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The other night we sat around reading

USA | Thursday, 9 April 2015 | Views [286]

The other night we sat around reading the Lonely Planet 'East Africa' travel book trying to decide what things we don't want to miss.  The list (for me) is quite long actually.  Because we are tent camping for a lot of the trip it only seems reasonable to hit as many national parks as possible.  We are definitely going to avoid major cities with the exception of using them as transport hubs and the exception of Nairobi which is our departure point and the place where we are going to recover from jet lag!

Anyway, in Nairobi we've got our first two or three nights lodging sussed.  We'll be at the Milimani Backpacker and Safari center.  They were prompt to reply to my query on availability; moreover, after I asked, provided us with a 50% discount for each of the kiddos.  The rate quoted to us was KSH1000/night (adults) plus KSH2000 for the transfer from the airport.  Remember, this rate is for tent camping at the hostel! More update on this lodging after we get there. Milimani Backpackers
At this point, Nairobi is the only city in which we plan to do anything, and the only thing we actually plan to do is go to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.  The reason we're going here is because last year, Madison's first grade class adopted Tundani, an orphaned elephant from this organization and we're going to meet him in the tusk.  He'll be just over three years old and Madison says she's really excited to have this experience. Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
From Nairobi our plan is to head to Mt. Kenya National Park.  I emailed the Kenya Wildlife Service ([email protected]) and they provided me with a fee schedule for each of the parks and some information on where the actual campgrounds were in each park which was quite helpful.  We're not planning a trek to the top of any mountains (this time) but there are supposed to be some amazing plants and animals in the different altitude zones.  Should be rad.  After Mt. Kenya it's all up in the air.  I don't think I mentioned this in the first post but we've arranged to spend some time WWOOFing in Uganda.
I don't know if anyone has attempted the WWOOFing deal but it was kinda off-putting attempting to get through the registration.  If you don't know about WWOOFing please go to their website (WWOOF) because the premise is explained quite well; however, what I can elaborate on is what I experienced.  Each country has a representative that handles registering people wanting to volunteer.  Registering involves filling out a form with your particulars and paying a nominal fee ($50/person for Uganda, each country has a slightly different fee but it's not very much) and then you gain access to the contact information of the farms that host volunteers in that country.  The way one pays the fee is through Western Union.  Now I've never used Western Union and sending $50 to Uganda seems kinda dicey, on the surface.  Long story short, it all went fine and my worries were alleviated.  The guy's name in Uganda is Bob Kasule, he's super nice and genuine in the emails and apparently that's where we're going to work first.  We were going to do some work in Tanzania, but Tanzania is another $400 worth of visas for the four of us plus $400 worth of work permits total for both Molly and I.  So we opted to not even go to Tanzania.  We are really looking forward to working in Uganda. The whole trip is going to be unreal.  I am hoping the kids are completely wide-eyed the entire time and that this experience burns itself into their memories so vividly and permanently that it affects them in some way for the rest of their lives.
This weekend we have to return some stuff to REI and probably buy a few more things.  Also we'll be spraying the tent with Permethrin which is a bug repellent and apparently kills them too.  This stuff is for clothing and gear and not for our skin.  We did get some Jungle Juice with 98% DEET so if we don't get Malaria we'll certainly get cancer.  YES!  I think everyone needs at least one more sturdy long sleeve shirt, and maybe some gaiters.  I just have no feel for our needs right now.  Anyway, stay tuned as I attempt to make sense of this chaos.  Peace.

Tags: africa, hostels, parks, wwoof


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