No announcement yet.

Traveling in 1961 from Hawaii to Kenya and then back to Seattle was relatively easy!

This topic is closed.
This is a sticky topic.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Traveling in 1961 from Hawaii to Kenya and then back to Seattle was relatively easy!

    It was relatively easy traveling in 1961 via ocean liner from Honolulu, Hawaii to Mombasa, Kenya.

    The trip back to the U.S.A could easily have been made first via either air or ship from Mombasa to London and then by air to Vancouver, Canada, and finally via ground transportation to Seattle, Washington!

    {A} - Speculation concerning Ann Dunham’s possible sea voyage from Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, to Mombasa, Kenya in the Spring of 1961.

    Honolulu to Mombasa, Kenya

    It seems probable that Ann, 18 years old and about 4 or 5 months pregnant, traveled via one of the passenger ship itineraries indicated on the timetable linked below. I believe it is likely that she traveled alone.

    Worldwide 1962 Ocean Liner Sailing Schedules -- British India Line

    For example, assuming the sailing schedule was similar in 1961, she could have taken the voyage: -- Line 42, Around the World, Westbound via the Orient & South Africa,1962. On the leg from Hawaii to Kenya, it utilized the American President Lines, Messageries Maritimes, and the British India Line.

    Alternatively, she could possibly have taken either of the following two voyages:

    • Line 62, Leave Honolulu: April 1st, Arrive Mombasa: May 25th
    • Line 101, Leave Honolulu: June 7th, Arrive Mombasa: July 25th (not likely, IMO)

    Travel Details, Line 42, as One Possible Itinerary:

    Depart from Honolulu, USA, March 7, with stops at Yokohama, Hong Kong, Saigon, Singapore, Colombo, Bombay, Seychelles, and arrive at Mombasa, Kenya, April 25.

    Thus, the minimum total trip time from Honolulu to Mombasa was slightly over 7 weeks. However, I presume passengers could arrange to make extended tourist stops at cities along the route, board the next ship traveling the same route and belonging to the same shipping line which stopped at that city, and then continue the journey. It probably would have been especially easy to arrange extended stopovers along the way in either Yokohama or Bombay, since these stops involved changes in shipping lines. We don't know how long it actually took Ann to travel via ocean liner from Hawaii to Kenya.

    American President’s Line:

    Video: S.S. Lurline - Matson Liner sailing from Honolulu - from

    Uploaded 3/26/2009 by ‘TheWhiteShips

    "A home movie of the SS Lurline on Boat Day in Honolulu. Taken in the early 1960s, this scene was a regular occurrence in Honolulu during the golden era of steamship travel (1927-1978). Each week, Matson's grand white passenger ships arrived from California or the South Seas, and later continued on their voyage across the Pacific...."

    {B} - Speculation concerning the trip from Mombasa to London in August 1961

    POSSIBLE SCENARIO #1 - Take TRAIN from Mombasa to Nairobi, Kenya and then take PLANE and fly to London

    - Speculation regarding the possible airline flight by Ann Dunham with her new baby boy, BHO-II, in mid to late August 1961 from Nairobi to London.

    There are credible but unconfirmed reports that a Christian Missionary may have accompanied Ann and BHO-II during her travels.

    Image of the BOAC World air routes, published April 24, 1960:

    Nairobi, Kenya to London

    Based on the April 24, 1960 BOAC schedule (Section: Britain – East & Central Africa) linked below, it is possible, for example, that Ann and BHO-II, after his birth at the Coast Province General Hospital in Mombasa, could have taken BOAC Flight BA116 (Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday) on a 'de Havilland Comet 4 Jet Aircraft', which departed Nairobi at 3:35 (GMT+3), made stops only in Khartoum and Rome, and arrived in London at 14.15 (GMT+1). The total flight time for this option was just slightly under 13 hours. A breakfast and a main meal were served on the flight. Comet 4 Flight BA122 (Wednesday), another possibility, had the same flight time of slightly under 13 hours.

