Monday, April 15, 2013

Sights, Signs and Thoughts along the way

You don't get to live on the Equator or zig-zag around the Equator while living in Asia, unless you happen to find yourself in Indonesia or perhaps in the atolls of Kiribati. That meant a few photo opportunities while we were in Kenya.

While most of the roads connecting the most visited parks were in good shape, a small stretch in the Aberdares area was being repaired. We followed a truck full of workers for a while.

Wou get a demonstration of the 'Coriolis Effect' at one of the Equator spots. A bowl of swirling water was set up 20 metres from the Equator mark, and the match stick appeared to rotate clockwise North of the line. Now, with the diameter of the Earth being about 12,700 km, I wonder whether 20 metres would make an impact. Anyway... say cheese, click!

The match stick appeared to swirl counter-clockwise 20 metres south of the line . Is 20 metres adequate? True or trick? Click!

No swirling when the bowl was set up along the line that said Equator. Hmmm....

We were on holiday, so enjoyed the demonstration and the photo opportunities. We also survived the efforts of the souvenir sales person to sell us things at highly inflated prices. Exactly the same things (all identical, factory made) were available at a roadside store at the Rift Valley lookout point for about 1/20 (one-twentieth) the price quoted at the store along the Equator. Maybe it's the result of the 'Equatorial effect'?

The Rift Valley is an interesting trench formation that runs a very long way, a result of the movement of tectonic plates many millions of years ago.

We would be getting into the Valley, to the Lakes, and then out again.

Advise to visitors at the look out point.

We passed many areas with Tea and Coffee plantations. I thoroughly enjoyed Kenyan Tea and Coffee during our week there. I guess 6,000 feet must be an optimal altitude for growing Tea and Coffee, like it is in the mountains in the Southern and Eastern parts of India. The Kenyan highlands, however, is a huge area that stretches over hundreds of sq km. Remarkable, naturally air-conditioned weather!

Thompson Falls was a nice stop, with impressive views of the gushing water, fed by the monsoon rains. What was not much fun was people dressed in Kikuyu Tribe costumes offering to take photographs with us for a fee. Reminded me of the Native Indian reservation tourist spots in North America. We also got a few offers of getting photographed with Iguanas. No clicks here!

I wondered whether I would get a chance to ride a motor-bike taxi, found commonly at villages along the highway. Good to see them. The only motor-bike taxis I seem to find these days are in Bangkok and Goa.

We climbed down into the Rift valley on the way to the Mara. The roads in this part of Kenya are excellent! However, a few sections of the road around the Aberdares and near Narok had been affected by landslides and rains, so we needed to take very short detours. Not show stoppers!

I wondered when I would get an opportunity to ride a Matutu like this one, speeding along the floor of the Rift Valley to the next village.

We drove along the floor of the Valley for a long while, with mountain sides rising around us, partially hidden by clouds.

It is interesting that the Lakes are situated on the floor of the Rift Valley. Lake Nakuru sits high up, indeed!

Signs like these are common by Kenyan highways. Fried chicken and meat ready..!! This one is in Narok, where we filled up the fuel tank. I wanted to step in there, but James refused.

Butchery and Pub signs are commonly found along the highways.

Agro-vet supplies, little hotels, mobile recharging and general purpose stores are equally common.

We even located the local ManU Fan Club, much to Junior's delight.

The dirt road welcomed us to the Mara shortly after Narok. Thereafter it is bump-bump-bump all the way. Certainly adds to the charm. How boring, insipid and lifeless it would be if the roads were to be tarred!

Our drive back to Narok was early in the morning. We left Mara Serena at 6 AM.  The rangers would not allow us to leave earlier.

Masai farmers were going about their daily work at that time.

Here is a quick look at the drive while heading back from the Mara Triangle to Narok and then to Nairobi.

The Mara Serena folks had packed three breakfast boxes for us earlier in the morning.

We stopped at the rest stop near Narok on the drive back to Nairobi.

It was a good opportunity for a few photographs with James and the sturdy Nissan van.

Wheat is also grown around the Narok area. We passed kilometres of green fields.

The geography and sights of the Rift Valley had become very familiar to us by now, having criss-crossed the area over the week. We glanced back at the Rift Valley for the  last time on the drive back to Nairobi.

In Nairobi, we said Hello to the Giraffes and fed them little food pellets.

Giraffes have long, sand paper like purple tongues and their saliva is reported to have antiseptic properties.

Our last stop was at the well known Carnivore Restaurant near Wilson Airport.

The large grills are in front, right at the entrance. 

Part of the menu...

James dropped us back at the airport well in time for check-in, passport and Yellow Fever certificate checking processes. It was an absolutely amazing and unique trip, beyond words. We learnt and experienced an incredible amount about the Highlands, Valley, Wildlife and terrific Landscapes, thanks to James, our driver-guide-teacher for the week. We expressed our grateful thanks to James (and the Travel HTT team) as we said Goodbye.

We wished James and his family well, while he wished us a safe trip back.

If you have reached this far, thank you for joining us on our journey across Kenya. Until next time, then..!!

Please click on the links below to follow us around our Kenya experience:

-=-=-=-= The End

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jyoti... Looks like you travel around quite a bit... Wanted some feedback on the Africa trip including how much did the cost work out... Appreciate if you can mail me at duttasaikat at gmail...


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