And so it came to pass, that I got on the Pride of Africa KQ503, not knowing what was ahead of me.
All I recall feeling was my heart trying really hard to jump out of my chest. I was heading to Kenya! A place that highlighted itself for years on my bucket list of countries. It helped that as a Ghanaian, I didn’t need a visa to go to Kenya.
I was keen to share my skills with Kenyan youth, but I was also looking forward to experiencing the energy of Kenyans and the legendary traffic of Nairobi and compare it to Accra.
Sounds cliché, but the prospect of seeing a giraffe and a zebra was so exciting!
Laugh all you want or call me lame; BUT I wanted to see those two and a lion badly.
To see all of them in their natural habitat was the way to do it.
I knew all I had to do was to set foot in Kenya, and an excellent opportunity to even see the Big Five- Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, a Rhino and an elephant will present itself.
I had already seen an elephant back home in Ghana a few years back at Mole National park, but it didn’t matter.
Kenya is a wildlife heaven.
As an African, I see the shock on non-Africans face and even some of my fellow Africans face when I say I haven’t seen a lion before.
Well, Kenya gave me more than a giraffe, because Kenya has more.
For a start, when your airline in my case Kenya Airways friendly staff welcomes you with red roses at 5 am on Valentines Day, you just know your trip is going to go well. Thank you Kenya Airways. That was really classy, nice and a memorable touch.
I breezed through immigration and on to arrivals. I was pleasantly surprised by the very cool weather in the morning.
Entering or exiting Jomo Kenyatta Airport feels like you’re already on a safari with all the carved animals by the roadside in a well-manicured green grass.
It was refreshing to see taxi drivers and in some cases, women taxi drivers or tour operators up and early looking for business and engaging you in a conversation. I felt at ease. There was no hassle; they left you alone if you had alternative arrangements; which I had, in my case.
My day was packed. I spoke to students of the University of Nairobi and members of the community and gave away a copy of one of my books; “Your Degree Will Never Be Enough”.
I explored Nairobi, went to Gatanga, which was 2 hours away from Nairobi to give a career talk to finalist at an all-girls high school,
visited the Nairobi National Park, met with an amazing Kenyan I profiled in 2013 for my second book ” The Global Graduates” , met with friends who were visiting from Botswana. Though my day was packed, I had an 18-hour layover to do it all, as I had another KQ flight to catch at midnight to Kigali.
All in all, Kenya made a positive impression on me. I was very impressed with how fast and purposeful residents of Kibera walked to work; everyday people getting about their lives.
Yes, I experienced the energy of the people. Nairobi felt safe for me. Like every big city anywhere in the world, you have to have your wits about you. I needed not worry about the notorious term Nairobbery. It is not like everyone is there to get you. Kenyans are warm people. I found most laidback actually.
Kenyan traffic is about the same as the one in Accra, except I prefer being in Kenyan traffic. Kenya has solid highways and very good major roads.
I was impressed with how drivers stopped at every pedestrian crossing for people to cross. Drivers were also very civil to each other. I can count on one finger the number of times I heard a car honk. Oh! Kenyan drivers are fast and swift and love their tinted windows, which translates to; they love their privacy.
My long layover was coming to an end and it was time to visit the national park, which is right in the city, so it’s not to be missed.
I didn’t see a lion, but I saw other wildlife such as zebras, a deer, buffalos, a hippo and ostriches.
Did I get to see my giraffe? You bet I did. Less than 3minutes after we got into the park, there he was, in all his majestic glory.
All hail the giraffe! It was the highlight of my trip to Kenya.
I still have to see my lion and sample some great Kenyan cuisine.
Time to get on flight KQ 478 to my next destination, Kigali Rwanda.
Have you been to Kenya? How was your experience?
Want to experience Kenya? Get in touch with me firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s plan an epic trip together.
I am planning to go again. Here are some more photos to inspire a trip to Kenya.
Ready to go to Kenya? Get in touch with me email@example.com and let’s plan an epic trip together.