuk tuks all want to charge the foreigner price, so I resort to getting help from the Dealership boss and I’m on my way. It feels much more vulnerable in an open tuk tuk clutching all my important paperwork., rather than safely way up in GR2. Hours later I return with no insurance. They are convinced we don’t need it. That night we catch up with our lovely friends Amir and Halimi who showed us around Mombasa last year. We have a lovely dinner out.

The next morning, we plan to leave early, but hey this is Africa and they take forever. Finally, bill paid by 10.30, we head out of the city and north on the horrible Nairobi-Mombasa Road. Why horrible? Because it is a single lane road with thousands of slow trucks to pass. The speed they drive ranges from 15 – 45 kph. The plan is to head into Amboseli National Reserve mainly to get a good look at Mt Kilimanjaro, but the turnoff heads through Tsavo Nat Park and entry fees are pretty steep. We decide to take the next road. After hours of driving, we find a small Hotel with a good carpark for the night.

The next morning yet another change of plans. Mt Kili is hiding behind a thick layer of clouds, so no views today. Instead, we will drive on to Nairobi and hope to catch the mountain on our return trip. Fingers crossed! So, a few hours later we roll into the Acacia Drive Camp in Karen (a posh area in Nairobi.) From here we head out to a great supermarket to stock up.

We have been in contact with an agent in Ethiopia who can arrange the necessary paperwork to take our truck in. Our instructions are to let him know when we are in Nairobi and he’ll send us the paperwork. He omitted to mention that he would only start then. We pop into the Embassy, and they are friendly, but require the paperwork. Now we have to wait!!!! Tedious!

Well, we will go to the Museum we missed last time, but it is closed for 4 days for fumigation. So, we decide to head to a big Insurance company as we aren’t convinced that we don’t need it. Three hours later we come out with our insurance. At least we are legal now.

No word from our agent so another day of chores. It’s getting tedious! Then another day to fill in, although we get to meet a Facebook friend we have been in contact with for years. The next day still no paperwork (Apparently the lady who has to sign the paperwork is away!). So today I drag John to Bomas Cultural Centre to look around the village huts and watch the ethnic dancing show. He is suitably bored. Even I think it’s a bit long.

It is now Friday and we are tired of waiting, and decide to head out to Amboseli National Park for the weekend. Phew it is a relief to be actually doing something. Its an interesting drive through towns and then towards Namanga. We stop for the night at the rather lovely Kichaka Camp. It must be at least 10km down a dirt track, the last section very narrow. We are relieved the gate will open and there is someone here. There is even a lovely swimming pool.

An early start to head to the park. Good seal before we turn onto a corrugated gravel road. We pass lots of traditional Maasai villages and even catch a few glimpses of the mighty Mt Kilimanjaro before we reach the entrance to the park. It is quite a circus paying to enter. We have to pay on MPesa for the vehicle, and credit card in US dollars for us. As we are not registered ECitizens we can’t get the ticket in our name. But finally, we are in.

The landscape is amazing, there are huge areas of dry savannah where zebras and gazelle roam, then massive wetlands where elephants roll in the mud or spray mud all over themselves and then a massive lake covered with flamingos.  Later in the day we spy a row of safari trucks and head over. In the distance we see a pride of lions with numerous cubs playing. We count a total of 10. When they wander away, we spy a male lion lolling about in the grass, and as we go to turn around yet another lion having a snooze. Awesome. We head out of the park for the night, spying 3 more lions and countless elephants.

In the morning the sky is clear and we can see the mountain. YAY!! We head back into the park at 6am for the rest of our 24hr visit. The friendly guard tells us there are lions down the road so we head in to watch them for a while. Then more loops through the park, this time with majestic views of Mt Kili looming above us. By 11am we head out as our time is up. Then the long drive back to Nairobi. Passing all those trucks is definitely tedious, but the good news is that we have our paperwork and we have got it printed ready for tomorrow.

So, Monday morning we head to the Embassy only to discover that today it’s closed! As we return to the truck we get a message from our agent. The paperwork is incorrect, we will have to wait again.  Oh NO!!!! So, we finally visit the Museum and later return to camp.

This is getting very tedious. But as they all say here “THIS IS AFRICA”


Visiting the Bomas Cultural Village

The dance show

Loved the piano accordion

And the traditional instruments

The Maasai Dance/Jump

Maasai dancing

There are streetside garden centres are everywhere in Nairobi's suburbs

Love the buses. All covered in crazy pictures and with as many lights as possible

Finally a weekend out of the big smoke

Goats being taken to market

Village life

Our first glimpse of Mt Kilimanjaro

And finally inside Ambolesi National Park

One of the Big 5

So many flamingoes

Mud bath time

Just a tiny baby

Way in the distance we can see this pride of lions

He was having a snooze and got woken up

The next day the views of Mt Kili are awesome

Some cute birdlife

Have to get a photo

Enjoying the waterhole

Final glimpse of Mt Kili before the clouds roll over 

A Maasai village

Back in Nairobi - the slums of Kibera tucked between the highway and the railway