Well here it is, the start of a new adventure!!
First of all, I cant believe that i'm actually going to do this, to take a year out of my life and dedicate it to travelling - how cool is that!!
Why would I want to do that? Well why not!!
I was sadly given redundancy from Carlsberg UK which was enough money to pay for a full year of traveling! It made total sence to me, to use the redundacy money and to do something that I've always wanted to do for such a long time and now comes the time for me to live the dream. Chuzzle goes global!!
Where am I going? http://boards.gapyear.com/index.php?op=vt&c=4&f=121&t=190451
9th June 2007 - It was time to say good bye!
Friday the 8th proved to be a stressful day, I had to make sure I'd got everything all sorted, packed then re packed and then re packed again before I left home, my family, my friends and more importantly, the rat race that England has become, I've been looking forward to doing so since the day I scared the pants of of myself when I had realised i'd convinced myself to leave England and travel the world!
I was round at my parents house making sure that everything was all sorted and in place for my trip, the living room floor was deemed as a disaster zone with all of my belongings scattered everywhere, this was clearly an area to be totaly avoided at all costs. Then, in comes my 4 year old nephew, Thomas! Why, when It was bloody obvious to see that the living room floor was a no go area especially when it was also clear that his Uncle Martin was totally stressed out did he find the need to push is Thomas the Tank Engine train complete with 28 sodding carriages and going "CHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" as loud as he could through all of the organised mess that I'd created, all of my traveling clothes, passports, flight tickets, backpack, the condoms that my mum got me for Christmas (1 box flavoured & 1 box ribbed, obviously couldn't make up her mind which I would prefer. Thanks mum fo thinking about my sex life so deeply!) and everything else that I needed for the trip of a life time, oh I so wished he never did that! Why he couldn't play in the kitchen or in his room is beyond me but he really did feel it unfair that I would not let him play around me and continued to tell his grandma that Uncle Martin wasn't being nice... I was turning into a grumpy frustrated mess by this point and just wanted to throw his sodding trains in the bin!
3am Saturday morning, the time has come to say my goodbyes as my brother & sister in-law came to pick me up and drive me to Heathrow airport. My dad had been out for a few beers and decided to stay up with me whilst i'd made all my last minute checks, my mum had gone to bed but got back up again to say her goodbye's to me and my nephew was tucked up in bed with all of his trains safley packed away in his toy box, it was hard to say goodbye whilst holding back my tears!
Welcome to Nairobi! I was greeted at the airport by the taxi driver (who had originally left without me!) who was to take me to the Heron Hotel where I was to stay for 2 nights before my overlanding tour with Absolute Africa that started on the 11th. In the taxi was a couple of other people, Jon from the Basque Country and Lizy who was from London, who was also staying at the hotel and was also doing the same overlanding tour as me (lizy was to be on a different truck).
We'd checked in by about 10:30pm and decided to go for a couple of beers in the bar with Jon & Lizy, it turned out that I was to share room with Jon which I didn't mind but on arrival to our room we was both stunned to see that we was to share a double bed together - oh shit! The following morning, me right on the very edge of my side of the bed and Jon right on the very edge of his, both our backs facing each other, we went for breakfast where we met Geraldine, a French woman who'd arrived during the night and was sharing a room as Lizzy, a twin room with 2 SEPERATE BEDS! Geroldine was on the last stage of her year long trip of which our conversation was based on as well as discussing wine.
The following day, myself, Geroldine and Lizy took a half day trip to several parts of Nairobi, part of which was a trip to Karen Von Blixen's house, the woman who wrote Out of Africa, her house is open to the public and it was interesting to look round and see how she lived http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isak_Dinesen
. As we drove through the streets of Nairobi I was amazed to see the slumbs that some of these people live in, the one I saw was the biggest in Kenya and was told that its not safe to visit. Also in the city was lots of Caribou Stork - they're huge, never seen a bird so big!!
Monday 11th, day 1 of my overland tour where we meet Tans & Ben (tour guides) and of course Eeyore, our truck that was to take us through 15'000km's of Africa as well as the rest of the 13 other passengers that was to start the trip.
TRUCK NOTES for week 1;
Day 1 NAIROBI ? MT KENYA 11/06/07
Depart: 9am Camp: Camp Mountain Rock
WELCOME TO EEYORE – your new home! After we pack our gear away and get through a few essential rules and paperwork, we’ll head off on our first day of your truck safari. Please make yourselves at home, though remember that you must stay seated whilst the vehicle is in motion. We’ll stop on the way out of town at a supermarket where you will need to buy your lunch for today. We’ll have about an hour at the supermarket before driving North from Nairobi for about 3hrs, when we’ll stop for lunch. Then it will be about another 3 hours to camp, our total approximate drive time today is 6hrs. Once we arrive, we’ll do a tent demo and have a pre-departure meeting. Roster will start from today, so find out who’s in your cook group. Tans will collect money for kitty, Chimp Island, Gorilla transfers, Serengeti NP & Zimbabwe Houseboats.
