Highlights 2016

I’ve come to notice that the year moves at the speed of light during the last quarter. One minute it’s October 1st, the next we’re singing Christmas carols. That in contrast to the beginning of the year where each day seems to have 30 hours. I can’t believe it’s December already. And this has been quite a year for me. So many beautiful things have happened. Along with many annoying, disappointing and weird ones. But I give thanks to God who’s seen me through them all.

Swallow on power line.
I’m so high!

As I mentioned in this post here, one of my aims for 2016 was to travel more. I didn’t even know how that would happen but I trusted God. And it came to pass! I’ve been to so many places, it’s incredible. A friend recently asked me “How do you get the funds to go on these trips?” To which I responded that I’ve been living on savings and the grace of God. I haven’t earned much money in the past 12 months, but have been on the most number of trips. And, I’ve only paid for 2 tours thus far. The rest…He made things work out somehow.

Author on Table Mountain.
Tours in nature always make me happy.

Like my mum offering to pay for me to accompany her to South Africa for 2 days, which I wrote about here. Cape Town is such a cool place. The cleanliness and order left me with major culture shock. Coming from dealing with noisy and rowdy matatus, crowded Nairobi streets and people with the ‘African timing’ mentality, Cape Town was a breath of fresh air. Literally and figuratively. The shuttle that was ferrying people to Table Mountain passed by the hotel every 15 minutes. I missed the 11am ride by 2 minutes, and had to wait for the next round!

Large chess board with players.
This is how REAL chess is played-Cape Town has lively street scenes!

I’ve also gone on road trips ‘by accident’. Like this time when we had planned to go to Paradise Lost with some friends, but ended up going to Mt. Suswa at the last minute. Who in their right mind says no to a road trip? Especially if it’s a place I have not been to before.Suswa is such an amazing place. The views, the only mountain that has a crater within a crater, and of course the Baboon Parliament. Yes, that’s right! Read my post on Suswa to find out more. 🙂

People exploring caves.
On our way to the Baboon Parliament.

One of the trips I paid for was going to Maasai Mara. I had been thinking about and planning on it for about a year. And by the end of August 2016, I crossed it off my bucket list. What motivated me to go is quite interesting. A friend mentioned back in 2015 that he wouldn’t be around for a certain commitment because he would be in the Mara. He said it so casually and I was like “what!” Kenyans don’t just go to the Mara. I mean isn’t it expensive? Doesn’t it require a lot of planning? That’s an activity mostly associated with wazungu. Those were the thoughts running through my mind. But I came to discover that you can travel there on a shoestring budget (trust me on this one) and it’s waaaay cheaper for locals than the wazungu we admire so much. For that reason shouldn’t we be travelling more? A challenge to fellow Kenyans.

Adult elephant with her calf.
A heartwarming moment between mother and baby.

After coming back from Mara I was reasonably low on cash but decided to join a hike to Mount Longonot organized by Nature Kenya. It was quite a memorable experience! I managed to go round the crater rim (7.2Km) despite getting exhausted midway. The views up there are to die for- we have a very beautiful country. Very! I also learnt from my fellow hikers how to prepare your body for a hike. Read more about that on my previous post here. 🙂

Views from the top of Mt. Longonot.
Indeed, Kenya is beautiful.

Joining Nature Kenya has been one of the best decisions this year. Courtesy of this organization, I have visited many places during the weekly birdwalks. There’s so much beauty to see even in the most unlikely/ ordinary places. City Park, Uhuru Gardens, Oloolua Forest, Paradise Lost, UoN Upper Kabete Field Station and others hold a wealth of ecosystems that require protection, lest they disappear. Through this blog I hope to inspire you to visit and appreciate these places.

Hurlaub’s turaco in tree.
The majestic Hartlaub’s turaco.

The list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning my day out at Ondiri Swamp with my buddy Kiringo.Little did I know, that would be the experience that would get me hooked to birding.Ondiri is a beautiful place, free to visit and yet underrated. After that birdwalk I was inspired to write this post and this one too describing the birds found at home.

View of Ondiri swamp from an elevated point.
View of the swamp from an elevated point.

Despite the collapse of group plans, I still went for a meetup with the few people (two actually) who showed up. We had a great time at Nairobi National Park and I got to see other animals apart from the giraffe this time. Getting stuck in the mud and helping other tourists fix their flat tyre as closing time approached added to the adventure. I fear for the future of this Park though, with the planned Standard Gauge Railway set to pass through it…

Herd of impala grazing.
It’s grazing time.

And that, my dear readers, is a brief overview of how 2016 went for me. I could have included a trip to Elementaita to crown it but you know how group plans go. People bailing out at the last minute. Anyway what a year it’s been! I hope to travel even more in 2017. Let’s see how that goes. I hope you had a great year but if not, remember any day above ground is a good day. Oh, and my birthday is coming up– I’m accepting early gifts!

In the woods
Waiting for my birthday presents like…
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6 thoughts on “Highlights 2016

  1. I love the short and precise overview of your excursions throughout the year. I was glued in each of them through your notes. Keep it up lady

    Like

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