Posts Tagged With: Kenya

Live Blogging: Journey to America, Part I

6:31 am

I’m going to attempt this live blogging thing today as mom, Tito taxi, and I make our way to Nairobi in the car. Almost exactly one year ago I did the exact journey, except in reverse.

Here’s what our journey will look like:

Mwanza to Nairobi

Mwanza to Nairobi

Of course it’s pouring rain this morning, but I suppose it will make me miss Mwanza a little less…

Don't leave without me mom!

Don’t leave without me mom!

Grrrr, that’s my annoyed dog sound. I tried to upload a photo but I guess we’re already too far away from Mwanza and so the connection is too slow. Don’t worry, mom’s taking lots of photos and will upload them just as soon as she can!

6:43 am

We’re just past Kisesa, where mom works at the Health Center, and the sun is rising in front of us.  It’s super pretty but also reminds me how early it is.  This puppy needs his sleep!

Brilliant sunrise through the rain-soaked windshield

Brilliant sunrise through the rain-soaked windshield

6:58 am

I just had my first cow sighting of the day and we all know how much I love cows…HOORAY!

Cow, YES!

Cow, YES!

7:10 am

Our car problems have started just outside of Magu.  There was a funny noise as we went over one of the many speed bumps on the road from Mwanza to Sirari.  Tito taxi pulled over and sure enough, the car was broken.  Also, mom and I are a spectacle so we’ve gathered a bit of  a morning crowd of assorted drunk men.  Eww.

I'm pretty sure that all these men were drunk.  On principal, mom refused to give them money to buy beer at 7:30 in the morning

I’m pretty sure that all these men were drunk. On principal, mom refused to give them money to buy beer at 7:30 in the morning

8:15 am

The C-V joint on Tito’s car broke just outside of Magu so we had to pull over and Tito went to town to find a new car part. And my brilliant mother accidentally locked the keys in the car. So now we’re standing outside on the road surrounded by people who are fascinated by me and my mom. Wish us luck!

The broken C-V joint, whatever that means

The broken C-V joint, whatever that means

9:08 am

Guess who got to see more cows while we were waiting for the car to get fixed?  This little doggie, that’s who!  Oh, and then I tried to eat some of their poop, which got me in trouble with mom.  Oops!

Cows!  And check out those horns.  JEALOUS!

Cows! And check out those horns. JEALOUS!

9:20 am

While we were waiting for the car to be fixed (it’s going on 2 hours now), a nice man from a little shop nearby brought over some of the tiny fish called daga and let me have some.  Amazingly enough, this is my first time eating daga since moving to Tanzania, even though most local dogs eat daga everyday.  They were interesting.  Salty and slightly crunchy, but I didn’t have time for breakfast before we left so they were good enough for me!

Trying daga

Trying daga

10:41 am

We’re finally on the move again, YAY!  We’re just now crossing the ‘Narrow Damaged Bridge’ which makes mom and I laugh every time we see it.

HaHa, I wonder how long this bridge will stay damaged?

HaHa, I wonder how long this bridge will stay damaged?

11:19 am

Now we’ve passed Speke Bay, one of my favorite places in Tanzania.  Too bad we can’t stop in and say hello to everyone.  They’re also doing roadwork in this area and we have to drive on a dirt road (I’m unsure if you can actually call it that).  This road gets Tito taxi’s car all dirty, something which really, really annoys him.

Um, I suppose this is a road

Um, I suppose this is a road

11:28 am

We’re driving past the Serengeti Western Corridor gate.  I really wish I can go inside, because I love me some animals, but I guess I’m too much animal for a National Park.

11:35 am

Zebra sighting.  This basically makes my day.

ZEBRAS!!!!

ZEBRAS!!!!

1:58 pm

We’ve finally arrived in the border town of Sirari.  Mom and Tito taxi do something at an office while I wait in the car.  Lots of people gather around to stare at me, so i go and I hide underneath the seat so they can’t make fun of me.

