Kenya is an amazing destination whose greatness has left no one that had visited it indifferent, and who has served as inspiration to great artists of fashion, design and even cinema. Even Disney has surrendered in its charms!
Going from Johannesburg to Kenya can be a challenge for anyone, moving to Africa is not the easiest thing in the world since there are few local airlines and without the necessary care the stopovers can be eternal, but thanks to the management of VoyDeViaje we were able to pass this incidents without major inconveniences. Undoubtedly it is worth approaching the epicenter of the continent, where wildlife still exists, and you can see animals in the most native way that exists, one that far exceeds anything you have imagined.
Those who plan to get to know Kenya have two points in their sights, visit the famous Masai Mara National Reserve or know its beaches, which are characterized by their white sand and the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. No matter what your choice, you always have to go through your capital, Nairobi, a city as modest as dangerous that I do not recommend walking at night, and in which you have to be careful during the day.
If you plan to stay here I have a couple of hotels to recommend you, but before entering the subject, I want to tell you that there is no residential area in this city, so do not expect great luxuries!
If your plan is to walk around and get to know the surroundings, the Best Western Plus Meridian Hotel is one of my favorites thanks to its central location. The facilities are quite large and beautiful, and in addition to having comfortable rooms, you can also have a drink and enjoy a delicious dinner on its divine rooftop.
On the other hand, if you’re planing is a short stay in the city, I suggest the Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Airport. Strategically built just a few minutes from the airport, this hotel has all the fuss. Its two restaurants are the most complete, breakfast was the best we had on the trip and the decoration spectacular. The best? A bar on the rooftop with a pool that will make you flip. As if that were not enough, it has a transport service. You can not ask for more!
Located at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, its price per night for two adults with breakfast included: USD 205 approximately.
Going to the Masai market is a must stop when visiting Nairobi. It is very central and you can find handicrafts from the area and the local community, as well as sandals, masks, kitchen utensils and all kinds of decoration elements.
Now, if you have time for a bit of nature within the city, our recommendation is the Nairobi National Park. It is quite large and offers the option to make the famous game drives, which are nothing more than spectacular jeep tours.
For lovers of nature and animals, the best alternative is The David Sheldrick Fund. It is in the vicinity of the park and is the most successful program of rescue and rehabilitation of orphans and elephants in the world, as well as being one of the pioneering organizations of wildlife conservation and habitat protection in East Africa. Founded in 1977 of a family’s passion for Kenya, their work consists in the rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned elephants, mostly due to illegal hunters. If you like this type of institution you will like to know that you can sponsor one of the orphan elephants with an annual investment of at least $ 50 a year that also gives you the opportunity to visit him in person and follow up.
Similarly, and very close is the center of giraffes, where you can see these magnificent animals and live the experience of feeding them. It is worth noting that in the rest of the safaris you will never be so close to them nor will you be able to touch them.
To eat it is possible to find some very good restaurants, although they are not around the corner. As we tell you in the Johannesburg article in Africa, the distances between one place and another are very long.
If seafood is among your favorites, I invite you to meet Seven Seafood. Although It is a bit out of the way, it is worth the trip because it is part of a complex where you can find different clothing stores, cafes and a varied offer of restaurants.
Yemen’s food has great influence in Africa, so we went to visit the Yemeni Restaurant, which offers this exotic food (which has a lot of history) at modest prices, which makes it the perfect choice for those traveling with little budget Yemeni Restaurant.
Another cosmopolitan food establishment is Soi Kenya. I confess that it is one of the best places where we ate. It has a super varied menu that includes Thai food, among other delights and is located within the DusitD2 hotel chain, which we also recommend to stay and that has two more restaurants in front. Everything a plus, considering the issue of the distances that we already mentioned.
In our case, and with the intention of making the most of our days in Africa, we decided to sacrifice the landscapes and the relaxation of the paradisiacal beaches of the coasts and venture on a safari. Come on, it’s not something that can be done every day!
The truth is that there are so many pages and offers to book safaris, that is a complicated task and choosing the best option can take a while. To make things easier, we suggest you use the web safaribookings where you can find different providers and different tours. They separate them according to the area where you are, and you can see the reviews of other travelers.
Our choice was Kenya Walking which in terms of price – quality had the best equation. We undertook 9 days of safari and visited four national parks, and we can assure you that they had no waste!
Masai Mara is a protected area in southwestern Kenya, along the Tanzanian border. Its name is given by the Masai people that inhabit the area, a very unique semi-nomadic tribe. It is home to an incredible concentration of wildlife throughout the year, composed primarily of elephants, hippos, buffalo, gazelles, giraffes, lions, cheetahs, leopards, plus crocodiles in the Mara River. The best time to travel is during the Great Migration, which occurs from June to October.
The Masai Mara was the highlight of the trip. The photos speak for themselves.
A visit to the Masai Village with the ancient Masai warriors can enchant you. A ride that is not included in the safari but I recommend, for about 15 USD you can see how this tribe lives that has not completely lost its customs.
From there we went to Lake Naivalla National Park where we saw all kinds of birds and large colonies of hippos in a 1 hour boat ride. The price is not usually included in the safaris and is USD 25 per person.
We stayed at the Crater Lake Tented Camp hotel which I highly recommend because it is simply amazing. It is located in a crater with salt water inside (yes, you read well, a crater). It is a beautiful and super natural place that gives you the chance to explore the entire periphery of the crater while watching from above the fauna that inhabits the park. You have to go!
From there we visit Hellsgate, which is a park where you make bicycle tours among giraffes, wild boars and many other species. It has spectacular caves with very marked stone textures, and among them is the place that inspired the famous scene of The Lion King, where Mufasa presents his son Simba to the herd.
Finally we met the Amboseli National Park. It is a very accessible park in the south of the country, close to the border with Tanzania, which has almost all the representatives of the African fauna and as a great attraction you can see the silhouette of Kilimanjaro cut out on the horizon, acting as a backdrop. It is especially indicated if you like elephants, since you can find large herds of up to 100. It is not the best place to see big cats or herviborous herds.
It is worth noting that the hotels in this park are much larger and more functional than in Masai Mara.
In short, and before you read our Kenyan trip again, remember our recommendations: If you want to see lions you have to go to Masai Mara, the elephants you find in Amboseli and Naivalla are the most amazing lakes, birds and craters.