I am very lucky to be able to live and work in the Masai Mara game reserve for a few months of the year.Every year when its time to return from South Africa to Kenya, I drag out telephone numbers, and remember where useful stuff is in town.This year I thought I would compile these into a list online somewhere so if I loose any of the numbers I can access them from any cybercafé in town.So why not pad it out and let it be useful for anybody visiting Kenya and Nairobi.By rights this should always remain a work in progress as I add to the list and find more numbers.
First off so it's at the top of the page and easy to find.Important telephone numbers.Emergency Services 999 Police CID HQ 728888 AMREF Flying Doctors 502699/506521 St Johns Ambulance 224066 Nairobi Hospital 2722160 Aga Khan Hospital 37400 Kenyatta National Hospital 2726300 Gertrude's Garden Children's Hospital 3763474 On arrival.
Most people arrive at Jomo Kenyatta International airport (822111) and are picked up by guides and bussed into Nairobi to a hotel if it's late in the day.Should you get in early you might be taken straight out to Wilson Airport (501943) which is where all the small commuter airlines depart from for internal destinations.Chances are your internal flight will be with Air Kenya they operate a fleet of aircraft from single engined Cessna Caravans to four engined Dash 7 aircraft. You might also be flying with Safari Link. Yes I don't have either number, when I find them I will add them.The other thing that might happen is that you are driving to your safari destination.
Be prepared for a long bumpy hot drive.Be bullish and insist that your driver stops at a supermarket.On your journey of several hours your driver will continue stopping at friend's roadside stalls and curio shops where they receive commission on sales.All under the pretext of needing breaks.There are modern garages on all the major roads.
Get the driver to stop at them for toilet breaks and snacks en route. Cleaner with fixed prices.Shopping!.If you should have some time on your hands and want to stock up on things like chocolate and bottled water you should visit a mall rather than pay through the nose in your hotel or lodge.There are two main supermarket chains in Kenya, Uchumi and Nakumatt.Both are excellent and not unlike shops you find in the USA or Europe.
One of the largest Malls in town is the Sarit Centre which can be found in Westland's just a short taxi ride from the centre of town. There you can relax and dine or catch a movie as well as do some grocery shopping.Just opened on Ngong Road is the Junction, again a pleasant place to shop.If you don't have a great deal of time between arriving in Kenya and connecting with flights at Wilson Airport the supermarkets have helped you out.There are two Nakumatt's just off the Mombassa Road which you will take into town to turn onto Langata and Wilson Airport.
One shop is just off Airport North Road and the other opposite the Nayayo Stadium, this is the bigger of the two.Just past Wilson airport on Langata, literally on the airfield fence with aircraft on the other side of it is a very nice Uchumi. This is the one I use to stock up with four months of goodies before departing for the Mara.
Oh and while I am talking about shopping you can get stacks of curios from street vendors outside of the Sarit Centre for much less than they will cost in your lodges.Eating Out.If you are taken to Carnivore restaurant you will pass that Uchumi. Carnivore is the place that having seen animals in the wild you get to eat them!.It's not for me I am a vegetarian!.
When I'm in town I always try and grab a meal at the Trattoria, Wabera/Kaunda (340855/240205) also good is Cedars which is out on Lenana, it's a Lebanese affair. Both offer great vegetarian food as well as stuff for the other sort of diner ;-).Many garages now sport pizza and burger franchises, they modern and very good.
Exactly what you would expect in the rest of the world.If you have children with you the Aero Club at Wilson Airport has a bar and restaurant and most importantly a children's playground that over looks the runway. Plenty to see and do whilst waiting for a flight onward. It's about 5 minute's taxi ride from both the Air Kenya and Safari Link check in desks.If you are coming up from South Africa and want a memory of home! There is a Spur in the Holiday Inn. Corner of Parklands Avenue and Msapo Close (3740920) its not quite identical but there is a pleasant bar and outside eating area as well.
Things to do.Should you have many hours to burn you might think about visiting the Karen Blixen Museum www.museums.or.ke or the Giraffe Manor.
Nairobi National Park and the Animal Orphanage are also worth a look. www.kws.org.So that's a start, I will add to this as I think about it and when I get back and remember things!.
Whatever and wherever you stay in Kenya you will have a fabulous time.The people are excellent and service great..Gary Mortimer is a professional hot air balloon pilot. He has lived and worked around the world. Gary is married with two young sons.
By: Gary Mortimer