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Kenya

Curious what backpackers do in Kenya? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Nach gut zwei Monaten in Uganda, habe ich das Land zum ersten Mal verlassen und konnte gleich mehrere Dinge verbinden. Erstens habe ich mir bei der Einreise nach Kenia ein East-Africa-Visa für drei Monate ausstellen lassen, sodass mein genehmigter Aufenthaltszeitraum bis zu meinem Rückflug nach Deutschland (Ende Januar) verlängert ist. Mein ursprüngliches Single Entry Visa für Uganda wäre nämlich Anfang Januar ausgelaufen. Zweitens habe ich eine weiteren afrikanische Kulturkreis kennengelernt und mir fällt es wieder ein Stück leichter zu Differenzieren. Und der Hauptgrund: Corinna treffen und zusammen mit ihr die Gegend erkunden :)

    Freitags früh um 7 Uhr ist mein, mit sehr bequemen Sitzen und (zumindest auf der Hinreise) kleinen Bildschirmen ausgestatteter, Reisebus von Kampala Richtung Osten gestartet. Auf Grund eines ca. vierstündigen Staus kurz vor Nairobi bin ich leider erst kurz vor Mitternacht an meinem Ziel gelangt, statt der beanschlagten 12-14 Stunden waren es dann 16. Aber auf Grund der tollen Busausstattung und diverser Podcasts und abgespeicherter Texte, lies sich auch dies gut ertragen. Ich hatte nur Mitleid für die vielen tausend Menschen, die in diesem Megastau auf kleinstem Raum (bei Nacht & kaltem Regenwetter) in ihren Autos und Transportern saßen und denen es nicht möglich war von diesem Luxus zu profitieren.

    Am Samstag lernte ich viel Neues zum Status quo des Landwirtschaftsektors der unterschiedlichen afrikanischen Länder. Es war der letzte Tag einer 4-tägigen Konferenz auf die Corinna geschickt wurde, um die Ergebnisse einer Studie vorzustellen. Der Fokus hierbei lag auf der Mechanisierung, also der Förderung und dem Ausbau der Nutzung landwirtschaltlicher Maschinen. Mit kleinen Safari-Bussen ging es direkt nach dem Frühstück ca. 200 km von Nairobi Richtung Norden. Eine Organisation, die sich auf das Verleihen von Traktoren und deren Anhänger zum Umgraben, Säen und Düngen spezialisiert hat, erläuterten ihr Vorgehen. Zudem teilten Kleinbauern, die diesen Service nutzen ihre Erfahrungen mit uns und die Funktionsweise der verschiedenen Gerätetypen wurden vorgeführt. Man kann nur hoffen, dass diese Gerätschaften schnell eine größere Verbreitung in Ostafrika finden, denn man sieht vielen Leuten die schwere Feldarbeit ihrer Körperhaltung an.
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  • Der Sonntag startete mit einer Fahrt in die (mit öffentlichen Verkehrsmittel) ca. 1 Stunde von Nairobi entfernten Teeplantagen. Eine sehr freundliche ältere Dame erzählte uns einiges zur Geschichte, sowie der Herstellung von Tee. Es bot sich ein toller Blick auf die ringsherum liegenden sehr hügeligen Teefelder.
    Wenn man rein nach den Zahlen geht, ist Kenia der größte Teeexporteur der Welt. China und Indien produzieren zwar mehr, jedoch bleibt der Großteil im eigenen Land. Da weite Teile des Landes eine Höhe von deutlich über 1500 Metern ü.N. aufweisen sind die wichtigsten Voraussetzungen geschaffen für ein gutes Wachstum der Teepflanzen. Vorort wurde mir erst deutlich, wie schwerwiegend mein Unwissen rund um den Ursprung und der Verarbeitung von schwarzem, grünem oder auch weißem Tee ist. All diese Sorten entspringen nämlich aus ein und der selben Teeplanze. Nur durch die unterschiedliche Verarbeitung entwickeln sie ihre teils sehr unterschiedlichen Charaktereigenschaften. Klassisch durchlaufen die, überwiegend per Hand gepflügten, Teeblätter vier Verarbeitungsschritte: Welken, Rollen, Aussieben, Oxidation und Trocknung - wobei bei grünem Tee die Oxidation möglichst vermieden werden muss.Read more

