Karibu Nyumbani! Welcome to Kenya! A land that boasts of rich and exotic culture. Home of the wild and the unknown. Apparent in its people is the problem-free philosophy "Hakuna Matata!" - yes they are very warm and genuinely friendly. So I went there, got up early in the morning and started discovering... for this is the experience that I've been waiting for. Left my worries and went on! This was my moment - this time for Africa!
Karibu Nyumbani! I'm at the Masai market
Excited as ever, those images of rare and wild animals... fighting, hunting, migrating... that I've seen only on television finally came to reality! Recorded footages turned live encounters!
Live encounters with the zebras
Adventure started at once when I exited the airport. Vast grasslands within reach and giraffes roamed freely that were just a photo shoot away! Ooooh how exciting for a traveller who is always hungry for more!
Funny how I planned to pack for this trip. I was all the while imagining the perfect outfit for a safari setup. Big dilemma was going on between queen of the jungle look or a camouflaged adventurer/hunter get up. Should I scare the animals away? Or attract them towards me for a closer photo opportunity?! While all these things were going on in my brain, friends who have been to Nairobi advised me to actually wear the simplest clothes for this trip... for safety reasons. Poof! Dreams shattered! Had to set aside fashion plans. No way to play the role of a jungle queen.
Keepin' it plain and simple
Booked an appointment for a safari tour and was accompanied by a local guide who was very kind and welcoming. I was taken to Nairobi's national park which was just close to the hotel where I was staying in.
Entrance to the national park
Not as extensive but vast enough to spend a couple of hours, or a few more, to wander about searching for animals in action. So here are a few beastly encounters captured:
It was a bit sad that I didn't get to see the lions after hours of searching for them. My guide said that they were probably hiding because they dislike the heat of the sun. It would be best to go in the afternoon as the weather is cooler but then it might not be too safe as we might lose our way inside the park and get stucked for an entire evening. Nobody is allowed to go inside when dusk settles in, especially some of these animals do their hunt at night! My guide was just, well, being protective I guess!
After the safari tour, I found myself hopping around the city. I wanted to immerse in the city life this time. I was really curious about the people's daily activities, how they go about their everyday life, what keeps them busy... basically what defines a city life for a typical Nairobian. I remember it was a Sunday when I did my city tour. I passed by one of the churches but couldn't go inside because it was packed for Sunday's worship, there was even a crowd outside the church. So I decided to move on and surprisingly found a mosque in the next block. Kenyan's are Christians in majority and it was good to know that some of them practiced a different faith.
A mosque in Nairobi
Kenyatta International Conference Center
View from the top of the conference center
Cool! A music truck parked outside the Galleria Mall
I must say that Nairobians are people who are very amicable. They are polite and helpful. And it wasn't hard to communicate with them unlike some places where English seems to be an alien language.
A local selling Kenyan flags
A pleasant interaction with the locals happened when I passed by the Masaii Market, an open-air trade market that I wouldn't dare miss. The venue for the Masai Market rotates on a daily basis. Vibrant and festive, it is a big showcase of bright and colorful African arts and crafts. It is indeed a handicraft and souvenir shopper's paradise where bargaining is a game. For me, the market scene was like a photograph that says a thousand words. African history and culture summarized and spread right in front of my eyes in one big exhibition.
But the most memorable experience I had in this Nairobi trip was the feat of a meat-all-you-can dinner buffet! I tried it at two of the most famous restaurants in the city: at Carnivore and Vikings. The names of these restaurants alone had me transforming into a hungry predator eager and ready to devour its catch for the day. Carnivore, packed with locals and mostly tourists, is a big restaurant with a huge grilling station at its entrance that is very enticing.
The flames and the smell.. there was no turning back! It is indeed a haven for the mighty meat lover and is definitely not for the weak stomach. Steaks, grills of beef, chicken, lamb... name it... and the best is yet to come... the highlight of the night... the exotic meat of crocodile, ostrich, camel, ox balls... You think I wouldn't dare try? Proud to proclaim that I was a hardcore carnivore that night!
Vikings was a smaller restaurant but I'd still give two thumbs up for the superb dining venture I had here. The grills and sausages were all soooo good plus it wasn't only meat that was served on my table, grilled seafood such as big prawns and fish came non-stop as well. For dessert, I wouldn't forget that first bite of grilled pineapple sprinkled with cinnamon powder... never tried something like that before... it was just heavenly!
Full to bursting belly for two nights resulted to a crying stomach the day before my flight out of Nairobi. I think I had so much that my system couldn't digest all those meat intake. I was literally not eating during my last day there, I just couldn't take anything anymore poor me! So better learn from my experience or you will end up sick (just like me) for the rest of your vacay. Funny how I just stayed in my room on my last day. No regrets though! I brought home with me great memories that I know I will never experience in any other part of the world. And yes, I'd still come back for an all-meat action that's for sure, but maybe, just maybe a little less than what I've had! Hakuna Matata!
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