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London - Brussels - Kigali - Nairobi

The adventure has begun

View The Journey to the Jade Sea - Northern Kenya 2015 on Grete Howard's travel map.

This long day dogged with delays starts with a 40 minute wait for the bus which is to take us from the car park to London Heathrow. We have plenty of time, so it is not an issue, but it seems to set a precedent for the day - continuing with our flight from London Heathrow being 40 minutes delayed leaving, which makes for a very tight transfer in Brussels.

Once we have touched down in Brussels, we have another delay of ten minutes: sitting in the plane, on the tarmac, waiting to be allocated a gate. The transfer here before the next flight has now become extremely tight. We are finally given a gate and are able to disembark, only to find that the left hand does not know what right hand is doing: although we have a gate, the door connecting the gate to the terminal is firmly locked. Another ten minutes go by before a staff member realises that the tunnel is full of impatient passengers and is then able to find someone with a key. We now have an exceptionally tight transfer.

At the security screening there is a long queue, and we anxiously join the end. Our flight number is called and we are encouraged to queue jump, but the transfer is now exceedingly tight.

Our Nairobi flight leaves from a different terminal to the one we arrived at from London, and the ten minute waiting time for the bus to move us between terminals creates a stressfully tight transfer time. People are now really freaking out – there are quite a few of us from the London to Brussels plane trying to reach the onward flight to Nairobi and the atmosphere is tense.

The six minute walk from the bus drop-off point to the gate seems like an eternity, but we finally make it as the gate is closing. Phew. Having missed connecting flights on several previous occasions, I hate tight transfers at the best of times, and when they are compounded by several delays and total shambles at Brussels airport, it makes for a somewhat fraught experience.

Following the frenzied arrival in Brussels, we can 'relax' for eight hours in a tin can accompanied by a chorus of screaming kids. Oh joy.

A beautiful sunset over Africa and a lightning storm from above helps to make the journey a little more bearable.


In Nairobi, we are met by Wycliffe from African Journeys, and driver John, who whisk us to our hotel for the night. After the stressful transfer in Brussels and the discomfort of the long haul flight, Hotel Boulevard is an oasis of calm. Coupled with a bad night's sleep last night and a mind-blowingly early start this morning: I feel pooped!

Arriving at midnight, we are simply spending a few hours sleeping here, on our eighth visit to the city they 'affectionately' call Nairobbery. Security measures, including checking the underside of the car as we enter the heavily guarded and fenced-in-to-the-point-of-resembling-a-barricade compound of our hotel, are intended to put our minds at rest. I know it is only a precaution, but it always makes me feel a little jittery, especially knowing the city's reputation.


Purely for medicinal reasons: to calm my 'frayed nerves' (believe that and you believe anything), I pour myself a Captain and Coke before bed, which we enjoy on the small terrace outside our room.

Cheers and welcome to Nairobi!



Posted by Grete Howard 08:45 Archived in Kenya

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Beautiful sunset photo. I hate airports for all those reasons.:-)
Good reason to drink.

by Kay FullerAyoub

Will be following this trip with great interest as I do so many of yours!

by Sarah Wilkie

Wow, sounds a bit painful, but i'm sure things can only get better. Will toast you tonight with something similar when i get home from work. Love Kenya so much Have fun and happy trails xx

by Marion

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