Nairobi, the Capital of Kenya – This is part 2 of my Masai Mara Kenya Travelogue
Nairobi, the second largest city in Africa (after Cape Town), has a large Indian population who mostly control the local business. Nairobi is a progressive city and on that particular day the city was hosting an international soccer match against Uruguay, their arch rival in football. The stadium area was lively with supporters, fans and hawkers thronging the streets. Karen Blixen Avenue, named after the Dutch author, is one of the up market areas of the city. She is famous for her memoir on her life in Kenya titled “Out of Africa” which was later made into a successful Hollywood film. This was the nicest area of Nairobi which we saw.
But mostly it is a congested city and somehow looks a bit like Kolkata too. Hawkers thronged the market places; people crowded the sidewalks; Groups at every corner lazily discussed things known only to them. None the less it was a lively city though a bit daunting with the large framed Africans all around you. We were booked at a hotel where the people were friendly, and we tasted some Kenyan rice and chicken recipe which was nice. We hit the bed early, inside mosquito nets in our hotel room with mosquito-repellents splashed on all of our visible body parts.
Lawrence, our Kenyan driver, picked us up at about 8 am in the morning from our hotel and we were ready and buzzing with enthusiasm. It was a Nissan 4X4 SUV with an open hood and two rows of seats at the back. We soon left the city on a black tarmac road taking us to Masai Mara. The drive takes about 4 hours to the Reserve gates.
After about half an hour from Nairobi we started to view small animals, a few Thomson’s Gazelles on the sides with an occasional Topee or a striped Zebra dotting the horizon. The vegetation was light all around and Lawrence educated us about the different tribes that inhabited this region of Kenya. Soon we stopped at the View Point, where a few shops sold curios and artifacts and offered a great view over the wide expanse. We relaxed there for 15 minutes, enjoyed the sight and sipped a cup of Kenyan coffee. There were a lot of foreigners , trying gift items and memoirs from the stop, and it looked like this is a favorite among tourists.
The road stretched ahead of us, black tarmac, uneven and jittery at parts while we drove away from Nairobi. A distance of aound 160 kms till it reachs the gates of Mara forest. The Kenyan government has the gates controlled, and one needs to show acopy of the passport and mention the intended length of stay inside Mara. But , no wonder, many of the drivers in Mara, have their own little set up with the gatekeppers and money exchanges hands between them to ensure a cheaper deal.
Welcome to Mara !! 🙂