Nairobi / A Rough Journey to Tanzania

Day 34: Arusha, Tanzania
Thursday, we drove from Nakuru to the metropolis of East Africa, Nairobi, and visited the Giraffe Centre. We hand fed a female giraffe by dropping bits of feed into her extremely long, slobbery tongue. Then we headed to camp where we relaxed and played pool at the bar the rest of the night. The next day a few of us caught a taxi to downtown Nairobi to do some shopping and see how dangerous the infamous city really is. A few blocks from the shops, our taxi broke down and we had to get out and push it through an intersection. This happened once or twice more before we finally arrived at our destination, but I suppose it's all part of the Africa experience! Downtown was very modern, with glass office buildings and trendy shops and restaurants. It was no busier or crazier than any large American city, and – during the day at least – didn't seem any more dangerous. That said, I would certainly not want to walk around downtown Nairobi at night – its reputation for muggings and violent crime is unfortunately well deserved according to locals. We ate lunch at a cafe that could just as easily have been in New York, and then we checked out a few camera stores. I wanted to see about buying a lens, but the selection was minimal.

Feeding a giraffe, Nairobi Giraffe Centre, Kenya © Matt Prater
Feeding a giraffe at the Nairobi Giraffe Centre, Kenya
In the afternoon, we headed back to Karen, the area of Nairobi where our campsite is located. Karen contains the huge homes of many politicians and expatriates, and the area more or less resembles some ritzy American suburbs, except for a few dirt roads here and there. We went out to eat at a fantastic restaurant where we met up with a few of the new people who would be joining our tour and said our farewells to some that were leaving. I had a great Thai chicken dish and some wine, but I didn't eat much because I wasn't feeling well. I ended up being sick all night long. I don't know whether it was food poisoning from lunch or a virus, but it was not pleasant. I still felt very queasy this morning and was not looking forward to meeting the new people and riding in the truck to Tanzania. We stopped at a supermarket before leaving Nairobi, and one of my friends got me some rehydration packets and anti-nausea tablets. I managed to eat some crackers and sat near the front of the truck while we drove for hours on rugged roads into Tanzania and past vast, hot landscapes. Luckily, I started feeling better as the day went on and regained my appetite by the time we arrived at our campsite in Arusha. Getting sick on a trip to Africa is almost inevitable, and I'm glad this episode didn't last long. I am going to bed early tonight so I can be refreshed tomorrow when we begin exploring the wildlife of the famous national parks of Tanzania.