18th of April 2016:
Normally on a Monday you may feel a sense of monday-itis but it doesn’t exist when you wake up knowing your off to the Serengeti today. To those who do not know what the Serengeti is, it’s one of the most world known Safaris, where National Geographic etc. film and do research. We packed a smaller bag again and we’re off to see some more of the Big 5. At this time of the year you may be lucky to see the end of the migration of the Wildebeast and Zebras. Apparently it was our lucky day. After driving for 2 hours to the Serengeti we started to see 1000s of black dots. Then all of a sudden we realised they were all Wildebeast. 1000’s and 1000’s walked in a line, or scattered to the eye can see.
It was honestly beyond words and I can’t believe we were so fortunate to witness it. After 45 minutes of staring into amazement we were off buzzing excited to see what else was in store for us. We saw the car ahead stop when literally a meter away a huge male lion sat next to the road. I couldn’t even believe it. He was possibly the most laziest lion I’ve ever seen. He definitely looked like he was hit by monday-itis hard. He kept falling asleep, covering his ears just not wanting a bar of it.
Whilst only 400m away 100s of Zebras grazed in the grass. We stayed with him for 30 minutes, I didn’t even realise my mouth was open the entire time. The drive to our campsite took three hours but those three hours were amazing seeing wild animals everywhere you looked. We saw 11 lions today, two were lazing by the water, and the others were sun baking on the rocks. The two by the water were gorgeous as one got up and walked over to the other and started playing and licking each other until life got to exhausting and snuggled up whilst enjoying the sunshine. They weren’t even phased that two trucks with 11 people were staring in amazement.
By the time we arrived to our campsite the sun was setting over the African horizon. The sunset was beyond words, bright purple and pink covered the sky whilst a Giraffe ate in the trees and pumbas (warthogs) roamed around with their families.
The campsite however was not as picturesque. It was something you see in a horror film even the guys didn’t want to go to the bathroom alone. There were no fences around so our tents which were set up by the Serengeti guides/ cooks during the day were in the wilderness where we just saw 11 lions. The bathroom was an old building with creepy vines growing up and was 80 metres away in the darkness. To add to the bathrooms horrible appeal there were no lights so if someone left the door open who knows what kind of animals could have been lurking in there.
After our dinner cooked by the chefs, the girls had a wonderful chat while Nick and Andrew had a little boys session looking at photos in our tent.
As I was all snuggled up in my sleeping bag ready to fall into a peaceful sleep, Nick hears a lion roar. From then on in the middle of the night he would yell lion and give me a heart ache imagining a lions head looking into our tent. If this wasn’t enough adrenaline for you Hyenas walked along the tents for a few hours. Thankfully I didn’t need to go to the bathroom but a few did and simply had to hold on.
19th of April 2016:
We were up nice and early for breakfast before doing a safari all day. From what we had seen yesterday we were both pretty excited to see what else was out there. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite as impressive. It was hard to live up to though. As much as I say this for 4 hours we were surrounded by 1000’s and 1000’s of Zebras and wildebeests so it wasn’t all horrible when you think about it.
I do love zebras though they remind me of my pony smurf, fat and just keep eating no matter what. I just need to paint him with black strips and I could have my own zebra. However, I finally saw my first hyena of this trip. I remember seeing them when I was a kid when I went to Africa with my parents and that’s all I wanted to see. They are funny animals, their bodies and necks look as if it’s missing something. There are no words to describe them in as much detail as when you see their faces. Their good little scavengers as well as killers they are intelligent in their own right but their appearance betrays them.
Over the radio the other tour guide told us he has seen a cheetah. This was the only animal out of the big 5 we hadn’t seen yet. He quickly turned the car around and drove a couple of 100m. In the horizon there was one rock with a figure sitting up tall on it. There is absolutely no way I would have ever worked out that was a cheetah or an animal. It was so far away. Then all of a sudden the other truck took off, off-roading for a km to the cheetah and blocked our view. We were so envious that our driver didn’t risk the $200,000 fine and 6 month suspension but can completely understand why.
At 12pm we picked up Kelly, Kat and Andrew from the hot air balloon place and continued our safari. This was possibly one of the most boring times. All you could see was a horizon of grass and a few trees with no animals in sight. When all of a sudden Nick screams “turtle”, amazingly in the middle of the Serengeti a little tortoise was walking just on the edge of the road. To say that this was the exciting part explains how bad it was.
After lunch we were on our way to the Ngoragora crater.
Before this trip I hadn’t heard about the crater but it is truly one of the most breathtaking places I’ve seen. The crater used to be a mountain bigger than Kilimanjaro however it collapsed in on itself and created a crater full of greenlands and lakes. The only animals that are not there are giraffes due to it being impossible to get back up the hill with their long necks.
The campsite was on top of the crater with frost covering the grass before the big drop off. Once again there were no fences and this time buffalos were roaming around 100m next to our tents. Buffalos are the most dangerous animals in Africa, they give off no warning signs they are going to charge and will not stop until you are well and truly dead. Thankfully we are all alive and well. Another gorgeous dinner cooked by our chefs with the girls talking around the campfire drinking wine. You probably couldn’t imagine a more perfect night and I will never forget this place.
