Nairobi, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Nakuru National Park, Naivasha, Nairobi, Suswa, Amboseli National Park, Lamu & Mombasa... An attempt to get a glimpse of this beautiful country!
Safari, of course. This is probably the first thing what comes to our mind when thinking about travelling in Kenya. And it is clearly not so wrong either, because of multiple good reasons: The "big five" (Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Lion, Leopard), stunning landscapes, an incredible big number of wild animals and different cultures. Interesting: the term "big five" refers to the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot and has nothing to do with the physical size of the animal.
Of course, beside safaris there are so many other activities to do and places to go. In the following I'd like to provide a small selection of some of them ;-)
Maasai Mara National Reserve
Nakuru National Park and Naivasha/Mt. Longonot
Amboseli National Park
Kenyan Coast: Lamu Island and Mombasa
Nairobi National Park
4 days at the coast, 3 days at the Music Festival – not too relaxing but definitely a great start in the New Year.
Let the year 2019 be A - W - E - S - O - M - E
- anforgettable ;-)
- enormously filled of love
- only the best
- eager for success in all parts of life
I hope everyone had a very nice start in the new year. Take care and all the best!
Kila la heri,
* fun story: RollEggs are facing a problem because it sounds too similar to a certain, quite well-known, Swiss brand ;-)
Mlima Kenya, as it is known in Swahili Language, is the highest mountain in Kenya and the entire massif contains a number of peaks. While the two highest, Batian (5199m.a.s.l) and Nelion (5188m.a.s.l), are exclusively accessible through real mountain climbing, Lenana peak (4985m.a.s.l) can be reached by "foot" as well. Nevertheless, it is more challenging than one might think or hear from people talking about it. Freezing temperatures, high altitude and starting the final ascent at 3am in the dark night is not exactly the thing most people are used to. Being able to share this once-in-a-lifetime experience with a great team makes me extraordinarily happy and proud. Standing at the top and being warmed by the first rays of the sun will make you forget regreting that you left the thick thermal Long Johns back home thinking "Who needs Long Johns in Kenya?"
Our itinerary looked as follows:
One disappearing Portugese, sunburns and a lot of "Sommer, Sonne, Sonnenschein"...
The trip to Kilifi was a great success - in all areas. The group dynamic was awesome, consisting of a Kenyan guy, a South African girl, a Portuguese guy, a German girl and myself.
When we arrived the first night we were so amazed by the entire beautiful house and the pool area so that we swam until late. At some point (it was dark), Luis was about to reduce the volume of the music but he couldn't see properly and, hence, stept into nothing beside the pool. Fortunately, other than some bruises nothing happend and we could enjoy our stay even more. The following days were mainly about relaxing, playing at the pool/beach and having a good time. The coast is truly beautiful and I am very grateful that I had the chance to stay there with such a nice group of friends!
I am already looking forward to the New Year, when I will be back here again. Then, it will be more of a 4-days music festival and probably less about quietly relaxing on the pool ;-)
For a long time I wanted to go up to a skyscraper early in the morning to have a look at the morning atmosphere in Nairobi. Today I did it - and for me it was totally worth it. Even though I'm not sure if everything was 100% correct, but if you have a nice chat with the security guards, you can apparently climb a tower already at 06.45 o'clock even though the doors usually open at 08.00 o'clock. I did not refuse and enjoyed the hour in silence above the roofs Nairobis.
Meeting point for this excursion was on at 5.00 o'clock Saturday morning in the City Centre of Nairobi and despite a somewhat lost taxi driver I managed to get there in time. And it was totally worth it. The 100km long bikeride had everything to offer: cold temperatures at the start (no wonder, the name is corner baridi = cold corner) and therefore freezing during the first 40km going mainly downhill. Followed by almost 40°C and some more or less heavy climbs. Fortunately, there was an exuberant bbq in the evening with a just "prepared" goat and campfire music. The fact that the return trip to Nairobi the next day took 7 hours instead of the planned 4 hours due to 3 breakdowns is a story in itself. A completely enjoyable excursion with great people and beautiful landscapes...
After a busy week this weekend was all in the spirit of recovery. In order to get to see something special my co-worker, Reuben, took me to the Elefant Orphanage in Nairobi. The baby elefants come to this place when they are very young and usually leave the orphanage to live in the wilderness again when they reach the age of 3 years. I have definitely made no progress in deciding whether giraffes or elephants are my favourite animal after visiting the orphanage.
