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Curious what backpackers do in Kenya? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Day47

    After an 11 hour drive from Jinja, we finally arrived at our accommodation in Nakuru. I've been down with a bacterial infection, vomiting and the runs which has been horrible and for the first time I've been wishing I was home. I decided to upgrade to a room, it was quite expensive but in the scheme of things, having a proper bed, my own toilet and warm blankets was well worth it. The place is beautiful, so well presented and retails for $295USD but we only paid $55USD for two nights! The rest of the group have gone on a game drive and to an orphanage for dinner but I haven't gone with them as can't be too far from a toilet and the tummy spasms aren't enjoyable. Hoping to feel better by tomorrow so I can enjoy my last few days in Kenya before heading to Germany!Read more

  • Day13

    Today was a very, very long bus ride! I managed to watch two movies which were both a tad strange 'mr. right' and 'dirty beautiful'. There were lots of toilet stops today because there were a few sick people on the bus, still trying to figure out if it is dehydration or gastro from drinking too much river nile water while white water rafting!

    Once we got to the camp we had the option of upgrading from camping to a room for two nights while we're here. We were told these were one of the better upgrades so we did it and let's just say we're not regretting it either, the room is beautiful. The whole site is beautiful actually, the gardens, the outdoor pool and a bar overlooking a water hole.Read more

  • Day14

    I am exhausted already and I am only two weeks in!
    It doesn't help I haven't stopped since getting here so today I decided it was time for a 'rest day' where I would hang out at the resort and visit a local orphanage called East Africa Mission Orphanage (EAMO).

    EAMO was established in 1997 by Australian couple, Ralph and May Spinks who today provide a loving home for hundreds of orphaned children including babies and teenage mothers. EAMO provide health assessments, fresh clothing, 3 nutritious meals a day, and an excellent education program all the way through to completing High School, followed by vocational training or preparation for University.

    I was given a tour of the orphanage, they have two dormitories (one for the girls and one for the boys), a large dinning area, church, library (which was donated by an Australian family), classrooms for each grade and a babies room. The orphanages is fairly self sufficient with solar panels, a poultry farm, they also grow all their own fruit, vegetables and wheat. I liked the fact that majority of the people employed here were actually orphans and grew up in the orphanage.

    First we visited the boys dorm, followed by the babies and then the girls dorm. All the children were welcoming and were curious to find out more about me, looking through my photos and asking about what home was like. They loved the pictures of my dogs and the Police car. I then walked to dinner where I sat down and had dinner with the children, they were fighting over which table I was going to sit at.

    After dinner they sung songs in Swahili and in English, then it was our turn - we had to sing songs in front of them, number one request was 'mamma mia' which we did not do any justice and then we sang nursery rhymes which they loved.

    It was now time for the children to go to bed and for us to return home. I was only there for a short period of time and everyone has their own opinion on these sorts of places but I thoroughly enjoyed it and most importantly I felt like the children enjoyed it even more.
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  • Day15

    First optional extra I signed up for today was what the call a 'walking safari' where we were going to walk through the Green Crater Lake Park with the animals (including twenty-eight leopards that call the park home)

    We walked about 11km in total and we were lucky enough to see giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, baboons, black and white colobus, warthogs and numerous different birds. They were so close, most of the were within twenty metres of us it was insane.

    At the end we walked up to the top of the crater to the lookout point, the view of the park and lake was beautiful.
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  • Day16

    We arrived at Wilderbeest Eco Camp at about 10:00am, we had to remove everything off of the bus as they were taking it to get it cleaned because tomorrow a new group starts (well we lose some and gain some) for the next part of the trip.

    Once we had set up our tents we began doing our washing, Adam set up an elaborate washing line for everyone and then we began 'day drinking' while we snacked on chips and dips!

    It has been an awesome day, as stated before this camp site is really nice and has good wifi so I even got the chance to call mum and dad.
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  • Day15

    Once we got back from our walking safari we straight away walked down to Lake Naivasha where there were boats waiting to pick us up and take us to see where the hippopotamus were resting.

    We were able to see probably about fifteen to twenty hippopotamus' just off of the shore in a large group the boat went straight to this group so that we could have a close up view of them, it was amazing (photographs do not do it justice) we continued on the boat and found a further two families.

    Once our time was up the ones that were going to the Elsamere Conservation Centre were dropped off on the bank of where the centre is located.
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  • Day32

    Today Tom and Sherry took another day off of service to spend some time with us. Tom had a meeting part on Thursday so he took the morning to go over his part and Troi took it easy too. Sherry and I headed downtown to do a little shopping.

