The Ultimate Road Trip, #Day 1(Nairobi – Jinja)

‘Hello Mr. Macharia. I trust that you are all set and ready for the ultimate road trip. We shall be meeting tomorrow at 6am so that we can be well on the road by 6:45am. Kindly, keep time.’ This call from Mukhtar Sidi of (http://www.bunduz.com/) who was to be the road trip Captain kept ringing in my head as I slept on the night prior to the safari. Needless to say, I was up by 5am and on my way to the meeting point by 5:45am. I was excited about the trip! I found a few of the other adventurers already boarded onto the truck. The Bunduz.com staff was at hand to receive me and pack my luggage into the truck. It was actually nice being in the middle of the city Nairobi so early in the morning. The air was so cool and fresh. The skies were clear, and the streets appeared so clean and beautiful without the mammoth crowds that ‘invade’ them during the day. I couldn’t help it but take a few shots with my newly acquired ‘baby’ Nikon D5200 that I christened Nicki.

Bunduz.com staff assist with the loading of luggage just before the start of the eight days road trip

Bunduz.com staff assist with the loading of luggage just before the start of the eight days road trip

Some of the adventurers sadly did not keep time, and this did not go down very well with the trip Captain who is quite strict about the itinerary schedule. One actually had to catch up with us while well on our way out of the city!

Mukhtar of Bunduz.com calls clients to make sure they arrive at the meeting point on time.

Mukhtar of Bunduz.com calls clients to make sure they arrive at the meeting point on time.

The overland truck smoothly growled it’s way out of the city. It felt sturdy, just as it looked with it’s large all terrain tyres and the compartments that swallowed into storage all our supplies and luggage for the eight days journey. It’s angelic white body created an impression of cocky confidence like that of a matador who chooses to wear a white suit into a dusty bullfight arena. On both sides of it’s belly were the words ‘Life On The Wild Side’ that stood out like tribal tattoos on the arms of a mighty wrestler. These words quietly promised us an adventure of a lifetime. From how it gracefully handled bumps and bends on our way out of Nairobi, to how the gears shifted smoothly in silence, and also how cushy the seats felt; I was certain we were in the vehicle right for the job! A rugged wrestler, that moved with the grace of an angel, and gave the comfort of a mother. I named the truck ‘Beast’.

The 'beast' that made it all possible. Early morning on the day of departure

The ‘beast’ that made it all possible in the early morning of departure

As we made our way further out of the city, I learnt from Mukhtar that my good old friend Ali Said would be joining us on the safari. He would however not be with us in the truck, but on his motorbike! I thought he was insane to conjure up the idea of riding on two wheels over 3,200km, but being a biker myself I secretly envied him as I knew he would experience the adventure with all his senses on alert. No chance to snooze or booze!

Ali Said, the adventurous rider on his African Twin motorcycle (750cc of raw power)!

Ali Said, the adventurous rider on his African Twin motorcycle (750cc of raw power)!

We needed to travel from Nairobi all the way to #Jinja in Eastern Uganda. A distance of about 580km. This seemed like it was going to be one long day, noting that no one was quite speaking to the other. I knew that something had to be done to break the ice. Usually, the camera sort of does the trick and so shortly I was clicking away on Nicki. Taking shots of the truck occupants at random. This sort of shook up things a little bit and I started getting a smile here and there.

Adventurers each minding their own business as we started the safari. This wouldn't last :-)

Adventurers each minding their own business as we started the safari. This wouldn’t last 🙂

Before the 'Bhajia' ice-breaker, Beast did a good job of comfortably accommodating the adventurers who to escape into work or reading :-)

Before the ‘Bhajia’ ice-breaker, Beast did a good job of comfortably accommodating the adventurers who chose to escape into work or reading 🙂

The best ice-breaker however came when one of the adventurers (Shakeel) left the truck, boarded Ali’s motorbike and came back with bags of ‘Bhajia’ (an indian delicacy prepared by frying slices of potatoes in a spicy paste and served with chilli). He threw a potato party and invited everyone to it! Going by how the adventurers dug into the food, I could bet my money on that few if any, had taken breakfast that early morning 🙂 Food certainly got people talking! From then on I baptized Shakeel as the ‘Bhajia Hero’.

The 'Bhajia Hero' invited everyone to his potato and chilli party. What an ice-breaker!

The ‘Bhajia Hero’ who invited everyone to his potato and chilli party. What an ice-breaker!

Conversations started, laughter was audible and people started moving around in the truck. Friendships were being formed and this clearly indicated that we were on for an awesome trip! I was drawn into the beauty that our land Kenya is, as we drove further up country and Nicki did not disappoint in capturing this for your viewing;

A scenic section in between Naivasha and Nakuru

A scenic section in between Naivasha and Nakuru

The beautiful tea zones of Kenya in the Rift Valley

The beautiful tea zones of Kenya in the Rift Valley

A street in the beautiful city of Kisumu, Kenya.

A street in the beautiful city of Kisumu, Kenya.

