Hi Everyone, we are now back in Nairobi on Zev’s 10th birthday. We are hanging out in this swanky hotel called ‘Tribe” for a few hours. After supper we begin the incredibly long trip home. Michelle and Maxine are resting or showering in their room. Aubrey is trying to rest with Teva in another room, I have Noam and Erez at the pool, and Zev shocked us all by requesting a key to a third room to have a nap by himself. We have so many things to post about as we’ve been offline for two weeks. The trip has been an incredible adventure. I guess we will post one experience at a time, as we edit them. Our last post feels like months ago, but I think its best to start back at the beginning.
Here’s our the text to go along with the pictures from our last post.
Nairobi March 4th
We certainly had a different view of Nairobi this trip, as compared to backpacking through Africa fifteen years ago on a shoestring budget.
This time, as we deplaned (love that word!) on the tarmac in Nairobi, we were greeted by an airport employee holding a “Kassirer, party of 8” sign. Koren saw the sign and got a private minibus with half our group to the terminal. Aubrey walked right by her and Erez and Zev took the crowded shuttle to the terminal, where they waited for the stragglers to arrive, not realizing Koren and company had already been ushered through.
Kate, from Free the Children, greeted us and escorted us directly to the Karen Blixen Coffee Garden. By this time it was already past dark. Erez and Zev settled into one cottage with our friend Michelle and their grandmother, Bubbe Maxine. The rest of us occupied the other cottage.
The next day, we saw how truly beautiful were the grounds of the Coffee Garden, part of Karen Blixen’s original estate. Our driver, Sammy, met us with the truck and took us first to the Giraffe Centre.
In this educational centre for giraffes, they currently have ten Rothschild giraffes, all allowed to roam free over a large enclosure of hundreds of acres. Although not officially endangered, no one has formally studied giraffes in order to change this designation. In 1987, when Daisy arrived, there were only 130 Rothschild giraffes in the world!
Even though giraffes are one of the most common symobols of Africa, 80% of Kenyans have never seen one. Through breeding programs, hopefully the situation will improve. Daisy IV was brought to the sanctuary in 2009 from another sanctuary.
We all enjoyed feeding Daisy and the warthogs at her feet. If we weren’t careful and quick with the food (but only one piece at a time!) she tends to head butt. Amazingly, giraffes sleep only five to thirty minutes daily. They must stand, as any time their head goes to the level of their body, they will choke and die.
We drove next to the nearby David Sheldrick Wildlife Sanctuary. This sanctuary primarily focuses on helping orphaned elephants to survive, and then slowly releases them back into the wild. Visiting hours are from 12-1pm when they feed the babies in front of the visitors and you can see them up close while learning about their stories. We really enjoyed watching them playing in water,feeding from giant baby bottes full of baby formula,eating leaves from branches,as well as taking mudbaths.We learned that each elephant has its own keeper that will sleep in with them in a bed over their sleeping area. We also learned that it costs $900 USD/month to take care of each elephant, so they have an adoption program to help offset some of the costs. They slowly introduce them to the elephant group in the National Park, monitored for the first 5 years, until they are certain that the orphans will properly integrate into the local elephant population. Most of the Elephants are orphaned by the Ivory Poachers.
We had a delicious lunch and then went to visit the Karen Blixen Museum, of “Out of Africa” fame.We toured her old homestead and learned about her remarkable time in Kenya, mostly alone, managing a huge coffee plantation while her husband was out on safari, hunting.
After the museum, we had a swim in their beautiful outdoor pool, as it was quite hot, and we were not yet accustomed to it.
We capped off the day with a great dinner, and tried to get a good night’s sleep because we had an early flight in the morning.
we were picked up at 7am so we could make our 9:15 flight. we were told that we should be there about 45 minutes early, and it was about a 25 – 30 min drive. 2 hours later, stuck in Nariobi rush hour traffic, with our driver Sammy doing some “Creative driving”, we just barely made it 10 minutes before the plane was supposed to take off. Talk about an adrenelin rush!
Next post will be from Kicheche Safari Bush Camp, from the Maasai Mara…