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Hi there!

I'm Margaret, a female traveller from Nigeria, and welcome to my personal blog , TheAjalaBug.com.

Here, I document my adventures in travel and life experiences generally. Hope you get inspired!

How to spend your holiday in Kenya | Nairobi Episode

How to spend your holiday in Kenya | Nairobi Episode

One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure 

After 5 days in Rwanda, we were whisked to Kenya. At this point, we were already getting exhausted from travelling but hey, we have to stay the course. lol

After what seemed to have been searching for a criminal at the Kigali airport, we boarded our plane to Nairobi. No exaggeration; I have never seen that level of security. I mean....everyone including the driver had to drop from the vehicle. The vehicle is specially scanned while humans are carefully screened seperately. Phew! What a wawu!.

After a few hours, we arrived at Nairobi, Kenya. Did I mention that we entered Kenya on our way to Rwanda? Thanks to the infamous Kenya airways. Gist for another day. Anyways, it was unexpectedly freezing cold in Nairobi. 

The driver who was already waiting, took us to the hotel, Best Western. The next morning, it was time to find out why the dynamic city which bustles with activities (and traffic) is called "the green city in the sun". 

1. BEST WESTERN PLUS MERIDIAN HOTEL NAIROBI

We heard so much negatives after booking this hotel that frankly speaking, I wasn't looking forward to our stay. To think that we planned on staying for 3 nights was more terrifying. LoL. Good gracious, it wasn't bad. A bit tight though but quite a functional boutique hotel

Actually, I encountered my real first travel hiccup at Best Western Hotel Nairobi. I had booked a room for one guest but we were two. Ha! The hotel held us up for hours; well I was negotiating the extra amount they demanded. Phew!. Eventually, I resolved it and we went straight to bed. We spent the next few days exploring the city.

 Best Western Nairobi

Best Western Nairobi

 Best Western Nairobi

Best Western Nairobi

 Best Western Nairobi

Best Western Nairobi

 Best Western Nairobi

Best Western Nairobi

 Best Western Nairobi

Best Western Nairobi

2. GIRAFFE MANOR CENTRE; THE KAREN BLIXEN MUSEUM

First off was a visit to the Giraffe Centre which was a distance from the city centre but luckily there was no traffic. The animal centre is famous for its endangered free range Rothschild giraffes, which are found only in East Africa. 

Nothing is truer than these words from Joanna Lumley "Giraffes are fairytale animals, almost heraldic as if from the land of tables. They have extremely beautiful faces, huge eyes, very sensitive nostrils and oh, blue tongues". They were so beautiful.

I was like a kid in the candy store seeing the giraffes and feeding them. I fed the giraffes (with my hand and mouth), and the crowd went wild. lol. I actually love animals so much but I can't say the same of my travel buddy (tongue out).

The centre gave us the feeds which we didn't have to pay for. A guy in front was struggling to feed the giraffes and before I could say jack, the giraffe gave him a spontaneous headbutt. Gosh! That must have hurt. Be careful anytime you get to visit

My travel buddy bought some animal themed gifts at the Giraffe shop and we called it a day. We didn't have enough time to visit the Karen Blixen museum which is close to the centre, but you should.  There are guided tours around the museum that gives you insight into 20th century colonial life, as well as the history of coffee cultivation in Kenya.  

 Giraffe Centre | The Ajala Bug

Giraffe Centre | The Ajala Bug

 Giraffe Centre | The Ajala Bug

Giraffe Centre | The Ajala Bug

 Giraffe Centre | The Ajala Bug

Giraffe Centre | The Ajala Bug

 Giraffe Centre | The Ajala Bug

Giraffe Centre | The Ajala Bug

 Giraffe Centre | The Ajala Bug

Giraffe Centre | The Ajala Bug

3. FREESTYLE DAY

To ensure that we get sufficient rest throughout the trip, we choose to free up some days, where we stay in-doors or catch-up with friends. While, my travel buddy, Ofure, decided to take an almost 3 hours drive to the rift valley with a friend, I opted for the city tour and ended up at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre which was barely 15mins walk from the hotel. 

KICC is an iconic building (not the tallest in Nairobi) with the most intoxicating view of the city. From the top, I quickly noticed that Nairobi has more modern skyscrapers than Lagos. LOL. *perhaps not*. Sorry, I will try not to compare.

It was freezing but I had fun jumping multiple times at the 28th floor, the KICC helipad. I also found a fantastic cafe at the centre and the meal was delicious. You may wonder what I bought....? Rice and spicy chicken. LoL *regular*

 Rift Valley

Rift Valley

 Kenyatta International Convention Centre

Kenyatta International Convention Centre

 Kenyatta International Convention Centre

Kenyatta International Convention Centre

 Kenyatta International Convention Centre

Kenyatta International Convention Centre

 Kenyatta International Convention Centre

Kenyatta International Convention Centre

 Kenyatta International Convention Centre

Kenyatta International Convention Centre

4. LODGED AT IBIS STYLES HOTEL WESTLANDS NAIROBI

We spent a night at Ibis Styles Hotel. Though we originally planned to camp at Rapids Camp, the weather was extremely cold for any outdoors shenanigans, so we cancelled reservations.  

