After our Kilimanjaro adventure we spent a few days recuperating in the luxurious Fairview hotel in Nairobi. I truly did not know that a place like that haven existed in Kenya! There a spectacular breakfast buffet that had STRAWBERRIES! I had not seen a strawberry for 10 months! Needless to say, I contemplated a peace corps site change to the Fairview hotel. After a few days, a few showers, and a few hot meals, my family and I met up with Caitlin, my best friend from high school, to embark on our next set of adventures. Since a picture shows a thousand words, here are some of my favourite snapshots of our vacation:
At the elephant orphanage we watched baby elephants (awwwwww) get fed with giant bottles of milk and then play soccer.
Caitlin and my Mom getting smooches from giraffes at the Nairobi Giraffe Centre. Giraffe tongues are rough and slimy, not at all kissable.
At Carnivore restaurant where you are served an endless buffet of wild game from crocodile to ostrich. This is the happiest I saw Robbie on the trip, and quite possibly in all his life.
We ventured to the Masai Mara to begin our safari. We first stayed at Keekorok Lodge in comfortable wooden huts. Note Caitlin’s excitement for our first game drive! There was also a hippo pond with lots of snuggling hippopotamuses.
Below are some pictures of the wildlife we saw in the Masai Mara. It was fascinating (and slightly scary) to see all of the giant game roaming in their habitat.
Seeing all of the animals above almost felt like a Disneyland ride/Lion King movie set (I did have to sing the circle of life a few times!). Out of sibling rivalry, Robbie and I came up with a competition to see who could spot the most animals throughout our stay and assigned points to the most elusive of animals. I lost miserably! I missed a sleeping lion right in front of me, mistaking it for a dead buffalo…..
This is the second lodge that we stayed in, Mara Serena, which had gorgeous view of the Mara river. The rooms were modeled after traditional Masai huts, but with the luxury of running water, toilets, etc.
From the view of our rooms, the wildebeest migration across the Mara river was seen. Unfortunately for me I missed the whole crossing as I was blissfully enjoying a massage! Oh well, at least from this picture you can see the sheer number of wildebeest…quite amazing.
The view of the Masai Mara were breathtaking. You could see for miles and spot wildlife off in the distance.
And there were absolutely beautiful sunsets. The colours of an African sunset are just so pretty!
Caitlin and I attended a Masai Dance where we witnessed some traditional songs and dances. The Masai tribesmen dance by jumping as high as possible in a circle.
After our safari in the Masai Mara we headed to Kisumu in the Nyanza province. We stayed at Kiboko Bay Resort located on the shore of Lake Victoria. There was a lot of delicious fresh fish to be enjoyed as well as bird watching.
We went on a boat ride in Lake Victoria and saw many fisherman at work catching tilapia and omena (small sardine like fish). We also saw a group of emerged hippos, many beautiful birds, and a giant water lizard.
We ended our vacation at my site where my family and Caitlin had a chance to meet all my students and staff at Bishop Abiero Girl's Secondary School. The students asked them many questions about themselves and America.
My visitors also got to meet all of my house’s animal inhabitants (invited and uninvited). I was glad that they were able to see my house, school, and community to get a real feel for what it is like living in Kenya as a Peace Corps Volunteer. My mom described my house as “camping for two years” while my brother euphemistically called my living situation “an adventure” (in reference to the daily battle with rodents, bumblebees, spiders, etc that have infested my house). And even though Caitlin had a nightly staring contest with the mice living in my rafters and Robbie was attacked by a million mosquitoes, I want to believe that they enjoyed their stay in Magwar (although I know they will not miss using a choo). Come back to visit again soon!