Rabu, 23 Desember 2015

Enjoy Nairobi: Around The City and Safari

It is considered as biggest city in East Africa where many headquarters of International Organization are settled. Living in Nairobi during my internship period gave me lots of stories. Firstly, it is easy to survive here since the people understand English very well. Secondly, it is still about lovely people whom I have met. One of unexpected story is strolling around Nairobi with Sarah. We met in Slovenia around 4 years ago for event which was organized by student organization that we join, IAAS. Though Sarah only stayed for two months, we had great time together. Here are things we have done.

1. Taste Urban Life
Big city has various option of leisure and entertainment. Nairobi has many super mall with nice cafĂ© and cinema. On one fine Saturday, we spent in Wesgate Mall to do grocery in supermarket then watched movie. That was the moment when sequel of James Bond 007 has just released. The night was still young after movie, so we continued to eat tapas at Spanish Restaurant and Bar inside the mall.  

2. Nairobi National Museum
It is important to know our place better. To wrap up all history of Kenya, we went to National Museum. Apparently, that day we had little reunion with other IAAS member who was also in Nairobi. His name is Kay from Bonn, Germany. He worked in Botanical Department next to museum for his PhD project. During more or less 3 hours, the tour guide vividly explained about community in Kenya and history of the country. Visiting Nairobi National Museum was also helpful to understand wildlife. There is one gallery full of animal’s statue and completed by behavior of them in natural habitat. That was good introduction before safari. I have never known that the calm and sleepy hippo is the most aggressive mammal when it come out from the pool. The most attractive part of museum is life cycle of community especially Maasai tribe. How they dress, the meaning of it, how to name Maasai newborn baby, all of the ritual and ceremony, that have been wrapped up in one hall. 


3. Shopping in Maasai Market
Traveling is incomplete without buying souvenirs back home. This market is recommended one. It is situated at city center, behind Hotel Hilton every Sunday. Many crafts, jewelry, cloths, shirts, bag from plant fiber, post card, woody utensils, and paints are available. An important tip to shop here is always bargaining start from 30% of initial price that the sellers offer. There might be some seller who keep following you with their goods especially when they notice that you are foreigner. 

4. Safari near city
As I mentioned that this city has many options to do, for you who cannot spare many times to enjoy wildlife Nairobi National Park is good place to observe the animals. Sarah arranged the trip with her friend Caroline. She arranged a car so that finally four people were together to see wilderness of Nairobi. We visited three places: Giraffe Center, Sheldrick Wildlife Center, and Nairobi National Park. First stop was Girrafe Center in Karen, a place to breed rostchild giraffe. Nearby breeding center, there is Giraffe Manor Hotel for tourist who want to stay closer and have a chance to feed giraffe.
We moved to Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to see elephant’s babies during feeding time. That place is open only one hour every day at 11 am to 12 pm. Fifteen minutes before feeding time, all visitors were ready. Slowly, the elephant’s babies were running toward barrow full of milk bottle. They rescued the babies from many places throughout Kenya, mostly because it was abandoned due to poaching. 
Last but not least destination was Nairobi National Park. It was a bit boring when we started safari because we couldn’t see any animals. I myself wished to see lion that day. Every time we asked another car who passed from different direction. Fortunately, we were lucky to see male lion was walking calmly near the bush.  Sun was about to set on the way back to main gate, we took different route and voila! Big family of lion were blocking the road. Some cars turned off the engine and watched all group of lion walking back to the forest. What an amazing part to close the day!  
Lion's Family
5. Maasai Mara National Park 
Now the time for real safari! This place is quite typical for tourists in Kenya. Anyway, if you want to see Big Five (elephant, rhino, hippo, buffalo, and leopard) in location, this is it: Maasai Mara National Park. Sarah’s friend, his name is Lutz who has good information to arrange affordable 2 Nights 3 Days package. We left Nairobi on Friday morning. There were two Portuguese girls who joined the group, so totally five of us in one car.
First thing that we should have considered is type of car. It is important to make sure that the car is able to go through rough road. We had trouble on the way to park. Luckily it was all well managed. It was not major problem because we enjoyed game drive afterward. Landscape of park is hilly with open area. We were amazed by view of giraffe, elephant, wildebeest, zebra, lion, cheetah, and many species of birds in vast land. During second day, we had full day of game drive including picnic for lunch right on the border of Kenya and Tanzania which separated by Maasai river.
Another thing to comfort your safari is thinking about lodge or camp that you choose. I can say that camp was very cozy for budget travel. Probably it would give difference experience if we stayed inside the park. Nonetheless, we were satisfied by the service of our camp, food and how shower that they provided. 
Border"s Stone: T for Tanzania, K for Kenya
Many more things to do to enjoy Nairobi. Last weekend before Sarah departed to Germany, we chilled the afternoon with swimming at ILRI’s Gym and Recreation Center. We will meet again somewhere, someday!  

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