Have you ever been inspired to travel to Kenya, Africa, and go on a safari? It’s on most peoples’ bucket lists, and for good reason.
There’s something so magical about Africa. Not only are the people beautiful and good-hearted (overall), the wilderness is vast and diverse, and the wildlife is something to marvel at.
Because I came to Kenya in January to volunteer with the non-profit Organics4Orphans, I’ve been able to experience Africa in a way most tourists really don’t.
Getting to know people from many different countries, living like a local (kind of, I have hot, running water) in Kitale, and being able to just ‘bask’ in everything that makes Africa what it is is one of the greatest blessings I have so far been gifted in my life.
Speaking of blessings, over Easter weekend, I ventured to the Maasai Mara National Park (probably one of the most famous safari destinations ever) with some missionaries who live nearby and some lovely friends from Canada.
I awoke at 5 in the morning to finish packing, make tea, and wait to be picked up at 6 AM by our hired Land Cruiser.
Of course, being ‘typical’ Africa, I should have expected that it would be at least another hour before anyone showed up (TIA, as they say – “This is Africa”).
Anyways, once we were on the road, it was pleasant to watch towns pass by, indulge in nice conversation, and munch on bananas and apples (the ultimate ‘fast food’).
By 5 PM that evening, we FINALLY arrived at our destination. We quickly went to the park ($60/each for foreigners) to get in some adventuring before the sun went down.
But before we could, we were bombarded by Maasai mamas selling jewelry, trinkets, traditional wraps, and more. I’ve never had to barter so hard in my life. The typical conversation went:
Maasai Mama: “Here, this for you!” (Drops it in my lap)
Me: “Oh… No thank you, I just bought from the other lady.”
Maasai Mama: “2,000 ($20) shillings”
Me: “Um, No thank you, I’m good.”
Maasai Mama: “Okay, 1,500 shilllings” (for something worth $3)
Me: “Nope, thanks.”
Maasai Mama: “Okay, 1,000 shillings”
Me: “Seriously, thank you, but no.”
Maasai Mama: “Fine, 800 shillings”
Me: “Gah, no, really. No thank you.”
Maasai Mama: “K, 800 shillings”
Me: “No thank you.”
Maasai Mama: “800 shillings”
Me: “No THANK YOU.”
Maasai Mama: “800 SHILLINGS”
Me: “Ahhhhhh! No thank you!”
Needless to say, I bought more than I needed and/or wanted.
So, when we were done bartering, we finally took off in our bad-a$$ land cruiser and saw plenty of exotic animals, including hyenas, giraffes, elephants, warthogs, topez, gazelles, hippos, lions, ostriches, and more!
Tuckered, we went back to our G & G Hotel, where I snacked on fruit (I basically lived on fruit and water over the weekend) and my companions dug into a traditional Maasai dinner of roast chicken, beef something, Sukuma Wiki (cooked kale with bacon), fries, and another meat dish.
Then, we parted ways and prepped for another full day.
5:30 AM, I’m up, showered, and packed. Ready to go!
At 6 AM, I meet my companions by the cruiser. The hotel packed us intriguing lunches (white bread with butter and tomatoes, fruit, mango juice, and a boiled eggs) along with coffee and tea. With the morning being chilly, the tea was SOOOOO appreciated.
And we were off! Some of the epic photos of the 4-hour safari follow:
Once we felt satiated with our snapped photos, we returned to the hotel to meet a few companions that stayed behind and chat over tea and toast.
At 10:30 AM, we were on the road once more. As I posted on Facebook, traveling is mostly a lot of waiting and then a short period of excitement and taking in something new. The wait, of course, is worth it.
I ended up catching an overnight bus from Nairobi to Kitale (didn’t get much sleep, but I was SO glad to be back), a $3 taxi back to my abode (late, again) and dropped into gratitude for the weekend.
In case you’re interested, I spent the following on the 2 1/2-day adventure:
Safari – $325
- Included being picked up, food along the journey (fruit), cost for gas, $35 tip for the driver, hotel fee, and Maasai Park fee.
Fruit in Nairobi: $10
Bus from Nairobi to Kitale: $13.50
Overall, I’d say it was so worth it. Plus, you’re not likely to find such a cheap adventure if you’re coming straight from the U.S. or Canada.
And that’s it for now, lovelies! This adventure actually took place TWO weeks ago, but it took a while to find good enough internet to upload all of the pictures. Now, I’m back in the U.S. and am settling in South Dakota, preparing to build my business as I attend school and cram more knowledge into this noggin’.
I hope you are enjoying springtime!
You deserve to live a life you love!