This is a historic journal, from our trip to Kenya and Seychelles in 1986, taken from notes writen at the time. Apologies for the poor quality photographs.
Tuesday 11th November 1986
Montezuma's revenge strikes this morning.
We leave the Panafric after breakfast, heading out of town. First we stop to look at a coffee plantation, then later some tea growing areas.
Great Rift Valley
We climb up (by mini bus) to view the Great Rift Valley from above – very spectacular. Our driver, Naftali, is very informative and friendly.
Naivasha is a typical African ramshackle town, the whole place is closed today with all the inhabitants out on the streets for the President's visit.
Lake Naivasha Hotel, on the other hand, is fabulous. We are given a welcome drink, and while the minibuses are unloaded with our luggage several porters hover, ready to take the bags to our rooms. They ask us which company we are travelling with, but our reply of "Speedbird", receives only blank stares. Eventually, after several people have repeated the same name over and over, the light goes on in one face: “Ah, Speedy Bird”. It's all action from now on.
Individual cabins are scattered around the well laid out gardens, with flower beds and an abundance of birds.
Tables are laid out under the shade of trees. I can just imagine how Mirella Ricardi lived in her Lake Naivasha home. The colonial past is very much present here. Our beds have mosquito nets draped over them too.
Great view from the balcony too:
Lunch is buffet style, but quite nice all the same, and the desserts are all super.
This afternoon we take a boat across the lake, through hundreds of pelicans, to Crescent Island for a short walking safari.
We see various antelopes (I am not yet able to distinguish one from the other), dik-diks, Thomson's gazelle, horses, sheep, rabbits and a great variety of bird life. Most amazing is the hum of the mosquito swarms taking off, and the sound of the acacia trees rubbing together in the wind.
The boat is booked for the return trip at 17:30, but we are ready to leave an hour earlier. We are glad we didn't go earlier though, as the highlight of the whole visit is seeing hippos on the way back. They only put their heads above water, but it is still very exciting. While watching the hippos, the boat runs aground on an old log, which initially worries us as we think it's a hippo. Even the captain looks very concerned.
We come back to tea on the lawn, with a uniformed waiter standing to attention by the table. This place is really super.
There are ten people in our group: Neil and Jackie from Bristol; David and Liz from Dorking, 2 ladies: Joan and Hilda who are animal campaigners from London; and two Norwegians, Kristian and Unn who live in Wiltshire. All are non-smokers thankfully, which is quite unusual. As we leave to go for dinner, three members of staff come to spray our room.
Dinner is really quite good: crayfish and grapefruit cocktail, cream of cauliflower soup, and tilapi for mains. Both the crayfish and tilapi came from the lake. The Norwegians try the Naivasha wine but thought it was too young – they said it tasted like un-matured home-made wine. It is quite dear too, at £5.50.