Another day full of impressions. Today we have been to the Nairobi National Park and among other things seen lions, baboons, crocodiles and a whole lot of zebras. After this we visited Steve, one of the drivers who have taken us wherever we’ve wanted all week, and we had a cooking class at his place where we cooked traditional Kenyan food.
Over an open fire.
In their living room.
If we start with the safari. Since the animals are most active early in the morning we woke up early at 5:30 AM, alert and happy. Thirty minutes later, two safari-bus picked us up outside our apartments. Since the money/time paradox is reversed down here – Kenyans have more time than they need – they had not seen any reason to fuel up the cars before they picked us up. The first stop was thus at the gas station some distance from the apartment.
Once the cars had enough gasoline we travelled around half an hour to reach the park.
Nairobi National Park was Kenya’s first national park which opened its doors for the first time in 1946. It spreads out over 118 square kilometers enclosed by an electrical fence, only seven km south of the city center. Because of this you are standing there looking at the animals with the city’s sky scrapers as a backdrop.
Our drivers for the day, Daniel and Peter, drove us around in the custom-designed buses where they could open up the roof and stand up in the bus to look out over the wild. The children were allowed to stand on the seats to see.
When we drove into the park, we stopped first at a large pile of vitbränd coal. Apparently it was all ivory they confiscated from poachers, which they burned in a deterrent. When we got a repeat of yesterday’s lecture about not buy any product with ivory, we set down in the national park. When we passed the fence, I got a sense of Jurassic Park.
The first thing we saw was some water buffaloes that were roaming around. We stopped and took a lot of pictures. Then we saw an Impala and then we heard a lot of commotion in the com-radio. Apparently someone had spotted a lion and we took off in extreme speed over the narrow gravel roads. I glanced at the speedometer which displayed 30km/h, but it felt like mach 1 because of the bad roads.
After a short while we stopped behind eight other cars and our driver pointed out two lionesses lying in the sun. They were positioned around 100 meters from the car, but they are barely visible in the picture.
When we had taken a lot of pictures of them, we went on and soon we spotted a giraffe mother with her child. More photos and then … a male lion sneaks up just like a cat stalking a mouse. Apparently he was out for a meal and thought the baby giraffe was on the menu. During a few intense minutes we follow the chase – the mother spotted him, the giraffes started to run, the lion ran after them with his mane swaying in the wind, the giraffe baby was left behind, the mother slowed down and stood between her child and the lion, the lion slowed down and they seemed to get away but as they stopped for a moment the lion began to engage again and … we who were spectating the show were soaked with sweat.
When we left the scene the mother giraffe and her baby had a good start on the lion, so they seemed to get away, at least today.
We drove on with our cars and as we left the other safari cars by the sneaking lion we didn’t see them again all day, except in the distance every now and then.
We drove a long way on the winding, rough roads and stopped occasionally to take pictures. Amazing views, amazing animals, and to reconnect with the introduction with the water buffaloes that we took so many pictures of – in the end we drove past stunning zebra herds but didn’t even take up our cameras.
Then we went home, relaxed for a short while and then went out on the second adventure of the day. Jessica, who is organizing this trip usually hires Steve and Isaac as drivers for her groups and they have become quite good friends. Today we were invited to Steve’s home to cook and socialize a bit.
In Kenya, men don’t cook food, so Steve dropped us off at his three-room apartment and went out on his own adventures for a while when we were cooking the food.
The women in the home had prepared a lot, they had prepared white corn, beans, lentils and mixed a dough. Plus, they had lit a brazier of charcoal and started a gas burner in the family living room.
Maybe I should start by telling you about the family’s apartment. Steve, his wife and his three children lives in an apartment with three rooms and a kitchen. The living room contained two sofas, two armchairs and a dining table. There was also a TV on a small TV stand. I would say that the room was about 4×4 meters.
The kitchen was very small, the bathroom small but nice, the three kids shared one bedroom and the adults had one room. Overall, the apartment was at maybe 7×7 meters.
Between the sofa and table in the living room was thus the carbon burning, and at the other short end of the table was the gas kitchen burning. The dough was set on the living room table and they started to roll out cakes of bread that was then fried in cooking oil on the coal and hence turned into Chapali flatbread. The room was filled with laughter when I rolled out the cakes. Look! A man cooking!
In a saucepan boiled Githeri, a vegetarian stew with beans and white corn, and then we made Sukuma Wiki, stewed cabbage, and some kind of lentil stew. There was only one heater left since rhe Chapali took up the coal-bed so all the food was produced sequentially, the next meal started cooking when the former was completed.
While we cooked the food, we were 10 people from our group, 4 persons from Steve’s family’s gang and a small baby in the living room. In the children’s room there were five or six children from Steve’s family and on the doorstep the whole neighborhood kids were looking in at us. In short, it was very crowded and very hot.
The funny thing was that after the food was eaten, the Swedish children went into the kid’s room and played with the Kenyan children and one of the kenyan ladies shouted after them to wear their shoes because the floor was so cold.
I have left saunas which have been cooler than that
The food was really good, and all of us were really full when we left the apartmenta. It was great fun to see how a Kenyan middle-class family lived, and to join them on their friday evening meal. Thanks for the hospitality, Steve with family!