    Video: An East African Comet 4 Aircraft Lands at Embakasi Airport in 1963:

    Uploaded 3/24/2009 by 'rafflesnh'

    Video: BOAC Cabin Crew VC10 Advertisement 1960s/70s

    Uploaded 3/12/2010 by 'koksy'

    The ad shown in the video linked below was probably produced in about 1964 when the new BOAC VC10 aircraft was first introduced into the fleet serving Kenya and other locations in Africa. Ann and BHO-II would not have traveled in this aircraft but I think the film does give a good picture of the high level of customer service provided by the BOAC flight crews in the 1960’s. Note the stewardess handling the baby bottle at about the 0.10 mark and then interacting with the new mother and her child at about the 0.32 mark.

    The page linked below shows historical images of the Nairobi Embakasi Airport:

    POSSIBLE SCENARIO #2 (My Preferred Scenario) - Take SHIP and sail from Mombasa to London.

    Mombasa, Kenya to London

    This scenario is identical to Scenario #1 above except it substitutes the unconfirmed but VERY CREDIBLE report (Mark Seidenberg) that Ann Dunham and her newborn child took the British India Lines, S.S. Uganda from Mombasa to London Docklands rather than making the trip to London by air.

    The trip from Mombasa to London via the S.S. Uganda would have taken about 3 weeks. -

    Thus, if Ann and BHO-II boarded the ship on about August 9th, they would have arrived in London Docklands about September 1st. Flying all the way from Kenya to London and then on to Vancouver would have been the FASTEST way to make the trip. However, I believe Ann arrived in Mombasa by SHIP in the Spring of 1961 and it seems natural that she would leave Mombasa by SHIP in August after the birth of her child. Also, it seems likely that Ann had a previous BAD EXPERIENCE trying to fly out from the Nairobi airport prior to having her baby, when she was in an advanced stage of pregnancy and was apparently refused permission to travel by air. Also, I suspect that Ann, after all the tension and the birth of her child, likely wanted to "get the hell out of Kenya" as soon as possible but was not anxious to assume the chores of taking care of a new baby in some small apartment in Seattle. Boarding a ship in Mombasa and taking a sea voyage for about 3 weeks would probably be the easiest way to get this accomplished, provided an early ship departure date to London was available.

    {C} - Speculation concerning the trip from London to Vancouver, Canada

    Based on the April 24, 1960 BOAC schedule (Section: Europe - Britain - Ireland - Canada - USA) linked below, it is possible, for example, that Ann and BHO-II took Trans Canada Flight TC541 (Wednesday) in August 1961 on a Lockheed ‘Super Constellation’ which departed London (North Side) at 17.00 (GMT +1), made stops in Glasgow, Scotland, Winnipeg, Canada, and arrived in Vancouver at 7.40 (GMT -7) on Thursday morning. Thus, the total flight time for the trip was just slightly under 23 hours.

    Video: Lockheed L-1049 Breitling Super Constellation Sion Airshow HD:

    Uploaded 9/24/2011 by 'valoutnet'

    {D} - Speculation concerning the trip from Vancouver to Seattle

    (3) - Ann and BHO-II then traveled the approximate 141 miles via ground transportation from Vancouver to Seattle, Washington, where Ann started night school extension courses at the University of Washington for the Fall 1961 Semester. -- (

    Updated: 5/6/2015
    Last edited by bsteadman; 05-08-2012, 12:43 AM.
    B. Steadman

  • #2
    Newborn Babies ARE allowed to fly on major airlines, when accompanied by a responsible adult!

    According to the information given at the following ‘British Airways’ link, under the caption, “Making a booking for your infant or child” – it simply states:

    “Infants: 0 – 23 months ...You must always have a ticket for your infant’s journey.”

    British Airways (BA) was created in 1974, when the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) and British European Airways Corporation (BEA) were combined.