  • Auch wenn wir am Sonntag Nachmittag schon einige Schritte Richtung Nairobi Downtown gewagt hatten, war der Montag unser eigentlicher Sightseeing-Tag in der kenianischen Hauptstadt. Dazu gehörte die Besteigung des Kenyatta-Towers von dessen Hubschrauberlandeplatz sich ein toller Blick über die Skyline bis in die Außenbezirke der 3-4 Millionen Einwohner Metropole bot. Im Anschluss ging es ins Eisenbahnmuseum. Ich fand die Geschichte der Eisenbahn sehr interessant, somal sie gleichzeitig auch die Entstehungsgeschichte Nairobis ist. Um 1896 wurde das sumpfige Gebiet rund um das heutig Stadtgebiet, wegen seines milden Klimas nämlich als Baulager und später als Quartierlager für Arbeiter & Angestellten der Ugandischen Eisenbahngesellschaft ausgewählt. Innerhalb von nur drei Jahren wurden 530 km Gleise für die Strecke von dort bis zum Anschluss an den Indischen Ozean in Mombasa gelegt. Danach wurde die Strecke um 216 km bis zum Viktoria See verlängert, wo sie auf ein Schiff fahren konnte um nach Uganda (Kampala) übersetzen zu können. Ein Drittel der vermittelten 30.000 indischen Arbeitskräfte haben bei diesem Bauverfahren ihr Leben gelassen, 140 allein bei Angriffen von Löwen. Heute werden die Gleise (im Einmeterprofil) so gut wie gar nicht mehr genutz, ganz zu Schweigen von einem Regelverkehr für die Personenbeförderung. (Aber es gibt tolle Aussichten: http://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/soziales/kenia-china-baut-afrikas-groesste-eisenbahnstrecke-a-1092626.html). Das Museum hat auf jeden Fall eine gewaltige Sammlung originaler Dampflokomotiven, sowie exemplarische Anhänger und vieles mehr. Der Eintritt hat sich für uns (als fast einzige Gäste über die Mittagszeit) auf jeden Fall sehr gelohnt. Anschließend waren wir noch im toll angelegten Central Park und haben den Blick auf die Stadt genossen. Dienstag früh ging es für uns beide dann wieder zurück in Arbeitsrealität nach Kampala bzw. München.Read more

  • 8th : It took 3 buses to get here, but we're settled in at Fisherman's camp, rented a tent for the night. We're along the shores of Lake Naivasha: All I hear from my tent are the calming, natural sounds of birds, frogs and crickets. My pre-birthday meal was a splurge! Unplanned splurge since it's the only food available and the restaurant at our campsite is fancy and expensive. It's funny to think, just like at Kibale NP in Uganda, we're paying more for this tiny two person tent rental then any accommodation yet, and the restaurant is fancy and expensive. The atmosphere is where they get away with it. Feet away from our tent is an electrical fence that helps keep the hippo, currently eating grass, out of the water, from getting too close. Yep, on our camp grounds are 3 hippos, and of course the odd birds and monkeys.

    9th : It's my birthday!! And for my birthday, I got to wake up with the sounds of birds. Grabbed our rented bikes and went for our usual bean breakfast in the town next door. And I use the word town loosely. It's about 100 feet long along the main road with mini shops. Only this breakfast had a slight twist! MILK!!! For some reason, when I travel, I never drink milk because I'm afraid it will make me sick, or I won't like it. I'm a milk snob. But considering I have a glass almost everyday at home, I've had huge cravings for cold milk. All the milk I kept seeing in stores was full fat, so 3.3%... I knew that wouldn't satisfy my craving so I never bought it... Jack found me low fat milk! In a juice carton! And it was cold! She got the campsite restaurant to put it in the fridge for her... She's so smart. It's my birthday!

    Jack must have given the park a quick call before we got there, because the animals were out to say hi as soon as we passed the gate into Hell's Gate National Park. For my birthday, I was greeted by about 30 zebras, 5 girafes, a bunch of different gazelles that I wish I could name, countless hogs and a heard of African buffaloes. And this was all done in such a natural way, I felt like I was right next to them with this bicycle!

