Safari means “Journey” in Swahili
“T.I.K. This is Kenya. Who knows when the plane will come… if ever?” Mital said.
We had just arrived at the Mombasa airport to discover that our 10am flight to Nairobi was delayed due to a strike at Kenya Airways. We debated about taking an 8hr bus ride back to Nairobi, which Miraj took the night before to start preparing for our safari trip. Luckily, the airline announced the plane in Nairobi was starting to board so we decided to wait for our flight.
Mital was feeling hungry so we left the airport to get some local food at the kiosks that were situated on the outskirts of the airport. As we walked across the dry plain towards the wooden huts in the distance, Natalya commented on how we were embarking on a mini-safari already. Mital warned us to take off our jewelry and watches before we entered the kiosk compound as this area was very T.I.A. We ate some tasty maragwe (beans) and mamri (bread) at the kiosk, but Ali’s wife’s cooking was much better!
It was 4pm by the time we finally landed back in Nairobi, and we headed over to Miraj’s house. We quickly repacked smaller bags for our one week safari, and stored our excess luggage in his room. Our driver Richard came to pick us up in our safari van, and we loaded our important stockpile of Tuskers for the trip. We also picked up another passenger, Mital’s friend Shraddha, who would be joining us on the safari.
After grabbing a quick bite, we started on the road towards Lake Naivasha in the Great Rift Valley where we would be camping for the night. The name “Naivasha” was derived from the Maasai word Nai’posha, meaning “rough water” because of the sudden storms which can arise.
It was 9pm by the time we arrived at Crayfish Camp and we had two tents already pitched and waiting for us. However, since we had arrived later than planned due to the flight delay, it was too late to pitch more tents for our whole group so we were shown alternative options… like these hippie vans! We dubbed them the “shaggin’ wagon(s).”
Natalya had been feeling sick as well, and so she and Roza were quarantined in the “Fort Jesus” van together. After all the luxury living at the coastal resorts, I was eager for a “real” camping safari experience so I volunteered to sleep in the tent. However, I was super spoiled with having an entire plush mattress in my tent. This was Herman’s first camping experience and I tried to explain to him that this was not exactly “roughing it.” Herman said he was disappointed that the stars were not as bright or abundant as he had expected for being out in the wilderness. Roza then informed him that it was cloudy and he was not actually looking directly into space… aw Herman!
We all headed over to Natalya and Roza’s quarantine van to drink some Tuskers and play some card games. It was only when I needed to go to the bathroom we realized that we were locked in the van and the door handle was missing on the inside. We all tried our best to wriggle the door open but to no avail. Eventually, we cracked open a window and shouted for help until a passerby took pity on us and opened the door from the outside.
It was midnight at this point and too late to find another van, so I told Natalya and Roza that I would come by to let them out in the morning. We said goodnight and locked them in their quarantine for the night.
Miraj and I were decided to keep the party going and we headed to the camp’s disco bar called Green Houz. There was a decent mix of foreigners and residents there all dancing to American pop music as well as local Kenyan songs. After we left the club, we tried to venture out to the lake but the road Miraj was familiar with was closed off. The alternative was a very dark side path, and Miraj didn’t trust going that way so late in the night. King of Hustlers to be wary, so I definitely did not want to venture where even he was unwilling to go. We headed back to the campsite and found some snacks from the van to munch on before heading off to bed!