I went to Safari Walk recently because a friend of mine from the US (noticed how nowadays knowing someone from the US is no longer a reason to boast; oh how we’ve grown!) was in Nairobi and wanted to see the sights.
Side note; there is absolutely nothing to see in Nairobi. Everything is on one road (Langata Rd) and there is very little variety. Animals, animals, animals. At least in Mombasa there’s the beach, there are cultural villages, mad activities…there’s something. And to break the monotony in Nairobi, you go to Maasai market to be swindled.
Anyway, since I’m most probably the only person she knew in Nairobi, she called and we went. I must admit, I had been to Safari Walk before with a huge number of people like a year before, but I hadn’t noticed that’s where the animal orphanage is too. That’s the next plot *fingers crossed*.
So we went to the ticket buying area and presented ourselves. So obviously she’s a foreigner, so tourist prices apply to her. Thank goodness I had the presence of mind to carry my ID when leaving the house otherwise I too would have been charged ridiculous prices. Let me explain why I dwell on the whole prices thing. For citizens, its 150, for residents its 350 (but considering the trouble that they have to go through to get residency shouldn’t we just give them this one? …guess the answer is no) and for foreigners…yes ,you’ve guessed it $20!! Now convert that into shillings…its ok, I’ll give you a moment…if you came to Kshs. 1,600 you are correct (give or take). Oh, and don’t presume that this is the price for access to the entire park, noooo! This is for Safari Walk only. For the orphanage and the park itself, the amount has to be duplicated. Imagine that, a curious tourist would spend about $60 for one day at the Nairobi National Park which translates to Ksh. 4,800 approx. per person per day! Shoot, now I wish I had taken up that offer to buy that African country when I had the chance!
So we enter. The entire area is looking kind of dry, that super dry weather we’ve been experiencing has had a horrendous effect on the environs. We see the animals. You know, the usual, cheetah, pigmy hippos (which are the cutest thing alive!! (I will deny any reference to this statement should we meet) and way way smaller than their Nile cousins) some antelope type thingy, buffalo (quiz time; do you know how a buffalo will get you out of a tree, assuming you are unlucky enough to be in its territory?), rhino (huge, and their horn isn’t that impressive looking up close. Interesting facts; rhino horns aren’t made of bone but hair and are collected for their aphrodisiac qualities (this is the Chinese and the panda penis all over again)), baboons (the bully of the ape family (I think we are the cute cuddly ones of the family)), a male ostrich ( why do I specify that its male, coz it’s the cute one, the black and white one that dances during mating season (but they have freaky feet like dinosaurs)), crocodiles (doing what they usually do, sleep), colombus monkeys (the prettiest monkeys I’ve ever seen (again, denial denial denial!)) and warthogs (which I think is an unfair name, why name an animal after its ugliest feature? In that case, rhinos should be called big nosed thingamajigs, toucans – weird head shape bird and humans-funny faced monkeys).
Now the list of things we didn’t see is much longer and star studded; the lion (my least favorite wild cat, bunch of lazy buggers (the males I mean)), the leopard (the first sentence of its description is an elusive predator, we looked for it for 10 minutes but nothing, its really good at its job), the spotted hyena (natures garbage collectors (ever noticed that the lower an animal is in the food chain, the uglier it is? Look at vultures and maribou storks)) and the common bat eared fox (that name must do wonders for its self esteem).
All in all, it was an afternoon well spent. But after seeing most of the animals sleeping away in the hazy heat, I took the hint and went home to have a siesta as almost all Nairobians do on a hot Sunday afternoon.
Safari Walk; check