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Beer and Biryani :: The Travelling Adventures of Matt & Donna  
Lions in the Masai Mara
September 02 , 2007

Three weeks in Nairobi

Nairobi is one of those places that comes with a bad rap, why then would we choose this of all places to spend three weeks unwinding from our travels. "Nairobbery" as it has become known in the Lonely Planet guidebooks may be a strange place to spend a holiday from your holiday, however as soon as we set eyes on Wildebeest Camp, we knew it was for us.

After returning from a four day safari in the Masai Mara we were tired and dirty, tack onto that 21 days of furious travel with my brother Andrew through Tanzania and five months of trekking northwards through Africa. Then look ahead into our immediate future and add into the equation Rwanda, Uganda, the hard north of Kenya, Ethiopia and finally Sudan. Both Donna and I were in desperate need of some time out.

To cover three weeks of Nairobi this really should be a long and detailed posting, however in the end we have done very little outside of the compound. Aside from a daily walk down the street to the local Uchumi supermarket, and the occasional trip into Nairobi Central for a hot cup of Java, we spent our time doing what most non-travellers do on their weekends - sweet bugger all.

For the first time in six months we have been able to sleep in when we want to, to wake up at 10am, have a late breakfast, maybe go for a walk. Sit in the gardens or play with the dogs. After lunch maybe throw on a movie or surf the web for a bit. Things most people take for granted in their everyday lives that are just not achievable on the road.

Thanks to Allan and Lynita, the couple running Wildebeest Camp, we did manage a two day trip west of Nairobi into the Hell's Gate National Park and Lake Naivasha region. This was our first chance to see the Colobus Monkey, as well as the hot waterfalls of Hell's Gate. Add into that Baboons raiding our lunch (picture Alan, our Steve Irwin-esk guide chasing after them, a bottle of softdrink in one hand, a victoriously recovered banana in the other), some delicious food at Elsamere, and two days of relaxing informed game drives through some of Kenya's lesser known parks. With the added bonus of Hippo's walking through the lodge in the evening (aside from one charging us - don't worry, after being attacked earlier in the day by a ferocious Sun Snake, Donna was quick to push Lynita and myself infront of the charging beast to save herself) we had a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.

(see Hell's Gate Gallery for photos)

Donna also managed a day trip of her own to the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage and Langatta Giraffe Sanctuary.

For those making the long trek to Nairobi, Carnivore is often high on the list of places to visit, a meat eaters fantasy land where all matter of exotic meats are carved from Masai swords right onto your plate. Unfortunately with recent changes to Kenyan law, most of the gamey meats are no longer allowed to be served, left with Beef, Lamb, Pork, Chicken, Crocodile and Ostrich - it's still a fantastic evening out, though probably not worth the 2000 Shillings.

Three weeks did give us ample time to finally get Beer and Biryani up to date. With nothing updated for a month I was getting a little antsi to have something posted. Thankfully with Donna's help we managed to whip up five or six half decent posts as well as eight new photo galleries. Against Donna's advice I decided mot to reduce the number of images per gallery down to an acceptable number, instead - using the logic that each image is photographically brilliant (even if I do say so myself), if people are interested then they can wait for the photo's to download. Plus, between Andrew, Donna and myself we took over 6,000 photos in the last month. Additionally, based on an analysis of our reader segmentation, 90% of all Beer and Biryani subscribers currently have broadband internet. Anyway - this site is just as much a memory for Donna and I as a means to kill an hour or so during a slow afternoon at work (no offense Angie).

After languishing idly within the Wildebeest compound (and our hosts make it soooo easy to do so), it was amazing just how quickly we settled into a routine and forgot all about the outside world, let alone being in Nairobi or Africa for that matter. When we finally did get out and about to secure some onward bus tickets, to say it was a shock to the system would be an understatement and a half. All of a sudden the reality that we are moving on again set in, all the old doubts came flooding back. This leads back to the same concerns we had before leaving - maybe it's time to wrap this little jaunt of ours up, get a job like an adult should and start earning some cold hard cash again.

There is so much we want to do in this lifetime, and no matter how hard you try, there is no way you can get everything done. While working you want to travel, when your travelling you wish you working or doing things at home.

Speaking of home, if I thought proposing to Donna would put her planning for the future on hold for a while, boy was I wrong. I have in fact caused the opposite to happen, Donna has kicked her wedding planning activities into overdrive, while I'm busy reading travel guides and going over maps, she's studying bridal magazines, going over reception and catering proposals, writing lists and then lists of lists. There really are too many things to finalise for our big day and unfortunately it's hard to do this on the road, that and it's starting to look very very expensive (at least I get to plan the honeymoon - bring on the big boys toys...).

Enough waffling, we've secured two permits to hunt the Gorilla's in Rwanda sometime towards the end of September - keep an eye out for photo's of that adventure. After three glorious weeks for sure we'll pass back through Nairobi before heading into Northern Kenya and who know's, we might even make it out of the compound next time around.

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Good on you Donna for early planning (wedding plans I mean!) moving on now to read about the gorillas....

Sally - October 10, 2007

I hear Donna did the girlie thing and cried and got all blubbery!!!! and was surprisingly speachless, very unusual eh!! Congratulations and best wishes to you both

Anonymous - October 12, 2007


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