February 3: Nairobi

After a good night's sleep and the body being totally in the wrong time zone it was time to force feed it and enjoy a wonderful buffet breakfast along side the pool in the warm morning's air. The hotel grounds are highly manicured with flowering trees and shrubs surrounding the perimeter. It is walled in with security cameras to keep an eye on those who can not afford to stay here, but ignoring that element the grounds are beautiful. Situated across the street from one of the main city parks it is hard to belief that it is in the center of a large metropolition area.

Today is a day to explore on my own. The rest of the group arrives tonight. Having arranged for a driver, the goal is to see a couple of the prominent "tourist" attractions and a little of the countryside.

First on the list:: Daphne Sheldricks Orphanage. Not to be confused with a home for parentless children, this orphanage is where Daphne Sheldrick perfected the raising and re-integrating of orphaned elephants into the wild. The babies have been rescued from the wild after their mother either died from a poacher's gun or of natural causes leaving the small elephant to fend for themselves. Brought to the orphanage from anywhere within Kenya at an age of a couple of weeks to three years old, they are cared for, cured of any disease or injury and then trained on how to survive back out in the wild. Until three years of age they are pretty much direct cared for including feeding. At three begins the training of rehabilitation until about five or six when they are released back into their natural habitat. During this time the human contact is kept to the bare minimum to reduce the risk of animal dependency. The babies need to know how to survive without human assistance. The program is highly successful and currently is treating 21 in their infant care wing -- the youngest being 2 weeks old. The older ones are in the process of reintegration. It was also noted that at no time is an elephant placed out into the wild before they are able and willing.

Second stop: Giraffe Center -- Home of the near extinct Rothschild giraffe. It is here that a land trust was established in order to conserve the endangered species while at the same time provide a free environmental education to the youth of Kenya. The animal's distinctive all white lower legs roam freely over the land sharing it with warthogs, a vast variety of birds, and others.

Third stop: The home of Karen Blixen, the author of "Out of Africa". Originally build in 1912, the home is now a museum displaying the life and story of the famous Danish author who came to Africa with her husband, Baron Blixen to try to make a fortune by raising coffee. While her marriage did not weather the life in this remote area, her love affair did and was made famous by Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in the movie by the same name. Karen also used her status to help educate the children of her plantation as well as financially support those interested in pursing a higher education. She also played a hand in providing medical assistance to those in need. She is highly revered by the Kenyans as can be seen by streets, schools, buildings, malls, all named after her.

Fourth and Final stop of the day: Kenyan Lunch! After all that sightseeing and being totally off the body clock in relation to the correct time, what better thing to do but to sit and enjoy a typical Kenyan buffet lunch. Steamed spinach, stewed veggies in tomato sauce, rice, corn and mashed potato mixture, wimbi (porridge), beef mchuzi (stew), pan fried fish, and a tukar beer!! Then back to the hotel to rest!! Tomorrow it is the flight to the Masai Mara! There will be no internet access for several days. Will post again as soon as possible.

Entrance Sign to the Orphanage

Minature Gazelle being the Greeter!

Feeding Time!

Me Too, Mom!!

More, Please!


Play Time! Where is my ball?

Blind Rhino Being Helped By Orphanage

Giraffe Preserve Entrance

Rothschild Giraffe with Child

Rothschild Giraffe

"Feeding Station" -- Human Zoo


Warthog with Family

Karen Blixen Home, now a museum