Dale and Carol's Kenyan Experience travel blog

First of 3 flat tires

Acacia thorns

The waterhole at Voi Wildlife Lodge

Earthwatch group at orientation

Carol under mosquito netting

The 8 Earthwatch volunteers gathered at 8 AM to greet our guides, load our gear and start the 6 hour drive to Tsavo National Park to start our expedition. We only traveled about 20 minutes when we had a flat tire so we got to experience the local countryside and thorny acacia bushes while the 2 guides changed the tire from our vehicle. After this short, unexpected stop, we were back on our way, anxious to get to our final destination. We traveled approximately 10 minutes, when another tire blew out, thus forcing us to stop again. We were supposed to have 2 short breaks during this 6 hour trip but the guides now informed us we would be down to one (too bad if you had too much Kenyan coffee at breakfast!) During our Tsavo journey, we got to fully experience the reckless abandonment for speed, several large overturned semi-tractor trailers, and drivers playing “chicken” when it came to passing other vehicles. The government has installed numerous speed bumps to slow down the traffic which meant we were constantly accelerating and then slamming on the brakes, to negotiate the sandbag sized obstructions in our way. Being seated behind the driver gave me a first hand view on how he strategized the passing of pollution expelling old trucks and managing to pull back into the lane, quite often with seconds to spare. We finally did get our first and only bathroom stop at “a nice” place that actually was a market for souvenirs. The 6 women and 1 gentleman all unloaded and headed off to use the facilities. Well, there were several toilets but none was hooked up to any water source, so I’m sure you can image the rest of this scenario. We finally reached the Voi Lodge, being greeted by our principal investigator, Dr Barbara McKnight, dumped our belongs in our room, and then had a late lunch. Our room overlooks a large water hole and we had the opportunity to see a lot of wildlife, very quickly. Each bed has large mosquito netting and a sign in the bathroom, reminding us not to drink the water. At dinner, our leader reminded us of the rules: 1) To wear closed-toed shoes, to eliminate the chances of encountering scorpions, centipedes, or snakes…..yippee 2) Wear long pants and socks to dinner to prevent bites 3) Always zip up luggage to prevent unwelcomed creatures in the morning 4) Always lock your balcony door during the day tokeep the baboons out 5) To open the mosquito netting over our beds 6) And to turn on the electronic bug repellent every evening. We were told that we should expect rain daily, have high humidity and to expect above normal heat. Don’t you wish you were here? What an adventure this is going to be!

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