In case you are questioning what to go to if you’re solely within the metropolis for a short while, a Nairobi strolling tour is an excellent strategy to benefit from the charming capital of Kenya. Many individuals merely move by way of town, en-route to a safari, however when you’ve got time to spend an evening, it is best to definitely get out and discover.
I solely had 24 hours in Nairobi however left feeling I had made a reference to town. As Kenya’s capital, Nairobi has an enormous historical past, from being on the coronary heart of human evolution to the colonial days and from being as soon as a poster little one for a profitable post-colonial devolution, to the civil unrest that also bubbles below as we speak.
By taking a Nairobi strolling tour with a information, you gained’t solely see the principle vacationer locations in Nairobi, however additionally, you will hear their shops and share their expertise of life within the metropolis.
I used to be fortunate sufficient to fulfill Charles, my information who I’m nonetheless in contact with, who helped me not solely benefit from the metropolis, but in addition really feel protected and benefit from my 24 hours in Nairobi.
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Arriving in Nairobi
The plan was to fly into Nairobi, out of Johannesburg with an entire lot of journey in between.
Trying again, as a primary solo journey it was one hell of a studying expertise, notably having misplaced my pockets, telephone and Passport in Dubai airport, however that’s one other story.
Getting a visa at Nairobi Airport
Jomo Kenyatta Worldwide Airport is easy, simply observe everybody off the aircraft to the visa desk, pay $50 and move on by way of.
There are a number of choices on visas into Kenya, so make sure you get the proper one. I had a easy Kenyan vacationer visa, however you too can get a transit visa if you’re travelling straight by way of and out of Kenya which I consider is $30 or a a number of entry visa for $70.
If you happen to plan to depart Kenya and re-enter, make sure you get this one in any other case you’ll find yourself paying the total $50 once more upon re-entry. Bear this in thoughts if you’re visiting among the neighboring international locations comparable to Kampala in Uganda or Rwanda earlier than coming again to Kenya.
All of those visas can be found for UK residents on the airport, though different nationalities ought to most likely double-check earlier than flying. Additionally it is potential to keep away from all this by getting an e-visa earlier than your go to.
Getting a taxi from Nairobi airport
After clearing immigration I gathered my bag and wandered out of the airport. As quickly as I emerged I used to be accosted by a great deal of totally different folks all crying “Taxi Taxi” – I discovered it quite intimidating.
I had learn loads about taxi scams and being cautious as you move by way of from the bags space. The delicate hangover nonetheless lasting from my over-enthusiastic goodbye drinks within the UK made it appear dreamlike (or nightmare) as drivers tried their hardest to seize my baggage and take me with them.
The primary man to strategy me grabbed my arm and tried to tug me to a automobile, he was main me to the automobile park, pointing at his automobile.
I didn’t wish to get within the first taxi I got here throughout as I wished a little bit of time to assemble my ideas and defined that I wished to get some water. This didn’t deter him, he walked me to a café, watched me purchase a bottle of water earlier than saying “Let’s go now, let’s go”.
His automobile was away from the principle taxi space, which was a priority, and gave the impression to be fairly beat up so I selected to not belief him and moved on. I ended up having to get uncomfortably agency with him and requested him to depart me alone, I don’t need a taxi . . . I didn’t even say please.
I instructed myself to loosen up as I sipped on my water, strolling round searching for somebody who appears reliable and had an official sticker on it on his taxi, however each different step there was another person wanting me to get into their taxi.
It dawned on me later that I had no thought what an official sticker ought to appear like however I suppose the concept was there.
Lastly, after round quarter-hour I picked my taxi. Little did I do know that the earlier man had been following me and I practically brought about a combat between the primary man who took me to get water and my chosen taxi driver.
Apparently, in case you lie and inform them you aren’t after a taxi to attempt to lose them after which get in another person’s, they take offence.
Nevertheless, now safely in my cab, I used to be on my strategy to downtown Nairobi.
The experience from the airport turned out to be okay. The taxi driver was a pleasant man, we chatted as we sat in visitors, attempting our greatest to remain cool.
As we sat in visitors I observed the minibus behind us had had sufficient. Sick of the queue the driving force steered it onto the footpath, honking like loopy as pedestrians dove to get out of the way in which and off it went, into the space.
Fortunately no-one was damage because the bus sped out of sight leaving the taxi driver and I, nonetheless stationary within the gridlocked visitors, chewing on the dusty air pollution and questioning whether or not it’s higher to place the window up and bake in a automobile with no air-con or proceed to regularly shorten our life expectancy, by way of the onslaught of carbon fumes.
24 Hours in Nairobi
Arriving at my resort
As my taxi dropped me off at my resort, I used to be very shocked to see a guard brandishing an AK-47 stood on the door to welcome me. I later went on to understand that is commonplace, however the first time I noticed it, I had numerous questions working by way of my thoughts about my selection of resort!
The New Oakwood Lodge is the place I might be spending the evening earlier than heading off to Mombassa the next night. It was fundamental and low cost, however proper within the coronary heart of town. Sadly, the TV solely had one working channel enjoying some terrible music. I exploit the time period music very liberally
A night stroll
That night I went for a stroll. My intention was to seek out the Nairobi practice station and purchase a ticket for my onward practice from Nairobi to Mombasa, however I bought misplaced.
