Day 4: Thursday December 16, 2010

This was our last day in Maasai Mara Reserve. Although we got up early, we did not have enough time for a final Land Cruiser safari. Instead we followed the direct route between Topi House and the Ol Kiombo Air Strip. But we drove slowly and had time to take in the beautiful green expanse of the Mara for a last time.

Right away we checked “our” cheetah family but did not stay with them very long. On our leisurely drive to the air strip we saw a number of animals.

To see an enlargement please click on the picture.

Corruption Box

Box in the Airport

After saying our goodbyes to our friends Salaash and Loli, we boarded the small airplane and flew back to Wilson Airport in Nairobi.

There we waited for a few hours until our flight to Lamu Island on the Indian Ocean.

Lamu Island

Satellite view of Lamu

Satellite view of Lamu Island
click for a larger view

The flight to Lamu took about 1½ hours. The small plane first landed on a grass strip at Kiwayu, but this was not our destination. Our destination was the second stop, the air strip on Manda Island, a larger mangrove island to the east of Lamu.

At the air strip we were met by a porter pushing a wheelbarrow with the sign “Banana House,” the name of our hotel in the small village of Shela [ 2° 17.6' S 40° 54.8' E]. The porter loaded our bags and wheeled them to the pier where they were next loaded on a waiting motor boat. The boat then took us across the channel, past Lamu town, to the beach of Shela. The porter had to wade to the shore to unload. Another set of porters took charge of us and our bags and led us a short walk through narrow village alleys to the Banana House.

The accommodations were comfortable enough, but the best feature of Banana House was that we had a large private porch, almost a living room, complete with dining area. Vines heavy with pink jasmine blossoms hung down from the ceiling of the porch. The two balconies of the porch looked down on a small garden, charmingly landscaped with many tropical trees. After a rest we went exploring. There are no cars on the island—everything is transported either by boats, many of them traditional wooden sailing dhows, or by donkeys. Shela village has about 2000 inhabitants and many of its Swahili-style houses have been restored. Within a few minutes’ walk from the village there is a lovely unspoiled sand beach. Sand dunes stretch on for 12 km. We ended our walk there on the beach and had a very refreshing swim since it was rather hot.