30-09-2020 by Freddie del Curatolo
In Africa more than any other place has always been known that everything has a beginning and an end.
Usually here everything takes place within a day and is marked by the rising and setting of the sun.
In this safari Malindi-Nairobi-Mara-Malindi with our "designer car" we have experienced the eternity of three days in which sunrise and sunset have followed and blurred in the same magnificent scenery, the Mara North Conservancy and this is already a memorable fact.
In Nairobi, on the other hand, the story is different: not only is every daily light arc different, but scenarios and situations can change every hour, just wanting to and not having the misfortune of being stuck for 90 minutes + extra time in traffic.
The last day of our journey therefore rightly begins at dawn and winds along a path, not even on purpose, unpublished. We take the Thika Road, the only real highway worthy of the name in Kenya, at least for 60 kilometers.
We cross the sleepy industrial outskirts of the capital, from Ruiru to Thika and then we take the state road that goes towards Garissa.
After about an hour or so the imposing Kilimambogo, the "Buffalo Hill" as the kikuyu call it, materializes on our right. For the maasai who lived there before Ole Lenana gave Nairobi to the British in exchange for the independence of the lands where today the reserves are located, Ol Donyo Sabuk remains, simply "The Great Mountain". Also because of the hill, with its 2175 meters, it has very little.
The national park is full of animals and dense bush where even rare species of birds nest.
Here in the early twentieth century Lord Mac Millan, an eccentric American millionaire, wanted to build a kind of castle, on the genre of the late medieval English ones.
He spent months there in the company of his effervescent and uninhibited wife, a middle way between Lady Godiva and Madame Bovary. Mac Millan loved hunting safaris and over the years involved the likes of American President Teodore Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Transformed into a prison during the Second World War, Ol Donyo Sabuk also hosted Duke Amedeo D'Aosta in 1941, before the disease that killed him in Nairobi.
We don't have time to go up to the building, which has been turned into a museum but I'm told it's in bad shape. Our goal is to get to Malindi in just one day, obviously within the curfew.
So we keep the refreshing and physiological stop for Kitui, a charming town (it should be said, everyone is laughing here and I don't think it's the influence of the Chinese, who are not few here either, as they have contracted the roads of the Region) and capital of the homonymous county.
It can be reached from a comfortable asphalted road after the deviation from the state road and is announced by the end of rather arid fields and the beginning of gentle slopes and a thick forest.
The locals have wood in quantity and as you get closer to the town, the industries grow and you notice an attitude to work and operation that elsewhere is not so evident. The town is lively and chaotic, here you have the feeling that the masks do not even exist at carnival and you think they are right.
All around there is always the forest and an intense scent of mushrooms, who knows if edible, next to the streets selling anything colorful.
The center of the town has unusually developed on the top of a hill and has interesting narrow streets and alleys, full of African surprises and humanity.
We buy two bananas and two mandazi for lunch and off we go, along a paved road that will take us back to the gates of Tsavo.
The Kitui-Kibwezi, 150 kilometers of billiards, was built by the Chinese and passes in the middle of the pleasant nothing surrounded by fragments of plateau and sudden rock formations.
On our right we can glimpse the Chyulu Hills that were our destination in 2011 with the fabulous black caves of Kisula, while next time we plan to return to Kibwezi for a safari dedicated to the Kibwezi forest, which is part of the conservation of the Tsavo carried out by the David Sheldrick Foundation. Here is also one of their famous elephant nurseries.
How many special excursions can be made, while remaining a few hours from the coast.
We arrive quite rehearsed from the hours of travel but happily full of images in the microchips of the pupils to you. Time for a beer at the Wildlife Lodge, which while staying outside the Park overlooks a puddle where just before sunset comes a family of elephants very accustomed to selfie.
The last beer we drink with them, a White Cap since there is already a tusker a few meters away, the head of the family used to pose.
Then we leave again. Unlike the outward, this time we arrive at Mariakani overtaking too many trucks and from there we continue to Kilifi.
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