Ibis style hotel is a boutique stylish hotel with an extremely managed space. Never seen a space so well managed. Well, the room was reasonably affordable, but I can't say the same for the food. My dinner was tiny and pricey. I ate the food angry. LoL

 Ibis Styles Hotel | The Ajala Bug

Ibis Styles Hotel | The Ajala Bug

 Ibis Styles Hotel | The Ajala Bug

Ibis Styles Hotel | The Ajala Bug

 Ibis Styles Hotel | The Ajala Bug

Ibis Styles Hotel | The Ajala Bug

 Ibis Styles Hotel | The Ajala Bug

Ibis Styles Hotel | The Ajala Bug

5. GALLERIA SHOPPING MALL

While checking out of Best Western (before we checked in at Ibis), the tour operator at the hotel approached us to patronise him at a ridiculously reduced price. Ha!!!!! We jumped on the offer. Our day trip was to Bomas of Kenya which was one of the places we had played on visiting.

On our way to Bomas of Kenya, we decided to stop at the shopping mall to pick up some items since it was our last day in Nairobi. I rarely visit shopping malls when I travel, but my travel buddy was an influence in this regard. No regrets!. I bought a masai cloth and a yummy cup of yogurt from Planet Yogurt. 

 Galleria shopping mall | The Ajala Bug

Galleria shopping mall | The Ajala Bug

 Galleria shopping mall | The Ajala Bug

Galleria shopping mall | The Ajala Bug

 Galleria shopping mall | The Ajala Bug

Galleria shopping mall | The Ajala Bug

 Galleria shopping mall | The Ajala Bug

Galleria shopping mall | The Ajala Bug

6. BOMAS OF KENYA

The Bomas of Kenya opens between 3:00PM and 5:00PM or so and entry fee is Sh 1,000 for non-residents.

We entered the auditorium and the national anthem was ongoing, after which we settled in for the show. Initially, I wanted to bounce (leave) but just then did the Masai group come on stage to perform. It was electric!. 

The gymnastics and acrobatic show we experienced, was breathtaking; the moves and sounds of the musical instruments were spectacular! After the show, there was an option to walk around some sort of a make-believe village that showcases the lifestyle of Kenyans, but it was raining when our show finished, so we called it a day.

 Bomas of Kenya | The Ajala Bug

Bomas of Kenya | The Ajala Bug

 Bomas of Kenya | The Ajala Bug

Bomas of Kenya | The Ajala Bug

 Bomas of Kenya | The Ajala Bug

Bomas of Kenya | The Ajala Bug

 Bomas of Kenya | The Ajala Bug

Bomas of Kenya | The Ajala Bug

7. NAIROBI NATIONAL MUSEUM

The price scared us away. Imagine, residents pay 300 Kenyan shillings while non residents pay 1,500 KS. Ha!. No one got time for that. We asked what we were missing if we didn't tour the museum and we were told It is called the great hall of mammals for a reason. We would see life size models of animals that have existed in Kenya. LoL......No thank you, we are on a budget but let me take memorable pictures. That was free.

Generally, visitors get a chance to learn about Kenya's culture, anthropological discoveries and art. We walked around the botanical garden and relaxed in one of the two restaurants. My travel buddy was freezing cold and so we thought grabbing food and some tea was a better option than seeing stuffed birds in the museum. This decision was only because two broke girls were travelling. HAHAHAHA

 Nairobi National Museum | The Ajalabug 

Nairobi National Museum | The Ajalabug 

 Nairobi National Museum | The Ajalabug

Nairobi National Museum | The Ajalabug

 Nairobi National Museum | The Ajalabug

Nairobi National Museum | The Ajalabug

 Nairobi National Museum | The Ajalabug

Nairobi National Museum | The Ajalabug

8. TAMARIND TREE HOTEL

We stayed at Tamarind Tree Hotel twice and it was a blast!. First was when Kenya airways delayed our flight to Kigali, Rwanda and Second was us staying the course of our original plan while in Nairobi. This means that we had pre-booked for a night irrespective of Kenya airways 'sege mege'.

Anyways, the food was amazing (especially the breakfast), the rooms are spacious, Carnivore restaurant is just down the road and the hotel actually chauffeured us there & back. Actually, we were made to understand that it is the same management.

 Taramind Tree Hotel | The Ajala Bug

Taramind Tree Hotel | The Ajala Bug

 Taramind Tree Hotel | The Ajala Bug

Taramind Tree Hotel | The Ajala Bug

 Taramind Tree Hotel | The Ajala Bug

Taramind Tree Hotel | The Ajala Bug

9. MEAT LOVERS HAVEN; CARNIVORE RESTAURANT

Okay, before everyone asks me about ethics, I discovered that Carnivore is an authorized game meat restaurant before visiting. It is a meat lovers haven for both locals and tourists.

