After the disappointment of last night, things appeared better with some sleep and in the daylight. The hotel grounds were actually quite pretty with the breakfast being decent. This hotel definitely had potential if they just gutted their rooms and refurbished.
Amelia had organised a full day private tour of Nairobi with Martin based on good tripadvisor reviews. He and his colleague, Charles, did not disappoint! Gently spoken, they were knowledgeable friendly and professional and were very efficient in squeezing in as many of Nairobi’s sights as possible in 1 day. We started with the Nairobi National Museum, home to one of the largest collection of early human fossils and an impressive collection of taxidermied d birds. Why did we bother taking photos of live ones?!?!
|The "Will Lara survive?" series...|
|1.9 million year old fossil|
|What?!? Ewoks came from Kenya?|
We had to hurry, unfortunately, to make it to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant and Rhino Orphanage in time for the 11am open time which included a feeding session. Other than the private evening viewing, this was the ONLY time in the day that it was open to the public. It was crowded and we struggled to find a spot with a decent view. I’d hate to see what it was like in peak tourist season. We were later informed that they did not limit numbers. The orphanage rescue baby elephants and rhinos, get them past the danger period and then help them readapt into the wild. The process is long, tedious and expensive. The babies were so cute. But after having seen the baby elephants in the wild, the centre seemed very touristy despite knowing that the money did help the animals with the trust doing important work.
Our next stop was the Giraffe Centre, a sanctuary created to help protect the endangered giraffe. There, one was able to look at, pet and feed giraffes. We had a similar sentiment here as the elephant and rhino orphanage and thus did not stay long. Giraffe Manor looked stately and beautiful in the distance. It is the famous hotel seen in many travel brochures and advertising materials for Africa with giraffe head poking through the window of the dining room. We nearly fell over when Martin told us how much it was to stay there per night…
|2 month old baby rhino that was rejected by its mother|
|Little baby elephant|
|Giraffe close up at the Giraffe centre...|
|Lara feeding a giraffe|
We moved on to the Karen Blixen Museum, the Danish woman who managed to have a whole area named after her! Imagine a suburb in Sydney called Belinda…We enjoyed our visit, but I would have to be honest and say that it is not worth visiting if you haven’t seen the movie. Her impact was mainly on her interactions with locals immediately around her and her life made famous by the movie “Out of Africa” adapted from the book she wrote. The original artefacts left behind were interesting and she was an incredibly talented artist with many of her original paintings still in the house.
Next up was the city tour including the city centre itself as well as the residential areas looking at the contrasts between the wealthy, the middle class and the slums. We finished off with dinner at Carnivore with our guides. It was essentially an African style Churrascaria! Various meats were brought to you and sliced off and you eat until you surrender when you would then lay the “flag” down. Crocodile meat was declared the tastiest with ox ball not being a hit…It was a great way to end a very busy day in Nairobi!
The &Beyond travel agent had actually responded swiftly with an apology as well as an offer to move us to another hotel which looked amazing! Unfortunately, we didn’t receive the message until well after 6pm by which stage it was rather pointless as we were leaving early the next morning. She had also expressed extreme disappointment on our behalf of the poor standards which did not reflect the company’s image and noted that she will do her best to make sure we have a good experience, as well as refunding our transfers in Zimbabwe and the private tour of the Falls. In light of the mishaps being relatively minor and the responsiveness of &Beyond, we really couldn’t have asked for more.
|Karen Blixen's home, now a museum|
|The dining room. Entrance fees include a guide|
|Trying ox testicles...|