2:49 pm

It took us almost an hour to do all the nonsense required at the border and we’re now on the Kenyan side of the border in a town called Isebania.  Mom and Tito taxi had to go and do more stuff in another office and again I had to stay in the car.  Then they went to a funny little office where mom argued with a man about something and eventually forked over some money.  He then proceeded to sit behind a weird, loud machine and made a paper that Tito taxi had to keep with his car in case there was an accident.  They also made me go to the Veterinary office where they looked at all my paperwork.  Mom told them that I was healthier and better vaccinated than any human who crossed the border so they sent us on our way.

Funny man, funny machine

Funny man, funny machine

4:45 pm

There’s Christmas carols on the radio in Kenya.  I almost forgot this is why mom and I are going to America!

5:13 pm

A crazy or drunk person (or maybe both) jumped on our car in a town called Sotik.  I did not like this man so I barked until he got off and was chased away by some other people outside.

6:16 pm

We’ve been driving for 12 hours now, but then we see a double rainbow and all of us are instantly happier.

Smile, it's a rainbow!

Smile, it’s a rainbow!

6:31 pm

More zebras alongside the road.  We were going to fast to get a photo, but I promise you, they were there and I saw them.  Mom says we’re near the Maasai Mara so that’s why there’s zebras here.

8:17 pm

We’re now passing the Great Rift Valley overlook, but unfortunately it’s dark so we can’t see it.  Luckily I got a nice view last year when we drove this way so I’m not too upset.

The sun is setting on our long day

The sun is setting on our long day

11:15 pm

I’m finally here in the Nairobi Hilton with some food and some water and I think that’s totally awesome.  Mom’s too tired to type up all the stuff that I made her write down today after we lost our internet connection, but I promise I’ll make her fill in the rest of the trip with photos first thing tomorrow!

Good Night!

Really?? I finally get to sleep now?

Really?? I finally get to sleep now?

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Nakuru to Mwanza

Our final day in the car began in Nakuru.  I woke up to a misty view of Lake Nakuru.  On the way out of the National Park, we got to go on a mini-game drive where I saw a neat animal that wasn’t quite a cow, or a goat either; mom said she thought it was some kind of antelope.  Another new animal to check off my list!

A new animal!

When we got to the exit gate, mom wrapped me up and started acting all weird again.  I was excited because there were these tiny, hairy, human looking things that mom called baboons, but she told me I had to stay quiet and not move 😦  Apparently, I had to hide to get OUT of the National Park too.

Once we were out, I rested.

I LOVE SLEEPING!

A few hours into the drive, mom woke me up to see the scenery.  There were fields and fields and fields of green that mom said were tea fields.  It was so pretty!

Me and mom at the tea fields

After the tea fields, the scenery was the same old, same old again, so I found another comfy spot in the car.

Looking forward to getting home

Finally, we passed through the border at a familiar place, the Isebania/Sirari border.  As we were on the final stretch towards Mwanza, we were entertained by a fascinating lightning storm.  Welcome back to Mwanza!

Mwanza Lightning

 

The way we drove

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Dog-Friendly Hotels in East Africa

In general, people in Tanzania and Kenya seem not to like me, which is weird because in the US everyone loved me.  I’m discriminated by Precision Air, and many other places because I’m a dog, but there have been a few gems in my travels.  I want other doggies to have an easier time than me while traveling Africa so I’m going to keep a running list here of the places where I’ve been welcomed.

The Places I've Stayed

The Places I’ve Stayed

1. Hilton Hotel, Nairobi

All the people that worked at the Hilton were excited to see me and quickly learned my name.  Everyday at breakfast they would greet me by name and also they gave me my first meal of goat, yummy!  When my mom went back to the Hilton a month after our stay without me, everyone remembered me and asked where I was, they missed me!