    To Jack's parents - I cycled for 3 hours! That's pretty good for me... We were at the park gates by 830am (cycled there from our camp 5 km out) and I had returned to town by 1250pm... Minus an hour hike through a beautiful gorge. That's right, for my birthday, up close and personal with animals AND got to walk a beautiful, short hike.

    I was getting a little tired, heat starting to increase, so I decided I was allowed to stop there! No need to push myself further, it would only frustrate me. I didn't want to end my cycling morning negatively being exhausted, so Jack and I chose to split. The energy bunny wanted to keep going. I went to an even smaller town then the morning breakfast to grab a good ol' cold coke. She continued down the main road to the next lake, about 12 km down. I returned my bike at the camp site and hoped on a minibus to meet her at the lake. I love motorized vehicles. Don't get me wrong, doing the park via bike was absolutely perfect. But getting through towns, I don't need to make any effort. I sit in a van, say where I want to go, and they bring me, they even tell me where to get off since I have no clue what Kongoni looks like. I was sitting in the front seat, so it was funny to wave to Jack from my comfy transport as we passed her cycling hard. We were originally worried not to find each other in the town, because every town we've been in in Kenya has big bigger then we expected. If you saw pictures, you'd know why that's hilarious. Kongoni was the last stop. The road literally stops there, it becomes dirt after and then nothing. There was a T intersection, so one could debate the possibility of getting lost there... But it was about 150 feet long, and the T road was about 50 feet long, again of tiny shop stalls. At worst, if we couldn't see each other, we could just ask around town for the other white girl. I doubt they've seen too many.

    The goal was to see a lake filled with flamingos! With our Kenyan luck, you've guest it! No flamingos. But gorgeous views at the lake front anyways, and this tiny little town made the trip worth while. At least it was for me, I just had to sit there. Jack now has to cycle back, knowing the size of the mountains that await her! We almost got back at the same time! I beat her by 5 minutes. My bus didn't leave for a while because it's hard to fill a minibus in the world's tiniest town. And she's a beast! A cycling beast!

    I got a warm shower for my birthday too! The gifts just keep on coming. They lit a fire under the water tank when they saw us approaching the showers. Now I'm refreshed, I've got my new t-shirt on, my hairs all did... I grabbed a tea to relax and guess what! This young lady got me Salt and Vinegar Chips !! Apparently she listens to my every craving, because I've been looking for them and obviously haven't found any... She's a genius!

    Since anyone who knows me, knows I'm a big family kind of gal... A birthday would not be complete without reaching out to the fam jam. I got to speak to both my mom and dad! It's a weird thing to call your parents for them to wish you happy birthday, but it felt great! I went next door, to another camp site who had Wi-Fi, and said it was my birthday and I just wanted to send a quick email. The manager said I had to order a drink for the Wi-Fi password, but the waitress gave it to me right away. Score! I had a voice message from my dad when I logged on, and right away I looked at Jack and said "20 bucks says he sings me happy birthday". And sure enough, it's a recording of him singing to me! Every year, he never skips a beat. If for some reason he didn't reach me on my birthday, there was always a voice message of him singing to me! My mom was at work but of course acted like she had all the time in the world to chat with me. They're awesome. The only thing missing, the only thing that would complete my day, is chatting with Gen, the world's coolest twin, wishing her a happy birthday. Fortunately for her, she's a big girl now, with a big girl job, and her students probably wouldn't appreciate her answering her phone. So I didn't call, instead I left her my own personal rendition of the happy birthday song. I hope her day is as epic as mine, in her own way! I have comfort in knowing I spoke to her Sunday, when she was celebrating her birthday, and she seemed to be surrounded by those who love her. Comfort. Xox. Leaving the hotel with the Wi-Fi, the security guard asked if he could sing to me. To which of course I said yes! He actually sang me the whole happy birthday song, top to bottom... Jack and I danced around at the security gait. It was a beautiful moment. Lol.