    I wanted to go back to the little handicraft market we first visited on Monday to get a few more souvenirs. Sherry took in some magazines and offered them to the shopkeepers who all agreed to take them.

    Interesting detail; the English congregation in the city actually has a territory that it itself covers - The publishers in English will preach in either Swahili or English, but when the interested ones go to the meetings, they are going to English meetings. In Tom and Sherry's territory, they preach in either Swahili or English and when interested ones go the the meeting they go to Swahili. English is not really a foreign language here.

    In the afternoon we went for a drive to a beautiful viewpoint called the Kerio Valley. It is where the Rift Valley starts that runs down into the Maasai Mara (I believe, I plan on confirming that point). There is a resort there where we had a very nice lunch overlooking the valley, the resort gardens and the black and white Colobus monkeys. After our break we drove down into the valley. Tom estimated that we went from here - Eldoret - at 7000 feet, up to the lookout at 8000 feet, then down into the valley to 3000 feet then we drove back home to 7000 again. I got a bad headache that we contributed to the drastic changes in atitude.

    All the way along we would be waved at by the school children and many would yell out Mzungu! Meaning "white man" (technically "foreigner" but they have different names for people of different ethnicities. We stopped at one group of people along the way that were selling fruit. As soon as we stopped all four windows had ladies at them trying to talk us into buying their produce. We got some bananas (which were very good - sort of like the little mini bananas - but a little bigger and they had a really thick skin and the flesh was quite firm) and a mango (or papaya). Asked if we could take a picture they replied yes, if we paid. Tom gave them all a magazine and they posed with their 'gift', their wares and a smile.
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  • Day28

    This morning we had to pack and get to the airstrip. We slept in just a little later than our 6 am mornings of late and ate breakfast in camp. We could see that it would be nice to have a day in camp to enjoy what you see right at home. There were lots of birds including a beautiful russet-coloured, long-tailed bird whose name I can't remember (it had the word paradise in its name). We left shortly after nine am - taking our time on the way to the airstrip for 10:30. Our Safarilink Cessna was supposed to be there at 11 am, but it was about 40 minutes late arriving. We visited a little with Dennis and James, who waited with us until we were picked up. They gave us a gift of two metal water bottles from the lodge.

    Our flight to Nairobi was almost uneventful. It was raining along the way so the flight took slightly longer than it should as the pilots had to fly around little storms.

    Again, our driver was waiting outside the terminal with our name on a piece of paper. He took us over to the Air Kenya terminal to pick up the two bags we had left with them when we first flew to the Mara. They were there waiting for us.

    On to the next terminal for our Fly540 flight to Eldoret. We had to wait until 6 for the flight so we went to the cafe next door and had lunch and a little internet time. We should have stayed there as there was no WiFi in the airport terminal.

    Flight to Eldoret was fine and Tom and Sherry came and found us at the luggage pickup and took us home.
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  • Day26

    Masai Mara Land and Resource Management

    Problem: Limited shared land and grazing resources.
    The Maasai are a herds people. Their livelihood is built directly on the raising and selling of cattle. Many have little or no formal education so there is little opportunity for diversifying their income. In addition, the land they have is shared with the wild animals - including predators. Like many other places in the world the human here is growing; encroaching and taking over what was once wild animal's natural habitat. As this worsens and livestock is taken by predators, the predators are killed to protect the livestock.

    Parks & Reserves: Approximately 8% of Kenya's land mass is protected area for wildlife conservation. These areas have been surveyed, demarcated, and managed as either National Parks and/or National Reserves all managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

    Plan 1 - National Park: Government owned and managed land that is set aside as a fenced park. (Nairobi National Park)
    Complete protection of natural resources and the only activities allowed are tourism and research. Animals are able to roam freely within the park. Local people do not contribute nor benefit from the park. In addition, since the animals are fenced in, there are limitations on their natural movement in grazing, roaming, and breading. In the park any number of vehicles are allowed in at any given time. This can cause visitor congestion and stresses the animals. Poaching continues to be a problem in the park which also makes the animals stressed and skittish. This plan does not address the real world problems of increasing demand on the land, education for the local people (Maasai), nor diversity of income for the local people.

