Notes from my visit to Nairobi

I said hello to Nairobi on February 1, 2017.

For Kenya, before I landed, I was more interested in catching up with my friends from India days and not really about what the country was about. I told friends I wasn't going to go on the safari, or do anything pretty much touristy.

I didn't have a planned itinerary. I was just going to show up and enjoy the 5 days inclusive of 2 travel days as much as I can. I landed in Nairobi from Johannesburg 30 mins than scheduled onboard the Kenya Airways flight.

Entry was smooth, I only had to verify my e-visa from an immigration office, fill the yellow form and I was allowed entry. No long story, no unusual questions. I exited the airport, changed currency, bought a sim card and booked an uber to by host's apartment.

Conversation with the Uber driver

I had pretty much interesting conversation with my Uber driver from the airport to my host’s apartment. He told me about how unbearable hot Nairobi had been since December until the rain which fell the night before I arrived (Same thing happened in Johannesburg, rain fell the day after I arrived).  For the first time in a long while, he finally had a good night sleep devoid of heat.

Conversation moved to how Nigerian men get to travel more than the women. My response was that our men are more inclined to hustle no matter the destination. He told me about how most of the Nigerian men in Nairobi had no verifiable source of income yet lived the life of luxury. They are only seen with laptops about (Yahoo boys rings in my head). He goes ahead to say they must be doing something illegal. I asked if these men he talked about are legally in the country and he said he is not sure. Until that moment, I never thought of Kenya as a destination for Yahoo boys. Legal work but not internet fraud haven, I guess I was wrong.

Next was Kenyan women’s love Nigerian and Congolese men. He talks about how our men and Congolese men spend heavily on Kenyan women. For the men it is no strings attached but the women fall for the sweet words and money. Kenya men are then held on unreasonable thresholds and usually cannot measure up, leading to miserable relationships and resentment towards Nigerian and Congolese men (South African men also complain about our men stealing their women).

Accommodation
I had two hosts, one I got on CouchSurfing and the other an AIESEC alumni who was introduced to me by a very good friend. I opted to stay with the AIESEC alumni and spent a night at CouchSurfing host's apartment.

What I did/Saw

I slept all through the night of my first day in Nairobi.
As in I crashed, all the waka in Pretoria the day before and walk around trying to figure out my boarding gate at the Johannesburg airport following last minute change by Kenya Airways left me exhausted. After dinner, I just went to sleep and slept all through the most part of the next day.



I finally dragged myself to the city center and found my way to my Couchsurfing host's apartment on the other side of town. I met her at the hospital where she took her Canadian friend who was ill to. Public hospital doctors where on strike all over the country and everyone had to resort to the private clinics. I spent the night at her place and we all got talking on our travel experiences. The Canadian started travelling last October and had been to 22 countries as at when I met him. His illness and the rain which fell the night before I arrived had set his trip back by 2 days. He left for Mombasa the night I left the house, and would continue on to Tanzania, South Africa and a host of other countries.

The first tourist destination I visited was the Giraffe Center after I left my Couchsurfing host's apartment on Friday.


Later that night, I met with my friend Mutembei who I met in India at Sierra lounge, located in a mall called Yaya Centre. He was meeting with his friends from the organization he worked with before he left to Japan for his MBA. From Sierra lounge we moved to Kiza club (rumored to be owned by a Nigerian). I could swear I saw "Patoranking" coming out of the elevator, if it wasn't him then I was imagining things.

I told everyone who asked that I wouldn't go for the Safari. The Ijebu blood in me was using head to calculate $$. My friend asked how I would fly into 2 safari nations and not visit a park. I finally agreed to visit one along with my new friends over drinks at Kiza. $43 and I got to see 3 of the big 5 at the Nairobi National Park. 



We visited the David Sheldrick orphanage for baby elephants.

 Lunch was at the Karen Blixen Museum. I had tea and samosa with another friend Diana (also from India) at the Java house in Hurlingham that evening. I was full from lunch and could not even finish the samosa. I got a call from Mutembei asking if I was up for dinner. Shebi I should jejely say no, I don't know the "alejeranju" in me that said yes. Fast forward, Diana drops me at the apartment, I immediately change my clothes and I was off to Carnivore to meet Mutembei for dinner.


What I ate

While I stayed off food in South Africa, I didn't resist food in Kenya.
I could not say no to food.
I was eating everything that came my way.

My host was Vegan, so it meant I had to get food outside the apartment.
She made rice and beans for me on my first night, but you know food for me is not complete without any form of protein. I gave up that no protein life the moment I stepped off Indian soil.

Out of respect for my host, I did not take any picture of any of the plenty meat I ate when I visited the restaurant Carnivore. If you are a meat lover, you must visit Carnivore. I ate crocodile, Ostrich balls, turkey, chicken, beef and lamb meat
Chicken Pilau not Jollof Rice


Lunch at Karen Blixen Museum



How I moved around

As Taxify did not work in Kenya when I visited, I had to resort to Uber. I used Uber to and from the airport, to Sierra lounge, back to the apartment on both nights out and to Carnivore for dinner on my last night. Uber was way cheaper than a normal taxi in Nairobi. I also got to ride in the Matatus like a local, they only needed to give me the bus number and describe the bus-stop and I was good to go. I used the Matatu to find my Couchsurfing host's apartment and the Giraffe Centre.

The weather

Following the rain the night before I arrived, Nairobi was pretty warm. The nights were a little cold, I didn't have a sweater on most night which is one thing I regretted not having.

One thing I have been doing lately on most of my trip is actually to allow myself enjoy the moment. I take less pictures while travelling now. There was no pictures taken from my time in the clubs (Sierra lounge and Kiza) and also dinner at Carnivore. I was having fun actually interacting with everyone around me to even remember to take pictures. Also I am respecter of personal space, I didn't want to encroach on people by taking pictures when they might not be interested in taking one.

I really enjoyed my time in Nairobi and would definitely be visiting again. Account just needs to balance sha.

What do you think of Kenya?
 Have you been to Kenya? What was your experience like? Would you recommend it?

♥Lara

'Lara A

6 comments:

  1. Beautiful...seeing a lot through your eyes.
    Ostrich balls? I throw hand for you oo, ahhaha.

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    1. The Ostrich balls was not that bad oh...it was great exploring different meats.

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  2. Lol Nairobi is nothing like Lagos and I have been to both cities. From your write up you only visited like 1/4 of the city and it is much saner than Lagos the traffic situation is nothing like Lagos honestly nothing can compare to Lagos traffic. And from that photo looks like you were in the downtown part of the city center and not the proper CBD. There are places in Nairobi that will make you think you are somewehere in Surrey England complete with the colonial style buildings etc And also there is that thing about constant electricity so you see Nairobi is nothing like Lagos nothing at all. people are not walking about angry shouting at everyone and everything in site like they do in Lagos also Kenyans are way more friendlier than Lagosians my two cents

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  3. Oh and next time to try to visit Tsavo National Park, The Maasai Mara or Amboseli National Park the Nairobi National park is childs play compared to these others. If you can visit the National Museum and snake park in Westlands/Parklands area. If time and budget permits fly to Mombasa but don't stay in Mombasa town go to the south coast(Diani) or up north to Watamu and swim with dolphins in the sea if you can travel further north to Malindi and Lamu you can thank me later

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  4. Looks like fun. I'd love to travel to Kenya one day and experience the Safari. Also, I can tell you are a very experienced traveler as per your interesting menu choices :-)

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    1. Will I say I am an experienced traveler, not sure I have gotten to that level. Prior to this year, I would rather stick to familiar menu but then I made the decision to experience not just my environment but menu as well.

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