This is Part I of a three part series on my time in Nairobi, Kenya.
In April 2015, I found a $400 fare to Nairobi, Kenya. As usual when I come across an extremely low fare, I contact my friends. Most cannot take advantage for a variety of reasons. One in particular, cited recent terrorist attacks as a reason to avoid the city. It wasn’t a sentiment without merit, but living in New York as well as visiting countries in the Middle East during times of war had me a bit accustomed to being consistently under threat.
Fast forward to Feb 2016. A trip that seemed so far away was now within days. A friend of mine and former classmate would be arriving shortly before me. Accordingly, we planned to be roommates, as we were both slightly nervous about going to Africa as solo travelers. We would for sure find lots of things to get into.
Orrrrrrrrrrrr maybe not.
Unfortunately for reasons I would rather not get into (and I’m sure my friend would appreciate that), she could not make it on the trip. Great. All alone again.
Orrrrrrrrrrr maybe not.
I previously joined a facebook group for travelers heading to Kenya. That day, a fellow traveler inquired about creating a group to coordinate meetups. I decided to take on the responsibility (a job my friend previously volunteered for) of putting the group together.
To my delight, I received responses. The ball was now rolling for the beginning of our WhatsApp group, aptly titled, “Kenya Link Up.”
Despite the unfortunate circumstance of no wifi (I wasn’t amused by the “at least there are plenty of James Bond movies” quip from the gate agent), the flight to Abu Dhabi (where I had a 13 hr layover) was relatively painless. From the recommendation of one of our group members, I attended a festival in the city center. I chose this as the perfect time to test out my selfie stick.
I made my way back to the hotel (I stayed at the Premier Inn adjacent to one of the terminals) and called it a night due to my early morning flight.
Turns out, one of the first people to respond to my Facebook message was on both my flights (even sat in front of me on the Nairobi flight). I just didn’t realize it at the time. The flight to Nairobi was fine, and going through immigration was painless. *Note* Kenya now uses an eVisa system. You MUST apply for receive your Visa online or run the serious risk of being denied entry upon arrival. Most people are approved (assuming you filled out everything correctly) within two days. I presented my visa through my phone.
Being the internet junkie I am, I immediately set up my roaming. For Sprint users who set up global roaming, data roaming is free of charge in Kenya.
I head to my hotel…..
Hold up. Stop the presses. There is one thing you need to know. Nairobi traffic is HORRENDOUS. Fortunately, Uber is an excellent service which I strongly encourage. Ok, back to the program.
I head to my hotel and enjoyed the sights and the people I passed by. I missed the opportunity to take a picture of this beautiful graffiti mural of Lupita Nyong’o which upset me badly. I reached my hotel and after about 20 mins of trying to find my reservation, I was finally in my room.
As much as I wanted to head out immediately upon reaching my hotel, I knew I needed some rest.
I love being over 30 I promise.
After a much needed rest, the Kenya Link Up group decided to have dinner at Amaica restaurant. We enjoy our meal while talking about everything from local customs (apparently, it is not “manly” to eat chicken wings) to clubs.
Nice meal, nice conversation.
Afterwards, we “pregame” at this nice beautiful apartment before heading to a club. A nice club with cool décor, food, and drinks. Unfortunately, the name escapes me (my bad folks)
There are two things I learned that night.
- There are quite a few handsome Kenyan men.
- Kenyan women have no qualms about caressing your head to show that they like your haircut.
Approx hours of sleep: 3
A few hours later we head to see orphaned baby elephants and full grown giraffes….and almost witnessed an act of love.