Travel

Adventures in Nairobi: Kentaro & Natsuki | Part Two

Nairobi-Adventures-TravellersFromJapan Kentaro & Natsuki in cool gear

Missed Part One? Read it here.

At the end of Part One, Kentaro and Natsuki had planned and paid for their Safari which they were to leave for that Sunday and were due back in Nairobi the next Wednesday (23rd September). [You can check out pictures of their Safari on their Instagram accounts; kntr for Kentaro and natsukicat for Natsuki.] So, we scheduled our next meeting for that Thursday (24th September).

The trouble with Nairobi is that there isn’t much one can do within CBD besides visiting the various museums and parks within it. So after racking our brains for a plan for that Thursday, we settled on having a picnic at Karura Forest and a walk thereafter.

Last Day: 24th September

The Planning Nightmare

Karura-Forest-Nairobi

Taking a page out of Kentaro’s book 🙂

Kentaro and Natsuki loved the idea and so we planned on meeting at noon that Thursday at the Souvenir Shops at Hilton Arcade, Nairobi. This time, Shikow was coming and that only meant double the fun! Mbithe coming would have been triple the fun but, once again, she couldn’t make it. 🙁

As we tried not to miss Mbithe, we began making plans for our picnic and it is only in the actual planning that we discovered the several flaws in our intended plan.

Where would we get the food? How would we transport the food?

But, most importantly, what food would we get?

That last one was especially difficult because we didn’t know what local dishes they had tried and/or whether they liked the ones they had or not. We spent all Wednesday trying to come up with a menu (and all Thursday morning). By noon we still hadn’t settled on anything! 😀

So we decided to go the YOLO way. It is the best WORST way to make decisions after all. 😀 We walked into the Tuskys on Kenyatta Avenue (because they package their food really well) and decided on buying whatever we thought looked tasty which was Pilau and Chapati with a really mouthwatering Beef Stew and Kachumbari on the side.

Afterwards, we went to Hilton Arcade where we found them excitedly waiting for us. 😀

On to Karura Forest!

We took a Matatu to Karura Forest and Kentaro and Natsuki were really excited about their first Matatu ride. They were impressed by the speed and comfort of the Matatu we took (It was actually quite comfy) and even asked if we would use the colourful mini-buses with the really loud music on the way back (I’m told they’re called Manyangas 😀 ). To which we said that if we could manage to get one on the way back, then we would 😀

It was a really interesting ride for me as well because I had a very interesting conversation with the conductor about my reasons for going with Jet Li (Kentaro) to Karura Forest and what our purpose was for going there. 😀 We got to Karura Forest in under ten minutes and immediately set off for the picnic site.

In and Out Karura Forest…

After paying the entry fees, which were 250 for Shikow and I each and 650 for Kentaro and Natsuki each, we began the long walk to the picnic site. We walked for quite a while with no sign of the picnic site and were just about to give up (or at least I was) when I spotted Lily Lake.

Lily-Lake-Nairobi-Karura Forest

Spot the Overdressed Wondercore 😀

Picnic-Nairobi-Karura Forest

All Smiles at the Picnic. (Spot the Stoney drinkers 😀 )

The picture really does not do it justice, Lily Lake was breathtaking! We even stood in silence for a few minutes just admiring it.

If you haven’t yet, you really should explore Karura Forest; it’ll give you great appreciation for the late Wangari Maathai’s work.

After admiring the beautiful Lily Lake, and checking in with a passerby if we were on the right track, we went on with our search for the Picnic Site which happened to be a short one 🙂

By the time we had sat down, it was just after 2 and we were all starving! As we unpacked the food, we were happy to see that it was mostly intact. 😀

As we ate, Kentaro and Natsuki told us about their Safari as well as their experience with the local food. As it turns out, they really enjoyed our food and had actually eaten a large variety while on Safari. They had had:

Ugali on their first day here and found it to be rather plain in taste.

Mukimo while on Safari and they LOVED it!

