Our Trip from Nairobi to Arusha
We took the Riverside Shuttle Bus , Nairobi-Arusha. We bought the tickets on the third or fourth floor of the company. If you expect a large corporation and big bus terminal you are mistaken. It's a tiny office on a highrise, but the company is very efficient. There will be a lot of buses going to different locations in front of the Parkside Hotel, on Monrovia Street where you are supposed to meet. The company would like you to be there 15 minutes before departure. The bus usually leaves at 8 am. There is also a bus at 2 pm.
We paid cash for our tickets to Arusha about twenty-five dollars each. It's quite a good deal. Chris our hawker-guide was so proud of himself. He was telling us we got such a good deal because his hard bargaining. Sure Chris. He guided us to the office of the company. The hawkers usually get a commission if they bring customers in a business.
The bus is one of the mini-buses so familiar in Kenya and Tanzania. They probably hold about 30 seats, some are smaller and hold less.
Before living, all sorts of hawkers tried to sell us all kinds of goods, such as water, nuts, jewellery. We bought a few items from them , but they will still would not leave us alone. We had to close the windows and stare ahead to avoid eye contact with them.
I gave money to one lady, and later on she asked again to Tara. My wife was not aware that I had given her something already. I gave her heck. The lady had the biggest smile. She said: "mama is very nice". Well Tara gave her a US dollar, in Kenya it's a fair amount you probably can feed a family for a day on that kind of money.
Another hawker was trying to sell me a bracelet made of elephant hair. I did not know what elephant hair is supposed to look like. I asked a guy seating nearby if that was real, but he said no. That got the hassler really mad. He was going to prove me that the bracelet was not made of plastic by lighting it. My mind was made. I said no.
They gave us some good seats in the front of the mini-bus. There are also seats that folds and unfolds in the middle. People sit on them, but they almost block the passage. I was surprised that a guy behind me was using his cellphone in very deserted areas, far from any major town. I thought in Canada it would not be possible to get any kind of reception. I was tired of hearing the guy yell. I wish he stopped talking so loud. When I arrived in Tanzania the phone company wished me welcome to Tanzania.
As we went through small villages we can see some poverty. There are a lot of people selling goods by the street usually fruits and vegetables.
We went through Masai land. We could see them walk everywhere dressed in their colorful clothes. They are shepperds so there was always a lot of cattle in their land. We saw a lot of them guiding cattle and goats. In many instances we saw herds of camels. There was also a lot of people collecting something. I assumed they were picking cow pies to burn.
We did not stop very often. The first stop is at a tourist store near Namanga where they sell sculptures, spears and much more. You can even see them at work in the back sculpting and doing their craft. There was a restaurant there, but I was not sure If I had time to order anything.
We stopped at the border between the two countries in Naranga. One advice I have for people is to get your visas prior to coming to Africa it speeds things up. Stay also with the bus drivers they know how to get the hawkers away and they also know how to speed things up with the borders officials. On our way back to Kenya we did not stay with the bus employees. Some hawkers took Tara's passports pretending they were officials, they had regular clothing. They put money in her hand. I was not sure what they were trying to do. I finally yelled at her to get her passport back. She took it until we were surrounded by very aggressive Masai woman trying to sell us jewellery. One of them even put a bracelet forcefully in my arm for Mama. It was free, but of course I had to buy more. Actually their prices are very reasonable way cheaper than those at the stores.
One of the highlights of our trip is when we saw a giraffe running around. We saw it when we crossed the border into Arusha. We also got exited when we saw our first round huts. I was trying to get a clear picture, but it was not easy from the bus. I did not dare to fall asleep there was too much to see.
We had to shut the windows when we drove through dusty non-paved roads. It would get hot in the bus, but it was not too bad. The trip is supposed to take four five hours, but it took around seven hours the roads were being repaired and as we got close to Tanzania it started raining. Once we get near Mount Meru, everything got greener. We had to navigate the bus through pot holes the size of lakes. As you cross the border the road in Tanzania gets worse. A lot of construction and the paving is not as nice. In Tanzania I had my first sight of Kilimanjaro. I got terrorized by its majestic sight. I could not believe we were going to climb it. I started to have some doubts.
I was happy to get to Arusha. Tara seemed that she could get sick anytime. The heat the bumps , the dust were taking a told on her.
I was happy to get to Arusha to a relatively quiet bus station with no peddlers. I phoned Mike, and he was waiting for us that was great to see them.
At the end of our trip we went back to Nairobi. It was not as exciting to comeback through the same road. We stayed at the Silver Spring Hotel. It was recommended by a friend. Our bus stopped there.
It was a very good hotel for the price, free internet, great pool. Nice Java Houses a few blocks away.
We visited the Girafe Center, the elephant orphanage (David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's Orphan's Project), the Nairobi Arboreteum Park. If you are thinking taking the plane to Arusha from Nairobi. You will truly miss a great African experience.
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Camels wondering around near Nairobi
Driving through a Kenya town
Very arrid landscapes can be seen from Nairobi to Arusha
Women filling up bags of cow pies???
Masai shepherds walking with goats
Driving through Masai territory
Christian mission and school in Kenya
Typical Kenyan village street
Termite mound in Kenya with mountains in the back
Masai woman walking with her family near the border with Tanzania
Small mud houses taken near Namanja at the tourist stop
Near Namanja tourist stop
Tara waving from a typical Kenyan mini-bus
Village in Kenya on our way to Arusha
Camels running around in Kenya
Masai woman near Naranga
Donkeys in a kenyan village
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