Start of the Tour

I spent Saturday in Nairobi. Emily arrived back from a section of her tour and we got to spend the afternoon and evening together, just separating for our respective tour welcome meetings. It was good to see her after a few months, and even more exciting to know that we were dedicated to staying in contact.

We headed to the Gateway shopping centre to stock up on a few things before our tours began. Nairobi shocked me, it was more of a business hub than I’d expected and I was a bit disappointed that I wouldn’t be spending any time there. The traffic was heavy and our Uber driver was nothing short of a maniac, driving above the limit and through red lights despite the wet roads that should have encouraged him to slow down.

The tour meeting was fairly standard, giving us the general information we needed for the next week and also introducing us to our new family for the week. The hotel bed gave us the perfect sleep before day 1 where we set off in the morning after the buffet breakfast, always my favourite part of the hotel experience.

Day 1 held an 8 hour drive for us, giving us time to get to know each other, read our books and utilise our downloaded music. Napping was of course part of the activities too, taking up most of my time despite the sleep I had enjoyed the night before. We stopped for a traditional lunch in the village with so many different aspects to the meal. I tried every single one as we were running a bit late and I was quite overdue for lunch so was able to fill my plate. It was delicious and it made me excited for the food I would experience across both Kenya and Tanzania over the next week and even after the tour.

That night we were lucky enough to be put up in a hotel reducing our nights in the tent to only 5. Everyone retreated to bed pretty early, surprised with how tired we were after sitting on the truck for so long without much physical activity. It’s amazing how exhausted you can feel after essentially doing nothing all day.

Monday brought another long drive but a couple of stops to break the trip up. After a more traditional breakfast with samosas and banana curry we headed to a soapstone workshop and watched the process of carving the soapstone into various shapes and sizes, sanding them to finish them off before watching them get painted. We were shown into the showroom at the end but weren’t heavily sold to which was a nice change to most of the places that attempt to convince you to buy whatever they’re selling and you clearly don’t need. With my bag packed to the brim and no home to bring souvenirs back to I’ve become quite good at appreciating the products but refusing them, also aiding the health of my bank account.

We arrived at the border between Kenya and Tanzania, my final border crossing within Africa. It was another relatively easy process although they scanned our bags to check for plastic bags having implemented a ban the day before. Despite our bags all containing plastic their machines didn’t pick up on it and we continued on our way, something I was happy about because I would prefer to make use of the plastic bags I’ve picked up along the way rather than send them to landfill or worse, to a pile of rubbish which would be later set fire to.

We arrived in Musoma and set up our tents right next to Lake Victoria, had a quick lunch and went for a walk around town to explore. It was a less touristy area, something we realised based on the heavy attention we received as a group. The Lake was beautiful, although brought with it lake flies, things that would cover the walls, our tents, ourselves, they just couldn’t leave anything alone. I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and had to block my mouth and nose as I walked past the bathroom wall which was completely covered in them, the basins having the same issue but with additional thousands lying in the piles of water.

We had a little sleep in – breakfast at 7:30 as opposed to 6:30 – and admired the effect of the sunrise stretched out across the Lake. We jumped on the bus headed for the Serengeti, everyone holding a bit more energy and excitement.

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