Where were we?

If you’ve been reading the Kenya posts and wondering where on earth all these events took place, ponder no longer. Each time we arrived in a new location, I used my trusty iPhone to take GPS coordinates of our position. Using Google Earth, I was then able to plot all of our stops and create maps showing how much ground we covered in two weeks.

Here you can see how far we traveled in the nearly nine-hour plane journey from the UK to Kenya. The journey over the Mediterranean is usually pretty calm, but things can get a bit turbulent once we reach the Sahara. As you can see, we are over the desert for quite a long time, which gives us plenty of opportunity to encounter rough spots in the air. I’m not sure what the flight was like this year, since I was asleep during both legs of the journey!

This map gives a bit more perspective on where Kenya, and our destinations within the country, are located within Africa. Considering how hot and dry much of northeastern Africa is, Kenya is bordered by an impressive amount of water–Lake Turkana to the north, Lake Victoria to the southwest, the Mara River to the south, and the Indian Ocean to the east. Its neighboring countries are Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania. Over the past few years, we’ve concentrated our activities in the southwest, away from the political unrest in the eastern and northern parts of Kenya. Next year, though, we may change our itinerary, and stay more in the center of the country.

Before I made this map, I’d never actually looked at the distance between our campsite at Mount Kenya and our lodgings in the Mara. Now that I see how far apart they are, I can understand why it takes us a full day to get from one to the other. It’s amazing that the quickest route is through Nairobi, but that’s where the best roads are. The roads are also to blame for making the drive between Top Camp and the chameleon farm almost as long as the one between Top Camp and Lake Nakuru–despite the fact that the farm is much closer as the crow flies.

Finally, here is a close-up of all our lake destinations. Because these sites all cluster around Top Camp, I tend to think of them in terms of their relationship to our lodgings–whether they are reached by turning right or left out of the Top Camp driveway. It is interesting to see them on a map relative to the campsite and to each other. I had no idea that Lake Nakuru was to the north of Lake Naivasha; I always had the sense that we were driving east/west between these sites. Also, even though I knew that Crater Lake was near Naivasha (we could drive between the two in less than a half hour), I didn’t realize that you could potentially see the shoreline of Lake Naivasha if you stood on the rim of the crater and looked eastward.

I wish I’d thought to create and study these maps before our trip, thereby gaining a better sense of orientation while we were in Kenya. Better late than never, though–at least I will be prepared for next year’s trip!

Content by Dr. Caitlin Kight