This page shows some of the pictures of towns and people in Kenya that I took during my trip to East Africa.
Nairobi is much like any large city, but apparently unsafer. I was warned not to be on the streets after 18:00. Traffic during rush hour was very bad. The buses drive quite forceful. One almost ran me over while he was running a red light (I had a pedestrian green light). I guess the drivers make money according to how many passengers they transport. That is an inducement to pack as many people in the bus, and to drive fast. The buses have a speed governor that limits them to 80 km/h (50 mph), to enforce the speed limit.
Most of the area outside Nairobi was cultivated. Crops are wheat, corn, sugarcane, bananas, and especially coffee and tea. There are lots of tea plantations in the area that I drove through on the way to Tanzania.
Roads were mostly fairly good, but probably because we took good roads. There is a shorter road to the Serengeti, but it had rained, and that road is not passable with the bus I was in when it rains. Traffic was not heavy, except in the towns. There is lots of pedestrian traffic on all roads, and everywhere in the villages are street vendors on the road.
In the Maasai Mara National Reserve I visited a traditional Maasai village. The village is surrounded by a fence made from thorn bushes, to protect it from lions and leopards. The huts are made from wood frames that are covered with mud and cow dung. The villages are completely moved every nine years. By that time the wood frame is deteriorating because of termites, so new houses are built, usually a short distance away.
The Maasai performed a greeting ceremony with chanting and jumping. The jumping seems to be an important exercise, the higher they can jump, the more important they are. I was told that the higher they can jump, the less they have to pay for a wife. If they don't have enough money to pay for a wife, they will trade a sister for a wife. The Maasai are polygamous. The women did a separate greeting ceremony with chanting and dancing.
The men then showed me how to start a fire by twirling a piece of wood. It took them about five minutes to get the fire started.
View of downtown Nairobi. (949k) Street scene in downtown Nairobi. (844k) Street scene in downtown Nairobi. (901k) Bus stop for mini buses soliciting riders. (749k) Public transportation bus. (862k) Anti-litter sign in a Nairobi park. The parks were very clean. (994k) Park in Nairobi. (1419k) Monument in a Nairobi park. The white benches were everywhere. It was really nice and convenient to be able to sit down in a lot of places. (854k) Rides in a Nairobi park. (1139k) Fountain in a Nairobi park. (820k) Traffic jam in Nairobi. We spent 1 ½ hours stuck in traffic. (993k) Street vendors took advantage of the traffic jam. (800k) A donkey was taking a dust bath on a road in the Ngong Hills, outside of Nairobi. (1105k)
On the Road
Populated area northwest of Maasai Mara. Most of the area on the way from Maasai Mara to Tanzania was developed like this with houses and agriculture. (820k) Dwelling between Nairobi and Maasai Mara. (653k) Store front in a village. (793k) A mosque in Kisii. (884k) A village somewhere between Narok and Kisii. (1022k) Traffic in Kisii. (870k) Road in Narok. This town had the worst roads in Kenya. (728k) Many older car on the roads. (617k) Minibuses are the most common public transportation. (753k) Many of the trucks and buses caused significant pollution. (506k) Road construction caused some traffic problems. (553k) Road construction. (870k) Street scene. There is lots of pedestrian, bicycle, and motorcycle traffic. (915k) School room. (790k) School is out. (1021k) School is out. (872k) School children of a different school. (784k) In that area were quite a few Muslims. (874k) Pedestrians. (519k) A lot of transportation is done with muscle power. (786k) Local transportation. (821k) A lot of donkeys were used for transportation. (721k) Pedestrians carrying loads on their heads. (916k) Women carrying wood. (910k) Street vendors selling bananas and sugarcane. (801k) Street vendor selling sugarcane. The hot pink and yellow in the back are the colors of Zain, one of the cell phone companies, the same as I saw later in West Africa, in Burkina Faso. (1078k) Street market. (896k) Street vendor selling clothes. (982k) Street vendors selling produce. (860k) Street market. (1043k) This is charcoal for sale along the road. (959k) Banana plants. (843k) Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum, german: Zuckerrohr, french: Canne à sucre). (1012k) Tea plantation. (1085k) Cattle herd. (712k) On the road. (621k) Goats feeding in acacias. (948k)
I spent two days in the Maasai Mara National Reserve. It was a fantastic visit, I saw a lot of animals.
I stayed for two nights in the Mara Sopa Lodge, a very comfortable high-class lodge. One negative issue about it was the horrible exchange rate that they gave me when I changed US$$ to Kenyan shilling. They charged about 20% of the total.
The lodge has over 100 units, with two units per hut. Each unit has a large comfortable bedroom, and a clean bathroom with shower.
The food was very good, especially the lunch buffet. Dinner was OK, but not as good as lunch.
Inside the main hall of the Mara Sopa Lodge. (690k) One of the buildings in the lodge. They were duplexes, with two units per building. (856k) Bedroom in Mara Sopa Lodge. (713k) This was the bus that I was traveling in. The roof can be raised so I had an open view when standing in the bus. (850k) Open bus on a game drive. (853k) The game drive buses are like locusts, they are swarming all over the National Reserve. (664k) Traffic jam at a lion. (725k)
The Maasai are a Nilotic ethnic group inhabiting northern, central and southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. They are among the best known local populations internationally due to their residence near the many game parks of the African Great Lakes, and their distinctive customs and dress. The Maasai speak the Maa language, a member of the Nilo-Saharan family that is related to the Dinka, Kalenjin and Nuer languages. Some have become educated in the official languages of Kenya and Tanzania, Swahili and English. The Maasai population has been reported as numbering 841,622 in Kenya in the 2009 census, compared to 377,089 in the 1989 census.
Maasai cattle herders. (994k) Maasai mark their cows by making long cuts in the backs. (869k) Maasai men. (751k) Maasai men resting along the road. (834k) Maasai women on foot. (754k) Maasai children. (527k) Maasai women. (798k) Maasai child. (547k) School in traditional Maasai village. (546k) Traditional Maasai village in the Maasai Mara National Reserve. (956k) Fence around the Maasai village. (1433k) Inside the Maasai village. The livestock is kept in the village during the night, so there is lots of cow dung in the village. The huts are made from wood frames covered with mud and cow dung. (1142k) Hut in the Maasai village. (873k) Inside one of the huts. (766k) Greeting ceremony by Maasai men. (1178k) Maasai man jumping during the greeting ceremony. (1282k) After the greeting ceremony. The wood club is one of the traditional implements that men carry all the time. (1031k) Greeting ceremony performed by the women. (1077k) Greeting ceremony performed by the women. (1051k) Preparing to make fire. (1380k) Making fire by twirling a stick of hard wood on a piece of soft wood. (1313k) They were alternating between two of the men, it looked quite exhausting. (786k) The tinder is smoking. (793k) The fire is burning. It took them maybe five minutes. (1.6M)