Friday July 30th

Day 3 - Nairobi to Samburu Lodge


Our scheduled departure time was 8:30 am. Leaving half of our luggage in Nairobi, we were allocated to a bus with the other members of our team, Tim and Debbie Quilter from Romsey and Brian and Eileen from Kent. John, our driver explained what would be happening as we left Nairobi with about 200 miles in front of us.

The road out of Nairobi was fine. Traffic was pretty busy and the driving very aggressive. Gradually, the roads got narrower and bumpier and traffic thinned our.  

Our first stop was at a combined souvenir stall and cafe. The price for using the provided toilets was to visit the gift shop, where we were hassled at every turn (an experience we gradually came to terms with but never liked much).

We spent most of our time looking around the outside of the gift shop, at the flowers growing nearby, the birds in the field behind and the banana stand across the road to escape the attentions of the salesmen.

Overall there were six vans in our convoy, each carrying between 4 and 6 people in relative comfort. Most of the vans were Nissan Urvans with very impressive off road capabilities and roofs that opened up for game viewing.


Driving onwards, we started to experience real Kenya, small towns lined with small shops, schools like this one and roads that got so bad that our driver diverted onto dirt tracks because they were in better condition than the roads!

Our van was certainly not the newest in the convoy. The first puncture was entertaining, for us, if not for the driver.

Nanyuki - The Equator

Overall, we crossed the equator four times during the trip. The first time, going North we stopped to make something of an occasion of it.

There were the inevitable curio shops and very assertive salesmen, plus a demonstration of how water going down a plug hole goes in opposite directions 20m North and South of the equator. Note the altitude .. almost 6400'.

Lunch Stop - Trout Farm

By the time we actually stopped for lunch, it was well past 1:30pm. 

Lunch was taken at an open air restaurant at a trout farm. The specialty of the house was grilled trout. There was just about time to tour the tanks full of growing fish before we were on our way again.

We were back on the road at about 3:15 and after a brief stop to pass over some Imodium to the first person in need, the convoy was off again.

We finally came to the end of the tarmac road at the busy market town of Isiolo. This shot shows the traders on the side of the road, goats crossing the road and in the distance the tower of the local mosque.

Stopping for petrol, we were carefully instructed to close the windows and ignore the hawkers banging on the side of the van.

From Isiolo to Samburu Lodge is about 60 km, all on roads like this!

Buffalo Springs National Reserve

Although Samburu Lodge is in Samburu Reserve, we had to cross Buffalo Springs National Reserve to get there. The two areas are contiguous and separated by the Ewaso Nyiro river.

At the entrance to each park, we had to stop to pay the appropriate entrance fee and on this occasion, we lifted the top of the van to switch into game viewing mode.

Our first animals were a pair of ostriches and some distant giraffes. The highlight of this drive was a family of elephants crossing the river in the late afternoon sun. The large elephants got wet to the top of their legs .. the baby was almost completely submerged.

As we approached the lodge, we had our only glimpse of a leopard on the whole trip. The lodge hang meat as bait from a tree on the opposite bank of the river and we passed at dusk, perfectly timed to see a lone leopard appear to take it.

Samburu Lodge

Arrival at Samburu Lodge was after sunset, just in time for the crocodile feeding by the bar,

Last updated: March 17, 2000 20:53 -0000