Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Our Kenyan Honeymoon Diary Part 3 - The Safari Continues!

Did you catch Part 1 and Part 2?

Sunday 20th March 2011
Today we left Tsavo East at 7am and began the long journey to Amboseli National Park. The weather was more overcast, and at one point we had rain - which was possibly a good thing as the van seemed a little less stuffy. Boy woke up feeling ill, so the long drive was uncomfortable for him.

Around 1230 we stopped to have a look around a traditional Maasai village. We were greeted with traditional Maasai dancing, and then they had a jumping competition followed by a blessing.

We were then shown around the village. First of all, they demonstrated how they make fire with elephant dung, acacia wood and another type of wood.

Next, the medicine man's son, who will take the role himself one day, explained how they use different natural medicines. We then went to look inside a house, which are all made from sticks and cow dung.

Our guide told us about the roles of men and women; the men look after the animals (cows, sheep, goats) and the women build the houses, look after the children and do the washing. The Maasai are nomadic, and only stay in the village they've built for as long as the land provides for them. If they no longer have water, or grass for the cattle, they move on.

After the visit to the village, we continued on to our accommodation: Kilima Safari Camp. We checked into lodge 64, and from the terrace we have magnificent views of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Mount Kilimanjaro, somewhat shrouded by cloud

At 4pm we set out for a game drive - however Boy stayed in the lodge to sleep as he still didn't feel well. The drive wasn't as exciting as yesterday; the only new animals we saw were buffalo and wildebeest.

We did get into an interesting stand-off with a herd of elephants. It looked like they didn't relish having to walk through water, but because of all the vans on the road they didn't have much option in the end.

Dinner was at 7.30pm so we headed up to the restaurant where a table was reserved for us. The others were very pleased to see the Boy was feeling a bit better. When we finished eating, we came back to the lodge for an early night as we have yet another 0530 wake up call!

Coming soon - Part 4 which includes the morning after the night before (!) and Tsavo West. Not forgetting the lodge on stilts!

**This post originally appeared on my old blog and has been imported to Living for the Victories**

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Our Kenyan Honeymoon Diary Part 2 - The Safari Begins!

Did you catch Part 1 of our honeymoon diary?

Saturday 19th March 2011
Today was the first day of four on safari. We checked out of the Voyager at 6am (which is 3am in real life - early!) Our guide is called Titus, and seems a canny* enough bloke.
*canny is a regional term here in the North East. It just means he seems like a good man!

We are safari-ing with 2 other couples. One couple is also from the North East of England, and one from Yorkshire. How bizarre that we have ended up with people from our native counties! After 2 hours on the road, we arrived at Tsavo East National Park. Here, we negotiated a price on some safari hats, and had our picture taken next to an elephant skull.
Then our adventure began! We drove for a good half hour before spotting our first animals: 3 warthogs, drinking from a pond.

Not much further along we came across a herd of zebra, which looked so much bigger than the ones you would see in a zoo!

Later in the morning, off in the distance, we saw a group of elephants. This was our first "Big 5" spot.

After a couple more hours, and more elephants, zebra, and some gazelle and a giraffe, we arrived at our first lodgings: The Ashnil Aruba Lodge.We were handed a cold wet towel to wipe our dusty faces and we checked into room 217.

We were surprised and thrilled to find a letter from the manager thanking us for staying with them on our honeymoon, and they even threw in a plate of fresh fruit. The view to the rear is truly spectacular; zebra grazing on the plains.

After a quick lunch, a shower and a power nap, it was time for a late afternoon game drive. It was 2 hours long and we spotted quite literally hundreds of elephants. We also saw more giraffes and zebra as well as a few ostriches, monitor lizard, mongoose and a whole host of colourful birds, baboons, impala, guinea fowl, and most impressively four lions and a hippo. The hippo didn't take too kindly to having to share its pond with some elephants!

One of the most spectacular moments of the day came when a herd of elephants crossed the road just a couple of metres from our van. In a zoo, elephants are big. In the wild, they are enormous!

When we arrived back at the lodge, Titus gave us instructions to be ready for 7am, so we planned to eat, shower than go to bed. However, this plan was disrupted by a need for first aid from the nurse for me after a scalding incident with some boiling soup going all over my hand. Like it's not hot enough already, I now have burns all over my hand.

Ready for more? Part 3 - including a Maasai village and Mount Kilimanjaro - will be up soon!

**This post originally appeared on my old blog and has been imported to Living for the Victories**

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Our Kenyan Honeymoon Diary Part 1 - Days 1-3

For some time I've talked about the journal we kept on honeymoon. This is the first part in a series of extracts from our diary. I hope you enjoy reading about our Kenyan adventure!

Wednesday 16th March 2011
We spent the morning packing, and then caught the train to Manchester Airport - a journey that takes just under 3 hours. We made our way to Terminal 2, and after checking in we looked around the shops until we were called to gate 215 to board the plane.

The flight was scheduled to depart at 1925, and would last around 9.5 hours. To pass the time, Boy watched The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and I watched Tangled followed by Dawn Treader. We had pre-booked champagne and chocolates for the flight, which we enjoyed after the evening meal. We both found it difficult to sleep on the plane so when morning arrived, we were tired.

 We did get to watch the sun rise while flying over Sudan!

Thursday 17th March 2011
We landed at Moi International Airport in Mombasa around 0800 local time. After disembarking we had to complete visa forms and pass through immigration. The entry visas were US$25 each. We then got on our transfer coach to the hotel.

We were greeted at the hotel with cold, damp cloths and a nice refreshing drink.The hotel is themed like a ship and looks very impressive. Our first stop was for some much needed lunch and a sleep.

In our room (number 1305) we found a gorgeous display of flowers and a bottle of wine in honour of our honeymoon.

Our room was a garden view room with two double beds. Very spacious and the gardens were beautiful to look out onto.

After that, we explored the grounds and had a few cocktails before heading back to the room for a shower. At dinner, I had a chicken lasagne and Boy ate crocodile meat skewers which he said tasted like chicken. Afterwards, we went to "The Lookout" bar which is on top of the cliff, and had a couple of drinks.

Friday 18th March 2011
After a good 10 hours sleep we woke up feeling ready for the day ahead. We went for breakfast around 0930, and then saw our rep for our safari itinerary. From there we went on a hunt for sunbeds, and ended up on the lawn near the Lookout Bar. We spent most of the day there; I was reading and Boy was playing on the DS. We had a dip in the Fun Pool before lunch, and then returned to the sunbeds. This afternoon we finally saw some monkeys that we'd heard so much about, lots of them - including a tiny baby!

We also saw a very brightly coloured lizard, who was a very cheeky chappy and had a little run around under our sunbeds.

There was a wedding at the hotel today; we heard the Kenyan band playing for them and later saw the bride and groom having photos on the beach.

Today the Voyager ship was docked at Cancun. Tonight's dinner had a Mexican theme, and the tables and chairs had been moved out on to the lawn in front of our block.

After dinner, we sat watching the show (Mamma Mia) on our balcony with the red wine that was in our room.

An early night is a must tonight - our wake up call is at 0530! We are looking forward to the safari, but not the early start!

 Stay tuned for Part 2 - where the safari begins!

**This post originally appeared on my old blog and has been imported to Living for the Victories**