Samstag, 31. März 2012

Sleepless because of loud neighbors

Anna and I traveled north to lake Baringo. We now have our “tricks” to avoid the hassle around the bus stations. Normally we walked to bus “terminals” and of course there are always some nasty fellows waiting for you, wanting to carry your luggage and bringing you to the emptiest bus (I think I mentioned it prior that the bus only starts when it’s full and that it’s always a hassle getting the right one…) and finally charging you two to three times more than normal price. Well, that’s history! By now we order a taxi or tuktuk and let our driver ask where the right bus is. With this strategy we just stop in front of the right bus. Instead of just paying directly we now ask the other passengers how much they paid and we tell them that we normally get ripped off (true). Like this we have - within short time - half of the passengers taking care that we get charged the right price, without extra charge for luggage, that we get dropped off where we want and that no one is bothering us in any other way! Now travelling is really relaxing!
Another thing we really enjoy is that Kenya has supermarkets with everything! Well at least everything we need. And almost everyone is speaking English so you can get information from everyone. Except the roads almost everything is quite more developed here, therefore you also pay more for most things but that’s ok.
Ok, now back to the loud neighbors, it’s not only that they are loud, they also stink! After the first sleepless night we decided that it’s enough and we stepped out our tent to tell them what… – and we saw this and silently moved back in our tent, trying not to make any noise:

Montag, 26. März 2012

@ Hell's Gate

No worries, everything is fine, Hell’s Gate is just the name of a national park. But first things first: After our demanding trip to Nakuru we just enjoyed staying in the Graceland hotel without doing anything. We had our laundry done (snobby, isn’t it?), enjoyed the shower and even more that they had cold beverages! And our good luck was not over yet! We met two Dutch people, brother and sister (what’s the English word for “Geschwister”?), and they were full of energy and ready to head to the town. We joined them and spent a very nice evening in town. The next day the four of us went to the nearby crater. We walked up the hill, did some extra D-tours through a burned forest (At the moment Kenya suffers from the dry weather and there are a lot of fires in all the forests). The view was great, the people very nice and to top it all we got a free ride back to town in the back of a police pickup (Imagine the police doing this back home ;-) ) ! Back in town we went to Nakuru National Park. Even at the gate we could spot some buffalos, hippos, zebras and of course baboons. Unfortunately the entry is 80$ pp and the obligatory car additional 50$ - 200$ so we decided to go back to our hotel. The next day the Dutchs where leaving and we did what we like very much: nothing!  After recovering our batteries we were ready to head to Hells’s gate national park. We took public transport, got charged 400 Shilling per person, had big arguments, were waiting for 1 hour, got 300 Schilling back because the official price is 150 and finally started towards Niavasha. Changing the bus to the entrance of the park was easy. We could easily rent two bikes and a guide and then we entered the park. It was really great to cruise right next to zebras, buffalos and all the different kinds of “antelopes”, which names I already forgot. Also the walk through the gorge was very nice! There was only little water but if there is rain the gorge seems to be full and because the material is very soft the gorge gets 30 cm’s deeper every year! We can really recommend this park, the entrance is “only” 20$ and it’s the only park in Kenya where you can go without a car, so you are very quiet and can get very close to all the animals. 

Freitag, 23. März 2012

Northern Kenya

After the nice time in Archers Post we were heading towards the west because we want to join a group there at the first of April. So we took a “Samburu Liner” (Like Toyota Hiace) to travel to Maralal. On the way we made some jokes how proud Toyota has to be that their cars, designed for the street, can handle such roads which, if you see them, you would only want to drive with a 4x4. Maybe they can handle them because 20 people (children not counted) sit inside… Later one we realized that it was a Nissan… And in the middle of the nowhere we had a flat tire. 

After fixing the tire we (the male passengers) had to push the car to restart it after a short break. And as it got dark the front light stopped working…  But therefore we saw zebras and giraffes right beside the road, incredible! 

