Nairobi, Kenya

Chengalpattu On January 30 at 6:30 AM, we left Easton MD.  Stuart, our driver, piled us into Pat’s Atlas with our bags.  Luckily we packed light enough that our bags fit in the space behind the third seat. We needed the third seat because there were five of us including our  driver. We visited the Delta lounge, a benefit of flying business class. The real benefit came when we boarded and Pat took a photo of the leg room. And, the seats went flat for sleeping – though not separate PODS like we had when we went to Viet Nam.  We were provided with a memory foam pad covered by a sheet to put on our seat when it was flat, a pillow, and a warm blanket. The other benefit was the dining…we chose Chicken  thighs, spicy  rice,  carrots  for our dinner  entree

and for dessert fresh fruit!

Once we got to Nairobi after our 14 hour flight, Maria whisked us through immigration and customs and delivered us to our driver, George within minutes.  She made it so easy and we were very grateful since the airport was a madhouse.  We arrived early in the morning and we needed to stay up most of the day to get acclimated to the time change.  Kenya is 8 hours ahead of East Coast time. On the back of George’s Land Rover were spare tires with covers that said Untamed Expeditions. On the way out of the airport, we were fortunate enough to see zebra adjacent to the highway.  George said that meant we would be lucky throughout our trip seeing animals. His prediction was right on target!

He drove us to our lodging for the night, the Karen Gables Lodge. We checked in and dropped our bags.  This photo is our room, the last we’ll see for a while that is located in a house,  We’re moving on up to tents going forward! We  headed to Utamaduni, a restaurant for an al fresco lunch under a palm tree with an associated gift shop with carvings, beadwork, fabrics, and crafts made by local women.

After lunch, George took us to Giraffe Manor, where we took turns feeding the giraffes. We fed them little pellets that we obtained at the center.  The pellets looked very much like kibble we feed our pets.  The giraffes have long black tongues and though they are tall, they are very gentle.

The AFEW Giraffe Centre was established in 1983 to protect the Rothschild giraffes. In 1983, there were only 130 Rothschild giraffes left in the wild in Kenya. The herds were moved to various parks to keep them safe and twelve were placed in the AFEW Giraffe Centre.  The centre built a circular viewing platform built on stilts. From the walkway visitors can see the nearby Giraffe Manor, a hotel with giraffes stalking – or maybe streaking across the lawn.

From there, George drove us to the Karen Blixen Museum.  Danish born Karen Blixen is best known for her book Out of Africa (made into a movie) which she wrote under the pseudonym Isak Dinesen. This autobiographical work recounts her days on a coffee farm in Kenya where she lived from 1914 to 1932. Her farmhouse with its wide verandas and red tiled roof has been converted into a museum featuring original furnishings and props from the movie Out of Africa as well as photographs of her life. George turned us over to a guide for a personal tour of the farm house, even showing us early farm equipment from Karen’s time. From the peaceful garden, lush with bougainvillea, hibiscus, and other flora, one can see views of Ngong Hills.

Afterwards, George took us back to Karen Gables Lodge, where we cleaned up for dinner and rearranged our luggage for a 7:30 departure tomorrow morning to head to Amboseli National Park, about a four hour drive south of Nairobi.

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