SEARCH The Blog

Day 31 - Our Flight to Nairobi - Kenya

Sunday: The experience at the Khartoum Airport was one of utter chaos, it started with us trying to get into the Departures Terminal through only one door, past the throng of people, all with the same intention. Moreover, we were accompanied by these huge cardboard bike boxes which needed manhandling and could barely fit through the security x-ray machine. 

We hustled our way into the Terminal Building,  but not before we were overwhelmed by a horde of Porters from Hell. Even though we protested vehemently, they wouldn't accept "no!" for an answer, and manhandled our boxes and luggage through the Security Checkpoint  to the Kenyan Air  book-in cubicles anyway.

They then demanded monetary gratuities, in some instances up to three Porters demanding a tip for carrying one piece of luggage. To make things worse, we had no money, having got rid of our excess Sudanese Pounds earlier. In some instances, due to the language barrier, negotiations with them became rather heated.

Fortunately an Airport Official intervened, and managed to get the Porters to leave. However, our problems were not over.

Once booked in, the Air Kenya appointed Porters, demanded payment to transport our bike boxes to the "Oversize Luggage" Section, and another standoff ensued. 

This was once again only resolved by the intervention of some other high ranking official, but not before relations between Sudanese and foreign tourists had come within breaking point of outright war. One rider, already in possession of The Pacifier Award, was trying very hard for a double award!!

Once through into the Boarding Area, things managed to calm down, and we were able to regroup and relax, although at the back of our minds, we still wondered if our bike boxes had made it through to be loaded onto the plane.

We boarded the plane as per instruction and took off according to schedule. The flight went well, breakfast was served at 3.30am. Philip was the official designated winner of the "First to have a Beer Award" when he asked the Air Hostess for a beer and  managed to have a beer with his breakfast in the early hours of the morning. Such dedication to the cause needs to be nurtured and admired. Well done Philip.

Judith and I on the other hand, had our breakfast and proceeded to sleep all the way to our destination.


Arrival in Kenya: Nairobi Airport was an utter pleasure compared to Khartoum. It didn't take us long and we were all processed through Immigration, made it to the luggage pickup area, where miracle of miracles, our bike boxes awaited us (although much worse for wear and tear). Then we were out of the Arrivals Terminal and greeted by our Designated Kenyan Driver.


We boarded a Shuttle Bus and were driven to Wildebeest Eco Lodge which was located in the  Karen area and on the opposite side of Nairobi City, it was the designated TDA Camp for the next 6 days. 


Mark & Philip and Sunrise in Nairobi 


Negotiating the Airport Parking Lot


Loading up the Shuttle Bus - bikes and all.


Wendy and Tom taking time out for a photo shoot

After booking in, some of the riders chose to camp, while others elected to take up available accommodation (at own cost). We then regrouped and had breakfast at the Eco Lodge, and a couple of us, had our first beer - with breakfast!



Nothing like a cold Pilsner with Breakfast!

At breakfast, Judith and I met up with a fellow South African, Johnny Lawrence whom we know from our days in Rustenburg (he was the Best Man at Oliver and Lentie Page's Wedding). He has been in Kenya since 2012 and was camping at the Lodge with his young son - It is such a small world indeed.


We did not book in though, as we were going to be hosted for the majority of our stay in Nairobi, by Robert and Julie Pilkington, the parents of Richard, one of our son's friends in Cape Town.

I thumbed a lift to the nearest Mall with Errol and Brad from TDA, where I went through the usual ritual of  changing  $USD for local currency - Kenyan Shillings - and loading our cell phones with local sim cards.

Robert and his Dad Jack, fetched us after their golf excursion at 2pm, and took us with all of our luggage (we left the bikes at the Eco Lodge) to their house, where we met up with Robert's wife, Julie. 

Later that evening we were treated to a great braai (BBQ) with much beer & wine consumed by yours truly, a good end to an eventful day.

Cheers, 
Mike T



Riders having breakfast at Wildebeest Eco Lodge



_