Safari Day One: Where We Encounter A Veritable Bushel of Critters

young male lion at Nairobi tented camp

As I mentioned in my previous post, we arrived in Nairobi at 6am after an easy 7 1/2 hour flight from Paris. Our first hurdle was a pretty confusing customs experience. We had all of our paperwork (e-visas, vaccination records, passports) all done and ready to go but the customs guy in our line was making¬†everybody go fill out “Form 47.” This meant leaving the line, finding a blank copy of the form, finding a pen to fill it out, filling it out, then getting BACK in line. When I got to the counter he reviewed my documents then he took scams of all 10 fingers AND took my photo (in fairness, everybody had their picture taken). Chuck, right behind me, didn’t have to supply any fingerprints. Meanwhile, in another line with another agent my sister and brother-in-law never heard mention of the infamous Form 47 and sailed through customs and ended up waiting for us outside with the Gamewatchers Safari driver. *sigh*

Nairobi tented camp communal roomWe drove to Nairobi National Park and spent the night in Porini’s Nairobi Tented Camp. This served as the introduction to our week of glamping, as most of our accommodations are in tented camps. These “tents” have bathrooms (including showers and flush toilets) and are really quite deluxe. Most camps also have a communal living tent and a dining tent. The Nairobi Tented Camp also offered electricity in each tent AND decent wifi in the communal area. We went on a game drive in the afternoon and saw giraffes, lions (a young male and a female), white rhinos (a mom and her baby), impalas, an alligator. Our guide Gordon was very knowledgeable and skilled in the handling of the 4-wheel drive LandCruiser, a super important skill as heavy rains in Nov and Dec have wreaked havoc on the dirt roads of the parks.

Since we only spent the one night we didn’t really get to experience the camp’s offerings but given its proximity to Nairobi it seems like a great place for folks with limited time who want to see a good cross-section of Kenya’s wildlife. We were up and out by 7am the following morning after a brisk bucket shower (we needed some practice to figure out how to best shower, lather and rinse with minimal water) which was made more exciting by the fact that we didn’t have time to let the water cool down so enjoyed a briefly freezing cold then scalding hot super quick shower.

More photos here.