Travel moments from Kenya that have sparked joy

Travel moments from Kenya that have sparked joy

Having just returned from Kenya, a country which is so special to me as it is where I was born, my heart and mind are full of special travel memories as it had been the longest I had been away from home – 2 years! I made sure to make the most of my trip, both in Nairobi, where my parents live, and Mombasa where Amit’s family live. Here’s what sparked joy from this most recent trip.

Being at home

No matter how old you are, the joy of being back home is just so special. Re-living all the memories in my childhood bedroom since I was 16, being with my parents and all my pets – nothing beats it!

My parents are as pet crazy as I am and we have 5 cats, 6 dogs, 9 tortoises, a parrot, a cockatiel, fish and the occasional Colobus Monkey turns up from time to time!

Meals with my grandparents

I have a soft spot for my maternal grandparents and so every time I am home I make it a point to eat lunch and dinner with them as much as I can. Those moments are so precious to me and my grandad is very dear to me.

Spending time with my Best friends

Although my time in Nairobi was very short, I had a double date with my best friend of 20 years, Meera, and her husband on Valentine’s Day, although neither of us celebrate Valentine’s, and we had the best time chatting away and catching up. We always pick up exactly where we left off.

Seeing wildlife up close

If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know that Wildlife conservation is something very dear to me, and something I try and raise a lot of awareness about. A visit to the Giraffe Centre in Nairobi is always on the agenda for me, and this time I took my parents, which was really fun. In the photo I am feeding Stacey the Giraffe.

The Giraffe Centre started in 1979 when Jock Leslie-Melville, who was the Kenyan grandson of a Scottish earl, and his wife Betty realised the sad plight of the Rothschild Giraffe, which continues to be one of the rarest species of Giraffe today.

At the time the numbers of Rothschild’s giraffes had severely plummeted to a mere 120 creatures and they were really close to extinction. The couple started by bringing 2 young giraffes to their property, which is now where the Giraffe Centre and Giraffe Manor can be found today in Langata. Now they have several Rothschild Giraffes in Langata, as well as dotted around other parts of Kenya.

The Rothschild’s giraffes have a distinct look to other giraffes and can be identified by their white “socks”, whilst on other species, the patterning runs below the knee.

At the Giraffe Centre you can also find Warthogs, as usually wherever Giraffes are, Warthogs are found close behind as they rely on the Giraffes for protection from any prey. The Warthogs actually burrowed into the ground and made themselves at home at the sanctuary by themselves! They are now permanent residents here.

You can read all about the Giraffe Centre here.

I also visited Haller Park, which was once a barren limestone quarry, transformed into what is now a thriving ecosystem of forest, grasslands and ponds. Here you can see all sorts of animals and birds, ranging from Monkeys, Hippos, Crocodiles, Giraffes to butterflies and various species of fish.

Immersing myself in Nature

My house in Nairobi is right next to Karura Forest, an urban upland forest located on the outskirts of Nairobi, and I am so lucky to have one of its entrances close to my home. ⠀

It is one of the largest gazetted forests in the world fully within a city limits and an excellent example of how country-based corporate social responsibility and individual philanthropy can successfully secure and protect natural resources.⠀

It is green,leafy and tranquil and a fab place to take a breather from the hustle and bustle of the city. Here you can take a walk, cycle, or simply relax and experience all of its serenity.⠀

Being by the ocean

Having been born on the coast of Kenya, I have always been an Ocean child, and nothing soothes my soul more than having my toes touch the sand, feel the breeze against my face and smell that familiar aroma of the salty air.

Nostalgic food and drink

Whenever I am home, I have a list of my favourite food and drinks that I want to have that I miss dearly and every time the taste takes me down memory lane to my childhood! This ranges from fresh juices street side, to street food at ‘Light house,’ shops in town that are institutions and favourite restaurants.

