03 June 2009

It began in Africa-ca-ca

After nearly 7 months on the road in Asia it was time for the 9 hour hop across the Indian Ocean to the East coast of Africa.

We weren't really looking forwards to Nairobi before we arrived in Kenya. It has a pretty bad reputation and is regarded as the most dangerous city in Africa (if not the world). Robbery, mugging, theft, car jacking and random violence are a daily occurrence in the city that is affectionately nicknamed Nairobbery.

Even the taxi driver, who picked us up at dawn from the airport, had to wait until after sunrise to fill his car up with petrol because it was too dangerous to do it whilst it was dark.

To try and avoid being bashed on the head we're actually staying in the suburb of Karen which is a big expat community 10 miles South of the city centre. Although it's very calm, leafy and green in Karen it's still a bit disconcerting when you drive around as most of the properties have Fort Knox style security with 8ft high walls and razor wire. Quite a few are also protected by machine gun wielding security guards. The houses in Karen are mostly big English style villas set in private grounds. It feels a lot like Edgebaston only with more weaponry.

The hotel we are staying at is a funny little place called Karen Camp which is very different to the accommodation that we've been used to in Asia. We are in a guarded secure compound that, as well as having the usual accommodation, is also used as a stop off point for overland expedition trucks who pitch tents in the garden. The owner informed us that the property was a brothel before it was converted into a hotel. We're not sure whether the neighbours preferred it when the place was overrun with prostitutes rather than grubby travelers.

Once we had plucked up the courage to leave the hotel compound we headed out to the AFEW Giraffe Centre where we got to see and hand feed some very dribbly Rothchild's giraffes.

We also met some mini-Masai . . .

On our way back to the hotel we stopped off at the Karen Blixen Museum. Karen Blixen, who the suburb of Karen is named after, is the Danish author of Out Of Africa and lived here between 1914 and 1931.

Other than that we've been spending our time at the mecca that is the Karen shopping centre, trying to use their flaky internet connection to arrange our escape without actually going into Nairobi city centre.

No comments:

Post a Comment