Planning my travels for the end of the year has got me excited about past adventures all over again. In 2011 I spent the first three weeks of the year in Kenya and Tanzania with my family. It was unbelievable.
We flew Canberra > Melbourne > Doha > Nairobi and although I can deal with it, I’m not the biggest fan of air travel. Being six foot something isn’t ideal, me and my little brother both suffer that curse. Legroom was at an all time low but spirits were at an all time high.
After a new years eve in which I was actually asleep when the clocks switched over due to jetlag, we explored Nairobi as best we could in the time we had before we were hitting the road. The museum and Zoo were amazing, collections of culture and animals from across Kenya, at this point we weren’t sure whether or not wearing shorts was acceptable, so I was wearing jeans on a 30+ degree day. More trouble for my poor legs on their journey. We saw Mt. Kilimanjaro but didn’t climb it, who knows, that may have been the last straw for my legs.
We hit the road and as we met more people we learned to say “Jambo Bwana” to everyone we met, it’s a Swahili greeting. Everyone in Kenya and Tanzania speaks a native tongue, Swahili, and most also speak English. Saying Jambo Bwana enthusiastically made you anyone’s friend, not that you had to try, I’ve never met a more enthusiastic group of people.
We stayed a night with a Masaii Tribe and learned about their nomadic lifestyle. They live in mud and cow dung huts across the two nations, and are allowed free travel across the border. At some times of the year they live off nothing more than cow’s blood and meat. I jumped and danced with them, hunted Death Adders with them, and shot bows with them. They were infatuated by my red hair, they use natural colours to paint their hair red for battle, so when I rocked up I was told that I was a brave warrior in the making, plus these guys are all about a head shorter than me too, which made me even more obnoxious. My sister got more attention than she had bargained for, she is as pale as the moon and it was such a contrast for the Masaii women that they touched her in an almost religious manner.
Once we got into the Safari, it was mind blowing. Really there is no way to describe the whole experience. Everything you could ever imagine and more was there, the wildest animals, the most insane landscapes and the beautiful weather were better than I could have thought possible. I was sat two meters from a wild lion taking a photo from our 4×4, if I had felt like risking an early grave, I could easily have patted the thing. I assumed I would be using the zoom lens on my camera the whole trip, but it wasn’t the case.
We visited an orphanage that cares for children off all ages with funding from English private schools, the children also studied there, and it was not very different from a classroom in Australia. The kids at the back were bored senseless and there were one or two know-it-alls. Some of the kids were shy, some wanted to go with us when we left.
My dad couldn’t come with us on that trip which was a ginormous bummer because we got to eat Ostrich, Crocodile and Ox and he’s a big carnivore. We’re headed to Vietnam and Hong Kong as family at the end of this year though, and I know he’s excited to make up for lost stories.
Most people don’t get the opportunity to see Africa which is a shame, this trip changed the way I view the entire continent. It was nothing like I had expected, the people, the wildlife and the landscapes were all phenomenal.