I had never really thought about visiting an African country until Greg came up with the idea after talking with friends who had done so. We sampled a couple of countries on the internet and singled out Kenya as our first choice holiday destination.
Kenya is the type of country that will take your breath away. The wild landscape contrasts with modern cities and engaging people. It is a land of extremes. From its distinguishing savanna safaris, to its abundant lakes and ocean reefs, from the sprawling metropolis of Nairobi and colourful tribal cultures, Kenya is certainly a land of diversity. Deserts make way to alpine snow which contrast with green forests and expansive, wild plains. The wildlife safaris have been the leading tourist attraction in the country for many decades. Other activities such as hot air balloons in the Maasai Mara, snorkelling in Malindi, a coastal town and climbing Mount Kenya come secondary.
After the over 15 hour flight from Sydney, we stayed at the prestigious Inter Continental Hotel right at the heart of Nairobi’s central business district for the purpose of convenience.
We started our tour of Kenya on our second day. We started out with a 10 minute drive from the hotel to the world famous Nairobi National Park. Only a fence separates the park from the metropolis. Amazingly, it is possible to see Nairobi’s skyscrapers when you enter the park compound. We found this very surreal. In spite of its proximity to town and its relatively small size, the park boasts large and varied wildlife. The park is home to a rhinoceros sanctuary and has one of the only breeding programs in a semi wild setting.
On our second night, Greg and I decided to take dinner at the Carnivore, often considered ‘Africa’s greatest eating experience’. We were served with every type of meat beyond our imagination, including exotic meat that was roasted over charcoal and carved at our table. The side dishes and variety of sauces that complemented our meal were also incredibly delicious.
We decided to take a bus trip to the Kenyan coast unlike most tourists who prefer to take a 70 minute flight instead. The 10 hour journey took us through the Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks, a view of Mount Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest mountain – and various scenic features such as rocks and obviously the Indian Ocean.
We stayed in Malindi, a small town, but with excellent beaches. This town has the unusual distinction of being the only town in the country where foreigners, mainly Europeans, live by their own rules. Actually, it is more of an Italian town than anything. Even indigenous politicians dare not meddle in the foreigners’ affairs least they are voted out.
Malindi has extensive coral rocks and dazzling beaches. We engaged in numerous activities such as deep-sea fishing, snorkelling, surfing and various water sports at the protected Malindi Marine National Park.
We also visited the Vasco da Gama pillar which was erected by the Portuguese in 1498, alindi Museum, Gede ruins, Malindi Crocodile Farm and Snake Park and the Jumaa Mosque and Palace.
This Island is part of Kenya’s Lamu Archipelago. The island has managed to stay untouched and unspoiled by mass tourism that is experienced at the Kenyan coastline. This town has a distinction of being the oldest living town in the country. The town has retained much of its charm and character of the old.
Interestingly, there are no roads on Lamu Island, just footpaths and alleyways and thus there are no automobiles on the island. The common means of transport are by foot, donkeys or boat.