COLORS OF KENYA | NAIROBI + SAMBURU |KENYA
“I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up and was not happy” (Ernest Hemingway)
Granted yes, we woke up rather early every morning, but we were unquestionably always greeted with beautiful sunrises, incredibly infectious smiles, captivating views of wildlife and last but not least kisses from Georgette the Giraffe.
Come and follow our tracks on a life changing adventure in and out of Africa.
While Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, is a city with skyscrapers and unpredictable traffic like many other places in the world, it is most probably the only one where the likes of hippos, zebras or giraffes would wonderfully photo bomb your pictures of the skyline.
Before you go make sure you apply for a visa online, it only takes a few minutes and you get instant approval. Alternatively you can still obtain one upon arrival, but we preferred to skip the line after a long transatlantic flight. Also check if you need to get your yellow fever vaccines, which depends on your country of origin.
Once upon a time…a couple bought a property in the Karen Hardy district of Nairobi and decided to have a celebratory afternoon tea on the sunny terrace. To their dazzlingly beautiful surprise a herd of the rare and close to distinct Rothschild giraffes came flocking by for a friendly and welcoming hello. As the new owners gave them a treat, daily hellos followed. Almost every day now, they still happily show up for breakfast at the crack of dawn.
The now iconic Giraffe Manor welcomes guests to stay in one of their 10 beautiful rooms where giraffes directly walk up to your window to wish you a good morning.
I barely slept enough, the jet lag and the excitement to meet Rothschild giraffes up close and personal early the next morning kept me up throughout most of the night.
Quite unsurprisingly these giraffes all looked much fresher and awake than I did when we first met. More surprisingly though, we learned that giraffes only sleep a total of approximately 30 minutes per day, divided into 5 minutes power naps.
Oh, how and where can I sign up for this superpower?
While in Nairobi, we went to see the Bomas of Kenya, collection of sample huts from all 42 tribes in Kenya. Obviously what interested Barto most was how there was always one big hut for the husband, while you could find smaller 1st, 2nd and 3rd wife’s huts neatly placed around it.
So he engaged in a lengthy conversation with our guide what life would be like if he also were allowed to have more wives. Yes, if only Barto!
Let’s go there and see what it’s like.
#keepdreaming #headintheclouds #imaginetheheadache #bomasofkenya
Small Cessna planes leave from Wilson airport, located approximately half an hour from Nairobi International and serves as a hub for many small destinations in Kenya.
Make a note that airlines will only tell you a day ahead of time how many stops your plane will make before arriving at your final destination. We were lucky and only made one stop before arriving in Samburu airport in the northeastern part of Kenya but heard that they could make up to 4 before reaching your stop.
Be aware that they are strict about the 15kg / 33 lbs duffle bag allowance – including your personal items. I had serious separation issues from unnecessary items I packed for a Safari, but we were able to store our overweight luggage for free at Wilson airport.
Glamping out in the wilderness for a safari has always been on my dream to-do-list and finally we were headed to Sasaab, where we stayed in beautiful African and Moroccan inspired tents with views for days, all-inclusive meals and a lavish spa for invigorating massages for the hot down time hours between Safaris.
Sometimes you even get as lucky as seeing elephants taking a refreshing bath in the river in front of you while plunging in your your own private pool and enjoying your own moment of refreshing coolness. Ready?
Our alarm clocks woke us up when it was still pitch dark out. We sat outside of our tent and enjoyed infinite silence and peace with our morning tea, while watching the sun slowly rise. Then we grabbed everything we needed for our safari – our packing list has become rather simple: our camera with 400mm zoom (first time we didn’t only shoot on the i-phone), binoculars, a warm scarf for the morning hours, sunnies and our refilled water bottles. Our hunger was going be fed with breakfast made on the jeep and our thirst for knowledge about each animal and the area quenched by our wonderful guides Daniel and Samuel.
So the story goes that Daniel (our driver and safari guide) was once given the responsibility to watch the family’s herd of goats when he was a little boy. One day, he lost a goat. Another he lost another one or two. And after a week’s time his parents couldn’t bear watching their fortune and future slip away like this any longer and they made the difficult decision to punish him:
They send him to school instead. Now he has been schooled, speaks impeccable English and is one of the best guides in the area.
When we first had some difficulties finding big cats Daniel kept reminding us to keep our eyes wide open on all levels. But when I remarked that I wasn’t even quite sure what exactly to look out for our spotter Samuel deviously looked at me and whispered “maybe you should listen!”
So here we were, taught to see and to listen.
It was incredible to listen to the birds communicating, to listen to the baboons panicking and decipher every sound they made and started following into the big cats footsteps.
Another great indicator to see if there were any lions, cheetahs or wild dogs in the proximity, was to evaluate how calm the Impalas were grazing.
Impalas, also known as the Mc Donalds of the bush, named for their double arched “M” on their big butts, are the wild’s favorite fast food snack.
Another favorite – even though much smaller in size- are the Dik Diks. We were told that they will always come in pairs and stick together as partners for life. If one dies, the other would die out of heartbreak, too. Aww.
Magnificent elephants were one of our favorite creatures to spot in big families of ten, twenty or even fifty. We could have watched and admired them play from a distance for hours.
But sadly the possibility to see them like this decreases every day. Every 15 minutes an elephant is being killed for its tusks. Kenya has already lost over 70% of their elephant population due to poaching in the past 10 years.
Elephants are an iconic symbol of Kenya, so despite suffering an enormous financial loss, the Kenya Wildlife Service recently burnt down 105 tons of elephant ivory as a demonstration against elephant and rhino poaching in the area.
Tourism is a way to support Kenya’s economy.
We always find it useful and fun to learn a few words and expressions upon arrival in a new country to communicate with our fellow humans. Little did we know that in fact 42 tribe languages (plus many sub dialects) are spoken in Kenya, but HAKUNA MATATA (no problem), almost 100% of Kenya’s (and Tanzania’s) population also have one language in common: Swahili.
Hello = Jambo!
Welcome = Karibu
Good morning = Habari ya asubihi (for #newspapersarpundtheworld)
Thank you = Asante
Simba Toto = Little Lion || Barto Toto = Little Barto
From the moment we arrived at this Samburu village until now, we actually haven’t stopped smiling. Absolutely everyone just switched on a light of happiness within us.
When we asked how we could bring happiness to them in return, they kindly asked us to not give out anything to the kids as they would like to prevent them to think that anyone that passes by should hand out things to them. Nevertheless we were also lucky to have been accompanied by an amazing doctor from Belgium who has spent her last 30+ years in Africa, helping on various projects. She was informing us, how each hut could be equipped with solar powered LED lighting for as little as $1/hut. Imagine children being able to read and study after dark in their huts. We are currently working out details, how we can support this amazing project, in the meantime please have a look at this. Let’s help light Kenya, one village at a time.
●White shorts and shirt: Janesuda
●Hat: Eugenia Kim
●Colorful short dress: Figue NYC
●Long red dress: Rhode Resort
Lodges: Safari Collection
Nairobi: Giraffe Manor