As I came to the end of my Kenyan adventure, I decided to crown it all with a bit of a city tour, checking out places around Nairobi I had heard so much about. I was not disappointed. In this final episode of my Kenyan safari, I share with you my experiences of some of the joints I visited and some great photo ideas you can try out.
The Giraffe Centre
The Giraffe Centre belongs to the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, a private non-governmental institution with more than 30 years’ experience protecting giraffes in Kenya.
The centre hosts and breeds giraffes that are later released into the wild, at one of the Kenyan Parks. I was expecting to see giraffes as the main attraction but nothing had prepared me for the kiss of the giraffe – this was one of my greatest photo moments ever.
While here, I got the opportunity to learn more about the 3 species of giraffes at the centre. The centre also hosts some warthogs and some turtles. Outside the giraffe centre is a Nature Sanctuary, approximately 95 acres of indigenous forest.
The Sanctuary also has a seasonal river – Gogo River, whose source is the Ngong hills. We took the opportunity to walk the 1.5 KM long nature trail where we could admire many different birds and squirrels. This area is also used as a buffer zone where the giraffes begin to adapt before they are returned to the wild, with almost no contact with humans.
The Mamba Village is a big compound with several restaurants and a small private zoo built around a big artificial lake with the shape of the map of Africa. The zoo holds a few species of wild animals, some giraffes and ostriches.
Our guide tells us that one of the ostriches was killed by a leopard! Can you imagine a wild leopard roaming freely in the outskirts of Nairobi?
The scariest part of Mamba village is the crocodile farm. ‘Mamba’ is the Swahili word for crocodile. Our guide tells us they host more than 70 Nile crocodiles here from several sizes and ages.
We did learn a lot about crocodiles and I had the chance to pose for a photo holding one in my hands – a live, young, 3-year-old, crocodile. Just remember to be careful to hold the jaws and the tail firmly.
I was surprised how soft the skin in their underbelly is. That definitely is something you should try and get another photo of – had a very good comment to mine!
The crocodile farm also hosts some turtles. We learnt so much about them including how to distinguish a male from a female by the shell format.
You may be guessing by now that I posed with the turtles as well. You are right but it was a huge task because the animal weighed more than 20 Kg. The turtle photo did not receive that many online comments though but I would still recommend it as another of the photo idea to try.
Bomas of Kenya
We concluded our tour of Nairobi with a visit to the Bomas of Kenya. This cultural centre, presented a very interesting snapshot of Kenya. We attended the dance show where we saw traditional dances from different Kenyan tribes like the Maasai, the Kikuyu, among others.
It was a fantastic way to experience the many different cultures that are brought together here from all around Kenya and how traditions and cultures are preserved as you visit the different replica villages ranging from the simple to the most complex houses and interact with the ways of life of Kenyan people. The show ended with a group of acrobats performing some amazing moves.
We later had an early supper of the famous ‘Kuku Choma’ with ‘Ugali’ before bidding Kenya kwaheri. It has been a momentous year full of great experiences.
I look forward to returning to this country full of very hospitable and friendly people and such spectacular beauty. As I boarded my plane at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, I found myself saying, “I will be back”.
That looks awesome! Was the giraffe just affectionate in general? So fun!