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Kenya MapI was in Kenya for almost 2 years of my Travels, which now that I look back was far too long. Easily done because most of the luxuries and treats from back home are easily available and there is loads to see. For the first three months I did the usual visits of the tourist sites and seeing the different regions: Mombassa, Lake Naivasha, Masai Mara and Nairobi.

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OstrichWhile I was staying at the Nairobi Youth Hostel I got chatting with the Landlord there and discovered he was very keen to get involved in Ostrich farming, and I'd had some experience with these big, feathered Birds in South Africa, so we formulated a plan to set up an Ostrich conservation farm. My mate Simon and I spent about three months building this farm in a place called Embakazi (20 Miles outside Nairobi). It was on a very tight budget (3,000) and had two incubation systems, holding pens and a living area.

It was a great success. We ended up putting allot of Ostriches into the wild. Go to the Ostrich section to read more about them and my experiences with them Ostrich conservation work.

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MombasaMombassa, on the coast, was a great place to stay for a few months to fatten myself up and recuperate from my Madagascar trip where I'd returned looking like I was made of just skin and bone. The beach areas of Tiwi and Diani are really great. Long stretches of sandy beaches, palm trees and some nice bars.

I did have a bad experience while I was staying at the Tiwi camp site (totally my own fault I might add). As a general rule tourists were always told by locals not to carry valuables if walking too far along the beach, especially the stretch between Tiwi and Diani beach. One day me and a big group of people decided to go on that long walk to Diani beach and treat ourselves to some decadence in a tourist hotel. There were seven of us so we presumed we would be safe to carry the odd camera and day pack....how wrong we were.

Tiwi BeachWe had a great day of decadence at the hotel and were walking along the empty beach back to the campsite in Tiwi when up ahead of us about ten locals walked out from the forest by the sands edge. They started forming a line and we all immediately sensed something was wrong. As there were some girls with us we got them behind us and walked as quickly as we could to try and pass them near the water. As we got near to them they pulled out machetes from behind their backs and started shouting and waving them at us. Basically they wanted everything we were carrying, so we slowly dropped our stuff. One of our group Karen was getting hit with the flat side of a machete but a brave fella called Andy got himself in the way and nearly lost his hand and fingers in the process. Fair play Andy.

Eventually after getting what they wanted they ran off as quickly as they appeared and left all of us very shaken. As quickly as we could we headed back to the campsite and sanctuary. We did call the police but it was impossible for them to track down anyone and rumour has it that due to being paid very low wages they sometimes join in the robberies. The moral of the story is to listen to advice given by locals and other travelers. Obviously you can't always follow other peoples advice but at least weigh it up. To add insult to injury I lost my camera and also 4 or 5 rolls of film taken in Madagascar the previous weeks. Gutted!

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Nairobi, nicknamed 'Nairobbery' by travelers, is rife with muggings and robberies but with some common sense and care it's a lively and bustling city. The nightlife is fantastic here, with great bars, clubs and restaurants. One of the most popular places to eat and have a boogie is 'Carnivores' just outside Nairobi central. It's famous for offering unusual meats on the menu like Crocodile, Snake etc. and then after that they have a good club going on.

NairobiThere is an infamous bar called Buffalo Bills near the Nairobi Youth Hostel which is full of extremely dubious people, is kind of rough but makes for a good laugh and has loads of character. It is worth one visit in my opinion, but watch your valuables (if it's still open).

During my financially leaner times and while I was staying at the Nairobi Youth Hostel I decided I had to start making some extra money. I had an old banger of a car, knew the city pretty well and had previously driven fellow travelers as a favour to train stations etc. so decided to start doing abit of mini cabbing for the travelers staying there.

It lasted for a month before I started getting trouble from local mini cab drivers. I would find my car scratched, flat tyres and uncalled for attention from the Police. To be fair they had a point. Who was I to come here and steal their livelihood and their source of income to feed their families. In the end I sold the car; a Peugeot 504 for a tidy sum and rented a nice flat in Parklands for a few months. 

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Turkana PeopleBefore I sold my trusted Peugeot 504 i decided to go on a driving trip to Northern Kenya; a region called Turkana. The main reason for the trip was to see and meet the wonderful Turkana tribe with their colourful appearance and also to laze around Lake Turkana. Its a lovely vast, sprawling place with semi-desert stretching for miles and miles and some hot springs dotted around in the middle of nowhere. The Lake itself is huge (the world's largest permanent desert lake).

It was here I had one of my scariest experiences, whilst staying in a friendly Village near the Lake I woke up one morning and enthusiastically jumped out of bed quickly and carelessly, felt an intense pain shoot up my right leg and something squirming under my foot. As I lifted my foot up I saw a little gang of Scorpions scampering away. It looked like one adult and about 3 young ones. I was petrified and hopping out the door and around the Village on one foot in severe agony. I could feel the pain shooting up my leg. I've never felt such intense pain since and probably never will. The locals must have thought I was mad but with the art of hand signals they knew what was wrong. An old woman pushed me to the floor, brandishing a knife to do a bit of bush surgery to my poor foot. Luckily a bloke called Sam came along with a hefty syringe (full of Antihistamine, I found out later), and just plunged it into my foot. I'm not sure which hurt more...but it did the trick.

ScorpionApparently I was very lucky He was in the village. He'd been visiting his family there and was a Teacher who knew some medical basics. I couldn't walk for quite a few weeks after that. Another valuable lesson was learned here. Always wear slippers and before wearing them shake them out in case you have an unwanted guest in them (same goes for shoes).

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At some point I had to visit the Masai Mara game reserve, not only for the wildlife but for the Masai people. I decided not to go on an organised safari, which is the norm, but to take my trusty Peugeot around the game reserve. Well, needless to say it all ended badly on the second day when the car broke down in the middle of the Mara. Luckily for me one of the main Game Wardens helped me get the car moved and even put me up in one of the wardens huts for a few nights. I was even allowed to join the wardens on one of their weekly visits to local villages for animal immunisation. Eventually I had to pay a local truck delivery man to push the car into the back of his truck (this was done by backing the truck onto a steep and small hill and then rolling the car onto the back) and then on to Nairobi.

Sadly I didn't get to see much wildlife but was glad to have just made the trip, especially with the bonus of the visits to the Masai villages. 

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Kenya still remains one of my favourite countries in Africa. Apart from South Africa you're not going to find another country with such diversity in landscapes and cultures anywhere in that part of the world. Whether your after mountain climbing, swimming, wildlife, culture, desert or pampering; it's got it all. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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