There are no communication problems. According to Localbusinessexplorer, in Kenya, English is one of the two official languages, so there are no difficulties with communication. The Kenyans involved in the tourism business also speak French, German, Italian…polyglots, in general. So far, they are lagging behind with Russian because of the small number of our tourists. By the way, for some reason, most of the locals you meet will consider that Russia is part of Yugoslavia, and they heard about Russia as about Atlantis.
Kitchen. The food is either tolerable or excellent (you will have to eat mostly only in hotels, but in different ones). Lodges in national parks are trying to be built in such a way that one can observe some kind of water hole from the restaurant. You eat and contemplate how elephants and zebras drink water… an idyll, one might say. European dishes are everywhere, local delicacies like fried bananas are given only as an alternative (and thank God).
What’s wrong with Kenya? – Roads. It’s something monstrous. A trip of 50 km takes several hours and is noticeably exhausting. The trails in the national parks are much more agile than some sections of the Nairobi-Mombasa International Road. In some places the road simply ends, instead of it there are about 10 local residents who seem to be building it sluggishly. Terrible, in general. With so many tourists, they could build something to ride on. Although, probably, they do it on purpose, for the exotic.
On the way to the safari, the Germans and Italians squeal with delight on the bumps, clearly perceiving such a ride as another additional adventure for the same money. It is difficult for a “Soviet” person to experience such delight…
Accordingly, public transport. As they say, I won’t tell you for all of Mombasa, but there is a strong suspicion that local transport runs, flies and swims, as the Kenyan god puts on his soul. Various delays are common here. Various kind European people will always reassure you that you don’t have to worry, yesterday the train didn’t go, and today the plane didn’t fly, and it’s okay (of course, why should they be afraid, you might angrily think: “imported planes fly every day”). The good local administration will also advise you not to worry, Akuna, they say, matata, no problem, but it would be better if you went to a restaurant and dined at the expense of the airline, and then we will see, maybe it will fly. It turns out that they have permanent tables reserved there, and the food is simply incredibly tasty … very calming. In the end it will turn out that you have only 20 minutes between the landing of one plane and the take-off of another. In general, delays are mainly with local airlines. People like British Airways can’t afford that luxury…
Most travel agencies plan a week-long trip to Kenya as follows: three days on a safari, then four days on the coast. A three-day safari is not a safari. The safari effect really kicks in on the sixth day. Those who experienced the impact of a safari will agree that no super comfortable Europe or America has such a beneficial effect on the psyche. It is best to go to Kenya for 2 weeks at once. And in the proposed tours, now usually a week is devoted to safari and a week to rest in Mombasa, on the coast of the Indian Ocean.
Kenyan safari is not hunting. Shooting here has been forbidden for twenty years. You go around the reserve in a minibus or jeep, look, take pictures. And precisely because they haven’t hunted in Kenya for a long time, the animals don’t pay any attention to the approaching cars. A car for them is a safe and completely inedible beast.
To snort in response to the words that a safari in Kenya does not involve killed animals can only be done by a person who is not at all advanced. The assertion that with the same success you can look at all African animals in the zoo is below all criticism.
Of course, almost everyone has seen a pink flamingo in some zoo. But have you ever seen a lake where thousands of pink flamingos roam in the rays of the setting sun? You stand on the shore, look at them, and they either stomp to the right, then suddenly turn around and stomp to the left in the same unison. And you continue, as if spellbound, to stand and look at them, unable to understand why they wandered in the other direction.
Has your car ever been chased by a rhinoceros? And if you dare to answer with the air of an experienced person: “Just think, a rhinoceros!”, I will immediately understand that you have never been on a safari. And you don’t even really imagine what kind of animal it is – a rhinoceros. And what do you feel when he rushes at you.
Kenyan nature reserves are remarkable in that after a few days of safari you begin to perceive yourself as part of the wild. Suddenly it begins to seem that you have lived your entire conscious and unconscious life in the savannah. Next to this lion family lying about a meter from your bus. Or among zebras and antelopes.
Well, how to meet a young leopard, and if there is a hyena nearby, cracking down on a piece of meat. As is customary on such occasions, everyone jumps out of their seats (the roof of the safari bus is always up) to capture “natural life”. The driver, as usual, accelerates. For ten minutes you will drive the hyena across the savannah. Like real wild animals. And with a goal worthy of any inhabitant of the reserve: to take away her prey. She, poor thing, is unlikely to understand at all why you are so suddenly… A completely harmless animal named minibus suddenly attacks. The hunt was successful.
Nevertheless, during the trip you can see everything – zebras, and rhinos, and all kinds of antelopes, and giraffes, and elephants, and lions, and leopards, and cheetahs. In the end, you will begin to feel like full-fledged inhabitants of the savannah and bush. And look at the minibuses with white tourists you meet along the way, just like giraffes. However, equally meaningful glances were directed at us from oncoming buses.
