Kenya & Tanzania

Posted by: cfrac

Kenya & Tanzania - 07/21/11 01:35 PM

Part I

So this trip was much more about wildlife than climbing but I thought people might enjoy the break from talking about land boundaries and see some pictures.

We started our trip by flying in to Nairobi and then took a shuttle bus to Arusha in Tanzania.

From here we took off on our safari and traveled through the ngorongoro crater, a large enclosed caldera, filled with wildlife, then on to the serengeti.

After blowing through most of our money on the formally arranged safari we rented a land cruiser and took off for some self safari action.

Since most people are interested in climbing I will skip to that and put the animal pics at the end. So after finishing our second safari we traveled back to Kenya and then had a taxi bring us out to Lukenya, one of the better climbing spots an hour outside of Nairobi.

As we hiked out to the cliffs the baboons in the low lying shrubs began to retreat. Eventually there were around 50 baboons all slowly moving up the cliffs watching us intently.

We decided on an easy looking crack as a warm-up. I took off on really nice rock (gneiss maybe?) and about 20 feet up I heard a loud rustling in the adjacent tree. A few seconds later I caught out of the corner of my eye a large object moving from the tree to the cliff.

A large male baboon landed on the climb about 15 ft above me. This was somewhat nerve racking so I plugged in a piece of gear and he proceeded to just stare at me. (he may have had land owner issues) Anyway, as I moved up he proceeded to retreat always keeping the distance between 10 & 20 ft. Eventually I reached a ledge and the belay call shouts made him slowly move on.

The routes we were on were primarily trad with walk-offs. After visiting a snake park and seeing all of the poisonous snakes of Africa it was kind of nerve racking to walk around in the brush, especially knowing that a black mamba bite will kill you in about a minute. The Swahili word for the mamba translates to the one cigarette snake, enough time for one cigarette before you die. Note to self: add one cigarette to the first aid kit.

Posted by: cfrac

Re: Kenya & Tanzania - 07/21/11 01:51 PM

Surprisingly we came back from Africa in much better shape than when we left. It took well into the 2nd safari for our pre-trip black fly and chigger sores to heal. The day after we got back we went up Shockley's and the next morning had a whole new batch of chiggers!

The rock was grippy in most places but occasionally polished or naturally slick. There were few bolts doe to the traditional history of the this place.

There were definitely more routes we would have loved to explore that will have to wait for another day.

We then drove to Lake Nakuru National Park, also in Kenya.

Lilac Breasted Roller

Although the big game gets all the hype we were equally as excited about the birds since there were so many different species that were quite easy to see in the savanna unlike the thick jungle canopies of Central and South America.

Lake Nakuru

Posted by: talus

Re: Kenya & Tanzania - 07/21/11 01:59 PM

Originally Posted By: cfrac

amazing photo!!!
Posted by: cfrac

Re: Kenya & Tanzania - 07/21/11 02:04 PM

On the return to Nairobi we spent a day at Hell's Gate National Park.

Which has some fantastic climbing and good wildlife as well.
The free standing pinnacle is called Fischer's Tower and is two pitches to the top.

As we climbed up we could watch zebra running across the plain just as a reminder that we were indeed in Africa. The climbing here was good as well with occasional gunks similarities in that good holds next to the cracks appear unexpectedly so that your gear goes in the crack but your hands don't.

Plenty of well protected natural lines with bolted lower-offs at the top of most climbs meant we could get a lot done in a short period of time. Temps were in the low 70's in the shade and nice and dry since it's their Winter and start of the dry season.

It was a bit disconcerting to see just how dry it was already seeing that the "rainy season" had just ended. We were told that most of the area we were in had received less that 10% of the normal rainfall for that year.

I believe this was basalt and the cracks were nice and smooth on the inside but occasionally there were very slick footholds.

Posted by: cfrac

Re: Kenya & Tanzania - 07/21/11 02:21 PM

So, that's about it. If we were to do the trip over again we would have skipped the second safari, spent more time at Lukenya and Hells Gate and would have tried to climb Mt Kenya. As a traveling climber it's hard to strike a balance between the tourist side of things and the desire to climb, but in the end we felt that the lack of exercise sitting in the land rover would have been better balanced with more climbing.

So, back to the birds, this was a vulture feeding frenzy on a kill.

