I have been very privileged to travel this year both domestic and international. As you know, I live for travel and if travel was free I would be so far away from here, but a place that has Internet. Of all my travels, the best I have experienced is road trip with friends. We have gone places, bonded, laughed together, cried together. Nothing, absolutely nothing beats an open road and a relaxed stay with friends.
So, last week I got an opportunity to do a road trip with friends to Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge. The thing that excited me about this road is the Emali – Loitoktok road. Some good 50km of open road. No cars, no potholes, amazing views, so you can imagine just how excited i was to drive on this road.
Amboseli Serena Lodge is just 234km from Nairobi. 210km of great tarmac and 24km of rough road. Well, it was only rough because it had rained for some days. On other days, the road in the park is pretty good up to the lodge . The lodge was established in 1973, the oldest of all the Serena properties in Kenya. It has 92 rooms and sits in 25 acres of land. If you get lucky, you will get a room that faces the great Mt. Kilimanjaro.
We left the rainy Nairobi on 11th December, ready for Jamhuri day. I met up with Njooro, Mugz and Stellamaris at Nairobi Serena hotel for this amazing trip. Now, before you go any further, let me give you tips on how to survive road trips with friends when going to Amboseli.
Get a 4×4 car
My friends and i traveled when Amboseli had rained, so we had to use a a four wheel drive to maneuver the mud. If you go during the dry seasons, you can easily go with your two wheel, as the road to Amboseli is well done.
Say you forgot your Driving License
So this trick was used on me by my friends. So guess who was the driver? ME! I will tell you the trick of being the driver. You control what music people will listen to. You control where you will stop, and basically bulldoze what will happen in the car. OK, it did not happen that way, but i just thought I would put it out there.
The good thing, the crowd we were with was great fun, that I enjoyed
Good music is must
Amboseli Serena is 4 hours 30 minutes away. By the time you get to Machakos, you will lose the network for our local FM. So, it advisable to grab your best music, that you all enjoy, or you want to introduce your friends to.
Though if I am to give you a tip, start off the crew with some great Rhumba then ease slowly to some tropical hits. This actually psyches up the driver and the team,especially those who sleep an hour into the drive. Hakuna kulala.
My source of music was from my 2006 ipod. Still alive and well. Load your USB or CD with your best music so everyone can have their fun.
Get a good camera
The views to Amboseli Serena are to die for. I carried my Blackberry phone which really let the team down. woi! Thank God for Stellamaries. She carried some heavy duty camera, that even i was even afraid of holding it. On your way to Amboseli, you will see different animals , amazing sceneries, and depending on the time, you might just get to see the shy Mt Kilimanjaro.Now, this is where you need a good shot, because this mountain is pata potea.
Stop and refresh
Well, four hours is actually not so long when you have good music, loud friends, a good car and one story teller in the car. Between Nairobi and Amboseli, you will pass different towns. Athi River, Machakos Makutano, Sultan Hamud, Emali before the branch to Amboseli.
So, one thing thing you need to remember is to carry enough water and snacks, charge your power banks and grab a car charger that can charge at least two devices at once. We had two stops at Machakos to buy a car charger, and at Emali, to get more snacks and have bathroom breaks.
Oh, we had to stop along the way and show off in front of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Get ready for the wild
Once you get to Amboseli , there are two gates that you can use. For us, the better option was Kimana gate as the other was impassable. Its only 20KM to the lodge, and boy oh boy! Nilijua sijui. There was some huge male elephant on our way to the lodge. Of course i was under the seat as Njooro was driving, but wow! A whole elephant. Kumbe Amboseli is known for gentle elephants and this was just the first we were about to see.
Got to see other animals, and this was just the drive to the lodge. Now you can imagine the game drive!
Finally at the Lodge
Well, finally made it to the hotel!!
The staff actually make you forget your 4 hour drama on the highway. They take care of your luggage, get someone to wash the car, well it was a mess, but, lol! then there are welcome drinks to calm us down.
Here for two days. Let’s see what next chapter brings!
Amboseli stay coming up!
Safaricom signal is like a yo-yo. try getting an Airtel line.
There is an entrance fee for KWS of Ksh 800 per person per day, and Ksh 300 for the vehicle