Anyone who knows me well know that I absolutely love traveling to countries in Africa, so much so I am often a repeat traveler to the countries I really enjoy. Kenya, along with South Africa and Zanzibar are the ones that I have visited more than once. So when I got the chance to visit Nairobi on a 20 hour layover I jumped at the chance because while I had been to Kenya twice I had not spent any time in Nairobi. I really wanted to visit the elephant orphanage and the giraffe center.
Well let’s say this trip was worth the lack of sleep and left me so full of joy😍. The driver picked me up at 10 am from the airport and dropped me off at 7 pm and it cost me $60 for the day. This may seem expensive to some but it is less than the advertised cost of a combined day tour from both trip advisor and viator and it was worth the convenience of having someone wait on me and take me exactly where I wanted to go. First we went to the Elephant sanctuary which only allows visits from 11 to 12 where they bring the elephants out in groups and give a presentation on how they rescue the babies after their moms have died or been murdered by poachers, how they care for them and the plans to eventually re-release them into the wild. You are also given the opportunity to adopt them or to make a donation to the organization. It was really cool seeing them up close, elephants are majestic creatures, they tend to move slowly but there is no confusion about their power and presence. The ones we saw are babies age 3 or younger that has been rescued from various bad situations. Unlike in Thailand there was no up close bathing encounters but it was a very awe inspiring experience anyway. It was nice to get close enough to touch them and see them interact with their care givers.
After the visit to the elephant orphanage we had lunch at the Bush Gardens restaurant close to the giraffe center. It’s an outdoor restaurant with a wood oven that makes pizza and ha a small souvenir shop. I had the most delicious snapper and mashed potatoes. Upon leaving the restaurant I asked a Masaai guy if I could take his picture, he spoke little english but communicated through David my driver that he wanted to be paid which I expected. The driver took a picture of us and he gestured to me to hold the stick he held in his hand and then grabbed my hand for the next photo. I must say I was tickled by the sudden intimacy of holding hands with a stranger but chose to allow the moment for the photo. My driver commented that I could tell my friends I had found a Masaai man in Kenya which I thought was funny 🤣 .
The giraffe center allows visitors to feed the giraffes with food pellets that are included with the cost of the admission of the ticket. From the 9 giraffes on the grounds only two of them eventually came over – Stacey and Salma. They were distracted by a female giraffe that was about to give birth so they had to be coaxed over to interact with us humans by the banging of the bucket with their food and the calling of their names. Giraffes are huge, tall, elegant animals who roam freely through the huge grounds and they come up to the house where you stand on the second level to be fed. They are a bit scary up close because of their size but it was fascinating to see them right in front of you. They strut when they walk like royalty. Their tongues are huge and slimy, and their lips are big; it was a weird sensation to have them suck the pellets from your palm or stick their huge tongues out to grab the pellets. Some people even kissed them by holding the food pellets in their lips and the giraffe would put their big lips on people’s faces to get the pellets. This seemed a bit too much for me, so no kisses for me🤷🏾♀️.
After this visit we drove around trying to find skirts or dresses because this girl can never have too much African print clothing💃🏾. After stopping at a couple of shops, we went to a mall that had a bunch of stalls on the ground floor where local clothes are sold. I went from stall to stall looking at what was available. The woman in the final stall patiently pulled out skirts and dresses and was equally appalled that they didn’t all have pockets. Something about her spirit made me want to buy from her but I couldn’t find the fabric I was looking for. I wanted to find a skirt I could wear with my red t-shirt, and I was hoping for one of the two particular red based fabrics that were available in a smaller size. Her friend from another stall made me laugh when she said in a firm tone well you won’t get those ones, because they’re not available. At this point I just decided to buy the skirt with the green and yellow flower pattern. Just when I was ready to give up and leave I saw a blue skirt with white patterns in another stall that caught my eye that would go perfectly with my red #Dopelife t shirt. By this time it was after 6 pm and I was exhausted from the lack of sleep from the previous night and decided to go back to the airport. I had had a great day but I was done. Mission accomplished😎
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