Goodby Nairobi, if only for a while

Fri, 4 Jan 2002 07:52:02 +0800

This morning I started off bright and early (well sort of) and went into the central Nairobi. This time, I had three goals:

1) Check out an operator called Game Trackers. They are known to be a high reputable on the net and elsewhere. Unfortunately, their web site is rather lacking of important information. So I had no idea of their prices or schedules and very little idea of their itineraries.

2) Get visas for Uganda and Tanzania.

3) Hopefully sort out what kind of Gorilla trek I was going to do.

Now #2 really depends on #3. If the Gorilla trek goes to Rwanda then I need multi-entry visas for Uganda and Kenya. If the dates of the trek are too late then I will want to Tanzania both before and after rather than just after, hence a multi-entry visa for Tanzania. The difference is about $30 per visa.

So, I went to Game Trackers first to see if they had better dates on a gorilla safari. Well, I tried to. I seems they moved and the new address was not reflected in either the guide books (expected) or their web page (I expect better). For the latter I went into in an Internet cafe in the building they used to be in. I eventually found myself at a photo shop where I was told that Game Trackers used to be. Their was a sign on the window showing their new location.

I finally arrived at Game Trackers offices at almost 11:00am. Visa offices for Uganda and Tanzania close at noon so things were already looking sketchy. It turns out they did have a promising gorilla safari but information on dates was fuzzy. They needed to contact the guy who actually leads the tour to be precise. So I left at 11:30 with only the promise that they would find out before 5:00pm. Obviously, I did not have enough time to apply for three visas and even one looked difficult. Worse, I had another taut following me. Now, as tauts go, he's better than most. At least he was trying to drag me to multiple operators he represented rather than just hawking one. Still, he was a nuisance and every operator was, at best, unverifiable.

So, I didn't get the visas. After having lunch with another traveler from the hostel I wandering around Nairobi for a few hours. I went back and forth between Flightcenters (they had the first gorilla safari I looked at) and Gametrackers a few times. Eventually, I got firm dates from Gametrackers and they actually worked. That was almost 5:00pm.

So, in the end I have two tours.

I leave tomorrow for a 6 day Maasai Mara/Lake Nakuru/Lake Baringo tour.

When I return I will have 2 days to kick back then it's a 15 day safari to Uganda and Rwanda to see the gorillas. After that, it will be off to Tanzania, likely to chimpanzees on an island in Lake Victoria. If I return to Nairobi it will only be brief stop on the way to Arusha (Tanzania).

So, for obvious reasons, there will be no communication for the next six days. But the next email should be a lot more interesting than the last 3.