As we were booking our flights to Africa, we had made the choice to slow down a bit in our plane travels. That means not being on a plane for 10 hours, but rather do some stopovers along the way. Nairobi, in Kenya, was one of them.
Apparently, when traveling to the south of Africa you have to change flights in Nairobi. It is a must or at least it was in our case! So why not spend a few days there?
Initially, we had planned on going for a few weeks and possibly also do a Safari in Masai Mara. Unfortunately, as we started trying to figure out how Safaris worked since it was our first time, we got overwhelmed by options and costs. In the end, we changed plans.
Was it a good idea to give up spending a long time in Kenya? Probably yes! However, we haven’t given up forever! We simply postponed a wonderful trip there, that we weren’t ready for this year! Flexibility is also this, being able to understand when it isn’t the right time and rearrange things to make it more comfortable for you.
After buying our tickets, we found out that we did need a Visa to go to Kenya also for a short time. That is when we panicked! What were we thinking? Why didn’t we check Visa requirements before booking?! We were staying in the country less than 72 hours and probably had to spend a fortune for the visa!
After that first moment of panic, we found out that all you need is a transit visa! It costs only $20 each. I did everything online because I didn’t want to be in line forever at immigration since we were arriving at night. The only mistake was that I got a visa for the kids too. Apparently, it isn’t necessary if they are under 14 years old! Lesson learned!!!!
How did we spend our 2 days?
Since we had 2 full days in Nairobi, we decided to make the best of it!
As usual, we didn’t book anything in advance. I simply asked at the hotel for some names of good and possibly inexpensive companies that organized Safaris. In fact, I found out that we could do one right next to the city. Maybe we wouldn’t see too many animals, but it would be an amazing experience anyway!
As I was documenting myself last minute, I also found another few things that were doable in just a short time and great for the kids. Our 2 days in Nairobi have been full and unforgettable.
What did we do?
We booked our first-day adventures with Baboon Budget Safaris. We had a great guide, Mike, he gave us a lot of interesting information, he was friendly and very nice to our kids!
Feed the Giraffe at the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife Giraffe Centre
We started our day at the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife Giraffe Centre (AFEW). This center was established with the purpose of protecting the endangered Rothschild giraffes. At the center you will find lots of good information on these giraffes. You will also find the friendly staff always available for extra insights.
While you are there you will have the chance to feed the giraffes (if they are hungry)! They have an elevated feeding platform where you meet the resident giraffes face to face. While we were there, only one of the many giraffes living there actually came over to the platform constantly, she could not stop eating. Cosimo also received a kiss from her!
The AFEW center is also home to Giraffe Manor. This is a beautifully maintained colonial home, now an exclusive guesthouse. You might have seen pictures on Instagram or Facebook of giraffes paying an occasional visit to the house itself, often by pushing their heads through the French Windows! I would have loved to sleep there but at the time being it is a bit out of our budget!
Safari in Nairobi National Park
At just 7 km from Nairobi city centre, you can visit Nairobi National Park, one of the only places on earth where you can be on a safari with skyscrapers as part of your backdrop!
As you get there, there is a fee you pay to enter the park of $43 for adults and $22 for the kids. Some tours have the price of the entry included in the package. In our case we just went to the office and paid. They only accept credit cards, no cash payments!
We spent about 3 hours driving around the park. We went through open grass plains, scattered acacia bush and saw a wide variety of wildlife all in just a few hours and it was truly magical! Plus our kids loved the van we were riding on, the roof was opened during the safari so we could easily stand up and enjoy the view. We all had the best seats!
During the safari, we saw: cave buffalo, ibis, hippos, crown cranes, heartbeats antelope, impalas, fraccoli, velvet monkeys, eland antelope, giraffes, zebras, eagles, and vultures. It was an amazing afternoon and we could not have wished for a better outcome! Our kids we so excited and so happy for the whole Safari experience. They were also very happy that we had picked an afternoon time rather than the very early morning one!
Meeting the orphaned elephants at the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage
For our second day I had found out about an elephant orphanage right next to the entrance to to the National Park: the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage.
Unfortunately, Elephant calves are often orphaned by poaching and are brought here from all over the country. When a tiny newborn elephant is orphaned, it is often because its mother and family have been killed to serve the ivory trade. For an elephant, the family is very important, a calf’s very existence depends upon its mother’s milk for the first two years of life.
At David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage they receive specialized treatment and personal care 24 hours a day from dedicated staff.
Eventually the calves are moved to Tsavo East National Park, where they are carefully reintroduced into wild herds. The process is long and complex. It took Daphne Sheldrick nearly 30 years of trial and error to perfect the milk formula to feed the infant elephants. Thanks to the support of many caring people world-wide, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is proud to have saved over 150 orphaned infant calves, which would otherwise have perished.
The center is open to the public each morning from 11 am-12 pm. During this time the baby elephants are fed and bathed while visitors are free to watch and get more information about the center and learn more about the personal story of each calve.
It is so sad to hear the stories of all these orphaned elephants but it is also amazing to witness such a project that is daily giving these orphans a chance to live again!
Adopting an orphaned elephant
Did you ever think of adopting an elephant? Here is your chance!
When you adopt, the orphanage gives you an adoption certificate and information about the elephant you adopted. They keep you up to date throughout the year with its status. Also, whenever you visit the orphanage, you can schedule a day and time so you can even see your elephant when it’s ready to go to bed! All this with a yearly donation of just $50 helps keep these elephants strong and healthy.
Check out the this link for more information.
By the end of our visit to David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, we had adopted a baby elephant too! His name is Mukkoka!!!
Feelings about Nairobi
Our time here was short and sweet. We met some lovely people, friendly and happy to chat with our family. We also saw some beautiful animals and so close to the downtown area, it was pretty amazing!!! Plus now we get to go on with our travels knowing that Mukkoka is our adopted elephant and we have a great excuse to come back. So we can see him again!
Click here to see more of our posts from our travels in Kenya!!!
Check out the hotel we stayed at Cloud Hotel & Suites!!!