Saturday, January 29, 2011

Stopover in Nairobi

Thanks all for your kind comments, thoughts and prayers while we travelled across Africa to our new challenge. After two successful SA Airways flights, no delays and excellent service (we've not flown SAA for about five years and were very impressed with them this week) we arrived - on time - in Nairobi 19h05 East Africa time. A quick clearance through customs (the efficiency on the Kenyan side was impressive too) we collected our luggage and trolleyed it to the throng of people waiting to  meet passengers. Grant and I scanned the huge cardboard notices being held aloft by most of the people standing behind the rope: XXX Safaris for Mr and Mrs De Haardt;  XXX Tours for Ms De Maurier, Smith, Van Halen, XXX Outdoor Adventures for the Le Grange party  and so on. I realised that we'd arrived in a tourist-driven Africa. Then I spotted a tall man displaying a board announcing:  "Mr Grant and Miss Johanna Hedges" Ha! I liked the "Miss" part. Felt good after more than ten days of late nights, arrangements with household staff,  vets , kennels, quick packing and flights across the continent! 
We introduced ourselves to the man who said his name was Sephani, the company driver and he would transport us to our hotel. We drove across a still-bustling city, in gridlocked traffic, a strong reminder of Conakry in Guinea;  Bamako, Mali, West Africa; Addis Ababa, East Africa and Khartoum, North Africa. But that's where the similarity ended. In those countries we drove on the right side of the road, donkey drawn carts and little motorcycles jamming the already jammed traffic and every sign and billboard was in anything but English:  French, Dutch, Malinki, Arabic, Amharic. Here it was all was SO familiar. We even spotted clothing chain stores and petrol stations which we'd seen earlier that day in South Africa.

We arrived at our hotel (which is part of a huge safari lodge/hotel group in Kenya) and after we'd checked in, Grant arranged with Sephani to collect us at 7am the next morning for the final leg of our destination. Once we'd showered and freshened up, we went back downstairs for a delicious dinner in the a la carte restaurant.

Once again, I realised that this was no third-world country as some we've worked in before. The place was full of tourists from all over the world. One group of five German-speaking ladies obviously travelling together, were seated at a table near us. They interrupted their meal with plenty of toasts and cheers. Later one lady requested an African song from the band and soon all the ladies were boogying in the designated dance area in the restaurant. I was dying to go and chat to them but thought better of it. (I don't think they would have been embarrassed but I'm not so sure about my own darling husband's reaction!)

Mmm, are the engineering cogs turning while  he contemplates the two months' consulting appoimtment ahead?

After a delicious dinner in the hotel's a la carte restaurant, complete with a live band and excellent service, we ordered one portion of dessert to share. Grant didn't want more than a spoonful which suited me fine ...

While waiting for our driver to collect us on Thursday morning, Grant photographed me in our  hotel room. I never like photos of myself (I've deleted more photos of "me" than any other!) and this one was no exception so I decided to "play" with the image!

Nairobi, a bustling metropolis from early morning till late at night

After a good night's rest, our driver collected us on Thursday morning and we embarked on a six-hour journey through the Great Rift Valley to the mine site. More about our arrival and subsequent settling-in procedure later on...


  1. Well, my introduction to Nairobi, Kenya. Maybe I'll get there yet.
    Lots of new news from this end, when you get settled.
    Take care, and good luck.
    Luv, K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  2. Karibu Jo. Welcome to Kenya. So glad you've enjoyed your travels so far. Can't wait til you are settled in Eldoret. I'm posting a series also on my recent travels to Kenya. If you get a chance pop in.

  3. Sounds very exciting, Jo! I am happy you arrived safely and all is well. YUM, the cake looks delicious. It is interesting what you did with your photo. It is my dream one day to do a safari in Africa and I could just picture myself and hubby there in that lodge too.

  4. First impressions count Miss Hedges.

  5. Sounds like a very exciting adventure.

  6. I'm so glad you arrived safely and were abel to eat such a lovely meal and that Cake!!! that was awesome looking and my husband would have been the same; one spoonful and the rest would have been ALL MINE :)
    Keep us posted on your next leg of the trip!

  7. Good to know that you arrived safely in the tourist paradise of Kenya ! Germany loves this country for soap and romantic movie making and lots of tourists of course too.
    I wonder why I haven't been there yet. So far I was more interested in the North African countries. Maybe later.

  8. Hi Jo,
    I marvel at your exciting life, such wonderful places to see. Currently, I am doing laundry! Haha!
    Can't wait to read more of your adventure.
    ☼ Sunny

  9. I have been following your meanders with great interest. You really have an exciting time. I have never been to East Africa although we have a good friend who is from there and my husband has been to Kenya - as bestman at her wedding. (I had commitments at home.) Thanks for the comments on my Cape Town blog - always fun to connect!

  10. Nairobi must have become quite a bit safer since the Prof was there in a compound with spear wielding warriors around a campfire in the gate-way during the night. Tourist dollars speak many languages.

    I am so glad all went well and you are safe.

  11. Oh, Jo! Shame on you for cheating with your photograph.

    Sounds as though it all went smoothly & according to plan, no annoying little glitches to up the blood pressure :)

    I was away all of yesterday, so am late with catching up today & read your later post before this with everyone else, I'm dying to hear all about this trip/stay/sojourn in Kenya.


    Des xo


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