Well this time it is actually – good morning Africa!
This is my first time in Africa, well, real Africa.
Two years ago I was at the pyramids in Egypt, while technically being Africa, doesn’t really count.
At 6am sharp the birds (geese?) were singing/rather shouting! Shortly afterwards the multiple dogs joined in, then the cockerels. They must have had a lot of practise as the screeches were well timed to each other!! Needless to say, I didn’t get a lot of sleep.
Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, is the most populous city in Eastern Africa. And my home for just one day before heading down into Tanzania. Nairobi has the reputation of being Nai-robbery. I really hope that is no longer true!
Normally I am not a fan of going to ‘zoos’ or wildlife centres and much prefer the thrill of actually finding the animals in the wild. However, this time I am making an exception to visit two places in Nairobi.
First up – the David Sheldrick elephant orphanage. The orphanage is contained within Nairobi National Park. Here, they rescue orphaned baby elephants and raise them for release back into the wild. Their keepers spend almost every minute of every day with their ‘baby’, even sleeping in their pens each night. The orphanage is only open 1 hour per day for visitors. During this time, they bring the elephants out into a large open area for feeding.
The elephants are fed every 3 hours from large baby bottles and drink on average around 15 pints per day (depending on size of elephant!). The first 6 elephants came bounding out of the long grass, running along to meet their keeper. In this group, the oldest was 15months (quite big!) and the youngest only 1 month old – very cute!
After their feed, the elephants wandered around the people, letting you stroke their hairy sand-papery skin. They also liked to be rubbed around their mouths – lifting their trunks up so they could be rubbed! They were very cute! The second set of babies were a bit older and quite a lot larger!
The keepers explained the story of every orphan. They also have 2 rhino babies here – although these ones you can’t get too close to as they are more aggressive than the elephants.
Second up – I headed across to the Langata giraffe centre. Here they have several Rothschild giraffes – I won’t see this particular species during the rest of my travels – they are endangered and there are only very few left in the wild.
This is also one of the only places you can be ‘kissed’/licked by a giraffe! I am told their saliva is antiseptic….I suppose that makes it ok!!
They have a large grassland area to roam around in, coming over to the feeding station to be fed pellets and lick tourists (ok, probably not what giraffes should be doing!) but they seemed happy – I love giraffes!!!
The giraffe centre is in the area called Karen – fairly affluent, full of expats and their mansion houses.
In total contrast, we drove right past Kibera – the second largest slum in the world (the largest being Soweto in Johannesburg). From the hill looking across the cramped slum, just corrugated iron everywhere. On the outer part that we drove through, there was a railway line running with children wandering along its length, piles and piles of rubbish and raw sewerage running down the streets and along large open drainage.
I didn’t take my camera out and said no to going any further in! Not sure I agree with poor-people-zoo-tourism. Stopped off in a shopping mall, would never know you are in Africa! The supermarket sold largely exactly the same items as a Tesco would. I did stock up on the essentials….banana chips and pineapple biscuits.