Hi y’all, happy sallah holidays. I visited Nairobi, Kenya for a few days last week and I had such an amazing time, I could hardly wait to share bits of my holiday with you all. I’m starting with this little compilation I came up with. Kindly note that everything on this list is from my point of view.
1.) It Gets Cold – Winter!!!
Believe it or not, I never knew it gets cold in Kenya. They actually have a winter season between June – August in Nairobi and unlucky me I visited in August. I actually checked the weather and I saw 18 degrees and I thought that can’t be bad but there were times it got as low as 10 degrees and it even rained. So if you’re planning to visit and you don’t want to go when it’s cold, do your research WELL. I obviously didn’t pack for the cold so I had to shop for winter clothes plus I even caught a cold and drank a cup of tea every chance I got.
2.) Electricity isn’t 24 hours
I didn’t know this until my third day when everything went dark at the hotel. Of course, the generator was turned on immediately but I was surprised. I thought it was only Nigeria that hadn’t figured out it’s power issue. However, power came back in about 20 minutes and it never went again till the next day for around the same amount of time. So it’s way better than Nigeria’s power situation.
3.) Shoe Shinning is a Big Deal
I don’t know if you will find this fact interesting but it was to me. There are red cubicles all over the city with two or three seats where people get their shoes shined. They are everywhere; at the park, on the streets even at the mall. I found myself wishing I had shoes that needed to be shined just to experience it.
4.) Nairobi Has An Amazing City Centre
The city center is huge and lucky me my hotel was right in the middle of it. It could easily have been Times Square in New York or The Westend in London. There are skyscrapers, banks, restaurants, shops, bars, cinemas, clubs etc. You name it, it’s there. I was impressed because we have nothing like this in Nigeria. The place that’s meant to be our city center(Marina) is strictly a business district filled with mostly banks and other businesses.
5.) If You Can’t Bargain, You Will Be Cheated
Besides the named shops, restaurants and other places with fixed prices, you must bargain for everything. You can spend over 30 minutes going over prices, it’s ridiculous. In Nigeria, we have to bargain in the markets too but this one is out of this world. It’s better you come prepared and never give up. You will be shocked that an item that was meant to be 1,500 KES(Kenya Shillings) can be bought half the price at 750 or even less.
6.) Kenyan Men Are Friendly, Their Women Not So Much
On my first day at the city centre, I approached a lady to please take a photo of me. She looked at me and said “me, take a photo of you? No” I was taken aback for a few seconds 😂then I smiled and walked away. Guess what I did, I asked a white lady to take my photo and she immediately agreed and even confirmed I like them. Besides this encounter, it’s either you get sized up on the streets or pushed when you’re in their way. The only women who were nice were the ones working at restaurants or shops or the market. However, the men are the exact opposite. They are warm and friendly, don’t mind taking a picture and are always ready and happy to help. I found myself chatting away with a lot of them including my hotel security, my different cab drivers, tour guides and I even made a Kenyan male friend, Nevyle who is in love with Nigeria by the way.
7.) Security Personnel Stationed Outside Stand Always
It was until my second day I noticed this. The security personnel of every business is stationed outside standing. Be it a bank, restaurant, hotel, mall etc. They are always standing. I never saw anybody dressed in a security uniform sitting and I felt concerned about this. I’m sure they work in shifts and that’s what they signed up for but it’s just a lot.
8.) Kenyans Love Nigerians- Nollywood
Every time I told a Kenyan I am Nigerian, the first thing they mention is how much they love our movies and the stories. A lady at the city market asked about her favorite actors Rita Dominic and Ramsey Noah, one of men asked if Chinua Achebe is alive because he read Things Fall Apart. One of my uber drivers said he will like to visit Nigeria some day because our economy is better than theirs and even Nevyle doesn’t mind relocating to Lagos, Nigeria. I tried convincing them that their country seems really nice but they didn’t believe me.
9.) Narobi is Affordable
This is coming from a girl that went on a budget holiday. The tourist attractions are reasonably priced, the food is too and also the transportation. Initially, I found myself converting every price to dollars then naira but after a few times, I stopped when I realized it wasn’t bad at all. I just got debited for an uber trip as I’m writing this and the amount I was charged was KES180 which is 661.77 NAIRA.
10.) Narobi is A Beautiful City
From the good, clean and wide roads, to the bright city lights, beautiful buildings and amazing art and crafts everywhere you turn, you can’t help but fall in love with the ethnicity and culture of the people. I visited the Kenyetta International Conference Centre which is 28-story building with an amazing view of the city and it was definitely breathtaking.
Asante Sana Nairobi (Thanks a lot Nairobi)
Did anything surprise you on this list? I’m curious and will be waiting in the comments.