Saturday, 29 October 2016

Kenya diaries #1 - Settling in, safari and a complete change of plans

So, it's been almost a month since we made the monster journey from Sydney to Nairobi and it's safe to say that as per usual, none of our plans actually...went to plan. If you'd read my 'updated travel plans' post, you'll know that the plan was to spend around 10 days in Nairobi before heading to Tanzania for three weeks and well, that did happen but we were in Tanzania for around 72 hours before heading back. We're now going to be in Kenya in total, for around 3 months so I thought it would be a fun to make a little 'Kenya diaries' series because hey, it's a little different to the original plan of spending almost a year in Australia.

It really has been an eventful few weeks here. Admittedly, when we first boarded the place in Sydney I was a little apprehensive and as we landed, whilst I was excited, I was wondering what the flipping flip we were thinking. Whenever you even begin to mention that you're travelling to a country in Africa, the first reaction is always, 'why, isn't Africa really dangerous?' The truth is, whilst there are parts of countries across the continent that do have dangers (just like the rest of the world, read more about that here), and you know that for the most part, these countries are incredible destinations that you're lucky to travel too, there is still that little bit of apprehension, there is still that little voice in the back of your mind feeding you doubts.

It's when you get there, and you settle in, that you notice that the apprehension you had, has disappeared. The apprehension has disappeared because when you actually arrive, and you actually see a place for yourself, you realise that the perceptions that you previously had, and the scare stories you were told, were completely and utterly wrong.

And that's exactly what happened with Nairobi.

For the first few days, we stayed at Mililani Backpackers in Karen and pretty much eat, drank and slept (blaming the jet lag for this of course). When we managed to tear ourself away from either our beds or any establishment that sold food, we visited the Giraffe Centre whereby you can feed and even have a cheeky little kiss with the wild animals themselves. It was an amazing experience and one that neither Rosie or I will ever forget thanks to hands down the worst tourist in the world, who decided that hey, screw everyone else that was visiting the centre who perhaps want a photo with a giraffe friend or two, I need to get an on point selfie and that's what I'm going to do...for 3 straight hours...with every single giraffe in the entire place who is being fed by another person...gotta get that shot.


Also, to the American woman who was told not to pet the giraffes at least three times because, y'know, they're wild animals, don't then pet the giraffe and get upset and call it dangerous when it starts to thrash and head butt you. Why not just follow instructions and respect the animals in their natural habitat, yeah?


After a couple of nights in the city, we wasted absolutely no time in heading out on safari and it was pretty much one of the best experiences on the trip. The safari was a 3 day adventure in the Maasai Mara National Park, which is named one of the top wildlife destinations in the entirety of Africa. With a diverse number of resident animals, including the big 5 - lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant - the Mara is the ultimate place to travel on safari and oh wow, it really is difficult to put into words how incredible it is (helpful for a blog post, I know.)

Just as we thought our time on safari couldn't get better, we met a group of people who were volunteering at a charity called Marafiki Community International. After a few drinks and a visit to an actual club in the actual Maasai village with the group, we decided to put our actual plans for the next week to one side, take the owner's offer up of a place to stay for a few days and head back with them. I've always believed 'what will be, will be' and I really do think that this was the best decision we could have made because staying at the volunteer house and being surrounded with such an amazing group of people completely made our time in Nairobi what it much so that after our first night in Tanzania a week later, we made the decision that nope, this wasn't for us, and came back!

Did I mention that we're a tad spontaneous and insane in equal measures? Mmhmm.

So what are we doing now? Well, a dodgy going in in Tanzania and a whole lot of travelling to and from the Kenya/Tanzania border turned out to be completely worth it as we are now working with Marafiki on their marketing and social media for the next six weeks. It's really exciting to be able to experience living in such a diverse and interesting country like Kenya and I'm sure it's going to be a time in this trip, and my life, that I'm not going to forget in a hurry... (particularly travelling around the area in Matutu's (a small bus) with 15 people, 3 bags of bananas and the radio blasting out every possible nook and cranny).

Yep, it's going to be an experience - and one that I'm loving so far!

Look out for more posts about Kenya soon - let me know if there is anything in particular you would like to read about.

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