    The birthday shenanigans continued! We had diner, I got to chose whatever I wanted! I've gotten so used to us sharing things that I couldn't make up my mind on my own... We ordered two amazing dishes and shared both. I got to have two dishes! And because Jack had to store the milk in the restaurant fridge, they knew it was my birthday, so they paid a drink for me! Free beer! And believe it or not, I got a card! And candles! Jack had been carrying candles and this card since leaving home! This is a women who has difficulty making plans for the weekend because it's too much of a commitment... And here she is, carrying candles and a card for 2 months... This was without a doubt an amazing day. Topped off with a kitkat and dairy milk chocolate bars... I swear it's like this girl knows me or something... Like she actually pays attention to what I say... Actually cares about knowing what I like... She's absolutely amazing, and she made this birthday perfect.

    Side note : according to east Africans, Jack and I look alike. The amount of times we've been asked if we're sisters (or just as often brother and sister) is ridiculous. I guess the classic joke of "all Asians look alike" is true for any ethnicity that isn't your own. I don't think I have to point out just how little Jack and I actually resemble each other... But here, people are shocked when we tell them we aren't related. We were even told a few times they thought we were twins... Lol! Twins. And people think my actual twin and I don't look alike, Jack? Oh boy.
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  • March 22

    Having made it through most of the high-risk piracy zone, we arrived in Mombasa, Africa this morning. We had set up a private safari through the internet (yikes) and were planning to meet the driver as soon as we got off the ship. I had been communicating with the owner of the company and had felt some distrust through our emails and it wasn’t until we met that he realized I (Ali) was not a Muslim terrorist.
    In any case, our trip lasted about 11 hours which included about 4 hours total driving on the 2 lane road that serves as the major artery between Mombasa and Nairobi, primarily for trucking. We quickly learned that lanes, center lines and speed limits are merely suggestions.
    The 4 of us had all been on safari before, but none of us had been to this particular park. We had a wonderful day seeing dozens of African elephants, giraffe, ostrich (with babies!), cape buffalo, zebra, and lions. There was one point when the guide stopped the vehicle for us to see a lion - Nancy and I had the binoculars saying “where are they?”. It turns our they were lying about 6’ from our vehicle.
    We had lunch at an open-air lodge that looked over a large watering hole that about 50 elephants were enjoying. There was a small stairwell that went down to an enclosure that was at the same level as the watering hole so we could see the elephants at close range.
    The safari came to a close with an incredible dust storm that became a rain storm as it swept across the park.
    The first photo is the road through the safari park as the dust blew on the right and the rain started on the left.
    The second photo is a baby elephant - Mom was a little unhappy and trumpeted at us when we paid too much attention to the baby.
    The third photo is the lion that was lying just little way away from our vehicle.
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  • What an amazing experience! Today confirmed that waiting for the Masai Mara to do our big safari was worth it. In the first 3 hours of our full day game drive, we saw lions, giraffes, elephants, zebras, bunch of antelopes, wildebeest, wart hogs, and I'm sure I'm missing some.

    We saw a male lion walking across an open field within feet of our van, just strutting it's stuff. It was our first big cat sighting, and Jack was in awe. I loved seeing the lion, but I LOVED seeing her see the lion. Probably quite like she loved seeing me see chimpanzees.

    We later saw a lioness with 3 cubs laying down within feet of each other. One cub stood up and walked over to us, laying within feet of us with its paws pouring into the street. It sounds ridiculous, but Jack agrees with me, that for a few seconds, the cub looked up at the truck and actually maintained eye contact with Jack. I swear, there was a few seconds where Jack and this baby lion were just starring at each other. Quite like me and my chimps, she actually shed a tear as we pulled away. I absolutely loved her in that moment, she was feeling just pure joy.

    Families of elephants with babies, and giraffes in groups of 5-6, everything was breathtaking. Ostriches! They look so funny, exactly like old flamingo dancer with the large feathers. Perfect little burlesque performers.

    Animals are apparently more active in the morning, so we saw tons starting off our day. Eventually, in the afternoon, sightings became rarer. I could tell our driver was looking for something specific and speaking over the radio with other drivers on locations... And finally, laying under a bush for shade, a cheetah! How fucking cool! A cheetah! Just chiling.

    Everytime we saw something, we all stood up from our seats, popping our heads out the top of the van (pop up top), snapping pictures. It was truly an amazing experience, and I get to do it all over again in the morning. Let's hope for more big kitties!

