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Karibu Kenya

An enormous creature can be this cute, could never imagine it far even in my dreams. That adorable Elephant might be thinking his random acts could be my best birthday present ever, that grey giant just stole my heart. Once you experience wildlife safari in Kenya, you'll never want to visit a Zoo again in your life, I can bet you on that. Were fortunate enough to endeavor Tsavo National Park 3 times during our 4 years of living in Diani Beach, Mombasa, Kenya. To find an animal in their own habitats is amazing, you're in your safari van with some curious spotters and suddenly a lion comes up or a group of elephants, giraffes, antelopes, how would you feel?? Certainly thrilled right?? It is definitely an out of the world experience. You'll be lucky if you find the Big 5s in the wild. While were there once, we spotted a group of three lions which were chased away by a large herd of wild buffaloes, the King of the jungle actually tried to attack them thrice but in vain. Instead, the act was reversed and they had to run for their life. An alone wild buffalo is considered to be as vicious as 50 lions; the sight was somewhat similar to what we see on Discovery Channel, marvelous!!!!

Masai Mara is the biggest National Park located near Nairobi, during the month of July and August which is called to be the rainy reason in Kenya, the animals migrate to the adjacent country Tanzania (Ngorongoro National Park Tanzania). Some people specially visit here to witness this massive migration.

Kenya is a land of contrast, offers pristine white sand beaches and world-class Animal safaris to its tourists. Tourists visiting Kenya are mostly from Europe, there are many tour and travel companies who send their chartered flights to Kenya very often. However, the best time to travel to Kenya is from October to May. The 2 best destinations are Nairobi and Mombasa, Nairobi being the capital city of Kenya is a large city. Many nationalities have loved the country and have made it their home. Kenya is God's own country, the landscapes, the greenery are magnificent, and white sandy beaches are one of a kind. Swahili is a widely spoken local language but most of the people speak English and a few can communicate in European languages as well. We had the privilege to get some knowledge of French from our local tutor, Monsieur Shaban, and Swahili from a housemaid, Martha.

For sun lovers, celebrating Christmas and New Year in Neptune hotels, Diani Beach, Mombasa will be a great treat. Oh!!!How we waited for those parties each year!!! I once participated in a fashion show and was awarded 2ndplace, J. Eight days of festivities, decorations around the lawn, gingerbread houses, and daily evening events filled up with local acrobats, Masai dance, fashion shows are organized by Neptune Hotels every year. Christmas and New Year parties arranged on a very big scale every year is worth spending your holiday season with them. Kids will love Santas visit and a wide range of activities arranged for them; there is something for everyone to do. Neptune hotels provide all-inclusive holiday vacations, crystal clear blue water, long white sand beaches, and water sports which will make your stay extra special.

Photo courtesy: Neptune Hotels

Sad to know, there's been some political unrest in the last few years and people are now afraid to visit this glorious country. Sheema Merali, owner of Neptune Group of Hotels clarified, it is completely safe and sound to visit and there are no problems at all. I wish and hope people keep traveling to Kenya to experience the best in the African region. This place occupies a very special place in my heart, the hospitality at its best, adorable smiling people; I'm anxiously waiting for our next trip to Kenya. It has been 9 long years, hopefully soon.

US President, Barack Obama was there in Nairobi in the month of June and enjoyed Kenyan hospitality. The streets of Kenya are told to be unsafe, most of the shops are closed at 6 pm. You should of course always be very careful about not displaying your valuables, as petty crime is widespread. If you think from their perspective, you're in the 3rd world country where people work very hard to earn their living, you go there and start showing off your rich class, of course, this can leave a bad impact, you own something which they don't, better keep it to yourselves and not attract them with your valuables. Robberies/snatching is something common around the world, you've to be extra cautious when you're in unknown surroundings.

When we lived there, I and my neighbor walked many kilometers on the roads we weren't supposed to. The Ascari (security guard)would always say, mama, you better walk on the beach rather than the streets, it isn't safe. Were also scared for the initial 2 or 3 days but later on got used to it and not a single thing happened. We said hellos to Baboons every day and even biked on the streets, were completely safe. It feels nostalgic remembering the days of Kenya where we traveled 40 Kms to the ferry to cross the bridge and then to town shopping for vegetables and groceries. It used to be a day trip once or twice a month with my neighbor. We used to stock vegetables for up to 15 days. We lived at the cottage right at the beach, had so many beach parties with friends, celebrated festivals. Fresh air, fresh vegetables, everything was so fresh there, harvested in the farms without any chemicals. There have been drastic development changes there since we left the country, new supermarkets, movie theaters have been built. We miss you Kenya.

Must have in Kenya:-

Kenyans are a super talented artist; their artwork is awesome, make sure to buy some of their work to decorate your homes.

When you're in town, look for Kikoy and Kanga (cloth material) which is very famous, you can get it stitched as per your choice to a shirt or a long dress.

Kenyan Tea/ Coffee

Beaded Sandals

Wooden Carvings

Banana leaf paintings

Cassava Chips

Apple Mangoes (you will find them 12 months of the years, big round red mangoes)

Seafood (Take the cruise tours to Sundowners and enjoy amazing seafood)

Crafted Jewellery

This is my dress which I got stitched from Kikoy.

Don't wait so long and plan your trip to this tropical paradise soon, you'll love being there.

Jambo Bwana, Habari Gani, Mzuri Sana, its the famous Swahili song, they sing to welcome people.

Until the next post, Kwaheri Rafiki!!!

Lots of love,

Vandana Raj Bhatt