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Kenya 2018

A personal travel report from Kenya in November 2018

Last change: 2018-11-10 – Copyright © 2018-2018 Hans-Georg Michna

Click on the small pictures to see them enlarged, usually to 800 x 600 pixels.

Times are given in local Kenyan time in 24 h format (without "am" or "pm"), i.e. 0:00 to 23:59.

All photos are subject to copyright ©. If you want to reuse any photo, send me an email asking for permission, and I may send you the full-size photo, usually 3,264 x 2,448 pixels (8 Megapixels). These photos bear the copyright © 2018-2018 Hans-Georg Michna.

EXIF times in these pictures should carry proper time and time zone information. Kenya time is UTC + 3 h.

This web page is automatically reloaded with a date extension to its URL to defeat Safaricom's fraudulent proxy server.

[I still use my latest camera—a Fujifilm HS50EXR. Most photographs in this travel report are reduced to 800 x 600 pixels and JPEG-compressed with medium strength to make them more palatable for the web.]

My Kenyan phone number, active while I am in Kenya, is +254724662096. It is good for SMS and calls, but the better ways to reach me are Signal, Telegram, Threema, WhatsApp, Hangouts, Skype, and email. For those chats that use telephone numbers as addresses, you have to use my German mobile number +491793217777, which otherwise does not work while I am in Kenya.


Planning and packing

My travelling checklist in michna.com/kenya.htm#Preparations (German version: michna.com/kenia.htm#Reisevorbereitungen) is, as always, my means of packing without fear of forgetting anything important. As usual, the packing and other preparations take at least a full day of concentrated work, because they cover an immense number of small things and details. Without the checklist I'd be lost.

KLM, Air France, and Kenya Airways on their flights to Nairobi currently allow two pieces of check-in luggage of up to 23 kg each in the economy class. KLM also has a pretty good and informative web site and a reasonably good smartphone app (click here for the Android version if you fly KLM), allowing ticket purchase, online check-in, and seat selection, now also for the flights operated by Kenya Airways and Air France.

2018-11-04 Munich – Paris – Nairobi

Our flights were nice and almost on time. We were worrying a bit about Paris Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG), because of earlier bad experiences with long waiting lines and because we had only 1:50 h to change planes, shortened to 1:40 h by a slight delay in our flight from Munich to Paris.

But all went well, mainly because there was no security check. Apparently they can separate the people from those already checked at their starting airport from those entering the airport on the ground.


Flight routes; Italy detail

Unfortunately most of the flight, particularly past Italy and over the Mediterranean Sea we flew above clouds and could not see much. Over the Sahara it was still hazy and dusty. We could see the Nile for a long time, then Lake Nasser, but we could not take photographs.

We arrived on time in Nairobi, passed customs and immigration quickly, paid €80 for two visa, and took a taxi to the Aero Club of East Africa on Wilson Airport. There we settled into a nice, spacious, and comfortable room in the very new Captain's Wing.

2018-11-05 – 2018-11-07 Nairobi

On the first morning we collected the car, a black Toyota RAV4 4-wheel-drive with tinted windows, from the downtown car hire company. So far it works well.

The company consists of just one office with one woman running the show and a driver. I suspect they are just brokers, hiring out other people's cars. Not exactly what I want, but at least the price was not too high at $55 per day, including unlimited kilometers.

On the next day I renewed my Kenyan pilot license. I also bought Kenya Shillings for bitcoins and topped up my M-Pesa account. In the evening we had invited friends and had a nice dinner together.

Wednesday we drove out to check two other car hire companies. The first was nearly nonexistent, but at least the second was real and had some cars. We will remember it for later visits to Kenya.

Later we met more friends and ended the day with another dinner in the Aero Club's restaurant.

2018-11-08 Nairobi – Nakuru

After a plentiful breakfast (knowing that we would skip lunch) we leisurely packed everything into our car and drove out of Wilson Airport. In the Shell petrol station at the entrance to the airport we checked our tire pressure (was somewhat too high on all four wheels, but slightly low on the spare wheel), filled up the almost empty windshield washer water tank, and checked whether we really had a 4-wheel-drive. The Toyota RAV4 is also available as a front-driven two-wheel-drive version. I believe I saw all four axles, so that was OK. It would not be very clever to import a two-wheel-drive version of the RAV4 into Kenya anyway.

