Distance: 362km (Cumulative: 13 657km)
Moving time: 11:15
Average speed: 32km/h
Road surface: 30% Gravel, 70% Tar
This time we remembered to set an alarm and woke up at 06:00. Sometime during the night a vehicle dropped off a female ranger and the two proceeded to talk loudly late into the night. Caro was luckily blissfully unaware of this, otherwise there would have been big trouble. Before we got up a vehicle already came to fetch them. So basically during the only time we would’ve needed protection (while not being in the tent) they weren’t there.
By 07:00 we left the camp and went to the river again. The first road we took led us to hippos who were still outside the water, but quickly jump in as we got closer. We wanted to proceed on the track along the river, but started to slip and slide all over the place. We managed to get back to the bigger road without to much difficulty.
We stopped at another hippo pod where a mother and baby entertained us with opening their mouths wide and playfully biting or kissing each other.
From there we went to the hippo pool where you are allowed to get out of the vehicle. The path leading to the hippo pool had massive hippo footprints in the mud, so it felt a bit dangerous, but all the hippos were luckily inside the water. At one point a ranger vehicle stop us and again after some friendly conversation they got to the point – we owe them 4000 KES for the two rangers that ‘protected’ us at night (almost $40, bringing the total for 1 day/night in the Mara Triangle to $244). Caro didn’t even know there was a second person and at first thought they were scamming us. There were, however, to Hugo’s dismay, two rangers who kept him awake with their loud talking to each other.
For the rest of the morning we drove on tracks in the north western corner of the Mara triangle along the forest edge and trough savannah plains. Ever so often we would have to turn around when the road got too muddy. We mostly saw warthog and some waterbucks. For almost an hour we tried to get back to the main road, but each track that seemed to head back to the road would suddenly just turn and loop away from the road again. Most of the tracks we drove on were not on Tracks4Africa. On one such road a ranger vehicle came from the front and asked what we are looking for, before we could reply he asked and said: “Rhino? There is one just a bit ahead to the right between the giraffe.” We followed the bumpy and muddy trial and finally saw all the giraffe. One other safari vehicle was already standing there, so we stopped next to them. About 200m away we spotted one of only 10 rhinos in the Mara Triangle. The grass was quite tall, but looking through the binoculars we could clearly see the horns coming up every now and then. Since we don’t really have a zoom lens (photos where animals seem close were really just very close), the only photos we have is where the rhino just looks like a rock in the distance.
We thought we were close to the main road, but again we had to go on one muddy track after the other each one turning away or running parallel to the main road. We finally made it to the main road, but by the time we reached it Hugo was so over it he just wanted to leave. Caro convinced him to take one last detour up the Oloololo Escarpment to take some photos of the signature acacia trees in the savannah below.
We exited at the Oloololo gate just before 12:00, we wanted to reach Nakuru tonight where we will be staying with fellow South Africans. Between Open Street Maps, Google Maps, T4A, advice from our hosts and advice from forums we still didn’t know which road to take. We settled on the advice from our hosts to go via Kericho, but then had to rely on T4A to get us there. T4A took us on a very scenic route to Kilgoris, but not the one that goes through Lolgorien. It was thus probably the longest possible route, but it was probably also the most interesting.
At one point the road was completely washed away and we had to follow small two-spoor tracks down the mountain to a T-junction where the road got better again. It was interesting for us that T4A had the whole route to Kilgoris, but at each of the many junctions it only showed the one road on not the other ones. Someone thus drove this exact route and submitted it, but none of the other roads in the area, some of which looked like ‘bigger’ highways.
From Kilgoris it was tar all the way to Nakuru. We first took the C17 to Kisii and then the C21 and C23 to Kericho. Large portions of this road wasn’t on T4A.
From Kericho we took the B1 to the A104, the road is very scenic passing through mountains filled with tea plantations. The going was still slow and we only got to Nakuru at 19:00 when it was already dark. We followed a Whatsapp pin from our hosts and manage to get to within 40m of their home.
The Aucamps welcomed us into their home and offered us a lovely dinner. Baked vegetables and a ‘skaapboud’, except it wasn’t sheep, but rather goat. If they didn’t tell us we wouldn’t have known – it was delicious. After dinner we talked until almost midnight. Johan and Anina, with their three children Stefan (7), Claudia (5) and Andries (2), are missionaries from Pretoria. They joined Yasha Ministries who among other things operate two schools. They arrived only three months ago after also driving up from Pretoria in their old Land Rover. For more information you can follow their blog at https://auxinafrica.wordpress.com. Also consider making a donation, details are on their website.
We only went to bed at 02:00 as we had to catch up on some work after we said goodnight.