    I have not been able to locate any information specific to BOAC or any other airline regarding travel restrictions on newborn babies in the 1960s. I assume there were NO RESTRICTIONS on BOAC then, just as there are none today on BA. This makes sense and I can’t think of any reason why newborn children should not be allowed to fly, when accompanied by a responsible adult.

    There are now, of course, as I am sure there also were back in the 1960s, restrictions on women flying during the advanced stages of PREGNANCY for obvious reasons.

    Pregnancy - Current British Airways Restrictions

    "For uncomplicated single pregnancies, we restrict travel beyond the end of the 36th week, and for twins, triplets etc., beyond the end of the 32nd week. After your pregnancy has entered its 28th week, we ask that you carry with you a letter from your doctor or midwife, stating the pregnancy is uncomplicated and confirming the expected date of delivery. In this letter, your doctor should state that you are in good health, that they are happy for you to fly, and that (in their opinion) there is no reason why you cannot fly."
    Last edited by bsteadman; 07-10-2012, 12:59 PM.
    B. Steadman


    • #3
      It only took about 36 hours for Frank Sinatra to fly from Kenya to Hollywood, California in 1952 while in the process of filming the movie 'Mogambo'

      Note that the referenced year is 1952, nine years prior to the birth of Obama on August 4, 1961 in Mombasa, Kenya.

      Click on the following link to view a screen shot image:

      ‘Donald’s Encyclopedia of Popular Music’

      'All or Nothing at All– A Life of Frank Sinatra
      Chapter 5, Maggio, Oscar and Nelson’


      Sinatra’s last recording date at Columbia Records (no connection with Columbia Pictures) was in September 1952; he was over $100,000 in debt for taxes, and somebody joked that the government would either put him in jail or recognize him as a foreign power. Columbia Records may have lent him the money to pay his taxes, because when he left there he was over $100,000 in debt to them. At the beginning of November, his career at rock bottom, he flew with Ava to Kenya, where shooting for Mogambo was to begin. They celebrated their first wedding anniversary on the Stratocruiser; he gave her a flashy diamond ring, and sent her the bill. (Later she cracked, ‘It was quite an occasion for me. I had been married twice but never for a whole year.’)

      The film set, in the Kenyan bush, was hot and dusty, and Ava did not get along at first with director John Ford. When the British governor of Kenya and his wife visited the set, Ford asked Ava what she saw in her ‘one-hundred-and-twenty-pound runt’ of a husband, and she replied, ‘Well, there’s only ten pounds of Frank but there’s one hundred and ten pounds of cock.’ Ford was aghast, but the governor and his wife roared with laughter, and that was the beginning of Ford’s respect for Ava, reinforced by her professionalism as an actress. But she did not feel well (it turned out she was pregnant), and Sinatra was bored and restless.

      Sinatra went back to New York for a club date. His reviews were good, but a reporter who talked to him found him ‘a restless unhappy man in his middle thirties who wants very much to re-establish himself and who wants to be an actor, not just a singer playing himself.’ Back in Africa he finally received a telegram offering him a screen test for the part of Maggio. He jumped on the first plane to Hollywood (Ava paid for all the plane rides, too) and Adler was astonished to see him 36 hours after sending the telegram. When the test was arranged, Adler handed him a script, but he had read the part so many times he didn’t need it. It was the last test of the day and Adler wasn’t going to bother to attend, but then he got a call from the director, Fred Zinneman: ‘You’d better come down here. You’ll see something unbelievable.’ Zinneman had already filmed the test, and made Sinatra do another take without any film in the camera; this time even Adler was impressed. But Cohn was out of town, and anyway they were also testing Eli Wallach, a first-rate Broadway actor who had never made a film. Sinatra flew to Africa yet again, knowing the he’d done a good test but worried that he’d lose the part to Wallach, and Ava and Clark Gable did their best to cheer him up.

