‘Karibu’ means ‘welcome’ in Swahili and it was the first thing I heard as I got off the plane. On landing at Nairobi airport, we headed straight to the Sarova Stanley hotel, where we were booked to stay. Located in the very heart of Nairobi, near its vibrant city centre and other shopping markets, this heritage hotel has been voted the best in Kenya at the World Travel awards, described by the Wall Street Journal as the ‘Oscars’ of the global travel and tourism industry. It was grand indeed. After checking in, we headed for lunch to its famous outdoor Thorn Tree Café which had functioned as the oldest post office in Kenya many, many years ago.
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Nairobi National Park
Day 07: Nairobi National ParkWe had seen everything we wanted to see and experienced more than words could every say in the last 6 days. Except one. Two horned Rhino. I have been to the North East India and had my fill of seeing the one horned rhino. But, a two horned one was unique to Africa.Surrounded my skyscrapers, Nairobi national park is quite a novelty. For I cant think of wild animals roaming freely inside a sanctum, separated just by an electric fence from the human population.John was there to pick us at the Wilson airport on our last day in Kenya. We reached the airport around 11 am and asked him to take us to the national park before we took our flight in the night.Established in 1946, Nairobi national park was Kenya's first and is located near south of the centre of Nairobi with an electric fence separating the park's wildlife from the metropolis. As per wiki, the proximity of urban and natural environments has caused conflicts between the animals and local people and threatens animals' migration routes.Despite being small, it has a large and varied wildlife population. But we were short on time, and were fixated on the rhinoceros. Unfortunately, when we reached, the last bus for the safari had already departed. I was crestfallen. However, the park had an option of a private vehicle safari. We just looked with huge eyes at John and whoa, he agreed to be our safari guide.Very carefully, he took our sedan inside the park. We kept driving for 2 hours and saw the lions, zebras, giraffes and elephants. No sign of rhinoceros. We had lost hope of seeing one too. We turned a corner, and I said, look another elephant. But, just then we spotted his face. It was a two horned rhinoceros, and so near. It crossed the road to move to the other side of the grass. Stood there for some time and then walked away inside the taller grass, but not before giving us a perfect shot. Nairobi National Park didn't disappoint.
After that adorable visit to the elephant orphanage, we made our next stop at the Giraffe Centre. This is a place where baby giraffes are enclosed in a safe area and fed food by visitors. It’s a thrill to see tall and graceful animals walk up to where you are standing and eat food right out of your hands! The giraffes have a look of utter serenity, peace and calm that fill their majestic selves at all times.
The Carnivore Restaurant
- One of the most popular sit-down restaurants in Nairobi serving local fare is The Carnivore Restaurant. As you may have guessed from the name itself, this is the ultimate dining place for meat lovers and those who fancy living on the edge through their food. Roasted and charcoal-grilled Crocodile, Ostrich and Camel meats are just a few of the options available here. Perfect place to forget all inhibitions and give your taste buds a kick in this meat heaven!Have you visited Kenya yet? Share with us your most memorable experience in the country!
Village walks in Ke
We are staying in Kaza for another day. We drive up to Kibber, Ke and Komic, the latter being the highest village in Asia. Spend the day soaking in the culture, the daily lives of the people who inhabit these high altitude settlements. Spend the night at a local’s place at Kiber. Those who want to, can come back to Kaza for the night. Stay: Guesthouse/ Home-stay at Kiber Inclusions: Breakfast Experiences: Photo village walk, eat and stay with a local
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust - Elephant Orphanage
We began our sightseeing in Nairobi with a visit to David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust - Elephant Orphanage. Born following the death of Sheldrick in 1977, the trust was established in the memory of this famous internationally acclaimed naturalist. It now serves as a shelter for many black rhinoceros, tortoises and elephant orphans whose parents have been hunted down or killed and traded for their body parts. Thus, the elephants here have been literally brought up by the caretakers who feed them milk through bottles. It’s a delight watching the elephants come out and play in the mud as a kind of show in front of a teeming audience of tourists.
Nairobi Animal Orphanage
Before you call it a day, drop by the Nairobi Animal Orphanage located within the compounds of the national park to witness the rehabilitation process of abandoned wild animals. Be prepared for heart-melting sights of baby animals being fed and nurtured by the orphanage caregivers, and if you're lucky, they may even allow you to feed one of the animals. This truly is the best way to end a day in Nairobi.Entry fees for the national park non-residents: USD 43 (Adults), USD 22 (Children)Entry fees for the orphanage for non-residents: USD 22 (Adults), USD 13 (Children)Take a stroll through Nairobi Safari Walk
Another great place to try local tea and coffee is the widely popular Artcaffe. This coffee shop couples up as a cocktail bar too and has a lovely ambiance.More often than not, all those who taste Kenyan tea or coffee want to bring some back home. If you fall in love with the local beverages too and want to buy some, look out for the brand Kericho Gold for good quality Kenyan tea and Dorman’s for their coffee. Trust me, delicious would be an understatement and you will be left craving for more!
If you’ve had enough of wildlife by now and are craving to experience the city life, here’s something fun for you! Maasai Markets are open-air local markets typically set up at different locations in Nairobi on each day of the week. They are teeming with African handicraft items, clothes, local jewellery, wooden artifacts, and a whole lot more. A trip to Nairobi cannot be complete without paying a visit to one of these markets and experiencing the local shopping scene first hand. Maasai markets are a wonderful place to discover local art and artisans who come all the way from smaller towns to sell their labour of love. If you are looking to pick up souvenirs to bring back home, this is your go-to place. But here’s a word of caution - Arm yourself with your bargaining prowess to make sure you get an accurate price that’s fair for both parties. The idea here is to keep an open mind and completely immerse yourself in the local culture.Entry fees - FreeDrink up Kenyan tea and coffee
Nairobi: The Giraffe Center, the elephant orphanage at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and the Kazuri Bead Factory are a must-see in Nairobi. Where else could one adopt a baby elephant, feed giraffes and see beautiful jewelry being made out of plain mud? Btw, our baby elephant’s called Ndotto !
Karen Blixen Museum
Our next stop in Nairobi was the Karen Blixen Museum. It is a lovely house that belonged to the author of the famous book Out of Africa. Blixen was one of the first few persons to have come from Britain and made Africa her home. The house in which she lived has now been converted into a museum which tourists come to see; it is also the setting for where the film by the same name was shot.Eat: You can have dinner here at the beautiful Tamambo Karen Blixen restaurant.
Nairobi, just like most other metropolitan cities of the world, offer accommodation for all kinds of travelers. Starting from self-serviced apartments to lavish five-star rated hotels, pick something to suit your budget. However, choice of accommodation and location also depends on what you are looking to do in Nairobi and the duration of your stay. Generally speaking, Westlands and Kilimani are good places to find a hotel in. These locations provide great connectivity with the rest of the city and you are also well-positioned to head out of the city easily. Check out The Heron Portico for mid-range accommodation or the DusitD2 Nairobi for a more luxurious stay.What to eat in NairobiKenyan food is no less of an adventure than the wildlife safaris the country is known for! If you are one of those who love to eat like a local, here are a few pointers for you.- Kenyans love their meats! The most common way to eat meats here is by roasting it. Roasted meat is commonly referred to as Nyama Choma in the local language.- The most common accompaniment to any Kenyan meal is the Ugali, which is a thick porridge made out of maize.