Looking for tickets or info for the Get Happy Tour 2018 featuring Bowling for Soup, Army of Freshmen and The Aquabats?

This domain name was used for the Get Happy Tour back in its original run around 10 years ago, when I used to do work for BFS and AOF. However, for the past 5 years it has been used for my travel blog as I never thought we would have another Get Happy Tour and I didn't want it to go to waste.

But as a favour to two bands who have done a lot for me over the years, and so you don't miss out, ticket info is:
O2 Presale: 10am on 25 September
General Onsale: 10am on 27 September.

Tickets available from ticketmaster.co.uk and bowlingforsoup.com
 


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Posts Tagged ‘Kenya’

Africa videos

September 16th, 2009 No comments

I’ve finally been able to upload all of my videos from Africa. They’re all now on YouTube and can be viewed below, or in full by clicking on the videos themselves. If you have a user on YouTube feel free to comment on the videos if you want.


Baboon Family at Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya – August 24, 2009
 


View from Ngumo Primary School, Gilgil, Kenya – August 25th, 2009
 


Meeting local kids on the Tea Plantation walk near Fort Portal, Uganda – August 27th, 2009
 


Chimpanzees at the Kibale Forest National Park, Uganda – August 27th, 2009
 


The Amahoro Group of Mountain Gorillas during our trek, Rwanda [1/2] – August 31st, 2009
 


The Amahoro Group of Mountain Gorillas during our trek, Rwanda [2/2] – August 31st, 2009
 


Pygmy village dancing and singing for us near Ruhengeri, Rwanda – September 1st, 2009
 


Some of our group rafting on the River Nile at Jinja, Uganda – September 4th, 2009
 


Visiting Bujagali Falls near Jinja, Uganda – September 4th, 2009
 


Den, Amanda, Jono and Al go Bungee Jumping at Adrift near Jinja, Uganda – September 4th, 2009
 


Al number 2 goes Bungee Jumping at Adrift near Jinja, Uganda – September 4th, 2009
 


Having fun at the campsite near Eldoret, Kenya – September 5th, 2009
(This is the video with the 50 states, the rapping etc)
 


A Sparrow attacking itself in Oscar’s mirror at the campsite near Eldoret, Kenya – September 6th, 2009

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Africa Day 18 – Crazy Airport Security

September 7th, 2009 No comments

Today I got up at 5am, had a quick shower and checked out before saying goodbye to people that were leaving at the same time. I took my taxi to the airport and it was really quick with no detours unlike on the way in. My driver asked for less money than on the way out but asked me to pay it before we got to the airport otherwise if the police saw it they would have asked for some.

Security at Nairobi airport was intense. I had my ticket checked, went through a metal detector and had my bags scanned before even getting into the terminal. Then after checking in I went through two levels of passport control before getting to the departure lounge. I shopped for a while before going to the gate that had been called where I found even more security. I had my passport and boarding pass checked before walking through a metal detector and having my bags scanned again. I went to put my belt back on but was told not to as there was another set of checks – where my passport was checked, I walked though ANOTHER metal detector and had my bags scanned AGAIN before getting to the departure gate.

All of this made you feel safe but did feel excessive.

The flight back was quite nice. I requested a seat on the aisle and I’m planning to watch some movies before getting some sleep. I’m due to arrive at Heathrow this afternoon where I will be met by my family to be driven back home.

Our tour group in Eldoret Hospital visiting Janneke

Our tour group in Eldoret Hospital visiting Janneke

Overall I had an amazing time in Africa. The highlight was of course trekking with the endangered Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda, and being grabbed by one of them, but I saw and did so many great things. Lovely scenery, lovely people, great new friends and almost 2000 amazing photos! Al and Jono were awesome tour staff and it’s almost impossible to say how great Den was – awesome chef and great guy too. I miss his food already.

There are so many places I want to see in the world but every time I go to Africa (real Africa not the bit up north) I feel home. Africa is definitely on my list of possibilities for next year and if I do go I’ll seriously consider Dragoman again!

Here’s a small map of our route for future reference – courtesy of the Dragoman website.

Tour map of Dragoman trip ZNN159

Tour map of Dragoman trip ZNN159

Dragoman Logo

Dragoman Logo

Ps: I know I wrote a lot here – sorry about that – most of the length is photos anyway. The blog does go onto two pages… and if you want to just read stuff from this trip click on “2009 Africa” in the categories menu to the right and the most recently dated page of the two will be shown.

