Experiencing the great outdoors in Africa

Our competition winners Katie Powell and Evan Hunken have arrived in Africa for the first leg of their 57-day trek. Follow their adventures on the Get Rid Of Me blog.

I would like to present Emirates with a gold star for service and comfort onboard their flights. The endless selection of movies, music and games to pick from during the flight makes the time fly by. I am also getting used to the amount of free alcohol they allow you to consume. To top this last flight with Emirates, the flight attendant went around taking photos of passengers with a Polaroid camera and framed them. I am pretty sure that these photos were for kids but I guess it is a little obvious that Evan and I are big kids at heart and offered to take our photo too. So on went the glasses and we now have a long lasting memory of our flight.

When we arrived at Nairobi airport in Kenya we were greeted by two Masai Warriors, our guide Ruth and the world renowned “Welcome Team Kevan” sign. On the way to our hotel Ruth briefly explained what was in store for us for the next eight weeks. It was a lot to absorb and after our long journey from Shanghai to Nairobi the first thing we did when we arrived at the hotel was jump straight into bed. Since January I really have had no idea what day of the week it is and I sure didn’t have a clue that night either until about two in the morning. Our hotel was situated in the middle of a couple of night clubs and an all night construction crew, I even woke up at one point serenading  Evan to La Roux’s Bulletproof. I then realized that it was indeed a Friday night.

African elephants

If you have done a tour with On the Go you have most likely noticed that day one on the itinerary is when you meet up with the group and get briefed on the days that lie ahead and day two is when you start touring. On day two we boarded our giant overland truck with eighteen people for our drive from Nairobi to the Masai Mara. Some of the passengers had been on the road for a while and clearly had more experience hauling themselves in and out of the truck and were much more helpful at mealtimes with their knowledge of what goes down for food prep, wash up and the assembly of tents. During the drive I had my first pit stop bathroom experience. I have no problem peeing outdoors and found myself a nice little hidden spot out of sight from the truck and then heard in the distance behind me kids yelling and saw them running towards me. How nice of them to spot me answering nature’s call and come in for a closer look! That night we arrived at the campsite just in time to enjoy the gorgeous sunset, eat dinner, and have a warm beer before heading off to bed. Yes I said a warm beer because this place had limited electricity.

Everybody push

The next morning in the Masai Mara we boarded the truck to go for our first game drive of the trip in the Masai Mara National Park. We saw giraffes, gazelles, elephants, zebras, water buffalo and all kinds of different birds. For lunch we stopped near a river bank full of hippos and crocodiles and after we had our lunch we walked with an armed guard to have a better look. In the afternoon our driver Steve spotted a bunch of giraffes and decided to take the truck out their direction. On the way out to the giraffes we got stuck in the mud! We were stuck for almost an hour and we all had to get out of the truck to push. While we were out there pushing we had to keep our eyes open for lions! I was almost certain I was a faster runner then a bunch of the older people in our group, so I wasn’t worried a bit. Eventually we got out of the mud but decided that taking a closer look at the giraffes wasn’t a great idea and went in the direction of a huge herd of water buffalo. While we were stopped taking photos, I noticed a baby buffalo limping far behind the rest of the group. We had yet to see a lion and I was just dying to see a lion pounce out of nowhere and devour the little one. Sadly, the gimpy little buffalo lived and we didn’t see a lion that day.

After our game drive we were dropped off for a Masai Village Walk where we met the locals and enjoyed their traditional songs and dance. Their dancing included the jumping and the higher the men jumped the more wives they received. It was fun to watch the kids come along and try to jump just as high. We were even welcomed into their homes to see what life was like for the Masai and after visiting their homes we had the chance to purchase some jewellery, blankets and decorations. This was when I was asked how many babies I had and when I replied with none, I was immediately asked how old I was. When I said twenty two I was give a funny look and was told that I was “too old now”. I never thought menopause would strike at the age of twenty two.

The time we spent in the Masai Mara was great. I loved our first game drive even though we didn’t spot all of the Big Five. We did however get close enough to the zebras that we could hear them munching on the grass.  I loved seeing these animals in their proper environment. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to go to a zoo and enjoy them in an enclosed environment anymore.

-Katie Powell

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