Table of Contents
1. Departure and Arrival……………………………………… 1
2. Nairobi City and the Nairobi national Park …………. 1
3. Lake Nakuru National Park ……….………………… 3
4. Lake Bogoria and Menengai National Park ………… 4
5. Tsavo National Park………………………………….5
6. The African Beach …………………………………….5
7. The Eighth Wonder of the World………………………6
1. Departure and Arrival
My family had scheduled a trip to Kenya for the summer holidays in 2012. We left for JFK airport early morning on June 30. We were all anxious to board this flight. We had always relished a trip to Kenya. It was well known all over the world for its adventurous safaris and rich culture. This was a once in a lifetime trip for all of us. None of us had ever been to Africa. I was filled with anticipation. This trip was going to be the most exciting of all. We boarded the 4 am plane at JFK airport. The trip to Kenya would take approximately fifteen hours we were told. The flight was exciting. The anticipation made the time fly by without any of us noticing. After approximately fifteen hours, we arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International airport. When we walked out of the plane, darkness had already engulfed the country. The night was calm, and there was remarkably little activity. The calm and the fresh air raised my expectations. We took a cab to the Sarova Stanley hotel where we would spend the night before embarking for a tour of the country the next day. The Sarova Hotel is a five star hotel situated in the heart of the capital city of Kenya, Nairobi. It is a modern five star hotel with an outdoor swimming pool and a health and fitness club. The hotel was classy, wired with satellite TV and wireless internet. The guestrooms were superb. The rooms were spacious and fitted with furniture in a way that created a relaxing ambience. The hotel reinforced the fact that this was going to be one of my most fascinating trips. We had supper at the Thai hotel within the Stanley. After supper, we resigned to the guest rooms for a rest as we waited in anticipation for the next day to begin our trip.
2. Nairobi City and the Nairobi national Park
On the second day of our stay, we woke up very early and had a buffet breakfast at the Thorn tree cafe. The food was sumptuous and the service exceptional. The staff and waiters were perpetually polite and willing to offer a helping hand. After breakfast, we picked our things and readied ourselves for a safari experience. We were taken around Nairobi City by the chauffeur. The city though small gave us several sightseeing experiences. One sight that captivated me was the Parliament building. Built in classical Victorian fashion the building was a remarkable sight. The premises were considerably large, and the security was tight considering the number of armed police officers around the building. It housed all of the country’s members of parliament during meetings. Members of parliament are representatives of the people ele4cted by a majority vote to represent administrational areas known as constituencies. Besides parliament buildings, lay a colossal statue of the founding president of the country. This artistic masterpiece as I was told by my chauffeur commanded significant respect from all Kenyans. The founding president was an esteemed figure credited with steering the country’s fight for independence. From the town centre, we proceeded to the outskirts of the town where the Nairobi national park was situated.
After cruising for about ten kilometers, we arrived at the gates of the world famous sanctuary, which was home to several wild animals including the big five. The national park was situated further outside the city away from human settlement. In addition to the big five, the Nairobi national park also contained about one hundred mammal species and four hundred bird species. The big five was a term given to the rhino, the elephant, the lion, the cheetah and the buffalo. It was also home to the rare white rhinoceros and was the major breeding park for rhinoceros in all the parks all over Kenya. It was thus a wonderful place to begin our tour of the country. There was no better place to explore nature than where it all began. According to our guide, the park was the first animal sanctuary to be established. It was founded in 1946 by the British under whom Kenya was then a colony. After clearing at the gate, we entered the national park filled with anticipation. Apart from our father, none of us had ever seen a live lion. I personally only saw lions in national geographic channels on the TV. This was a great opportunity for all of us to see and enjoy the ambience of the world. The national park had numerous nature trails and picnic sites. We decided to begin with the nature trails so we could view the array of world animals in the park. We joined another group and boarded a minibus that would take us all around the park to the specific sites where there was game. I had never seen such marvelous sites in my life. There was game everywhere. The might of the lions and the speed of the cheetahs combined in the wild to create a magnificent view of the natural world. When we left the national park, we purchased curios of carved wildlife. After spending an entire day viewing game, we retreated to our hotel tired but happy for the interesting things we had witnessed during the day.
3. Lake Nakuru
On the second day of out tour of Kenya, we moved out of the city and ventured further into the wild. This time round, we decided to tour the expansive Great Rift Valley. Together with other tourists, we hired a minibus from a tour company ton take us to Lake Nakuru national Park. There was a drizzle when we left Nairobi, and we had to carry raincoats and gum boots just in case the drizzle continued. The trip was eventful, at one point, our driver took the wrong road, and we ended going back towards the city. Because of the bad weather, the journey was slow, and we arrived in Nakuru about an hour late. We moved across plains and valleys. The park was about three hours ride from Nairobi, so we did not arrive there until it was about midday because of the weather. At some point, we had to stop by the roadside because of poor visibility. We spent the whole day at Lake Nakuru and witnessed the large number of flamingoes and game in the area. This country was well endowed with scenery. The lake was quite beautiful, and the picnic and hiking in the wild thereafter were amazingly fantastic. Lake Nakuru national park summed our second day in Kenya. We spent the night at the lake Nakuru lodge in preparation for the next day. We were treated to an array of African dishes for dinner. I liked the pounded yam and chicken soup most.