In Maralal we had a very warm welcome of some Men who al wanted to feel us like home, bring us to the best place and be our friends. No, of course not for free… It was that bad that we could not even move half a meter away from the bus. We must have given such a bad picture that our driver somehow managed to reload our bags in the bus and he drove us for free to the hotel we mentioned him. The next morning we went to town without any backpack to organize our further way. This time it was way easier, the people where friendly and willing to help us but never the less there was no minibus in the direction we wanted so we changed our plans and drove down to Nakuru. The road was bad, but the people very nice and as they realized that I definitively don’t fit in the free place (I’m too high for the last row) they offered to change place with me. Changing the bus in Niahururu worked like a charm we even got the front seats (most comfortable). In Nakuru we took a tuktuk and the driver recommended us to stay in Graceland hotel which is a really nice place. 
Shortly said it’s going up and down (with experiences and landscape J

Mittwoch, 21. März 2012

Hello Kenya, good bye asphalt roads!

Unfortunately we arrived too late at the Kenyan side of Moyale to take the bus to Marsabit, our next stop. Therefore 6 Kenyans tried to convince us to take “their” truck to drive down. The more we remained silent, the more the price dropped and they started to call their combatants “lyer”. Because we did not trust this people and we were out of cash (ATM was not working) we went to a proper hotel. In the evening we got the Cash from the ATM and in the next morning we sat in the public bus (altered truck) to Marsabit. Of course we paid our luggage extra, and we also paid the packing extra but we just wanted to escape the hassle of the truck agents. The Road was (or still is) incredibly bad and we got shaken very well. After 5 Hours we arrived in Marsabit where we stayed in a guest house right next to the bus station. The next day we tried to find a private car to hitchhike but there were no cars leaving in our direction so we finally took a public bus again. This time surprisingly we did not have to pay anything for our luggage and also the road got better and the bus was nice. To top this we traveled together with a lot of samburu people (Kenyan tribe people with the same kind of hole in the ear like I have so they always have something to discuss.) wearing their traditional dress and we really felt like out in the nowhere.

We drove to Archers post where we met Moha, who somehow convinced us to go to the umoja campsite and it turned out that we had good luck as  Moha is a really great guide! Because we liked the place and we needed some rest shaken bones we decided to stay two days and we also inaugurated our tent. It was really nice to spent the two days there because we met lot of  Moha ’s friends, visited a Women’s driven town, saw elephants, went “swimming” in the river and relaxed very well.

Montag, 19. März 2012

Good bye Ethiopia

After ~ 200 Days and three visas we left Ethiopia. The “plan” to travel without any plan can be difficult because the temptation to stay and do nothing can be very big when you found a nice place and we definitively had a nice place to stay in Addis. I think it’s also a good opportunity to thank Bäne and Christine for the accommodation. Anyway, we overcome the laziness and started heading south towards Awasa. On the way we met Tesfay who invited us for Coffee and Lunch in his house and we spent a nice afternoon with him and his wife Rich.

Awasa is a very nice city, thanks to the lake it’s greener than average Ethiopian cities and we enjoyed sitting on the boarder of the lake and eat fresh fish. Because we got a little nervous about time we decided to go straight to the boarder. The next towns, Yabello and Moyale were not very nice and there was not much to see so we went to the boarder straight away. It was a nice time in Ethiopia but the lack of good education, the lack of houses and everything else are apparent all around the country and this somehow leaves a bitter taste. In my opinion there are many things that seem to develop in the right direction which lets me hope the best for the country but there is also government which is far away from being efficient, liberal and open. For the people this simply means: If you are not party member and you don’t have a lot of money, there is not only the challenge of the daily live but also unnecessary extra burdens which slow down the development progress.

Dienstag, 13. März 2012

language switch

As you know Anna and I are travelling together and both of us have a blog. Because she is writing very well and also a lot I somehow stopped writing which is not actually what I wanted. As it is the nature of travelling that you meet a lot of people from all over the world which are also interested in your journey I decided to switch my blog to English. In the future I will try to provide regular posts about our trip and for all the German speaking ones, not willing to read English, you will still find similar but mostly extended articles on Anna’s blog. I also added some maps to give you a better idea where we really are.