What you need to know:
- Safari Rally enthusiasts from all over the world started streaming in as early as two weeks ago
- We were lucky enough to get our accommodation at the Naivasha West Beach Camp next to Lake Oloiden which offers permanent tented camps
This weekend, all roads lead to Naivasha and its environs for the long anticipated World Rally Championship (safari rally) which is making a comeback after 19 years. The rally is not the only thing that is making a comeback as rally driver Sobieslaw Zasada’s is also doing the same. The 91-year-old Polish driver is the oldest competitor to start a world rally championship in history. How can anybody not want to see this in real life? It is history in the making.
The World Rally Championship event had its shakedown on Wednesday afternoon near Loldia Airstrip and is running all through the weekend until Sunday where the winners will be awarded at Hell’s Gate National Park. The event is contesting over 18 special stages and covering 320 kilometers. The Safari rally was officiated in Nairobi on Thursday where competitors had a flag-off ceremony at Kenyatta International Conference Centre and then drove to the Super Special Stage at Kasarani Stadium to begin the competition via the Nairobi - Nakuru highway. As the event attracts a lot of spectators, they set up fans stages at Loldia, Kasarani, Kedong (Chui Lodge), Soysambu, Sleeping Warrior Hills and Hell’s Gate near the iconic Fischer’s Tower.
Safari Rally enthusiasts from all over the world started streaming in as early as two weeks ago to attend this event that identifies Kenya as a top tourist destination and a great sporting nation. At least Kenya will be known for more than just Maasai Mara, the beaches and marathon runners. The safari rally has been the trending topic on all social media platforms and has attracted a lot of interest among Kenyans who are eager to attend the event. It is a perfect getaway road trip for the weekend too. Subaru guys – “the you guy my guy type” have not been having it easy on the social media streets as they have become the trending topic right beside the safari rally. I was even afraid of travelling with my Subaru-owning friend lest I be rumoured to be his side chick drinking cider in the back seat and fake-laughing to his dry jokes— hehe. I didn’t want to be trending on the social media streets. These streets are not kind at all.
If you are not already in Naivasha by today, there is no need to try as all hotels are fully booked and the remaining camp sites are crowded. Also, there has been a temporary closure of certain public roads like Kikopey - Elementaita Village road which was closed yesterday from 2pm and will open today in the evening at 6pm. The Nairobi – Mai Mahiu – Naivasha highway will also be closed from today midnight until 7pm tomorrow. So unless you are flying, I do not know how you will get in or out of here. The roads are impenetrable! I actually don’t know how we will travel back to Nairobi tomorrow considering the curfew and that the roads will open after 7pm. But that is a problem for another day.
We were lucky enough to get our accommodation at the Naivasha West Beach Camp next to Lake Oloiden which offers permanent tented camps for all budgets and large grounds for setting up your own tents. The place has a swimming pool and is near all the tourist attraction sites like Hippo Sanctuary, Lake Naivasha National Park, Hell’s Gate, Longonot National Park and Elsamere Conservancy.
Today, the rally will start at Elementaita’s Delamere Estate through Soysambu Conservancy and Sleeping Warrior Hills which will cover 132 kilometers making it the longest leg of the weekend. The spectators’ stage will be at Soysambu and the cars will pass by at around 9am and 3pm. This gives us enough time to explore Naivasha this afternoon and have a boat ride at the Lake, visit the Hippo Sanctuary and Crescent Island to see the giraffes and finish up with the WRC after party at Lake Elementaita Villa’s grounds. Other places worth checking out include Lake Nakuru National Park, Olkaria Geothermal Spa, Enashipai Maa Museum, Lord Egerton Castle, GTRV circuit in Mai Mahiu for GP Karting, and don’t forget to eat your Nyama choma at Kikopey.
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