Howdy! 😀 Say goodbye to boring weekends in 2021… In today’s post, I am going to share fun ideas for your Nairobi bucket-list that you can do, while also staying safe from Covid-19.
As witnessed in 2020, how we travel in 2021 is still likely to be different, thanks to Covid-19. Also, local travel may continue to be our most readily option for a while.
Whether traveling for business or pleasure, I bet you want to know that it’s safe to go, right?
Thankfully, in the past few months I’ve had the privilege of touring different parts of the country, as part of Jambojet’s #NowTravelReady Campaign.
And at the heart of the #NowTravelReady campaign, is an aim to highlight how the different destinations have adapted to the Covid-19 pandemic, to keep you safe.
Top 9 Fun Activities For Your Nairobi Bucket-list!
So, as we explore the things to add to your 2021 Nairobi bucket-list, I’ll also share the Covid-19 measures we found in place…
Stay-cation At Ibis Styles Hotel
Do you ever crave a getaway, without really having to ‘get away’ far out of town? Or maybe you have a limited number of leave days in 2021, so every minute counts…?
Well, Ibis Styles Hotel, located on Rhapta Road in Westlands is the perfect escape for a budget-friendly staycation!
When we checked-in to Ibis Styles, they took our temperature and sanitized our hands at the gate. Both the guests and staff members are required to have their masks on at all times. I also like how they’ve gone the extra mile to install automatic sanitizers in the lift, where probability of exposure is usually high.
The hotel feels like an explosion of art and color, which is uplifting to the spirits! Their rooms are modern with a creative twist & utilization of space… You might enjoy discovering how the little pieces fold and fit together. 🙂
My favourite part about Ibis was the views of Nairobi’s city skyline from my room…
You’ll enjoy even better views at the rooftop restaurant: Kilele Nyama. Our servers all wore masks, and their menus are now online… This helps to minimize contact and risk of exposure.
Speaking of Kilele Nyama, they have the best smoothies! 😀 Winnie and I couldn’t resist ordering their pork ribs, served with sweet potato fries! I’d certainly recommend it!
On our second day, Ibis Styles took us out for a morning game drive at the Nairobi National Park… It felt good to experience Nairobi in the early hours, surrounded by nature.
- Try their Mango Lemon or Mango Pineapple smoothies! And their hot Lemon & ginger with honey concoction is amazing too!
- Check into Ibis Styles for the weekend at only Kes. 4,000/- (bed only) or Kes. 6,000/- on bed & breakfast, for two. In-room dining is free and available through the night.
- Ibis has just launched a new menu, and it makes for a nice lunch hangout with friends to try it out!
- In partnership with Kilian Tours, Ibis Styles organizes game drives at the Nairobi National Park for their guests on request. You’ll enjoy the change of environment & being outdoors.
Pump up your adrenaline at GP Karting
Is it even a Nairobi bucket-list if an adrenaline-pumping adventure is not involved? 😀
Located in Langata, next to the Carnivore, GP Karting is an ideal place to go let off some steam or for a fun time of bonding with your family or friends.
On arrival, you’ll have to complete an online self-registration form, and they provide hand sanitizer for use after… For safety reasons, the racing suits are not mandatory to avoid sharing/exposure. Instead, they’re only available on a first-come-first-serve basis.
They sanitize the helmets with each use, while the balaclavas are washed and sanitized after each use. They’ve also included Covid-19 measures as part of the safety briefing.
I remember how much fun I had during my first GP Karting experience, though I was a little scared… This time, however, with a bit more ‘experience’ under my belt, I was more confident… And it was made even better by a dash of friendly competition with the gang: Monique, Wamathai, Winnie. We had such a ball racing on the track! 😀
- GP Karting is closed on Mondays, and they are busiest over the weekends. You’ll have more fun on weekdays, when it’s less crowded.
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
- It costs about Kes 1,300/- per person, racing on the track for 10 minutes.
Read more about what to expect when you go GP Karting HERE.
Road-trip to Ol Pejeta Conservancy In Nanyuki…
After spending a good chunk of our lives indoors in 2020, a road-trip is like therapy these days! So why not pack your bags, and hit the superhighway towards Nanyuki? 😀
Nanyuki, located in Laikipia County, is about a 3.5 hours’ drive away from Nairobi.
Read more about how to get around Laikipia HERE.
When you go, stop in Karatina for a samosa at our ‘local Kenyan’ version of Starbucks! It is hard to miss, as it’s located next to the main Karatina Market. And their samosas are amazing! 😀
Closer to Nanyuki town, make a quick stop at the Equator Marker point. Apparently, it marks where the equator goes through Kenya. There, you’ll find small souvenir shops with local jewellery & artifacts.
>>Wherever you choose to stop, remember to keep your mask on, sanitize & maintain your social distance.
Check out my Road-trip Playlist HERE!
Weekend Getaway at Serena Sweetwaters Camp
Ol Pejeta Conservancy is like a treasure cove, filled with numerous opportunities to spot wildlife and enjoy the great outdoors. And there’s a wide variety of accommodation options, ranging from luxurious to budget!
For our visit, we got to stay at the Serena Sweetwaters Camp. And like the name suggests, Serena Sweetwaters Camp is a delightful retreat waiting to happen! 🙂
The staff welcomed us with their masks on and showed us to a tap with soap and water, next to the parking lot. They’ve also installed an automatic temperature sensor & hand sanitizer dispenser at their reception entrance.
