Well we finally arrived in Kenya after about 24 hours of travel.
It was only a 2 hour flight from Ethiopia to Kenya and we were served a choice of a meal on the plane! That certainly doesn’t happen with North America airlines anymore. I enjoyed the chicken/rice/peas entree – they served so much chicken I couldn’t finish it – it was served with a salad and chocolate pudding – I avoided the salad and pudding just to be safe as we were told to avoid salads and dairy products.
Surprisingly the airport in Nairobi is much smaller than Ethiopia’s. When we got off the plane we had to show our yellow fever vaccination forms and then we were given 2 pieces of paper to fill out in order to apply for our Visa. These forms were very detailed and we repeated much of the same info on both forms. I was given great advice not to have my passengers apply for their new e-visa in advance. We had to fill out the forms but we sped through the line after we were done. Those that had applied for e-Visas had long, slow moving lines to contend with. We saved time by applying on entry. This may eventually change but for now its much quicker just to apply at the airport. They took our picture, finger printed us and collected $50. USD. The customs officer asked me to give him smaller bills in exchange for $100.00 USD bill – I wasn’t fussy on doing it but I am not going to argue with a customs official???
I finished the process first and in no time had everyone’s luggage organized. Once everyone finished the visa process and collected luggage we entered a much shorter line for customs. They didn’t seem to be bothering the tourists but I saw them going through many of the locals luggage. They were finding plastic bags – as I stated in a previous blog, Kenya has introduced the toughest plastic bag ban in the World and the fines/jail terms are staggering.
Our local hosts were waiting for us – we were given a great quality Safari hat and nice collector bag with all kinds of Kenya information in it. They passed around towels so we could get freshened up before opening a bottle of welcome champagne – we finished that bottle pretty quickly.
It was pretty awesome to see a number of Zebras feeding on the side of the road not far from the airport. We certainly did not expect to see wildlife so soon. What a great surprise.
Our famous hotel, the Sarova Stanley is only a 20 drive from the airport. Many presidents and celebrities have stayed here over the years. We were presented with a welcome drink at the hotel while I organized the check-in. Prior to entering the hotel we went through a metal detector – security is certainly obvious everywhere.
We explored this beautiful old hotel – the lounge on the first floor is elegant and the inviting pool area also encompasses an outdoor restaurant on the 5th floor.
The weather – perfect – sunny blue skies and not humid at all.
Dinner was an experience at Carnivores. It’s almost a given that tourists are going to eat here. This place is all about the meat cooked on charcoal – they keep bringing until you say no. We even had turkey for our Canadian Thanksgiving – how appropriate.
It was a 2.5 hour welcome dinner which included singing and dancing for Donna and John Lotus’s 40th Anniversary. Great fun, delicious food, attentive service.
We’ll all be in bed by 10pm tonight – everyone is hoping to get a good rest. We have a full day planned tomorrow in Magical KENYA.