Catching your Insight in Nairobi

Catching your Insight in Nairobi

What if the tongue missed the pellet?!!!
I have often recommended that people take some time to enjoy Nairobi’s attractions. Today, the Cronan family did just that.

After a final dawn game drive in the northern end of the reserve and a fine breakfast at Olonana, we fly back to Nairobi and the family headed to Karen.

Karen is the suburb outside Nairobi named for Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen) who wrote Out of Africa. It is today where the rich and powerful live, and where several great attractions are located including the Karen Blixen National Museum.

This is the home that Dinesen used during her failed attempt to grow coffee in Kenya. It is the perfect example of early colonial living. Remarkable for its simplicity and few rooms, it is beautifully furnished with valuable heirlooms that the early colonialists brought from Europe.

They sometimes waited for nearly a year for these trunks to arrive, but in those days there was never a concern that they wouldn’t! “Lost Baggage” hadn’t yet been concocted, I guess.

The Cronans especially enjoyed the Giraffe Centre. This is where the endangered Rothschild giraffe is protected, on display for all guests forking out the hefty entrance fee (that supposedly goes for the conservation of the giraffe). Today the giraffe is only found in Nakuru National Park, Kenya’s entirely fenced-in big game park. It is extinct in its original range (Laikipia).

Emily announced with particular pride that a giraffe picked a pellet with its tongue out of her mouth! This trick has become quite popular, but I’ve often wondered what would happen if that giraffe tongue – approximately 18″ long – missed the mark and continued into your esophagus….

The final attraction was Kazuri Beads. This brilliant “Harambee” (‘self-help’ in Swahili) has really taken off in the last few years, supporting dozens of working women who create outstanding jewelry and cutlery. Kathleen and I have so much Kazuri we’re ready to become an outlet. I particularly like the dinner settings in guinea fowl mode.

The Cronans had to return for an overnight to Nairobi before continuing to Kigali for our gorilla trek. That was an extremely convenient way of starting with the city tour, then going on safari, and returning for these attractions in Karen.

Safaris that don’t need an interlude in Nairobi really should have at least one full day (which normally means two nights) to enjoy these fun and informative attractions. Those who just rush in to see the animals and then rush not only miss the much greater overview of Kenyan society, but will be left in the dark when the increasingly important human/animal conflicts appear in the news.

You can’t have a game park without the support of country and its peoples. And these types of visits in Nairobi seem to me to be the bare essentials for beginning to understand this complex and increasingly tense relationship.