    Upon our return to camp, we were walked over to the near by Masai village for a cultural experience of some kind. I felt a little awkward about it, having to pay someone to fake their traditional ways, knowing very well that most of these rituals or ways of doing things have changed. We get there, and they give their obligatory "your money is going to help over 200 Masai communities" speech, to which I felt like answering "but I thought the Masai were self sufficient and didn't need money?" 10$ later, they talk to us about their traditions, they show us a dance they would normally do when celebrating... During this dance, the men have to jump as high as they can. Whoever jumps the highest gets to pay fewer cows for his wife... Yep, it's 10 cows to buy a wife, unless you jump high enough. Then you get a discount.

    There was a little too much English around this village for me to truly believe they live in the ways they describe. They're polygamist, so a man can have as many wifes as he has cows to buy them with. I got a house tour of someone who's father had 4 wifes, and who had 24 siblings. Their houses are made of wood covered with mud so they have to move every 9 years because of termites, making them nomads. So many of these facts could be challenged. Like they currently have this community right next to their primary school, which the kids from the village attend. So we asked how could they relocate? His answer was "well because of the school we wouldn't go far"... Mhm.

    One man said they get circumcised at 15 years old, then as a group of around 20, they must leave the community and go live in the "woods" for 5 years, and to return only once they have killed a male lion. First off, that's illegal and I highly doubt you still do that. There's no second. But later on during my private little house tour, the guy said circumcision was at 14, 4 years in the woods, to return at 18. Then we brought up school, so they all have to quit school at 14/15 then? To which they said they would go to school and return to the woods when school was off... All starting to sound a little fishy...

    I believe all of human kind evolves eventually. Communities, including tribal ones, need to evolve and adapt to the world changing around them in order to survive. I'm sure being relocated from their land when it became an official National park in the mid 60s, instigated a lot of change in this Masai community. That is why visiting this village today, and having them put on a show of their traditions, yet fully knowing that many of these things no longer exists, feels a little odd. It's a catch 22, you want to see what their culture used to be, and how they live now, but to do so you have accept this almost fake show put on for paying tourists... Human safari.

    FYI : Many of us have this formed idea of what a Masai person looks like, or what a traditional tribe in Africa looks like, and the Masai people stick pretty close to that image. They often have one largely gauge ear, without plugs in them so leaving a hanging ear lobe, they are always drapped in red fabric, they have tons of bead work on themselves, men with beaded belts and necklaces, women adding earrings... The interesting part is that you can find them everywhere now! We saw traditionally dressed Masai people in markets, walking around in towns, even having a beeer in a bar. They advertise Masai markets where you can buy their handy work in many towns. The tradition of being self sufficient and secluded is no longer upheld. They integrated into whatever society they chose, and yet kept a lot of their traditional clothing and accessories. It's interesting. I bought ice cream in a supermarket and in front of me in line was a Masai man drapping his shoulder with a red blanket, large ear lobe, beaded belt.
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  • Mombasa is Kenya’s most important port and is situated on an island just on the coast. Arab sea traders influenced the city’s early history as did the Portuguese, who also controlled the city at times. It was ruled by Omanis for extended periods and the result is an African city with heavy influences of Muslim and European colonial architecture and culture.

    Quite gritty, there were warnings on our ship about how best to safely visit the city. We had done a safari the first day of the stay, but wanted to explore the city itself on the second. We therefore took a ship shuttle bus into downtown and hired a local street guide to show us around for two hours for $10.

    Our guide looked official at first glance with his patches, badges, epaulets and military boots but the “Revolucion” patch above his pocket and “Che Guevara” on his back revealed otherwise. His commanding, definitive presence led us through street traffic where he boldly crossed using only his outstretched hand to stop the taxis and tuk-tuks. We scurried to keep close to him and avoid being stranded in a no-man’s-land of vehicles.

    He took us through spice markets where we bought several spices, not because we can bring them into the US, but just to be able to enjoy the colors and smells for awhile. He described historical sites and led us into a particularly bloody meat market where Ali almost threw up when a vendor pulled out a camel leg and hoof from under a table. It was a very dramatic moment!

