Italian prisoners of war built the road down the Rift Valley escarpment- an incredible engineering feat ( picture chapmans peak rd)
I have been unable to find out how many were involved or how many survived.
This has survived – a beautiful tiny church they built – only 4 pews ; a tranquil 20 minutes peace and solitude against a backdrop of frenetic traffic along what is now a major thoroughfare for trucks and cars alike
I feel I have passed from the future of Africa into the past Africa when I arrived in Kenya
Uganda has a law, buda budas (motor cyclists), must use helmets; passengers didn’t need to and you could transport whatever or whoever you liked. Most obeyed the law it would appear rather than risk a fine.
Rwanda has a law that all motor cyclists must wear helmets and only one pillion rider allowed . Everyone obeyed because they believe in the law.
Plastic bags banned in both countries.
Kenya appears to have a law few worry about and weren’t concerned about being caught.
If even half the stories I have been told about the police force and government here are true, it is a sad state of affairs; ‘people’ have little confidence in either.
One example – we drove past a police recruitment drive : 1000 aspiring recruits were being put through their paces in a field alongside the main road. The only prerequisite is a ‘I have completed school certificate’ although an additional couple of thousand Kenyan shillings won’t go astray. Recently 42 new recruits after one month training, were sent to the Somali border and all were killed. It transpired that many of them had paid up
300 000 ks to the recruiters to be accepted.
It feels familiar; litter everywhere, streets dying, barbed wire and glass topped walls and for many a heart beat away from abject poverty, corruption normal in even small ways and there is a general sense of disengagement from The Country. And beautiful jacarandas.
We witnessed a hijacking on the main road in broad daylight right in front of us – won’t go into the details on fb ; but the sense of shock followed by helplessness then horror – Good Samaritans we were not 😢
And for all that I have been welcomed everywhere with smiles and a sense of good will – if also a shoulder shake of how it is. Wanted to buy a bird book – they had no change and no credit card machine today – and that’s it – broad smile but no sale.
The game parks seem to stand apart / poaching? Apparently nil ; new poaching units instructed to shoot to kill – apparently working ; zero poaching I am told although the Maasai Mara proved the exception.
The plastic water bottle : produced with enormous environmental footprint is found everywhere – I mean Everywhere. Alongside every road, in the game parks (particularly Masai Mara), in the rivers and even in the lakes 😢
How big a part the numbers game and climate plays , someone with real knowledge will tell us : Rwanda about 1/4 pop of Kenya. Rwanda and Uganda very fertile, Kenya noticeably less so.
Disclaimer : this is only my opinion based on a very short visit, observations and discussions with locals – it does not make it The Truth 😜
As I watch giraffe doing a mating dance on the lawn in front of me – I eavesdrop (okay again, I’ll admit – what else is one supposed to do when travelling alone😂)
And all the way the most common conversation between people has been climate and weather – Poles telling Israelis; Brazilians telling Germans and everywhere guides telling me ; this river used to flow; this was never a river; this lake bursts its banks 3 years ago and still the same
Whatever the experts say; the people have plenty to say about changes in our climate
The CB radio is like white sound in the vehicle – voices talking loudly non stop and when we congregate at a lion or rhino they all sound together – a cacophony of modern technology
– perhaps I was the only one who noticed?
Miles and miles of open plains. The great herds gave left ( not sure if I should be pleased or not – with the herds come hordes if you know what I mean). The views are lovely.
Lunch on a rug – all very civilised until I stood up with a wet you know what – the ground is sodden everywhere.
It has rained each afternoon so we went exploring to visit a very upmarket camp where we had coffee, and drove back in comfortable silence with the windows wide open
There is nothing as lovely as the bush just after rain – the buck twitch their ears, the birds call, the air has a smell that fills lungs with joy – unique; everything is washed new – well actually the roads were washed not new but totally away 😂 but we won’t spoil the story
And then just as I was thinking how perfect – the heavens opened and dumped solid sheets of rain. It took us over an hour to get 7 km!!!! The road was a river, Livingstone at times couldn’t see at all and we just had to stop – it was unbelievable
And here I sit an hour later on the deck -clear skies savouring a g&t
National geographic and David Attenborough have done a great sell on the Masai Mara and the proud Masai. After a day in the park I I have mixed feelings about the It.
Livingstone, my guide went to the gate to pay leaving me to ‘cover’ the vehicle and be accosted ( no other word will adequately describe it) by not one or two but ten or twelve Masai women desperate to sell me blankets, trinkets, statues and no seemed not to be part of their vocabulary. I feel for them but at the same time there was a surliness and slightly unpleasant feel to it all.
After 30 minutes – yes 30 I couldn’t stand it any longer and left the vehicle to walk (storm may be more accurate) to the office :
“What’s taking so long”
“The machine, his slow”
39 minute slow? Not my problem. Give me our money back and we’ll go or let us through now or I will be complaining to the parks board
Guess what – our tickets appeared!!!!!
Something is amiss – this is the only bridge across the river of one of the most famous reserves in the world. There is no shortage of tourists paying big entrance fees. It has been like this for 5 years and when guides protested three years ago and put out photos on social media they were arrested and fined Kenyan shillings 300 000 each. The guides collectively paid the fines for them – still the bridge remains.
That aside, we saw good game today including lion, hippo and elephant. We also saw Nissans, Toyotas, land rovers in droves and they tell me this is the quiet season !!!!! It was like Burke Str (Eloff St for others😜).
I am in a ‘luxury resort’ with no reference books of any sort; where you pay for water (cannot drink the tap water,) and everything seems just a little ‘tired’ and not well loved. Still the adventure continues happily – life never being dull if you me – an 8 hour game drive tomorrow so I shall ‘report back’ then.
Cold here – have not taken my down jacket off all day