    Plan 2 - National Reserve (Maasai Mara): Government owned and managed land that is set aside as an unfenced park.
    Human activities are allowed under specific conditions. Animals are able to roam freely across the reserve as well as outside the reserve without hinderance by fences. Activities such as fishing in marine reserves or firewood collection in terrestrial reserves are allowed. This plan also does not address the real world problems of increasing demand on the land, education of the local people, nor diversity of income for the local people.

    Plan 3 - Conservancy: Privately owned lands put in trust and managed in unfenced areas.
    Individual land owners place their land in trust with a conservancy that is financed by safari operators. The conservancy acts as a middle man between a group of land owners and a group of safari operators. Safari operators pay an agreed upon amount to the conservancy for the management of the conservancy as well as compensation to the land owners for the use of their land. As part of this agreement the land owners have a say in how the trust will be managed by the conservancy as well as are paid for the use of the land. The land is held in trust by the conservancy for a specified amount of time (usually 15 - 20 years). During this time the conservancy will pay a specified amount of money each year to the land owners (Maasai) and employ many of the Maasai people in many new jobs related to the conservancy from laborers to drivers and trackers. In addition to payments and employment the conservancy also manages the grazing for the domestic livestock ensuring that the grazing grounds are rotated, to reduce or eliminate over grazing. The conservancy also monitors the movement of the predators and coordinates the domestic grazing to ensure that the livestock and people are safe. If livestock is lost to a predator and the kill happens in the conservancy designated grazing area the conservancy will pay the owner of the livestock for his loss. This encourages the local livestock owners to cooperate with the conservancy's direction as well as eliminates the need/desire for retaliation by killing the suspected offending predator. As part of this plan schools have been established and basic education is now required for the children of those who are part of the conservancy. This education includes understanding the purpose and functioning of the conservancy and allows the local people to have a say and "pride in ownership and success" of the conservancy. The land owners also have a say and contribute greatly in the operation, guidelines, and rules of how the conservancy is run. For example, in the Maasai North conservancy only a limited number of vehicles are allowed at a given "sighting" or "event" (currently five vehicles). This is less invasive and disruptive to the animals, significantly reduces visitor congestion, and provides a much better and natural viewing experience for the visitor.

    Our experience: In our five days at the Alex Walker's Serian (meaning peace in Maa) Safari camp was a real eye opener. The permanent camp is setup on an escarpment overlooking the Maasai river. The employees of the camp are mainly Maasai including our expert driver and spotter - Dennis and James. We observed many of the local wildlife. The wildlife, especially the predators, seemed to be uninterested in our vehicle or us, often walking within feet of the vehicle. Even the animals we could call "prey" were calm and unconcerned with our close proximity. Around the camp many of the local residence were present. Just down the hill in the river we saw and heard hippopotamus, we heard lions on the other side of the river, and one evening we even had a couple of Eland walk and browse within yards of our tent. This could only be due to the peaceful relationship between man and animal over a long period of time. We are told that in areas where there is still a real problem with poaching the animals are still very afraid of man, are not at ease, and are stressed by our presence. Even when a predator was eating a carcass we were able to be within yards of the kill without any observable change in behavior or concern on the part of the lion or her two cubs. Animals with their babies seemed unconcerned with our presence continuing to feed, suckle, and play with no concern that we were observing and taking pictures.
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  • Day33

    Meeting night tonight, so not a lot to do. Tom and Sherry took us on their Bible studies today, a very nice experience. We decided to stop for lunch at Poa Resort. There are these little oases all over the world. You can pay a few dollars and go inside the resort and enjoy the amenities for the day. Or, go the restaurant, buy a meal and enjoy the surroundings for awhile. Here we found pretty gardens and lots of birds to watch - the sunbird especially - a relative to the hummingbird, but it doesn't hover.

    We all ordered a beer and a platter of snacks to share. We were finished our beer, but there were no snacks (fast food doesn't exist here - as we have also learned to be true in Mexico). When we asked, we were told, "Yes, it's coming soon!". About 10 minutes more passed and it arrived - a problem with the fryer we were told. We enjoyed the atmosphere and the food and our 'break' ended up about 2 hours long, but we were all quite happy.

    Home for a couple of hours and then we headed to the 5:30 mid-week meeting. Unlike Sunday, where we went a little overtime and everyone lingered and visited, the meeting was over early and everyone was gone quite quickly. The school children come dressed in their uniforms and many come straight from work or the ministry so they want to get home. Plus, when the meeting was finished it was dark and raining. In the congregation there are two cars and one motor bike, so the majority are traveling on foot.
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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

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