As I walked I felt very uncomfortable, I realised rapidly that I used to be definitely not in a vacationer space and I observed that my resort wasn’t particular, virtually each store had guards brandishing an AK-47 or a shotgun exterior.
Coming from the UK the place there extremely strict gun legal guidelines and even the police don’t generally carry a weapon, seeing armed guards with weapons that appear like they need to belong to the unhealthy guys in a James Bond film, didn’t put me comfortable.
Because the solar set, I began to really feel very nervous, I believe this was tradition shock setting in, and it was loads scarier than I anticipated.
I made a decision it’d be greatest to move again to the security of the resort because it dawned on me, I didn’t actually know something about Nairobi, and didn’t wish to be out alone after darkish.
I spent the remainder of the night in my resort, having fun with a meal within the resort restaurant and the primary of many Tusker beers, a quite good Kenyan brew, whereas waiting for a recent begin within the morning and search for issues to do in Nairobi with simply someday.
My Guided Nairobi strolling tour
The following morning, I nonetheless wanted to purchase my practice ticket and thought it will be a perfect alternative to find what to do in Nairobi and essential vacationer points of interest, however I didn’t know the place I used to be.
I requested the receptionist within the resort if they’d a map, which they didn’t, however he instructed me of a vacationer info place simply across the nook the place I might get a map of town, so off I trotted.
Discovering a map of Nairobi is more durable than you suppose
One factor I observed about Nairobi is that everybody desires to “supply” you one thing, be it a whistle to get your consideration adopted by calls of “taxi taxi” or only a fast chat after which ask for cash.
My vacation spot was inside 400 metres and as I used to be walked I counted three separate folks providing me taxi earlier than a man got here as much as me, proper exterior the vacationer workplace, and requested me what I used to be after.
Getting rapidly pissed off by all of the approaches, I sharply instructed him that I simply wished a map and walked straight previous him into the vacationer workplace.
As soon as in there, the woman instructed me they’d no maps however instructed me someplace else that may and pointed to the man who I quite abruptly ignored exterior, as somebody who might present me the place.
I believed it unusual that a spot promoting vacationer info had no maps, however provided that the resort I stayed in pointed me this manner I trusted the place and wandered off with the man from exterior, his identify was Charles.
We engaged in small speak as we wandered off collectively to go to his tourism workplace. As soon as there I acquired my map however was additionally supplied varied safaris and day journeys. After explaining I simply wished a map so I might get to the practice station and e book my ticket to Mombasa for later that night, he duly obliged.
At this level, I used to be nonetheless sceptical of Charles however I used to be instructed he can be completely happy to stroll me right down to the station so I agreed. I appreciated the steering and the corporate as we walked and talked about Kenya, dwelling in Kenya and what it was like rising up right here.
The stroll took about 20 minutes however I scarcely observed the time passing as he walked with me all the way in which to the ticket workplace.
Passing the insanity of Nairobi bus station
A lot of the route was easy sufficient however about 200m away from the practice station it’s important to move by way of the bus station.
I had by no means seen something prefer it. There will need to have been about 100 buses all in an area, most likely concerning the dimension of a soccer pitch, competing for passengers, screaming and calling out their greatest offers, it was full pandemonium.
Each bus had a person exterior simply shouting noise. I might solely assume he was telling you the place the bus was going, it will need to have made sense to the locals nevertheless it seemed to be madness to me.
The buses themselves have been tiny, similar to VW camper vans, no larger, it astonished me how many individuals might get inside, it should be like Dr Who’s Tardis inside, however I had no actual want to seek out out!
Shopping for a practice ticket from Nairobi to Mombasa
Charles walked me into the station and identified the ticket counter to the correct the place I managed to purchase my ticket.
There are three totally different prospects in shopping for a practice ticket in Nairobi, first, second or third class.
The third class is solely a seat, second class will get you a mattress in a sleeper cabin shared with 5 different folks and first get you a sleeper shared with only one different, bedding and meals.
The variation in value between second and first is barely about £5 and because it means you share your cabin with one different particular person versus 5, I reckoned it was £5 properly spent (third was by no means actually an possibility for my first in a single day practice journey).
A strolling tour of Nairobi
After reserving the practice ticket to Mombasa, Charles walked me again after which requested what else I had deliberate for the day to which I actually replied nothing.
He supplied me the identical journeys as the opposite man within the vacationer workplace, together with a Nairobi metropolis tour the place you drive round seeing stuff.
Having been in a taxi yesterday and experiencing the Nairobi visitors first hand, I didn’t fancy this so I requested if we might do a guided Nairobi metropolis tour on foot, to which Charles agreed and change into my private tour information.
We walked . . . loads . . . and talked, it was fascinating.
Nairobi Nationwide Museum
Charles and I began by visiting the Nairobi Nationwide Museum the place there have been improbable reveals. I learnt loads about Kenyan historical past, how they obtained independence from the British in 1963, the Mau Mau rebellion that led to it and concerning the fierce preventing in 1992 because the folks struggled for honest and open two-party elections.
