A Spontaneous Roadtrip around Central Kenya… part 2!

After the 7 hour drive the night before, I announced to Tom that he was driving next, and so we warily got on the road, with Tom driving (and me shrieking in fright at every bump in the road, sure that he was about to write-off the car ūüôā ).After a 5 hour drive, we arrived in Nyahururu (also known as Thomson’s Falls). ¬†This time, we had splurged, and booked into the Thomson’s Falls Lodge – a lovely hotel sitting right besides the waterfalls, with the garden bar/restaurant overlooking the water. ¬†We sat down for a Tusker, asked for a guide to come and collect us, and with no further ado we were off hiking down the hills to the bottom of the waterfalls.

At the bottom of the falls, we met a group of young Kenyan teenagers – who came upto our guide and had a whispered conversation in Swahili. ¬†“They would like to know if they can have their photograph taken with you”, our guide announced to me. ¬†So, I did my (bizarre) duty once again in Kenya – and stood for photographs with 5 or 6 different groupings of kids. ¬†Much to Tom’s amusement, who stood there laughing at me. ¬†The photo sesh was finally over when their camera ran out of battery.

We continued up the slippery rocks, right to the base of the falls, where we were sprinkled with water from the falls.  There was not as much water as usual in the waterfalls, given that Kenya is suffering from a severe lack of rain:  the rainy season due to start imminently.  But it was still a beautiful sight Рwell worth visiting.

We struggled back up to the top of the hills, and our guide suggested we take a walk out of town, to a small watering hole that hosts a family of hippos.  Out we walked, through the fields, passing groups of local Kenyans having parties out of the back of cars in the field.  We made it to the watering hole, where, literally, we were able to watch the hippos from around 10 metres distance.  Apparently these hippos are used to people Рliving so close to town Рand so do not seem to attack.  We took a few snaps, and finally left them to it, as they were clearly keen to get out of the water to have their dinner.

At night, we enjoyed a nice dinner and then beers in the strangely English country pub style hotel bar: ¬†large fire crackling in the fire place, man playing the accordion in the corner…

With the help of our guide, we had decided there was nothing much else to see in Nyahururu – so in the morning we sat at breakfast, contemplating our next steps. ¬†I wanted to visit the equator at Nanyuki, and Tom wanted to pass through Nyeri. ¬†Giving each other a plotting grin: “Shall we go for it, and just do both?” ūüôā

So, off we set at 9.30, destination Nanyuki.  After 10 minutes on the road, we were flummoxed by the number of cars flashing lights at us, and pointing to our wheels.  Worried, Tom got out of the car on 2 occasions, to inspect our front wheels (the passing drivers appeared to be point at our front wheels).  Having established that nothing visible was wrong, we continued.

Another 10 minutes later, a car overtook, and stopped in front of us, gesturing wildly for us to stop.  Out Tom got again, this time noticing the matter:  our back tyre was flat.  Out in the middle of the Kenyan bush.  Oh dear.  Oh dear oh dear.

Seeing our dismay, the man in the car infront got out, and assisted: you need to change the wheel. ¬†Right, ok, change the wheel. ¬†Seeing our panic, he hopped in our car (to my even further panic). ” Let me direct you to a mechanic!” ¬†he announced, leaving his own car and passenger in the road. ¬†So off we went, to a nearby village, where the local…well… mechanic/builder/handiman, came out to see what was going on.

Tom and I stood by as, in the blink of an eye, our car wheel came off…and much jacking and pumping and screwing was done. ¬†Within 15 minutes, our car wheel had been changed, and we were being charged 150 bob for the help. ¬†(We were expecting thousands, 150 bob roughly equivalent to 1¬£). ¬†We dropped our friend back at his abandoned car, he asked for no remuneration for his troubles… and off we went again.

After a scenic drive through the Aberdare national park, we made it to Nanyuki. ¬†It turned out that there is not actually anything to see at Nanyuki. ¬†So after a quick lunch, we stopped at the “Equator” signs for photographs. ¬†The “teacher” there gave us a demonstration of the Coreolis Effect: ¬†20 metres north of the equator, water draining through a punctured bowl drains in a clockwise direction. ¬†20 metres south of the equator, the water drains in an anti-clockwise direction. ¬†On the equator itself, water drains in a straight line down through the hole.

We hopped back in the car, and off we set to Nyeri. ¬†Nyeri is currently in the news in Kenya due to a growing phenomenon, of husband beating! (Hah!) ¬†Men have been setting up support groups, and it is widely covered in Kenyan media – these poor men, victim to their vicious women. ¬†I hoped to take notes from these women, clearly they know a thing or two about keeping men in line ūüôā

However, we bypassed the centre, and went to the Outspan hotel, home to the cottage of Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the global Scout movement. ¬†His home is now a museum, mainly filled with scouting memorabilia. ¬†He is famed for having stated: “The closer to Nyeri, the closer to bliss”… this perhaps being true of his picturesque tropical cottage home, less so of the town itself.

Having completely our tour of central Kenya, we set off back to Nairobi – leaving Mount Kenya in the distance, and heading into the bustle and smog of Sunday night Nairobi traffic mayhem.

 

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