From safaris to art markets, this an incomparable destination for tourists
This holiday season, if you’re looking to break out of your comfort zone and make unforgettable memories, how about taking a trip to Kenya? From incredible vistas, to unbeatable flavours, and interesting people, it’s a life-changing experience. So kick back, turn on some Toto, and let us plan this thing for you.
This time of the year, the one thing that should be at the top of your list of things to do in the country is to go on safari. Whether this is your first safari or not, the Maasai Mara National Reserve is consistently ranked as the Number 1 safari to do, for a number of reasons. For one thing, the views are stunning. The hard-boiled blue of the sky above is unobstructed by any trace of humanity, while an hour into the reserve, it’s lush, rolling grasslands in every direction, as far as the eye can see, dotted with a mind-boggling variety of birds and animals. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see the Big Five.
The Big Five
You have the choice of glamping at one of the many game camps that border the Reserve, or book a stay at one of the conservancies inside the park (more expensive).
Our pick: Africa Home Adventure Safaris (http://www.africahomeadventure.com) This is a fairly trusted company that will provide you with a dedicated guide and driver and help you customize your itinerary according to budget and requirements. You can book through your hotel, or even online, if you have a credit card.
Before and after the safari, if you’re planning to stick around Nairobi for a few days, there’s plenty to do and experience. As part of an emerging economy, there’s a lot of colour and character to the place and it’s worth dipping your toes into the culture.
The Heron Portico. A business hotel located some 3 km from the city center and about 18km from the airport, you have your pick from 108 guest rooms and suites, as well all the regular facilities (outdoor swimming pool, gym, sauna,gift shop, etc).
The Ankole Grill on Galana road is a great option. With live music during the evenings and an eclectic menu of food and beverages, this is a hip eating joint, and a perfect example of the new Nairobi. Also, not to be missed are brunch at the Art Café (you’ll find one at every mall) and coffee at Java House. If you want a more authentic Kenyan experience, try Mama Oliech in Hurlingham.
• For a safari within the city, visit Nairobi National Park. Get there early in the morning, and you can get to see a bunch of animals in the wild.
• Feed giraffes at the Giraffe Centre. This is a great activity to do if you’re travelling with children.
• Go jogging in the Karura forest, also known as “Nairobi’s lung”. The serene lily pond, the lush waterfalls, and the quiet trails are a refreshing experience. Grab some brunch at the River Café while you’re there!
• Adopt an elephant at the David Sheldrick Wildlife trust. That’s an afternoon well spent
• Take a guided city tour. Former street children will take you past monuments and buildings of interest in the downtown area, and even down to the famous Kibera slum, where Nairobi Half Life was filmed.
• Visit the Village Market for craft items, souvenirs and other goodies
• Visit the Maasai Market for one-of-a-kind ethnic jewellery and household goods.
Travel tip: Be sure to pack binoculars and a camera for all the sight-seeing, as well as loads of mosquito repellant and sunblock
• An e-visa: You can apply for one on your own at http://evisa.go.ke if you have a credit card, or get it done through an agent. A single entry e-visa costs about $51
• A yellow fever vaccination card. You can get the vaccinations at icddrb in Mohakhali. It is advised that you get your vaccines at least 10 days prior to travelling. While Bangladesh isn’t a YF endemic country, sometimes airport officials will hassle you if you’re not carrying the card.