Madagascar was a blast and now I head forward and it was time to bid adieu to Antananarivo and fly in to the Jomo Kenyata Airport (IATA: NBO, ICAO: HKJK) at Nairobi for the next leg of my African adventure. Visa was not an issue though yes Indian passport holders need one with a fee of $50 for a single entry tourist visa. You can apply for an e visa also.
I was booked into the Radisson Blu hotel and once checked in – spent the next two days resting and getting my bearings around the bustling new city.
I was advised by my bankers at India not to use your credit cards in this part of the world. It is a bit like the credit card fraud capital of the world though no it is not – as per statistics that I can see – that is in fact the US! I was advised and took along an ICICI Multi currency Travel card – a sort of “pre paid” card with a stipulated amount of dollars loaded onto it which can be topped up according to my need. I felt that the card was in fact a god’s gift of sorts considering how secure it made travelling and transacting.
I roamed around the city and found my self a tour operator for a 10 day trip around Kenya, covering the Amboseli National Park, The Masai Mara game reserve, Mount Kenya and others. At $250 a day, all inclusive it was a bit steep to me but it was a private tour and the service has been excellent so far.
Soon we blazed around Nairobi headed to sample and see the wilderness of Amboseli wild life at it’s closest.
I have this huge SUV with a open top all to myself with a exclusive guide and driver. We were to get to a camp at the park.
It is about eight hours drive from Nairobi. We stopped en route for food and other rations for the camp. Once at the camp I had a tent to myself and perhaps very aptly named Hippo.
Other tents had names like Baboon or Zebra etc and I was pretty happy with my camp’s appellation. After a lunch of Chicken cooked African style with peas and rice we headed for the park.
I realized and saw the magic of having an open top SUV. It was so convenient for me to take photo’s of the animals and they were so near to us.
First I saw a group of ostriches, then a herd of Zebras, followed by wilder beasts, lions and before long wild donkeys and before long I managed to glimpse a hyena as well.
The view was glorious and camera worked over time. I got some great shot’s of the sunset among the trees and the lake of course.
On the way back I watched as we passed Mount Kenya in all it’s majesty just staring at me from afar.
Truly this was a magnificent land of Disney’s Lion King and it felt like I was right in the middle of all the action. All the animals looked like characters in the film, a mind blowing experience.
On the way back, we stopped at the local Masai Village and I was greeted by Thrombo which means The Chief. He showed me around the village.
I danced with the Masai and saw how they made fire with a stick, a piece of wood some elephant dung and straw.
It is a art in itself and a trick one must learn to survive in the wild. After strolling through the village with their huts made of straw and cow dung, it looked not too different from the villages at India in U.P or Bihar.
Except that the Masai are a polygamous society. They also keep cattle , raise goats and keep donkeys.
They are an ancient nomadic tribe of Africa and have kept their tradition and way of life intact for thousands of years.
I went into one of the huts and saw their kitchen and cooking utensils , the beds are made of cow hides and their markets sell colorful artifacts and jungle jewelry.
The word Amboseli means the Hurricane in Swahili, and this land witnesses many a hurricaneand hence the name. Amboseli is also a wild bat ones that inhabits these land.
That is the legend of the land and it’s wildlife park and for me it was a very satisfying experience.