Limuru // Amboseli // Naivasha // Lamu
We went to Kenya to visit two of the most important people in our lives for Christmas and New Years this year. Sarah and Jeff are the reason why Cary and I are together, and it's only fitting that we were also with them on our second wedding anniversary! They moved to Kenya a couple of years ago for Sarah's job as an environmental engineer and we knew we had to go see them while they were there. They put together the whole itinerary for us based on our desired activities (safari and beach), and took us to some of their favorite places. Some of my favorite photos from the trip are below!
Sarah and Jeff live in Limuru, which is about 45 minutes from Nairobi. It is a tea growing region in the mountains and is very cool and green. We got to meet their resident chameleon, visit the Colobus and Sykes' monkeys near their house, shop at the local produce market, and taste some traditional Swahili cuisine - ugali (cornmeal) with nyama choma (grilled meat), sukuma (braised greens), and kachumbari (tomato and onion salad). I've also never eaten so many delicious mangos and passionfruit in my life!
Amboseli National Park
We were so fortunate to be able to go on a multi-day safari trip to Amboseli National Park. We stayed in the beautiful Kibo safari camp with stunning views of Mount Kilimanjaro and drove around the park for three days. We saw a variety of animals and birds, but the elephants were the star of the show - they were everywhere and would get so close to the cars! My favorite thing about this park was how diverse it was - there were grasslands, shrublands, savannas, a palm tree forest, yellow acacia groves, lakes, wetlands, a salt pan, etc., and each environment had a unique feel and different animals that dwelled there.
On our way back from Amboseli we stopped at a smaller park, Kimana Sanctuary, which provides a thruway for the animals to travel. It wasn't as diverse as the big park but we did get to see some cool animals on a smaller scale. We also had a "signature Kenya experience" and got stuck in the mud. Luckily we were able to contact the rangers who were able to pull us out!
Naivasha is located in the Great Rift Valley. There we hiked Mount Longonot, a dormant volcano that is so wide that there is a forest growing in the center of it! There is a trail that goes along the entire rim that we hiked and got some stellar views of the valley. We took a boat ride on Lake Naivasha where we saw hippos, fish eagles, and Crescent Island, which didn't used to be an island and now has animals such as giraffe and zebra stuck there! We also walked to Sanctuary Farm, where there are no predators and so you can walk with the giraffe, zebra, antelope, and, my favorite, friendly donkeys.
Last but not least was our trip to the coast. We stayed in Lamu Town, Kenya's oldest continually inhabited town, which is a muslim community on Lamu Island and UNESCO World Heritage site. It is probably the most unique place, culturally, architecturally, and geographically, I've ever been. The seafood was incredible (I could eat fish with Swahili sauce, coconut beans, and shrimp curry every day), and a dip in the ocean in the afternoon and cold showers multiple times a day were absolutely necessary, I've never been to a hotter place. We got to watch the annual dhow race, and got to ride dhows twice - one sunset and one all-day trip for snorkeling and to visit Manda Toto island. The shopping was incredible here - so many gorgeous handmade items, such as wood carvings and grass baskets.
This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime trip - I'm not sure if we'll ever make it back to Kenya, but I will forever remember how beautiful it was and how kind and welcoming the people were. Having friends who knew all of the best spots was truly a gift and we are so thankful to have got this time with them!