* FYI: my hair did it’s own thing this trip. Just ignore it 😩😂
Now that I am back home, I’m finally decompressed and ready to put my itinerary in print and share with others who want to travel to Africa and may not have months or even weeks to do so. After finding a $500 round trip flight to Nairobi, I immediately purchased it and began planning my vacation. I only had a week and thoroughly got the most out of it. If you’ve been following my blog, much of this isn’t new to you. If you just joined in, this is how I recently I spent a week in Nairobi, Kenya and Tanzania….. Solo!
Monday: My flight left on a Sunday night for a 3 hour layover in Switzerland. After landing in Nairobi, an hour later than expected, at 8:30pm on Monday, I was immediately picked up by my pre-arranged driver, Gitau, and driven to my Airbnb by Gitau’s brother Peter. My Airbnb was down a long, dark, dirt road that I somehow managed to laugh off and trust Peter to get me there safely. He did and when I arrived, I was greeted by the house manager, Evelyne, and promptly took a bath and prepared for the early day ahead.
Tuesday: I was picked up by my driver at 5am for a Game Drive through Nairobi National Park. It was important to be at the park as early as 6:00 when the doors open to beat the lines and comfortably enter. I had previously paid the fees for my guide so I only had to pay the entry fee into the park. Payment was only accepted by credit card so be sure to have that payment method available. Evelyne had packed me a lunch, coffee and water so, when I got hungry, I had food available to eat and share with my guide. After enjoying a day at the park, I went back to my Airbnb for the rest of the day to rest and enjoy the views. Amazingly, my Airbnb overlooked the park so I was able to witness several of the animals from my own backyard.
: I woke up to breakfast prepared by Evelyne: eggs, ham (I think), toast and coffee. I was picked up for previously arranged trips to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage and the Giraffe Center. The elephant orphanage was pretty interesting to hear the multiple stories of how the elephants ended up at the orphanage. It was also lovely to see the many children gathered on field trips. I met another cool solo traveler from Houston but unfortunately failed to get her information to stay in touch. After the orphanage, I went to the Giraffe Center where I was able to pet the giraffes and take wonderful pictures, including a few of me kissing one. Note: the giraffes we petted are the SAME giraffes people pay $700 to stay at Giraffe Manor to pet and take pictures with. I ended my day ordering delivery and feeding the resident bushbaby before heading to bed for an early morning flight to Tanzania.
I had an early morning flight to Tanzania (Zanzibar airport) and was able to check into an amazing bungalow in Paje that I found on Expedia. Panorama Oceanview was also listed on Airbnb but, because I had points, I decided to use Expedia and save more money. After getting settled, I immediately changed into my bathing suit and took a stroll on the beach. I found a shop called “Mama Africa” and went in to check out their services. I ended up getting a massage for $20US and some much needed sleep. After my massage, I went back to Panorama and took some pics worthy of Instagram before getting ready for my dinner reservations at the famous The Rock Restaurant. Reservations are required at this place and transportation can be arranged on their website. Everything about The Rock was to my satisfaction and I ended the night on a small boat, being taken to my awaiting ride back to my bungalow.
I was picked up for a tour of Stone Town. Stone Town is full of culture, religion, and history. I spent my day meditating in slave chambers, amazed at fish auctions, and at peace during lunchtime Call to Prayer. After walking the entire city, I shopped at markets and just enjoyed the energy of the people. If you plan to visit Stone Town, be sure to wear or carry something to cover your shoulders (women) as well as wear comfortable shoes. Tanzania is a Muslim country and it is respectful to cover your shoulders when walking through the markets. The narrow, stone roads are also rough on the legs if you’re doing a lot of walking. After returning to my bungalow, I walked the beach again and ended up back at Mama Africa for another massage. I ended my evening and my time in Zanzibar with dinner and drinks at Hotel on The Rock, a cool bar in between Panorama and Mama Africa.
I had an early flight back to Nairobi where Gitau was waiting to take me to my new Airbnb. This was the coolest Airbnb I’ve ever stayed in, a treehouse! After settling in, I went to lay by the pool, then have lunch at the onsite restaurant. The restaurant was a pretty popular spot so the energy was just what I needed. I had an Airbnb experience planned but the host unfortunately canceled on me. Instead, I decided to call an Uber and head to the Massai Market to do some shopping for family and friends. My day ended with a relaxing bath in the most unique bathtub I’ve ever seen, before falling asleep in the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in.
For my last day on the Continent, I planned a day of self care. I woke up and went for a walk through the neighborhood so I could take in the fresh air and wave to strangers. I called an Uber to take me to Entim Wellness Sanctuary (https://www.entimsidai.com/
) where I had a day planned of yoga, massage and peace. Unfortunately, yoga was canceled for the day so I received a glass of wine and walked the grounds in search of calm. I found it. I took a few more IG pics and headed in for my massage where I snored uncontrollably and got some really good sleep. After my massage, I decided to have a stretch session so my therapist grabbed some mats and prepared the grounds outside for stretching and rehydration. This was truly a peaceful day. I eventually had dinner and drinks back at the restaurant of my Airbnb, took a bath, and reflected on my amazing vacation.
Kenya and Tanzania brought me peace and joy. It brought me calm in the midst of chaos and frustration. While my life has been amazing for some time now, being on this journey, alone, meant the world to my inner peace. While traveling solo may not be for everyone, it’s surely a way to discover “self”. I certainly did that.
If you want an alternative to a hotel on your travels, use this link and get $40 off on your first stay: https://www.airbnb.com/c/cherronl?currency=USD
If you need a ride almost anywhere in the world, use this link and start earning free rides: https://www.uber.com/invite/caarx1b3ue
If you’d like the links to either of my Airbnb stays, or my drivers, let me know and I’ll forward them to you.