The bed was super comfortable at the Hilton

The Pool at the Hilton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Ryan’s Bay Hotel, Mwanza

  • Website: http://www.ryansbay.com/
  • Telephone number: +255-28-254-2347
  • Location: On the shore of Lake Victoria just next to downtown Mwanza
  • Price: $120/night for a double room

The people at Ryan’s Bay were super welcoming to me after a long drive from Nairobi.  Even though I only stayed there for one night, I kept going back for dinner because the people were so nice to me.  The room was huge and I had a great view of Lake Victoria every night at dinner.

View of Capri Point from Ryan’s Bay

The view from dinner at Ryan’s Bay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Speke Bay, Lake Victoria

  • Website: http://www.spekebay.com/C01/UK/welcome.htm
  • Telephone number: +255-28-262-1236
  • Location: On the shores of Lake Victoria, about a 2 hour drive from Mwanza and 15 minute drive from the Western Corridor Gate of the Serengeti
  • Price: $300/night for a triple room, includes dinner and breakfast

This was my first real beach and it was beautiful!  There’s only 8 bungalows at the hotel so we basically had the whole beach to ourselves and I got to run up and down, digging and swimming!  They even let me come in the restaurant and when we left they asked me to bring back 3 more dogs just like me 🙂

Post Lake Victoria-swimming at Speke Bay

The view of Lake Victoria from our bungalow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Setavin Hotel, Musoma, Tanzania

  • Telephone number: +255 282 622 282
  • Location: The center of Musoma town, which is located on Lake Victoria, 1 1/2 hours from the border of Kenya and 2 1/2 hours from Mwanza
  • Price: $50/night for a double room, includes breakfast

Mom and I weren’t expecting much from the hotel selection in Musoma because Marcel had warned that the town was similar to Butare in Rwanda, however I was pleasantly surprised with Setavin Hotel.  The people who worked there accepted me right away and all learned my name and also helped me practice the ‘sit’ command.  The room was super clean and I had fun playing on the balcony while mom had dinner and breakfast.  Before I left, all the staff made sure to say goodbye and one of them even fed me by hand!

Me on the bed at Setavin Hotel

The outside of Setavin Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Snowcrest Hotel, Arusha, Tanzania

  • Website: http://www.snowcresthotel.com/
  • Telephone number: +255 272 543 100
  • Location: Just outside the center of Arusha near the Arusha International Conference Center
  • Price: $230/night for a triple room, includes breakfast

We arrived here late at night and the guards and the reception were so nice and welcoming to us.  They smiled at me and quickly checked us in and showed us to our wonderful room.  The beds were comfy and had nice fluffy duvets.  We were really hungry so we ordered room service at 12:30am and it came quickly.  In the morning, the humans had a yummy breakfast buffet and I got to play in the huge gardens surrounding the hotel.  Five paws for the Snowcrest!

Me and mom at the Snowcrest

Me and the guard at Snowcrest Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Sarova Lion Hill Lodge, Nakuru, Kenya

  • Website: http://www.sarovahotels.com/lionhill/
  • Telephone number: +254 020 231 5139
  • Location: On a hill overlooking Lake Nakuru inside Lake Nakuru National Park just outside of Nakuru town
  • Price: $180/night for a double room, includes breakfast

Even though it was difficult to enter Lake Nakuru National Park as a dog, once I arrived at the Sarova Lion Hill Lodge, I was treated like a star!  The individual bungalows are spaced far enough apart for lots of privacy and the view of the Lake in the morning is delightful!  Also, the beds are super comfy and have a hot water compress inside for a warm, snuggly, night’s sleep 🙂

Just outside our bungalow, overlooking Lake Nakuru

Me on the bed at the Sarova Lion Hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Peacock Hotel, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

  • Website: http://www.peacock-hotel.com/
  • Telephone number: +255 22 2120334
  • Location: The city center of Dar es Salaam
  • Price: $95/night, includes breakfast

This may be the only hotel that will allow dogs like me in all of Dar es Salaam, even though it’s a big city and the capital of Tanzania at that.  Mom, Sham (our awesome taxi driver), and I drove and drove and drove around the city looking for a place we could stay for almost an hour in the very early morning and the Peacock Hotel finally welcomed us with open arms.  They allowed us to check in at 7:00 am so that we could sleep after two long days of flying.  The rooms are clean with big, comfy beds, a tv, free wi-fi, and air conditioning.  We truly loved everything about our stay here!

