#VickiesPicks: 72 Hours in Amazing Nairobi, What to Eat, See, and Do - Travel Review
72 Hours in Nairobi
Last week I spent an amazing 72 hours in Nairobi, Kenya and it was perhaps one of the best trips I’ve taken in a while. BBCAfrica flew me out to participate on The She Word, a new pan African Show for and about women on the continent.
The actual taping took just about 2 hours between makeup and the last shot. My co-panelists were Sade Ladipo from Nigeria, Anita Nderu from Kenya, and Mandy Amandine from Burundi. We talked about sexual harassment in both its extreme forms as rape and abuse, and to cat calling on the street. The show will air first week April.
After I wrapped duties at BBC it was just me and Nairobi City.
Nairobi is probably one of the most ‘connect and go’ cities I’ve ever been to on the continent. You understand right away that this is a tech hub. As soon as I got data connectivity I basically didn’t need anyone else. Uber is so cheap I didn’t want to leave. Even though friends had made jokes about being safe, I felt completely at home and at ease going about my business as a solo female traveler.
In the time I was there no one harassed me, bothered me or made me feel unsafe or as though I didn’t belong. However, for a West African the metal detectors, and security checks were shocking. Rarely do I get searched to enter buildings in Freetown or Accra. It was not lost on me how truly blessed we are to not have to worry about acts of terrorism in Ghana and Sierra Leone. Especially in Sierra Leone where at midnight you could walk freely in the streets without a care or worry. Salone safe so.
I never knew Nairobi was such a foodie city either. My GOD! How does anyone decide where to eat or what to do. This city is bustling with unlimited offerings of every kind. I’m not saying it gave me NY, city that never sleeps vibes because Nairobi is Nairobi but it absolutely had me feeling like sleep was completely optional and I could stay out till morning.
I enjoyed the food every where I went: From the posh and luxe The Lord Erroll and its beautiful garden, to CJ’s on Koinange Street, ArtCaffe, Mama Ashanti, and the Ethiopian Dish at Prestige Plaza. I could have eaten more if not for this single and snatched lifestyle I’m trying to maintain.
Absolute highlight of my trip was interacting with traders at the Maasai Market at Prestige Plaza. I was a treat for them, as they were for me. My Fulani hairstyle and earrings, coupled with stacked beaded bangles from South Africa, and bright Ghana made African print trousers from Siba’s in Accra brought all the compliments. They loved me, its true. We talked about marriage, culture, dance, and children.
I didn’t buy much but I managed to spend $100, yes I know I paid like a Muzungu but chale if there is anywhere to let yourself be “had” its with traders. They work hard and I don’t mind being taken one time only for an overpriced item or two.
Ofcourse you can not come all the way to Nairobi and not attempt to have a wildlife experience. Kenya is one of Africa’s top 5 tourist destinations and its the culture and the wildlife that bring tourists back. I headed to the Giraffe Center, an hour’s drive from Nairobi and for the first time got to see giraffes up-close. They are big, thick, and majestic. I learned that giraffes do not sleep at night, while their enemies in the wild are sleeping they eat. An adult giraffe can eat up to 65kgs of food at night and they can weigh upwards of 1600 pounds. Yes! Heavy! Is the giraffe my spirit animal? I mean i do stay up late grinding while others sleep so perhaps there is something here. How else does one stay ahead in the game if you’re not nourishing yourself while others sleep? Giraffes have the right idea. Eat while they sleep.
If I had to summarize my 72 hours in Nairobi, I would say Nairobi puts the A in Amazing. Corny but true. Could I live here though? No and for one simple reason. I asked for pepper sauce and someone brought me Tobasco. Yes Tobasco! I had to clutch my cowrie shells (pearls to you).
I loved Nairobi, I do but this West African woman can not live in a country where Tobasco passes for peppeh. No shito? No nenneh koroh? Come on fam! We need di peppeh.
Anyway amazing city, killer vibes, and open people. I’ll definitely come back to +254 N-A-I.
Quick Facts Nairobi
Capital of Kenya
Population 3.9 million
Langauge: Swahili also English
Currency: Kenyan Shillings