20th of April 2016:
Today’s our last day in the Serengeti. Time went by so quickly. So we were up at 6am ready to watch as much action as possible before leaving by 12pm. Nick and I were up on our seats with the wind freezing my face following an elephant down the windy road to the crater. As the elephant finally walked off the road and into the bush, Nick saw a lion herding Wildebeast. We all thought he was joking and after a few minutes and a look at his photo using his huge lens he was right. It was so exciting but we were still so far away. So our leader quickly drove us down the road towards where we saw the lion. I wish I could say we saw the lion continue to creep up on the Wildebeast and kill it. However we never found it again. We were all so disappointed but still had the rest of the day to hope for the best. After 15 minutes we came to a lake where 25 or so hippos were sitting by the water or swimming. The ones swimming and eating were adorable, yawning away as they munched and play with each other. All of a sudden the 10 hippos sitting outside of the lake all got up at the exact same time and marched into the water. It looked as if it was 10 o’clock that means swimming time. It was pretty funny to watch their faces they are just so happy eating, I can definitely relate. We continued driving up a big mountain to where 50 elephants were munching on the grass, it was so unexpected. The mud was becoming slippery under the truck and a few times especially going down the little mountain we did a few drags. All of a sudden Kelly yelled out “hyena”, I heard her and just screamed “HYENA!” Although I saw one yesterday it was far away and I saw this one quickly and it was only a metre away from the road. We quickly slammed on the breaks and reversed 100m where the hyena was still lying amongst the tall grass and flowers. It was adorable, I wanted it to get up and walk closer but unfortunately it seemed to walk away. I never imagined the hyena, quite literally bounding through the flowers. With its happy face as if today was the best day of its life. Probably the same face I made when I left my last exam in university.
We continued driving through mud and puddles. As we were standing up we would have to duck down every time mud came flying to our face. We started to not see as many animals, when all of a sudden more hyenas only a metre away again eating a bone. The three of them were sitting in the dirt chewing away when we turned around and saw 5 male lions sitting only 100m away lounging in the sun.
We went to see the lions and just watched in amazement for an hour with 2 different packs of hyenas chewing away and lions in the middle lazing around or drinking water. They were all content and not bothered about 100s of flamingos in the background or the other animals walking around including pumbas. The smell however was horrifying. It was 360 degree action, everywhere you turned a different animal would be lurking.
At one point however the biggest wasp I have ever seen started attacking me. I literally was more terrified of this wasp then the lions and hyenas around me. I kept hitting it with the binoculars. Kate decided to change seats from the back to the front. This is completely fine as she said all she could see were bums, as we were all standing up. However she took Nicks seat when he went to the bathroom (in the wilderness in the middle of our drive). I told her I was happy to swap as did Kelly but she wanted his seat, not even the other seat in the front that only had powerboards. She said he’s not even sitting down anyways. Nick was fuming when he got on. The safari to him was like Christmas. He was beyond the most excited than anyone else and now she took the seat that he was standing on the entire time. I understand it’s anyone’s seat don’t get me wrong it was just the fact that she just sat down the entire time and slept, when she could of slept in the back with the four seats and not been in the way.
After lunch we headed back to snake park. I felt as if I was still buzzing, Nick and I didn’t want to leave we wanted to just keep driving but as soon as we started to go up the crater I fell asleep. It was as if all this excitement and adrenaline over the past 3 days just knocked me out like a child.
I still felt a bit sluggish when we arrived at snake park and was so grateful we did the Masai village walk before than after. Unfortunately Kat and Rhett were feeling ill so they missed it all together. I however had a wonderful long hot shower. I can’t wait till I can soak in a bath though but for now I haven’t felt this clean in awhile. We had a wonderful last dinner together, home cooked cheeseburgers and chips, even pineapple made an appearance. I can’t believe this is our last night together. Where has the 42 days gone?
We all went to the bar and had a chat and drank some horrible “goon” wine until midnight.
21st of April 2016:
Today is officially our last day on the tour. It’s crazy I can’t even comprehend how time has possibly gone this fast! We were up nice and early once again setting down the tent for the final time. I wish I could say that we did it in a peaceful manner but unfortunately we thought it was going to pour down so we quickly put down the tent. I wish it had rained then it would have made the rush and pressure all worth it, but the thunder tricked us. We were all on the truck for the final time. I didn’t even want to sleep or write my journal, I just wanted to talk to everyone for the final time. It was only a 6 hour bus ride to Nariobi, but of course we had to go through customs. The Kenya customs was very unique, they have now just implemented a rule that you have to go and pay for the printing of your visa document to fill it out and hand it to them. Although of course it’s not much, it’s inconvenient and bizarre. Kenya are trying to keep up to date with the world and make it electronic, which is fine, but provide paper as well. Just as we went through and had to wait for the officials to stamp it two full buses arrived, making the line out the door. Thank god we got there 15 minutes earlier.
