Day 3 – August 31
I slept just OK but when Michael pounds on my door for breakfast, I am so sound asleep I think I have overslept and need to rush to pack and get going. After calming down I head to the breakfast area and have tea with a Spanish omelet, sausage, and toast. I have been vigilant in making sure I am staying hydrated after spending so many hours in a plane. It will be critical to be sure we are hydrated well when the hike starts in a few days. Bottled water costs nearly what it runs in the States but it is not a luxury item here.
We have a tight schedule today. We do some shopping for supplies, get our Flying Drs. Insurance cards (just in case a medical evac is needed), will head back to the airport to see if any of the missing luggage arrived, and then head to Hunter’s Lodge near Makindu. We begin the slow process of getting to the airport. Each roundabout is backed up for blocks, when you get through one you make a small dash before stopping for the next roundabout and starting the process all over again. The exhaust fumes are really tough to get used to.
Unfortunately, when we get to the airport none of the luggage has arrived. We head out on the road to Mombassa on an absolutely perfect day. Temperatures are in the mid-70s with partly cloudy skies, a great day for travel. The first part of the highway is brutal with the tarmac broken up with numerous potholes that are big enough to rattle your fillings. I suggest calling our Land Rover “Teddy” after President Roosevelt as he was a rough riding son of a…. There is total agreement. There are matatus (vans for public transportation), busses, and trucks and more trucks. This is the main route for delivering goods from Mombassa, the main port on the Indian Ocean, to Nairobi and the rest of the country. Michael is at the wheel; his 18 previous trips make him the driver of choice.
About half way to Makindu the road has been redone. It is a thing of beauty! Although much of the landscape we are driving through looks like great wildlife viewing the only thing we see is an ostrich spotted by Cathy. After several hours we stop at a small town for samosas, fried dough surrounding a mixture of meat, onion, and potato. They are really delicious. We finally arrive at Hunter’s Lodge and drive into the grounds between white painted stones with neatly tailored flowers, shrubs, and trees. This looks like a great place to stay. Michael is greeted like a long lost friend by the staff. They are a very friendly crew here.
After checking in and moving into our rooms, we meet out in the side yard where they serve drinks at large tables under umbrellas to shade one from the equatorial sun. There are numerous small fish in the pond and king fishers catching them, flying to a branch and whacking the fish before swallowing them whole. We see a pair of Maribou storks mating in their nest (not a site I recommend), beautiful superb starlings, and vervet monkeys chasing each other around the grounds. We vote to stay two nights here before heading back to Nairobi. Tomorrow we drive to Makindu for a celebration in our honor; that has a nice ring to it.
We have a nice meal of steak and chips. Chips in Kenya are like French fries but different than the type found in the States. We are all pretty beat after the road trip today, we turn in early. Steve and I share a room which saves over 1,000 shillings per night