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A Whistle Stop Tour in Kenya

Naivasha, Kenya

With time ticking by in Kenya it was nearly time to make the long arduous trek to the Ethiopian border, but first I set off on a whistle stop tour of some of the countries lesser known attractions - including Lake Naivasha, Hell's Gate National Park, Lake Elementeita and Nanyuki to witness the Corrolis effect first-hand.

The first stop saw me set up camp on the shores of Lake Naivasha, where hippos roam free and flamingos shade the water a beautiful pink. It was from here that I made my mission into Hell's Gate National Park, which is famous for being the only park in Kenya where one can walk and cycle among the animals - thankfully lions and cheetahs have not been spotted here for some time.

That said I was more than a little worried when, having cycled into the park twenty minutes earlier, two young buffalos decided to stare me down before turning and ambling off. After that little episode the rest of the day was truly magical. Being on bike and foot gives the feeling of actually being among the animals, rather than just observing them, and riding among a family of giraffe will live long in my memory.

So 56km of cycling, 10km of hiking, 14 giraffes, two buffalo, countless zebra, impala, warthog and baboons, one sandstone gorge and a Masi village later I had done Hell's Gate National Park. I had just enough energy to cycle back to camp before collapsing in a heap with a well deserved beer by my campfire, thoroughly exhausted but more than content with my efforts.

From there it was on to Lake Elementeita, one of the Rift Valley's lesser visited lakes, to see more flamingos than one would care to shake a stick at. Waking up to a lake tinged with pink is not the worst start to a day one could have, made even better for the free breakfast I received courtesy of Josephat the chef. That was the fuel I needed for a busy day, which saw me rack up over 350km on mini-buses, including the highest town in Kenya, Nyharuru - home to Thompson's Falls and the Kikuyu tribe.

There was barely time to take it all in before jumping on the last mini-bus to Nanyuki where the River Camel Camp awaited me - and what a magnificent place it was. Run by an Chris, an old Welshman from Usk (all of ten miles from Mum and Dad's house), who has lived in Africa for 47 years it was one of the best places I have stayed thus far - not least because I got to eat camel, which was delicious, and drink camel's milk, which was not so delicious.

It was here that I was able to add camel to the list of animals I have ridden, which also includes cows, donkeys, elephants and horses, and it's safe to say it was the most uncomfortable animal I have ever ridden - let's just say it's better to be female when it comes to riding a camel. Keeping with the flavour of the week, packing in as much as possible, it was off to the equator.

It is widely known that water drains in a different direction in the Northern and Southern hemispheres - anti-clockwise and clockwise- but until you see it in action it is difficult to believe. The theory behind it is known as the Corrolis effect - and you only have to move ten metres either side of the equator to see the change in direction as the water drains. Strangest of all is that on the equator itself the water doesn't flow in any direction, rather it drains in a straight line. Strange but true.

With my Ethiopian visa waiting for me back in Nairobi it was time to bring my week to an end and turn my attention to the long, bandit-ridden, road ahead. I can't say that the prospect of 600km of dirt track, with the very real danger of bandits, is the most appealing but if I am to stick to my goal of no airplanes that is the challenge I must overcome.

permalink written by  MarcusInAfrica on November 6, 2009 from Naivasha, Kenya
from the travel blog: Cape to Cardiff
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Looks like a great place to pitch a tent - just you and the great outdoors - I hope there were no Hyena around, but if there were then your trainer's would act as a great deterrent - cant wait to see you in Egypt for New Year - hugs and all my love and kisses - miss you - Mum xxxxx

permalink written by  Jayne Leach on November 6, 2009

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