To kick off the travel side of this blog and my exploring of African culture through travel, Kenya was definitely the best country to start it of with! I had such a lovely and great time in this East African country. This trip was initially meant to be a Kenya & Tanzania (Zanzibar) holiday but for circumstances beyond my control, Tanzania wasn't possible but I had such a great time spending 6 nights in the beautiful country that is Kenya! In this blog post, I will share my experience and hopefully try to convince you why I think you should visit Kenya!
How I felt.
I felt so much at home in Kenya. Honestly, day 1 and I was already saying "I love it here!"I don't know what it was but it definitely felt like home. Kenya is different to Nigeria (where I am from) in some respects but honestly it felt like home. Days later into the trip, I was saying to my friends that I went with that I can definitely see myself living here! (with the right pay & job of course 😂😅).
Comparing it to Nigeria (which I did a lot on this trip😂), Kenya is somewhat slower paced. But funny enough, I didn't find this annoying as one could. I think I just understood it as a different country, a different culture. Everyone also seems trusting and soft spoken as well. Love it!
Below is an Itinerary of what we did in Kenya. We spent 2 days in Nairobi and 3 days in Mombasa. The number of days we spent there wasn't enough to explore everything we could have but it was ok to still do a good amount of activities to have a good holiday. Oh I am definitely going back to Kenya to explore more and I will most likely spend more time in Mombasa as there were more things we wanted to do there but just didn't have enough the time to do. Also most of the things we did in Mombasa were sort of last minute plans because like I mentioned earlier, Mombasa wasn't part of the initial plan as we were meant to go to Zanzibar instead . Here is what each day in Kenya looked like for us:
Summary of Activities/Itinerary
Day 1 : (Nairobi)
-Brunch at Artcaffe
-Shopping at Sarit shopping centre
-Dinner at Sarabi Rooftop Bar
Day 2: (Nairobi)
-Nairobi National Park
-Visit to Nairobi Giraffe Centre
-Lunch at Hungers Nest
Day 3 : (Mombasa)
-Dinner at Massai Restaurant
Day 4: (Mombasa)
-Visit to Fort Jesus- Light works & Fire Show
Day 5: (Mombasa)
- Explore Mombasa Old Town- Spice Market, Mombasa Tusk
-Dinner & Drinks at Moonshine Bar
Below is more details of how each of the day went.
We didn't really do much on this day because we landed in Nairobi at about 1am after over 12 hours flight journey as we didn't take a direct flight (as it was more expensive!)
When we woke up in the morning, we went for brunch at the infamous Artcaffe which I have been following their page on instagram for a while before going to Kenya. When we found out it was a 5 minutes walk from the apartment we were staying it, it was a no brainer that that is where we will have out first meal in Kenya! I highly recommend there- lovely ambience, great service, and declicious meals.
After brunch, we went to the popular shopping mall- Sarit. Here we did some grocery shopping at Carrefour - mainly just for snacks and some breakfast essentials. I went to the salon (Leo hair) to wash and braid my hair, and we also got SIM cards - at the Safaricom store which is the highly recommended network and it was indeed as we had no issues at all with it. Ps, you need to register for a SIM card so take along your passport with you when you go to get one! Then we had ice cream at Coldstone and then went back to the apartment.
In the evening we went out for dinner at Sarabi Rooftop bar which is a bar in Sankara hotel. The food and drink was ok but I wouldn't say I was super pleased. But if you are looking for a place with a good ambience at night then I can recommend it. We went there thinking there would be live music but I think we might have gone on the wrong night!
Day 2 was our big day in Nairobi- Safari Day! We did the Safari tour at the Nairobi National Park. We booked the tour on Trip Advisor- I'd recommend the tour company we used as they were friendly and very knowledgeable. We felt safe and had no issues with them at at all. We did the early morning tour as that's highly recommended as there is more chances of you seeing the animals especially the big 5! We left as early as 6.30 am and got to the Park around 7am ish- it was bit chilly at that time when driving the park with the rooftop open, so I'd recommend taking a jacket along but as the day went by it got warmer as normal!
On the Safari tour, we were lucky enough to see 3 of the big 5- Lion, Rhino, and African buffalo. So unfortunately we didn't see Leopard & Elephant. However, we did see baby elephants at the Elephant Orphanage we went to after.
At the National Park, we saw other animals such as Giraffe, Zebra, Ostrich, Hippos, Antelope(Impala), Gazelles. It was beautiful seeing the animals in their habitat just doing their own thing. It felt so surreal being so so close to such animals! Even though I'm not an animal lover, I thoroughly enjoyed this activity and will highly recommend it. We spent roughly 3 hours at the National Park doing the safari tour.
We then went next to the Elephant Orphanage at the David Shedrick Wildlife Trust's Elephant Orphanage which wasn't too far from the National park. Here, we saw and learnt about why the baby elephants were orphans, how they are being taken care of and also given information on how to support the orphanage by adopting the baby elephants. Visit their website for more information but the main plea from the trust was to stand against Ivory sale as that is the main cause of these elephants becoming orphans.
Up next after the Elephant Orphanage was visit to the Nairobi Giraffe Centre. Here we fed the giraffes and took some pictures with them. Your girl was scared to feed the giraffes, but I did it yo!😅
After all these, the tour company took us to where we had local Kenyan dish for lunch. We were particular about wanting lunch in a place where we could try out local delicacies and Hunger's Nest was the perfect restaurant for this! We had variety of local Kenyan dishes from Ugali to Sukuma Wiki, Katchamburi, Beef Matoke. I also made sure to try out the famous Kenyan cocktail - Dawa. Interesting thing about Dawa is I thought it was just a cocktail, but I later found out at a different restaurant that it could also be served up as a tea (without the Vodka of course). Check out my blog post that I did on Dawa cocktail a while. I was very pleased when I tasted it at Hunger's Nest and was proud it tasted like the one I had made on my blog!
