Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Never going back.

Have you been to the Maasai Ostrich Farm in Kitengela of late? No? Good. Don't go. Ever! The Namanga Road is bad enough in the daytime - narrow and, on a Sunday, chock-full of "learner" drivers making life miserable for those anxious to sink their teeth into juicy morsels of nyama choma at the Farm. But the Namanga Road is a paradise once you get to the turn-off.

All the way past the Saitoti Farm entrance, the even narrower road is not that bad - provided no Canter is coming from the opposite direction. But once you get to the sign-board that says, "Maasai Ostrich Farm 1 km", don't trust sit one bit. It is NOT one kilometre but fifteen and if you happen to be a happy customer of Toyotsu or whoever that guy near the Nyayo Stadium is and are in possession of a Japanese three-box saloon, turn back and never ever contemplate that outing again. Ever.

The road is not really a road so much as an obstacle course of the Stony Athi crowd and their four-wheelers with thirty six inches of suspension travel. I once drove from Isiolo to Marsabit. It was a bad road. We even lost a tough-as-nails Pajero on that safari. It took us seven hours to get to Marsabit. My bosses were freaking out because I didn't think we needed the GSU escort if we left right after breakfast. That safari was way better than the thirty minutes I spent navigating the surface of the moon that is the murrum road to the Ostrich Farm. It is horrible.

Once you get there, after having choked down half a tonne of dust, and you Japanese jalopy having almost given up the ghost because of the jiggling it has been uncharacteristically compelled to undergo, you would expect a smile, a welcome juice and a hot towel. But no! All they want to know is whether you have a reservation (we didn't) and whether you have been there before (we have). They weren't apologetic about their stupidly bad road. And they couldn't care less that we were the incarnation of those "natives" in the live-action movie version of H. Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines (starring Richard Chamberlain and Sharon Stone).

Once you locate a place to sit, the waiting begins. By my watch, it took them a whole half-hour to notice that we hadn't been served. It took them another half hour to bring our our drinks and a half hour more before our meat arrived. If it wasn't for the amusement provided by the Chairman and his I-am-one-year-old curiosity, I don't think we would have stayed a second more. The food almost made up for the service and the off-roading. Almost. The flies just ruined it all.

They were everywhere. Not the kinds of flies you see in Nairobi, but the big, buzzing ones you only see in shags and only near the workmen's pit latrine. Put us all off our appetites. Even the Chairman and he isn't old enough to be disgusted by anything yet! The worst part was that Maasai ostrich Farm doesn't seem to have adequate water. It definitely doesn't have enough toilets. I am never going back. It was once a nice place. Now it is a nightmare. I'd rather travel through the Republic of Rongai to Ol'Tepesi or Ole Polos. The service over there is miles better. And you only off-road for a couple hundred metres.

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