    The Arab/Africa blend that makes up Swahili culture was evident in the ornate balconies and doors of many of the buildings. The influence of the Omanis will also be seen in Zanzibar, our next stop.
    The first photo is some of the architecture in Mombasa.
    The second photo is Ali and our guide.
    The third photo is the spice market we visited.
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  • I don't want to leave! Like my last country conclusion inputs, here are some short points that I will remember about Uganda.

    I feel like we went through Uganda too quickly... We had 3 weeks in mind for Uganda, yet made our way through in 18 days. 18, mostly, wonderful days. Jack was just asking what I would have done differently or where I would have wanted the extra time. It's easy to look back with the information you have now and "perfect" the itinerary, but I really think we did Uganda justice. I may have spent an extra day hanging out in Masaka since I liked the feel of the town quite a bit. An extra night in Jinja would have been nice, it was beautiful and we finally got to swim in the river (bilharzia in most of the water)! And I would have stayed an extra night in Fort Portal, mostly for the Duchess restaurant, lol, but also to do a tea plantation tour during the day. Like I said, easy to look back, but I don't regret anything.

    I saw chimps here! It was our first wild life experience, and it was of course amazing. Same thing with our day at Murchison Falls. What these two days have taught us though, is Uganda is not made for independant travellers. At least not when it comes to activities. Transportation is easy to manage. Food easy to find. Plenty of English speakers to help out if needed. But without big ticket safari tours, it's hard to have access to parks. Hiring a private driver or staying at ridiculously expensive lodges were our only solutions.

    And parks are expensive in Uganda! An average of 40$US just to set foot in the park, with obligatory guides. We had to be quite picky as to which parks to visit. Jack was unfortunately too picky, and didn't end up hiking. She's having a lot of trouble finding a company that will organize overnight hikes for a decent price. I think Ethiopia screwed us, and we're expecting the same pricing here, which isn't even close to happening.

    As for a more original experience, we got to see the country during elections, something that only happens every 5 years. I didn't want to mention this while we were in Uganda, as to not make anyone too nervous... Or rather not to give my dad his first heart attack. But when we were in Kasese, we were wondering why the streets were so empty... We finally found a little local restaurant that was open (everything was closed and it was 7pm ish). They were all watching the news, and we saw videos of a riot and police intervening with tear gas... We finally see the tag line "Chaos in Kasese". Yep, in the town we were staying, streets were empty because people were staying away from chaos. The good thing is the riot was in front of the polling office which was slightly outside of town, so no violence or anything was seen from where we were. On the bus out of town we drove by this same place, with protesters lining across the street, still yelling. Apparently the office received two ballet boxes that they thought was filled with preticked ballets, yet were later discovered to be empty, so the people thought the elections office was corrupt... Anywho! Safe and sound, writing from Kenya. There were so, so many election signs covering all the public walls, every household had a sign up. Most of the signs were of Museveni (in power for the last 30 years, just reelected) with his beige safari hat, lol. All the conversations in bars revolved around who voted for who. We obviously didn't volunteer our opinions. For a whole week after the elections, things seemed to be closed or slowed down, less buses running, all because of the elections (they vote for local elections a few days after national elections). Of course after the winner was announced, the conversation became was it free and fair. External EU observers did not use the words free and fair when rapporting on their observations, leading some people to conclude it was rigged. The newspaper front page was Besigye (Museveni's main opposition) getting arrested or on home arrest constantly... The head police officer who kept arresting Besigye responded to the question "why do you keep arresting him" with "soon you will know"... How creepy, lol. These arrests are said to be the reason Besigye was not able to file an official appeal of the votes within his 10 day limit. This all gave me an interesting perspective on the country.

    Food in Uganda was repetitive... Pretty much all the locals geared restaurants served what they actually call "food". I even saw it on a menu! It was written food with fish, food with chicken, food with g-nut sauce... G-nut sauce is something we discovered too late in our journey. It's a wonderful peanut sauce they serve either on its own, or with fish in it. And so what this "food" consists of if, if they have it, white rice, matoke, posho and cooked spinach. Matoke is fried plantains, which winds up having the texture of mashed potatoes, only less mushy, kind of like old mashed potatoes... Tasting obviously like plantain. I actually really like matoke. Posho, not so much. It's made with maize, and the consistency is thus rubbery, chewy mashed potato thing... Anywho, we always asked for food with no posho, and switched it up mostly between beans and fish. The chicken was always on the bone and impossibly dry and the beef isn't chewable. It was cheap and easy. But it was a daily thing, sometimes twice a day, hence why a nicer western restaurant was so welcomed every now and then. The timing of local food was also something difficult to manage. If you're too early, food isn't ready. If you're too late, there's no more (they make batches and sell what they have). Right as the sun sets is what we gathered as the perfect time.