By the end of the trip, there is already a kind of indifference. Well, think about it, another elephant. A lion. Another pig bearing the exotic name “warthog”. Zebras and wildebeests were generally perceived as cows. Often you can observe the hunting of baboons – “dog-headed” monkeys. Ten minutes of such a spectacle – and you completely cease to be touched by the wild life of animals. The spectacle is bloody and not for the faint of heart.
In the last days of the safari you will return to Nairobi. And from there, after the rest, it will be possible to leave for Mombasa.
If you are asked which reserves in Kenya you want to visit, be sure to ask for the Masai Mara. Here the animals graze in the most innumerable quantities. And only here you will see the real Maasai – the only people in Kenya who spit on all the laws of a democratic society. If you try to take a photo of a Masai without asking for his consent, you risk getting hit on the head with a stone. Masai are smart and fearless people. If a Masai is attacked by a lion, then the angry Masai kills the predator with a special Masai club. And although hunting is prohibited in Kenya, the Masai have the right to kill any animal in self-defense. Wild people, in a word. And they live right in the middle of the reserve.
In Masai Mare, you will also experience the American way of life. Some resourceful American who settled here bought three balloons and began to offer tourists flights over the reserve. The most American entertainment ever. $250 per nose. Cool? Therefore, it is easier to shoot how Europeans fly in a balloon. You take pictures of them, they take us. In addition, to feel calmer still on the ground. The hot air balloon ride lasts less than an hour. But, looking at the faces that returned from the sky, at the moment when the ball falls to the ground, you understand that they had enough.
On a safari there is another entertainment that requires some material costs – visiting a local village. This can be organized in any reserve. But it is more correct to visit a village in the Masai Mare. Because only there you will get to the authentic Maasai. The Masai are a picky people. As we noted, they do not like to be photographed. And if they agree, then for the money. The standard fee for the opportunity to photograph a beautiful Masaika or an equally beautiful warrior (however, warriors are less corrupt, and they rarely agree to filming) is 100 Kenyan shillings (about $ 2). But if you visit the village in an organized manner as part of a group, then you pay an entrance fee of 500 shillings. And there – shoot at least twenty films. They are taken to the village to special, “tourist” Masai. Therefore, in the middle of the village there will be a Masai bazaar. Here and beads, and ”
You can also visit the Amboseli National Park, which is located 250 km from Nairobi (4 hours drive) and 400 km from Mombasa at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. Amboseli was founded in 1948 and has long been the most visited in Kenya, due to its proximity to Kilimanjaro and the wonderful view that opens from its territory to the first peak of Africa. In 1971, 329 sq. km were declared a national park in which the Maasai were forbidden to graze livestock.
Amboseli Park is located in the arid zone of the country and is usually quite hot and dry there. Acacias, characteristic of the savannah, are widespread in the park. Of the representatives of the animal world, in addition to lions, cheetahs, hyenas and jackals, there are buffaloes, gazelles, warthogs, zebras, giraffes and many baboons. One of the most breathtaking sights to see in this park is the huge herd of 600-700 elephants as well as the very rare endangered black rhinoceros. Almost 10 years ago, due to rare rains, Lake Amboseli dried up. But in 1992-1993, the lake re-formed and pink flamingos returned to it. With the return of the lake, the park has become even more green and blooming. However, no one from Kenya returned without impressions.
The main result of a safari is not the opportunity to be among the Masai, not the number of animals that you managed to see, and not even the adventures that no safari can do without, but the fact that you really start to look at everything like a giraffe. The head becomes pristine. Which is quite natural. Safari only to a person who has not gone through it seems like a trifling task. And that, by the way, is hard physical labor. You get up at 6-7 in the morning, have breakfast (if something at all gets into your throat at that time), then you go to the beast along roads that are significantly inferior in terms of patency to those near Moscow. You return for dinner. Eat with a greed more befitting a wild beast. Two hours are given for rest. You want to sleep, but instead after dinner you go to the pool. Stupidly you exchange words with your groupmates, discussing the merits of the local water. Drink some beer and get back on the road. Until sunset. Kenya is a stable country: both sunset and sunrise are at the beginning of the seventh, regardless of the season and the political situation in the country. Then dinner. You pile on your plate exactly as much as you are not able to eat. In order to at least partially swallow food, you order beer or wine (God forbid the local papaya). You drink strong coffee. After supper you fall dead into bed, or first you drink and only then you fall dead into bed. You get up in the morning healthy and happy. In a week, you get so tired from this daily shaking from morning to evening, you are so fed up with all these “exotic animals”, you are so disinfected with gin and tonic from this damned malarial mosquito that you want to fall down and sleep for a day.
And just at that moment you are taken by white hands and loaded into the first class car of the Nairobi-Mombasa train. Then you are transferred from the train to the bus, which brings you to a luxurious hotel, standing on the very shore of the Indian Ocean. And you can fly by plane!
