One of my most exciting adventures started off in the beautiful Nairobi, situated in the heart of Kenya. Before heading off to the Maasai Mara for safari, we decided to stay in a camp based in Karen, south west of Nairobi‘s city centre for two nights. If you have read the book “Out of Africa” or seen the movie featuring Robert Redford and Meryl Steep, this part of the city was an adventurous base and the perfect location for us to start exploring Nairobi. We took the direct flight from Frankfurt and arrived just seven hours later at Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport where we were greeted by our driver.
Just a 30 minute drive later and we arrived at our first stop, Anga Afrika – a luxury tented camp situated in the luscious green offering a peaceful experience. Getting there was a breeze as the driver picked us up directly from the airport.
Even though we arrived very late (11 p.m., to be specific) the house manager was there to greet us, start up the fire, show us our tent room and offer us a glass or three of wine… What an excellent start to our trip!
I personally loved the size of the tent – 35m2 of space for us and all our luggage was perfect…. The furniture is exquisite with great attention to detail – an authentic touch with the Maasai fabrics used, as well as the intricate wood details.
When we woke up we had two fresh bathing robes ready to embrace us after our hot shower…
We went straight off to bed as we had organized a trip via Anga Afrika to explore Nairobi. To my surprise when we hit our beds, a bottle warmer was waiting for us which was happily welcomed as it was a chilly night and we dozed off to sleep. We stayed in the Simba room (which, as you can guess, is Lion in Swahili) and features a large and very comfortable double bed. Find an overview of the rooms here.
And we awoke to this…
The outdoor deck with safari chairs was an excellent touch and a lovely way to start our day. With a promise of a filling breakfast, we got up early and enjoyed a delicious selection of fruits (some out of the garden itself), eggs, fresh juice and we were ready to seize the day…
We started our journey organized by Anga Afrika to the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, also located just outside of Nairobi. In just half an hour, we were there and witnessed the only daily feeding between 11 a.m.-12 p.m. This foundation is an orphanage for elephants and once they are old enough, they are re-integrated back into the wildlife. Hearing the stories of these baby elephants was heart-breaking considering how many had lost their mothers due to poaching. It is great to hear of such initiatives and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay.
Our next station was The Giraffe Centre located about 10-15 minutes away. The main aim is to protect and also educate visitors about these giraffes which are unfortunately on the endangered species list. If you are lucky, you can get to kiss one too…
Our last station was the Karen Blixen Museum where the memory of the author behind “Out of Africa” is kept alive. We had a great tour guide who gave us a detailed story behind the author as well as a glimpse into colonial Africa.
The gardens are splendid too.
We also had lunch at Tamambo Karen Blixen – an indoor outdoor restaurant bar that offers delicious food.
You can try several local dishes here, too.
After our day trip, we headed back to the luscious gardens of our camp. We relaxed and went for dinner in the heart of the Anga Afrika camp which is the bar and dining lounge featuring beautiful wooden furniture and a warm inviting atmosphere. There is also a fire place each night to help relax and wind down the day.
If you are sensitive to noise, get a few ear plugs as Nairobi can be windy and you hear the odd dog barking. The same thing goes for when you head out for safari (except less dogs, naturally…).
I can definitely recommend staying in Nairobi (two nights, if possible, to be able to explore the city). The best start we could have had with this trip was to have an original experience in such an exotic location in the form of Anga Afrika. Additionally, they were always quick to respond with any queries and their eco-camping lodge with the tent helped us dive right into the African spirit.
Top Tips for Nairobi:
- Try and organise your trips in and around Kenya with a local driver. Many hotels such as ours Anga Afrika arrange trips. Traffic is some of the most hectic in the world in Nairobi and having an experienced driver will get you to your destinations faster
- Upon arrival, you will be asked to pay 50$ for your VISA. You can also get your visa online here
- Yellow Fever shots are not mandatory if you travel to Nairobi; however, I do recommend getting one if you go for safari
- It is great to pack summer clothes, but if you have early mornings, do not forget to pack a few sweaters and long trousers. It can be quite chilly in the morning
- Pack a raincoat. Nairobi is known in Kiswahili as the “The place of cool waters” and the temperature can be moody at times
- Exchange your currency at the airport to the Kenyan Shilling (1€ =106 KSh; 1$=102 KSh); you can find ATMs, but it may be a hassle. It is better to be safe than sorry. Credit cards are also widely accepted