Meat is continuously served until you are tired of eating. Once you have had enough meat, you drop the little flag next to you on the table so the servers do not bring you more and just then is dessert served. I asked for some rice though to feel a bit Nigerian in Kenya!. LoL.

Oh! there is a story. So we had planned on dining at the restaurant, however, we had explored so much that I thought we should be tired but my travel buddy was still looking forward to dining at the restaurant, so she asked us to get ready for dinner. 

How much is it, I asked? US$40 dollars or so she said. Welllllll, it's once in a lifetime experience, I thought. Let's do this!. After eating, we were not sure if we had eaten food worth that amount. Sadly, no take aways allowed and we were stuffed. We (more like Ofure) paid grudgingly and we called it a night. Hahahahaha!. Good gracious, it was her idea. LMAO

 Carnivore restaurant Nairobi | The Ajala Bug

Carnivore restaurant Nairobi | The Ajala Bug

 Carnivore restaurant Nairobi | The Ajala Bug

Carnivore restaurant Nairobi | The Ajala Bug

 Carnivore restaurant Nairobi | The Ajala Bug

Carnivore restaurant Nairobi | The Ajala Bug

 Carnivore restaurant Nairobi | The Ajala Bug

Carnivore restaurant Nairobi | The Ajala Bug

Kenya deserves more than one visit

10. DAVID SHELDRICK WILDLIFE TRUST ELEPHANT & RHINO ORPHANAGE

The only time the orphanage is open to the public is from 11AM to 12 PM (noon) and the crowd is usually crazy.

The elephant orphanage is a rescue and rehabilitation center for baby elephants. These elephants became orphaned due to poaching activities in Kenya. Most of the elephants are between 0-2 years old and once they are older, they are let into the wild at Tsavo National Park. Between the visiting hours, the keepers bring the elephants to a restricted area to play, feed, and interacted with visitors.

Unfortunately, we didn't get to feed the elephants, unlike the Giraffe Center, they come close enough for you to touch though. Worthy to note is that baby elephants rely exclusively on their mother's milk for the first two years of their lives. So if they lose their mother, their fate is basically sealed. Poacher should be punished by firing squad!.

It was quite exciting to see the elephants in their natural habitats. There is a token entry fee. Within the park, you can also purchase t-shirts and souvenirs. You can also adopt an orphan for a year as well:):):) 

 David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage | The Ajala Bug

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage | The Ajala Bug

 David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage | The Ajala Bug

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage | The Ajala Bug

 David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage | The Ajala Bug

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage | The Ajala Bug

11. SIGHTS OF THE FAMOUS NAIROBI MATATU

The Matatu are pimped buses used for public transportation. We heard that a ride in the matatu is thrilling, as the inside of the trendy vehicles are fitted with plasma screens showing the latest music video clips and a superior sound system for quality audio. LOL. The body of the vehicle is filled with graffitis. While we weren't so adventurous, you may want to try it out :)

 Matatu ride | The Ajala Bug

Matatu ride | The Ajala Bug

Final thoughts on travelling to Nairobi

Kenya has my heart!.

Nairobi offered us eclectic choices of things to do within the city. We had limited time in Nairobi, so the standard safaris to the jungle of Mount Kenya or to Maasai Mara was not an option. A short trip within the city was equally as exciting; from the city skyline view, the Bomas of Kenya, etc.

While we heard about how terrible the traffic can be, we didn't experience it. Call it luck or tactic, but it was a drive through. The few people we interacted with were so pleasant.

Well, Nairobi was such a vibrant city and we looked forward to escaping to the pristine beaches of Mombasa. Also, the cold chased us out of Nairobi.

If a country’s culture and heritage fascinates you, then think Kenya.

Other places in Nairobi worth visiting, especially with kids

1. National Park

2. Nairobi Mamba Village

Tourism lessons from Nairobi for Nigeria

1. Tourism comfort language "Hakuna Matata": This means that there is no problem in Kenya. It must be quite comforting to a foreigner who has never visited Kenya to be told "no problem". This quickly builds a sense of security and safety. While I do not want Nigeria to copy blindly, it will be nice to have a slogan that communicates hospitality and genuine warmth for visitors.

2. Celebration and preservation of culture: With over 43 indigenous tribes, Kenyans showcase and celebrate their culture through the Bomas of Kenya. I mean, tourist pay to watch various cultures display their traditions. Nigeria can utilize it's National theatre for something similar. This will promote our diverse culture, generate income, bring about employment and also boost tourism in Lagos (at the least). A no-brainer!. 

3. Art stares you in the face: Truth is that Nigeria is getting better at this. However, it is more around Lagos than other parts of the country. From graffitis, to art galleries, there is still more to be done in Nigeria.

Thank you all for reading. You have read from me, now I would love to read from you. Please share your Kenya experience with us or perhaps your thoughts about the country if you are yet to visit. Bless!.

Margaret

Best of Kenya Tourism | Mombasa Travel

Best of Kenya Tourism | Mombasa Travel

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How I spent my last holiday in Rwanda | Exploring Gisenyi