Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Bumpy Road Ahead

Before we left for Bahrain and long before the elections, I promised to tell you about my Amboselli safari, so with apologies for the delay…

With Hubby about to leave for Thailand and Egypt, BBS, Eleanor, and myself left for our safari adventure that Sunday in the highest of spirits. Our driver, Alex, helped us load our knapsacks into the back of the van and we were off on the four to five hour journey to Amboselli National Park. The first two hours of the drive went by rather quickly and gave us all an opportunity to peek into a Kenya that is often hidden to those of us who live in Nairobi. Little did we know that those pothole filled roads were to be the most pleasant – and quiet – part of our journey.

After a brief bathroom break near the Tanzanian border, we turned left and drove through a small town that gave us all the impression that we were far closer to the park than we really were. After two or three minutes, we left the pot-holed road and started along a very bumpy gravel road. Five minutes into this portion of the drive, Eleanor and I spotted a sign on the side of the road: “67 miles to Amboselli Serena Lodge.” We both assumed (and prayed) that we had misread the sign or missed a decimal point. We hadn’t.

The next several hours were bumpy and loud to the point where I was beginning to worry that my eardrums were going to rupture. When we finally arrived at the park gate, we mistakenly thought that our journey was almost at an end. Alas, the hawkers who surrounded our vehicle were only there to mark the beginning of another 45 minute drive through one set of lodges and then finally to our own.

In the name of full disclosure, let me say that the Serena Amboselli is a lovely hotel/lodge. Our rooms were huge, clean, and prettily decorated; they even looked out onto a lovely grassy area that a family of monkeys enjoyed visiting. To my delight, the mosquito nets surrounded the bed area rather than just the bed that meant my usual mozzie net claustrophobia would not be tested. The rooms directly across from ours, however, were tiny and cramped, making us even more grateful for our spacious accommodations.

Our daily schedule included two drives a day – the first at 7:30 a.m. and the second at 4:00 p.m. This left us with A LOT of downtime to kill. The three buffet-style meals per day helped in that regard, as did the pool, but most of the time I found myself reading or wishing there was a TV in my room.

Over the next few days, I will share the stories of the game we were able to see, the many animals we weren’t able to see, and why we should have gone to the Masai Mara.


Anonymous said...

Ah, but how many buses were you following and how was the dust?

Anonymous said...

I personally believe that Samburu is way better than the masai mara. So much more game that you could atually see! Although the mara balloon ride was awesome :o)