Visiting Kenya was solely for the purpose of business but I was lucky enough to spend one day as a tourist and that was all it took for me to fall in love with this beautiful country. Flying to Kenya from South Africa is relatively short and comfortable. Flights were booked via Sure Travel on South African Airways and was one of the quickest routes we could have opted for.
During my short time in Kenya, I only visited Nairobi and stayed at Hotel Emerald which was conveniently located in the heart of Westlands. The best thing about the hotel was definitely the widely recognized Vista restaurant which specialised in Indian Cuisine. I shared this journey with my good friend Linda Jooste, who enjoyed Nairobi just as much as I did.
One day in Nairobi. What can you do?
Kenya is a large city with attractions spread out in multiple directions. Using public transport is not an ideal option for a first time visitor, using private cars however is safe and convenient. I booked a daily service with Karanja Cabs; his rate was well priced and he only has a fleet of semi luxury vehicles, which makes travelling such a pleasure.
This sanctuary was established in order to protect the endangered Rothschild giraffe that is found only in the grasslands of East Africa. The Giraffe Centre was started by Jock Leslie-Melville, the Kenyan grandson of a Scottish Earl, when he and his wife Betty captured a baby giraffe to start a programme of breeding giraffe in captivity at their home. The main attraction for visitors is feeding giraffes from a raised observation platform. The centre is also home to several warthogs and elephants which freely roam the area along with the giraffes.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife trust is dedicated to the protection and preservation of Africa’s wilderness particularly endangered species. It is estimated that one elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its ivory, a lack of action could see the loss of wild elephants in Africa by 2025. The main attraction at the orphanage is the show put on by the baby elephants. They start by stomping around, playing in the mud and drinking milk from huge baby bottles. It’s extremely playful and fun to watch but heartwarming at the same time.
Tip: Get there early to secure your seat in the front of the line
If culture is what you are after and a little bit of shopping too, then don’t make the mistake of not visiting the Maasai Market. It’s a great experience for all travelers. This open-air market is located at different venues during the week, so make sure you check your timetable before planning a visit. The market owners enjoy a good bargain, so chances of getting what you wanted for 50% less than the asking price is very promising. You can find dozens of unique curios, beads, hand crafted furniture and oil paintings at the Maasai Market so ensure you carry enough cash! I have a particular weakness for cultural artifacts so this was my all time favorite thing to do.