All Good Things Are Wild: Kenya
Those who know me or track my stories are well cognisant of my love for Africa. In the mid of June 2016, I made my fifth trip to Africa and my first to Kenya. I had already fallen in love with this amazing continent upon visiting Namibia, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Seychelles, but seeing how unique Kenya was, it only strengthened that love.
Trust me, it will come as no surprise to all of you that my trip to Kenya tops my chart of travel adventures. Wildlife in Kenya is very diverse and makes for an outstanding game watching experience – far better than anywhere else in the world. I travelled to Kenya last year and everything is still so bright in my mind – it was a memorable experience and one I will treasure forever. Yes, I will.
Almost five years ago, I was sitting in my office conference room - daydreaming about my crush – the guy with an infectious smile, when something my senior said caught my attention. “We have a guest to talk to you about a very exciting opportunity, please meet...”
I can’t actually recall if the new face before me was male or female since I was more interested in the PowerPoint presentation behind them. Beautiful images of warm orange plains, wild animals, and kids smiling. “I want to go!” I told my colleague. It was actually a presentation made by Kenya Tourism Board about the exquisiteness of this splendid country in East Africa. Kenya is the pride of Africa, a world of wonders where elephants roam and big cats prowl. And yet the country has so much more to offer than a safari – it’s an ideal destination for an all-round holiday.
A head start
I recall from the trip - arriving in Nairobi very exhausted and jet-lagged. Travel sickness aside, I was overcome with enthrallment. My surroundings were like nothing I’d ever seen before; a capital without skyscrapers, huts for houses and wide-open plains dotted with dry shrubbery and skinny trees.
I remember feeling totally and completely relaxed. I would sneak out of my bed at 6 am with my friend to try and peep at the sunrise. We’d all giggle around a fire under the stars, so bright and unclouded by city smoke. I’d never known the night sky could look that way.
The Big 5
Safari is one of the few African words to make it into the English language - it means “journey”. It’s indeed an overland voyage, typically a trip by tourists to Africa. Long ago, the trip was often a big-game hunt, but these days, safari regularly refers to trips to observe and photograph wildlife – or hiking and sight-seeing as well.
Kenya is where my love affair with Africa blossomed and promised never to let go. Wildlife (big cats particularly) ranks among the luxurious heats of my life and it was here that I saw my first cheetah on the hunt, my first lion on the march, my first leopard on a kill and where I came so close to elephants and black rhinos. Oh My God.
The scenery was so open (and dry), and we never seemed to be penetrating for animals while on the game drives. We’d look out the jeep and see a few elephants, so we’d stop and then all of a sudden it’s 20 elephants, meandering their way right in front of our jeep. That was the norm, not the exception.
I visited Maasai Mara National Park and Nairobi National Park. During our game safari, we were extremely lucky to see two giant African tuskers fight. My heart was literally beating fast. I could actually feel my own heartbeat. Our van was thumping as they moved – it was in fact like a front-row seat in a 16D adventure but the only difference was – it was all damn real! We also saw wild buffalo up close here. We were warned by the guide about them – they are the scariest of the Big 5. I was bold enough to take a picture of this wild buffalo that obviously looked irritated.
The Maasai Market
I was very keen to visit the Maasai market, which takes place in different parts of the city every day. After freshening up I headed there. If you want to do some souvenir shopping, this is the right place for you. The kind of bargaining one can do here is of the same kind to the streets of Janpath. I shopped for almost two hours and bought souvenirs for family and friends along with Kenyan coffee packs for the coffee lovers. If you are a coffee fanatic, Kenyan coffee is one of the best. Do purchase.
Nairobi has a lively feel at night, and with a fast-paced nightlife, it is hard to keep up with the various nightclubs around. There are also a few local nightclubs in Nairobi that stay open until dawn. Every night in Kenya is a different and lively night. One can easily find casinos, cafes, nightclubs and 24-hour facilities like supermarkets. Kenya offers a safari or beach vacation accompanied by a vivacious nightlife and all the global tastes are found in one country.
I was super excited to discover out Nairobi’s nightlife. Since I was staying in an Indian dominated area, the clubs here had more of an Indian crowd, dancing to the local beats.
I love to fly on planes, though I’m frightened that one day my plane will end up losing control and I will die. I really want to see what the world looks like from really high in the sky, but I’m scared.
Undoubtedly, the stunning destination of Kenya is well branded for unbelievable safari holidays but there are also a huge variety of other activities on offer to keep everyone amused. Whether you’re after a comforting beach break or another escapade, there is plenty to see and explore in Kenya.
Want to know the best destination for skydiving adventure in Kenya? It is at Diani Beach. Skydiving in Diani also gives you a 15-minute flight over the extravagant beach, which is an experience worth every penny. Tandem diving is also available.
Paragliding is one of the utmost sporting activities to do in Kenya, and one of the most exhilarating experiences. Float over a picturesque landscape in the Great Rift Valley. Kerio Valley and Laikipia are the well-liked paragliding destinations in Kenya.
Romance is all around
Kenya is a very dreamy country and a perfect honeymoon destination to rejoice your love and begin your life’s journey together. Iconic wildlife, classic landscapes, ancient wonders, and an incredible variety of cultures have fascinated intrepid adventurers for centuries.
However, this vast and splendid country has also its sweet side, and it’s a perfect place for newlyweds looking to experience the ultimate romantic gateway. A honeymoon, after all, is a grand affair, so why not make it memorable. From a candle-lit desert retreat to a faraway tropical archipelago, Kenya has a wide variety to offer to its honeymooners.
The last leg
I visited Mombasa on the last leg of my trip to enjoy the dazzling beaches, exhilarating water sports, vivacious night scene and busy city life. After freshening up I steered to the white sandy beach for a stroll and later took a dip in the crystal clear waters of Mombasa. The water is fairly shallow and you can walk deep into the sea, as you enjoy the calm waters. And yes, you can sip on Tusker (the local beer) as well.
All good things come to an end
The gloomy reality about Kenya, though, is that the splendour of this place remains hidden to so many groups of tourists due to the frightening, and rather fictional, a status that has sprouted up due to social and economic problems faced by the country. But isn’t that the case with many other countries?
Keeping these things aside, whether you’re in the very touristy areas or off the beaten path, you will be welcomed to Kenya with warmth, honesty, and beauty that will have you truly flabbergasted.
Okay, tell me how many countries leave you at a loss for words? When I came back from my trip to Kenya, that’s precisely how I found myself. And I have decided that maybe words aren’t what this amazing place needs to persuade people to visit, maybe it’s just photos.
As I go through the thousands of mesmerising pictures I took of the Masai people, the landscapes and the wildlife roaming free, the proverb “a picture says 1000 words” has never rung so accurate.