Category: Kenya


african-oscars

Well now that we leave Africa soon (Boo Hoo!) Muni & Molly’s African Oscars are now published.

The categories are : (drum roll please)

1. Best Accommadation / Hotel : Green Turtle Lodge, Dixcove, Ghana
2. Worst Accommadation / Hotel : Pensão Leeta, Mocimboa da Praia, Mozambique

3. Best Meal : La Colombe, Constainia, Cape Town, South Africa
4. Worst Meal : Cafe No Name, Arsi Negele, Ethiopia

5. Best Transport : CTM, Morocco
6. Worst Transport : Burundi

7. Friendliest People : Tied at Burkina Faso and Malawi
8. Unfriendliest People : White Namibians

9. Best Value : Ghana
10. Worst Value : Rwanda

And last but by no means least…

11. Best Beer : Primus 720ml, Burundi
12. Worst Beer : Laurentina Stout, Mozambique

And the most coveted award for biggest tosser in Africa goes to….

The fat, Afrikaner, make-up put on with a cement mixer, hair-do like a bulldog’s arse, manager of the Cat Nap Guest House in Springbok for her inability to take a booking 3 whole weeks in advance. Moan about the check in time, lie about her presence prior to us checking in and then only say that we had booked one night when two were requested. I hope you catch the clap from a toilet seat and you choke on some worm infested biltong again. Congratulations, your golden Oscar is in the post.

We’ve also added some additional categories for those that were worthy of such an acolade.

They are:

Toughest Day : 8th April 2009, Butare, Rwanda after visiting a genocide memorial. (I talk about it HERE)

Most adventerous moment: Boarding a tug boat to travel down Lake Tanganyika en-route to Kigoma, Tanzania

The 5 best highlights (in no particular order):

1. Getting up close and personal with 5 Silverbacks in Parc National de Volcans, Rwanda
2. Being pamered in Madikwe Safari Lodge, South Africa
3. Juming out of a dhow, after spotting Dolphins, onto the best beach in Africa. Praia de Chocas, Mozambique
4. Standing on the precipace of the plateau in Dogon Country, Mali
5. Giggling at the confluence of the Atlantic and Indian Ocean’s at the southern most tip of Africa

Muni & Molly

Well now that we leave East Africa tomorrow Muni & Molly’s East African Oscars are now published.

The categories are : (drum roll please)…

1. Best Hotel : Hottel Panari, Nairobi, Kenya
2. Worst Hotel : Hotel No Name Arsi Negele, Ethiopia

3. Best Meal : All of the meals in Masala Chatt, Kampala, Uganda
4. Worst Meal : Cafe No Name, Arsi Negele, Ethiopia

5. Best Transport : Rwanda
6. Worst Transport : Burundi & the worst road in Africa from Dar es Salaam to Kilwa Masoko

7. Friendliest People : Kenyans
8. Not so Friendly People : None really in East Africa : Well done !

9. Best Value : Uganda
10. Worst Value : Rwanda

And last but by no means least…

11. Best Beer : Primus 720ml, Burundi.
12. Worst Beer : Not one – just warm beer !

And the most coveted award for biggest tosser goes to….

Mr. Matatu Driver in Kampala for laughing at the customers and ignoring their pleas to stop. To the point were this humble writer had to grab the driver of a moving vehicle in a very agressive way causing many screams and general mayhem in the process!!! I hope you are plagued by punctures the rest of your days.

muni

Beware the Vikings !

Machinga, our new friend and Dhow captain, smiled broadly. He sat contented. On that day two whole years work had been completed. He was the proud owner of a brand new, and impressively large, Dhow. Sea trials were tomorrow. We agreed to go with him to Wasini Marine Park early the next morning.

The water invitingly clear. The urge for a swim barely controllable as we bobbed about. “We’re hunting for Dolphins”. The captain exclaimed. “Huh?!”, I said. Others and I aghast. “Hunting to look!”, he said. A cheeky smile. His headache now better after some donated paracetamol. The Dolphins obliged and smiled for the camera. Making us steer one way and surfacing another. Cheeky chappies! On the way snorkels and flippers were doled out. The anchor dropped and without hesitation I was afloat above the reef. The sheer abundance of strangely shaped fish, brandishing iridescent and luminous colours  of every kind, was matched only by the reef’s size and coral beauty.

Wasini ViewWasini Soup

After about five hundred meters we were told to head for the “beach”. I looked up. “What beach?!”. A finger pointed. There, in the middle of the ocean a barely visible sand bar. The only clue to its existence was the changing colour of the turquoise water. We snorkeled forward and then walking. There I was, with my Molly, on a beach ten foot square, in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by Dolphins in water of a temperature that warms your bones. This point in time, this place, doesn’t just warm your bones, it warms your soul. Just about as idyllic as you can get I suppose. We steamed back to Wasini Island and our residence at the Mpunguti Lodge devoured a hearty lunch and both slumbered, contented.