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Africa Day 17 – Return to Nairobi

September 6th, 2009 No comments

Another early start today with breakfast at 6 ready to leave by 7. Unfortunately this turned into 740 as one of the tyres needed changing due to having a big hole in it but this gave me a chance for an even bigger breakfast with a double helping of eggs. I’ve certainly not gone hungry since I’ve been in Africa which was something I was worried about.

Fixing Oscars flat tyre

Fixing Oscars flat tyre

I'll probably get into trouble for posting this, but I like it.

I’ll probably get into trouble for posting this, but I like it.

Our first stop was Eldoret Hospital where Janneke had been admitted. She had been feeling unwell for a few days and started feeling pains yesterday so was taken to hospital as a precaution. It was nice to see her today, have a photo with the group and give her a get well soon card. At first they thought it was a bowel infection but later in the week they discovered it was a burst appendix which is definitely not something you want to get at all, let alone in Africa. Luckily she was in good hands and after staying in hospital for a week was looked after by Raj at the campsite before getting home a few weeks later than planned.

Eldoret Hospital -visiting Janneke

Eldoret Hospital -visiting Janneke

Eldoret Hospital had nice grounds

Eldoret Hospital had nice grounds

On the road betwen Eldoret and Nakuru somewhere

On the road betwen Eldoret and Nakuru somewhere

There are a lot of roadworks in Kenya

There are a lot of roadworks in Kenya

We then made our way back towards Nairobi, with a few pee stops on route where for some reason kids kept trying to watch us. Lunch was at the Rift Valley view point which had lovely scenery and good photo opportunities. As we were leaving kids kept asking for money… well…. Telling us to give them money so trip replied with “you give me your rabbit” which gave a few laughs.

A salt lake near Nakuru

A salt lake near Nakuru

A view of the Great Rift Valley

A view of the Great Rift Valley

Great Rift Valley viewpoint

Great Rift Valley viewpoint

Lunch at the Great Rift Valley

Lunch at the Great Rift Valley

We arrived back in Nairobi at 3pm and it was then a short drive back to the Kivi Milimani hotel again for the final night. Christine the truck was there for people to transfer their bags to if they were continuing south on the route through Tanzania to Cape Town.

There was further confusion about room check-in this time too but this was sorted out and I made my way to room 101 which was my assigned room and allowed Leon to shower and keep his bags in my room so he didn’t have to keep them with him all evening until his taxi to the airport. I relaxed in the room for a bit before finding Leon in the bar and going for dinner with the rest of the group.

Back at the Kivi Milimani Hotel in Nairobi

Back at the Kivi Milimani Hotel in Nairobi

Dinner at the hotel

Dinner at the hotel

Dinner was a bit of an adventure. I didn’t have dinner on the first night but was told it was very nice and indeed it was… when we managed to get it.

I wanted a pizza but they were out of pizza so I ordered steak. 30 minutes later they came back to me saying they were out of steak so I ordered a burger. Some of our groups food arrived early and they finished and went, then my burger arrived while others didt, then the other burgers arrived which were mostly wrong. Pete eats his anyway but the others moaned but were told the food couldn’t be replaced so they just ate everything anyway. Leon’s food took so long to arrive that he had to have his red snapper to go on the way to the airport while Cass ordered a beer but it took forever to arrive.

In addition to those they were out of chicken so made a cheese quesadilla for Trip without asking him, showed him, and then just put it in front of him. They were also out of Tuska beer which wasn’t normal.

I chatted with Trip and Berry in the bar for a bit before going to my room to call home to confirm the arrangements for tomorrow. I have ordered a taxi for 615am and am now in my room checking through my bags, repacking everything and making sure I’m all ready for my flight home. Unfortunately while I was emptying out the bottom of my bag I found a very dead lizard that had found his way in there most likely when I emptied out my bag last night – I don’t think I’ve jumped so much for a while.

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Africa Day 16 – Back to Kenya

September 5th, 2009 No comments

I got up before 6 to have an early shower before all of the hot water was used up and, after falling down the big hole in the campsite, found it to be a nice and very hot shower. There was then time for a quick breakfast and last minute photos before heading off at 7 – I managed to get the table for only the second time this trip as people kept moving my bag. Next time I do a Dragoman trip I’m going to have to be more forceful and get the table more often as I worked out I should have sat there at least once a week.

