Saturday, July 24, 2010

Kenya 2010: The Migration North

We had spent two evenings at the Safari Club Hotel Nairobi, and were now ready to begin the bush experience we planned nearly fourteen months ago. Exiting the the bustling city during a Sunday sunrise meant that we could avoid the oppressive traffic that walled in any who dared enter its borders. With over three million people crammed into 696 km2, Nairobi is the most populous city in East Africa, and forms a Kenyan province of its own. The rules of the road appear to be defined by the moment and confound my own logic. We three are thankful for Francis, our guide, who knows the terrain like the lines on his face. His knowledge of the city and homeland seem to be embedded in his DNA as he propelled us effortlessly out of the metropolis and into the hinterland. 

Our destination was 350 km to the north on paved, unpaved, and pot-holed roads. Traveling in a stretched LandCruiser, we slowly made our way from Nairobi to Samburu National Reserve. During this five hour excursion, I could not avoid from comparing rural Kenya to the Tanzanian countryside we traversed in 2008. It became clear that Kenya is more “Westernized” than its neighbor to the south. While the homes and shops might be appear primitive to most from Europe and North America, the network of towns, villages and farms along the road were so numerous that it was a definite contrast to my recollections of Tanzania.

After five hours of twists, turns, bumps, and stops we arrived at the Samburu Simba Lodge. Cold towels and hot meals were waiting for us, a welcome relief from the dusty roads traveled that morning.

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