Jambo from Kenya,
David and I decided to take a little break from saudi and take a long weekend trip to Kenya to go on safari. It was a very short trip and I wanted to make the most of every moment so I planned everything beforehand. I spend a lot of time on the internet researching trips and excursions and prices. Although it takes a lot of work, I’m generally successful with finding awesome deals and really knowing what I want to do. That being said, sometimes winging it is fine, but when time is limited it’s nice to have everything settled before.
This was also a very budget trip, so after a lot of searching I was between two companies (Karibu safaris and Trip Advisor Tours). Since Trip Advisor had more reviews and one more game drive in the itinerary, we went with it. It was $450 per person for 5 days (all food, hotel, airport transport, and game drives, and Nairobi activities included) which seemed pretty reasonable compared to the other options. Obviously there is quite a range, from luxury safaris to budget shared trips.
I was a tad bit worried at first, since the communication was a bit lacking, and we arrived to the airport with no one waiting for us. Fortunately, I had WiFi at the airport and could call Seth Vincent, who has been communicating with me. The first taxi driver who came and met us ended up being super super nice. His name was John, and he used his phone to call Seth, and even the hotel we were staying on to make sure they had a reservation for us. In the end, he actually ended up taking us to the hotel because the original driver was stuck in traffic. It took us a while to finally get to our hotel cause the traffic was so bad, but in the end we got there and Seth paid our driver and we headed into our hotel. We were located in downtown Nairobi in a cute and local bed and breakfast called Decasa hotel. It has a restaurant and good WiFi and the rooms were basic but perfect for us. We dropped off our bags and went for a walk down the main road to grab some food. We found a fast food spot near the hotel, and grabbed a quick bite to eat. We had delicious and fresh passion fruit and mango juices wth lunch which were very refreshing. After lunch we met our driver at the hotel, and we headed outside of Nairobi to the giraffe center. The drive was around 40 minutes due to traffic, but we arrived and I were given a bag of food to feed to the giraffes. This giraffe sanctuary is located next to the Giraffe Manor, famous hotel where you can feed giraffes from breakfast and your room. I recognized the hotel from the Bucket List Family, and even looked it up and it’s a casual $2,000/ night sooo nah. But the center we went to was great! Not to crowded so we spent some quality time with giraffes. I loved feeding them because their tongues are so freaking long. Apparently the second longest of all animals (first of which is a chameleon). They also have four stomachs and eat almost all day (only resting 5-30 minutes a day). Also- since some of the plants they eat contain toxins, they have glands in their mouth that can neutralize. And another fun fact is that when they walk, they move both legs at the same time on each side, so when they run it looks like they’re moving in slow motion.
There were staff available hear to teach us about conservation, community projects, and many facts about giraffes. After this, we were supposed to go to a Maasai dance, but we were late so we opted to go to Mamba Village, a crocodile conservation center. They raise crocs and then release them in the wild at different national parks. They are such cool animals to see. Crocodiles don’t have tongue or saliva, so they need water to eat. Their tail has three main purposes. The first is to propel themselves in the water. The second is for fighting,and the last is a food reserve. The females will lay their eggs and then guard them throughout incubation and go up to 90 days without eating. David and I held a baby crocodile, and then we looked at tortoises, which were super cool. They had super baby ones and other older and larger ones. After seeing this side of the park we visited the ostriches. These are the largest bird on earth, but they don’t fly. They do run super fast though (40 miles per hour)! They have two toes, which they use to run and as a weapon, since they are so powerful. David decided to let the ostriches bite him, and he assured me it doesn’t hurt “that bad”.
The next stop was a little Maasai marketplace where they were selling their handicrafts. We didn’t end up buying anything but we enjoyed looking around. I love the handicrafts here, they have some beautiful things. I try not to collect too many souvenirs (I have too many things) but I do enjoy looking. Afterwards, we headed back to the city. On the way we stopped at a little shopping mall where we bought some amazing passion fruit juice and did more souvenirs shopping. This time I bought some nice earrings. By the time we arrived back at the hotel it was 7. Our driver, Calvin, gave us some recommendations on where to eat. We dropped off our bags in our hotel room then wandered the streets if Nairobi and found one of his recommendations, called Papaya. It had Kenyan food that was super cheap. I had a meal that was chapati, Black beans, and some cabbage/veggie mix. David had mukimo (mashed potatoes, corn and spinach- it’s delicious) and beef and chapati. Our dinner was only $7 all together, not too bad. We walked back to the hotel and had some Tusker beer and cider in the restaurant before heading up to our room. I used to drink this beer in Tanzania when I studied abroad there, and in a lot of ways Kenya reminds me of this incredible experience and makes me miss it.
Before bed we showered (happy to say we had hot water) and watched some episodes of Netflix that I had downloaded onto my kindle. We went to bed and were so excited for our Safari the next day!