I additionally learnt loads concerning the evolution of humanity, lots of the most vital fossils in human historical past have been discovered on this space of Africa, so near the Rift Valley, and are on show right here, together with the great Lucy.
I extremely suggest the museum as among the finest locations to go to in Nairobi if you are interested within the historical past and tradition. It has no frills or fancy bits however presents a beautiful studying setting and is an effective way to flee the solar for just a few hours.
Nairobi Nationwide Museum Snake Park
Simply throughout from the museum is the snake park; a mini snake zoo.
By itself, it’s actually not that particular, though I used to be hypnotised for some time watching two mating tortoises, they’re sluggish at every little thing it seems.
I had bought an entry as a mixed ticket with the museum and as a facet attraction it’s fairly attention-grabbing, however positively not price a solo journey.
I got here nose to nose with vipers, spitting cobras and black mambas, properly, nose to nose with a sheet of glass in between.
Whereas I used to be within the museum Charles waited for me exterior, simply chilling. After I was completed we left and walked again in direction of town centre once more.
Satan’s Nook Nairobi
As we walked we handed a spot that was recognized regionally as Satan’s Nook, the location bought its identify after being the location of many killings through the combat for independence within the 60s and it’s stated the streets ran crimson with blood.
As soon as independence was awarded, the brand new authorities donated that space of land to faith and Satan’s Nook is now the location of three giant church buildings and a synagogue, nothing like constructing on the Satan’s personal land, I like the concept.
From there we headed to Uhuru (freedom) park. Right here is the place you may get an excellent view of Nairobi and is the place all of the Prime Ministers and Presidents come to be sworn in and take an oath in a really public manner. It was once that they’d take an oath in personal so no-one actually knew what they have been promising to do.
Additionally it is the location that Pope John Paul the twelfth held mass again in 1980 when he visited Kenya.
As a Christian, Charles was very proud to have been there. This bought us speaking about faith, which as you may think about took fairly a little bit of time and bought us by way of to lunch.
A conventional Kenyan lunch
I requested Charles to take me someplace very conventional for lunch and I wasn’t dissatisfied.
Subsequent to the Library, there was a big, open plan eaterie the place you order and decide up your meals earlier than taking a seat on the communal tables. In every of the corners, there have been basins so that you can wash your palms earlier than consuming however one factor I observed was lacking . . . knives and forks.
I had hen soup and Charles had fish, each served with ugali, it’s a native maize dough-like product. These items you can say was A-maize-ing (sorry) – however with no cutlery or napkins consuming soup was fairly a problem, messy however lots of enjoyable.
Being well mannered, I waited for Charles to begin. Actually I simply wished to understand how the hell I used to be meant to eat these things and watch him. The ugali is actually a lump, sort of like edible play dough (tastes a bit like play dough too), however this meant it was simply moldable.
So, the way in which to do it’s rip off some ugali, mould it right into a tough spoon form, dip it in your soup and stick the entire thing in your mouth, fascinating and superior, I might be completely happy to eat each meal like that.
The one disadvantage to my lunch was the very skinny hen. I struggled to seek out the meat on the bone. This additionally set the seeds for my later developed concept which you can inform the general wealth of a rustic by the plumpness of their chickens.
Because the afternoon got here to an finish I had to return to my resort to pack and get to the practice station for my in a single day practice to Mombasa. As we went our separate methods Charles supplied to fulfill me once more later to assist me get to the practice station, a proposal I gratefully accepted.
True to his phrase, he met me later at my resort at 5 pm and walked with me to the practice station, even serving to with my luggage. As soon as there we stated our goodbyes and on I bought the practice to Mombasa.
Leaving Nairobi by practice
There was slightly confusion on the station as within the UK while you purchase your ticket that’s your ticket, you don’t want anything. Right here it’s a little uncommon.
Though I had bought my ticket, as I attempted to move by way of to the platform, the guard wouldn’t permit me and pointed me again to the ticket workplace.
Reasonably confused I headed again in there, anticipating I’d by some means been scammed. Fortunately no, it seems when you’ve got pre-bought a ticket, it’s important to alternate that for a boarding move earlier than you may entry the practice.
It’s price figuring out this in case it’s important to depart some additional time for it, however, don’t fear an excessive amount of about that sort of factor, that is Africa and as every little thing is at all times late, you’ll have loads of time to work stuff out.
Get your Nairobi metropolis tour itinerary
In case you are searching for a trusted tour information in Nairobi, can’t communicate extremely sufficient of Charles and his talent as each a information and a human. He was the right companion for a tour of Nairobi so I really feel it’s solely proper to depart his particulars.
In our day collectively we visited the Kenyan Nationwide Museum and Snake Park, Satan’s Nook, Uhuru Park and loved A conventional Kenyan Lunch.
In case you are pondering of going to Kenya please please get in contact with him, he’s a professional information and presents journeys everywhere in the nation and even into Uganda. The preferred ones embody excursions to the Masai Mara, assembly tribes and watching the nice migration.
Top-of-the-line issues about Charles is that he’s straightforward to work with, he’ll fully tailor a tour to swimsuit you.
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