So we flew to Nairobi, in Kenya. Although there were cool giraffes outside the airport, I was not terribly impressed with Nairobi. It is a very big city and the infrastructure is generally fairly poor. There are some nice hotels; the best are self-contained worlds with everything you need under one roof (or at any rate within one walled compound), which is what you want because frankly Nairobi is large, busy, dense, dirty, and not terribly safe. But it's still better than Djibouti.
So we spent a couple nights at the Safari Park Hotel on the outskirts of town. It's a very nice place, although it is about a two hour drive from the airport at rush-hour in traffic that very nearly sits still the entire time. And oh, the aroma! Most of the traffic consists of these things that look like updated Volkswagen microbusses and spew exciting leaded diesel fumes.
But the hotel was great. They had a terrific IThailian restaurant (Italian, but it sounded like the guy in the front office said "Thai" and we were all hungry for Thai the rest of the week), and a Japanese restaurant, and free breakfast with good tea, and a full hour massage for 1500 shillings--which is about $22. Not bad. And then there's this restaurant, the "African Barbecue" restaurant, where you can get dinner for $18 (including a bottle of wine!). What you get for that price is a salad, soup, and all the meat you can eat, to include goat, camel, and crocodile. The crocodile tastes like a whitefish filet with the consistency of a good ribeye. I couldn't get used to it and didn't eat much. The goat was excellent. The camel tasted wonderful but was chewy, like a clam strip. There were, of course, other meats, which were tasty, and a terrific (and extremely athletic) dance show. Without question this was the best thing we saw/did in Nairobi.
It was rainy most of the day when we were there, but after the massages my friend and I decided we should take a dip in the hot tubs anyway. The water comes out of these little elephants. It's rather nifty. Unfortunately, as you'd expect in a place where the outside air temperature rarely gets above 85 or below 60, the outdoor "hot tub" is more of a "warmish tub," especially after half an hour of rain. There's also a waterslide out of shot to the left; the water temperature was between "Oh my God!" and "Holy @$#$!", but I went down the slide anyway. Twice. The trees with the yellow flowers are Thevetia peruviana, two of which live in pots on my porch. They aren't that big.
The morning we left it was raining, but I was able to snap this nice photo of a Bird of Paradise flower in the rain. The grounds also have several traveler's palms and bananas, both of which are related to the Bird of Paradise. Odd. Do not eat Bird of Paradise fruit.
This is a large trumpet plant at the hotel. I thought this was unique, that it was so large, so I snapped a photo to show my father, who is a fan. Then when we got to Arusha I found that there were literally thousands of the plants around town, some of them twenty feet tall with hundreds of blooms. But I never got a picture of those so this one will have to do.
Safari Post I (Introduction)
Safari Post II (Nairobi)
Safari Post III (Arusha – The Safari Begins)
Safari Post IV - Lake Manyara A
Safari Post V - Lake Manyara B
Safari Post VI - Lake Manyara Lodge
Safari Post VII - Off to Serengeti!