Mombasa, KenyaMarch 22, 2015 in Kenya
Big change from the quiet, idyllic beach setting of the Seychelles to the bustling dirty city of Mombasa. We left the boat at 7:30am aboard a Toyota minivan with a poptop heading for the largest game reserve in Kenya, Tsavo East. It was about a 2-3 hour drive from Mombasa on the main highway leading from Mombasa to the inner countries of East Africa and was packed with trucks taking containers from the port. It was narrow with a big drop off on the shoulder so that if one of the trucks actually runs off the road it may very well flip over (We saw one that had done just that on the trip). Of course the driver of the van, and every other driver on the road was passing the slow moving trucks like they were standing still. Often getting back into the lane just inches in front of the truck as a similar sized semi passes. Fortunately the drivers there were fairly tolerant of the chaos and we made it there alive. :-)
The drive through the park was safer although when we pulled off the road into some bush and the driver told us to look at the lion and we realized he was pointing to the sleeping one under a bush about 20 feet from the jeep we were having second thoughts. :-) Fortunately for us we look too big to eat for the lion and he just seemed more annoyed that we woke him up then dangerous.
Lunch at the restaurant overlooking a watering hole was pretty special though. The lodge had an underground tunnel that went out to a bunker right at the water hole level so you could be at ground level right under the animals as they come up to drink. We had been watching this <1 week old baby as his mother crawled over the little rock wall that held in the water. He went crazy running around from each of the other females in the herd until he finally sniffed her out and was able to crawl over a short area and get to her. Then after watering for a while she wandered back over the wall and he just couldn't follow her. The last two pictures captured how wonderful and gentle these animals are when Mom very tolerantly came back and reached down and lifted the baby with her trunk.
We didn't go into the city the next day since we didn't want to spoil our impression of the wild Kenya with the reality of the 40%+ unemployment rate and filth that was the main city of Mombasa. We have not seen a poorer country or worse living conditions then we saw in some of the areas in the outskirts of Mombasa on our travels to date and did not really want to dive head first into it. Ali and Jeff did though the next day and you can read their impression on their blog.Read more