Though the journey had been long and dusty, I remember feeling relaxed soon as we arrived… The green, immaculately manicured lawns, opening up to views of a watering hole with animals grazing about, all provide a calm, zen feeling.
We were right on time for lunch. And in usual Serena fashion, the meals were to die for! Though it’s a buffet setting, they serve you with masks on which reduces the risk of exposure from handling the cutlery.
Their rooms are styled in lavish tented-form, which combines luxury & the feeling of nature perfectly. The best part for me was probably the shower, oh the shower! Simply delightful! 🙂
The nights in Nanyuki are cool ,and the mornings even cooler. However, waking up to the sight of Mount Kenya peeking out, is heartwarming! 😀
- If you’re traveling with kids, they provide a baby cot & babysitting services on request.
- Other available facilities: swimming pool, gift shop, conference room, wedding venue, 24hour on-call medical services.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org for their rates.
Meet The Rhinos of Ol Pejeta
Ol Pejeta is known best for its contribution towards Rhino Conservation. A visit to this place, is like going to Rhino University!
Did you know?? Black rhinos weigh about 900Kg (females) and 1,350kg (males), but they can run at the speed of approx. 64Km/hr.
Ol Pejeta is home to 300 rhinos and of out of these, there are three rhino species: Black rhinos, Southern white rhinos and Northern white rhinos.
Unfortunately, due to years of poaching, Northern white rhinos are on the brink of extinction. The only 2 surviving females left in world: Fatu and Najin, reside at Ol Pejeta.
The last male Northern white rhino, Sudan, died in March of 2018 from age-related health issues. 🙁
Fatu and Najin now live in a 700-acre secluded enclosure, together with Tao, a Southern white rhino who keeps them company. For their safety, they are kept under 24-hrs armed surveillance.
Accompanied by the rangers who take care of them, we got to visit the three… And whoa! Seeing them up-close & personal felt surreal!
At some point, Tao who apparently loves vehicles, got up to ‘inspect our van’ followed by Fatu. Let’s just say that it was a ‘heart-stopping’ moment! After a few minutes of looking and sniffing around the vehicle, they settled back down… 😀
Ol Pejeta is working in collaboration with scientists around the world, to rescue the species through in-vitro fertilization. Hopefully they will be successful in the near future.
>>With only 2 Northern white rhinos left in the world, then you know that Ol Pejeta is a must-add to your Nairobi bucket-list, right? 😀
More about the Rhinos of Ol Pejeta…
At Ol Pejeta, you can also visit Baraka, a sweet, dear blind rhino… Baraka got blind in one eye a few years ago after a fight, then later got cataracts in his second eye. He is a pleasant soul that stays calm and easy around his visitors. He lives in a 100 acre enclosure by himself.
Moreover, they have a Rhino Memorial Site, where you get to learn more about the rhinos that have been poached or died at Ol Pejeta.
- It typically costs 60USD to visit and ‘hangout’ with the Northern white Rhinos.
- The conservancy entrance rates are Kes. 2,800/- and Kes. 4,800/- for East African citizens & residents respectively.
- Ol Pejeta is offering a 20% discount on their activities, until 31st March, 2021.
- Visiting Baraka is free of charge.
Go Lion Tracking!
Let’s be honest, for the most part, Game Drives are usually an affair of lion chasing… especially at the Nairobi National Park. And it can be quite disappointing to not spot any…
So, what if you had a way of knowing exactly where the lions are? Well, the guys at Ol Pejeta have this on lock!
Some of the lions at Ol Pejeta are collared for study purposes and to keep track of their numbers. This provides a great opportunity to find their exact location within the conservancy, when accompanied by the rangers.
We got to see a pride of about 8 lions bathing in the afternoon sun, while cuddling and grooming each other. I think that’s the highest number of lions I have ever seen at a go! It is such a treat! 😀
- It typically costs about 60USD to go lion tracking. You can take advantage of the ongoing 20% discount, valid until 31st March, 2021.
Visit the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary
There are 36 chimpanzees at Ol Pejeta, many of whom originated from a rescue centre that closed down in Burundi… Majority of the chimps were initially rescued from abuse and traumatic living conditions at the hands of humans. 🙁
At the Ol Pejeta sanctuary, they are nursed back to health. Later, they’re introduced back to their natural enclosures and get to interact with the others.
Chimps are very similar to humans, and though it was my second time to visit, I still found it amazing. Look out for those similarities, like in how they sit and hold their chins in their hands.
In 2020, with the onset of Covid-19, it was discovered that Chimpanzees are also at risk of catching the virus. Hence, they’ve introduced extra safety measures at the Sanctuary to keep them safe.
>>Visiting the Chimpanzee sanctuary is free of charge.
Wind it down with a sundowner
After a day of adventure, a sundowner at the Ol Pejeta Safari Cottages is a lovely way to wind down for the night. The place is cozy, private and has that home-away-from-home feel…
Other Activities for your Nairobi Bucket-list
- Take a peaceful walk on the Ol Pejeta Nature trail, along the River Ewaso Nyiro. This activity is free, though you can request a guide at a minimal fee.
- Stop by Morani restaurant for lunch or a take-away snacks.
- Go on a guided game drive with one of the rangers. It costs about 25USD.
- Check out my blog post on Zip Lining HERE.
Thanks for reading! What is on your Nairobi bucket-list for 2021? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment down below with your inputs/suggestions and/or questions.
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