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Wandering the World

Stories and tips from around the world.

East Africa Day 2

Nairobi City Tour

My attempts to sleep failed for the most part so when we landed at 06:10 local time I was quite tired. At first we queued to get a visa before we found out that you had to first fill in a form. This was mostly the same as what we’d already had to fill in for the entry form. The visa could be paid for in several currencies, so instead of paying 50USD we paid 30GBP – it makes sense to use the best rate. By the time the luggage appeared and we met the Somak representative over an hour had passed since landing.

Nairobi Serena Hotel The drive to the hotel took only 15 minutes and we passed a site of pilgrimage where people were gathering for the upcoming election and praying. The hotel interior was quite nice – and gave an idea of the culture, or at least what their culture was like before Western influence. As we’d not had a proper breakfast on the plane we opted to have one at the hotel. There was a lot of choice, and quite a few different juices (including wine). Breakfast though was incredibly expensive for what little we ate – it came to 30USD per head. The bill didn’t come that quickly either, we were asked to wait outside by the pool until they had time. So we got to spend 20 minutes watching birds fly over head, attempting in vain to photograph them.

As our city tour didn’t start until 14:00 there was then time to try and get a few hours sleep before starting. The start of the city tour was at a museum where we met up with a local guide who would show us around the museum and snake pit. Photography is allowed inside except for where the paintings are, one of the many different sections covering different aspects of Kenya. The first section concentrates on tribal culture but then moves on to the wildlife with a large area for the mammals, and then row after row of birds. There is then more about the culture before moving on to their history, covering their occupation by different nations, their participation in World War 2 and their independence.

Nairobi National Museum Next to the museum is a snake pit with many different species – some out in the open, but some are protected behind glass. You can also find tortoises and crocodiles in this area, some of them being species imported from the US; an alligator inclusive. The snakes were quite cool to see, and there was a good variety in both size, colour, and those which are either venomous or constrictors.

Nairobi Railway Station The city tour then continued by road with the driver pointing out a lot of their important buildings or anything of interest. At one point the minibus drove down a crowded pavement to get to a railway station that no longer gets used much. It seemed to do this to avoid the larger coaches that were in the area. As we slowly moved past all the pedestrians, the driver asked us to lock the windows – he’d already locked the doors. It’s something that seemed mad, but it seemed none of the locals were bothered too much by it. We then headed back to the hotel with a 1hr30 break before dinner.

At 18:30 we headed to the infamous carnivore restaurant which surprisingly was only a 10-15 minute drive away from the hotel. As you enter there is the fire that they cook the meat on spits with. To start with soup is served; they didn’t say what it was but it tasted like leak. This is then followed with them bringing out salad and sauces, along with a hot plate for your meal that started with a jacket potato. The waiters then arrive one by one with spits to move meat on to your plate. At the rate they were coming round your plate would empty faster than you could empty it. When you’ve had enough you remove the flag from your table marker to show you’ve “surrendered”. By the time we were done we’d had a chicken, chicken wings, chicken leg, pork ribs, lamb, beef, pork sausage, beef sausage, crocodile, ostrich meatballs, fried chicken gizzards, and ox testicle. After this the meats were repeating so we surrendered and finished with a nice cheesecake.

The Carnivore Restaurant Although early, it was finally chance to have a proper rest.