After Lamu our next stop in Kenya was Naivasha, a town next to a lake about two hours north west of Nairobi. Naivasha’s main industry is floriculture and they export flowers to countries all over the world. Our trusty driver Patrick drove us to our AirBnb, which was in a slightly weird location in the middle of nowhere between some flower farms. On the way there we spotted our first zebras of the trip!
Not to be outdone by her earlier efforts, my sister booked the most amazing accommodation:
Can I just remind you there were only three of us?!
The only thing was we were miles off the main road without a car and Patrick le Swindler wanted to charge us a pretty penny for daily transport. But my sister, ever the problem solver, disappeared into her phone for a while and when she emerged she’d organised a hire car to be dropped off at our house for the cost of $US50 a day. Magic!
After what felt like many hours (probably only two) our car appeared in the driveway, it was one of those hilarious cube cars with a boot that wouldn’t open, super dark tint windows and an odd smell. Freedom!
Our next task was to drive into town to get food. Sarah opted to stay at home so Andy and I set off, him behind the wheel, in search of a supermarket. Did I mention we were in the middle of nowhere?! Our house wasn’t even on Google Maps. So we drove, bumping along a gravel road, waving at kids playing by the roadside and promptly got lost. To add insult to injury, the Cube GPS started randomly yelling at us in Japanese, not helpful!
We decided to head back and luckily ran into the housekeeper, a lovely gentleman who offered to escort us to the shops. I felt like an idiot needing a chaperone, but we were so grateful we bought him lots of food. After our eventful afternoon we cooked dinner, had some drinks and played cards.
The next day we hired bikes and rode to Hell’s Gate National Park. There are no predators in the park so it’s perfectly safe to zip through on a bicycle.
As our first experience seeing animals I was so excited and snapped away with my camera, even though they were really far away and the park’s haziness and pale shrubbery didn’t make for great photos. Having since done safari I kind of look back at these photos and laugh.
Seeing giraffes run is the funniest and most awkward thing ever:
At the end of the park we reached a hiking point, where you need to hire a guide. We didn’t know about this and didn’t have any cash, which was embarrassing. We organised to drop money off at the park gate later on and off we went into a gorge. It was pretty cool but not being a keen hiker I wasn’t thrilled with the surprise hike! What a brat.
After the hike we headed back through the park, stopping to eat our sandwiches on the side of the road.
The afternoon is clearly baboon migration time in the park because suddenly there were hundreds of them walking around. It was quite freaky.
We somehow got back to the house, the GPS still yelling instructions in Japanese, in time for an epic sunset:
In a tree near our balcony we spotted colobus monkeys in a tree:
The next day was the worst of our entire East Africa trip. So dramatic I know! But I was not at all prepared for how tough hiking the rim of an old volcano known as Mt Longonot would be.
It started well:
And quickly went downhill as the hike ascended uphill. Let’s just say a year of driving to an office to sit down all day, followed by an hour at the gym a couple of times a week does nothing for one’s fitness. It was painful!
Just a 7km jaunt around the rim, having walked up there in the first place.
The relief when we were finished was so overwhelming. We went to a rather fancy place to eat.
When we drove home we passed a giraffe hellbent on making its way into a flower farm for a feast. It stood at this gate for ages, with workers trapped inside trying to fend it off with a branch.
A very African reason for being late home from work!