Rhinos in Uganda!

After Jungle Junction we went to a farm on the way to Uganda. Vivi and I liked to roll down the hills. Mummy did not like all the grass that got stuck in our hair! There was a wire elephant scuplture. And we climbed lots of trees! We tried to find a chameleon, but failed.

Then we crossed the border to Uganda. It was a pretty good border. We drove to Nile River Camp. We could see over the Victoria Nile. We met two families from Portugal and played football and went swimming with them. We saw monkeys with red tails. Mummy cut my hair shorter, and she cut Daddy’s hair and Genevieve got a fringe! On the last night, when we were asleep, a branch from a palm tree fell on our tent. It gave us all a big fright!

After Nile River Camp we drove to Ziwa Rhino Camp. We went on a rhino trek, with a guide called Ronald, but he told us to call him ‘Rhino’. We drove through a bit of mud then parked the car and walked the rest of the way. Some of the grass was over my head. We saw a Mummy and a 2 month old rhino, but they were sitting down. Then we walked and saw 3 rhinos. A mum and her baby and a male rhino. The baby was 1.5 years old and really big!

On the way back to the car, we walked past the mummy and 2 month old rhino again. It started to rain and the little rhino got very excited. It started to follow us, and also the mummy. Our guide told us to either climb a tree or hide behind a thicket. Rhino’s can’t see very well, but they can hear and smell. I was a bit scared, not of the baby, but of the big horned Mummy!

Rhinos are either black or white. They only have white rhinos here. Even though they are all grey, white rhinos are called white because of their wide mouth. It was a mis-pronounciation of wide to white. They just eat grass. Black rhinos are more aggresive and they eat leaves. A male rhino can weigh up to 3.5 tonnes, that is the same as the Taniwha. They can run 45km per hour, that is a lot faster than me. Rhinos get poached just for their horns. I think that is very mean.

We camped in a fenced off area. The next morning I woke up and 5 rhinos were sleeping right outside the gate!!!!! The rhinos itched their horns on the fence! We saw them eating, and pooing, and they did a lot of noisy farts! We had to wait for them to move, before we could leave.

Rhinos are very rare, so it was amazing that we saw 10 of them!!

Amboseli

After the beach we went back to the camp at Voi. Daddy found a column of safari ants. Then he was moving some wood and found a really big scorpion!

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Then we did a drive to Amboseli National Park. On the way we stopped in Tsavo, to see Paterson’s bridge. All that is left of the original bridge is the stone supports, (the rest was bombed in WW1). Daddy really wanted to see it because it is where there were two man eating lions. The lions were called The Ghost and The Darkness. The lions ate over 100 people working on the railway!! Colonel Paterson designed and built the bridge and also killed the lions. He used himself as bait. He must have been CRAZY!

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Then we drove to Amboseli National Park. The last bit of the drive was 18km of the worst corrugations ever! Daddy thinks that is where we blew our shock absorber.

In Amboseli, the best animal we saw was a cheetah! But I also liked the flamingos.

We also saw:

  • Big tusky Elephants
  • Hyena in a den
  • Pelicans
  • Secretary Bird
  • Spoonbills
  • 2 big Lions
  • Crested Cranes
  • Lots of Zebra and Wildebeest
  • Hippos
  • Warthog
  • 3 Giraffes
  • Lots of dust devils
  • A Jackal
  • Big fat Cape Buffalo
  • Babboons and Vervet Monkeys

Daddy also helped a family who had burst 2 tyres. He plugged the hole and we filled their tyre with air, then went back to the lodge with them, to make sure they got there ok. We camped in the park and that night we saw Mt Kilimanjaro! (When we drove round it, it was covered in clouds)

Then we went back to Jungle Junction in Nairobi.

 

 

 

 

Barefoot Beach

After Ethiopia we went back to Jungle Junction in Nairobi. Then we wanted to go to the beach. We went on a really bad road to Mombasa, it was bad because there were lots of slow trucks to pass.  We stayed one night near Voi. It had a really nice swimming pool.

Then we got to the coast, near Kikambala. We camped in a big garden with lots of flowers. I decorated Genevieve and made her into an African Princess. We tried to go to the beach but the tide was out.  I stood on some sharp coral.We found a nice warm pool to swim in, but there was a man who didn’t go away. So we went back to the camp and swam in the swimming pool.

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Then we drove to the Gede Ruins. They are Swahili Ruins that were abandoned 300 years ago, and now trees are growing over the stones. There were some tombs and a palace. All the rooms were named after things that were found in them, like: the house of the scissors, the house of the iron lamp, the house of the Venetian bead. All of the things were in a museum. There was also a humback whale skeleton.

Mummy was looking for a Golden Rumped Elephant Shrew, but we only saw some Sykes Monkeys.

Then we drove to Barefoot Beach Camp. We camped right on the sand! Because we were really hungry we went to the bar for lunch. Vivi and I had a plate of chips and tried some of Mummy’s prawns and Daddy’s squid. I preferred the squid. We went for a quick and lovely swim in the Indian Ocean and Daddy threw some sea weed at me!!!!

We liked it so much we stayed for three nights. In the morning Mummy went for a run along the beach, but a dog kept on trying to bite her. We all made a fortress on the sand, but the water demolished it. We had lots of swims. Daddy taught me to bob over the waves. It was fun, except when I got clobbered by a big breaker! The sand was very sparkly, from the mica in it. We were told that some Italian tourists came a long time ago and took a truck load of sand, because they thought it was gold.