Staring Contest - Trip vs Tokoloshe - Trip lost

Staring Contest – Trip vs Tokoloshe – Trip lost

Me and my new friend Tokoloshe

Me and my new friend Tokoloshe

We got quite good at packing stuff away by now

We got quite good at packing stuff away by now

The Exodus Truck

The Exodus Truck

The trip to the border was fast, as was the border crossing which was a nice surprise. They had run out of forms so we didn’t have to fill any out and didn’t have to pay either which was good. I had a multiple entry visa just in case anyway but this also gives me an excuse to ask for my passport back when it is renewed this year. While at the border I bought some samosas from the local vendors and they were actually surprisingly tasty, hot, and haven’t played havoc with my stomach yet.

The journey to Eldoret was quick and we arrived before 3pm which gave us plenty of time for swimming. I decided to upgrade to a room tonight as it was the last night and I wanted to splash out – at $25 for a single it was fairly reasonably priced for its quality.

Camping at Eldoret

Camping at Eldoret

My room in Eldoret

My room in Eldoret

After settling into the room we went down to the pool to relax for a while. Some people were already in there and after a while I was persuaded to join them. The water was cold but nowhere near as cold as the pool at the Hardap Park in Namibia a few years ago. Trip had a swimming race against Amanda and lost by 2 laps which was embarrassing.

Walking to the pool at Eldoret

Walking to the pool at Eldoret

The Swimming Pool

The Swimming Pool

I relaxed for a bit before showering, changing and then relaxing with a drink before dinner. The meal was similar to when we stayed here on the way out in the form of an Indian buffet but was slightly different at our request. The potatoes and veg were different and they had a paneer cheese curry in addition to the other selection which was really nice and just what I needed.

Trip

Trip

Me and Den The Chef

Me and Den The Chef

A few of us talking while waiting for dinner

A few of us talking while waiting for dinner

We relaxed with drinks and toasted marshmallows before the dogs were let out again. We chatted for a bit and took photos before heading to bed where I’ve been catching up on writing this blog and repacking my bags ever since.

Dinner at Eldoret, again.

Dinner at Eldoret, again.

Dinner at Eldoret, again.

Dinner at Eldoret, again.

Chatting in the bar after dinner

Chatting in the bar after dinner

...and of course time for Marshmallows

…and of course time for Marshmallows

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Africa Day 5 – Into Uganda

August 25th, 2009 No comments

Another early start today, with breakfast at 530, in an attempt to make it to the border early. It wasn’t far to the border but we expected it to take some time due to all the processes that needed to be undertaken. We made a quick stop at Webuye, near Bungoma, to refuel the truck on the way to the border where just as I predicted the Tokoloshe got us quite a lot of attention from the locals. They weren’t quite sure if his attachment was his belly button or his penis and spent some time rubbing it trying to find out!!

Stopping for fuel at Webuye

Stopping for fuel at Webuye

Kenyan side of the border

Kenyan side of the border

It’s quite a surreal experience crossing a land border in Africa. In Europe we don’t have any proper land borders but this border had the Kenyan departure section, then customs control, then the border itself, then Ugandan medical control, then Ugandan Arrivals and then finally Ugandan customs. All of the time you have people trying to sell you everything from meat samosas to Ugandan passport covers and everything in between.

Changing money is also a new experience. On both sides of the border there lots of people wearing what look like rain coats and holding big bundles of money- these are the official, licensed, money exchangers. Even though they’re licensed you have to be careful. When I tried to change USD to Ugandan Shillings he offered 1800 despite the exchange rate being 2030. We negotiated him up to 1950 which was the best we were going to get but then he conveniently miscounted so after arguing the case and getting the correct number of shillings from him I was happy and got back on the truck.

Uganda seems more built up than Kenya and as soon as we crossed the borders there were more houses, factories, hotels and bigger farms. It also seems a lot greener even just after crossing a river. We stopped for lunch at Kakira, near Jinja, and of course were the centre of attention to the kids again.

