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Week 16: Kenya: Welcome back to Africa 😊

And we are back on the mother continent! A bit earlier than planned, but hey, Africa called too strongly 😊 Our South-East Asia venture took us from the white beaches and diving waters of Thailand, to the mystical ruins of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, to the almost “lost-in-time-slow-life” in Luang Prabang in Laos…6 weeks filled with new and different smells, tastes, sights and experiences that definitely added to both the depth and the breadth of our adventure. And yet, in the midst of all the new experiences, one of the consistent themes popping up was how much we were looking forward to coming home - to Africa and its open spaces, and specifically to Aardvark and our sense of home therewithin. We had to learn (yet again!) that we love having our own space that we can call home…and till we are back home-home in Cape Town in a couple of months’ time, we just love being back in our Aardvark! With the start of 2020 a couple of hours away, I thought it prudent to kickstart the blog again even though we have only been back in Kenya for less than 5 days – that way next week’s blog can coincide with the start of the new year! Our stats so far: • Total days travelled: 107 (to keep things simple, this will be only the time travelled through Africa) • Total distance travelled from Cape Town through Africa: 15,421km • Total countries visited: 9 (including the Asian excursion, we’re now looking at 12!) And then the Aardvark stats for Week 16: • Best drink: Freshly brewed Kenyan coffee, looking out over the forest at the foot of Mt Kenya! • Best food: We had our first braai in 7 weeks last night, and it was just amazing! After 6 weeks of “foreign” food, it was just incredible to have some marinated chicken breasts roasted on an open fire, fresh avo and tomato salad, and a balsamic reduced lentil and mushroom side…Irene’s cooking has spoiled me forever! • Best view: Driving through the forest on our way up to Castle Forest Lodge Camp…the sky was blue, the reddish road snaked through the lush green green forest, and we just felt so happy to be back in Africa 😊 We got off the plane early on Friday morning (day 103), and headed straight for hospital…Irene picked up a nasty cold/flu/bug just before we left Laos, and had an harrowing time during our 24hour trip (which included 3 countries, 2 flights, and numerous airports) to get back to Kenya. It was drilled into us that whenever you have flu-like symptoms after travelling through malaria areas, you should ALWAYS be prudent and ensure that it just a “harmless bug” and not a bout of malaria (or something worse)! So we spent our first couple of hours back in Africa in the emergency room of the Karen Hospital in Nairobi – and strangely still just elated to be back! After great, and very speedy, service from their personnel (and a couple of drips in the arm later), we were able to leave with all the blood test results negative (no malaria / dengue fever / tropical disease / etc) – a huge relief! We left Aardvark at Jungle Junction in Nairobi, and Chris and his team took great care of him…we returned to a newly serviced and happily purring Aardvark! However, to our dismay, when we opened Aardvark’s back door there was moldy spots everywhere – not exactly the welcome we expected, but at this stage of our journey we’ve learned to just roll with whatever is coming our way! The crazy humidity in Nairobi over the past 6 weeks, coupled with a bit of moisture that seeped in during the torrential rain storms, left the camper in a bit of a “dotted” state. Luckily there is nothing that some Jik and Milton cant fix…and a short while later Aardvark was back to its spotless self again! And finally lying down inside Aardvark on our bed, with our pillows, under our sleepingbags, listening to the rain pouring down…it felt like home, and oh so good to be back (even though we didn’t miss the rain😊) The first 3 nights back in Kenya was spent at Jungle Junction, cause as these things supposedly happen in 3’s, I also fell ill with the same bug as Irene…so we spent a great (?) couple of days lying in our newly cleaned Aardvark, sleeping the bugs away and just recovering. On Monday (day 106) it was however time to move on again, as we wanted to get away from Nairobi’s daily rain storms, and a bit further north for the final days of 2019. We settled on driving just a short 240km’s to Castle Forest Lodge & Camp, and after some final Aardvark prep, food restocking and a quick repair to our compressor, we were on the road again! Irene was so happy she was singing almost the whole way there, whilst I had the biggest smile ever on my face as we were leaving the city behind…this is what our hearts were longing for! The campsite did not disappoint, and it’s setting at the foot of Mt Kenya, surrounded by forests and waterfalls and views cant be beaten! Tonight, for our New Year’s celebrations, we are planning to have a repeat of last night…watching sunset over Africa, a big fire with a lovely braai, maybe a bit of bubbly, and then watching the stars slowly come out to play…our own version of natural, permanent fireworks! We have so much to be grateful for…2019 exceeded all our expectations (even the ones we didn’t know that we had!) and we are looking forward to see what 2020 has in store… So CHEERS to an amazing 2019, and to LIFE IN ABUNDANCE 😊 And welcome 2020 and all its possibilities! Till next week – and if I haven’t said it before, it’s good to be back! J

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