Thursday, April 19, 2007

Nairobi National Park

The Nairobi National Park gives the opportunity to see a part of the Kenyan wildlife not too far away from Nairobi. They are running free in the park, you might be lucky and see the big 5 Lion, Leopard, Hypo, Rhino, Elephant (although there are no Elephants in the Nairobi area), but it all depends on time, luck and your ability to see them.
For sure it's worth a visit but I heard from my guide that the best time is in August as it's the middle of the migration and the National Park is full of animals and wildlife. It's a 42 Square Miles park that is about 15 min drive from Nairobi's center, it also has the Burning site where President Moi Burned all the Ivory and Skins that were gathered by the police in an effort to stop the unnecessary killings of Wild Animals.
I was lucky enough to see some Lions in the shade, Giraffes, Monkeys, Zebras, Gazelles, Rhino (very far away) and Ostriches; it was definitely a good trip.

Nairobi National Park
Extension of the ParkNairobi is really close!!Giraffe in the Park
Burning SiteLions hiding in the shadeGiraffe
Gazelle's in the wayMonkey in the grassMonkey close up
Birds on top of a treeClose up of birds

Monday, April 16, 2007

Carnivore - The Restaurant in Nairobi

While in Kenya you have to try the Carnivore restaurant, originally you could get all types of game meat (antelope, gazelle, zebra, etc.) and normal meat; but since the government has put a ban on game meat you can only get 2 "exotic" meats: Alligator and Ostrich. Anyways where else would you try that?
From the alligator they cook only the tail and it tastes similar to fish, and the Ostrich was made in meatballs with quite nice seasoning and really good I must say.
The rest of the meats were very good, well cooked and it was quite nice environment, it reminded me a lot of AIESEC's ICs with all the restaurant's staff singing "Jambo" to the ones celebrating their birthdays, just like the Kenyan delegations always!!

Definitely worth a visit, although I was told that "Pampas" restaurant has better meat, but no "exotic" ones

Carnivore
CarnivoreCarnivore - Some Chicken, beef, sausages and Potatoes
Carnivore - Some Chicken, beef, sausages and PotatoesCarnivore

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Kenya a really interesting country

So my trip to Kenya has ended and I came back with an interesting mix of different views, facts, pictures, etc. from there which I will try to share as much as possible.

Fist some General information of Kenya taken from CIA World Fact Book:
Location: East Africa bordering Indian Ocean and between Ethiopia, Uganda, Somalia and Tanzania
Area: 582,650 sq km (about 64% of Venezuela's size and 19 times Belgium's size)
Population: Approx. 35 Million (Compared to 26 Mill. in VE and 10 Mill. in BE)
Life Expectancy at birth: 48.93 Years (compared to 74.54 at Venezuela and 78.77 in BE)
Languages: Kiswahili and English as official
Currency: Kenyan Shilling - KES (Exchange Rate 1 EUR = 91.5 KES)
GDP per Capita: USD 1200 (USD 6900 in VE and USD 31.800 in Belgium)

Capital: Nairobi (Population Approx. 4 Millions)

Some Other interesting facts about Kenya:
  • Was a British Colony up to 1963 when it was declared independent, the independence movement was led by Jomo Kenyatta who became Kenya's first president until his death in 1978
  • After that president MOI took power and ruled for 24 years until he stepped down in 2002 ( 24 YEARS!!! That's Chavez dream). From that time most of the people I talked to said that money was taken from the Country into his and his close people's pockets
  • Since then president Mwai Kibaki has been ruling, most of the impressions I heard of him are positive, although there's still a long road ahead of Kenya for development
  • They will have elections this year, and the impressions I received was that the current president will not be reelected as results have not been as quick as expected in the Country's economy
  • There are about 24 different Ethnic groups in the country
  • It's famous for it's wildlife, Mt. Kenya (with its 5199 mts), it's tribes and the Masai Mara Natural reserve

From a personal perspective of the short time I was there I can say that:

  • The people are very friendly, outgoing, like to party a lot, enjoy going out and having fun. They are very proud of Kenya and being Kenyan, although they realize the challenges they face.
  • Even if the impression I had initially is that it is really dangerous and unsafe, there was a lot of people walking on the street up to 10-11pm. So my impression is that you should be careful not to go out with expensive clothes, watch, camera, etc. and not to enter certain areas, for the rest it's OK.
  • There's a big gap between rich and poor (as on the street you can still see BMW MIII, Toyota Prado, etc. and people without even shoes)
  • Their Handcrafts are amazing, specially the sculptures made out of ebony, soapstone and other types of wood
  • Public transport is heavily used and semi organized. I could see very long lines of people waiting for the buses next to the hotel at the bus stop, but they were queuing in an organized manner (something you don't see that much in Venezuela)
  • They could benefit a lot more from Tourism but insecurity is the major concern for travellers
  • There's a big Indian Population in Nairobi (but more of that in next posting)