A night out in Nairobi is exactly what I need before heading back to the Kenyan coast. Kelly with The Village Experience had made friends with one of the co-founders of the Africa Yoga Project and we decide to take her up on her offer for a night out and a bed and hot water bottle at her place. We meet Paige at her place. She is from New York City and had been living in Nairobi now for six years. Paige happened to score some tickets to a wine tasting we are excited to check out. Really grateful to have the opportunity to taste some African wines (and beers) and talk to the wine makers, brewers and distributors. This style of event is quite familiar to me. I felt at home.
My favorite wine of the night was the Meerlust Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 from South Africa, that went for 3700 Shillings or $43 USD. It was as good as fine wine with age with the complexities of tobacco and earth. Heaven in a glass.
Managed to try a few craft brews from The Big 5 Breweries: Kifabock, a lightly hopped Dubbel Bock. Nyatipa pale ale, which satisfied my bitter hop cravings. And ended with a Temstout which had nice notes of coffee and chocolate flavor.
The ladies loved the Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. It was their repeat tasting while we enjoyed a variety of delicious cheeses and flavored chocolates.
Then off to visit the casino. My first time. Of course my first time to visit a casino is in Kenya of all places. We play roulette. I bet maybe the equivalent of $10 USD and enjoy two double Johnny Black Label on the rocks. I win some and lose most.
Next stop? Tree House where Kelly had heard a DJ friend of hers was going to be. I found Caol Ila 12…neat please. We dance the night away. I danced with an older gentleman that completely took the lead to some music of spanish influence. I felt relaxed and simply enjoyed the night.
On our drive to Naivasha Crescent Camp we pass mutatu stations with Wangari Maathai graffiti. Maathai was a Kenyan environmental and political activist. I read her memoir, Unbowed, recommended by our Village Experience guide prior to this trip. Maathai does a great job of telling her story where the reader can understand what it was like to grow up in Kenya and the history of the country.
We pass several nyama choma markets on our journey. The meat hangs freely in the window display. We managed to stop at one and try some lamb, liver and ribs. Small bites dipped in salt. Coca-Cola loves Kenya. Managed to find Guinness Foreign Extra, brewed in Kenya.
We take a hippo boat ride to Crescent Island for a walking safari. The walking safari not to be missed! A few movies have been filmed here including Out of Africa with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford and the sequel to Tomb Raider. It’s simply surreal to be walking with zebra, giraffe, wildebeests and gazelles. Would love to picnic here.
We have colobus monkey’s visiting with us at the Camp and enjoy the best broth based soups of my life. I sit and enjoy the stillness. I feel like I hear the birds chirping “rafiki, rafiki” and “karibu, karibu.”
Visited Kazuri (small and beautiful) Beads. We meet the women that make beautiful beaded jewelry and accessories and take a tour of the facility. From soil to clay to paint to bake.
Those reading in Indianapolis can check out the selection of jewelry at The Village Experience fair trade retail location at 6055 N. College Ave.
Jambo (Hello) and Karibu (Welcome)
Arriving to Nairobi on a Sunday evening is good form as traffic can be troublesome during weekdays and Friday and Saturday nights. I get picked up from the airport and simply observe Nairobi on our drive to Wildebeest Eco Camp. The matatu (bus) stations have no lighting. In fact, there isn’t much light at all along man-made walking paths in the grass along the side of the road. It is a struggle for passengers to even cross street battling against the traffic. We pass mutatu stations with Wangari Maathai graffiti. Maathai was a Kenyan environmental and political activist. Her memoir, Unbowed, was recommended by our Village Experience guide prior to the trip. In Unbowed, Maathai does a great job of telling her story where the reader can understand what it was like to grow up in Kenya alongside learning about the history of the country. Drivers, my driver included, seem to drive without fear. They drive with faith, assertiveness and confidence. There are very few traffic lights and a couple roundabouts on this particular journey. Approaching the gated Eco Camp at dark, I hear frogs and walking up to my tent I take in the wonderful floral essence.
Our first day in Nairobi we visit The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust elephant orphanage. A beautiful and peaceful way to start the trip. They are open to the public daily during the 11 a.m. feeding time. We were joined by two classrooms of children. I couldn’t help but wonder if this is a frequent opportunity for these students or if today, together, we are all sharing this experience for the first time.
Grateful for the opportunity to join this itinerary organized by our host and Indy native, Kelly Campbell for The Village Experience: Upcoming Sustainable Tourism Trips.