Day 1 - Sunday 5th April 2009

(Ropley to) Nairobi

Well, there was a "day 0" really, spent mostly in Ropley packing, and taking pictures of the green woodpecker on the garden path.

Then, via Granny's and Nanna's, we drove to Heathrow. All straightforward. Parked, tranferred to the terminal, queued in line. There seemed to be some kerfuffle over too few seats, but as we'd checked in online we had seats allocated. Security and shopping completed, we found ourselves boarding before we knew it. The flight was OK - economy on KQ has a smaller seat pitch than AC and it was difficult to move in your seat (I've been spoilt with their Premier World business class, but it proves that you couldn't fly over night and work the next day if you flew economy). Meld was disturbed by the fidget the other side of her, so neither of us got the best night's sleep. Still, the GPS tracked whether we were awake or not and arrived slightly ahead of time in Nairobi, following the "usual" route (rather than the more easterly one over Egypt).

Apart from having to queue for an age at immigration because they let people without visas (who have to fill in forms and pay) join any queue, so those who've sorted visas in advance see no benefit, the airport was straightforward, and Kimatia met us and took us to the Holiday Inn, via the viewpoint over the city (for Meld's benefit).

The Holiday Inn is unlike any Holiday Inn I've ever seen - built in 1945 it's set in 12 acres of gardens and is really attractive. Strolling through the gardens we found this bird probing the lawn (see the bird probing our garden above!)

Meld watching the fish.

There's a swimming pool outside our room, but this is the other pool, Meld tries a lounger...

...after a night with little sleep maybe this was a mistake!

A bird on the bottle brush tree outside our window.

We walked across to the Consolata shrine for Palm Sunday Mass: big church, fairly full, then the procession came in and the numbers doubled! We were given fresh palm leaves, in clumps, and people waved them in the air as we sang Hosanna, the leaves clicking together as impromptu percussion. Much more animated than in the UK!

The congregation leaving the church.

A hibiscus flower in the church grounds.

After Mass we returned to the hotel and arranged a taxi to the Safari Walk at the Nairobi National Park. It's a bit of a zoo, local animals only, in their natural surroundings. Pygmy hippos:

Nile crocodile


This antlope (a kudu?) is designed for camouflage against its gates!

Grazing Wildebeest

Leopard "hanging around"

Meld on the elevated walkway

Baboon uses the lower-level route round the walkway

Baboon version of "Mum's taxi"

And again (different pair)


Lioness - this one's for Tommy

White rhino

a bit scary when he's coming straight towards you.

Rhino dung - the size of footballs

Black kite

Meld after the walk - it had been very hot, on top of the lack of sleep.

Back to the hotel then over the road to Pepper's for dinner.

Map of today's activities.