Day 2 MT KENYA ? SAMBURU 12/06/07
B’fast: 730am Depart: 830am Camp: Umoja
We’ll drive a short distance to Nanyuki where we will stop for supplies. You will need to buy lunches for today and tomorrow and drinks (they only sell warm beer at camp tonight). From here it’s about 1 ½ hrs to Timau, where we’ll stop at an orphanage – great chance to get photos of the kids! Cost is 200Ksh pp donation. Then it’s 1 ½ hrs to a town called Isiolo, where we will stop for sodas and lunch for half an hour. From here we’ll head out on the bumpiest roads you will have ever seen! Camp is very basic tonight, no power, long drop loos, trickle of water for shower and lots of mozzies!
Day 3 SAMBURU NP 13/06/07
B’fast: About 9am Depart: 6am Camp: Umoja
This morning we’re up early to head into our first African game park - Samburu NP is the only place on our trip that has Somali Ostriches & Gerenuks so keep your eyes peeled for them. Other animals to keep an eye out for are reticulated giraffes, grevys zebra, lions, cheetah, warthogs, oryx, buffalos, warthogs, oryx, and many more. Early mornings and late afternoon are the best times to see animals, so we’ll have early morning game drive then head back to camp for breakfast. Afterwards you can to go and visit the Samburu tribal village near to camp. It is a womens organisation and gives you a good insight into the daily life of a Samburu tribesman/woman. At around 3pm we’ll head back into the park for an afternoon game drive.
Day 4 SAMBURU?THOMPSONS FALLS 14/06/07
B’fast: 7am Depart: 8am Camp: Thompsons Falls Lodge
This morning we head back down that awful road, through Isiolo again and stopping in Nanyuki again for lunch and kitty shop for today. From here it’s about 4 hrs drive out to Thompsons Falls Lodge, you can go for a walk to see the falls when we get there. Nice camp with good hot showers, flush loos & a bar.
Day 5 T’ FALLS ? ELDORET 15/06/07
B’fast: 8am Depart: 9am Camp: Raj’s Naiberi River Camp
A bit of a sleep in today, we’ll drive for about an hour and a half and stop in a town called Nakuru and shop for lunches for today and tomorrow. Cook groups for tonight and tomorrow night will go with Tans to the local fruit & veg market to buy kitty food. We’ll be in town for about an hour and a half, so you can use internet. We’ll stop on the side of the road somewhere for ½ hr lunch, then drive for around 3 hrs to camp for the night. There are upgrades to really nice dorms and doubles available. Dorms are 350Ksh pp and doubles are 1100Ksh pp to upgrade. Showers are awesome! And the bar is like none you will ever see again. Flush loos and lovely thick grass for camping.
Day 6 ELDORET ? ENTEBBE 16/06/07
B’fast: On the truck Depart: 6am (ouch!) Camp: Frank’s Camp
EARLY START! But necessary because it’s a long day today! We’re looking at a 12 hr day including about 9hrs driving, a couple of hours on the border and shopping stop in Kampala. Firstly it’s about 3hrs drive to the border. Just eat b’fast while we are driving whenever you are hungry. At the border Tans will take your passports into both sides of the border, you will all need $15 for your Uganda transit visa. Please do not get out of the truck at borders or take photos. Stereo must be off as well please. From the border it will take about 4 ½ hrs to get to Kampala. We’ll stop on the side of the road for lunch. In Kampala we will have an hour or so to buy kitty food for the next few nights, drinks for those that do not drink beer (beer only at camp tonight), do internet and change money. From here it’s about an hour and a half’s drive (depending on traffic) to Entebbe, where we will meet our new passengers. Camp tonight is on nice grass, with warmish showers and flush toilets.
Day 7 ENTEBBE 17/06/07
B’fast: 845am Depart: 945am Camp: Frank’s Camp
After b’fast we will drive down to the jetty where your boat will meet you to go to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary. This costs you US$45 including a buffet local lunch. The boat ride over is about an hour and a half, then you will get a tour and lots of info on the daily life of our closest relatives and see what the sanctuary does for their conservation. Take your swimming gear because you can have a dip after lunch or in the middle of the lake if you want to. You will arrive back to the jetty at about 5pm, then we’ll head back to Frank’s for the night.
Day 7 ENTEBBE?LAKE BUNYONI 18/06/07
B’fast: On the truck Depart: 6am Camp: Lake Bunyoni O/land Camp
Longish day, early start & b’fast on the truck when you are hungry. It’s about 6 hrs drive to Mbarara, where we will stop for lunch stuff for today. We will pass the Equator on the way, but will stop for photos on the way back. It’s about 3hrs drive to Kabale, where we will stop to shop for dinner stuff & you guys will need to buy lunch stuff for the next 2 days – tomorrow and the day most of you are trekking. Please remember that you will have to carry your lunch up into the mountains with you, so keep it simple (you can make sandwiches the night before) and also remember that you must bring lunch for your gorilla guides, so buy a little extra. From there it is only about an hour up the hill to Lake Bunyoni. Camp tonight has nice grass, slow internet, pool table, bar (watch your tabs), sometimes warm showers and nice upgrades!
Will update the rest asap, need to catch the post office!