On this day, we were in a race with time. We needed to make it to the Malaba border between Kenya and Uganda. The aim was to get to Jinja before dark. Packed lunch was served in the truck. A well balance meal of sandwiches, an apple and a packet of juice which I really enjoyed. The sandwiches were made with love, thanks to the Bunduz.com team. We made it to the border, and I really wanted to test the new pass-card that allows Kenyan, Ugandan and Rwandese citizens to cross into any of the three countries by just producing an identity card and not necessarily having a passport. I was issued with the pass immediately I availed my Kenyan ID card and conveyed my intention to cross into Uganda. I can confirm that this works efficiently and it is an indicator that the East African Community is making paces in the right direction. It is however sad to note that Tanzania is yet to sign up to this!

Adventurers enjoying the scenery on our journey to Jinja

Adventurers enjoying the scenery on our journey to Jinja

Soon we were in Uganda and headed to Jinja. By now, most of the adventurers knew each other by name and were already talking and sharing drinks which they had certainly not carried in short supply 🙂 Some of us were slowly being soothed to sleep by Beast’s clam and steady growl. Then suddenly someone shouted out , ‘Mash, look! Calvary is in Uganda!’ I immediately jumped up and instinctively grabbed Nicki ready to swing into action. I managed to get a good shot of the cross on the hill. I however still do not what it’s all about. Kindly anyone reading and knows what the cross on the hill is, feel free to share.

'Mash, look! Is this Calvary in Uganda?'

‘Mash, look! Is this Calvary in Uganda?’

An imposing hill that looks like a giant warrior protecting the village at it's foot

An imposing hill that looks like a giant warrior protecting the village at it’s foot

Time seemed to fly past and eventually the sun hid behind the hills as darkness crept onto the land. It would soon be dark. Unfortunately we wouldn’t make it to the camp in Jinja early this evening as it had been planned. The several stops along the way delayed the intended schedule.

A golden African sunset in rural Eastern Uganda

A golden African sunset in rural Eastern Uganda

We eventually got to the Nile River Explorers Camp where we put up for the night. The place was dark, and I could not quite explore much since I was quite tired. The Bunduz.com team quickly set up our kitchen and prepared us a sumptuous dinner which was served underneath the stars and beside our faithful Beast.

The trip Captain, Mukhtar allocated tents to the adventurers at the Nile River Explorers Camp

The trip Captain, Mukhtar allocated tents to the adventurers at the Nile River Explorers Camp

Dinner is ready!

Dinner is ready!

Adventurers munching away underneath the stars as Beast takes a rest besides them.

Adventurers munching away underneath the stars as Beast takes a rest besides them.

Finally I had my space to lay down and rest in readiness for #Day2

Finally I had my space to lay down and rest in readiness for #Day2

Event: The Ultimate Road Trip Period: #Day 1 (28th Dec 2014) Distance: Nairobi (Kenya) – Jinja (Uganda) Approx. 580km Organizer: http://www.bunduz.com/ Documentary (photos & writing) by: Macharia Njuguna (https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/)

The Ultimate Road Trip (Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda)

New Year's Road Trip 2014!

New Year’s Road Trip 2014!

Three Days in 8 days of an overland trucking adventure!

Three countries in 8 days of an overland trucking adventure!

Like every journey, this one of 1,600km and 8 days of overland trucking adventure has started with the first step! Off to Kigali, through Jinja. The ultimate New Year’s adventure thanks to Bunduz.com @[504978663:Mukhtar Sidi Bunduz.com] #Adventure #Kenya #Uganda #Rwanda Get updates on adventurewithmash.wordpress.com

#Day 1 (28th Dec 2014)

https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/the-ultimate-road-trip-day-1nairobi-jinja/

#Day 2 (29th Dec 2014)

https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/2015/01/09/the-ultimate-road-trip-day-2-jinja-lake-bunyonyi/

#Day 3 (30th Dec 2014)

https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/the-ultimate-road-trip-day3-lake-bunyonyi-kigali/

#Day 4 (31st Dec 2014)

https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/the-ultimate-road-trip-day-3-kigali/

#Day 5 (1st Jan 2015)

https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/the-ultimate-trip-day-5-kigali-lake-bunyonyi/

#Day 6 (2nd Jan 2015)

https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/2015/03/10/the-ultimate-trip-day-6-lake-bunyonyi-kampala/

# Day 7 & 8 (3rd and 4th Jan 2015)

https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/the-ultimate-trip-day-7-day-8-kampala-eldoret-nairobi/

Of Tusks, Rivers & Machines (Tsavo East)

Hello there, good people!

I recently had the opportunity to visit the scenic Tsavo East National Park (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsavo_East_National_Park) which is one of the oldest national parks in Kenya, having opened its gates in 1948!

Mash snapping away!

Mash snapping away!

