NOVEMBER 10th, 2009 – LEAVING THE MARA
We left Mara Game Reserve after breakfast for the airstrip, a very tiny airstrip, to go back to Nairobi. It was sad to leave that magical, mystical land where animals and nature thrive so peacefully together
We flew back to Nairobi in a “puddle jumper” It was one of those little planes that have only ten seats. Some of the people on our tour were a little anxious about getting into those small planes, but I flew in “puddle jumpers” many times with my husband who was a pilot for Zia Airlines in New Mexico back in the 1970’s. It was a small commercial airline. Sometimes I would fly with him just because I was bored at home. I can tell you we saw some horrendous weather, so it was exciting for me. I love to fly and taking off and landing is a rush for me. I love to feel the power of the engine in full throttle. It was a great flight and I got a few good shots coming into Nairobi. We flew right over “Slum City” and that area still shocked me.
We arrived at Nairobi Airport about 11:30 a.m. and were taken to a lovely restaurant called “Canivore.” It was a Brazilian style restaurant and we ate on the open terrace among lush vegetation and beautiful flowers. The service was great. If you like crocodile, ostrich meatballs, and other game meats then that’s the place to go, but I wouldn’t touch them with a ten-foot pole. I’m not a meat lover to begin with and never eat meat outside of America. Their vegetable lasagna was very good, and their desserts were delish!
After lunch we took off in the van to take another five and one half hour drive to Serena Safari Lodge in Amboseli National Park in Kenya. It is located right under Mt. Kilimanjaro. The drive seemed very long and not even half of the drive was on paved roads. It was another “road massage” trip. When we arrived at the Park and went through the entrance we were shocked. We were bombarded with Maasai women shoving their wares into our van windows to buy something, anything! It amazed me because we were in the middle of nowhere and I wondered where they had walked from and how far. I couldn’t help them out because I spent all my Kenyan and American cash at the first pit stop. I left the rest of my money back at the Norfolk Hotel locked up with the majority of my luggage. I only had my charge card.
The two-year drought had taken its toll on everything. Trees were completely uprooted like they just fell over dead. There were many dead animals and caucuses spread throughout the park. There were very few Acacia trees, and everything else was brown. We passed a few water holes and small areas of swampland for animals to quench their thirst. It was a far cry from the Mara Game Reserve. Even the animals were sparse. They did not interact with each other and I could see their ribs. I just wanted to cry. I had another bout with feeling home sick.
When we finally reached the Serena Hotel it was like entering another Garden of Eden. The hotel was lovely and the decorations shouted “Africa.” We were greeted with hot towels to wash up, passion juice, and monkeys running all over the place. It was great! I closed my mind to the wastelands that surrounded us. MORE TO FOLLOW…