A glance at the watch, it is 4:00 a.m, I am seated in a Kampala-Nairobi bound bus headed towards the Malaba border; suddenly a mood of relief washes over me that the day I had waited for with a lot of enthusiasm and hysteria has finally come.
It is 6:00 a.m at the border Malaba, we go through the usual formality of checking, signing and stamping, clearing etc and soon we are back on our bus, quickly rolling its wheels on the wide and well built Kenyan tarmac road towards Nairobi, my shivers from coldness begin to fade as golden rays of sunrise spear through the window glasses of the bus, my lungs begin to choke on the sick smell of exhaust smoke originating from the bus engine, hearing words like “habari” and “mwana inchi” is testimony enough to me that the main language of communication here in Kenya is Kiswahili.
A ride from Kericho district in western Kenya just after Kisumu, takes us through miles and miles of tea and sugar cane plantations which provide a green scenery and serene atmosphere, we continue journeying through the rift valley province and formerly settler owned ranches with horses, cows and large orchards every where.
Towards central Kenya the landscape ceases to be green and the dry-brown savannah grasslands stretch on and on broken only by scattered hardy Acacia trees. Masai herdsmen and boys dot the horizon following the tough zebu cattle.
The journey from the Uganda-Kenya border to the coast goes through a number of national parks like Lake Nakuru national park, Nairobi national park, Chyulu hills national park. The largest stretch however, goes through theTsavo national park, where zebras, antelopes, wildebeests are a common sight.
At the coast Mombasa, we tour the long and winding sandy beaches lined with palm trees and the shoreline line dotted with sea-shells carried by ocean waves, the beautiful view of the vast ocean waters laid-out up to horizon does not on only leave us in total wonder but in admiration as well.
Some of us get to swimming as others get to play beach football and volleyball, food and drinks flow into us from a local restaurant, we have fun till late in the evening when we lay out our tents to set camp for shelter.
The next day, we visit Fort Jesus, a monumental piece of architecture built in the 16th century by the Portuguese, probably to help defend them against the enemy; the fort has a museum that displays various artifacts from the era when Mombasa served as a transit point for slave trade and commodities like gold and iron ore.
It also comprises of torture rooms and prison cells where slaves were kept in captivity before being traded.
In the evening we retreat to our camp, have more of swimming, beach football and volleyball, food and drinks of all genres and as dusk falls, we retire to our tents and the next morning we jump onto our bus for the return journey with much satisfaction. The Mombasa trip is one I will always remember with a smile on my face.