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Home » Articles » Destinations » Africa » Inside the Glass Bubble
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Inside the Glass Bubble
Submitted by Laurentzi on 2007-04-05 06:57:25 (via www.adventureprone.com)
No matter how much you hate a “package” travel experience, when in Kenya it might be the only option to see the wild life and it may turn out not too bad after all. Don’t be surprised of the libertine behavior of the animals – they are at their home in the wilderness and don’t care about your opinion.
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Submit Your Vote   |   Add Comment      8 comments   |   Topic: Kenya  
 
Submitted by bindero on 2007-04-06 07:41:01
Hey,
nice article:)
I just wander, does Nairobi deserves its name of Nairobbery, did you experience some of this stuf over there?
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Submitted by asuflipmode on 2008-01-21 10:49:59
I travelled to Nairobi for a few weeks in 2004 and I experienced much of the same things that Laurentzi writes about in his travelogue. Crime was certainly rampant and much of the city seemed quite destitute. The 'guides' are just as often conartists so caution must be taken not to go alone with any of these seemingly helpful people. Me and several of the people I was travelling with had many unpleasant experiences in Nairobi including being robbed, pickpocketed, and constantly hassled and begged by those in desperate poverty and malnutrition or by prostitutes. The food is pretty bad but if you can find foreigners who have been there for a while they can usually point you to some bearable places. The tourist bus stops often have restaurants that are pretty good. I would certainly never go out at night in Nairobi. One of my friends was drugged as an apparent attempt to incapacitate and rob him. Luckily we were there to take care of him and get him home safely. The parks in Kenya are very nice to visit but if that is the sole reason for visiting I would highly recommend flying into Tanzania and finding a safari company that will drive you up to Kenya so you can stay in Arusha. Arusha is a wonderfully tourist friendly town with a great market and shops and there are great places to eat such as Mama Swagats, the best indian food I have ever had! There is also an amazing chinese food restaurant that I can't remember the name of. You can stay at a church just outside of town for very cheap and it is safe and clean and the nuns take wonderful care of the visitors. From Arusha you can visit the international tribunal courts, hike to the sacred falls on Mount Meru, and from Arusha you can see Mt. Kili and find many reputable guides to help you hike it if you desire. It is also nice because you can easily find other tourists to travel with if you are not in a group yourself. This will cut your costs and increase your safety significantly. I was primarily based out of Arusha staying with a homestay family which I would also highly recommend if you can arrange it through a local NGO who knows the family well. I took trips to Uganda to raft the nile, and an 8 day safari to Ngorongoro crater, Serengetti, and Terengiri. Both trips were amazing. If you decide to raft the nile, Kampala Uganda is completely beautiful and amazing. The nightlife there is so much fun and the people are all extremely friendly. The food is world class. Beware of rafting the nile however; it is not for the faint of heart and is quite scary if you've never rafted before, but the most beautiful scenery you will ever encounter! The company i recommend has a website www.surfthesource.com. If you have any questions whatsoever please feel free to contact me as I love to help fellow travelers any way I can!
 
Submitted by xkcoxy on 2008-01-21 22:34:15
Well Nairobi as a busy cosmopolitan city has its own share of the Dark side. But to label it Nairobery is certainly unwarranted. Like any city in the world Nairobi has its good and bad side. From a person who resides in Nairobi - i can tell you Nairobi is a City of Contrasts.
There is the rich and affluent side of Nairobi where you will find world class restaurant , big massionates, golf clubs and all the rest , then there is middle class Nairobi - where you will also find pleasant estates, quality apartments, shopping malls e.t.c. Then there is the poor side of Nairobi- where about a million people live in a less than 5km square area.
As a tourist you will always be adviced on the places to visit and the places which not to visit. If you went to inner city Nairobi - then you were either not adviced or you chose to ignore advice given to you. Even to most Nairobians this is a no go zone.
Also you should be very careful while selecting your guides and tour agents - always make sure they are registered to KATO - Kenya Association of Tour Operators. You can always put a complain if you feel you didn't get your money's worth.
All tourist attraction areas have adequet security. There is a special tourist police unit that is always on hand to assist.
About prostitutes !!! - Well that tells me you went to all the wrong places. Most hotels and Lodges wont allow beggers and prostitutes on there premises - also reputable tour companies and guides know the best places to take you.
my advice will be to do adequet research before embarking on a safari - this way you will save yourself alot of hussles.
Anyway i'm very sorry that you had alot of misfortunes on your Kenyan Safari - but if you had the right people to handle you - probably you will have a very different story to tell. I have handled a lot of clients who can not wait to return back to this great safari country.
Submitted by Anonymous on 2008-01-21 09:51:15
Very well written and informative article that I found to be reflecting the actual tourist situation in and around Nairobi in a very adequate way. Many thanks.
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Submitted by nduf on 2008-01-21 12:20:42
Like all big cities, crime prevails. You are writing like the whole of Nairobi is just full of criminals in every corner. Like all places I have been to so far, there are places you can go to and not worry about security and places you visit at your own risk. You state that you were constantly hassled and begged by those in desperate poverty and malnutrition (you don't see a lot of malnutrition cases in Nairobi) or by prostitutes. Now to be hassled by prostitutes (in broad daylight I assume), you had to be touring very dingy areas indeed. Because one of the places I know teeming with cheap prostitutes is River Road, and this is a place I myself coming from Kenya do not go unless I do not have a choice.

