I had a feel of East Africa when I toured Tanzania (Zanzibar) earlier this year and visited Ethiopia. Recently, I had the opportunity of visiting East Africa again. This time I got to see a new side touring three other East African Countries – Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.
Did you know there is an East African Tourist Visa which allows you entrance into the three countries? The multiple entry visa comes at a cost of $100, against having to pay $50 for visa per country. Also, the multiple entry visa can be gotten on arrival.
One thing I have learnt is don’t let shyness or the fear of embarrassment stop you from asking questions at the airport, especially at the immigration point. Imagine after spending two hours on the queue, we finally got to the front of the line only to be told that we were to have priority service on the other line since ours was for multiple visa…*sigh
The trip was curated by @wakawithdebbie. We spent ten days touring the three countries and it was fun all the way!
Kenya was the first stop. We took a late evening flight from Lagos to Nairobi via Kenya Airways. The flight was 5 hours but sadly it was the most uncomfortable flight I have ever been on. The seats were terrible and there was no TV, really shitty flight.
We arrived Nairobi early the following day, there is a time difference of 2 hours with Kenya ahead of Nigeria. After settling in at the hotel and refreshing, we headed out for a tour of Nairobi. One or two places reminded me of some roads in Lagos, Nigeria. There was this particular tunnel that looked so much like Maryland tunnel at Ikeja.
Our first stop was the Giraffe centre. Here I had the opportunity of feeding a Giraffe.
From there we visited the Karen Blixen Museum. Heard of the movie Out of Africa which won 7 Academy awards starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford? It was based on the book of same title. The book is a memoir by the Danish author Karen Blixen recounting events of her making her home in Kenya. We were taken round the house with most of the items used by Karen well preserved and kept intact.
After the tour of the museum, all we could think about was food!! We unanimously agreed to go local. Nothing fancy, we wanted to explore Kenya dishes.
They say rice is the safest food to order, right? Well not so in Kenya. We were served plain long rice to eat with no stew or sauce. I kept waiting thinking the stew was on its way, till it later dawned on me that it was meant to be eaten like that.
We had Nyama Choma (Roasted goat meat), Ugali (mashed corn), Matoke (fried banana, yes FRIED BANANA), Mukimo (Mashed potato), Vegetable salad and rice biryani. Sigh….the food had no pepper or maggi. With all the Stew Wizkid has been shouting everywhere Kenya got no stew for real.
Continuing my rice story, after about 20minutes I had to pass a message to the waiters that I needed stew or sauce to eat the white rice. That’s how they brought coloured water for me to use as sauce…I was like who did I offend o? You know after you boil meat, the meat stock but no salt or pepper, like really watery with tiny diced pieces of onion and tomatoes. That was the sauce.
My facial expression alone said it all. Once I tasted it, my travel buddies looked at my face and didn’t even bother tasting.
The Ugali…sigh! It was like eating pounded yam with no soup. What amazed me most was the way our tour guide was relishing eating the Ugali like that…you’ll think it was Nigerian jollof.
The mashed potato was fair, but would have been better with good sauce. How can an entire country not have stew or soup delicacies? Let’s not even talk about the matoke (fried banana…shior!
Oh the roasted Goat meat!!! That was life! According to Ijeoma, goat meat that has PhD. The goat meat eh? O boy!…it was the redemption.
From there we visited the Kenyatta International Conference center (KICC), though we had to reason with the soldiers at the gate to let us in as we got there quite late in the evening. Luckily they allowed us in and we were able to enjoy the helipad view of Nairobi as well as catch the sunset over the city.
Following morning we visited the Nairobi National Park for wildlife safari. The highlight was when I sighted a lion. Damn! Sadly the lion was a bit shy, couldn’t get a clear shot of him. He kept staying in the grasses. I think another cool one was watching two Giraffe fight using their long necks.
From there we headed for Lake Naivasha, a three hour plus drive from Nairobi. Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake, and is also a part of the Great Rift Valley. We stopped on our way to the lake to take a closer view of the Rift Valley.
On our way back to Nairobi we stopped for some local delicacy again and well, matoke and ugali seems to be really popular in Kenya. I went for rice and greens special…they really do not have stew o!! sigh..always rice and watery sauce. Then I had the fruit cocktail, it was nice till I hit the avocado…tsk tsk
Next day we bade Kenya goodbye and off we were to Uganda via Rwanda airways which was a much more pleasant flight.