Cycling in the middle of zebras, resting next to the giraffes and marvelling at hippos from a few meters - all this can be experienced in beautiful Naivasha.
On this trip I went with the already known Céline and Eve as well as one of my flat mates Leila from South Africa. Our group was great, even if it becomes exhausting after some time to play
the husband of 3 women at the same time to protect them from unwanted approaches of interested (but not interesting) unknowns. ;-)
Amazingly enough, we even managed to get a taxi that didn't drive us totally to the edge of madness. Asking four tired (and hungry) tourists for a fantasy price for a 5 minute ride didn't work here. Even though all our swahili is still minimal, we still know the most basic basics "Hapana hapana" (no no) and "ghali sana, ghali sana" (very expensive).
One (or two) glasses of the, at that moment, world's best red wine and reviewing the experienced made the emotions raised regarding the Mzungu prices forget again...
Without drawing conclusions too early, I can say with certainty that this will be one of my favourite places in Kenya. And that not (only) because I enjoyed the lovely company of "my three wives". Naivasha is truly a playground for everyone who likes nature, animals, water and air ;-)
NB: The pictures below can be enlarged by clicking
To this Saturday activity I went with Céline from Switzerland and Eve from Canada (and Finland, Norwegia among others). Since we couldn't go on a whole weekend trip we took the chance and escaped the city for a beautiful hike on the closeby Ngong Hills just outside Nairobi. Even though you're advised to hire a local guide, we survived without them. Maybe because it felt like 10'000 other people had the same plan as we had. Even though it was not possible to escape the crowds it was still very pleasant to turn your back for a few hours to the hustle and bustle of the city.
On our way back we picked up some new clothes the tailor had made for the two. The market, right next to the Kibera slum, was the complete opposite to the previous part of the day and made a wonderful conclusion of the trip. As the evening drew to a close we had a delicious Ethiopian meal (not meant to be warmed up at home, but I'll remember that for next time).
On Sat, 1st of September, I went on a trip to Mount Longonot (2780 m a.s.l) with a crew of 13 person. The group was so much fun, consisting of people from all over the world, various ages and working at different companies. Hiking/climbing up the partly steep old volcano was intense but the sunny weather, the fresh air (yes, that should be mentioned here) and the stunning view over the crater let the pain forget. In addition to the fact of being outside Nairobi also the ride to get there was an adventure. I guess, sometimes it's better to sit in the back of the Matatu in order to not being able to see what's in front ;-)
Let's go through the photos further down..
Although I slightly overslept and the group therefore had to wait for me, the morning in the park was one of my highlights in Nariobi so far. As it is well known, I am truly not the world's greatest animal lover. However, being in the nature just about 7km outside of CBD Nairobi and seeing this impressive wildlife makes this park so unique. We were lucky early birds and were able to observe giraffes, rhinos, zebras, a lion and many more. Having the huge rhinos just a few meters in front of our car was one of the best experiences ever. Thanks to our patient guide we were even allowed to have a short walk in the wilderness with a ranger (of course with a gun for protection).
I hope this was just the beginning for further unique experiences of Kenyas' wonderful nature and impressive wildlife.
Downtown City Tour with former Street Kids
On Saturday, 11th of August, I went on a unique Downtown City Tour, provided by the so-called Nai Nami group. The organization was founded by a young swiss and a fellow student as part of a scientific project work here in Nairobi. The idea is simple but brilliant. Instead of squeezing young adults into a pre-defined scheme for reintegration, the intention is to build on their abilities and experiences. Since these people used to live on Nairobis' streets when they were children each of them has his own individual and personal story. The basic idea is to provide one guide per participant. This creates an atmosphere in which you can talk to each other for a longer period of time. Thanks to the great openness of the guides, participants can gain very detailed insights into life on the road - including chicken skin due to the sometimes unbelievable and brutal stories.
After showing important places in that past time such as the sleeping place or the location where they committed the thefts the group went to a local market. Finally, they took us to a tiny little small food stall, where we could taste various regional delicacies. Without the presence of the boys, probably none of us "tourists" would have gone there.
What made the tour so unique for me was the fact that the guys took all the time in the world and shared their very personal story with us with an enormous openness. Mrembe, one of the guides invited me to join a football game at some point of my stay here. To my slight concern for my well-being he replied and assured me that their playing style has changed and is now being played by rules - at least on the field ;-) We shall see, it would be interesting in any case.