Wednesday, July 27, 2011

White Sands

MDK-20110725-4762, originally uploaded by monkeydoc

We had one last game drive in Tsavo before heading out for Mombasa. Fortunately, our luck continued. After a few minutes of searching, we got a call on the radio that someone had spotted Cheetahs. We sat down and blasted across the park.

When we arrived we could see three slinky figures lurking through the grass. We all hoped that it wouldn’t be a repeat of the teasing that the leopard had given us the day before. After a few mediocre shots the cheetahs decided that the 10 safari vans were limiting their food choices and disappeared over a hill.

After the safari vans disbursed, we decided to go back and take another peek at the spot where we had lost them. No dice, so we moved on. Then we got another call on the radio sighting cheetahs and so we sped back to no avail.

Just when we were about ready to give up completely we turned down a side road and the Cheetahs were plain as day almost right next to the road. It was the perfect way to end our safari to Tsavo.

The trip to Mombasa was pretty uneventful. Traffic in Mombasa was a nightmare because of a nation-wide teacher’s convention that brought 10K teachers from all over Kenya to the coast. It was pretty funny to see all of the teachers filling the busses that normally transport students.

We finally made it to the Sarova White Sands, which is an excellent resort right on beach just north of the island of Mombasa. The white sands is a massive estate with beautifully painted white buildings. The lobby, and dining hall are open air and have a great feel to them.

MDK-20110725-4823, originally uploaded by monkeydoc

The rooms are typical for Kenya, with d├ęcor that could really stand to be updated, but we didn’t plan to spend a whole bunch of time in the room anyway. We were able to book rooms with an ocean view, which was a major win for the trip.

The first afternoon we didn’t do much other than a walk along the beach. Luckily, we had been warned by a friend about how many people come up to harass you to buy things on the beach. If I hadn’t been prepared I would have been really angry. If you’ve never been in this situation think about walking along in one of the most beautiful places in the world and having the highest-pressure used-car salesman walk right next to you for at least 20 feet. They’re selling everything from boat rides to safari packages, carved keychain, or other overpriced delight.

MDK-20110725-1460, originally uploaded by monkeydoc

We actually had a good time walking on the beach despite the salespeople, that’s how nice it was. We had never suspected when we started walking that we’d run into the teachers again. It turns out that the teachers from the convention were also visiting the beach. One of the Kenyans asked us to have our picture taken with his friend, which felt a bit like Japan all over again. Luckily it was just the one set of teachers that had the “picture with white people assignment”.

There is a portion of the beach that is public just south of where our hotel is and the water was filled with school-children. Many of them were still dressed in their uniform shorts, sweaters and ties, frolicking with delight in the ocean.

Each dinner at the White Sands has a theme. The first night was “Arabian Night”, which turned out to be quite good. The food here has been the best on safari by far. We retired with good food in our bellies and a plan to visit Mombasa proper the next day.

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