Leaving Cape Town
It was finally time to leave. Months of planning concluded in a 3am wakeup and a drive to Cape Town International Airport. Sandra and I met up with Dean and Tamara for our last hugs and good bye kisses before checking in to our flight to Nairobi.
The flight to Johannesburg was packed with people all rushing off to do business in the corporate jungle. I was equally excited to be heading off on a business trip but of a completely different kind. This trip was going to be different. Sure I wanted to get some new photos, but it was important to document every part of the step of making a film too.
In the video below you can follow our journey from Cape Town to Nairobi and ultimately on to Camp Tortilis in Amboseli where we would establish base camp and start preparing for shooting the film.
Please enjoy the second instalment of this Behind the Scenes Series of the Film: Safari of My Life.
Arriving in Kenya
Butterflies in my stomach is an understatement. Since the recovery process from my operation started I have been battling with dietary needs and of course don’t have the strength im used to when on Safari. But that was not going to stop me.
We landed in Nairobi without a hitch, quickly filed through customs. Dean was stopped and checked as he obviously had a large amount of camera gear on him. All the paperwork checked out as he eagerly told the officials all about this being his first time to Kenya. I remember him coming round the corner from the customs office with a big smile on his face… I think they were glad to have gotten rid of him before he spoke a whole in their heads.
Last thing before we could move on was getting connected with new Sim Cards. It’s amazing how cheap mobile talk time and data is in Kenya, well especially compared to South Africa. Then we met up with our super polite taxi driver that was going to take us to the Wildebeest Eco Park in Nairobi. Our flight to Amboseli was only the next day. All the feelings of nervousness was gone. We had arrived.
As the taxi left the Airport the heavens opened. The rain was heavy. Thunder and lightning companied us as we hit rush hour traffic. Our destination was the Wildebeest Ecopark on the other side of town. Our connecting flight to Amboseli would only leave the next day so we needed to spend the night. As we crawled through the traffic we made conversation with the taxi driver about this rain being the end of a long and hard drought. A blessing for Kenya, but not great for out film shoot.
The Eco park Lodge was lovely, but it wasn’t our destination. Time stood still as we waited for the next morning. Dean went off to have a beer (Tusker) while I lay down to have a snooze. The rain continued until the morning.
Our Taxi driver picked us up 6am sharp. Right on time although he smelled like he had been partying all night. Looks like we missed out on the town in Nairobi. Nonetheless he was a very friendly guy and always had entertaining anecdotes about life in Kenya. Our destination was Amboseli National Park, but first we needed to get through the Nairobi morning traffic to get to Wilson Airport.
Naturally the charter flights that go out to the National Parks are quite strict in terms of how much extra luggage is allowed. Our bags where loaded with heavy camera gear. Lucky for us Safarilink made an exception as the flight we were on was empty (except for a British couple).
Our flight to Amboseli was pleasant enough. The excitement was building. We were almost there.
On arrival we where met by our guide for the next 7 days, Junior from Camp Tortilis. A quick cup of tea and a chat with Junior is all we needed to feel like we had finally arrived at our destination. My nerves settled, although I think Dean’s had only started up. A big job lay ahead of us.
Everything in Kenya seems very far apart. I’m used to this from living in South Africa, but Kenya takes it to another level. I guess it’s not always the distance as the crow flies, but rather the conditions of the roads. Without a 4×4 you are not going to get far. Camp Tortilis is about 40minutes from the airstrip, a perfect opportunity to get our cameras out and do a little introductory safari.
It wasn’t long before we encountered our first elephant. We spent about 15 minutes just observing him eating grass in the swamp, but I was getting hungry and tired. We pushed on to base camp.
This is my first time at this camp. I received a very warm welcome from camp manager Thorburn and all the staff. Checking in was an absolute delight. We were escorted to our tent which would serve as our base camp for the next week and a bit. Bit of unpacking before the real fun begins….
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