“In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight” – The Tokens.
Officially writing, I have been to Kenya three times. It will probably never make my top 50 countries visited, but it certainly provided mayhem, madness and inspiration. On my 2013 odyssey through Tanzania with Shadows of Africa, and onto Ethiopia for the crazy night of Hyena feeding in the holy city of Harar, I was actually in Mombasa airport for about an hour. Of course, I don’t count it as a visit, and I’d have to waiting a whopping 6 more years until I could officially add Kenya to my list of countries visited. It was in April 2019 with Russell and Malina that I was finally in Kenya. We landed in Nairobi airport. These are my top 5 moments from Kenya.
1.Maasai Mara National Park Safari
I think picture might do more justice than words here. As safaris go, Tanzania and Kenya are amongst the best in the world. Our morning of multiple lions was probably the highlight from two epic safari days in the Maasai Mara National Park.
2.Our Luxury Stay in the Maasai Mara – Sopa Lodge
After the first day of the safari, our driver headed on the 4 x 4 jeep back to our base for the night. I was expecting a dingy tent and for sure a place without a shower or a cosy bed. How wrong can a man be? This place was pure luxury…Sopa Lodge…
We arrived and checked into our room for three. It was incredible. Once we got our keys and stepped into the room I was so shocked – cosy beds, hot shower with luxury soap and towels. And this was just the start – there were wild zebras just in front of our room, which was really a safari lodge.
Then dinnertime came and it was a delicious all you can eat buffet. I also had my first Kenyan beer here after 2 days off the drink (due to a bad hangover in the bars of Burundi). The bar was lively, there was dancing (Maasai tribe), music and even Wi-Fi (if slow). Breakfast was just as epic before the second day of safari!
3.A Night Out in Nairobi
So where do I start? Firstly Russell was accommodation master and booked our stay for our only full night in Nairobi. When we arrived, it turned out that we were staying in an upmarket apartment block on a quiet street near to a swanky restaurant!
Our flat had free WiFi, a balcony, cosy shower, full kitchen and a lovely lounge. The highlight? Turning on my laptop to watch the Brighton and Hove Albion v. AFC Bournemouth match!! I had a dream the night before (in the jungle) that the Cherries would win 4-0. When we fired ourselves into a 4-0 lead, Russell and Malina looked at me in disbelief – Brighton were bookies favourites for the day, and though I didn’t put a bet on, this is one of the best betting sites in Kenya if you are looking to do that. However, it finished 5-0 to AFC Bournemouth so even my dream was a goal out.
Just before the kick off, I popped to the swanky restaurant to buy some beers to take away and the manager was so impressed by my blog and story that he didn’t charge for one of them and invited the three of us back there for rooftop dinner. His PR worked, as we ate and drank there that night and loved it.
I wrote before about the trip to the Giraffe centre before, and again, here pictures can speak louder than words but just to mention that we kissed and fed giraffes!
It was also a really difficult place to get to for cheap long term backpackers. Malina and I (with our backpacks on us) managed to convince a driver to take both of us and our secure backpacks on the back of his motorbike all the way here, to wait for us and then take us to the money changer after.
5.Wild Times in Nakuru
Nakuru was crazy for so many reasons. After negotiating our way through Nairobi’s people crazy streets near the bus station, Malina and I found ourselves shoved into the back two seats of a rammed minibus. I grabbed us two tins each of ice cold vodka mixers for the journey. There was a nice lady next to us, with her daughter.
Our destination was the town of Nakuru to see Nakuru National Park, the lake and spend 1-2 days here before heading to Eldoret and then across the border to Uganda (where we would visit Tororo and Jinja next – where the River Nile begins). From boarding that mental mini-bus, the madness was only just beginning – remember in Africa you rarely book accommodation in advance and we had no idea where we would end up.
I will get back to writing more of my Africa stories once things calm down. Here are some videos from our time backpacking / whackpacking in Kenya: