Getting into Kenya was nothing too complicated except for being hounded by Masaai ladies. They kept on pushing their beaded jewelry on me saying it was a free gift from them to me. Saw this trick in Laos 🙂 We rolled into Nairobi and met up with my Uncle Pili. My Nanaji’s parents (my great-grandparents) and his siblings moved to Kenya in the 50’s-60’s. They’ve mostly moved to the UK now, but we still have some distant family in Kenya. In short…Uncle Pili is awesome. He really showed us an amazing time in Nairobi…I don’t think we’ve partied that hard in a while!!! Basically the bars seem to pick up after 12pm in Nairobi, and the music is something we’re used to…a mix of hip-hop, African, reggae, but there’s always a strong reggaeton-ish beat, so you always feel like moving! But we weren’t partying the whole time…we caught up on our blog, pics, videos (that’s how I’m able to type this up right now!), went to Jungle Junction and talked to some fellow overlanders especially about the trip to Moyale, left our front tire that we’ll replace later, and also get our Ethiopian visa.
We had read a lot of junk online that US citizens or European citizens have trouble getting the visa in Nairobi and Kampala. You basically have to mail your passport back to your country and wait a good week before you get it back. We really did not want to do that! We went with our most smiliest, sweetest of faces and asked for a visa. We also told them that we hold a passport which is like an Indian dual citizenship and they took a look at that. The tattooed lady that everyone complains about online was okay but definitely has the potential to act like a big fat meanie. We asked for a transit visa from the start and told them we’re trying to get back home to India. After asking questions like…”If you’re going to Uganda, why don’t you get it there ?” Us: “Because we are just riding to Mt.Elgon and ride back.” Tattoo Lady: (Rolls eyes)”How long will you be in Ethiopia?” Us: “One month, umm just in case something happens to our bike you know..like an accident or breakdown” Tattoo Lady: (Rolls eyes) “Go sit outside.” We sat outside wondering what our fate was to hold. We were then told to go to the bank to deposit the visa fee into the bank account of the Ethiopian Embassy and also to get an extra copy of the carnet (we had one, guess we ran out). We ran back to the embassy and waited…20 minutes later we were handed back our passport for…an Ethiopian visa for 3 months!!! Wow!!!! After that we decided we better head out of Nairobi and go towards Uganda.
Our first stop was Lake Naivasha. to be honest the lake is okay…there’s a park close by called Hell’s Gate which is supposed to be cool because you can walk and cycle around it. So…you can take your car, walk, or cycle…but again…no motorcycle is allowed! So that was a major bummer. We stayed at the Fisherman’s Camp at Naivasha but we weren’t too crazy about it, it was way too crowded and noisy…also the bathrooms weren’t too nice. They say hippos come out to the shore of the lake but with all the noise and people, I doubt the hippos get out near the camp. The next day we headed towards Lake Nakuru. Lake Nakuru is part of a national park that’s supposed to have loads of pink flamingoes living on the lake. Someone guided us up to a hill to see the flamingoes but we couldn’t see any…not sure where they went 🙁 Oh well, there’s always Florida.
Kericho was our next stop and little did we know what we were in for a Punjabi Simba welcome! We were overwhelmingly welcomed by old family friends of my family that lived in Kenya back in the 60’s! We stayed at the big Gurudwara in Kericho which really was wonderfully constructed by the community. It was great to learn more about the family and the African roots. We also got to take a look at the old Brook Bond tea estate on which my Great-Grandfather and my Grandfather’s brother (my DadaJi’s brother) were directors of. The Hunjan Family treated us just as their own, (being old friends of my family), and showed us around and even invited us to the wedding festivities of Harry. We also had the honor of coincidentally having arrived when Sant Mohinder Singh Ji came to Kericho. Sant Mohinder Singh Ji is the successor to Baba Puran Singh Ji who was a saintly man who believed in hard word and seva (helping others) and who was like a brother to my Great-Grandfather. We also got a chance to visit places my family was born and also what they helped to build. Next stop was Kisumu! We were hoping to get a glimpse of Lake Victoria but there was too much green overgrowth. We were greeted by friends of the family, including the Panesar family! Aunty and Uncle treated us to paranthas, brownies, and a big box of homemade burfi! I will always remember Aunty’s milk powder-burfi! The ride to Kericho to Kisumu and beyond was full of gorgeous views. I think it’s overlooked but for us it was a standout.
In Indonesia, somehow we had missed the whole equator sign and the chance to take some pics and say ‘Yeah! We made it to the equator!” So we made sure we’d pass the sign up on the way to Uganda…and yes, we got to take the requisite cheesy pics 🙂 East Africa was turning out to be beautiful and full of great people. We weren’t too sure what to expect of Uganda, but we were to be pleasantly surprised!