One night we had dinner there. For dinner I got to make my own pizza!! I put bacon, pineapple and cheese on it. It was very tasty, even better than the pizza in Venice!

 

 

Prester John must be rolling in his grave.

So… a bit of a guest blog from me in the Roaming category – I feel that Eleanor can’t really do justice to just what an appalling place Ethiopia truly is. As Margaret tells the kids, I need to make a positive sandwich – so here goes!

Positive: Ethiopia is stunningly beautiful. We met a handful of lovely people. Diesel is cheap (albeit 500ppm sulphur, so a tad smokey). 500ppm diesel gets about 15% more MPG.

Negative: Where do I start…

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Ethiopia has been utterly ruined by NGO’s.  Bob Geldorf needs to be punched in the face.  Never have we been in a place that so utterly embodies the NGO disease of self perpetuating, money squandering, hand-out not hand-up madness as Ethiopia. Every foreigner is viewed as an ATM, it’s merciless. And deeply unpleasant. We even got spat on when no handouts were forthcoming (surprisingly we didn’t get stoned by kids – it’s a real issue here).  It is distressing to see fleets of white, NGO branded Landcruisers parked up outside flash hotels, spotlessly clean, whilst their drivers enjoy a few cold ones at the bar.  I will never again pledge any money whatsoever to large charities – small is beautiful.  We have seen this all over Africa, just never on the scale of Ethiopia.

Driving.  NGO’s, take note. If you must flash the cash, spend it on driving lessons for the general population. Take the madness of India, the aggression of Egypt and Morrocco, and spice things up a bit with a few hundred thousand khat-addled truck/bus/taxi/rickshaw drivers and you might get an inkling of just how bad they are. For the uninitiated, Khat is a “mildly” narcotic leaf commonly chewed in this part of Africa. It reputedly allows truck drivers to stay awake for many days on end.

People and Animals. On the road. I’m not sure which shows more intelligence. It’s a miracle we only flattened a goat (and a vulture!). There are dead horses, donkeys, goats, dogs, chickens plus other assorted beasties every few metres.  We didn’t see any dead people, but I’m sure there would have been a few in the ditches. Quite seriously, I’ve never seen anything like it.

Customs people at the border. Anally retentive bastards. Stupid. You can’t find the engine number in the cab. Haven’t been so invasively probed since my alien abduction.

Local police. If a farmer is stupid enough to let his livestock roam on the road (they all do) then it is his fault if they get flattened. Farmers – don’t call the cops, get people detained then demand compensation. IT IS YOUR FAULT.

Positive: Ethiopia has fantastic beer.  Really, really good.

In short, don’t visit. Don’t support NGO’s who continue to damage the place. If you must visit, fly in to Addis (don’t drive) then head to Lalibela (avoid Gondar, it’s overrated) for the cool churches.  Drink beer (St George is superb). Leave.

 

Ethiopia

I haven’t written for a while. We went to Ethiopia and we had a problem with the internet. Daddy said that the government had turned the internet off.

Ethiopia is very big and we did a lot of driving. On the first day we saw men dressed in orangey, brown clothes, with painted faces and holding spears. Then we couldn’t get to the campsite because the road had been covered in stones. The taniwha drove over the first few, but there were too many and we had to turn round. We spent the night in a hotel in Dilla. I had a pizza but I didn’t like it because it had a hot chilli on top of it. We watched Pollyanna, because we had just finished the book.

The we went a long way north. We stayed at a Soda Lake. There were lots of pumice stones. Vivi and I liked throwing them into the water because they float!

We went through Addis and stopped at a camp on the edge of a cliff. We did a walk to a portuguese bridge. There was a waterfall and the view was really good. We played with two little girls.

Then we went to Gonder. We went to see some castles. They had big wooden doors with staples to hold the wood together. There weren’t very many signs to tell us about them. Some emperors lived there in the 17th century. They had lion cages!

Then we went to a church. We had to take our shoes off. Daddy went in a different door to us girls. The church was all covered in paintings.

Then we went to Lalibela. There were lots of churches that had been cut into the mountain. They are very old and must have taken a loooooong time to cut out. My favourite was the St. George’s church, because I was born on St. George’s day! This church was shaped in a cross. We had to take our shoes off to go inside. Some had paintings in them. There were lots of paintings of St. George killing a dragon. At one church there was a skeleton of a pilgrim.

We saw an old man weaving at the side of the road. We bought a white scarf with a coloured border from him.

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Then we drove back south.  We saw a special typed of Monkey called a Gelada Monkey.It has a red triangle on its tummy and so it is sometimes called a bleeding heart baboon. They are really furry and they are the only monkey that eats grass and they live up really high in the mountains. We took a high road that went to 3,240m!

One day we drove all day and it got dark and it was wet. We couldn’t find our campsite so we stayed at a very nice lodge. My bed was up a ladder and I loved it. The next morning we smashed the breakfast buffet. There was lots of fruit salad, with strawberries and watermelon and pineapple. There was cereal and pikelets and doughnuts and they made us each a fresh omlette.

I was glad to get back to Kenya. I didn’t like it when people called us farangi (foreigner). The roads in Ethiopia are crazy too. There are lots of mountains, crazy buses, rickshaws, and motorbikes, judder bars, and donkeys/goats/cows/camels on the road. Daddy didn’t like it very much, he is going to write a blog about Ethiopia too.