14 Days in Kenya | Flying into Nairobi
When my friend Gavin asked if I wanted to go to Kenya with him in November 2019, my response was HECK TO THE FREAKIN YES. This was before the pandemic, when the most uncertainty we experienced was how long Scott’s Cheap Flights deals would be available (spoiler alert: I was able to book a roundtrip flight from Chicago to Kenya on credit card points alone, #sorrynotsorry).
Gavin had a family friend from Kenya whose son had connections to a tour company, so he helped us put together a ten day safari-focused itinerary for less than $1000. Our plan was to travel the week before Thanksgiving, and after Gavin left to go home for the holiday, I would go off on my own for the remainder of the trip.
The 14 Day Kenya Itinerary
The breakdown of our trip looked like this:
- Day 0: Arrive in Nairobi (evening arrival)
- Day 1: Visit Nairobi National Park, David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, Giraffe Center, and Bomas of Kenya
- Day 2: Day trip to Navaisha and take a boat safari to Crescent Island
- Day 3-5: Maasai Mara for safaris and a visit to a Maasai village; drive back to Nairobi on Day 5 evening
- Day 6: Sweet Waters to see the White Rhino
- Day 7-9: Samburu Game Reserve; return to Nairobi the evening of Day 9
- Day 10: Fly to Mombasa; take a car to Kilifi
- Day 11-13: Kilifi with day trips to Watamu (diving) and Malindi
- Day 14: Drive to Mombasa; day trip before flying back home via Nairobi and Amsterdam
To save money, we stayed at a family friend’s house on the nights we spent in Nairobi. Gavin’s friend Peter found a good deal on a driver with a safari-ready vehicle, and he drove us during the first part of our trip (more on that later).
We went to Kenya in November, and temperatures ranged from 51 – 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The days were hot, the nights were cool, and we ran into showers ever so often. We were mainly there for safaris, which happened rain or shine, so we made sure to dress accordingly.
Nairobi National Park
If you have limited time to spend in Kenya or you aren’t able to easily go on a safari, there’s plenty to do and see in Nairobi. The Nairobi National Park is less than half an hour driving distance from the central part of the city, and you can self drive yourself around the park or hire a game vehicle at the gate. We took a game vehicle with our driver, Joseph. The best time for animal sightings (and this is applicable anywhere, really) is early in the morning and in the evening.
We were going to enter Nairobi National Park through a back entrance (more on this later), but it was inaccessible due to mud, so we ended up going through the main entrance. Almost immediately the roads were backed up with other vehicles.
This is a pretty standard experience across all safaris, so get used to it. However, once we got aways into the park, there were animal sightings galore!
David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage and Giraffe Center
Within the city of Nairobi are a few wildlife conservancies. If you’re unable to leave Nairobi, these would be worth a visit; otherwise I would save time and go straight to a safari.
Bomas of Kenya
Bomas of Kenya is a cultural center that hosts daily shows exhibiting cultural dances and live musical performances. It was a nice way to take a break from the heat outside.
Because we used Nairobi as our home base for the first leg of the trip, we were able to visit a few other places within the city like the International Convention Center and the Nairobi Mamba Village.
Our hosts Cecilia and Dickson, who we stayed with in Nairobi, were absolutely amazing and willing to take us to a bunch of interesting spots around the city. They also completely saved the day later on in the trip when Gavin and I almost got stranded and fined on the side of the highway! (More on that later!)
If you only have a day or so in Nairobi, I highly recommend checking the activities above out. Since Gavin and I were there for 10 (or in my case, 14) more days, we have many more activities to talk about. Until next time…