Jan 192012

Before this trip, nearly everything I’d read about Nairobi was negative. Get out as soon as possible. It’s an urban jungle full of crime. Nothing worth seeing, etc etc etc. I’m so glad we gave it a chance for a full day. Even though it was forced by flight schedules, our day there was amazing.

Although I’m sure it was moderately overpriced, we arranged for the Hilton Safari vehicle to take us on a tour of the Nairobi National Park. The cool thing was there was never a concern about how long the trip was – we could stay out as long as we wanted. Since we’d booked another afternoon urban safari, however, we kept it semi short from 7am to 1pm. Still, we saw a ton. Having just been on safari in Botswana four months prior we’d set our expectations low, but we ended up more than surprised. We saw another lion stalking a kill (though it didn’t happen) and finally saw the one thing we missed in Botswana: Zebras!

When we saw this guy in the rocks, our guide was amazed.  He had no idea what it was, and had never seen anything like it.  There were probably a dozen of them, and we learned later it was called a Rock Orax or something like that?


…and finally, just as we were leaving the park….ZEBRAS!!!

After the safari, we grabbed a quick lunch at the Hilton which was more than tasty and reasonably priced at the pool restaurant, before heading on our afternoon tour.  Based on recommendations from Trip Advisor, and my experiences in Soweto in the mid 1990s, we booked an “Urban Safari” to see Nairobi’s largest slum.  I figure if so many people had so many bad things to say about Nairobi, I wanted to see its “worst” side up close.  So glad we did, because for me this was really one of the biggest highlights of the trip.  We booked with Kibera Tours and couldn’t have been more thrilled with the trip.

Views from Kibera:

Cooking coal for sale:

The “bone factory” where cattle/sheep/etc bones are made into necklaces, bracelets, bottle openers, etc:

Kibera Shoe Shop….built on top of the latrines and “biowaste recycling facility”

The tour ended in the “home” of the tour leader, and where his mother lived in the Kibera Slum.  I would highly recommend this tour to anyone who’s interested in getting a feel for the “real” Nairobi.  I’m pretty sure we came away with a much better impression than the average tourist because of it.

Back to the hotel, bit of downtime, then dinner at the ultimate tourist trap…the “Carnivore Restaurant.”  After the Boma in Zimbabwe we had high expectations for really good game meat, but it just wasn’t all that.  It was good, but way more staged than even Boma was, and honestly….not that great.  For the price, however, it was a solid helping of protein, and won’t complain at all!  Plus, Doctor Dawa was very good with the drinks!


The roasting pit:

  One Response to “Day in Nairobi, Kenya”

  1. The little animal is a rock hyrax. They are gorgeous aren’t they? They are related to elephants apparently. I once saw a family of them attack a baboon that had dragged off one of their babies – and they won.
    I can’t believe your guide didn’t know what it was because they are very common in Kenya. Was he good otherwise?

    I think it’s quite funny that Carnivore has a vegetarian option!

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