Spontaneous is always very very good. I had initially planned to use Simba Coach for this trip back to the village so while in town I decided to walk around. Mchagua nazi huishia kupata Koroma lakini ukiwa makini, utaishia na lulu. Simba KCG 888, Modern Coast Executive #1 and Dreamline KCA. I decided to call Harry, he is a captain at Dreamline to find out his timing. The rest is for another day though.
This bus was taunted to be amongst the big Kanyaris*. This is true. It has a big face. Well everything about this bus is big. By big I mean BIG. The cockpit is very big. Inatoshana na bedsitter za Ruaka. The driver is also big. You all know Harrison, yule jamaa wa ‘Halafu’ na ‘Saitann’ and currently ameingiliwa na ugonjwa wa ‘Mimi?’. The seats are Big and Kingly. With these you don’t need VIP since every seat is VIP. The legroom here would put to shame some of the top players on that route. The headroom is equally Big. On the outside, the bus has big boots and even though it’s not a Tri-axle its boot capacity is TecnoClass.
This Bus is also Big on entertainment. 32″ of display and speakers all around the bus. You can never go wrong with Taarab music. That was what was playing inside the bus outside their offices.
Harry was the first at the wheel and we left slightly late. By late I mean 10 minutes after the normal departure time which is 6:15pm. We had a pick up at Kangemi. I noticed the thin traffic all the way past Kabete, Uthiru and beyond. Onboard refreshments were passed around and pax were prepared for border crossing. This bus was headed for Kampala and to avoid delays at the border, its a practice to fill out border crossing documents during the journey. Let me introduce the polite crew, there is Simiyu (Flight Manager) and Co and the funny Co-pilot Borre.
There were too many trucks on the great wall, you couldn’t overtake. Slowly we picked pace after the bypass then more trucks, all snail paced. Trucks cleared just after finishing the dual carriageway and onto Limuru. Kanyari ikafunguka. It was hard to tell who had gone ahead already. Predictably Simba was ahead and so was almost all the early departures to Kampala. Simiyu told me that they fear Simba only. Buscar wanailamba kama Ilara 😉 ;-). We managed to overtake several vehicles and we gained pace.
The legroom here is to die for. The front seat was fully reclined and I still had room to sit upright, eyes on the road. Harry loves hooting unaeza dhani uko Parklands. Those who stay there are the only people I know of who like to hoot, unnecessarily.
8:13pm and we were approaching Naivasha. The road was clear and the F310 was pulling in a nice way. All around guys were relaxed seemingly enjoying the ride. The music had switched to UTAKE, I guess since the pax were diverse. Harry had warned me that he hardly stops on the way so we had supper before take off. Him what appeared to be beef and I played safe with greens and Ugali fulani soft, I had no trouble knowing the cook was from the outskirts of Nairobi where water is a spice. Harry na kuhoot msee, wueeh!
8:55pm and somewhere near St Marys Harry hooted a couple of times. This time it was with a purpose. He was saying Hi to the Kisumu P360 aka Goldface aka The Most Beautiful P360 in Kenya aka ‘Irresistible Dreams’. The Kanyari can pull, the acceleration steady and even. Harry knows his limitations with the gears so where need be he seemed to override on certain gears to achieve certain speed and perform some functions like overtaking. This partnered with Impeccable timing saw us get to Nakuru with a few easy sprints. So far not a single PSV or HCV had shown us its tail.
9:19pm. That’s the time we entered Nakuru. We met with Modern from Kisumu as it exited for Nairobi then Mombasa. We briefly stopped across the road from Falcon to pick a passenger. True to Harry’s words, his bus doesn’t have a stop over in Nakuru unless need be. More hoots later and we were well on our way to Kampala. We stopped for a couple of minutes at RIVA to allow us guys offload the refreshments we had partaken on the first leg of the journey. 9:40pm and the second leg was underway.
The crew seemed to speak one language and that was a good thing. They even made a joke about a passenger who was almost being left ‘Eti fungulia abiria huyu ameacha gari bana’. We all burst out laughing. Mgenge for you. This bus is comfortable. I had not reclined my seat and my foot support too was still down and I was feeling okay.
10:01pm we had to stop at Salgaa to the inspector to look at the manifest see how the bus was. He was thorough, asking pointing questions and it was quite impressive. The exercise lasted for a record 4 minutes.
I had expected a fiery hill climb at Shanchangwan but was disappointed. Perhaps such steepness is best left for the P410 and the P360. Not that the bus was having a hard time. It wasn’t having an easy time either. Apparently his choices were to downshift, climb at a higher speed at higher revs with increased consumption, he chose to go average and hard. Towards the top there was change though. The swii was audible and the bushes moved in the opposite direction faster than before. Somewhere along the way a GK plated Hino 500 widow maker just came from nowhere and zoomed past us. We honestly had problems catching up until we branched off at Mau Summit.
Light rains all the way to Londiani and the wipers seemed to have a mind of their own but at least they were working. We had settled for roots reggae with the screen off and the music faded to the front speakers. The charging system had developed a minor hitch and was off. The Kanyari was now doing what it does best on small hills and flat terrains, flying low. Omata beeps were occasional.
11:09pm and we were 13kms away from Kericho. There was fog on the road. Keyboard drivers wouldn’t have known what to do. Inasmuch as he does hoot a lot, he is not one. Dim your lights and stick to your lane. The small beacons are there and we had no trouble sticking to our lane until the fog lessened and eventuality ended. 11:23pm and we were in Kericho. From the look of things we had lost a lot of time already. This was the opinion of the frequent users of this bus.
Kapsoit and the slopes there after. The Kanyari baritones grew louder as we descended and so did the hisses from the Freno. By now the crew had moved to the front area and you could hear the jokes, the laughter, the music as well as the swiii. Ati Harry alikuwa muimbaji lakini alishinda kucomplain juu ya guitar, mara drums. He hee. There was this sweet sickly smell and it was attributed to new front linings that had been fixed that morning.
12:23am a single drop at Ahero. The beastliness of the F310 was evident from Muhoroni junction all the way to Ahero, Rabuor to Nyamasaria with very little time gaps. It was raining hard after Ahero into Kisumu. The road is marked with gaps but its quite wide enough even for those that have trouble driving at night.
12:42am and we were cruising through Kisumu hot on the heels of a Simba that has been sighted ahead. The bus was on fire. 2 drops at Kamas and at 12:45am the bus was out of the city past Kicomi and its really raining. 2 more drops outside the Kisumu Airport and off we went into the night. The rain was still coming down hard.
I was dropped off in the pouring rain and into the dark night at 12:59am. A few pleasantries and journey mercies to the crew.
My Ratings would be as follows :
Entertainment : 10/10 Big Screen, Big speakers, big DJ.
Timekeeping : 7/10 (tulichelewa kutoka)
Speed : 9/10 Omata Compliant
Legroom : 10/10 every seat is VIP
Accessories (wi-fi&Charging) : 7/10 failed after Nakuru.
Crew : 10/10 Friendly to each other and to pax.
Ride Comfort : 9/10 was on Seat 6 so not entirely sure about the back.
Special Category – Hooting : 11/10