Thursday, July 5, 2012

Western Kenya Part 1

Last week Alen Mkita, his wife, Hossiana and I made a trip from Arusha to Western Kenya (the country immediately North of Tanzania). We were visiting brethren there and had a wonderful trip.

Looking on the map we thought it would be a long days drive – may be 12 or so hours, but driving in Africa is different. When we left Arusha we had a wonderful high speed highway, just newly finished. It then took us about 2 hours to get through Nairobi (Kenya’s capital city), but we then still thought we were ok with our time estimates.
A coffee break in Nairobi

On leaving Nairobi soon we came upon the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley. This is a geological wonder that starts at the Sea Galilee goes through the Red see and into Africa and finishes with Africa’s great lakes.  We had to stop and take a photo, but soon we were “bothered” by vendors selling us the endless supply of curios. We politely told them we were not interested and moved on.
Allen and Hossiana at the Great Rift Valley

The traffic started to get worst as we hit the hills. They have overtaking lanes, but they are not used as they were designed. It was common to come to these and find three slow moving trucks abreast completely blocking every lane of the road, including the wrong side of the road!

We then hit a long section of road works and our rate of travel really slowed down. We realised that we were not going to make our destination so we contacted Bro. George and made for the city of Kisumu.  I did a search for some accommodation on my GPS and it too us to a lovely brand new shopping centre. I guess the guest house made way for development. So we stopped in the car park and I got out my Kenya Lonely Planet Guide which Anne had just bought me second hand. We found a budget lodge in the book AND its location was on the GPS. It had the wonderful name of Kisumu Beach Resort.

My room at the "Resort"
We made it to the resort without any problems and found a rather run down place with hundreds of dogs. Fortunately most of them were tied up!  There was no reception, you just have to find the bar! After being shown what the rooms were like we decided we would stay the night – after all we had been on the road for 12 ½ hours and were very tired AND the rooms were cheap!

We ordered dinner (a 45 minute wait) and sat down to rest. Allen went off to wash up but came back very quickly as his room was now full of dudus (insects). How they got in I don’t know, they weren’t there 10 minutes ago when we looked. I was thankful that I travelled with my own insect spray and mosquito coils!

Lake Victoria 
We had a good dinner (eventually) and a good sleep. Breakfast, however, didn’t start till 9 am. That just meant we were forced to leave a little later and it meant we were able to survey the resort.
Allen and Hossiana at the Lake
 While there was obviously a beach at some time, it was now overgrown. The wonderful Lake Victoria was there, but there was a lot of floating aquatic weeds (apparently at one stage a few years ago the lake was almost completely covered in these weeds). We now saw a rather down-at-the-heals resort that was over taken by time and development (it was on a large plot, but in what was now an industrial area).

After breakfast we headed off for our last 100 kms – which proved to be the very worst of the trip.

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