The dried salt flats of Lake Manyara

White Rhinos

So, I hoped that served as a nice diversion on this sweltering day. Conclusions, It was a fantastic trip but it was by far the most expensive traveling we have ever done. Unfortunately there weren't many options to do it any other way.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Kenya & Tanzania - 07/21/11 02:25 PM

Well done! Did you do kili as well while you are over there?
Posted by: cfrac

Re: Kenya & Tanzania - 07/21/11 02:32 PM

We were told that you could see most of the same wildlife at a fraction of the cost in South Africa but the scenery isn't quite as dramatic as the Serengeti and there are more crowds in Kruger, but I'm not sure that would justify the expense.

On our final day we visited an baby elephant and rhino rescue organization in Nairobi.

They take care of orphaned elephants and rhinos. The causes for these abandoned animals ranges from their mothers being killed by poachers to starvation. It's kind of hard to believe there is still and ivory and rhino horn trade in this age but there is! Anyway if you feel compelled to donate it's a great organization doing amazing work. Sheldrick WIldlife Trust

We adopted a baby Rhino named Solio:

Hope you enjoyed!

Posted by: cfrac

Re: Kenya & Tanzania - 07/21/11 02:36 PM

Originally Posted By: talus

amazing photo!!!

Thanks John! Especially coming from you!
I have to say that it is fairly easy to get good photos there just because there are so many opportunities.
Posted by: cfrac

Re: Kenya & Tanzania - 07/21/11 02:37 PM

Originally Posted By: Adrian
Well done! Did you do kili as well while you are over there?

Thanks! No Kili, that really didn't have much of a draw for us, but Mt. Kenya really looks appealing.
Posted by: chip

Re: Kenya & Tanzania - 07/21/11 03:22 PM

Thanks for putting all of that together. I'm sure you missed your pooch, which is always the biggest reason my kids can't wait to come home again after a trip.
Posted by: Julie

Re: Kenya & Tanzania - 07/21/11 08:05 PM

Wow, enjoyed very much. thanks for taking the time to post this. That basalt corner looks amazing!
Posted by: RangerRob

Re: Kenya & Tanzania - 07/21/11 09:13 PM

Amazing wildlife pics! You sure they aren't postcards? the rock on the last couple of pictures looks exactly like the rock we saw at the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. Basalt columns with splitter hand and finger cracks.
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Kenya & Tanzania - 07/22/11 08:12 PM

Nicely done Chris. Your trip sounds very nicely balanced.
Posted by: rg@ofmc

Re: Kenya & Tanzania - 07/26/11 11:47 PM

Looks really cool. The black mamba potential certainly adds to the adventure, especially if you're a non-smoker, not to mention the opportunity to fight a baboon for a belay stance.
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Kenya & Tanzania - 07/27/11 02:36 PM

Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
..... not to mention the opportunity to fight a baboon for a belay stance.

Not that strange for a Gunks climber having to fight for a belay stance.

And the tent on top of the Land Rover. Is there a reason you wouldn't want to sleep on the ground in Africa? wink wink
Posted by: retroscree

Re: Kenya & Tanzania - 07/28/11 06:45 PM

Originally Posted By: Rickster
Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
..... not to mention the opportunity to fight a baboon for a belay stance.

Not that strange for a Gunks climber having to fight a baboon for a belay stance.

Posted by: TerrieM

Re: Kenya & Tanzania - 09/06/11 07:27 PM

It took me til today to click on this thread. some day I do hope to also go to Africa. You made some really wonderful images. I especially like the lion and lioness.
Posted by: crimpy

Re: Kenya & Tanzania - 11/02/11 02:34 AM

Imagine them in one of your "Belay Bunny" t-shirts, too cute!
Posted by: Mark Heyman

Re: Kenya & Tanzania - 11/02/11 05:04 PM

Thanks CFRAC!

Looks like a great trip.
Posted by: strat

Re: Kenya & Tanzania - 04/09/12 05:19 AM

The real summit of Kilimanjaro, aka Kibo is a walk-up. However, Much of the time on Kilimanjaro, you are in sight of one of its lesser summits known as Mawenzi.

Mawenzi looks like a full-on expedition.

Did you get to see any dikdik in Serengeti? While they are a bit odd of a creature, there's not much more fun than shouting dikdik out of your range rover!
Posted by: oenophore

Re: Kenya & Tanzania - 04/09/12 09:51 AM

What a place for an astronomical observatory! But no entity has the will and money to build a cog railway and telescopic observatory although it's certainly doable.