My trip to Kenya was unplanned, with less than 24 hours to prepare for it. That was exciting in itself – being able to up and go across the continent at a moment’s notice. Arrangements were easy to make: I bought Kenya Airways tickets in VI and got my visa on arrival in Nairobi.
It was a four-day trip (I seem to be all about short trips), but I managed to cram a lot of things into the visit. The best thing I did was decide, even in that short time, what exactly I wanted out of the trip: art and nature.
From knowing that, while at the Lagos airport waiting to board my flight, I crowd-sourced information by putting up an Instagram post saying I’d be in Nairobi for a few days and I was looking for suggestions on where to go for art and nature. The post achieved two things: it got me great suggestions on where to go, and it let my followers in Kenya know I would be in their zone. I don’t think I’ll go anywhere without repeating this simple act of asking my circle online.
I spent most of my first full day in Nairobi recovering from my trip because my flight had connected through Cotonou and I got in really late. Thinking about it, I guess that’s what happens when you buy a ticket less than 24 hours before the trip. You have limited options. In the evening, I decided to explore Kenya. First stop was the Nairobi Gallery. At the door, I was welcome by Yoruba art and I knew I would love it there. It was a good way to spend a couple of hours looking at art from different parts of Africa. While there, I met Elkana Ongesa, one of the artists whose work was on display. We had a lovely chat about Kenyan art (especially soapstone carvings) and the Nigerian art scene.
Next Stop, Naivasha
The next day, I went on a day-trip to Naivasha, which is a few hours away from Nairobi. There, I visited Hells Gate National Park, the park that inspired the setting of The Lion King. From the pathway, you can see zebras, giraffes, gazelles, warthogs and other animals roaming freely – no barriers between them and you except their wariness and yours. You can cycle or hike in Hells Gate. I chose to hike. Here’s a word of advice: If your Maasai guide ever says, ‘It’s not far’, don’t assume his idea of ‘far’ is same as yours. I spent a couple of hours walking; climbing down gorges; roaming through Devil’s Bedroom; making the mistake of placing my palms under hot springs, and briefly stopping at a Maasai village.
History, Art and Snakes
I visited the National Museum for history, art and to stare at snakes. If you’re ever told it’s feeding time for pythons, do not beg to stay and watch. I did this so that you might not. I met a couple of Twitter followers while there, hung out and made new friends. Kenyans are the coolest, really. But then, I went to K1 Klub House to have drinks with my partner and his colleagues and it was the weirdest club experience ever. At some point, the DJ paused the music to ask that we give praise to God.