You further state that the food is bad. Well again it depends where you go. And seems to me you went to places where people ate to fill themselves and not for the taste. So that's your bad for being such a cheapskate. I could go on and on but I'm here commenting because someone asked me to. All you have to know basically when traveling is places that are relatively safe, because there is crime everywhere unfortunately, others higher than the rest. Be safe!!!
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Submitted by nduf on 2008-01-21 12:25:57
Oh, and the stuff about the guides is totally true. You have to be careful. Many idlers around wishing to make a quick buck. Anyway you also have to be a bit streetwise when traveling cheap. Otherwise you will get suckered anywhere you go.
Submitted by xokaloshox on 2008-01-25 12:12:10
Hey....i think you trip to Kenya was unfortunately bad....the thing is Naiobi like all other towns in the world today has its fair share of crooks and conartists but it doesnt mean that the whole town is full of them,it seems like your trip to Nairobi was either not well planned for or you were under a very tight budget.....you probably didnt consult the right people and thus you got poor guides who were out to make moneey.The night life in Nairobi is also fun if and only if u go to the right places,if u went to the cheap backstreet clubs what did you expect to find....am no saying that whoever druged your friend did something nice,but,cheap things are expensive swity.Nairobi is very tourist friendly,the tourist police protect the tourists better than the locals.......and our food is to die for unless you go to those places where you fight for the food with flies....as someone had said their is the highclass areas,the middle class areas and the poor side..all tourists are adviced to stay in the high class and middle class area for a reason!!Nairobi isn't very expensive as compared to abroad so the middle class area is quite affordable for the tourist.Prostitution is illegal in Kenya and s when tAhe police see a tourist being harrased by prostitutes they usually intervene.Kenyans are very warm and open people and i'm sorry that you didn't manage to meet the right people.
**Cheers**
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Submitted by Anonymous on 2008-01-30 14:50:34
To all, and specifically to tourists,

Kenya, by virtue of its geographical location, physical landscape and capitalistic policies that have been pro-West during the cold war, is a country whose people and policies are afflicted by the ‘Tourism Mentality,’ a grave mental disease. Tourism is our livelihood, so even if elephants kill human beings, touch them not since ‘tourists won’t come and we won’t have foreign exchange earnings’. Our athletes run in Europe Circuits (and more recently Quatar) and become celebs before they tire out and come back home burnt out and that is when we mere locals get to know them. Coffee and tea is grown for ‘export’ so don’t drink grade 1 coffee, we need to export it to Europe. Allow U.S. troops to train your armed forces so as to ‘provide a base for anti terrorism in Somali and Middle East.’ Hotels at the coast can only serve the nativeS with a smile during the ‘off peak season’ since they are geared to tourists only. Infact, we even have a tourist police unit, and one tourist killed in a highway gunfight with thugs makes it to prime time news complete with the Police Boss swearing to ‘not leave any stone unturned’ while dozens of Kenyans are killed daily with no hue or cry. woe to you if you are "mzungu" (slang meaning whiteman) the minute we spot you, especially in the city, we think heaven has come down on earth to save us from our miseries.

well, guess what, its not a perfect nation but again, arent they all?

My advice to you, if you want to travel to kenya, know what you want and do your research. If you are not the 9-5 maasai type of person....see www.safarisimplified.com

About food, Kenya's cuisine reflects the diversity of its varied cultural influences dating back many years. Having said this, eating out is not a national pastime although its becoming more so in the wealthier sectors of society. There are several restaurants to choose from both in Nairobi and mombasa. There is plenty of choice; from the more expensive restaurants to those that offer good food at reasonable prices. It is a good idea to ask your hotel which restaurant are nearby. Registered taxis that are recommemded by hotels and resorts are safe, and the fare can often be negotiated beforehand.

Since 30th December 2007, the international media, has created the latest tourist attraction package for Kenya: War Journalism. As tourists take the first flight out of their kenyan Safari, foreign journalists have trooped in, each with eye and camera lens eager to beam to the world the latest pictures of Africa’s violence. Journalism has become a ratings game and don’t flatter yourselves by thinking that the international media has you in mind- these international media houses are no better than our own, with single person ownership of several news sources, and more responsibility towards corporations than to the truth, why should they care what happens in Africa- for so many people in the international scene, Africa is reported as one large unfortunate country, where many black folk live in poverty and are thankful for the occasional celebrity to jet in and adopt one of our many kids. The fact is for every story that is in the news has a slant- there is always an agenda, but one has to think for themselves to see what is being sold to them in the form of news.

Yes, kenya is bleeding from frustrations and anger, and who then is responsible for ensuring that we learn from this and create something stronger from the destruction that has been wrought. I think that the responsibility lies squarely in the hands of all of us (kenyans) who have lived through this either as survivors - or perhaps even as privileged, middle class spectators.
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