“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Day 1 - Sunday - still travelling!

Gregory arrived on time to get us to Wilson airport where our luggage was scanned and weighed and deemed to be 11kgs over which meant 22kgs excess to pay for a return flight. The lady on the desk dropped it to 16kgs after a short discussion about the fact that she wasn't going to weigh both me and my sister, but added a few stern words about excess baggage only being possible today as the plane was not full. Utterly ridiculous. As we were sent upstairs to the office to pay, I was calculating the $5US per kilo charge and came up with quite a few more than the $35 they charged me so I kept quiet and dutifully trundled back through the scanning machines to wait for boarding.We bought maps of the Mara and freshened up a little whilst we waited....and waited...and waited. The plane was delayed somewhere in the Mara but each time the official wandered over, we were assured it would be "just 10 minutes now". Ten African minutes of course. By the time the plane arrived we were beside ourselves with excitement, only a 16-seater Safarilink plane with two pilots and no additional staff to accompany us, we were off. Sadly the weather wasn't great and so the view was pretty thick white cloud which is quite disconcerting when you are sat directly behind the pilots and looking straight past the Garmin sat nav (which had "no signal") and out the front window. We flew for 45 minutes with only the last ten giving that queasy funfair ride feeling which grew slightly worse as a zebra grazing on the side of the runway flashed past the window along with Topi antelope and the stunning Mara river. The airstrip we landed at (Mara North) was comical and Caroline was already in hysterics as she washed her hands in a bucket and we met our guide, George, who was waiting for us in his full Maasai robes.
We were welcomed to the Kicheche Mara camp by the relief managers, Tanyth and Sean (native white Kenyans), and given a drink and a quick rundown of the camp setup. 545am wakeups, picnic breakfast each morning out in the bush, back in time for lunch served al fresco under the Acacia trees each day at 1pm and then some rest time before heading back out 4pm for a game drive and sundowners. After sundown it's not permitted to wander the un-fenced camp un-escorted, so we were introduced to our Askari (camp guard) who would be looking after us for our stay. We were then taken to our tent, "Kanga" (meaning Guinea fowl) and left to unpack before a 3 course lunch with the rest of the camp mates.

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