We dropped everyone off at a petrol station in Nairobi, Kenya where we all went our separate ways. It was unfathomable that after 42 days being with each other 24-7 across 7 countries and traveling a distance of over 10,000km we were saying goodbye.
Now there was only three, Kate, Nick and I. We were the three Aussies in the dorm room and now we’re the last. I was pretty happy to get to our hostel and just relax but we had to go to a huge shopping centre for 45 minutes while George and Bella got stuff done. As you walk into the shopping centre you and your bag are searched. Not only this but even in certain stores you go through the same procedure.
We went to get money out and have a milkshake, and dear god it was amazing. What I would do to be drinking that right now. It was also nice to get updated on what’s happened in the world. Wifi in Africa is basically non existent so whatever has happened in the past 42 days we could finally hear about it.
As we arrived at the hostel we grabbed our beds and just sat in the cafe enjoying our own time. I was happy to finally be posting blogs and Nick was happy to do his photography.
It was an early night and I wouldn’t of had it any other way.
22nd of April 2016:
I woke up with so much excitement as I whispered to Nick, “we’re going to Greece today!” I can’t believe it. I feel as if I’ve just become so accustomed to African lifestyle that were now changing again. I’ve also never been to Greece. Unfortunately as much as waking up at 7am with excitement our plane didn’t leave till 10:55pm, so a long day of waiting. We jumped out of bed to have breakfast and wifi again. Nick was able to FaceTime his parents and his dogs whilst my parents were in Alice Springs with apparently poor connection, how ironic.
I organised to go to the elephant orphanage only 20 minutes away. As Nick had already seen them in Livingstone I went by myself. Nairobi is one of the most unsafe areas, and I was pretty nervous to be in a taxi by myself. Thankfully my tour leader and her friend were wanting to go to the shopping centre to catch up so they jumped in to. She had also arranged the taxi who is her friend who was also previously a tour leader for 10 years. Once I found this out I felt a lot more comfortable.
The elephant orphanage was adorable, I met Kelly there and luckily she was already at the front of the line. We ran straight to the front of the ropes. The sun was beaming down on us and it has been awhile where I’ve thought that I might actually get burnt, and I was correct. Just on my shoulders.
The baby elephants ranging from 2 weeks old to 2 years all ran down in a line to get their milk and food. It was beyond words how adorable it was. There was one that Kelly and I thought was so cute, it drank all its milk and then went into a milk coma. It was just so happy but just standing there with a smug look on its face. The keepers tried to get it to keep moving so the other elephants could drink but it just didn’t care. Then the baby elephant ran up to me. It would of been up to my shoulders and very heavy. It was adorable though patting a baby orphaned elephant can’t say I do that often. Then these baby elephants left and more came. The next group were from 3 to 5 years they were bigger but compared to a fully grown one very tiny. The guy told us that the more noise we make the more excited it made the elephants. He literally meant this in the way to be silent or they will trample you. Apparently Americans just don’t understand the concept of shhhh. They kept screaming and screeching so the elephant literally put its head under the rope and walked through to them. The keepers ran over and guided it back but once they screamed again it ran over. I felt sorry for the baby elephant it wouldn’t mean to trample people it just wanted to play. After an hour of this excitement we were all done. Unfortunately that meant I had nothing else to do for the day.
I went back to the hostel and organised the same driver to take us to the airport. Apparently Kenyas traffic is really bad so we had to leave 2 hours earlier than you may originally think. This meant leaving 5 hours before our flight left. It was bizarre but I was happy to be there rather than missing it all together. However it seemed to only take an hour to get through. At the entrance of the airport we had to get out of the taxi leaving all our belongs in the car and walk through a metal/ bomb detector, and then wait for the car to go through the same screening and then jump back in to drive to the terminal. If I hadn’t felt safe with him or been to see the elephants I would have been terrified to get out of the car. You never leave your belongings unattended especially with strangers and this is what they make you do before jumping on a plane.
Now we were at the airport 4 hours before our plane was due to leave. Our first plane is only a 5 hour flight. We were told the airport had food but unfortunately it was one restaurant outside. So I was starving to death by the time we got on the plane. I don’t even know how we killed the time but somehow we were 30 minutes before boarding. We had bumped into Kelly in the airport as she was taking the same plane to Dubai and then heading home to Tasmania. I wanted to change my Kenyan money to euro because I knew there was probably no where in the world that would want my Kenyan money. I got 40 euros as a result which is always nice to have the money of the country your going to when you arrive even if it’s just a little bit.
As we boarded our plane we went into another little section before reaching the plane. For some reason he said I could go to the first class/ business class seating. It was literally no different apart from 20 people compared to 100 but I wanted to talk to Nick and Kelly.
Emirates planes are very good for the money you pay in economy. Thankfully they had put a few more movies on since the beginning of March including sisters which is hilarious. I ordered white wine with my meal literally just to knock me out but it didn’t seem to work.