Well, its been an extremely busy past few weeks. I managed to visit Mombasa, Tanga and Murumvya and a whole bunch of new places in Nairobi.
The land sale for the new plot is completed, land registration takes a couple of weeks but its full steam ahead on the design work and contractor sourcing.
Work is going well, learning more each day and meeting more and more people as time goes by.
Let me start with my trip to Mombasa. We have a client in Tanga, Tanzania and it turned out the flight was a little complicated for my liking. A colleague suggested I drive down to Tanga so that’s what I did. The drive is about 750km each way with predomininantly fair roads with some aweful ones:
I prepared the car, made sure I had my visa, etc…. and set off. The drive from Nairobi to the Kenya/Tanzania border is about 500km and the roads are acceptable for about 80% of the way, the rest are terrible. I set out early morning on a Sunday with a full tank in the Hilux. I had some biltong for breakfast and the Hilux ate up some bumps and potholes. Its a truly phenomenal car on the open road and is a pleasure when it gets a little rough. It’s hard to describe the roads, they aren’t great, lets keep it to that for now, I might get emotional if I continue further (a crater in the middle of nowhere for no reason at all…..an upside down mountain in the road out of the blue):
There were many many many trucks on a Sunday and I counted 282 on the total journey to Mombasa, I counted because I passed each and every one and thought I would make a game of it, celebrating each 10 with a funny hoot and a sip of my red bull. The Hilux has a mind of its own and was enjoying the game, seemingly drawing power from nowhere when things got interesting…
I stopped at a garage just outside Nairobi to stock up and bought 10 packets of biscuits, and 5 red bull and a sandwich. The red bull was for the truck game, the biscuits to hand out to little kids on the side of the roads, the rule was that if they shouted Muzungu Muzungu when I passed, I would stop and give them biscuits …… the smile on their faces was indescribable, and will stay with me forever. As the journey continued I saw many new plants and trees of the like I haven’t encountered before:
As seen above, some of the roads were quite user fiendly, unfortunately only two lanes, so not easy for overtaking. The trucks are the kings of the road, I was the little rabbit hopping around them:
About three hours in I got a bit hungry and stopped at some dodgy truck stop (dodgy… lets put it this way… there was a sign on one of the buildings saying Gentleman’s Bar… obviously a place where truckers fulfilled other needs than just food), anyways I got some fresh pineapple and some snacks and was on my way:
The rest of the journey to Mombasa was quite uneventful, a few goats, cows etc… but nothing crazy. I was almost at my destination and it was time to check google maps to see if I was on the right track. I was but there was a small hurdle, my hotel was in South Mombasa and I arrived in the North, the main city area. This was ok, I just drive South and all is good, not quite…. google told me there were no roads along the South coast and I had to go around, I switched off google and made a plan. Turns out for 50 shillings I could take a simple 5 minutes ferry ride from North coast to South. I was expecting a wait of an hour or two and the ferry to break down in the middle of the journey, no such events. Everything went smoothly, I pitched up at the ferry, drove up to the ticket counter and onto the ferry platform, departing within 10 minutes of my arrival. Lots of people, bicycles, cars and goats…..
Millions of people, so many people in one spot, crazy. It was fun, my first time on a drive on ferry. So I carried on to Whitesands hotel which was a touristy hotel but made the whole drive instantly worth it:
Mmmmmmmm, spent the rest of the day relaxing, went down to the beach bar at night and mingled with some other Muzungus. Never slept so well in my life…..
Proper beautiful hotel, completely amazing, words don’t do it justice. Probably one of the top five in Africa.
I appreciate being able to stay at places like that and thank my company for giving me the oppurtunity (just in case any colleagues are reading this…).
Ok, so I’ll stop there for now, just going shopping and will continue in the next post – The Adventure Continues – Mombasa to Tanga