When is an hotel not an hotel??

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7 weeks on and I really feel very much  in the swing of things. I have planned and designed my project and the implementation underway. It’s amazing how quickly I feel part of the team and able to start having control over my work activities. The office just happens to be in another (warmer!) country and another routine….well that’s not quite true.. routine is  a word that can only be used loosely here, but that’s just part of its charm. I now find myself surprised if something happens on time rather than frustrated when it doesn’t!

I still cannot face eating ugali again following my introduction to it on day 1 – a staple part of the diet here. Before I tried it  I asked Sam  – one of the drivers – how it was made. His response …” by mixing flour and water” ….my response, “when I was a little girl that was called glue!” and that in my opinion is exactly what it tastes like. A more precise definition – Ugali (pronounced oo-ga-ly) is a staple starch component of many African meals, especially in southern and east Africa. It is generally made from maize flour (or ground maize) and water, and varies in consistency from porridge to a dough-like substance. This is a filling dish and you won’t need to eat anything else for hours – they are not wrong!

Last weekend we had an amazing trip to the Masai Mara. We drove through the Rift Valley and the Tea Plantations, an affluent area if visuals are to go by. The contrast between Kisumu and this area were stark.

Anyone for tea?
Anyone for tea?

Mishak on of the OGRA drivers did a fantastic job getting us there and getting us so close to the action. It was a great opportunity not only for us to get to know him better but also for him to go and see it for himself, something he had never had the opportunity to do before. In fact nobody I spoke to out of the OGRA staff had ever been, which initially shocked me as its on their doorstep, maybe that is partly why, but I’m sure the expense is a major factor.

When we arrived we were surprised to find that our hotel turned out to be a campsite! Now don’t get me wrong I can camp with the best of them, as many of you will know, but to have our expectations managed would have been a bonus after an 8 hour drive. Here a hotel can mean anything from a roadside bar – and yes lunch and a coke is available here!

Ahero hotel 2

to a campsite – mine is the tent  on the right!

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to 5* luxury hotel in the European sense and  where we would like to have stayed!

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Lesson to self – pay more attention to detail and then  one of us may have taken a towel and possibly some soap and Harshna might not have taken her maxi dress for dinner! They kindly gave us some loo paper though and for some reason I had packed 2 torches, which proved to be a god send!!

A bit of an inauspicious start may be, but my goodness did our luck change. Our guide told us we saw more animals and activity in 48 hours than most people see in a life time. To see a lion kill – not half as gruesome as you may think, they seemed to hug it to death- and a leopard was pretty remarkable apart from every other animal other than a rhino. All in all a fantastic experience and one that will stay with me for life

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5 comments

  1. Did you really take the wildlife photos?! They are stunning, as if they could be published in a nature magazine. Thank you for sharing them!

    1. Thank you- yes I did ,really pleased that the 2 day photography course I took before coming here paid off. Hope Ghana is going well, and that the new living conditions aren’t too challenging. I’m sure Ghanian and Kenyan CHW and CHEWS are relatively similar so I expect we are experiencing similiar delights as well as tribulations on that front.

  2. Hi – just catching up with your blog – brilliant memories for me of living in Ghana. Lovely friendly people, time was unimportant, lots of pot holes- oh what fun. I didn’t manage to get the beautiful wild life pics – look forward t hearing more. Keep taking the malarial pills – fab experiance

  3. ..Nice story and pictures. Couldn’t help laughing at the pronunciation of Ugali (oo-ga-ly)…that is our staple food. Usually served with fish/chicken/beef stew or vegetables preferable in the evening.

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