HELLO + WELCOME as we make our way from Sydney to London overland.
It’s Kirsty here today.
After getting our hands on our visas we got out of our quiet campsite and headed to the backpackers to drink away our relief. A few overlander trucks meant that we had some Aussies and Pommies to get on it with. Gareth and I were the last ones standing at the bar and woke up with a roaring hangover the next day. Not the best mixture to smash a few hundred k’s out of Uganda and into Kenya… but nothing was going to stop us heading North.
We drove across the Busia Uganda/Kenyan border for the fourth time, and were treated as regulars by all the cool cats there. Somehow this whole month long holding pattern had set the ‘refresh button’ on our journey and we crossed the border wanting to make the most of our time left in Africa.
On the road North we stopped in at Petra’s place in Nyeri. A german lady who has called Kenya home for the past 27 years. She opens her comfy Out Of Africa style home as a homestay to guests and we parked just out the front of her house… as there was a Buffalo on the loose on the property she didn’t want us to stray too far. But little did we know that the real threat was from the aggressive gang of geese who chased us both around. It finally took banging a stick on the saucepan to chase them away. There was even talk of unleashing the zinng of our taser.
A zebra striped Land Rover Discovery arrived the same day and out climbed Simon and Remo. Two legends also driving North through Africa. Soon enough we were drinking beers around the fire with the guys and enjoying one of those starry filled nights with good conversation.
^ Driving North to Nyeri the landscape flattened out and became hotter
^ A night under the stars at Petra’s in Nyeri
A couple of days later we were fired up to drive North towards the notorious Marsabit to Moyale road. The road is known to be rough and also of dubious safety if the Somalis or tribespeople are having an off day. It is one of our first Australian Goverment ‘Do Not Travel’ zones and so our ‘Holy crap, we are about to do this!’ emotions were high. We made it 100kms from Nyeri to Nanyuki. Filled the tank with diesel. Topped up our gas bottle. And smashed the supermarket like it was the beginning of the apocalypse. Somewhere along the way it got to being lunchtime and we met a guy in a bar who invited us to a Northern Kenyan Polo Club tournament the following day.
Watching our first game of polo in the far reaches of Kenya wasn’t exactly how we thought our ‘challenging’ journey north would begin. We rallied together with Simon and Remo and mixed with Kenya’s richest white farmers and private game conservancy aires. To be honest, it was a really strange day. First of all the guy who invited us didn’t show up until late. The richy richies were also an odd lot.
But we made a day of shooting Grey Goose vodka, learning the rules of polo, meeting a handful of nice people and witnessing how the 1% of old money holding Kenyans live and behave. After the polo matches finished only the whities hung around to booze it up in the old clubhouse; I swear I could have squinted and been back in the old colonial days surrounded with staunch pommy accents.
The Troopy and the Zebra slept side by side that night by the polo fields with four baffled travllers inside who escaped to bed in the wee hours; all of us asking each other “Where the hell are we? How did we end up here!?”
^ Watching our first game of polo. The Northern Kenyan team players came from an old ‘white’ owned farming area whereas the Nairobi team were all ‘black’ and from new money. The stereotypes and differences were palpable.
^ Every polo player had four to five horses per round. No wonder this is considered the sport of kings.
^ Samsung and Bayer are some of the big name sponsors of Kenyan Polo
^ Putting back a few beers in front of the Members Only club house
^ We camped the night by the polo fields – very gratefully I might add, after we asked the Kenyan Polo Chairperson’s permission
^ Making our own fun
^ Simon and G
^ Late night clubhouse shenanigans