4. Lake Bogoria and the Menengai Crater
The next morning we were treated to an African breakfast. I have to admit that African meals are sumptuous and have a mystery to their taste. We took coffee, eggs and fried arrowroots. It was an interesting meal and the staff at the hotel told us that it was the most popular breakfast combination for Kenyans. After breakfast, we took the minibus again for our first stop of the day, Lake Bogoria. Lake Bogoria was just two kilometers away from our hotel near Lake Nakuru. Lake Bogoria contains a wide array of birds and game. Being 107 square kilometers, it was a small lake. The lake contains sections with hot springs and geysers. Our guide told us that local folk were fond of the hot springs because they were perceived to have healing powers. We however did not spend much time at the lake since we still had another beautiful site to tour.
After Lake Bogoria, we visited the Menengai crater. This was a geographical feature with a lot of history and myths behind its formation. The caldera on top of the mountain is said to be among the biggest in the world. The crater was formed because of volcanic action on the mountain many years ago. The area around the crater consists of numerous caves and camping sites. It is a wonderful site with mysterious caves all around it. We climbed the steep sides of the crater and took photos while savoring the panoramic view of the world it gave us. After climbing down the rocky terrain of the mountain, we were taken around the scary caves. I can remember we visited around ten caves in total. The caves were scary and filled with bats. Throughout each cave, the guide explained the meaning of symbols, bones, drawings and writings on the wall. The caves had a rich historical past with the local community. They were thus considered a cultural heritage.
5. The Tsavo National Park
After spending four days visiting historical sites and watching game, we rested on the third day. On the fourth day, we continued with our tours across Kenya. This time we headed south from Nakuru towards the Kenyan coast. On arrival at the coast, we booked a room at the Whitesands resort. This was a first class beach hotel with excellent service and fantastic food. For dinner on that day, we were treated to sumptuous seafood. The delicious fried ice pizza dessert was a fantastic climax to the wonderful food. Early the next morning, we departed to Tsavo National park once again to view game and enjoy the safari. The park is one of the largest national parks in the world. The grassy plains, the arid thorny bushes and the bushy forests at the edges of the park make it suitable grazing land. The expansive park was the perfect setting for safari. We drove across the grasslands throughout the day enjoying the view and taking pictures as souvenirs. One of the most beautiful views of the day was a flock of elephants rolling and playing with the water at the Aruba dam. After the safari, we went back to our hotel rooms for the night. We sampled Swahili cuisine for the night. The spiced rice and fish was so delicious I used as many helpings as I could.
6. The African Beach
On the next day, we left our hotel for the beach, which was a little while away. We used public transport this time. We boarded three wheelers popularly known as tuk-tuks in the coastal town of Mombasa. The three wheelers are a popular mode of transport for short distances. We spent part of our day on the beach enjoying the African sun while swimming and playing in the sun. This was a fantastic way to relax and revitalize after a tough week in the wild. At the beach, we also witnessed sport fishing as various enthusiasts competed in catching fish. After such a relaxing day, we moved around the coastal town viewing specific historical sites and buildings. One particular site that captivated me was Fort Jesus, which is an ancient fortress overlooking the sea. The historical site has a rich history going as far back as the 16th century. It was used as a fortress by the Portuguese to defend them against external attacks. It also has a museum that holds significant historical artifacts about the slave trade that existed in the coastal town.
7. The Eighth Wonder of the World
After having visited numerous sites, we could never leave Kenya without witnessing the wildebeest migration. This is one of the most spectacular sights of the modern world. During the migration, the wildebeests move from the Serengeti National Park in northern Tanzania to the Maasai Mara in Kenya. We decided to visit the Mara to witness this awe-inspiring act of nature. We were not disappointed by what we saw. The Mara was teeming with a wide variety of animals from wildebeest to antelope and zebra the view was fascinating. The large number of wildebeest and the preying lions was a remarkable sight. This was a fantastic climax to our safari. There was nothing more amusing for the seven days of our stay in Kenya than witnessing this marvelous phenomenon.
Early the next day we boarded a KLM airlines flight economy class to New York. A return ticket with KLM had cost us $4000 for the four of us. When we arrived in New York twenty-one hours later, we had many tales to tell our friends. This was one of the most fascinating trips of my life.
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