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.
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!