We start this year’s Ride Africa in Amboseli National Park in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Amboseli National park is Located in Southern Kenya, right on the border with Tanzania. It was declared a national park in the year 1974 but its history dates back to pre-colonial days as part of the Maasai heartland. The park is a habitat for many different species of animals, but perhaps is most famous for its abundance of elephants! Arriving late from Nairobi, we only just made it into the park before dusk, but were very fortunate to spot a clan of hyenas out on the prowl before a massive lightning storm hit.
Spot Mt. Kilimanjaro in the Background!
From Amboseli, we headed out to Tsavo West. Dubbed the “Land of Lava, Springs, Man-Eaters & Magical Sunsets”, Tsavo West is part of Kenya’s coastal province. This year, cyclists will pedal through a famous section of land covered by lava known as Shetani Lava. Shetani means ‘the devil’ in Swahili; the local people believed that the eruption was the devil himself emerging from the earth. This lava flow is dated back to a few hundred years ago and it sits at base of the Chyulu hills.
After the wild adrenaline of the lava fields and diving into some Kenyan superstitions, we reached Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge - the perfect place to recuperate after a long day in the jeep reconfirming the route, pit stops and meeting with relevant stakeholders. The unwinding ambience of this hotel was a real treat: from the stunning swimming pool to the beautiful balconies overlooking the watering hole where you can sit and watch the sunset as buffalo, giraffes and elephants stream in large numbers to quench their thirst from the nearby pool.
Shetani Lava Fields
From Tsavo West we crossed to Tsavo East, the oldest and largest park in Kenya. Opened in 1948 and situated in a semi-arid area formerly known as Taru Desert, the park is famed for the man-eating lions (The Man-Eaters of Tsavo) who preyed on workers constructing the Kenya-Uganda railway in the 1890s. You’ll hear more about this history as we pedal through man-eater junction but, rest-assured, there will be no man-eaters this November!
Aside from the incredible mammalian wildlife, we also spotted huge red mounds: giant anthills. These constructions were epic - and I now have more pictures of anthills on my phone than I had ever anticipated. Leaving the park, we pitched up on the banks of the Galana river where we took part in some croc-spotting with a cool Tusker beer and a refreshing dawa (a ginger-lemon drink which means ‘medicine’ in Swahili… 3 days into the recce, we needed it!).
Lucy N Poses with an Elephant Skull outside one of the Hotels!
To the coast! Leaving Tsavo, we headed East towards the smell of the ocean and the cooling sea breeze. After days in the wild of the parks, the smooth tarmac roads that took us to Malindi and then down to Mombasa were a dream! I’m so looking forward to sharing this region of Kenya with you all: the food, the coast and the stunning hotels! This is definitely the luxury end of Ride Africa and I know it will make a fantastic finale to this year’s cycle.
A Little Spot of Paradise to End the Adventure!
After 5 days on the road, it was time to head back to Nairobi, taking the recently-built SGR train back through Tsavo and enjoying the views (catching up on sleep too!).
Ride Africa - 5th -12th November 2022, Kenya - Packages from £1,599pp with £1,800 sponsorship target.
Registrations for this year’s Ride Africa close on 28th July 2022. For more information and to sign up, click here. To be first to hear about the next Ride Africa, and get exclusive access to Early Bird discounts, pre-register here.