Ugandan Scenery

Ugandan Scenery

Adorable

Adorable

Centre of attention again

Centre of attention again

Lunch time

Lunch time

We arrived at the Red Chilli campsite in Kampala this afternoon, after making a brief stop at a petrol station near Mukono, and set up camp. Dinner was a nice large amount of Spaghetti Bolognese and afterwards we all met for drinks in the bar. The bar was basic but the drinks were cheap and the surroundings were really nice. I really like this camp site and wish we were able to stay here an extra day as we’ve been told we won’t have any time to explore Kampala and this would give us an opportunity to do so.

At the petrol station in Mukono

At the petrol station in Mukono

I love this pic

I love this pic

Red Chilli Campsite, Kampala

Red Chilli Campsite, Kampala

Bar at the Red Chilli

Bar at the Red Chilli

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Africa Day 4 – Gilgil to Eldoret

August 24th, 2009 No comments

This morning we got up early and started getting breakfast together when, on time, the baboons arrived. Den decided to scare them away by running at them waving cooking utensils above his head and somehow I got volunteered to join in to stop them stealing food, raiding the bins etc which they continued to do anyway. It was quite an experience chasing them away but I would have been in trouble if they decided they wanted to confront me – plastic plates would have been no match for teeth!

Baboons guarding the toilet

Baboons guarding the toilet

Me and Baboons

Me and Baboons

After breakfast we went for a game drive and managed to get some good photos but saw mainly the same animals, with the exception of Hyena which we saw for the first time. The drive took us back along the lake to the park entrance and after leaving the park we travelled to the town of Gilgil to visit the Ngumo Primary School which is part of the Kariandusi School Trust Project that Dragoman sponsor.

Hyena

Hyena

It took a while to find the school – Den had to ask the locals for directions several times but eventually somebody knew where it was. The final road up to the school was rather steep and rocky and Oscar really worked hard to get there but we were rewarded with an amazing view from the top. While waiting for a teacher to greet us we relaxed and took in the view.

A senior teacher met us and took us on a tool of the school, showing us the old classrooms that were in a horrible state of disrepair, then onto the new rooms, the staff room and the new ground before we were given an opportunity to meet some of the kids. I talked to two of them that were sitting next to each other and they were asking very intelligent questions. It was the same day as the Kenyan Census so a lot of the questions were census themed but they were so inquisitive and well thought out that it made me feel really sorry for them. Maxwell wants to be an engineer and Dorothy wants to be a nurse and they have so much enthiusiasm I really hope they are able to achieve all of their dreams. We spent some time compareing our countries and I gave them some photos of my hometown before we had to leave.

Old classroom at the school

Old classroom at the school

Me, Maxwell and Dorothy

Me, Maxwell and Dorothy

New Classroom at Ngumo

New Classroom at Ngumo

Me painting at Ngumo

Me painting at Ngumo

The others

The others

I had a good signal on my mobile phone so decided to call home at this point while the others played football when, to my surprise, I saw a tornado going along the valley floor. It was only small and wouldn’t have caused any damage but seeing one was on my travel bucket list so it saves me a trip to Tornado Alley.

I’m not much of a sports person but I decided to join in with the football game while lunch was prepared s I wasn’t ready to finish interacting yet. Lunch consisted of mainly sandwiches but it filled a gap and was quick as it was soon time to drive back down the hill and head the town of Eldoret. On the way the scenery changed from dry to a lush rainforest-like area with thatched huts instead of corrugated iron and we also passed into the northern hemisphere.

Oscar and scenery

Oscar and scenery

A view towards Gilgil

A view towards Gilgil

A tornado outside Gilgil

A tornado outside Gilgil

Change of scenery

Change of scenery

In Eldoret we’re staying at the Naiberi Overland Stop and it seems really really nice although it was already almost dark by the time we arrived. We just enough time to set up the tents, refresh ourselves and relax in the bar for a few minutes before dinner. Dinner tonight was a group Indian meal, as the owners are Indian, and it was really nice. During the meal the owner let his dogs out into the building but even though they were really friendly there were 13 of them so they did get in the way occasionally.

Indian Food at Eldoret

Indian Food at Eldoret

Who let the dogs out?

Who let the dogs out?

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Africa Day 3 – Nakuru

August 23rd, 2009 No comments

I got up early today and got ready before going down for breakfast at 630. It was a really nice buffet breakfast with pretty much anything you could want including sausages, weird potato things, fruit, cereal and also a chef that would cook eggs or omelette for you.

