After a long and anxious wait, i finally got to ride the SGR to and fro Mombasa. There had been many talks about the ride, the early arrival and check in processes, the long tiresome journey and many other assumptions that were running through my head before then. But the day finally arrived. I was lucky to get a window seat on the right side of the second coach. I was happy as i knew that side was facing the Nairobi National Park down towards hippo pools, Athi river town, Amboseli and Tsavo West National Parks
I decided to document the whole journey in images as that is the best way i know of how to tell a story. The journey started exactly as timed by eight o'clock and the amazing slow ride got us past Athi river station and out into the wilderness where man and animals were co-existing peacefully. Thomson Gazelles, Zebras, Giraffes could be seen near homes and no one seemed to mind as they went about their businesses. Athi River station was the first stop that we made to pick up some passengers and thereafter, on we went to Emali station for another stop. This time i was already armed with my Canon at hand
The shapes of the stations started coming to light. The magnificence of the buildings, the officers outside saluting as the train passed was on another level. Emali Station seemed not to have many passengers to be picked as we saw only one or two people alight that morning. Again we started off and along we went at good speeds that were being indicated on the upper front of the coaches. Sights to be hold where everywhere, infrastructure, culture, people, hills and wildlife
Along the lanes were monumental structures some of which seemed quite old and new ones emerging besides them. From schools to homes, churches to mosques and farm lands where all along the lane. The main road was on the right side and being a Monday there was not much traffic at this time of day. Only a few trucks and matatus could be seen on the road. Kibwezi station was the next stop and we arrived some minutes past ten o'clock
I think by being curious and looking outside for what different experiences there were, made me not to notice how fast time was moving. The many stories of how the journey was long and boring by this time did not make sense to me. I was very anxious to see the next place, the next sight, the next opportunity to snap fast. As Jason Lanier often says it " You only have one chance to get it right" and so i tried to make it count. And here it all came out to play, no set ups, no trials and only that one push of the button at the right time. The scenes outside were different from the every day scene in the office or in traffic. There was something new. Even Baobab trees seemed upside down :-) literally. Form Kibwezi, the next station was Mtito Andei by which the time was eleven O'clock
Busy trying to see what the station was like, i have no idea how long we stayed at Mtito Andei station. Unlike travelling in a bus, there was no getting out to buy meals. The coach had already provided tea or coffee for everyone and a restaurant was available for whatever anyone needed to bite. Did I mention they have a flush toilet that uses suction pressure and has many instructions to read for use? Found that hilarious by the way. The service was not five star as most would have expected but there is always room to accept things as they are without a hustle. And anyway, it was just for a few hours. So on we went from Mtito through man-eaters area in the Tsavo and further into the coastal region. Along the roads where some beautiful homes which seemed to be in the middle of no-where
After a long and gentle quiet ride through the wilderness, Mariakani station just appeared out of nowhere. I think by now we had already passed several stations that i did not even know their names though was glad to be approaching the city of Mombasa. The weather had changed and despite being on AC from the beginning of the journey, the outside was showing different signs. Palm trees where becoming plenty, the house constructions models, the way of life of a people showed signs of the coastal region. And after several bends we came out to a clearing that led out to the station of Mombasa terminus
No sooner had we arrived, everybody seemed to rush out like they were late already. Not sure why but the atmosphere was calling for ease and calmness. Down the escalators and out the from door we went to get our transport to the city. The amazing construction done along the SGR lanes is something to wonder about. Kenya is indeed beautiful and with technology it is leading the pack in East Africa. One kamba visionary (Syokimau) in the past saw a long snake that was carrying humans passing through the Ukambani area. Am not sure whether he saw it in such magnificence as the SGR has made it.