THINGS TO DO IN NAIROBI
In the last post, I was talking about Shane and Monica who I met in Nairobi. They both gave us tips on all the amazing stuff there’s to see around the country, but there’s also a lot to do in the capital.
VISIT THE KAREN BLIXEN MUSEUM
The museum is located in the town Karen at the Ngong Hills slopes just outside Nairobi. It was owned by Danish author Karen and her Swedish husband Baron. It became more famous after the renowned “Out of Africa” film. It’s open to the public and you can enjoy guided tours and lots of materials to buy. You can learn more here.
DAVID SHELDRICK WILDLIFE TRUST
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is one of the largest and most successful orphan elephant rescue centres in the world. They have successfully cared for 282 elephants and here, you can also get to adopt a calf (baby elephant).
NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK
Nairobi National Park is a few minutes away from the city centre. You can see rhinos, zebras, giraffes, baboons, wildebeest, and many other animals against a backdrop of the city skyline.
BOMAS OF KENYA
This is a cultural village representing the 42 tribes of Kenya. If you want to learn about the ethnic tribes and history of the country, this a tour that you should not miss. You also get to learn about the clothing, dances, and economic activities of each tribe. You can also try diverse Kenyan cuisine at the Utamaduni Restaurant. Learn more here.
THE GIRAFFE CENTRE
The Giraffe Centre is run by the Kenya non-profit organisation, the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, whose main purpose is to educate Kenyan children about their environment and wild animals. They also give visitors and opportunity to come into close contact with the world’s tallest animal.
I went there and spoke to Daniel Mutua the educator who shared lots of information about this majestic animal.
When visiting the centre, you will get some pellets, walk on the platform, and get ready to feed the giraffes. David mentioned that the pellets are made from dry grasses, molasses, and corn. These act like snacks for the animal whose main food is grass, leaves and water.
Kenya has three subspecies of giraffes: Maasai, Rothchild and the Reticulated, and in the late 1970s there were only about 130 Rothchild giraffes left on the grasslands of East Africa. The African Fund for Endangered Wildlife was founded in 1979 by the late Jock Leslie-Melville, a Kenyan citizen of British descent, and his American-born wife, Betty Leslie-Melville. They began the giraffe centre after discovering the sad situation on the deteriorating animal population. However, from the centre’s efforts, today there are over 300 Rothschild giraffes which are safe and breeding well in Kenyan parks. Twelve of them are in the giraffe centre.
The difference in the three species is notable on body spots and the animal habitats. Each giraffe has a different personality just like humans ranging from gentle, kind, playful and so much more. At the centre, they know them by name and by their characters.
Inside the Giraffe centre there is the Giraffe Manor Hotel. Its resident herd of giraffe will poke their long necks into the window before retreating in the wild. You get to dine with the lovely animals.
VISIT THE TALLES BUILDING
On a clear day you can see Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro from the rooftop of the tallest building in the city. The KICC (Kenyatta International Convention Centre) Tower is an icon and a landmark for Kenya. It is a leading facility in the meeting industry in East Africa. I went up there and I got amazing views of the stunning city. It was a bit cloudy so I couldn’t see the two biggest mountains in Africa, but I still saw a lot. I spoke to two of the four people that I met on the tower, and we had a great chat about the best and the worst about living here.
SOME TIPS ON SAFARIS
Choose a good car:
The type of vehicle you use is very important. If you are in the 4-wheel drive normal vehicles, your viewing experience will be normal. For a spectacular experience, go for a higher wheelbase and a lot of window space. With this, you will have a 360-degree views. You will be driving for long hours a day and you need a comfortable vehicle.
Choose a good package:
Check a trip and package where you can enjoy a lot of time in the wild as much possible. Choose carefully and look at the itinerary and their professionalism. Your guide and the company you choose has a great influence on your overall experience. When it comes to the great migration, splurge a little bit more if possible and it will be an unforgettable experience.
GAME DRIVE IN MASAI MARA
Then we’re off on the first game drive in the Masai Mara. It’s one of the places with the highest photographic potential in Africa and the world.
We saw lions throughout the park, and elephants, giraffes, a variety of gazelle species and zebras. Two cats that can be a bit tricky to tell apart are cheetahs and leopards. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the leopards (one of The Big Five) but many cheetahs. The rhino is another animal that is part of the Big Five which is not easy to spot.
The Masai Mara shares its border to the south with the Serengeti in Tanzania. It’s a huge area – 1,510 square kilometres (583 square miles), so it’s good to have an experienced driver, like Dennis. He’s in constant radio contact with the other drivers giving each other tips on where the animals are.
OUR MEETING WITH A LONE RHINO
I’ve been on safaris before and never seen rhinos. But suddenly, Dennis spotted one. Standing alone grassing on the savannah close to a waterhole with no one around him. We were also the only van there, and to be honest I think that this was so rare that our driver didn’t go straight on the radio to alert the other drivers.
Instead, we drove slowly on a circle around him. Not too close, I think around 30-40 metres away from him, and we all stood up in the van to start taking pictures.
I decided to shoot a video – and I’m glad I did because what happened next was unbelievable and I’m happy I caught it on film.
The rhino saw us and wasn’t happy with having his quiet time interrupted, so he came charging at us. Full speed ahead right towards us. Here’s the video.
Thank God, Dennis saw it because he drove off before it was able to slam into the side of the van. And according to Dennis he would have. It would also have made a big hole in the side of the car and would have been life threatening for the people sitting on that side of the bus.
Dennis also told me that he’d never experienced anything like this in his many years of doing game drives here in The Mara.
The trip to Masai Mara is made possible with support from Scenery Adventures. You can find all their different packages and prices on their website sceneryadventures.com. If you want to have a scenic adventure with Monica and her team, you can book and pay online, and they take care of you from the airport and back. They can even help you fix your visa to Kenya.
In the next one we’re going hot air ballooning high above the savannah as the sun is rising.
My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See you.
Either way, I would love to hear from you. It’s so nice to know who’s on the other end of this.
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