Saturday, January 16, 2010
End of 2009, not that much happened.
Attended a few meetings / xmas dinners
Arranged travel for some future meetings
Had some “end of year snow”
Then on 28th December, travelled up to Gatwick to Fly to Mombasa, Kenya.
WOO HOO WOO HOO.
New Years Eve, in another Continent / country.
Southern Palms Beach Resort, Diani, Kenya. http://www.southernpalmskenya.com/
They certainly know how to celebrate !!!
Took a few days getting to know the hotel / locals and the area.
On the 3rd January, we set off, on Safari, with Go-Africa http://www.go-africa-safaris.com/
I spoke to Esther and Yvonne at Go-Africa, and they tailor made an itinery to suit, me, they were very professional and made sure we were completely aware of the exact route and accommodation, this was done by email (in the UK) and Yvonne visited me at the hotel, to confirm things.
Leonard, was our driver, and the mini-bus was very clean. (for now).
From the hotel we drove via Likoni Ferry (an adventure in itself) to Mombasa and on to Tsavo West National Park, and went to our accommodation, Rhino Valley Lodge. The Lodge is built into the side of the mountain (no fences, so your in amongst the wildlife) with spectacular views. http://www.glorioussafaris.com/html/rhino_valley_lodge_0.html
During the late afternoon, we went for a game drive, before returning to Rhino Valley for supper. When you go to your room/lodge, you get escorted by a guide, just incase of any “Nasties” (that will eat you).
Next day, a game drive (different route), before having breakfast, then departing for Amboseli National Park.
Lunch, and Accommodation, at Ol Tukai Lodge, an afternoon game drive. http://www.oltukailodge.com/ol_frame_page.htm
Ol Tukai is a FANTASTIC lodge, with two adapted lodges, for the disabled (with a totally independant generator, in case of power failures) plus the whole property is on one level and any steps have ramps built alongside (even the swimming pool, has a ramp, BONUS!!!)
Day 3 / 5th Jan, we left for Kajiado (near Niarobi), to visit a school with a wheelchair project, (remember I donated my old wheelchair to charity, well this is where it is going). It was a long way, so Ol Tukai had supplied us with MASSIVE packed lunches.
The road to Kajiado was being renewed, so we were on the “old” road, so slow and bumpy.
At Kajiado, we were greeted by Daniel (the main man) he was excited to have us visit (I had only communicated, with Daniel, by email) he was worried at first as he had heard on the news that two tourists had been attacked by an elephant, and was hoping it wasn’t us!.
He showed us around, I was very impressed with the school, physio suite and the wheelchair project.
(two Ataxia South Wales T-shirts were given to Daniel, so if your out there and see them, you know where, they have come from).
After a short visit, at Kajiado, we carried on to Nairobi (road OKish) then down to Tsavo East National Park. As the first roads were bad, we didn’t get to our accommodation, Aruba Ashnil Lodge, till dark, so supper and bed. http://www.somak.com/hotels_info.php?KTEARUBA
Breakfast, game drive (on route) for lunch at Voi Wildlife Lodge. http://www.voiwildlifelodge.com/index.html
Then start our way, back to Southern Palms, via Mombasa and the Likoni Ferry.
The ferry was very very very busy (people going home after the new year) and the ferries are old, slow and unreliable, (some people were queing for over 6 hours!!).
Back at the hotel, it was time to rest (Sort of)
I wanted, a haircut, this was arranged, in Ukunda (the nearby village).
Invited to go to a party at one of the local hotels, for the Diani Village orphanage. http://www.dianichildrensvillage.org/about_en.html
One day we went to visit Makobe school, in Shimba Hills. This school is far away from any sort of utilities (not that there, are any, anyway)
We were showed around by Niaomi, first to the new dormitory, which will be open soon, then to the kitchen (which is a stick hut) and the class rooms.
She introduced us to the headmaster, who gave us a brief talk, about the school, and how it is run, the amount of pupils ETC.
I was asked if I could tell if one of the pupils, had Ataxia, but without any medical knowledge, this I couldn’t undertake.
(since coming home, I have found out, that, there maybe a possibility of a clinic in Nairobi, thinking about, this issue (not confirmed to date).
The classes, cater for ages from very young, to young adults (and have a class for disabled children) they learn most aspects including woodwork, art, and sewing.
All this, without water and electric !!!!!!.
I would like to THANKS to Go-Africa http://www.go-africa-safaris.com/
At the end of our stay, it was off to the airport, in Mombasa again via the Likoni ferry.
Flight to Gatwick was fine, (Gatwick was closed later that night)
We stayed overnight at Gatwick Worth Hotel, HEAVY SNOW, that night !!!. We managed to get to the motorway, at about 5 mph.
Motorways were OK, from Cardiff, going West the snow didn’t seem to be as bad (around Neath/ Port Talbot, there was NO evidence, of any snow ???). We got to within 100 yards, of home, and found snow drifts, about 8 feet high !!, a farmer had cleared a narrow path for access along the road, so we slowly made it to our drive, where we had to dig our way in !!!.
At home I have been uploading photos, videos, sorting 450 emails, arranging more transport for attending meetings and events.
In the process of writing up reviews, on all the lodges and submitting them to various websites, including Tripadvisor http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/
Oh, and today, nearly all the snow has melted.
Photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/alanroygbiv/
Short videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/alanroygbiv#g/u
(the Tuk-Tuk ride was fun / scary /hilarious)