After cancelling last minute my trip to Kazakhstan due to long visa processing times, I had no choice but to find another place to go so I don’t ruin my holidays. Kenya was luckily a great option as, firstly, my dad had a work trip I was able to tag on board of. Secondly, Kenya offers e-visa for visitors which was processed in a couple of hours. My trip consisted mainly on a city-break in Nairobi, the upcoming Kenyan capital.
City: Nairobi, Kenya
1- Safaris in the city
You heard that right. You can do a safari in Nairobi as the city is host to a huge national park which includes all types of wild animals such as giraffes, zebras and lions. From the city-center to Nairobi National Park it’s about a 40 minutes ride by cab, so it’s really close to the center. In fact, from the park it’s possible to see a giraffe and the urban skyline of the city on the background. Nairobi is without any doubt the world’s Wildlife Capital!
2- Hub for East Africa
Nairobi is one of the biggest cities in Africa and acts as regional hub for East Africa. Many embassies are located there as well as many organisations such as the United Nations. Furthermore, its airport is very well located with direct flights to Europe, Morocco, Turkey, UK, Middle East and more. Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is also hub for regional flights as there are frequent flights to Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Ethiopia and many other nearby tourist hotspots. So the city is a perfect stopover destination before carrying on an East African tour.
3- Giraffes on the outskirts of the city
Giraffes are so cute! Especially when seen from a short distance, like say 15 inches from me, face to face. That’s how close I got to giraffes at the Giraffe Center right outside Nairobi. The center is well designed for giraffes who seem to enjoy the protected space and the occasional attention from visitors. I was a bit disappointed that it was quite small, but I was happy to observe giraffes in this educational and non-profit refuge.
4- Out of Africa by Karen Blixen
I heard about the movie Out of Africa but I’ve never seen it until I saw the real story behind it right in front of my eyes. Karen Blixen was a Danish author who wrote several books about her life in Africa. She was staying in the foots of the Ngong Hills, her house has been transformed into a museum dedicated to her life and accomplishments in Kenya. Karen Blixen Museum is located in the neighbourhood of Karen (named after her). Entry costs $12 but it includes a guided tour with a well-qualified guide. This was a unique experience and I highly recommend a visit to this fabulous museum!
5- Kenyan hospitality
From my experience at the airport to the hotel, I had the feeling that Kenyans are very welcoming. I felt very safe with their greetings and warm hospitality. Sadly, Nairobi does not have the best reputation in terms of safety but Kenyans make you feel at ease. They told me to look after myself, stay vigilant in the streets and simply enjoy!
6- Cool places to hangout
As a cosmopolitan city and a cultural hub in the country, Nairobi has developed a really buzzing scene around it’s hipstery hangouts especially in the neighbourhood of Westlands. There are many restaurants and bars to feel a hint of the vibes of Shoreditch in London or East Berlin. I especially liked Brew Bistro & Lounge which attracts a young mixed crowd for eating, drinking and also dancing!
7- Music everywhere!
Kenyans surely love music and I was blessed to witness homeless kids dancing to the music coming out of a huge speaker of a random fried chicken restaurant. It was a magical moment but not only. On the cab too, music was blasting. In the hotel, at the stores, basically everywhere. It was really music of sunny and warm hearts!
BONUS: ONLINE VISA
Last reason why I think you should visit is that most nationalities (including Morocco) can apply for a Kenyan visa online. I applied and within a couple of hours my visa was ready! It costs $52 for one single entry. Quite expensive but definitely hassle-free! Check out the e-visa website here.
Have you been to Nairobi before? Tell me your experience!