A Day in Nairobi

Yesterday, thanks to jetlag, we woke up early and enjoyed a lovely buffet breakfast at the Boma Hotel with a huge variety of different foods from all around the world. After breakfast and a walk through the grounds we took off with Albert our personal guide and our hosts Liz and Tenai to explore the city of Nairobi, one of the only cities that shares its grounds with a national park and where lions have roamed the streets.

We set off skirting the national park to bring us to our first stop, the Giraffe Center, which shares the grounds with the historic Giraffe Manor. This is a breeding center for the endangered Rothschild Giraffe and you can get up close and personal, if your lucky even sneaking in a kiss. After sanitizing, we drove over to David Sheldricks Elephant Orphanage and spent the hour watching baby elephants that ranged from a few months old to 3 years be fed by their handlers and play in the mud. These animals were taken in as orphans from poaching, drought, and starvation just to name a few and will be released back into the wild at as young as 5 years old.

As we continued to explore the Karen region, we visited the peaceful and serene grounds of the Hemingways Boutique Hotel, saw beautiful jacarandas in full bloom and visited Kazuri beads which employs almost 340 local women in a coop style organisation that aids them with housing and healthcare. The story of the area brought us to the Karen Blixen museum, for which the area is named.

It was now time to hit the heart of Nairobi, and fortunately it was a Sunday so the traffic was light with most people walking. We escaped crazy downtown to explore the lush gardens of the Fairmont Norfolk. From this well located hotel, right across from the National Theatre, we toured a small corner of downtown.

Finally the airport called with good news and we headed to the arrivals terminal to pick up our long awaited bags!

15 hours in Dubai

There was no rest for the wicked as we’d already booked our Burj Khalifa tickets for 9pm so Karen’s friend Dan picked us up and dropped us off at the Moevenpick Hotel and Apartments (where they’d upgraded us to a 1 bedroom suite!) for a quick 10 minute freshen up with what clothing we had on us!

We are so happy to have bought the full Burj Khalifa fast track experience choosing to book our tickets all the way to floor 148. This was the VIP treatment where we were offered fresh juice, Arabic coffee, dates and desserts at the top, and we had a small group with an exclusive viewing time so only 14 people were on the floor with us. After this incredible experience floors 124 and 125 felt crowded and touristic.

After the burj it was nearly 10:30 pm and we were starved. We went out the the Dubai fountain as it’s surrounded by restaurants and went to a more local style restaurant for kebabs that were to die for! We sat down right as the fountain show started and enjoyed the evening al fresco.

Arriving in Dubai

What an incredible, rushed and full day. Firstly our flight from Calgary to Seattle was delayed…three times…this meant that we landed in Seattle with only half an hour to run to our flight. We had to get from gate c to gate s, taking three trains in the process. Luckily, as this delay was due to weather, we weren’t the only people running for the flight and they held the doors for us.

When we arrived on our Emirates flight there was lots of seat space, even in economy. The luxury of Emirates was immediately evident when they brought us toiletry kits and our dinner and breakfast menu only minutes after we’d hit altitude. There were even twinkling stars on the ceiling of the plane. 13 hours later we hit Dubai but, unfortunately, without our bags. They didn’t make the short connection we did.

24 hours and counting

We’ve been talking about this trip for nearly six months so it’s hard to believe we leave tomorrow. This will be an adventure of a lifetime, so we thought we should tell you a bit about where we’re headed and some of the activities we plan to do.

In Dubai we will head straight to the 148 floor of the Burj Khalifa to get an incredible view of the city at night and follow this with visiting the 2nd largest choreographed fountain in the world, the Dubai Fountain, for its evening light and water show.

While in Ol Pejeta Conservancy we’ll go to the Chimp and Rhino sanctuary and see their conservation program at work.

In Samburu we’ll visit with locals as they invite us into their daily lives, allowing us to experience the area and its history through their eyes.

Throughout our stay we’ll be taking in morning and evening game drives, cultural activities and incredible meals amidst visiting a number of other camps not listed. Stay tuned for what’s to come.

Getting ready – Kenya

With only two weeks left until departure it’s finally feeling real, we’re leaving for Kenya! Though we’ve been booking clients on explorations of Kenya for some time, this will be our first chance to set foot in the country ourselves.

As our clients, you know how we suggest getting everything ready well in advance to ensure everything is set for your trip. Well this hasn’t quite happened for us. Our bags aren’t yet packed and I haven’t gotten any chance to buy bug spray! I feel like this weekend will be us running around getting things together.

Enough about things on this side of the world though. Everything is arranged in Kenya and Dubai from our accommodation to our airport transfers and safaris. Of course with familiarization trips like this, things will change and we’ll see places and people we never expected. Stay tuned and join us on our adventure.