Sunday, January 20, 2013

Into Africa

My wife and I left Council Bluffs on September 26th and headed to the Omaha Airport to board the first of three flights to Nairobi, Kenya.  When you live in the heartland you have an extra 4-5 hours of connecting to a hub airport to go overseas.  This is the only disadvantage to living in the midwest I know of. Our excitement was very high.  We would be traveling with our favorite tour company Odysseys Unlimited.  (  Twenty four hours later we touched down in Nairobi, Kenya at 9 PM on September 27th their time and was met at the airport by a representative from the Norfolk Fairmont Hotel.

Next morning, we met the Odysseys Unlimited guide, Edwin and then the rest of the tour group later in the day.  The first day was one of rest and recuperation before we hit the safari trail and an orientation session with our guide on what to expect.  Next day we were given a short tour of Nairobi, a city of four million people, a visit to a dealer in African Art, and a tour of the estate of Karen Blixen.  With the writing of Out of Africa and the movie, this lady enhanced the intrigue and excitement that runs in this beautiful country. 

The home of Karen Blixen
The next day we were on our way to the Masai Mara.  Here just below the rift valley is a plain of extraordinary beauty with wide open spaces holding the animals of east Africa.  Leaving very nice wide and paved roads, we entered into a new world and received the first of what as known as the "African Message."  This consists of riding in our vehicle over some of the roughest and unimproved roads I have ever been on. Full of ruts, the roads were like driving down a washboard highway.  Also our driver drove very briskly.  The first thing you notice is that the steering wheel is on the wrong side.  It is on the right side of the landcruiser as everything relates back to the time when Kenya was a British Colony.  They drive on the left side of the road. 

View of the Great Rift Valley in Kenya
This pounding was an experience we would be getting used to everywhere we went.  Plus it was the end of the dry season, and it was really dry and a bit warm.  Dust was everywhere inside the vehicle.  You opened a window, it flew in.  You closed the window and everyone in the vehicle was too hot.  It took some practice to regulate the temperature, and everyone maintained their sense of humor.  This was the first of many rough road trips that we would take.

We arrived at the lodge midafternoon and had a short snack and freshened up after the first of the adventures.  The lodge was an oasis of luxury right in the middle of the Masai Mara plains.  Serena Lodges would be the first of the many we would be staying at on this adventure.

On the Masai Mari, we slept in a tent that had connected to the back end a full bath with flush toliet.  Please note you sleep under mosquito netting.

Pam enjoying the fresh air outside our luxury tent.

In the lobby of the lodge.

Swimming pool at the lodge.  This is a 5 star resort and the food was outstanding.
At 4 PM we hit the ground running and into the landcruisers for an evening of game viewing.  The roofs of the vehicles lifted up almost three feet so we could stand and look out taking picture at each and every opportunity.  Photo opportunities came fast and furious.  The pictures below show how much game we were viewing.
Elephants, giraffes, cape buffalo, lions and one of our favorite shots was of the cheeta with her four cubs pictured above.  We had to be off the plain by 6:30 pm and headed back to the lodge.  This is only a sampling of pictures taken and not a complete representation of what we saw.

Good hunting, good fishing and good luck.  Hank
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