I wanted to share with you all some highlights from Kenya, that still almost three weeks since my return have stayed truly imprinted in my memory.
For those who aren’t aware, Kenya is essentially the ‘motherland’ for me as well as somewhere that I was brought up during my early teenage years.
From boarding school to now yearly visits, I’ve been able to experience some great moments and I’d like to share some of my most recent experiences with you all!
During my two week trip to Kenya over the Christmas and New Years’ period, I experienced both city life, relaxation at the coast, a day trip to the hot springs at Lake Bogoria and finally an all-rounder great opportunity to find motivation and a new creative buzz for the New Year!
I’ve always had a profound love for Nairobi…I can’t necessarily pin-point what it is but I guess a lot of it has to do with the fact that it’s all so familiar to me and a real reminder of some of the best times of my teenage years. With that said, nothing can beat the coastal breeze, the picturesque white sands and a daily temperature which can take you from pale to glowing in a matter of hours.
Usually when I travel to the coast I tend to fly, however this time we drove and after an almost 12 hour journey (due to the time we left Nairobi!) we arrived safely, although a little frazzled, in Diani!
Although the journey itself was timely, to be able to experience the drive, which potentially I hadn’t done in over ten years, was great as I was able to see some of the development-especially being able to witness the train line which the new Madaraka Express train service travels along from Nairobi to the Coast.
Unfortunately we were not able to get any seats for the newly developed train journey, as the ever popular express service was fully occupied and rightly so!
Once arrived and settled, we stayed in the Zubeida Villas, in close proximity to the Colobus conservation, which were beautifully kept and each villa had enough of it’s own surrounding space to give you the necessary breathing room. Our villa was only a few short steps to the beach and also to the pool-giving us the option to dabble daily between the two!
As a comparison though, and I don’t know if any other Kenyans would agree on this, I definitely feel like the South Coast is a lot hotter in temperature? With that said I also feel as a comparison that the North Coast has much more of a vibe to it…potentially because the South Coast is an attraction for a completely different audience? Either way, I’m still a fan of both sides!
After spending New Years at the coast and another 12-14 hours back to Nairobi (this time not due to the hour that we decided to travel at!) it was back to the city life. We had decided that a day trip would be the next thing on our agenda, so a trip to Lake Bogoria which is a little north of the equator was our next adventure and the Lake itself is a mix of saline/alkaline due to the volcanic region it lies within and home to a mass population of flamingos.
Not only did Lake Bogoria offer an array of pink flamingos and a perfectly picturesque view of high mountains, it also accommodates the hot springs! For those who are unfamiliar, the natural hot springs are EXTREMELY hot-to the point you can boil potatoes and eggs and the like! If you forget to bring them with you-not to worry! There are stalls along the journey which allow you to purchase eggs and potatoes as well as drinks for the adventure to the Lake. The hot springs also have great healing properties and if you stand close enough (obviously not close enough that you get scathed by the temperature) you’ll feel the soothing heat steam your skin, which is a nice bonus!
Overall to Lake Bogoria from the city, it should take approximately 3 hours by car and is most definitely a day trip for you to leave early hours in the morning to enjoy the peak midday flourish of flamingos. To get there, you pass the Great Rift Valley which in itself is a breath-taking view to witness and with its historical background you can’t help but feel so in awe of it’s natural beauty.
On this particular day, I felt so humbled to have had the ability to experience this. On trips such as this you can’t help but feel so small in comparison to the vast amount of nature that you are surrounded by; not just because of how breath-taking it is but naturally we limit our minds to focus on our everyday environments so it’s easy to become withdrawn to how much more there is out there in the World.
Overall, I highly recommend Kenya and everything that it has to offer from a travel perspective but also culturally. There is no greater sensation I have felt than in the moment I step off a plane and arrive in Nairobi and just think to myself ‘I am home!‘
As always, I’d like to end with a quote-
“There is something about life in Africa that makes you forget all your sorrows and feel as if you had drunk half a bottle of champagne — bubbling over with heartfelt gratitude for being alive!”-Karen Blixen
(From ‘Out of Africa’-her account of living in Kenya)