Kenya is not just Safari: it is adventure in the cities, it is a mix of cultures, it is (sometimes) not feeling completely safe everywhere, it is knowing how to adapt, it is colours, sounds and flavours. From Bari, the departure airport, you arrive in Nairobi with a stopover in Istanbul. The first thing that struck me about this city is that it doesn't have a real center but many centers spread out from each other (as if it were an agglomeration of cities put together under the same name). For this reason it is necessary to understand well where to sleep and how to get around to avoid stumbling into areas that are not recommended. For the rest you can fully enjoy a culture that is the result of the meeting between India, Europe and America. But let's go in order. 

Kenya begins its modern history with the landing of Vasco da Gama, when he was headed to the East Indies. Over the years it has passed from Portuguese to British domination, until independence in 1963. India has always made its presence felt thanks to intense commercial relations and the sharing of the same Ocean, the Indian Ocean. Even if it is generally considered a "dangerous" country, it is in fact very quiet, just avoid poorly lit and poorly frequented areas, do not go around wearing too flashy clothes or wearing jewellery, and avoid gatherings or protests (which is not uncommon during the last months). My journey began from Nairobi, the capital, a city that does not have a real center (as we are used to and from which the suburbs can be distinguished) but is rather a rich agglomeration of several centres, as if they were many cities put together Together. It is therefore necessary to know well the areas where not to enter and to move around with taxis (which have a very low cost). Don't miss the National Museum of Kenya and the reptile house (for those who aren't afraid of snakes!). Here you can find many curiosities about the birth of civilization in the Rift Valley territory, with many scale reconstructions on the evolution of the human species and all the animals that have historically populated the region, from the Mammoth to small birds. The park surrounding the museum is also very beautiful, where you can take a break and eat something. 

From Nairobi I went north west, to begin the part dedicated to the Safari. I entrusted myself to an agency found through Get your Guide: it should be underlined that it is the most expensive part of the trip but it included accommodation and meals. You can choose whether to do the tour with a jeep or a mini bus, always with a local guide in English, and the price varies mainly depending on where you decide to sleep: in more or less luxurious campsites but always in the same area. My choice was the cheapest: I slept in equipped tents at the gates of the Masai Mara, and ate with the local populations. Here you need to adapt:

  • The monkeys come to visit the tents, living freely among the vegetation (always close the tents to prevent them from rummaging through your things!!!)
  • Avoid non-bottled water, or prefer hot tea made with boiled water
  • Bring medicines (even something against car sickness, having to travel dirt roads in a jeep for hours)
  • Avoid overly processed or uncooked foods
  • Sunscreen and hat because you get sunburned on safari!
  • Avoid bringing too many things, simple, layered clothing is enough

    Once you start the Safari you are not quite prepared for the thousand emotions that overwhelm you: it seems as if the Lion King cartoon comes to life. The smells of nature are inebriating, the light and vegetation are unique, made up of shades ranging from green to yellow, and the sunsets are breathtaking. The animals live peacefully together with humans, being accustomed to guided tours from an early age. You never get out of the car except in rare cases, so you are always safe from lions, lionesses and above all from the fearsome rhinos and hippos. An intermediate sunset stop was the one at the Masai Mara village not included (in cost) in the tour: you enter the mud huts, you can talk to the local people and see how they live. In some parts of the visit there are moments in which it is clear that they have organized a sort of mini show-tour for tourists, but living the experience of visiting the village is certainly worth it. Only thing to note: they are a bit insistent in wanting to sell African objects passed off as local craftsmanship and you have to be very decisive if you don't want to buy. I also recommend a mini safari at Lake Nakuru to see rhinos, zebras and many, many birds of all sizes.

    The journey continued south along the coast with a bus from Nairobi to Mombasa. A bus without air conditioning, for over 10 hours under the sun that I wasn't prepared for. For a few years, however, there has been a single Chinese train that allows everyone to reach the south more comfortably, but it is advisable to book it well in advance as there are few seats. Luckily, on the way back there was a place and I was able to travel more comfortably than on the way there. Once you arrive in Mombasa the scenario changes: it seems like you have arrived in India. Colorful TukTuks, strong smells, chaos in the main streets and lots of noise. It is advisable to visit the city with certified guides: mine was very knowledgeable (you can find his contact in the LonelyPlanet, he is the only one in the 2022 one), ready to answer all my questions and not to leave out any place in the city (from the entrance in the shape of elephant horns, up to the oldest and largest tree in the city, from the market to the bay where some local artisans repair fishing boats). The visit to the Hindu temple and the fish lunch along the bay, in the market area (where Leonardo di Caprio's famous film "Inception" was filmed) was beautiful.

    Last stop Diani Beach: a very fascinating coastal area, where you can experience endless expanses of white beaches, surrounded by palm trees, sea-view restaurants and luxury residences. All very accessible yet exclusive: in this area it is possible to stay and eat cheaply, moving easily with Tuk-Tuks (with which you always have to bargain!). From here you can book boat trips to Caribbean beaches, snorkel with sea turtles and visit ancient fishing villages. My accommodation was an apartment not far from the coast, surrounded by vegetation and with some nice and greedy monkeys living among the plants. This is where the African sickness starts to feel: you would like to photograph every moment with your memories to always carry them with you, without them fading, without any modification dictated by the passing of time. You know the wild part, the simpler one that is accompanied by slightly out of tune modernity, and that makes you want to stay for a much longer period than planned.

    Advice: crossing the country from north to south it is best to prepare for large changes in temperature and humidity. The most suitable period is from January to March and then August and September. 
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