I purposely arrived in Nairobi a few days before my tour started to allow myself to get situated, get over any jetlag, and have a chance to see a few local sites as I knew the tour would be leaving town once it started. Based on prior experience, I knew if I didn’t book something for when I arrived, I would just hang out at the hotel until my tour started (not necessarily a bad thing). As a result, I booked a trip to for the Friday.
Due to my I had a quick shower before bed, rinsed my clothing and crashed. , I was woken around 9 in the morning Thursday by my phone ringing, very odd. It was the tour company calling to see if I wanted to go out that day. Another hotel guest was going out on a day trip and if I wanted to go, he would make us a deal. He sweetened the pot by mentioning we could stop at a mall as I did want to find some clothing, knowing I would have to wear the same clothing again on Friday.
The day trip would include: visiting an elephant orphanage, giraffes, a historical home and then a stop at a local mall for food and some shopping. It would be $60 US for each of us. I agreed but asked for a bit of time so I could get dressed my camera and such as well as grab some breakfast as it was complimentary at our hotel. I knew I was going to need some food and caffeine to get me going.
The first stop of the day was at the Elephant Orphanage. These are elephants that have been abandoned for various reasons but as they went through them all, it seemed the most common was their mother falling into a well. Some lost parents due to poaching or natural causes. They showed us two groups of elephants, one was the group under 2 years and the other group was 2 to about 5 years old. After they are two years old, they will take them out and work on re-introducing them to the wild. It can take up to 10 years for that to happen.
If you got too close, there was a good chance that you were going to get splashed with the red, muddy water. Many people did and the wet wipes they had was not enough to get the mud off.
You were able to adopt one of the elephants for $50 US a year. That gave you naming rights; a monthly newsletter and you could come out after hours on certain nights to visit your elephant and watch them be put to bed.
Look up, Way up!
From here, we headed to where the giraffes were. You could pet the giraffes and feed them for a small fee. I chose not to but the other lady did. You could tell the giraffes were used to being fed as they had no issue coming right up to the people. There were a couple in the distance and some animals hanging around on the ground. We didn’t stay here very long as a result.
Next up, the former house of Karen Blixon who wrote the book “Out ofAfrica”. We were shown through her house and the grounds. There was quite a bit of memorabilia from the movie as well as pictures.
A Different Shopping Experience
I will start off by saying this is not a mall like what we have in Canada. First of all, there was a guard where you came in. They actually did a small search of the car – checked the glove compartment and the trunk. I believe they also gave you a ticket to pay for parking once you left. At the entrance to the mall, there were guards and they gave you a quick check and pat down when you entered. From what I heard after, this mall had an explosion a few years back so security was tighter.
We went into a department type store (think Walmart) with a much more limited selection. We both wanted a few things from the beauty department and some snack food. Got what we want and left. Went upstairs and discovered the store we had just been in had a second level too. When we walked in, we learnt we had to check our bags at the door.
Found clothing but the selection was very limited. I think overall I found two pairs of pants that were the right size (elastic waistbands make life easier) and a shirt. The shirt was not my normal style, but hey, I wasn’t being picky. I picked up a pair of sandals as well as I knew I hadn’t brought any of those along and I would need them.
Headed to the food court to find some lunch but unlike at home, there were people from each stall who came out and tried to give you their menu to convince you to come to their stall. Found something that worked for us and ordered it to go as we knew our guide was waiting downstairs. But when we went to find him, he was missing so we ended up going back inside to eat. Turned out he was hot and thirsty so had gone to find some water.