Kenya is one of the most developed countries on the African continent, yet there is tremendous diversity in how it rewards those who come to visit. During my recent trip, we spent one day in Nairobi and the rest in the wonderful conservancies and national parks to learn more about this country’s culture and wildlife. Kenya is still with me and influenced me in many ways – here are three of them.
During our 5 hour drive over paved and unpaved roads, while crossing over the equator, to Loldia House on the shores of Lake Naivasha, I began to appreciate our transportation infrastructure, even with rush hour traffic! The landscape was beautiful, but that was a long, bumpy drive. Along the way, I observed how simply people live in the villages and how much of their days are spent managing their lives without the benefit of modern machines and appliances.
Did you know that education through primary school is provided, but people must pay to go to secondary school as well as college or university? We toured a primary school and a women’s college where we met with the young women determined to complete their education.
I appreciate the things I used to take for granted, such as clean water, safety, food security, education, and modern conveniences.
From the very first time we were warmly greeted with “jambo” (hello) and “karibu” (welcome), I could tell that we would easily get to know some of the people of Kenya and learn about their lives. Our safari guides were amazing, knowledgeable, incredibly skilled drivers and would do anything to find the “Big Five” and help us take photos.
From the Masai, we learned how to shoot a bow and arrow, throw a conga (club used when hunting animals), and how to create beaded jewelry. My favorite was the opportunity to meet Mama Jane from the Emori Joi community to learn about her humble life and how she is lifting up the women in her community.
The generosity and hospitality of the Kenyan people touched my heart. I will always remember how each person shared their time, stories and friendly smiles with us. “Asante sana” (thank you very much) to my new friends in Kenya.
Animals and the Environment
Did you know that a group of zebras is called a dazzle, giraffes a tower, and baboons a troop? During our water safari on Lake Naivasha, we saw many hippos and water birds, including the fish eagle. In the Lewa Conservancy, we found rhinoceros, zebras, giraffes, gazelles, impalas, topis, elephants, cape buffalo, wart hogs, hyenas, monkeys, and more. We saw wildebeest, lions, a leopard and many other animals in the Masai Mara. One day, I practically tripped over a wart hog in our camp. The variety of species and the numbers of animals fighting their way off the endangered list is a testament to the good work being done to preserve habitat and reduce poaching.
What will stay with me is the beauty of the landscape and seeing the majesty of the animals in their natural environment.
Kenya is a beautiful country of many faces. The diversity of its landscape, people and wildlife will reward the traveler who makes the opportunity to visit and get to know it and allow themselves to feel its influence.
Helen Jordan is the owner of Jordan Luxury Travel, an independent affiliate of Brownell Travel, a member of Virtuoso. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.