Kenya Transportation – bring comfortable shoes and patience!

October 8, 2006 No Comments »

We’ve made it to Samburu National Park/Safari which is wonderful but half the fun was getting here from Nairobi.  It was a 6 hour drive through Nairobi and the Kenyan countryside.  We were able to see the bustling city of Nairobi on a Monday morning.  There were people everywhere – like an army of ants going after spilled Kool-Aid.  Most people seemed to commute by foot.  There are little red dirt paths along every road serving as a sidewalk of sorts.  There were some lucky people that had access to bikes and would ride them where ever they could.  Masses of people would wait for the Matatus – a minibus/van/taxi of sorts in which they cram people in like sardines.  MatatuThey stop anywhere along their route and pick people up and drop people off – it looks like a clown car as you really can’t imagine how many people fit into a Matatu.  This picture really doesn’t do it justice – but it’s hard to take pictures as you are speeding down the hi-way!

The whole thing looked like mass chaos to me – yet you knew there was order to it in some way that I would never understand in my short time in Nairobi.  The picture of masses of people walking down the streets reminded me of the NYC blackout or transit strike.  But the Kenyans do this commute EVERY day…it’s part of their life, their culture.  All of us in the US complaining about crowded subways, backed up tunnels, the Bay Bridge closure, West Side Highway traffic – you truly have no reason to complain.  You are sitting in a car with AC and music or a phone.  None of these walkers in Kenya had an ipod.  Kenya Roadside

As we drove further into the North the roads got bumpier and more narrow until they turned into dirt.  It was like sitting in the back of the bus as a school kid – being bounced around all over and loving it! We drove by farming and societies that revolved around agriculture.  Cows that did the plowing, men walking down the road with their hoes and pitch forks – this was all for self sustenance – not for business.  Pictured here are the cows just randomly crossing in front or our truck…thank God for good brakes!

cows on roadThe people here really lived off the land…it was their livelihood – their dinner.  They used every bit of available space to grow things – every shoulder by the road had little rows of beans or potatoes growing.
The Kenyan landscape was breathtaking, coming down from the equator and Mt. Kenya – it opened up into a vast plane with little village huts popping up all over the bush.  Regardless of how small the road, there were people still commuting – walking – riding – matatu-ing.  The people never stopped.

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