With the uncertainty of the Roof top tents arrival we had already thought about what we would do if this was indeed the case and had decided on a week trip up through the Samburu and across to Lake Turkana which is what most Kenyans call the last of the real Kenya it is wild, remote and still very tribal. So Marcus sent off a message to Debbie who we had met at the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda and knowing how much East Africa travel she and her partner Gary had done we thought she might be able to give us some not to be missed spots to visit. Debbie replied with some great ideas and the next morning we set off but first we had to visit a Dutch bakery in Karen that we had found out about. Called Bbrood Bakery, they bake all sorts of deliciousness including sourdough bread, focaccia, fruit buns and hot cross buns and we really needed to stock up on all these! Our first stop was at Castle Forest Lodge on the southern slopes of Mt Kenya and again because of it’s elevation was warm during the day but cool at night. When we got to the entrance gate we found it locked and no one around but shortly afterwards a land cruiser with a guide/driver turned up and set about finding someone to let us in but while he did this we discovered that his clients in the vehicle were Aussies! It had been ages since we had seen any Aussies so we were very happy to strike up a conversation with them. It turns out that they Mum and daughter were on a quick two week holiday to Kenya because Sam the daughter who is in the Australian Track cycling squad had been given this break, one of very few we would guess. Tracy is a real estate agent in Berwick and as the conversation gained in momentum and we said we were from Trafalgar she asked if we knew a doctor called James Brown who delivered one of her children many years ago and of course we do.
We also met a Dutch motorbike rider called Roland who was riding a Husqvarna 701 Enduro from Amsterdam in Holland to Capetown in South Africa. He had only been travelling for one and half months and was to be in Capetown in a similar time so quite a quick trip. He had however been having trouble with his bike going into limp mode making it very difficult to continue unless he was able to get a fix for it in Nairobi. So the five of us had dinner together and also drinks the following night and really enjoyed each others company. Sam had recently won a silver medal in the National Track Championships so is a good chance of making it onto the Australian Womens Track team for next years Olympics and even though she was very humble I’m sure she will be a good chance. While here we took a guided walk in the forest around the lodge and Roland joined us, we were guided by Joseph and his bird whistle repertoire was just incredible. He was able to mimic so many different birds it was a delight to watch him at work. There used to be elephants here in the forest but around 12 months ago poachers shot ten in one day and sadly none have been since. The camp area of the lodge was quite full being the Easter weekend and lots of families from Nairobi had come up to camp.
The next morning it was time to get a bit more remote and we drove North to the town of Archers Post where the entrance to the Samburu Reserve is. It was really threatening to rain so we opted for a room rather than risk a very wet night in the roof top tent. We still cooked our own dinner and sat outside where it was slightly cooler than the hot box of a room. Up nice and early the next morning we were in the Samburu Reserve by 7.15 am and once again slugged for being a Non resident of Kenya. We had originally wanted to camp in the reserve but they wanted $60 US per night from us for a campsite with drop toilet and no shower. Anyway enough whinging, the Samburu Reserve is quite an arid dry environment and at the moment the Ewaso Nyiro River which separates it from the Buffalo Springs reserve only had a trickle in it and in fact as we drove further up the river it stopped flowing on the surface.
There are no fences on these reserves so the animals are free to come and go consequently there were not a huge number of animals in the reserve. We did see however lots of the Reticulated Giraffe, some Grevy Zebra and Somali Ostrich we had be hoping to see not to forget some beautiful elephant sitings and birds galore.
At one stage we stopped and watched a troupe of baboons feasting on the blossom of a tree which was fun. It was a great 6 hours in the park but by 1.30 pm it was so hot the animals had gone into hiding so we left and drove further north to Marsabit where we spent the night at Camp Henry.