Kenya (11) – Nairobi

Today marked the end of the first part of our trip, and we left Amboseli at around 8am to return to Nairobi. It was a long hot drive of about 6 hours, and we didn’t stop anywhere en route. Whilst flying into the parks would definitely save a lot of time, you would certainly miss getting a more all round view of the country. Staying in the parks you’re very sheltered, and by driving you begin to get a better impression of how people live here. It’s a very good reminder just how lucky we are to take the basic things of life, like running water and sanitation for granted.

We were very glad to finally reach the outskirts of Nairobi, but the last few kilometres took us an hour or two to complete. Nairobi is a city which has rapidly outgrown its infrastructure. They’re busy building a bypass so that all the heavy truck traffic doesn’t have to drive through the centre of the city, but at the moment there are horrendous traffic problems, and the stretch from the airport in can apparently take 3 hours at the wrong time of day. Peter gave us some facts and figures as we drove through – the city has a population of about 3 million, of whom two thirds live in the slums. Apparently there is a proposal to give up on the city and build a new one. After reading a bit about Nairobi’s slums as part of one of my Open University courses, I can imagine that this may be the only practical option.

It was a big relief when we finally arrived at the hotel, although we were sad to say goodbye to Peter. He’s been good company and a wonderful guide to us over the past 10 days and taught us a lot about both the wildlife we’ve seen, and the country and its people.

We decided not to go into Nairobi itself, but to stay at the hotel and relax a little bit, and catch up with processing some of our photographs from the trip. It would have been good to take a swim, but one of the many (there were 5 or 6 in total) hotel restaurants had tables right next to the pool, and the thought of everyone watching was too off-putting. We did take a couple walks around the hotel gardens, and I was excited to discover a little kitchen garden, where they were growing rhubarb, lots of herbs (including lemon grass!) and salad vegetables. Apparently having an allotment has turned me into the sort of person that gets excited about these things 🙂

We finished off our day with cocktails and dinner in the gardens. Tomorrow will be another early start, as we leave the hotel at 6am to meet up with the arriving photography group at the airport.

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