      (bold, color and underline emphasis added in the above three paragraphs)

      The video linked below presents a good view of British aviation capabilities in 1952, at the time Sinatra was traveling back and forth to Kenya.

      Included are some great shots of the 'Stratocruiser' mentioned in the above discussed article.

      The footage in the video was filmed about 9 years prior to what I believe was Ann Dunham’s flight from Nairobi, Kenya via London to Vancouver, Canada in mid to late August 1961, after giving birth to BHO-II at the CPGH in Mombasa.

      Video: Stratocruiser & Douglas DC-4-”Into The Blue”-1952

      Uploaded on Feb 22, 2009 by mcdonnell220

      View the video at:
      B. Steadman


      • #4
        Photos: Mostly from the Fifties and Early Sixties Taken in Kenya

        City of Nairobi, Kenya:

        Embakasi Airport, Nairobi, Kenya

        Harbor, Mombasa, Kenya:

        B. Steadman


        • #5
          Ann Dunham most likely took the OVERNIGHT TRAIN from Mombasa to Nairobi following delivery of her baby, Barack Hussein Obama II, at the Coast Province General Hospital.

          The overnight train ride, 1st class, from Mombasa to Nairobi took about 13.5 hours. According to the below-linked timetable, it left the Mombasa station at 6:30 PM and arrived at the Nairobi station at 8:00 AM the next morning.

          Ann Dunham could easily and conveniently made the train trip from Mombasa to Nairobi several days to a week after delivery of BHO-II at the Coast Province General Hospital on August 4, 1961. Thus, she could have easily arrived in Nairobi, ready to board a plane bound for the West Coast of the North American continent by about August 12th.

          Map: Rail Line, Mombasa to Kampala, October 1962:

          Timetable: Mombasa to Nairobi, October 1962:

          The Mombasa to Nairobi Railway
          Photo Credit: Iain Mulligan
          Date of Photo: Sometime between 1961 and 1977

          B. Steadman


          • #6
            Over 6700 OTHER AMERICANS, as well as Ann Dunham, chose to visit Kenya in 1961

            From the Kenya Annual Report 1961 – Page 99

            The table on page 99 shows ‘visitors by nationality’ for the year 1961 as 6792 AMERICAN VISITORS, or about 6792/57085 = 11.9% of the total number of visitors to Kenya in 1961.

            These MANY other Americans visited Kenya for a wide variety of reasons including: general tourism, business, wildlife safaris, visiting friends and relatives, and to climb Mr. Kenya.

            Judging by the large number of American visitors, it is readily apparent that traveling to Kenya from the United States was relatively easy and considered quite normal back in 1961.

            I believe Ann Dunham visited Kenya in 1961 to:
            • Hide her embarrassing pregnancy from her friends and acquaintances back in Hawaii
            • Stop off in some interesting foreign ports during her sea voyage to Kenya and then experience normal life for awhile in that exotic African country
            • Have her baby
            • Attempt, though ultimately without success, to give her newborn African/American child up for adoption to Barack Obama's Sr's Kenyan relatives
            B. Steadman


            • #7
              It seems quite possible that Ann Dunham arrived at the port of Mombasa via an ocean liner such as the S.S. Karanja in the spring of 1961

              See for example Voyage Line 42 on the below linked ocean liner schedule:

              Early 1960s Ocean Liner Sailing Schedules
              Around the World Westbound via the Orient and South Africa

              Voyage Line 42:
              • Leaves Honolulu, March 7th
              • Arrives Mombasa, April 25th

              Photo Credit: NOSTALGIC MEMORIES OF MOMBASA

              S.S. Karanja was one of the few ships which was sailing from Mombasa / Bombay / Mombasa during the general time period of interest. Other passenger ships making the journey were the S.S. Amra, S.S. Kampala, S.S. State of Bombay, S.S. Muzzaffari and the S.S. Aronda.

              British India Line – S.S. Karanja
              B. Steadman