01 02 03 Africa Expat Wives Club: Naivasha sailing 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Naivasha sailing


We've had a couple of very nice sailing days for the kids at Naivasha Yacht Club. They are allowed to come along as part of a 'cadets' training day with children from other schools, but it is in fact fun for all the family. Picnics and getting out onto the water. We even camped once - made all the more do-able because of flushing loos and hot showers 'on tap' as it were.

Low or non existent winds at the moment make it a fairly gentle introduction to sailing, though Naivasha is known for its flukey weather. My eldest daughter loves to recline in a borrowed 'Opi' or Optimist and allow a more intrepid member of her pier group do all the steering. I would be cross about this if it wasn't for the fact that I am exactly like her and only recently was 'in the same boat' while doing a laser sailing course down in Dar es Salaam. My friend who was also the instructor would say 'why don't you take over?' and offer me the tiller. I would reply,

'It's OK really, I am absolutely fine'

then would sit on the prow and dangle my feet in the Indian Ocean - in heaven.

However, there is one proverbial 'cloud on the horizon' at Naivasha that makes us expat parents slightly uncomfortable and that is the presence of hippos.

'They don't normally come right up to the slipway do they?' one mum asks

'Well, actually they do sometimes' replies an old hand.

The conversation goes on as we watch our young precious offspring splashing about up to their waists at the edge of the water. It seems so mean to tell them not to go in - and it's hot.

'and what about Bilharzia? There isn't any in this lake is there, only in Victoria isn't it?'

'Well, it hasn't been proved to be a problem here, but there are rumours that you can get 'the Old Bill' in Naivasha when the water levels are low.


We mums look out over the water, then over the dry yellow grass and fall into silence. We know that there is a drought on.

We consoled ourselves that the hippo would be frightened off by our noisy children, that is, until the children return from their afternoon session.

'Well, we all jumped off the boats for a swim because we were so hot, but while we were swimming we saw a hippo. It went under the water for a while, but when it came up again it was CLOSER!'

It's always the same old problem with living in Africa - it's wonderful.... but risky and invariably stretches your comfort zone.

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