We benefitted greatly from the new Southern Bypass freeway, because it is only a short way from Wilson Airport to the nearest on-ramp. The Southern Bypass is as good as any 4-lane freeway in Germany, except for the general speed limit of 100 km/h, but we rarely drove that fast because of truck traffic, etc.

We continued on the A104 road, which also has four lanes up to the turnoff to Mai Mahiu and Naivasha, but is otherwise not as good. Because we had ample time and I wanted to check the road through Naivasha, we turned off as if going to Masai Mara, and drove down the steep slope of the Great Rift Valley.


The road into the Great Rift Valley

We reached Mai Mahiu, but instead of turning left towards Narok and Masai Mara, we continued straight towards Naivasha. This road turned out to be new and in perfect shape, so we could drive leisurely among the trucks,which must all drive here, rather than on the main A104 road, which is reserved for smaller cars along this part of the way.

We drove past Mt. Longonot and could soon see Lake Naivasha on our left, with its characteristic Crescent Island, a volcanic crater edge that is partly under water.

Soon we reached Naivasha, which has grown tremendously since I had first visited it many years ago. It now stretches along the road until it joins the main A104 road again.

In increasingly dense truck traffic we continued to Nakuru and checked into our favorite, the Nuru Palace Hotel. A twin room costs KSh6,000 for residents (and somewhat more, payable in US dollars, for non-residents).

In the evening we met a friend for dinner in the hotel's restaurant, where no alcohol is served. Apparently the owner is a very religious Christian, who follows the scriptures seriously.

After breakfast we drove north and first visited my virtual geocache at N 0° E 36° (where the equator crosses the 36° east meridian). It is in a sisal plantation next to a small canal. I took some photos, because the vegetation changes quite a bit after only very few years. Since there is no marker (it is a virtual geocache), the only way to prove that somebody was really there is a photo. This took a bit less than 1½ hours.

Not far from there is the Mogotio petrol station, where we filled our tank, just in case the stations further north have no fuel.

After another hour and a half we reached the Lake Bogoria Spa Resort, a four-star lodge, and checked in for the night. I hadn't been here in many years.

At dinner time we met a German missionary, Michael, who told us a lot about this area and invited us for a drive tomorrow.

2018-11-09 Lake Bogoria

After a good night's sleep, in spite of the rather weak air conditioning system, we had a nice breakfast and then jumped into Michael's big Land Cruiser for a drive along Lake Bogoria. There were quite a few flamingos in the lake.


Flamingos in Lake Bogoria

After lunch we jumped into the cold swimming pool, because the warm one, 35°C, fed from a hot spring in the lodge compound, was being serviced. I must say that the "cold" one was still too warm to make me feel cool. Everything is quite hot here.

2018-11-10 Lake Bogoria – Lake Baringo

After breakfast we visited our new friend Michael in his self-built home on a hill, nicely overlooking.the whole area.

Around noon another friend arrived, Zakia. She studies project management at the Unviversity in Eldoret. Together we had lunch in the lodge. Since the most interesting, warm pool was closed for renovations, we skipped the swimming and drove off to Baringo.

On the way lies Marigat, where Zakia's mother lives. We greeted her and some relatives, dropped Zakia off, and continued to Baringo, where we moved into a banda (a little hut with a double bed, a toilet, nand a shower) in Roberts' Camp.

After a dinner in the Thirsty Goat, the little restaurant of the camp, we soon fell asleep.

2018-11-11 Baringo

[To be continued. I will try to update while I travel.]

Closing remark

If in this text you find any typos, orthographic errors (even small ones), ungrammatical sentences, wrong or illogical information (like wrong names of birds), if you want me to write more details about something in particular, or if you want one of the photos in full resolution, please click on the email sign below and write to me. Many thanks!

Copyright © 2018-2018 Hans-Georg Michna.


Private homepage – Hans-Georg Michna

Kenya travel reports: 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013-Goma, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

Kenya Safari Travel Plan, Kenya 1980-2000 photos

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