THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY

We are on our way to Africa. Travelling to Africa requires a whole load of vaccinations – for Yellow fever, Typhoid, and Hepatitis. My friends at WildAid assure me that the risks are low where we’ll be going, but to know that all of these diseases that we never worry about at home, are still out there and a daily threat for some people, is an eye opener.

Yao Ming Relaxes in Style at Virgin Clubhouse in Heathrow Airport

Photo by Kristian Schmidt / WildAid

We battle the London traffic to Heathrow and then get to relax in the Virgin Clubhouse. Great atmosphere, really comfortable and I get to shower and eat some delicious English crab. My thanks to Virgin Atlantic as one of the sponsors of the documentary we’re making for a Chinese and international audience.

Yao Ming with Virgin Atlantic Crew Members in Heathrow

Photo by Kristian Schmidt / WildAid

I’ve worked with Sir Richard Branson on the shark fin campaign in Shanghai and he’s a keen supporter of conservation, as is Virgin Atlantic. It’s my first time with Virgin (there’s probably a joke in there somewhere), but the service is great and the flight goes by pretty quickly.

Yao Ming Relaxes on a Virgin Atlantic Flight

When we land in Nairobi, we head out-of-town straight away. The traffic here is really bad due to road construction everywhere. In the end, it’s easier to take a shortcut on a dirt road.  As we get out into the country, the landscape changes to coffee and maize fields, banana trees and agriculture. Apart from the red earth, which apparently is because of the iron content, it looks a bit like parts of Asia and other places I’ve been.

Yao Ming Drives Toward The Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Photo by Kristian Schmidt / WildAid

We head up through the highlands and in the distance we see Mt. Kenya. Suddenly the scenery changes to great grasslands and then we arrive at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. As we clear the gate and electric fence to keep the poachers out and the wildlife in, I know I have really arrived in Africa. The farms are gone and we are in a great open savannah. The bustle of the city, towns and villages seems far behind us. In the distance, I see a herd of elephants. As I start to walk towards them, I’m told we have to stay with the vehicle because this is “lion country”.

Yao Ming and Crew Pass Through "Lion Country"

Photo by Kristian Schmidt / WildAid

As I head back, a family of warthogs runs by with their tails in the air. We open up the roof and I can stretch out and enjoy the view.

Yao Ming Enjoys the View on the way to The Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Photo by Kristian Schmidt / WildAid

We’ve arrived….

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9 responses

  1. I so envy you Yao….I have always wanted to go there …just to see the animals in a place where they are truly living, not just existing as in a zoo.

    August 12, 2012 at 5:05 pm

  2. Said

    In Kenya wildlife is a our heritage, our national resource. kindly tell people in Asia the rhino horn and ivory is not what they think. our herbal medicines can do all they need.

    August 13, 2012 at 7:47 am

    • Said

      when you get time please visit Xinhua News Agency Africa Headquarter in Nairobi, Kenya.
      Welcome to Kenya and enjoy the natural beauty of Africa. Encourage others to visit our beautiful country.

      August 13, 2012 at 7:52 am

  3. Cynthia Ogembo

    Karibu sana…I’m sure you’ll enjoy the adventure…

    August 13, 2012 at 8:34 am

  4. Ricky Kioko

    I envy you and even more that am Kenyan and have never gone for a game drive although I lived in Kenya for 33 years ..am now more appreciative of the nature side of life .Karibu Kenya

    August 13, 2012 at 10:50 pm

  5. Pingback: Yao Ming visits Kenya Aimed At Protecting African Elephants, Rhinos

  6. Deborah Silverman

    Please keep using your voice to speak up for our planet and the lives of those sentient beings that do not have a voice to cry for help! And THANK YOU!

    August 24, 2012 at 8:07 am

  7. How did parts of Nairobi remind you of Asia and other places you have been to? And how did those parts of Nairobi compare to your perception of Kenya and Africa?

    October 22, 2012 at 6:46 pm

  8. Pingback: September 13: Back to Africa | Yao's Journey to Africa

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