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OL PEJETA REVISITED.


PHALANX
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Well, it's been a few weeks since I returned from Kenya and I thought I must at least start my trip report, so here goes.

I managed to get a good priced air ticket on Kenyan airways from London, though it did mean an early landing, 5am :(, which would mean a lengthy wait

at Wilson airport for my 10.20 Safarilink flight to Nanyuki. It was a good flight, even the food was ok, and I managed to get "some " sleep.

We arrived twenty minutes early and after collecting my luggage I transfered to Safarilinks departure terminal at Wilson airport. On arrival I noticed

there was a flight at 8am going to Samburu & Lewa downs stopping at Nanyuki on it's way back to Nairobi. I asked the receptionist if there was any space on the 8am flight?

which would land at Nanyuki around 9.50am. This would be infinitely better than sitting around Wilson for four hours, and to my delight he said there was.

Within 15 minutes my flight was changed and I only had an hour & half to wait.

A word of caution if you are travelling with SAFARILINK. Read the small print(and I mean Small).

"Where 15kg is the standard allowance for your luggage on light aircraft, Safarilink include any hand luggage/camera equipment you may also have"

This is probably fine for most travellers who leave the bulk of their luggage in a Nairobi hotel, but for me this is not the case.

I stay for 10/14 days on Ol Pejeta so need ALL my luggage with me. That said The staff on Safartilink were very accommodating,

probably because I am a regular visitor, and everything was sorted out amicably. I bought a cup of Kenyan coffee and awaited my flight.

The flight was on time and at eight o-clock we were called to board the aircraft. Though this is not as strait forward as it seems. Unlike Airkenya

who board you direct from their terminal, Safarilink require you to go through a kind of secondary departure lounge. Hand luggage is checked again,

though how accurate the metal detector is I have some doubts, as I forgot to remove some coins & keys from my pocket, but NO alarm sound.

After about 15 minutes we were ready to board. It was almost a full flight, and once we were all settled in it was no time before we were powering

along the runway and gracefully soaring into Nairobi's azure blue sky.

I truly love flying in light aircraft. On safari they add an air of adventure to the whole experience, and the fact you can see the land below is an added bonus.

Flying out of Nairobi Wilson enables you to appreciate the vastness of Kibera, a city of the poor within a city of affluence. The cloud cover was denser on

the outskirts of Nairobi and the Ngong hills are barely visible. As we continued north there is some turbulence over the heated plains around Karantina

and one of our passengers was not to pleased about it. The turbulence does not last long and his mind is soon distracted by the sight of Mt Kenya coming

into view on our right hand side. As we leave Mt Kenya behind, ahead lies Laikipia who's vast plains open up before us. Approaching Samburu the plains

throw up huge hills who's valleys divulge ancient dry river beds who wait to be reborn by the November rains.

We land at the Samburu airstrip north of the Ewaso Nyiro river and half of our fellow travellers disembark. Several new and excited passengers board and

after initial greetings of Jambo, they settle into their seats recalling to each other what a wonderful time they have had in Samburu.

Next stop Lewa downs. The views over Samburu more than compensated for the longer flight time and on our landing in Samburu enabled me to see

one of my favourite birds of the area, the Vulturine Guinea-fowl, which were feeding along the side of the runway where the plane taxi'd to a halt.

At Lewa we took on two more passengers and in no time were on our way to Nanyuki. We landed on time and my transport from Sweetwaters tented camp

was waiting there for me. The short drive to Ol Pejeta was made more comfortable than normal by the new road which covers the first two thirds of the journey

and by 11am I was settled in my tent and off for a bird walk around the camp grounds.

 

Hopefully part two will not be too long in coming :)

 

 

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