Well we finally managed to get Kenya Customs to release our new roof top tent at 4.55pm on a Friday after a lot of jumping up and down and now it is in the process of being fitted to the Land Cruiser.
On a positive note we have finally been able to rid ourselves of the Bunduflip or as we nicknamed it, the Bundulemon, Bundubath and the Bunduspa so bad was it at keeping the rain out!
Not everything went to plan with the new Bundutop roof top tent but doing anything like this in Kenya is difficult as you just can’t get materials that we are so used to getting at Bunnings in Australia! Forget about finding anything made from aluminium to use for mounting in fact to do this they had to utilise an old roof rack.
In the meantime we have been doing lots of fun things in Nairobi whilst waiting. A Welshman Rob who we met at Jungle Junction had heard on the radio that there was a Kenya rugby semi final being played in Nairobi with the Harlequin’s playing the Impalas and asked if we were interested in going along to watch and we jumped at the opportunity. So we got the Jungle Junction driver to drop us off and as we entered Rob spotted the TV camera crew getting ready to interview the coaches and decided it would be a good idea if they were to interview him as well, which they did!
Anyway it was a great game with loads of passion from both sides and at one stage there was a bit of a melee and the whole crowd started yelling “we want fight, we want fight” which was hilarious!
We also did a lovely walk around the Olooolua Forest not far from where we are staying here in Nairobi. It was lovely but because the long rains have been so delayed it was very dry. We spotted lots of different birds along the nice shaded tracks and it was great to get some good exercise in. While there we bumped into a woman shooting some video footage to encourage people to visit the forest and she noticed we were wearing hiking boots so she asked if she could take some footage of our hiking boots walking along the track! So our legs resplendent in hiking boots will be famous!
Next we visited the Giraffe Centre run by the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife and before visiting we thought it might be a bit gimmicky but once there we loved it. We arrived early, there was hardly anyone there and as we entered we were given a bag of pellets to feed the giraffes. You could feed them at ground level from behind a wall or from a balcony at giraffe face level! We were really taken in by the whole experience and really enjoyed the interaction being quite amazed how gentle they were in nibbling the pellets from our fingers. Their tongues were also surprisingly soft and agile. After this we went across the road to where the giraffe have a huge area to live in and we did a walk through some really beautiful forest on tracks that were not marked so well so as usual we spent a bit of time lost but always going in the general direction we wanted to go! Then afterwards we went back to the centre and had a cup of tea while we watched hordes of tourists coming and going with their drivers.
We have also done an about face with our decision to not continue north through Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, so we spent a couple of days organising that. Having had quite a bit of time at the overlanding camp in Nairobi called Jungle Junction we have had the chance to talk to more people who have travelled through Ethiopia and most have had good experiences and certainly the good outweigh the bad. Also Sudan has re-opened its borders and all looks to be calm there. So firstly we had to go to the Australian Embassy to pick up “Letters of Introduction” to take to the Ethiopian and Sudan Embassy. It took about an hour in heavy traffic in an Uber to reach the Australian Embassy and then after an incredible amount of security getting through 4 inch thick steel doors and thorough body searches we were let into the inner sanctum. Yes we were told we can issue you these letters but it will cost you 5,000 Kenyan Shillings or $71 per letter so a total of $284 for what took a woman 10 minutes while she typed our names and passport details on to the standard forms. In our opinion an outrageous amount for such a small outlay of time and resources. We had met a couple from New Zealand, Bridget and Topher who also had to do the same but at the New Zealand Embassy and they were charged nothing for the service. Thank you Australian Government for the big hit, we really appreciate it. Then we went straight around to the Ethiopian Embassy but they only take Visa applications between 9am and 12.30pm so we were just too late. The next morning we were up early and back to the Ethiopian Embassy 2 minutes before they opened and the difference in security compared with the Australian Embassy was quite comical, a thin timber door and external doors and windows open! Pauline had to use the loo and it had no water so stunk to high heaven! We put in our applications and asked if they would please process them straight away but no they couldn’t and we would have to come back at 3pm that afternoon. Payment for the visa is not taken at the Embassy for some reason so we then had to walk the 2 kilometres down into Nairobi city centre to find the right bank to deposit the fee. We did this and then found a cafe to have some lunch while we waited for our visas. A man on the next table struck up a conversation with us, Jay who moved with his wife and two children to Nairobi about a year ago. He is just starting up a business in mobile games while his wife works for an NGO here. They really enjoy living here and as often as possible do small trips out of Nairobi to places like Lake Naivasha. We then walked back to the Ethiopian Embassy but realised just before we got there that they were closed for lunch until 2pm! So we had an hour and a quarter to kill so found a shady tree with a convenient wall to sit on for the wait. The great thing about Africa is that you can never be bored doing something like this because there is always so much to watch! The embassy opened again at 2pm and we were waiting as they opened the doors in the hope that our visas were ready but no they weren’t so we were back waiting again. It was quite hilarious because there was nothing happening behind the counter except a lot of chatting and giggling but then at about a quarter to three they started work on the visas and we were handed them right on three! For the Sudan visa they only take applications on Mondays and Wednesdays so rather than wait another week we decided we would pick that visa up in Addis Ababa on our way through. So now we are good to head out of Nairobi tomorrow morning on our journey north! The plan is to at least start off by travelling in convoy with Bridget and Topher in Ethiopia for a bit of extra security but we really don’t think it will be needed. They both travel a bit faster than us so may not want to stay with us long which is fine but it will be fun to travel with them for a while.
It has come to the time that we must leave Kenya but first we will visit a couple of Swiss overlanders who we met at Jungle Junction in December before we went home for Christmas. They have got an airbnb place for three months at Lake Naivasha while they wait out the wet season. Then we will work our way up towards the border and meet up with Bridget and Topher in Marsabit before crossing the border into Ethiopia.