The next day, with a boat, five matatus and a taxi we had returned to Tiwi Beach. Our favourite spot on the Kenyan coast. Here we stayed for a few more nights eating Swahili food and soaking up the sun. This was to be our last few days by the ocean until Tanzania. Again the train was booked. Ali there to see us off from Mombasa. Back to Nairobi and continued quickly to Kisumu and the Ugandan border. (There had been some worrisome articles in the Kenyan papers about armed men on buses behaving like, well….Vikings.) So instead of heading for Turkana we had made it to Jinja in Uganda from Mombasa in about four days. Long hours spent on buses but we were safe and now feel like we are traveling again. From now on, each road traveled will be only in one direction.

Tiwi Beach CanoeTiwi Beach Room View

muni

Ndovu

Finally! After over eight long months, Ndovu. We both have looked forward to seeing these majestic creatures for so long. Eventually when we did we were within arms reach and almost underneath them! Our first sighting was on the road up to Tsavo National Park but they were a bit far away. We checked in to the Voi Lodge for our safari and found two herds right below our window. One breeding herd of about twenty and one Askari group of seven. The Askari group all big “Tuskers”. Positively wonderful. And now we could watch them from our balcony. The setting was more than I could of hoped for and it was to get even better.

1-ndovu2-ndovu
5-ndovu3-ndovu

After lunch we discovered that the lodge had, down a small winding path, a bunker right beside the watering hole where all of the Ndovu came to to drink. We could nearly reach out and touch them. I had a lump in my throat to be finally near these staggering behemoths that have proved incredibly illusive for some time. Now, you could kick a tree and ten of them would fall out. Just deadly.

In about a week afterwards we made it to an orphanage in Nairobi for those Ndovu not quite tough enough to be on their own yet. They had been through a lot but still survived and were going from strength to strength. It was heart wrenching to hear of what they and their parents had to endure but they are Ndovu. Intelligent, strong, fearless, fearsome, command respect and just outright adorable.

4-ndovu6-ndovu
8-ndovu
7-ndovu

Obviously, they are my favourite…

muni

Mombasa to Lamu

Nairobi was surprising. Cool and breezy, clean, tidy and very cosmopolitan. Cafés on every corner, good local transport and shopping centres nearby for all our shopping needs. We took the usual precautions for any big city. All jewellery off, carried little money and walked with purpose. Speaking of which, Kenyans, unlike their Ugandan counterparts, also walk with purpose. Kenyans look as if they are going somewhere. Ugandans seem to do it in a perpendicular semi-comatosed state pointing only with their eyes and lips devoid of any gusto or vigour. Maybe its the matooke!
Happily, “Nairobbery” hadn’t lived up to its reputation during our stay and we had booked tickets on the train to Mombasa in the meantime. I couldn’t wait – my first night train.

We boarded the train at 7p.m. Instantly we met a couple from that other American colony, Canada. We got our first class cabins sorted out and we were promptly called for dinner in the dining carriage soon after departure. All four of us sat together, ate, drank Tuskers and the odd vodka – ahem! Soon enough it was back to the cabin for a DVD and sleep. We got little sleep as the gentle rocking I expected were more thunderous jolts. The next morning, a bit ropey from the lack of sleep and the Tuskers, we ate breakfast watching Tsavo National Park pass by.

17 hours on the train and we were in Mombasa. Amid the stifling heat and humidity, Molly was struggling. Both of us our clothes stuck to us constantly. Ali, from Camara, took me down to the hub and I told them that I’d return on the Monday because we were going to Tiwi Beach for the weekend. I’m not going to harp on about just another beach lined with coconut palms, crystal clear waters, white sands and Swahili food…so, just picture it. Then when you have….it’s ten times better! Ha!

Typical Old Mombasa Town Architecture

Typical Old Mombasa Town Architecture

On the Monday morning both of us back to Camara in Mombasa, Molly helping with the accounts system and I, teaching and helping out with the tech stuff. It was very enjoyable to meet the guys there. All very enthusiastic and a good laugh to be around. Ali especially. He has mastered the fine art of the Dublin and Moore Street accents and likes to practice when there is an Irish ear listening.

Lamu is a staunchly Islamic but beautiful island 500 kilometres up the coast towards Somalia. Off we went on our Tahmeed bus early doors on the Sunday morn. 6 hours later we were there. Armed police (for Somali bandits) leaving us at the ferry to the island. The next morning were were off to explore the island. Its car-less streets dominated by donkeys we wandered along the main drag which is centred around the harbour. A good 45 minute walk after that is the 12 kilometre Shella Beach. Just more gloriously white sands and azure blue sea. Enough said. We spent the day there swimming, snoozing and waffling with a Masai Warrior about the merits of teaching Elephants Swahili and or English. We both laughed at the craziness of it but saw the merits in it. A nice chappie. Since childhood I’ve always wanted to stand beside a Masai and have a waffle. (I was taller!) The boxes are fast becoming ticked…

My Masai Friend on the Beach

My Masai Friend on the Beach

Lamu Dhow

Lamu Dhow

muni