I entered the park through the Voi, Manyani gate which is just one of it’s three gates widely spread over it’s imposing perimeter of 13,747 square kilometers. I was there on a work related mission, but by now I know you know how I do; I mixed work with a little pleasure and brought you several photos in which I share my experience with you 🙂

Construction of a steel bridge over Galana River

Construction of a steel bridge over Galana River

A steel bridge is being built over the wide and snaking Galana River, under the employ of the Kenya Wildlife Services, funded by the European Union. This bridge is somewhat controversial in the sense that different park stakeholders are looking at it in totally different perspectives! The Kenya Wildlife Service sees the project as a major step towards easing their fight against poaching. The bridge will make more parts of the park accessible to the game rangers and therefore make possible the protection of wildlife from poachers. On the other hand, conservationists view this project as a major tamper with the Eco-system of the park! They feel that this will set a precedent for so-called ‘development accelerators’ (roads, railway lines, electricity cables) to now shamelessly be passed through the park! What do you think? (share your views in the comments section)

The wide, tranquil and snaking Galana River

The wide, tranquil and snaking Galana River

 

Men building piers on which the steel bridge will rest.

Men building piers on which the steel bridge will rest.

 

'Robots' at work at the Galana River

‘Robots’ at work at the Galana River

The beauty of the Tsavo East National Park cannot be ignored. The park is generally flat, consists of semi-arid areas and savannah grasslands which are the habitat to a large number of animal species which includes the ‘Big Five’ (Lions, Elephants Buffaloes, Rhinos and Leopards) as well as a host of bird species. I wasn’t lucky enough to sight all these animals, but I sure had my fair share of animal sightings (elephants) and scenic natural features! Check them out 🙂

It's lunch time, do you care to join me? The jumbo seems to ask

It’s lunch time, do you care to join me? The jumbo seems to ask

 

A jumbo peeping at me through a thorny bush.

A jumbo peeping at me through a thorny bush.

 

A grown elephant plays with it's young one

A grown elephant plays with it’s young one

 

A family of elephants peacefully grazing away

A family of elephants peacefully grazing away

 

A young elephant walks to catch up with the rest of the herd.

A young elephant walks to catch up with the rest of the herd.

Tsavo National Park also boasts some beautiful scenery which I was glad to have had the opportunity to take several shots of. At this time it was sweltering hot and most animals tend to hide in the undergrowth in search of the much needed soothing shade.

A male & female Ostrich advance towards each other. An ostrich dance in the making (the attraction is real) :-)

A male & female Ostrich advance towards each other. An ostrich dance in the making (the attraction is real) 🙂

 

Entry to the Lugard Falls, name after Frederick Lugard the British soldier and explorer

Entry to the Lugards Falls, name after Frederick Lugard the British soldier and explorer

 

(Lugard Falls) The enchanting series of white water rapids on River Galana.

Lugards Falls. The enchanting series of white water rapids on River Galana. (Notice the beautiful shapes curved out in the rocks by the torrent water)

 

River Galana is home to a large population of crocodile. They all tend to converge at the Crocodile Point where there are less rocks and the water is quite tranquil. It serves well as a hunting and a breeding ground.

River Galana is home to a large population of crocodile. They all tend to converge at the Crocodile Point where there are less rocks and the water is quite tranquil. It serves well as a hunting and a breeding ground.

 

It was too hot on this day, not one crocodile was in site!

It was too hot on this day, not one crocodile was in sight at Crocodile Point

 

The tranquil Galana River

The tranquil Galana River

The construction of the steel bridge over the Galana River is almost complete. I can’t help but keep wondering whether this will develop into another human-wildlife conflict or it will actually contribute to the efforts of conserving and protecting the wildlife and the park’s Eco-system. Only time will tell..

The digging continues. The bridge will soon be up over the Galana River.

The digging continues. The bridge will soon be up over the Galana River.

 

Our trusted friend (Ford Ranger) got us to the park and back home. Even she couldn't stand the sweltering heat; she had to hide in the shadow of the concrete mixer :-)

Our trusted friend (Ford Ranger) got us to the park and back home. Even she couldn’t stand the sweltering heat; she had to hide in the shadow of the concrete mixer 🙂

It was my pleasure having visited the Tsavo East National Park, I would highly recommend that you take some time too and make a trip down there. Get to see what our beautiful country (Kenya) has to offer!

Important Information;

Distance from Nairobi: 331 KM (Approximately 4hrs 30min drive)

Terrain: 

Good smooth tarmac from Nairobi to Voi

Rough dirt roads within the park (4×4 vehicles highly recommended)

Park Entry Fees:

Refer to this (http://www.kws.org/export/sites/kws/about/downloads/Entry_Fee_Leaflet.pdf)

What to carry:  

Hiking boots, Drinking water, Camping equipment (if you intend to stay overnight) Also useful are: Binoculars, Camera, Hat,

Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Guidebooks, Mosquito repellant and Waterproof jacket.

Where To Stay:                

Voi Safari Lodge, Ndololo Tented Camp, Kingfisher Tented Camp, Satao Camp

Activities:  

Game viewing, Trekking, Bird watching

NOTE: Always Follows the Park Rules!

 ~MASH~