Nairobi was the first stop on our five week East African adventure. We flew with Qatar Airways from Melbourne to Doha and then Doha to Nairobi. Before leaving I had researched whether or not you can obtain the East African visa (for Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda) on arrival and couldn’t find any reliable information. So I’d like to state that at September 16, 2017 you CAN get the EAC visa on arrival! It costs $US100 and you need cash. Just in case you ever need that information!
After getting our visas we purchased pre paid SIM cards at the airport, ordered an Uber and drove through reasonable traffic to Beth and Grant’s apartment in Westlands. Beth and Grant are friend’s of my sister’s. My sister lives in Rwanda and has many lovely (conventiently located!) mates across East Africa. After over 24 hours of travel it was lovely to arrive in their beautiful apartment, shower, be fed delicious risotto and hop into bed!
The next morning Beth and Grant were delivering a huge bundle of bread donated from a fancy bakery to a facility for homeless boys, so we joined them. A lot of the boys left home and came to Nairobi looking for work or to be less of a burden on their families. They were all very sweet and introduced themselves in between lining up for loaves of artisanal sourdough and french pastries. One kid did an adorable happy dance after receiving a chocolate eclair. They welcomed us into their dormitory which was an eye opening and important experience. It was very rough but I was glad these guys had a place to sleep. After hanging out for a bit and patting cute stray puppies we left.
After having a very grounding, check-your-privilege kind of experience it was a bit jarring to head straight to a tourist hot spot. But off we went to the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage where young, sick, injured and orphaned elephants are looked after and rehabilitated. It was pretty damn cute!
After watching the elephants feeding and frolicking around in the mud we headed to the Giraffe Centre, which is a similar conservation facility.
At the Giraffe Centre you can feed the giraffes small pellets, which they lick out of your hands with their weird long grey tongues. Some people hold the pellet between their lips and let the giraffe lick it out of their mouth… I was not tempted to try it!
Giraffes are truly the weirdest, prettiest animals. They have gorgeous long lashes and adorable faces but move so strangely, I can’t quite figure them out. Their necks are really strong and if you stood next to them for a photo they might try and headbutt you.
The following day we walked to a fancy brunch place called Le Grenier A Pain but unfortunately the altitude got the better of me and I was sick. So we walked home.
After I recovered we walked back to the apartment, grabbing some fruit from a street stand on the way. That night my sister Sarah arrived from Europe! We went out for Indian with Beth at a place called Chow Patty. It was the best Indian I’ve ever had, a definitely must if you’re going to Nairobi.
The following day we escorted my sister on a thrilling trip to the Australian High Commission. We weren’t allowed inside while Sarah got some documents for her wedding (!!!) so we hung around outside and I chatted to Charles, a heavily armed guard and former Masai man.
That afternoon we flew to our first destination, the island of Lamu, our adventure just beginning…