Chapati while on Safari and was and is Natsuki’s favourite. She was pleasantly surprised to find it on the Picnic’s menu. 😀

And Pilau which they were having then and really enjoying! This, I believe, was Kentaro’s favourite?

They really enjoyed the food! Our YOLO choice was actually a success 😀 See, you can never go wrong with YOLO 😀 I’m kidding though, don’t do it 😀

 

After the picnic, we set out for our walk.

There were plenty of attractions (?) to see and because we were already feeling a little tired, we decided to see the nearest one, which was Butterfly Lake, 2 Km away. The walk to Butterfly Lake may have felt a little longer than I would have thought, but, it was quite interesting. Lily Lake may have been breathtaking, but I have and had no words for this particular beauty we found within the forest.

Nairobi-Karura Forest

AMAZING, right?

Again, the picture does not do it justice. It was so BEAUTIFUL! Just take a day off, or maybe on a free weekend and go exploring Karura Forest. You will thank me later 🙂

2 Km is not a short distance, so we spent quite some time walking to Butterfly Lake and at some point, we began talking about music, Kenyan music to be precise. And, well, Sauti Sol is really big right now and Sura Yako being one of the 5 songs that I have on my phone, I played it for them. Then, this ended up happening…

Aren’t they great dancers? 😀

After that, we continued walking to Butterfly Lake….

Butterfly-Lake-Nairobi-Karura Forest

The Mystery of The Year

When you hear or read Butterfly Lake, you expect Butterflies and a LAKE. Or even a butterfly shaped lake if that’s where your imagination takes you. Any, all or some of the above, right?

Well, we walked for a seemingly never ending 2 Kilometers to find what was left of, or rather, what wasn’t left of Butterfly Lake. 😀

There was no lake.

There were maybe 5 butterflies.

And there was no butterfly shaped lake!

So, the answer was not any, all or some of the above. It was none! 😀

We were so disappointed and tired so we just decided to call it a day after laughing about it. 😀

It’s a good thing that we hadn’t decided on walking to the waterfalls that were 3.5 Km away or the caves and other waterfalls that were 4 Km away. 😀 Who knows what nothingness we’d have found!

Despite the walk to nothingness that we did, it was a very good day and the last for Kentaro and Natsuki in Kenya as they were leaving for Tokyo the next day. 🙁 We said a very very very long goodbye with promises of meeting each other some time in the future but before that…

In Part one, I mentioned how I had been wondering about the perception of Kenya and Kenyans which travellers have before, during and after their travels. Well, I got my answer. Here’s what Kentaro had to say…

‘Before I came to Kenya, all I had was information from several guide books and what they all had in common was two things, a recommendation for going on a Safari and to avoid going to Nairobi, the city, itself. Their advice was to go on a Safari immediately after landing at the airport. But, I love getting the local experience and I was in contact with you guys so, I knew that I had to check out Nairobi for myself. And, I’m glad I made that decision and for meeting you guys. You made my stay here very nice and made me see Kenyans differently. Most of all, I love your fashion and style. It is so different from what I see in Tokyo. Also, you are really good people and kind. I would love to come back and do what I haven’t done yet here in Kenya.’

So that’s it for our adventures with Kentaro and Natsuki. 🙁 It’s funny how one can bond with someone they’ve known for a short time and miss them so much after they’ve gone. 🙁 But, the promise still stands, we shall meet again, maybe in Japan 🙂 , only with all The Wondercores present.

Follow Natsuki and Kentaro on Instagram to see more pictures of their Nairobi Adventures!

Natsuki – natsukicat 

Kentaro – kntr

 

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In a perfect world, Gillian would be travelling round the world in her red vintage VW T1 van (Hippie Van) gathering stories of the people she meets and retelling them to those ready to listen. She is in the process of building this world which is now going to have all of you in it.

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  • Shikow

    This was so fun to read and watch,brought back awesome memories. I miss Natsuki and Kentaro so much

    • Gillian

      I couldn’t help but smile as I was writing it. 🙂 These are great memories, I can’t wait to see what else is in store for us. 😀