These 3 tours (National Park, Elephant Orphanage & Giraffe Centre) were part of the package we got from the tour company we used. Click here to see more information on the tour and the package as well.
We left Nairobi to Mombasa early in the morning. We took the 8am train leaving Nairobi to Mombasa- this was a 5 hour journey! We opted for this as it was cheaper than taking a 45 minute flight instead. Also we were told by one of our taxi drivers that you get to see beautiful views on the train journey-which I did! Spotted some animals and also beautiful greeneries as well. The train ticket cost roughly £7/$8 so it was a no brainer for us given that Mombasa wasn't on the initial plan.
I was super pleased with how organised, clean and safe their train system is. As someone who works in the railway industry in the UK and desires for such effective and efficient mode of transportation in Africa as well, it was good to see how well structured the Kenyan railway system is. One of the highlight for me on their railway system is the security measures they have in palce- you basically have to go through security measures (your bags/luaggages goes through security machines and also they have security dogs for added security measures). You also have security officers who scan you as well. All these you have to do before entering the train station. When in the train station, you go through another security check. It seemed a lot for a train journey but I didn't mind it as I understand the proactiveness of it all.
When we got to Mombasa, it was mid afternoon so we didn't really plan for much activity that day. We went out for dinner at Massai Restaurant - the food was delicious! Again we wanted a place with local dishes and they had this- here we all had Nyama Choma (which is basically barbecued meat)- we all had goat Nyama Choma with different sides and it was delicious.
Mombasa is known for its beautiful beaches so our first proper full day had to be beach day! In the early afternoon, we headed over to Bamburi Beach! Had some drinks including fresh coconut water and had lunch at The New Big Tree restaurant which is located on the beach. It was mainly Italian cuisine so we had the usual pasta and pizza. It was very delicious and I was pleased as an Italian cuisine lover myself.
In the evening we went to the Fort Jesus museum. Here we had a history, lights & firework show- with dinner included in the package. We got the package on trip advisor as well. I was bit hesitant going to this museum as I don't really enjoy being reminded of the history of black slavery but sometimes it's good to see what our past once looked like. The history show definitely highlighted this.
The dinner afterwards was at the museum- we were expecting traditional dishes but we had chips and some grilled meat. It wasn't bad and oh this is where I found out Dawa could be served warm- as a tea and not just a cocktail alcoholic drink! Safe to say I still prefer the cocktail version!
We met some tour guides at the Bamburi beach the day before and we bought a day package to go to Mombasa old town and also visit the award winning Diani Beach.
So on day 5, we started the day by going to Mombasa old town where we did some spice shopping at the Spice market. One tip I can give here is be a good haggler! Once they sense you're a foreigner- in our case it was easy because we had tour guide who took us there, they wont give you the same prices as locals! I enjoyed the spice market- seeing variety of spices, some that I was familiar with and some that I wasn't. I didn't really buy any spices but got myself some Kenyan coffee & Tea as a coffee & tea lover!
Next we went to take pictures in front of the Mombasa Tusk. The tusk were commissioned there in remembrance of when Queen Elizabeth visited in 1952. The monument is picturesque so definitely something to commemorate you visiting Mombasa!
After this we headed to Diani beach! This award winning beach has been voted the best beach in Africa numerous times and going there I understand why! The blue waters and white sand is just perfection! Diani beach is south of Mombasa so because it is on the outskirts of Mombasa, it took a while to drive there but this was all included in the package we got with the tour guide so I'd advise getting similar tour guide to save you the stress. Driving or getting a taxi/uber there would be my guess of an alternative way to get there if you didn't want to use a tour guide. Part of the journey included crossing from North coast of Mombasa to the South coast where we would then carry on the journey too Diani. I was quite impressed with how smooth using the ferry system to do this was. As soon as all the cars are on the ferry it takes about 2- 3 minutes for the crossing over, so don't worry it is not a long part of the journey at all.
At the beautiful Diani beach, we sunbathed and had lunch at a restaurant called Mvureni Beach & Bar Restaurant. The food tasted so fresh and delicious and their drinks were really good. The customer service was great too! So if you find yourself at Diani beach, go there and have a good time!
We later did a Camel ride on the beach- this was scary and I thought it was going to go terribly wrong ie me falling over but nothing of such! Glad I did it and in hindsight I can definitely say I enjoyed. Whilst relaxing at the beach we had sourvernir sellers come over and so we got some- wrist bead, anklet beads, neck chains. Agains, remember to haggle as much as you can so you don't get cheated on!
After a lovely day, we went back to Mombasa and as it was our last night we tried to see if we can check out what Mombasa night life looks like. Unfortunately we didn't get to see that as we hadn't planned for that properly but we went to a nice bar called Moonshine bar when we had drinks and dinner and danced to afrobeats (after we disturbed the DJ to mix it up a bit please lol! )It was definitely my type of vibe because to be honest the clubbing scene is really not for me so the chilled vibe there was perfect. It was definitely a perfect way to end our last night in Kenya!
We used mostly Uber to get around and it was so cheap (when we converted it to £). You can also take the local tricycle called Tuk Tuk- we only used it for a very short trip just for the experience! Though I'd there we had no issues with using Uber- all the journeys were safe and we had friendly drivers as well.
Overall I enjoyed my stay in Kenya. Honestly I can fully say I chose the best country to start off my journey of travelling to different African countries! I didn't feel like I've seen enough Kenya had to offer but I know I'm definitely going back to enjoy more of it!
Check out my instragram page for more videos and pictures of my trip there.