Fresh Coconut Water

Cassava Crisps

Cassava Crisps


Packed Potatoes


Fresh fruit, especially Mangoes

Vimto Special from Love & Joy in Mombasa

Sugar Cane Juice with Tangawizi from Azad Ice Cream

Dar na Bhajias

Hashmi Barbeque

Visiting favourite sights

When in Mombasa I love strolling through the ‘Old Town’ and seeing Fort Jesus. Dotted around are lots of curio shops where you can purchase a range of items from artisan sellers.

In Nairobi I love visiting the Masai Market, which is held at different venues throughout the week. This time I visited the one at Diamond Plaza and bought a few things for my new home.

Sharing celebrations with loved ones

Most of our trips home coincide with family celebrations, especially weddings, and this time it was the wedding of our dearest Kajal, my sister in law, and my husband’s youngest cousin. It was a fabulous week filled with lots of joy, fun and family time, as well as an excuse to wear Indian clothes! We danced, we laughed and we had really good times!

I had a wonderful time back home and there were lots of lovely special memories made, that sparked joy and that I am so grateful for.

What travel moments have sparked joy for you? I’d love to know in the comments!


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Binita Shah-Patel

Hi, I’m Binny – a writer, dreamer, serial wanderluster and travel addict. I am originally from Kenya but now live in London. I set up this blog to share my experiences eating out as well as travelling.

I love packing my bags and going off on adventures as one of the best things about travelling is the ability to just get lost in it. To set aside the maps and itineraries and just see where the road takes you, learning and evolving and living in the moment along the way.

It’s my goal to get swept off my feet as often as possible.

Find me on: Web | Twitter

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  1. March 1, 2019 / 11:24 am

    So good to reminisce about my trips to Kenya and Mombasa through your words and sunshine-filled photos! Was so intrigued when my friend mentioned poussin sauce, which was a new thing to me. Looking forward to sharing my experience on the blog soon 🙂

  2. March 1, 2019 / 11:26 am

    Your time in Kenya has sounded and looked so special. Really enjoyed the post and made me think of time with my own family and how precious it is x

  3. March 1, 2019 / 4:16 pm

    Visiting home is the best, isn’t it? Especially when you don’t make it home very often.

  4. March 2, 2019 / 2:02 am

    What a lovely post! I think if we lived in the same city we’d be great travel friends with our love of wildlife and Africa! Fantastic moments to spark joy and beautiful photos!

    P.S. The elephant orphanage is also one of my favourites in Nairobi!

  5. March 2, 2019 / 10:40 am

    Oh what happy moments! I can just imagine the smile on your face in Kenya!!

  6. March 2, 2019 / 10:40 am

    Ps I love all the dresses!

  7. March 2, 2019 / 12:23 pm

    So many special moments! Your photos are wonderful!

  8. Emma
    March 4, 2019 / 1:49 pm

    I would love to visit Kenya – my Dad grew up there from aged 4 -11 so I’d really like to experience where he lived and what he saw. I have a great photo of him sat on the back of a zebra!
    Em x

  9. March 6, 2019 / 12:53 pm

    It’s always vitamin sea for me too! But I can’t imagine not living at home, I can see exactly why home and family is at the top of the list

  10. March 6, 2019 / 7:51 pm

    What a wonderful look at a country that many only see as a tourist. On our trip we only ventured out of our resort for our safari and a trip to Funzi Island – I’d like to think that if we returned again we would explore more of what the country has to offer. And that is one stunning outfit you wore for the wedding!

  11. April 6, 2019 / 3:36 am

    Lovely post, you are lucky to stay so close to the forest entrance. Also you have collection of pets. Nice photos and all you guys are stunning in traditional attire.

  12. September 5, 2019 / 6:59 pm

    The Giraffe Centre in Nairobi is one of the places I love to return to every time we are there. I will never forget our first visit and the very first kiss I had from a Giraffe! We love the wide variety of crafts that can be purchased at places like the Masai Market. In our home, we have several examples of soapstone ornaments; carved wooden items; and of course beadwork, some of which have been personal gifts from our Masai friends.

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