Safari njema

Before work began, we went on a game drive but proceeded to get hopelessly lost. We shouldn't have trusted my sense of direction from twelve years ago, or a wildly inaccurate map. Although we were panicking about missing meetings and returning the car on time, we saw some great wildlife: waterbuck herds, loads of kori bustard (the world's heaviest flying bird), a roadside hyena den, a big lioness resting in the grass in the dawn light and a white rhino mother and calf up close.

Then began the bus journey from Nanyuki in Central Kenya back to Nairobi, which wasn't without incident. We passed through lush hill country blanketed in vegetable plantations big and small. The towns are dustier and more chaotic, now more snared with traffic and fast food outlets than in 2006. The impact of the national plastic bag ban instituted last year hasn't yet trickled down to the windblown patches of tattered plastic that signal the end of each settlement; one of the enduring memories of my earlier time here.

An overturned truck forced an hour-long diversion around red-soil single lane rural roads during which we almost became stuck, seesawing over a steep rise in the track. The driver, eager to get home, sped too fast so had to be reprimanded when he started undertaking on a rare section of dual carriageway. Kenya has a terrible accident rate on the roads, and I didn't want a busload of colleagues to become a statistic. Nairobi traffic is notoriously unpredictable and we cut it fine to deliver some of the group to the airport for their flights tonight.

At the hotel somewhere in the urban sprawl we washed orange mud off our face and battled with the restaurant's bizarrely incorrect bill. Hospitality and service in Kenya, usually the region's expert, failed us. We bedded down for a few hours' sleep under a flight path that shook the hotel's foundations and with the bass from the basement nightclub adding to the din.

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