Chasing FTFs In Nairobi


Team Elliot Family on location in Nairobi

[notice]GUEST POST: ┬áNew Zealand cacher Team Elliot Family recently visited Nairobi and provided us with this great tail of chasing a FTF there… [/notice]

Since 2010 there has been one lonely name on the list of countries we’ve cached in ‘New Zealand’. That in itself isn’t a bad thing, caching in New Zealand is great. There are no snakes, no poisonous spiders, no terrifying wild animals which can tear you limb from limb, and an abundance of untamed places caches can be deposited. Even so, for some time now I’ve wanted to try and add a companion for that solo parent which gave birth to our love of caching.

But who would that companion be? I couldn’t see any real likelihood of travelling anywhere internationally unless it was for work, and in my line of work you can’t usually wander off caching (the armed forces can be a real pain like that, something about risk and security). Then an unexpected invitation to a conference in Nairobi, Kenya came and the chance to log some international caches was finally here.

After planning my flight route (Christchurch, Sydney, Bangkok, Dubai, Nairobi) I did a bit of research and came up with two possibilities in Dubai GC3ACAK and GC2W3Y0. Actually, cumbyrocks did all the hard work for GC2W3Y0 I am a complete loss when it comes to algebra.

I endured the 20 hours it took to get to Dubai knowing that soon I’d have my first international geocache in hand….. Alas, my hopes were dashed. The meanies at Dubai wouldn’t let me out of the terminal, and I sat the sad and alone with two caches only 750m away!

This was a bit of a setback, but I still had the best cache on my list to look forward to. GC4M589 The Lunatic Line by SawaSawa was the dream cache for me on this trip. This cache ticked all the boxes for being a once in a lifetime cache: it had a physical container, was in a foreign nation, incorporated some history, both difficulty and terrain two or higher and the Holy Grail of the caching world it was still was unfound. In this one cache I had the chance to create a truly memorable caching experience, but would I get the chance to have a crack at finding it?

TEF's host Jonathan

TEF’s host Jonathan

My programme for Nairobi was always going to be jam packed, plus I’d be relying on others for transport I and out of the city from where I was staying in Ngomo. On Saturday it sounded like we’d be going to the museum, but it never quite happened. Jonathan my host was keen to see it happen on Sunday, my last day with his family. After Church we hit the highway for town, and we were officially on the hunt!

Once at the Museum I was in a bit of a flap, but my trusty notebook had all the essential info I needed to find the answers to solve this nine waypoint multi. I was a bit lost looking for the first answer, it was inside the ticket office but there was a plethora of information on hundreds of exhibits…. I just needed to find two of them!

After getting the first one I started to gain confidence, and quickly had the second answer in hand. Before heading off to find number three I couldn’t help myself and quickly nestled my buttocks onto a chair used by Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth the Second on the Royal Train in Kenya.

TEF4The rest of the answers came easily. We clambered up into cabs and counted wheels and spokes. We explored old carriages, first and third class, even one in which a foolish railways officer secured his own demise by attempting to lure out a man eating lion by leaving al the windows and doors open to allow his scent to draw the lion in while he waited with his rifle loaded. Sleep caught up with him, and the lion jumped in and tore out his throat. They did a good job of cleaning up the carriage, no blood stains to be seen!

After making our way around the nine waypoints I did the quick bit of mathematics required to get that beautiful string of coordinates, that hopefully would take me towards a serious INATN moment. The indicated GZ looked good to me, so off we set to see if my train had come in.

Jonathan with the cache!

Jonathan with the cache!

A quick search and BOOM the cache was in hand and I was anxiously fumbling with the log book, trying to get it open so that I could see whether those FTF dreams were realised. The snaplock bag looked pretty clean, but what would he log book reveal? It was still unfound, I had a FTF and I was hooting like a steam train.

After signing the log I handed it to Jonathan to scribble his name in there too, hen ‘dipped’ all of the GCs and TBs I had along for the journey. I let behind some NZ currency, and a small trinket and took a beaded Zebra key ring away with me.

This cache delivered everything the game is about – a great time outdoors, new learning, a great time with a friend and the anticipation of a find that kept me excited from half a world away!


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  1. Guwapo's Papa

    The link between the cache name and the cache finder is truly uncanny!!

  2. washknight

    A fantastic adventure and a truly rewarding FTF for sure. Well done!

  3. Aussie Liahona

    I’ve just read the adventure of Team Elliott Family’s FTF of the cache in Nairobi. How exciting it would have been and how great it was to read the well told story. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Rich LLoyd (@RichLLoyd)

    great write up, I found the same cache today.

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