Saturday, September 15, 2007

Buses, matatu's and boda-boda's

Just getting around Kenya has been a real adventure and we've enjoyed every minute. Nothing is quite what you expect. We decided to spend a couple of days in Kakamega National Park, and from Nairobi the journey to the forest was indeed memorable. First we took the regional bus, which was scheduled to take 7 hours, but the roads were bad, so it took closer to 10. As we got closer to Kakamega town, the regional bus seemed to morph into a local bus, picking up people carrying anything from live chickens to small trees who needed a lift down the road, and charging them a small fee. Although this meant a few detours for us, the plus side was that we could get dropped directly at the hotel.

The next morning we bought everything we would need for three days camping in a forest and headed for the National Park. We found a matatu which would take us part of the way there. Matatu's are very efficient mini-buses/utes that pile as many people on as they can, and then head off for their destination. I felt sorry for the lady who had to stand bent over for a fair bit of the ride.The Lonely Planet does mention that they're the most dangerous form of transport in Kenya, but we used them a lot in Nairobi, and the only accident we had was Pete slipping over on his bum in mud before he even got on the bus!

Then, once in the forest, we needed to negotiate a boda-boda (bicycle taxi), or more accurately 3 boda-boda's - one for me, one for pete and one for the bags! I just had to hang on with the hand that wasn't carrying the groceries. Because of the heavy rains, we had to get off and walk a couple of times, which was actually a welcome relief for me, as I was slightly scared of slipping off into a pile of mud and lying there as I did in the snow crying "I simply can't go on". But the journey ended very well, with no accidents, and we arrived to find ourselves staying in a delightful thatched cottage in the middle of the forest with little monkeys, chameleons, birds and butterflies all around us.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Loved reading your posts, missing u lots. From a Geneva westie