Saturday, 8 October 2011

Day Thirteen - The long and winding road

Sorry for the delay with this instalment, we could not get a signal at Sekenani. We intended to leave Nairobi by 9am but Karen needed to get money out of the bank and the machines were down at one branch so she had to find another and queue for ages, so we didn't get going until 11am. We stopped to fill up with fuel and also fill the two 20 litre Jerry cans. We checked the oil and the car also needed a couple of litres of oil. Here's a tip for travellers: be careful if you fill up at the Oilibya garage on Nakuru Road in Nairobi. We thought the price was a bit higher than expected but it was not till we worked it out later that we realised we had been billed twice for the two litres of oil!

The newly re-surfaced road from Nairobi to Narok is a pleasure to drive and the views from the Rift Valley Escarpment are truly spectacular.

View from the Rift Valley Escarpment

However, once you leave Narok you have a couple of miles of partially repaired tarmac before you find yourself on a bone-jarring, pothole-infested nightmare of a road for around 35 miles until it changes to a rocky gravel surface that is equally rough, all the way to the Sekenani Gate. The road is so bad that the regular safari drivers have created parallel tracks through the bush beside the road, rather than risk their vehicles.

Just after Narok, we picked up a young Masai lad who was heading home to Talek to visit his family. Joseph is studying Hospitality Management in Nairobi. We don't know long he had been on the road but when we gave him a litre of water, he downed it in one. We also gave him some biscuits to sustain him on the rest of his journey from Sekenani to Talek.

After exactly six hours on the road, we finally arrived at the Mara Springs Camp, just outside the Sekenani Gate to Masai Mara. Although a budget camp, the tents are very good quality, with built-in showers and toilets. The beds are four-poster with good mosquito nets and they even supply a multi-socket for charging phones, batteries, laptops etc. We have been here before and love it.

Relaxing outside the fixed tent at Mara Springs

Tomorrow we enter the Mara and head for the Public Campsite at Oloololo.

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