After getting my bags from the room we checked out and headed to the truck for about 7am. We loaded the bags into the truck as Den arrived with shopping and started chatting to each other. Our truck is called Oscar and has an African God statue called a Tokoloshe on the front of it – I can see it causing many laughs over the next few weeks.

Traffic through Nairobi was pretty bad, but got better as we started making our way out of the city. The scenery changed from city, to outskirts, to slums, to little stalls selling things at the side of the road and soon after to lovely countryside. We also passed several police check points at regular intervals with vicious looking spike strips which would destroy any car that drove over them.

Stalls near Nairobi

Stalls near Nairobi

Spike Strips

Spike Strips

We drove past Hells Gate National Park before arriving at the town of Nakuru where we spent a while shopping for souvenirs, getting money from the cash point etc. It was a nice town but while getting into the truck this guy tried to sell me a hat and nothing I said would make him back down. He started at $30 and came down to $5 but I still didn’t want it as I have a good hat – I showed it to him and he tried to just swap but I said no and he worked out I wasn’t interested. People that won’t take no for an answer tend to frustrate me but they’re all part of the African shopping experience.

Scenery on the way to Nakuru

Scenery on the way to Nakuru

Zebra

Zebra

Nakuru Town

Nakuru Town

After Nakuru we drove to Lake Nakuru NP and went for a short game drive to Baboon Cliffs where we had lunch overlooking the lake – seeing Zebra, Flamingo, Rhino, Baboon, Warthog, Rock Dassie and many more animals on the way. While at the cliffs a baboon stole some food from somebody and ate it on the edge of the cliff, which seems quite normal for them, although it was surreal to see it sitting down eating a sandwich.

Warthog at Nakuru

Warthog at Nakuru

Impala at Nakuru

Impala at Nakuru

Nakuru NP

Nakuru NP

Me at Baboon Cliffs

Me at Baboon Cliffs

Rock Dassie at Nakuru NP

Rock Dassie at Nakuru NP

Baboon stealing food at Nakuru NP

Baboon stealing food at Nakuru NP

After lunch we had another short time game driving but it was soon time to head on to the camp site. The camp was a bush camp in the park itself and Amanda said that last time she was in the park they stayed at the same place and a Lion killed and ate an animal right behind their tent. This made us all nervous but we all relaxed after tasting Dens cooking for the first time – steak, chicken and salad. LOVELY FOOD!!

Rhino at Nakuru NP

Rhino at Nakuru NP

Setting up camp

Setting up camp

Camp at Nakuru

Camp at Nakuru

Dens dinner was legendary

Dens dinner was legendary

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Africa is all booked again

May 26th, 2009 No comments

I’m pleased to announce, now that I’ve added a full blog of my first ever overland Africa trip, that my next one is now fully booked – Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda with Dragoman!

I’ll be flying out to Nairobi in the last half of August, staying there for the night before heading out through Kenya, into Uganda and finally to Rwanda to see the rare Mountain Gorillas. Then we’ll be making our way back through Uganda to Kenya again where I’ll have one final night in Nairobi before flying back to the UK.

Highlights of the trip will include

  • Nairobi, Kenya
  • Lake Nakaru
  • Eldoret, Kenya
  • Kampala, Uganda
  • Jinja / Lake Victoria
  • Queen Elizabeth National  Park
  • Trekking with Chimps in the Kibale Forest
  • Lake Bunyoni
  • Lake Mburo
  • Kigali, Rwanda
  • Rwandan Genocide Memoria
  • Trekking with Mountain Gorillas near Ruhengeri, Rwanda

There’s no point going into too much detail as I don’t know everything that will be going on just yet – and being Africa things will change quite a lot. I thought I’d post it now that everything including any extras have all been booked, so that you can access the RSS feed of this category to subscribe should you wish to. I’ve given this trip it’s own category as I’ll be out of the country for 18 days and will have lots of things to talk about so it’s probably a good idea to separate things 🙂

I’m getting really excited about this. I love Africa and had a great time in Namibia when I was there in 2002. I don’t know why but I’ve always wanted to visit Rwanda and in a few months I’ll get my chance :). Expect a full report from me when I get back, maybe quick updates from me when I’m out there if I get net connection.

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