Mombasa is the next step in clearing your head of unnecessary thoughts (on the second week of your stay in Kenya, you realize that almost all thoughts are superfluous). And you firmly master the basic Kenyan rule, which you heard on the safari and says that in Kenya “hakuna matata”, which means “no problem”. There is even a special Kenyan song in which this “hakuna matata” is repeated twenty-five times. This song is immediately learned by all the tourists who find themselves here. The moment you finally find yourself on the coast, you realize that all life’s seemingly insoluble difficulties do not really exist. Be sure that if you escaped on a safari, then you need to relax on the ocean for a week only in Kenya.
It’s hard to imagine a vacation planned more rationally. For a week you communicate with nature, gradually reaching a state in which, even if you can claim that you are homo, you are no longer quite sure that you are sapience. And then by the ocean you gradually return to civilization. African. On the coast, all tourists get acquainted with the second basic Kenyan rule: “field-field” (pole-pole), which means “slowly slowly.” If you order a beer at the beginning of dinner, the waiter will bring it just in time for the moment when you deal with dessert. And do not be angry with him, scold him for negligence and try to explain that orders must be executed instantly – it is useless. He will listen to you carefully, but the next order will be executed at exactly the same speed. In Mombasa, the main thing is to have time to switch from ” that he will take away the extracted piece. With sense and arrangement, go around the table with numerous snacks and choose what you want to eat today, then slowly send the contents of the plate to the stomach, and by the time you realize that it’s time to go for hot, they just bring you beer. And with what pleasure you will drink roast lamb or pork chop with this wonderful Kenyan beer! And then, completely tipsy from dessert, you still find the strength to crawl to the bar, where you order a gin and tonic. And wait another fifteen minutes until they bring it to you. But slowness they bring you beer. And with what pleasure you will drink roast lamb or pork chop with this wonderful Kenyan beer! And then, completely tipsy from dessert, you still find the strength to crawl to the bar, where you order a gin and tonic. And wait another fifteen minutes until they bring it to you. But slowness
the waiter will no longer be annoying. “Pole-pole” will enter your blood. On the third day, if some other parts of the brain remain functional, you may notice yourself as a participant in an unusual mise-en-scene. A waiter stands in front of you (who, of course, did not arrive until five minutes after you expressed a desire to order), and you stare at him for five minutes, trying to figure out why you actually needed him. Then, finally, with considerable effort, you realize that you would like something to drink.
For two hours in an easy chair, treacherously conducive to sleep, with a glass of gin and tonic, you digest dinner, and by eleven o’clock you suddenly remember that you need to somehow have fun. You order a taxi and go to the nearest disco (of course, there is a disco in your hotel, but it’s more interesting to have fun on the side). And in the morning you crawl out to the beach, under a palm tree. For lovers of outdoor activities, there is a complete set of all conceivable water activities. If there is no longer any energy for activity, then you can simply wander along the coast and chat with the local population. They will definitely ask you where you are from, and when they hear that you are from Russia, they will definitely remember Yeltsin and then invite you to go see “the best and cheapest goods.” The entire beach is dotted with benches, and every two meters there are beach “counters” right on the sand. They sell mainly figurines made of wood (including black) and stone. Prices are downright low. Much lower than in stores located near the reserves. And the main advantage of local shopping is that you can bargain to your heart’s content. You can bargain in all Kenyan shops, but since you are not constrained by any time frames on the beach, and in general you have nothing to do before lunch,you knock down prices to ridiculous amounts. And if you don’t want to, you can buy something. On the second day, you meet familiar Kenyans who, when you appear at the waters of the Indian Ocean, joyfully shout: “Jumbo” (“Hello”, in our opinion).
– Jumbo! – just as happily you answer them. And you hear the already familiar “pole-pole”.
And again under a palm tree – you should not wander for a long time under the equatorial sun: you can get burned. But, despite such a harsh sun, the climate in Kenya is fabulous. You almost don’t feel the heat. A cool breeze blows from the ocean. And in the depths of the country in the evenings you can’t do without a sweater.
After relaxing on the coast, tourists return to Nairobi, where they are recommended to visit (to consolidate their impressions) the Carnevory restaurant, known throughout the world for its huge stylized stone brazier. Here you can taste the meat of crocodile, zebra, giraffe and ostrich grilled on fire. In Kenya, they treat white tourists with great respect, while maintaining their own honor and dignity.
This is how the day goes. Then another, then a third. And suddenly it turns out that it’s time to fly back. And this news fills you with horror. Pole-pole, where to hurry? What job? What’s the deal? What for? There is such a wonderful “hakuna matata”. That’s it, no more “akun matat”, tells you your ticket with a fixed date of departure. Weeping with burning tears, you board a Kenyan airline that takes you from Mombasa to Nairobi. And there you already find yourself in the arms of your own airline. All. In Almaty, they will quickly explain to you that hakuna matata is only found in Kenya. In general, I have to agree with this rather quickly. But ten days after returning, you begin to observe two persistent relapses in yourself. Firstly, you get upset because the sellers in the market do not agree to cut the price of tomatoes by a factor of three. Secondly, when at work they demand Stakhanov records from you, you want to say “pole-pole” to him. Which, of course, is useless, because the employer does not know a word of Swahili and has never been to Kenya. However, that is his problem. We now have “hakuna matata”.