Nairobi and Masai Mara, Kenya
First Impression: I’ve been to Nairobi 3 times, the first time I couchsurfed and stayed with a local guy in Umoja and I can attest to that being a unique AF experience, but I can’t recommend anything from that trip because it would be unwise to suggest you go to that area as an unaccompanied tourist.
The second time was after a few days on safari in Masai Mara, I was with 2 friends, we stayed near enough to downtown to be able to walk and walking there was indeed a fun experience; except when we got lost and wandered into the wrong part of downtown Nairobi and had to be rescued by a 70 something year old man who very nicely said; “you ladies shouldn’t be here”.
Where I stayed: Khweza Bed and Breakfast. Quaint, cozy rooms, everything is very clean, breakfast is quite good and the rooftop restaurant is a great place to chill after safari. They also arranged our safari.
What to wear: In the city, dress casual but shorts are not recommended-they bring unwanted attention; “Hey you! I like your short pants!” Dress up for a night out, dress in comfy clothes for safari. There really is no need to go around in beige safari gear for a few days in Masai Mara-its dusty as hell so you will look disgusting after a day long game drive no matter what you wear. If I had to do it again, I’d wear Tom’s or canvas closed toe shoes, linen or cotton pants and a t-shirt.
What I did: In Nairobi I wandered, went dancing, drank coffee. My third time in Nairobi (long layover), I went to the Masai Market (it moves daily), they have some gorgeous stuff-fabric, sandals, jewelry, carvings, I really can’t get enough of the crafts and art in East Africa. In Masai Mara, I went on safari bought some crafts and visited the Masai Village and School. At the safari camp we drank big beers, ate delicious food, and played cards. On the way to Masai Mara, we stopped at The Great Rift Valley lookout point.
- Download the google map of the city and study the “off-limit” areas to make sure you don’t end up there.
- Take Boda-bodas around the city
- Keep your bag close and your valuables locked inside your hotel room.
- If going to Arusha by bus, I took a minibus there and it was quite comfortable and safe.
Off the beaten path: Reggae dancing in downtown Nairobi.
Last Impression/Wishes for “next time”: If I went back to Nairobi I’d probably try to hit up some museums and the animal sanctuary. While I abhor zoos, animal sanctuaries protect and care for orphaned animals or those that can’t survive in the wild, so I don’t mind giving my money to them.