At the Equator

Tafadhali means “Please” in Swahili

We woke up around 8am at the temple, and enjoyed a simple breakfast of milk tea, biscuits, and gathia (spicy crackers) it offered to the lodgers.  We donated 500Ksh each for our stay for the night and then departed from the Shree Jalaram temple.

We first stopped by a recycling Tusker shop to exchange our crate of now empty Tusker bottles for fresh new brews.  Fully equipped to continue our safari, we traveled south until we reached the Equator located just south of the town of Nanyuki and north of Mount Kenya.  The Equator divides Kenya into two almost equal parts.  The northern region is hot and receives little rain, while the southern region consists of three distinct climates: the coast is humid, the highlands are temperate, and the Lake Victoria region is tropical.  Of course, the boys had to do some push ups / press ups at the Equator.

We paid 100Ksh to watch a demonstration of the Coriolis effect, which is an apparent deflection of moving objects when they are viewed from a rotating frame of reference (thanks Wikipedia, whatever that means).  We spent some time trying to recall Newton’s laws of motion; however, the Second Law that actually had bearing on the Coriolis effect eluded us at that time… we remembered the First and Third ones perfectly though!

The demo involved a pail of water with a hole at the bottom with a single blade of grass placed on the surface.  As the water drained from the pail, the water would swirl clockwise when the pail was located north of the equator, and drain counter clockwise south of the equator.  Exactly on top of the equator, the water just drained straight down.  It was pretty fascinating to watch!

We stopped by the town of Naivasha for a quick lunch, and then picked up two more travelers for our safari: Herman’s brother Raymond and his girlfriend Kitty.  Their flight was delayed due to the ongoing Kenya Airways strike, and so we unfortunately did not make it to Maasai Mara to do any game riding that day.  It took at least 4 hours to travel to Maasai Mara, so we all settled in for the long and bumpy ride.

At 5:30pm, we finally arrived at the Oloolaimutia Gate (southwest corner entrance) of Masai Mara.  Along the way to the gate, we passed several Maasai people wearing their distinctive colorful shukas (red checkers cloths).  The Maasai are pastoral people that live primarily in Kenya and northern Tanzania.  We saw them herding cattle, goats, and sheep along the drive.  According the Mital, the Maasai people embody “Kenya’s spirit” and culturally are very important to Kenya.  The Masai shield is even featured prominently on the Kenyan flag.

Despite governmental programs that were instituted to encourage the Maasai to abandon their traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle, the people have continued their age-old customs.  While the Maasai is not the most populous of Kenyan tribes (make up 2% of the population), it is one of the most well-known due to the distinctive dress and customs that it has retained over time.

We arrived at the Mara Simba Lodge, where we stayed for two nights.  The lodge featured “luxury tent” accommodations, which were essentially large cabins with zippered canvas walls and running water, electricity, and beds with my favorite mosquito net sanctuaries.

During dinner the lodge, I was starting to feel a bit sick.  The temperature had fluctuated throughout the day from the scorching sun to the cold rain, and all the dust I was breathing from the drive probably didn’t help.  Roza had just about recovered from her sick time, and so I took her leftover medicine and went to bed early to rest up for the game ride the next day.

Return to main menu: “Karibu Kenya”


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