Kenya: Nairobi

Kenya: Nairobi

I think I needed time to process and organize my ideas about this incredible adventure.

I had already been twice on the African continent, once in Morocco and again in Seychelles but for some reason it did not feel like the real Africa, that Africa we see on television with its people with skin as dark as the night, that Africa full of lions and elephants but also full of poverty and hunger.

Africa is a huge and varied continent, and we should not speak of “Africa” in general, since each country has its own culture, language, history and religion. Even within the same country there can be many differences.

We decided to visit Kenya, the main reasons were because we wanted to do Safari and the Maasai Mara is considered one of the best places to do it. Tourism in Kenya is on the rise so you can still have a fantastic experience at affordable prices.

We also chose to go in June. The large migration from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the Maasai Mara begins in early July and is considered peak season, triggering the price and the number of people around. Although migration is a unique and incredible experience, we decided to save a little money and see other animals that are shy when there are many people around.

There are many Kenyans living in Europe, so there are many flights available and the prices are not so crazy.
We traveled from Copenhagen, making a stop in Frankfurt and from there direct to Nairobi. In total they were about 18 hours of travel.

We arrived in Nairobi in the evening and although we believed that we had been very smart in requesting the Visa in advance to not make queue in migration, we lasted approximately 2 hours in line. The migration agents had a system very … how to say it? Different.

There were two different lines for people with a visa in advance and another one for people who were requesting it upon arrival. The problem was that the agents didn’t really care and just said “next!” and many people of the different row were going to the wrong agent. Everything was a mess, even people in our own row were trying to skip our own line! Haha, living in Sweden has made me very little patient and intolerant towards people who want to skip the line. You’re never going to hear a Swedish complain or say something bad, or look for trouble with someone … until you skip the line.

Anyway, being trapped at the airport all that time was stressing us out because we had hired someone to pick us up, and I felt sorry that they had to be waiting for so long or that they were going to leave us. But when we got our, he was still waiting for us <3.

We went straight to the hotel where we had a beer before we went to sleep and made our classic tour in Nairobi in the morning. This consisted of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the Giraffe Center, and the Karen Blixen Museum.

Several years ago I remember seeing on TV a documentary about a woman who rescued a baby elephant in Africa and formed a very strong bond with him. This woman’s name is Daphne Sheldrick. Unfortunately this story did not have a happy ending, Daphne had to leave the baby elephant with someone else while she was attending her daughter’s wedding. She left for a week and during that time the elephant refused to eat or drink and became depressed to the brink of death. When Daphne returned, the little elephant was already very weak and died within a few days. Daphne learned a lot after that harrowing experience for her and decided to found the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (in honor of her husband). This center is dedicated to rescuing elephant babies who are orphaned for different reasons, the main being the hunt for their ivory tusk. For several decades they dedicated themselves to perfecting the formula that can replace the milk of the moms. This center has existed since the 70’s and its goal is for elephants to return to their natural habitat.

I remember that this documentary even made me cry, but I did nothing else. Last year, I decided to adopt an orphaned elephant through this organization, which basically consists of donating money for the food and care of this elephant from which they send you news and pictures every month. My adopted daughter is called Malkia, which means “Queen” in Swahili. When I adopted Malkia it was not even in our plans to travel to Kenya, but when we started planning the trip, the illusion of being able to visit her and this amazing organization greatly influenced the decision.

Our first day in Nairobi we got up very early to be the first in line to enter the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. It is open to the public every day from 11am to 12pm and costs 500 Kenyan shillings, about 7 dollars. At this time the babies leave to be fed with milk, in groups, from the smallest to the largest. One of the workers explains the goal of this foundation and explains how and where they found each of the elephants and their sad history.

Fortunately, it is likely that 100% of these elephants when they grow up can be reintegrated into their natural habitat.
Our goal was met and we were the first in line to enter. Although we had the place up front, it was not the best place. If you are planning to visit this place, be sure to take a spot at the sides, near the wheelbarrows with the milk bottles, as the carers walk them but only a little and usually to the sides.

My Malkia came out in the third group, and I did not recognize it very well, but I had read in my monthly reports that she was naughty and always wanted more milk, and said and done, the one who complained the most and tried to steal more milk was Malkia.

After saying goodbye to all the babies we headed to the Giraffe Center, which is where they have the giraffe Rotschild that was once in danger of extinction but they have managed to stabilize the numbers in recent years. In this center the main attraction is to feed the giraffes with special food and even you can feed them with your mouth. I fed them like 3 times with my mouth and they have a very raspy tongue haha, I came out with my mouth a little bit sore.

Our last stop in Nairobi was the Karen Blixen Museum.
I did not know much about this woman, who apparently is world famous and perhaps most known for the film that was made about her called “Out of Africa”. This woman was very important and dear in Kenya because of all the help she gave to society when she was living there. So much so that they named an entire area in Nairobi in her honor.
After the museum, we finished the day at the Cafe Tamambo which is next to the museum which has a very nice garden and very rich food. Recommended!

And so ended our first day in Kenya, the next day we were waiting for our first day of Safari.


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