January 26 and January 27, 2015
We left Mara Camp at 6:50 a.m. doing a game drive on the way out. A little after 8 we exited Masai Mara then spent about 70 minutes on the TERRIBLE road before hitting tarmac and a decent road. We stopped at the souvenir stand to pick up beadwork that we’d ordered when we stopped there before entering the national park. (The souvenir stores also have the highest quality, western-style, bathrooms – hence assuring stops will be made by tourists.)
At 11 we left the souvenir place hurrying to get to and through Narok, the chief city of the Masai area. Patrick had learned that a large demonstration was being planned to protest the poor condition of public services (roads) in the area caused by the misuse of funds by the governor of the region, a protest that was intended to block the road we needed to take. Although we all agreed the demonstrators had a legitimate gripe (we’d ridden on that road!), we didn’t want to be delayed so appreciated Patrick’s skilled driving. We saw large crowds gathering, most wearing red as the Masai do, but made it through Narok before the actual demonstration began.
We later learned (saw TV coverage while at the airport) that the demonstration had occurred and had resulted in some violence with injuries and one person dead. Mary later found some written coverage of the event:
Before arriving in Nairobi we made a final pit/souvenir stop. There was a view over the Rift Valley and a map showing how extensive the Rift Valley is.
We arrived about 1:30 at the hotel where a day room had been reserved. Some went off to the Market to do some final shopping. I stayed at the hotel, lunched, and took a shower. The shoppers returned, final packing was done, and we left for the airport at 4:45. Had a little dinner and waited a long time to board. Takeoff happened at 10:50 p.m. I slept about 5 hours in two stretches (not bad) and arrived in Amsterdam at 4:42 a.m. (1/27) local time for a five hour wait until the flight to the Twin Cities left.
Take-off was at 10:25 a.m. and after almost a 9 hour flight, arrived at MSP at 12:20 p.m. The trip required about 24 hours in airports and planes and another 10 hours of traveling if one includes the trip from Masai Mara to Nairobi. Very good to be home!