Jambo Kenya and greetings Jaipur


This is the next instalment of my Special Moments, Magic Memories series for the 2022 A to Z Blog Challenge.

Today we’re going to visit Kenya and discover some super-WOW moments! I mentioned that our eldest daughter had been posted to Nairobi and so with much excitement Mr Cassmob, middlest daughter and I set forth in 2013 to visit her and have some safari adventures. Others warned us of potential doom and terror attacks, but we set forth regardless. Little did we realise their prophesies would be prophetic as the Westgate shopping mall near our daughter’s home was taken over by terrorists and many people killed as the days passed. The sound of gunfire and helicopters overhead was disconcerting to say the least. Another “there but for the grace of God” moment for us, as our plan had been to go there after lunch.

We enjoyed this trip so much that I’ve written about it several times on my blogs:

Images from the Maasai Mara 2013. © Pauleen Cass

Magic Memories of Kenya come from both large and small sights and events:

  • The amazing friendliness of the Kenyan people wherever we went. The guides were fabulous advocates for their country, greeting you daily with Jambo (Swahili for hello) or Sopa (Maa) and teaching their group some local words.
  • Giraffe were at the top of my wish list on safari so you can imagine my amazement when there they were, right near the airstrip.
  • Shown our glamping tent, we were amused to learn that we had to secure the padlock on the zip each time when we went out – the monkeys had figured out how to open the zips!
  • We did three separate safaris in different areas while we visited giving us different perspectives on animals and the geography.
  • And then there were the elephants wandering round our raised tent at Elephant Bedroom Camp (safari 3). Just Wow again.
  • Arriving at Sleeping Warrior (safari 2) near Lake Elementaita, we walked into reception and our jaws dropped. All we could say was “wow” and “that’s amazing!” – apparently a very typical response from visitors as the view ahead took our breath away.
  • Sitting by the fireplace at night, then being wished “lala salama” (sleep well) as we were returned to our cabins where we found hot water bottles warming our beds, and a flask of hot water for coffee or tea. Bliss!
  • Giraffe were high on my priorities as I’ve mentioned, but the most magic moment was seeing a very new baby being introduced to the extended family one morning. Beyond “WOW“. We have a photo of that on our wall.
  • The other super magic moment was watching a mother lion with her cubs and her sister’s cubs – they take turns baby-sitting. The cubs were beyond adorable and their antics so cute and sassy, and they stole my heart. Wow indeed! Another photo on the wall of our home.
  • Seeing leopards and cheetahs was the icing on the wow cake.
  • We’d timed our trip to coincide with the great migration of wildebeest from Tanzania to Kenya and kept our fingers tightly crossed. We were so lucky to witness thousands make their way across the river braving crocs and the risk of being tramped by the sheer numbers. The South Africans in the next 4WD amused us with repartee about rugby matches but we were certainly “outgunned” by their monster telephoto lenses.
  • Visiting the Karen Blixen Museum and the Kazuri bead factory, both near Nairobi, were interesting and we could recommend them – but they just don’t compete with the animals! Colleagues and friends were pretty happy with the haul of bracelets and earrings we brought back as gifts though.

Would we do another safari? Absolutely! The only thing that deters me is that it might not live up to expectations, or diminish the golden glow of those initial safari experiences.

JAIPUR, India

Back in 1977, with two little kids in tow after travelling for weeks, we didn’t have it in us to make the trip from Delhi to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. Over the years we’ve often regretted that so for a big anniversary, just ahead of covid, we took a small group tour of India’s Golden Triangle. One of the funniest things was two broad-beamed Aussies squeezed onto a rickshaw as we zigged and zagged through the narrow streets of Delhi.

Yes, we did see the Taj Mahal and it was every bit as impressive as we imagined, as were the crowds! Perhaps it’s Wow factor was moderated by having seen so many pictures and videos of it.

What did capture our imagination was some of the amazing palaces and other buildings we saw. It’s so easy to become culture-centric and not realise just how much other countries have to offer and how far back that culture goes. Rather than go into detail I’ll share some photo from Jaipur and India of places that caught our wow factor.

Photos from India’s Golden Triangle, March 2020. © Pauleen Cass

Have you ever been on a safari or is it on your bucket list? What was your favourite thing about it?

Have you travelled in India? Were you backpacking, travelling independently or on a tour, large or small? What surprised you?


18 thoughts on “Jambo Kenya and greetings Jaipur

    1. We’ve been very fortunate Jeanne. The bombing was scarier for the daughters as it went on for days whereas we escaped on another safari which had been pre-booked. The animals were sooo exciting to see.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. So many Wow moments Pauleen. African animal safari is high on my bucket list. We almost went in the year before covid, wishing now that we had. The monkeys working out how to get into tents made me laugh,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have never been to Africa. Your photos are terrific.

    I have visited India. We travelled independently in 1989 and were lucky enough to visit the Taj Mahal which for me was one of those sights which were better in real life than the photos. Another is Uluru. We seem to have been fortunate that there were no crowds when we were there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I’d have enjoyed seeing the Taj Mahal when there was less of a crowd. That was the case with our very early morning tour but the day before it was mayhem with masses of people.
      Uluru has an aura I think which you feel when you’re there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I used to want to go to Cuba during the early days of the Revolution, back in the 1960s. I had a chance to go twice, but for various reasons didn’t get there. I also wanted to go to Mexico back then.
        Now, I’m happy to go to the ocean and glad one of my daughters is moving to Savannah where I will have a chance to visit her often. It’s about 4 hours from us. And I love visiting my daughter in North Georgia in the Blue Ridge mountains.
        Getting out of the city is my favorite thing.
        Hypothetically, if I had that magic carpet, I would like to visit some of my ancestral places – Athens, TN, Montogomery and Lowndes county, Alabama and Lebanon Kentucky.
        I have lost the travel lust for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Mexico somehow seems so far to me. It will be lovely for you to have your daughter close enough to visit her. I’ve heard of both places but need to check the map to see exactly where they are.
        Losing travel lust probably means you’re content at home which is a good thing.

        Like

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