In the bathroom on a pile of Peacock towels

In the bathroom on a pile of Peacock towels

Me on the comfy bed with LOTS of pillows

Me on the comfy bed with LOTS of pillows

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Arusha to Mombasa

Friday morning we were up early to head the rest of the way to Mombasa.  Before we left, I made sure to get some photos of myself at the hotel for my blog.  I wanted to get one of me in the window of the hotel overlooking the gardens so I had mom put me on the windowsill, but because I’m still just a puppy I got distracted by a cool bug and leaped off the ledge and into a giant bush to catch it.  OOPS!!  Anyway, mom came to my rescue and since we were only on the first floor, I was fine.  After taking some photos, we were ready to begin the second day of our journey.

Here we go again...

The first town we passed through after Arusha was Moshi.  According to mom, they have yummy coffee there, so we stopped to get some for the humans.  I met a baby human there and we got along so well, probably because we’re both young and so we can understand each other.

My new friend

Moshi is also where I had my first exposure to an animal called an elephant.  Apparently, the elephant is the largest animal on land.  I wonder, how can an animal possibly be larger than a cow?  I must see a real-life version of this thing.  For the time being I decided to take a photo with the Nakumatt elephant.

Me and the Nakumatt elephant

Just after Moshi, we crossed the border into Kenya at a town called Taveta.  At the border, mom was being weird and forcing me to stay on the floor of the car and also telling me not to make noises.  Later, she explained that she didn’t want any trouble from the border guards and so I was actually smuggled into Kenya!  EXCITING!

It's Kenya!

From the border, we drove on a bumpy dirt road through Tsavo West National Park and the Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary.  This was the most exciting part of the drive because there were tons of new smells for me.  I was bouncing around, from one side of the car to the other trying to take it all in.  At one point in the wildlife sanctuary I caught a fascinating smell that I’d never experienced before.  I jumped over to Mr. Marcel’s window and saw giant creatures, maybe the elephants that mom was talking about.  I just couldn’t contain my excitement and it didn’t appear that the humans were going to stop so I decided to take matters into my own paws.

I leaped out the window, ready to land on my feet and run to investigate the elephants.  But, as I was flying through the air, my body turned and all of a sudden I landed hard on my back on the dirt and rolled head over feet at least three times.  I really screwed up this time, because the car was now ahead of me and every part of my body was hurting.  I stood up, ready to run after the car, but my hind leg was killing me and I couldn’t move.  Then, thankfully, mom appeared, running towards me.  She scooped me up and took me back to the car.  There was fear in her eyes and she was checking me everywhere.  Red gooey liquid was flowing out of my scrapes and so mom bundled me up in a towel and hugged me close to her as we continued driving.

My hurt eye and fat lip

Just after my accident

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More photos of my injuries:

My knee injury

My foot injury

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even more photos of my injuries:

Resting

Licking my wounds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rest of the drive was a blur as I dozed in mom’s lap.  We stopped briefly in a town called Voi at the junction of the dirt road and the main paved road.  At the gas station, a young Kenyan girl was nice to me, despite my obvious injuries and for that, I was thankful.

Me and the sweet girl I met

We arrived in Mombasa around 8:30pm and finally I could sleep on a real bed that was not bumpy or vibrating.  I needed rest so I could be ready to explore Mombasa in the morning.

Our route from Arusha to Mombasa

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The Mombasa Road Trip, A Preview

I just returned from the coolest adventure and there’s so much to tell!  I’ve made a little map for you all to see a summary of where I’ve been, and I’ll write more about each bit of my adventure this week.  So much happened, I don’t know where to start, but I’ll try to tell my story over the next couple days, STAY TUNED!

My Adventure

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