At the end of a long and dusty road is nirvana. We took a 7 hour ride from Nyharuru to the Masai Mara game reserve in southern Kenya – right on the border to Tanzania today. The first one hour was a bit rugged, the middle three hours were sweet, flat highway, the next one was rugged and the last two were a mud and bolder, axel breaking, cliff hanging, roller coaster thrill ride. As one of my fellow adventurers Todd put it, it was more like driving in a dried river bed.
As soon as we started in the river bed road we were slipping and sliding – no traction at all on our minivan safari bus. Maybe the worn tires didn’t help much. We just got used to the slipping and sliding movement when we came across a wilderness traffic jam caused by the summer rain. Four vehicles were stuck in various mud pits. We stop and our marvelous driver Samwell pushes, with 8 or 10 others, the currently mired car over the ridge of turf and back onto what I will joking call solid ground.
The main road has gotten so bad that the smart vehicles have gone off road to travel on the grassy side of the road – but that requires getting over two mud pits and a one foot tall berm. Burm? (living a brave life outside spell check – one the great frontiers)
We (actually Samwell) help a few others and we ask them to stay until we clear the grass mud hurdle. So Samwell tells Al and Mandy and Todd and I to stand clear of the van and he backs up, guns it and our trusty van clears all three obstacles and we reimbark and head off. A few hours of bone jarring road and we reach Nirvana – and eden in the forest.
We descended into a wooded valley as a spotlight in the distance shows Samwell where to go because it gets darker and darker and harder and harder to know what is road and what is rubble. The guard at the stockade fence and Samwell talk to a moment and the longer they talk, the less likely it is that we will get in. But good luck prevails and the gate opens.
We enter the compound and are greeted with cool towels, fruit juice and cookies and a magnificent stone walkway leads to a stone foyer at Kichwa Tembo, a lush resort carved into a forest. That night I fall asleep to the rustle of leaves, the chorus of birds and the promise of big cats.