Nairobi: A half-day safari and two delicious dining options
Greetings friends! My weekend was too fun and too full and I didn’t get around to writing a post. I did see a lot of friends, finish a book, make a delicious lasagna to share with friends at our weekly Game of Thrones watching get together, started packing and prepping for my trip, and did a lot of yoga, but alas, I did not write a blog post. I also struggled with how to organize this post but I just sat down and made the decision immediately, so here we go!
We arrived in Nairobi somewhat exhausted but eager to do as many things as we could in the two full days we had until going home. I will mention now that Nairobi is huge and sprawling and was a bit overwhelming after being on a mountain in Tanzania for 9 days and then a very quiet beach resort for 2 more days. So what we did in Nairobi on which day runs together and I honestly can’t remember, we did a lot! The first full morning we were there (I think), we were picked up early for a half day safari in Nairobi National Park. The company picked us up at 6:45 at our hotel (none of us were happy about that but we did it anyway) and then picked up other safari-goers before driving to Nairobi National Park, which was about an hour’s drive from our hotel, the Ibis Styles Nairobi Westland. In a final wrap-up post, I’ll talk about the overwhelming feeling as well as our hotel and its location. I also want to mention that I can’t remember the company that we booked our safari with, but we did use tripadvisor, and so I’ve linked the page with a variety of options here. I think we paid somewhere between $45 and $50 each for the safari, which was not bad at all for 5 hours and the pickup and drop off.
We arrived at the park, bought our entry tickets that were around $25 USD, and then watched some Maasai men who were performing a dance and song outside of the gates. They were encouraging others to take photos with them and of them, I’m glad, because I wanted to but I didn’t know if it was respectful to do so. After watching them for awhile, we proceeded into the park!
The weird thing about Nairobi National Park is that no matter where you are inside of it, you see the city, a highway, or civilization far off in the distance from every side. So it really is a wild animal park plopped right in the middle of a major metro area. Our driver was great and very aggressive about finding the animals in the park. There were probably 15-20 safari vehicles in the park that morning and all of the drivers were communicating with one another on radios. So we’d just kind of be tooling around slowly looking for animals, then we’d hear some Swahili on the radio and we’d take off for a location where something was spotted. Every time they saw something, all of the vehicles would flock to that spot and it was amazing. It wasn’t annoying at all, it was really fun to share the experience with so many people from all over the world and people of all ages. We saw giraffes, rhinoceros, birds, antelope, a pride of lionesses, and zebras! This park did not have elephants but we saw them elsewhere (next Nairobi post). It really was an experience that I don’t think any of us will ever forget. We stayed to watch the animals for a long time and it didn’t seem like time was passing as quickly as it did because we enjoyed it so much.
Since we didn’t have too many meals in Nairobi (breakfast was at our hotel both days) and on safari day we ended up going for a late lunch near our hotel because we were SO HUNGRY when we got back. So, bring a snack on that safari too). We had a delicious Ethiopian meal one night at Abyssinia. The food here was so good. We’d all eaten Ethiopian cuisine before but it seemed extra delicious or the closest thing to being in the actual country by eating here. The decor was unique and the restaurant was kind of indoor/outdoor and I remember there being friendly cats who wandered in and out but knew their place - they did not jump on any tables or seats. The three of us ordered red wine and one of the large combination platters to share that came with extra bread on the side. I snapped a photo for Instagram stories at the time but I was honestly so hungry that I did not take photos of the restaurant and the lighting was not great. It would be a fun place to come with friends or family or a date.
The place we ate lunch after our safari was very close to our hotel. It was called Nyama Mama Delta and seemed like a popular place for a fusion menu. The beers were good, the decor and ambience great and the crowd was well-dressed and chic. I think we all three felt a little grubby (we did clean the dirt off of ourselves) but people in Kenya cover up a bit more, particularly the women, and we were three very white ladies in shorts and tank tops. No one sneered at us but take note, dress up a bit more and cover up a bit more in East Africa. The food was so good and the menu had so many items that I wanted to eat and it was so difficult to decide! I know we shared some freaking delicious samosas and that I ate masala chips but I can’t remember what else I ate. I do remember eating everything on my plate though and not being disappointed. We all felt that way, I think you can’t go wrong with that place. It was also open air, the large garage door style windows were wide open that day and though it was probably 72-75 degrees and sunny, the breeze was nice and welcome.
And that’s it for today! Next time I have elephants! The museum! Shopping and another meal! Then observations about Nairobi in general and some practical information.