Day 145 Kenya : Nairobi - Talek

Day 145 Kenya

Trip Distance 248 km (154 m) Total Distance 16540 km (10280 m)
Road Condition 70% tar 30% hard core  
Time to travel 5 hrs (incl 1 hr to clear Nairobi) 1 hr - 36km to Masai Mara
2.5 hrs - 23km in Masai Mara
 
Stopover
Talek Gate, Masai Mara
Aruba West Camp S1 26.449 E35 12.501 KSH900 - Hot showers, long drop loos - rustic but clean

We set off for the Masai Mara this morning.  We were really looking forward to seeing it after having seen so many programs on TV and read so many articles about it.  We had had a chat before setting off and were quite prepared to pay the exorbitant US$60 each for a single 24 hour period.  Although, we had a little hope after Trevor had a chat to a German overlander last night who had spent 5 days in the Mara.  When he asked him how he could afford it, he (the German) said they had had a chat to the guard on the gate and he had charged them only US$30 each with no receipts for as long as they wanted on the condition they came back out the same gate for him to let them out.

The road to within 35kms of the Masai was all tar and we made relatively good time after it took us another hour to clear Nairobi limits.  We passed through the Rift Valley a_SG105373 a_SG105379 and onto the last horrible stretch of road with corrugations too wide apart to travel comfortably, potholes and diversions.  Despite the bad road, we weren't too wrapped up in our misery to miss the wild giraffe browsing just off the side of the road a_SG105387 .

Eventually the park was within our sights.  We had originally intended to head for the Talek Gate to camp at Aruba West before entering the park the next morning but we blindly followed the T4A suggested route and to our surprise ended up at the Sekanani Gate.  Here's a hint: if you want to go to the Talek Gate you must go via the M6 and not the C12. 

So, unexpectedly we arrived at a gate that would not allow us in without paying to get to Aruba West campsite.  We had a decision to make, to back track to a campsite about 25kms away across a really awful, corrugated road or enter the park for our first game drive and camp at Aruba as planned.  We decided to go forward.  Trevor went into the office to chat to the guard but at the time we arrived, the office was full of people so a discussion over our entry and some money for him was impossible.  I didn't think so.  So with my charm ratcheted up to FULL, I went in for a chat.  Although they wouldn't entertain any discussion of money (ie bribes) for themselves, they eventually let us in for US$60 for the blokes, US$30 for Anja and I and with a little further gentle persuasion (an unmarried sister prettier than I!!!) he validated our tickets 24 hours ahead so that we ended up with a period of 2 days in the park!!!!  Bonus :o)

As we entered the park and slowly drove towards Aruba, we were greeted by plethora of animals (here are a few snaps) and the most glorious sunset that we have ever experienced.

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