Tuesday, September 2, 2014


The only downside was the flights - long and grueling with seating getting narrower and with less leg room. We started the trip home with a flight in a Twin Otter that was an hour (and of course it was late by about two hours). After the time in Nairobi we drove for two hours to the airport in the slowest & longest rush hour I’ve ever seen anywhere in the world. Without traffic it would have taken a half hour.

Then there’s the eight hour flight from Nairobi to Amsterdam, and then a five hour layover. Amsterdam involved another security line - even though we had not left a secure area. It took well over an hour - being thorough as well as inefficient. This was followed by a seven hour flight across the Atlantic to Atlanta. Then another three hour layover, and then the final flight to Denver (2.5 hours). Frank stayed overnight but he had an additional flight to Eugene.

On the first flight from Denver to Detroit KLM/Delta did not honor our seat reservations, and we both ended up in middle seats. On the Detroit to Amsterdam flight we were given a middle row - also not what we’d reserved. We sat next to a young man, who ignored us the entire flight, despite no personal space between us. I thought he had no use for these two old men. But I struck up a conversation with him at the very end of the flight, and was surprised all my preconceptions of who he was were all wrong. He was older than he looked, and was quite eager to talk. He is a doctor and was on his way to Ghana to do spinal surgeries for two weeks.

People are often not what they seem to be. For instance, you’d expect tribal warriors to be fierce, but Kelvin, our Samburu warrior was a gentle soul who although a quite confident young man, was also a bit shy.

On the third flight over, the one from Amsterdam to Nairobi, we had paid extra for the seats we had - last row with a window and an isle seat and no middle seat (G & H 66). However, the seats were so narrow it was difficult to eat, and some sort of metal box was installed under the seat in front of me - which meant there was even less leg room than in a regular economy seat.

We had booked the same seats on the way back, but were able to change to better seats with an accommodating agent in Nairobi. So the return was somewhat more comfortable. But the journey still took over thirty hours. We each managed to get about two hours of sleep in the entire 30 hours of travel.


It was worth it, however, for the safari itself. I’m aware that much of what we saw in terms of the animals may no longer exist in another couple of decades. An elephant is being killed every fifteen minutes in Africa for it’s tusks, and rhinos are almost all gone.

The Five Minute Kenya Safari from Mike Holtby on Vimeo.