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We flew into Nairobi and toured through the company Shadows of Africa, whom we highly recommend. They arranged everything for us and we didn’t have to plan a single thing – they even drove and back and forth to the airport, even though our tour wasn’t near our flight days. They have different price ranges, super reliable communication, and fabulous tour guides – we felt safe the whole time.
Chabad of Kenya wasn’t around when we were there, so we brought all of our own food from America. Lucky for us, our suitcase of food was not on our plane with us! They forgot to put it on the plane. YOLO. Side point, it’s also not safe to eat the fruits and vegetables there due to contamination, so we had a while where we survived on carry on food… for Shabbos. Chabad was able to put us in touch with a supplier who imports kosher grape juice and wine, and they even delivered it to our hotel (Rachel Baraka +254 721 107732)! Our hotel had manual keys so it was great for Shabbos, just nowhere near the synagogue there.
GENERAL TIPS – you need a visa to visit Kenya, and it saves you time to do it online before (can be done in the airport technically, around $40). We brought an electric pot to cook noodles and other foods in. Our hotels all offered bottled water, so we used that to brush our teeth, etc. You must bring tons of mosquito repellent – the lotion is the most effective, but we used bracelets and sprays as well. We used Passport Health for all of our immunizations before the trip – we needed to get shots for Typhoid and Yellow Fever, in addition to taking Malaria pills pre, during and post trip (close to $500 alone for the immunizations). Bring small bills to tip around the hotels, and it’s also $40 a day to tip the driver from the company. Also, have tons of snacks and road trip games around because Kenya is hugeee and you will drive a ton!
SUNDAY – they picked us up early, and broke up the five hour drive with a stop at Rift Valley. Maasai Mara National Reserve was the main attraction for the day, which was our first game drive (seeing animals in their natural habitat from our safe car).
MONDAY – game drive day two – we saved other tourists whose jeep got stuck in the mud. We also stopped to visit the Maasai Tribe, and learned all about their culture and interacted with the locals. Most tribes are not open to visitors because they don’t want to feel like attractions at a museum, so this is one of the select tribes you can interact with. We brought lollipops and gave them out to the children there. They love answering questions, and are super friendly. They will definitely try to sell you their hand-made goods as well, but they will also show you how they make them.
Our jeep got stuck in the mud, so other drivers got us out of the mud. More game drive. All of the drivers help each other out and have walkie talkies to each other, so that if one jeep sees something cool or different, others can quickly drive to see them as well. We even got a ticket driving off road to see a jaguar because of a tip from another group.
TUESDAY – drove another five hours to Lake Naivasha, which used to be land, but now is super flooded – many people had to evacuate the region and move elsewhere. We took a boat around the lake to an area that had giraffes, and other animals that you can see first hand and get closer to (for most of the game drives you’re solely in the car). Heads up – you will be walking through water, so you shoes and outfit will get ruined. Ours were not ruined, as you can see from the pictures, but that’s a very long story for a different platform 🙂 The hotel they arranged for us had our backyard open to nature, and we literally were surrounded by zebras and other cool wildlife.
WEDNESDAY – drove to Amboseli National Park, where our hotel was a glamping experience! It borders Tanzania, so we were able to see Mt. Kilimanjaro, which is the tallest mountain in Africa, and tallest single mountain in the world (so ruled out Har Sinai locations). Game drive. This hotel had a bonfire every night, and we had brought marshmallows from America… it was our guides first time ever seeing marshmallow! Maasai tribe ran shows at night.
THURSDAY – more game driving. Noomotio Observation hill, which has a nice view of the whole park. That night the bonfire was empty, so we had our own kumzitz and Girl Scout experience. Perks of being the only ones that can’t eat dinner at the hotel!
FRIDAY – Amos drove us the five hours back to Niorobi in time for Shabbos, and then we peaced out on our flight motzei Shab. What an experience of a lifetime!