    Another conclusion of my Ugandan experience, one I have previously spoken about, is the excessive drinking in rural areas. Unfortunately, this was part of my experience and it is a reality in Uganda. The men sit around in circles and drink banana beer or straight out of mickeys, or even these little vodka or gin pouches, much like the little juice pouches you can get. The unemployment rate is high, men have difficulty finding work, life is harder, so they find something they can all do together, and that's drink. They could at times be loud when speaking to us, approach us not so skillfully to try and start conversations, question us not so respectively, and sometimes simply laugh at everything and anything, including the muzungas. This was much less obvious in larger cities.

    Now the people! Best for last. Ugandans are friendly outgoing people. Always willing to chat. Always willing to help out. Even the ones asking for more money then they should, we could joke around with them and we'd all be laughing by the end of negotiations. Most of the Ugandans who would say hi to us were genuine in their attempts. There's obviously the odd jerk who would keep bothering us, or laugh at us for whatever reason, the "muzunga" yellers who were just trying to get a reaction... But for the most part, absolutely lovely people.

    I realize I've only got 3 africain countries done, but this one tops the list. And as much as the activities were expensive, we still managed to average 66$CAD each. That's 41$US each per day, and our trusty travel book states a cheap budget is under 50$US. Nailed it! That being said, we lived wonderfully, didn't stop myself from splurging when I wanted to, ate all the food I needed, and had a great time!
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  • Just like yesterday, we woke up really early to set out for our game drive, this time stopping inside the park to watch the sun rise over the mountains. Absolutely gorgeous sight, with antelopes and wildebeests to add to the scenery.

    Today was a shorter game drive, 3 hours, so we stayed close to the gates. Surprisingly enough, that's where most of the animals were yesterday so I'm excited! We actually saw a ton of lionesses and their cubs! We saw three different groups, mommas and cubs laying or playing around. It's actually what we mostly saw, few zebras, few elephants, no giraffes, but tons of lions. Amazing morning, of course Jack being on cloud 9 during all of it.

    The giraffes made their way to the road to say goodbye to us instead of saying hi in the park. There's no fence around the park so the animals are free to roam as they wish. So along the road back to Nairobi was 4 huge giraffes within feet of the road. Obviously tall, but muscular and majestic animals. Gorgeous.

    A long drive later back to Nairobi, we make the decision to ride an overnight bus to the coast. Apparently 3 days in a van hasn't deterred us from spending another 10 hours overnight on a bus. It saves us the hotel night in Nairobi, and saves the precious time we have left. Apparently being white has it's privileges for overnight buses! I just so happened to be the first person at the door of the bus, and the ticket guy upgraded us to VIP. I didn't even know there was such a thing on a bus but we got there extra wide seats, tons of legs room, reclines beautifully. I'll take it! Good night y'all!
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Republic of Kenya, Kenia, Kenya, Kɛnya, ኬንያ, كينيا, Keña, Кенія, Кения, Keniya, কেনিয়া, ཁེན་ཉི་ཡ།, Kenija, Kènia, Keňa, ཀེ་ནི་ཡ, Kenya nutome, Κένυα, Kenjo, Keenia, کنیا, Keñaa, Kenja, An Chéinia, A Cheinia, Quenia, કેન્યા, קניה, केन्या, Քենիա, Kenía, ケニア共和国, კენია, កេនយ៉ា, ಕೀನ್ಯಾ, 케냐, ເຄນຢ່າ, Кенија, കെനിയ, केनिया, ကင်ညာ, Khenya, Keeniyaa, କେନିୟା, Chenia, Quênia, Kenyäa, කෙන්යාව, Kiinya, கென்யா, కెన్యా, เคนยา, كېنىيە, کینیا, Kê-ni-a (Kenya), Kenyän, Orílẹ́ède Kenya, 肯尼亚, i-Kenya