On December 14th my Mom, Dad and I arrived in Nairobi, Keyna, Africa for Winter/Christmas break. Our driver (John) talked to us during the drive, and he told us that “Nairobi is the only place in the world with a National park in the city!” While driving I also noticed that the Kenyans drive on the other side of the road (and later I found out that Kenya is not the only ones in Africa that do this). There was also lots of traffic on week days. It is surprising, but you see people everywhere at all hours.
We arrived at our cottage called Saverine late that night. At Saverine a delicious breakfast was included. There I meet a great friend called Saverine. Her mom owned the cottage so it was named after her. It was so fun to find a friend to spend the evenings with.
One our first day we went on a relaxing coffee tour. The place was called Mbumi Coffee Estate. Here are some things we learnt on the tour thanks to David, our tour guide. We learned that it takes 20-25 years to make good quality coffee. It even takes 8-10 years to start getting coffee. Good quality coffee will produce heavier beans. There are two diseases possible for coffee trees such as yellow fever and rust. During the process of growing coffee you can see all the colors of the Kenyan flag; green, then red, then black.
Coffee was first made (invented) in a country close to Kenya called Ethiopia. There are many (by many I mean many) different grades of coffee (not like in school grades) like PB, AA, E, T, AE, AB. These growers focus on only the premium grades. There are also different roasts like light, medium, dark and french. At the coffee farm we walked around ND their 350 acres of land. Coffee beans look like a type of fruit, they have a sweet and sugary flavor before the berries are picked one by one by hand. Only the red berries are harvested.
And what I thought was the coolest thing to learn was that most Kenyans themselves don’t actually drink coffee and much more prefer tea (British influence). At the end of the tour we enjoyed a snack overlooking the coffee farm. My parents enjoyed a good tasting of coffee. Last but certainly not least we made our own coffee :-). My dad was able to roast his own batch of beans and take them home.
On December 14th we also went to the famous Giraffe Centre. We truly enjoyed the centre. We were allowed to take pellets for free and hand feed the giraffes. The giraffes where very sweet and gentle when we where feeding them, they would like one pellet at a time from your hand. Some people even put a pellet in their lips!
They would try to get the pellet from you with their long tounge. There where two main giraffes that we could interact with. One was a teen and the other was an adult. There was also a small expedition that was free to look at. There was a gift shop that was very dark (we got a wooden ornament of a giraffe in criss-cross). This was a great well-known stop.
The next day we went to an Elephant Nursery. It was called “The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust”. It is open 1 hour (11:00 – 12:00) every day. The first thing we saw was a cute little baby white rhino, it was less than four weeks old and the mother left it stuck in the mud. They told the story of him and how he was rescued.
Next we saw a group of (funny, silly and cute) elephants. The workers said that all their animals where orphans. They followed by telling a story for each and every animal. In total we saw 18 elephants. When the elaphants came the first thing they did was drink milk from large baby bottles.
All the animals were raised to be put back in the wild at age 8 to 10.
After that we went to a lunch spot called Boho Eatery. There they had cool cottages you could stay at, they were like huts biult on posts. I recommend the pulled pork sandwich.
Next we went to the Karen Blixen museum. The city we where in was named after her. We got a personal guide (student guide) that gave us our tour. I was never quite sure what made Karen Blixen so famous. I would recommend going here if you would like to know about the person who the town was named after.
For dinner that night (Dec.16) we ate at a restaurant called Carnavor. It was well known and super fun. The waitresess would walk around with a tray full of food and you would have to let them know if you want the food or not. Here they had lots of meat.
Even some crazy meats like crocodile, ox balls and ostrige. My favorite was the crocodile, my parents liked the ostrige most.
The next day we went on a tour of the Kawangware slums (VERY poor people). We did this tour with a shop that sells stoves and ovens to the slums. All of the sales people live in the slums. The brand was called Livelyhods.
We started of the tour by going to Livelyhods headquarters. We were the only ones on the tour and we started off by watching them have a meeting on their company to see who sold the most and who made the most money.
In the beginning I didn’t realize why we had to learn about their business and how much they sold because it was a tour on the slums not their business but then I realized that basically we are being put into their business for one day to see what it’s like to be in their business and go around selling to the slums. The slums we visited had about 150,000 people and the larger slum (biggest in the world) has about 250,000 people.
After a little bit or planning the day we stopped and everyone (including us) had a snack. There was this pancake bread (chapati) and tea. Then we started the tour. On the tour we had 2 people who worked at Livelyhods walk around with us. It was very interesting to see the slums and how they lived. During the tour we got to see what a slum house looks like inside. Each house was basically a metal she’d which was extremely small and there was no kitchen and no bathroom – just the bed.
While my parents continued talking with the lady that let us into her house, I went outside to hangout with some local kids and we played some fun games. They seemed like even though they were very poor, they were still very happy. They were always smiling and having fun. We heard “hello, how are you?” With a smile and wave so many times. People would just yelled out to us.
The next day (Dec.18) we did a beading (bracelet making) class. The organization we did it with was called Spinners Web the workshop is Weza4life. Here we were taught to make jewelry (bracelets, necklaces and earings). It was a great experience. We found out that the women that worked there all had AIDA. We also learnt that it was a non-profit business and they used all the money to buy school books to help kids go to school. At the end we got to bring home everything we made, plus my mom and I bought a few extra things from their shop.
For lunch that day my mom, dad and I went to a restaurant called Arbor Place. Like most places here, we enjoyed lunch outside in a beautiful garden. From here I remember the great spring rolls, My refreshing strawberry lemonade and my scrumptious Arbor Burger (I definitely recommend).
Later for dinner we went to a restaurant called Tailsman. Here I loved their idea of having a fire-place for every table. As the sun set, it got cool. So, each person who wanted a little portable frog fireplace, had one brought to them, to keep warm. So cozy. Here I got homemade mozzarella, miso soup and a sushi platter. Good place, but not favorite. It was a place with a lot of expats and tourists.
On the last day in Kenya (Dec.19), we started off by going to a place called Langata. Langata was a few little shops that where all connected. There was also a bank and a food stand which we did not try. It was fun but there where no special memories taken.
Later in the day for lunch we went to a Tea Plantation on our way to the airport. During the plantation we learnt that Kenya is the 3rd biggest exporter of tea in the world.
Kenya is the number 1 biggest exporter of tea in Africa. Our guide’s name was Fiona and she owned the farm. She inherited it from her grandfather. On the farm there were 35 acres of land. We took a walk trough their forest and saw many monkeys who liked avocados and bananas of course. After the tour we enjoyed a 3 course buffet (very delicious) on their front yard. For dessert we enjoyed handmade ice cream from their cows in flavors chocolate and vanilla.
Over all it was a great experience with a great lunch.