We’re back from an international trip. We drove from Uganda through Kenya to Tanzania.
2 x new front springs
1 x front shock absorber mountings
5 x rear shock absorbers (2 Japanese replacements fitted in Gulu some months ago/ 1 x hybrid bodged up by the mechanic to a medical advisory NGO in the centre of the Serengeti (some frightening welding action).
He joined our own shock absorber onto one he happened to have lying around somewhere, sadly neither worked and led to an alarming 130 kilometre crawl across the Serengeti plain/ 2 x Chinese shock absorbers fitted in a camp just outside the Serengeti.
Plus the 2 new Japanese ones and two new front wheel bearings and various new oil seals fitted on our return to Kampala.
Plus sundry other visits to roadside mechanics to stop the vehicle misfiring/ leaking/ dying.
Really, the Cherangani Hills (North Western Kenya), The Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti (Tanzania) are not suitable for little cars. You need the Landcruisers and Safari vehicles we saw everywhere once past Arusha. A big tourist industry, so unlike the smaller, quieter Uganda that we are used to. Uganda is small, on this trip we just began to get a glimpse of the size of this continent.
Plus the opportunity to meet many, many policemen:
“Good morning Madame, you have committed an offence. You are overloaded”
Pause for laughter as we all watched a matatu stagger past weighed down by a three piece suite, bags of maize, goats etc.
“But Madame, it is because we love you that we do not want you to become injured. You have committed an offence and you must pay me”
Plus many opportunities whilst camping to include the mandatory photographs of cooking tomato sauce in front of extraordinary views.
Elephants in camp,
Hornbills attacking their reflections in the car mirrors at Lake Baringo etc.
Plus game drives of course. Flamingos and hot springs at Lake Bogoria,
one of many lakes that has risen noticeably in the last couple of years
dead trees in the water became familiar.
The most spectacular game setting was the Ngorongoro Crater,
ostriches for the first time, a pride of lions resting – do they do anything else?
Wildebeest being menaced by Hyenas.
In the Serengeti the Wildebeest were massing for the Great Migration, huge herds hanging around, tapping their hooves, wanting to know how much longer they had to wait “But I want to go now”.
Plus, as we travelled up the Great Rift Valley, a chance to visit Oldupai, where mankind began.
The Gorge where Mary Leakey found the first evidence of early hominids.
Plus a chance to see some genuine approaches to climate change in Kenya, from an innovative use of plastic bottles as fencing,
through to a Bio Mass power station that is using invasive foreign trees (Prosopsis), or the by products of the huge polytunnels that you’re your cut flowers, through to Geo Thermal power stations in Hells Gate National Park that use hot springs and natural pressure.
Not surprisingly, partly because of terrorism threats (the Al Shabab effect has decimated the Kenyan tourist industry) you cannot photograph these innovative means to generate power.
Plus a chance to do some walking ourselves, in the Cherangani Hills,
across the hot and flat plain at Lake Baringo with a real bird twitcher who summoned birds through an app on his phone.
Then down the Gorge in Hells Gate National Park (the scene apparently of films like ‘Tomb Raider’.
We all nodded knowledgeably, but were none the wiser.) And to discover how unfit we have become, Gulu is very flat with few opportunities for walking much, Kenya is mountainous,
fantastic walking country for the properly fit; maybe another time.