Thursday, August 4, 2016

Kenya Camp 2: Ngerende Island Lodge

We landed at Ngerende air strip and as we landed, a herd of Impala ran across the airstrip.  We were literally 3 feet from hitting one.  Scary!
We got our bags unloaded and saw about 5 trucks waiting for pick ups, but none of them were for our lodge.  We ended up waiting about 20 minutes because they thought we were arriving to the camp by car.  Kind of lame but no big deal, right?  So we get to the lodge and are escorted to the reception tent.  We are seated on the deck which overlooks a river with lots of sounds of Hippos barking and snorting.  We wait on the deck for about 5 minutes when I finally get up to ask if we can go to our rooms.  We are told the rooms aren't ready yet but that lunch will be ready soon.  Another 5 minutes of waiting and then we are taken to a cool table on the cliff overlooking the river.  Lunch was great and after lunch they said only one room was ready.  So we all went to the one room, and got changed into our "swimming costumes" to go to the pool for a bit.   
Around 5pm, we asked to go to the nearby Fairmont Lodge so we can have a drink and connect our phones (that's right, no internet at our Lodge).  When we returned to our lodge around 6pm, the other room was finally ready so the kids unpacked and we met at 7:30 for a quick drive to the rivers edge to see the hippos exit the river.  We only saw about 3 or 4 come out because I think they were spooked by us but it was still cool to see.  Then back to the lodge for dinner.  By the way, when we went to the Fairmont, I emailed out travel agent to tell her what was going on at our camp to see if she could get us into Mhali Mzuri a day early.  After dinner, we retreated to our room to play hearts (we've been playing hearts all trip and it's been so fun!  The kids have gotten really good at it!!).  
The next day I woke up at 7:30, 45 minutes AFTER our planned wake up call.  When Jacob the manager showed up at our room, he just smiled and said"we forgot".  Very frustrating, especially when you are paying a small fortune to stay at these places.  Anyway, we left immediately on a 2 hour game drive...we saw a bunch of giraffe's, wildebeests (also called Gnu), impala's, warthogs, etc.  Came back had breakfast, then back to the room to read, relax, play hearts, etc.  We then walked to a local village which we thought was going to be kind of a bust but ended up really cool.  The villagers performed a traditional Masai song and dance for us (which we all participated in), including the part where you jump up as high as you can.  We then toured the village including the chief's home, which is quite small, maybe 200sf and made of mud and elephant dung and sticks.  We went to their daily market where Jenny & Savannah bought some bracelets and Jacob bought the chief's club made of Olive wood and the fires starter wood he used to make fire.  We then toured the school which was a tree surrounded by a wall of sticks and inside was the teacher teaching about 10 children the days of the week (in English).  It was really cool.  They explained how big an emphasis education is today vs 30 yrs ago when the Masai people just herded cattle, hunted and traded.
Anyway, we got back for lunch and after lunch I received a phone call from my rock star travel agent Camille Rowe who said she's arranged for an immediate transfer for us to Mhali Mzuri (MM) and to get packed and GO!  It was totally awkward explaining why we were leaving early (we partially used the excuse that we couldn't be unconnected from WiFi because of Jenny's mom) but our excitement at leaving there and going to MM far outweighed any awkwardness.
So we packed, got in the jeep for the hour drive and went.  On the way we stopped at a rhino sanctuary.  We heard we could touch and pet the rhinos and that it was a cool experience (and it was on the way to MM).  We got there, paid $30,person, and shortly thereafter found out there were a grand total of 2 rhinos in the sanctuary and both were asleep and couldn't be disturbed.  A bit disappointing but the $$ goes to the sanctuary and they are trying to bring in 3 more rhinos in the future.