Sunday, August 7, 2011

East Africa Day 77 (Fri July 29): Nairobi National Park

When I was in Jinja, Uganda I met two great young women who were volunteering in a rural village in Western Kenya. We were on the same boat together when went rafting down the Nile. Maria is a McGill student who was here for the summer. She had to come to Nairobi in order to catch her flight back to North America, which departs tonight. She arrived in Nairobi by bus last night, and stayed at my apartment. I arranged with a taxi driver, Leonard, to visit the Nairobi National Park today. Another friend, Laney joined us for the trip. Nairobi National Park is right outside of the city - crazy that you can actually see the skyline from the park, which contains many of the big game animals including lions, but excluding elephants.

Maria and I took her stuff in a cab to the Junction mall, where we had lunch at Java House. Laney and Leonard met us there, and we headed to the park. Fortunately Leonard had taken visitors to the park twice before, so he knew that we needed to buy a map of the park in the gift shop, before we started driving around the park. He was so right!

Even so, we still wound up getting lost on unmarked dirt roads, and were fortunate to get back to the Main Gate when the park closed at 6:30pm!

We saw so many animals - it was amazing!

We were hanging out of the car windows to get good views, and of course photos.

photo: Laney and I

photo: Leonard and Maria

Maria took an average of one photo a minute:) We saw two lions playing (albeit at a distance), a group of giraffe so close to the road it was AMAZING, buffalo, hippo, zebra, antelope, hardebeest, ostrich ... and a beautiful sunset!

We snapped a group photo outside of the gates before we left the park for the airport. We dropped Maria off to catch her flight, and then Leonard dropped Laney off, and then dropped me off. I didn't get home until after 9pm. It was a much longer afternoon and evening than I'd anticipated, but I think everyone had a good time!

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