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.
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.
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*
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Kenya deserves more than one visit