The term seems easy to grasp, right? Traveling over land. There’s a little more too it. I’ll be honest that I didn’t really do my research when I booked a trip with Dragoman, but they had an itinerary I liked and I booked it. It turns out that it’s a pretty… hands on adventure.

You spend most of your time on the truck. Yes – “It’s not a bus, it’s a truck.” And it really is a truck (even though I called it a bus every 5 minutes and was constantly scolded for it). It sounds and looks like a truck. It has wheels like a truck. It drives like a truck, and this is all because it’s a truck. This truck carries all of our tents, luggage, food, and camping supplies for up to 24 people. Wow. I’m with a small group, so the inside is really spacious and just made for us to lounge around. We basically travel from place to place and when we get there, buy our own food at the local markets, then cook that food ourselves at the campsite. I’m obviously comfortable doing all of this (I just climbed a mountain people!) but to say this not what my usual trip looks like is an understatement.

It’s a lot of fun, but a lot of work. Cooking for 10 takes a long time when it’s your turn, especially because I don’t really cook. Fortunately, my cook team partner is a great chef (Thanks Krishna!) and we are consistently making the most delicious meals of the group.

A hippo walked into our camp at Lake Naivasha! A HIPPO! I single-handedly ran up to take a picture and scared him away. Oops.

Our first night overlanding took us to Lake Naivasha. Everyone else went on an uneventful boat ride through the park, but I was still sorting out my Ethiopian visa. I met up with them at the Elsamere Conservation Center just in time for tea and cakes! Woohoo! We learned a lot about George and Joy Adamson, two expats who raised a lioness named Elsa and successfully released her into the wild. Elsa is a local legend and her named and likeness is everywhere.

After another cold night in a tent, my new idea of a standard night of sleep, we woke up the next morning and made our way to Nakuru. Nakuru is the fourth largest city in Kenya, which is to say it’s kind of small. We quickly did our local shopping and drove on to the campsite. That afternoon we visited a local women’s knitting project that really seemed to impact the community and I bought a warm hat to combat the cold. It was our night to cook and Krishna and I cooked Indian. Since I had just taken a cooking class in India and she was, well, Indian, it was quite tasty.

The next day we went to the local Nakuru National Park that surrounds Lake Nakuru.  We did another game drive and were incredibly successful! This park is famous for its flamingos, but it had been raining too much for them. However, we did see lots of animals that I hadn’t seen yet: tree-climbing lions, white rhinos, Rothschild giraffes and tons of buffalo, zebras, water birds, and baboons who almost attacked me for my sandwich. We spent the afternoon lazing at the local lodge before returning to the campsite and getting ready for the next day’s adventure.

We spent about twenty minutes looking for the tree-climbing lions. They were too far in the distance for my dinky little zoom, but we also spent those same twenty minutes looking at a lizard that turned out to be a tree branch. I felt… observant.

The elusive white rhino.

In a month and a half I’ve forgotten the name of this bird. Paul?

We went to a “picnic site” called Baboon Cliff and when I brought out my lunch, BECAUSE IT WAS A DESIGNATED PICNIC SPOT, I was ruthlessly ATTACKED BY A BABOON! BECAUSE IT IS CALLED BABOON CLIFF! Fucking bastards.

Distant Rothschild Giraffe.

At Lake Naivasha we briefly visited a workshop where local women would be given supplies and paid to knit stuffed animals and clothes for sale. This octopus is possibly the cutest thing to ever be knit. Why is an octopus wearing a scarf?!?