Rounding out last week’s post, here is the rest of my Top 10 Reasons to Visit Nairobi. This week, expect a little less animals (some animals, obviously, but less) and a little more culture. Find out where to kiss crocodiles (you know I did it), how to relive Out of Africa and why I never felt in danger in Kenya’s capital. And then grab your passport and get traveling!
6. Mamba Village– If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am a fan of any place that will allow me to touch the wildlife. Hence this next entry on my list. I don’t know that Mamba Village has the philanthropic emphasis or crowd appeal of the Giraffe Center or the elephant orphanage. But they let me hold and kiss a baby crocodile; meaning, in my book, they’re worth a visit. P.S. For those who are impressed at the first photo, if you look closely, the little guy has a rubber band around his mouth. So don’t be too impressed. Although the rubber band broke about 3 times before the guide got it to stay. So I guess you can be a little impressed.7. Lake Nakuru National Park– One of the beautiful things about Nairobi is that, in addition to it’s own national park, it is within a few hours driving distance of a number of other parks. So if you’re like me and can never get enough safari, you don’t have to. On the day before I returned to the States, I had some time to kill and at the suggestion of a number of locals, decided to take a day trip to Lake Nakuru. At one point, Nakuru was known for it’s lake almost entirely pink with flamingos. Unfortunately, due to rising water levels, most of the flamingos have moved on to saltier waters. None the less, after coming from the Maasai Mara, I did not have high expectations for Lake Nakuru. But, I was pleasantly surprised to have a wonderful day’s safari, all from my car’s windows. We saw giraffes, antelopes, more rhino then I was able to see at the Maasai Mara in 4 days and a wealth of bird species. And, unlike the Mara, you do not need to stay overnight to enjoy Nakuru’s wildlife. It’s all within a couple hours of Nairobi!8. Lake Naivasha– Naivasha is about an hour closer to Nairobi than Nakuru but, as I never like to make things easy, I opted to visit the further park. If you don’t want to spend too much time driving (I actually like riding in the car in other countries; it is a wonderful way to check out the scenery), Naivasha is another option. Like Lake Nakuru, Naivasha is popular for ornithophiles and animal-lovers alike. Unlike Nakuru, it offers the option of boat rides.9. Out of Africa– For better or worse, I lived my own Out of Africa when I visited South Africa 4 years ago. (If you don’t get the reference, rent the movie and have a good cry.) Not only is it a cinematic and literary masterpiece, Out of Africa is also the memoir of author Karen Blixen’s time in Kenya. Fans can visit the late writer’s home (although not the home that was used in the film) as well as Denys Finch Hatton’s gravesite.10. The Stigma- As I mentioned in last week’s post, my journey to Nairobi was met with skepticism and, quite frankly, prejudice. Certainly Nairobi has it’s fair share of unrest; it would be naive of me to state otherwise. And truthfully, not once did I leave my hotel unattended. I was always in the company of a guide, driver or friend. But, not once did I feel unsafe in the city. I was aware of my surroundings, dressed modestly and tried to fly under the radar as much as possible. The fact of the matter is that you can run into danger no matter where you are in the world. Yes, some places are safer than others, but you can never take your security for granted. As long as you are smart about it, there is no reason not to visit this beautiful city. Trust me. If I can do it, so can you!
Images via yours truly + Google images