A short visit to Kenya

By Brendan Moyle 18/12/2014

The World Bank is pressing forward with a study on reducing the illegal trade in ivory.  Part of that process involved getting feedback from a number of experts in the field.  As most of these experts are based in East or Southern Africa, Kenya was chosen for the meeting point.  I though, am based in New Zealand.  That meant I had to do a lot more traveling than most.  Adding in the wait times at airports and the queuing, it took about 34 hours to get to Nairobi.

First up, the new Airbus A380. Very nice.  For those of us destined to travel economy class, the marginally larger seat space is a welcome boon. I also discovered that noise-cancelling earplugs under noise-cancelling headphones to be very efficient.  Given my mission was to sleep as much as possible, this worked out nicely.

The Dubai-Nairobi leg of the trip though was in an ancient Airbus 330.  My seat was right up against the toilet wall.  This meant not only could I not recline by the slightest smidgeon, the sound of flushing behind me was a regular interruption.  Also I was prevented from stretching my legs under the seat in front of me. There was a raised object on the floor level attached to the wall.  Also, during the flight, the passenger’s seat in front of me malfunctioned and was stuck in a partially reclined position.  The flight was also full. The cramped seating became even more cramped. I adopted a contortionist position for the next 5 hours. My opinion of Emirates was revised…

The arrival terminal at Nairobi burnt down a while ago, so they use a modified car-park building instead.  A nurse frantically tried to measure everyone’s temperature as they came through, to check for Ebola.  I think she had about a 50% success rate.  I dutifully filled out the 2-3 forms I needed to enter Kenya. I couldn’t find anyone in customs who wanted them though, so once I’d got my visa, I was through. I ended up bringing all the forms back with me to NZ.  This is a bit of a change from China.  Kenya is also keen to get awarded one of the forthcoming summer Olympics.  I think they might need to lift the rigour of their border-protection.

My theory that there is a rough correlation between a nation’s GDP and the speed with which the baggage appears, received another data point.  My checked-in bag appeared at a glacial pace.  There were a lot of worried faces hanging around the carousel.  And then it was off to the Hotel.  The shower went on for quite some time.  What was very cool though, was that this hotel bordered a national park.  So you could drink cold beer and watch birds and other animals in comfort.

Next leg was a flight to Nanyuki and the Ol Pejata conservancy for the workshop.  One of the advantages of the astonishing jet-lag was the ability to wake up before the sunrise.  In fact, hours before the sunrise.  So as part of the trip, I got a couple of shots of Mount Kenya I quite liked.  I’m just going to lead in with these.  On the 11th, there was a period of about 5-10 minutes before the sun appeared over the horizon, when the light was playing with the clouds in the sky.

I’d taken a travel tripod for the trip.  It weighs a mere 800g and is of low value in strong winds, but here, it worked perfectly.

#1 Mount Kenya, a900 with Minolta 28/2.0

Click for link to larger version

#2 Mount Kenya with Ibis in waterhole, a900 with Minolta 100/2.8

click for link to larger version

Both pics have been uploaded to my “It’s a beautiful world” album