|Our first big trip was out to Nick's Lodge - about 1 ½ hour drive from Nanyuki, and in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Actually the lodge is called 'Ol Gaboli Community Lodge' and it is situated on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River, but to us it felt like we were out in the wilderness.
Nick runs an Adventure Safari company called Rift Valley Adventures that specialises in educational trips for adults, corporate groups and school children. For more information, check out his company website: http://www.riftvalleyadventures.com
We saw plenty of animals on the trip getting there & back including giraffes, zebras, gazelles, impalas and the interestingly named dik-dik. It was amazing to see these animals out in the wild and not locked up in a zoo.
We headed out to the lodge for three nights with Pat & Albert, who work for Nick, and had a great time going for walks, canoeing, reading and getting close with nature. The monkey's were harmless (though they did steal the ping-pong ball so we couldn't play table tennis) and it was surprising nice being in an area without electricity or mobile phone reception.
We lived a little more basically than expected upon the discovery of no water left in the huge water tank. Evidence leads us to believe it had been 'borrowed' by the local community, so we had to bath each day in brown, gritty water brought up from the River. Thankfully, Pat & Albert boiled this for us, so at least it was nice and warm.
Accommodation was in these fantastic bandas, which are like cabins but without windows or doors. They are completely open air - with thatched roofs, so we really did feel very close to nature (and could listen to the River at night). Check out the photos, it was like 5-star camping.
A guard is employed at nighttime but not for the reasons you would think - the guard's role was to make sure that we didn't get invaded by wild animals! The guard walked us to our banda each night and checked for any animals. Elephants were in the area, and we could hear them walking around after dark, but thankfully we never found one waiting for us in our room.
Pat & Albert were fantastic and cooked us some local meals. The food was definitely high in carbohydrates, plenty of potato, rice & chapattis - and not forgetting cabbage (the staple of every meal). And we even got to try Ugali - a stiff maize porridge that is served in a big flat slab.
Lonely Planet isn't exactly flattering in its description of Ugali, and I quote:
"Ugali is incredibly stodgy, almost devoid of flavour and tends to sit on the stomach like a royal corgi, but most Kenyans swear by it. It's filling, but you'll rarely find yourself saying 'you know what, I really fancy some ugali..."
We thought this was a tad unkind to Ugali and to corgis as well, but we have to admit that Ugali probably won't be on the 'must try that when we get home' list.