Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thursday's Travel Tales & Tips: My Trip to Kenya Pt. 1

It's that time of week again!  (Sorry it's a little late.)  Link up your posts about travel: places you want to travel, travel tips, or stories about past travels.  You can read the rules (or more details).  You can also see last week's posts including mine about the North Carolina Mountains and Alicia's get-away with her hubby to a great B&B.

Our Kenyan Adventure:

In January Mr. Sojourner had some meetings to attend in Kenya and so the Little Sojourners and I tagged along (poor us!).  When we got off the plane and started driving to Brakenhurst International Conference Centre (where we would be staying for our first two weeks) the Little Sojourners (and me!) were in awe of just how different it was then where in Africa we live.  Ms. Sojourner said, "We are still in Africa?!  It's so GREEN!"

Brakenhurst was a wonderful place to stay.  They staff was very helpful, the food was delicious and reasonably priced, and the grounds were gorgeous!  We stayed in one of their cottages which worked perfectly for our family. 

The cottage we stayed in was called "Mapacha" which means "twins" in Swahili.  Apparently someone gave birth to twins there years ago.

For dining they have two choices on the grounds.  First, is a dining room with buffet style food (which I think they only use when enough people are staying on the grounds), but really, really good buffet with produce grown on the grounds and some of the best soups I have ever had in my life.  The other choice is the cafe with a menu of really great priced and yummy foods.  We used both while we were there.  The grounds and surrounding area are beautiful and are really great for hiking, walking, and running

One of the trails we walked right beside some beautiful tea fields.

They have a great gift shop with very reasonable prices if you aren't going to hit the Massai Market or don't want to deal with negotiating prices.  The one issue I had was there laundry prices (which would not have been so bad if it hadn't been the 5 of us), but other then that it was an amazing place to stay and if we ever have the opportunity to go to Kenya again we will be heading back there!

Near by Brakenhurst is the Kiambethu Tea Farm

Middle Sojourner on our tour of the tea fields while visiting the tea farm.

The girls and I spent a delightful afternoon there with new friends we met during our vacation. 

The lunch spread.

We had lunch and afternoon tea.

Ms. Sojourner sippin' on some tea with her milk and sugar at tea time.  (I loved this British influence there!)

We heard the story of the farm, learned about tea, and took a tour of the grounds (including a forest).

An adventure walk through the forest; exciting!

 Oh--- and we fed monkeys!!!!

Little Sojourner getting a little help feeding the monkey a banana.

Of course I was in awe of all the malls in Nairobi (after not living in a country with such things for seven months) and visited several while were there (1,2&3 and we went to each multiple times!).  That's probably not that interesting to you, but it was hugely fun to us with food courts, reasonably priced items, put-put golf, and English!  But, one thing that may be interesting to you is that all of the malls I went to host the Massai Market once a week and so you can go there to get some beautiful African items at really great prices; if you negotiate prices! 

Not the greatest pic (but the only pic I took) of the Massai Market on the roof of Westgate Mall.

My advice: know what you want to pay for it, start lower then that, and don't go above what you want to pay.  Walking away works well too.  "No thanks, I'll keep looking.  Have a nice day!"  Don't worry about going to low; they will not agree to a price they don't make money on.  They usually try to get double or triple the fair price of an item because they think you don't know any better.

A few words of caution: Pick-pockets love places like this with lots of tourists, lots of people, and lots of chaos.  Keep your money close.  Also, if you name a price and they agree to it then you are obligated to buy so only name a price if you are serious about buying it.

Lastly (for today at least), I discovered my love for Kazuri beads as I visited the factory and shopped at the Kazuri store at each of the malls we went to (and the airport!).  You can order them online, but they are a lot cheaper in person.  I can't properly express the beauty of each unique bead.  If you go to Kenya: buy something Kazuri!

Surrounded by lots of beautiful and unique creations.

Come back next week for Pt. 2 of our Kenyan adventure; we haven't even gotten to animals or safari yet!

I can't wait to read about your travel dreams, stories, or tips!

Dreaming of travel,


Thanks for stopping by and for commenting. It is much appreciated!