Nairobi and a final African delight

Giraffe Centre Photo: Jane

From the Mara I took a flight to the chaotic city of Nairobi - what a contrast.

Masses of animals replaced with masses of people, beaten up old cars and so much traffic on the main roads, slow enough to allow vendors to tout their wares - drivers spot what they want, negotiate a price - cash and goods change hands - both are happy.

Roadside stalls offer colourful paintings and souvenirs. A sign advertises going to school in Australia - a dream so many hope for and for those of us that call Australia home get to live it every day!

Photos: Jane

After lunch, Francis my guide, took me to the Kazuri Workshop where local ladies make colourful beaded jewellery, they have huge smiles and happy to be working again as covid decimated their business and livelihood. Currently they have just enough work for 30, but they hope to return to a full complement of 300 soon.

Photos: Jane

The final delight though was visiting the Giraffe Centre, where I could hand feed these gentle giants. This is a breeding and conservation centre, founded in 1979 by Americans Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville, after discovering the sad plight of the Rothschild Giraffe, endangered due to loss of habitat. Funding by various organisations allows breeding under controlled conditions and healthy animals are released into the relative safety of several game parks.

Around 12 giraffes are kept at the centre at any one time - a breeding male, several Mums or Mums-to-be and young ones. I saw a one-day old and one-month old giraffe while I was there - so cute.

The male tends to head butt if you turn away! It was a joy though to feed the gentle females, enjoying delicious alfalfa pellets I placed on their very long tongues! I worried all the visitors would lead to over feeding but these are mere snacks to the amount of food they need daily, which is carefully monitored. Their coats are quite soft and I could closely admire those long, long eye lashes.

Such a delight to feed giraffes. Video: Jane

I can’t think of a more fitting way to end my trip in Africa. I didn’t buy any souvenirs; I left with African dust in my nose and eyes, lots of photos and images in my mind of so much wildlife.

Watching the thousands of wildebeest crashing across the rivers an incredible sight; but it’s always the people of Africa that once again have found a special place in my heart.

Video by Jane

Although the Kenyan hotel band Them Mushrooms released the song Jambo Bwana, in 1982, the song, written by band leader Teddy Kalanda Harrison in 1980, remains widely popular in Kenya and Tanzania.

I heard it many times in East Africa and below is just one version. The lyrics are very simple and the tune is a catchy one! I hope you enjoy it as much as me.

Jambo, jambo Bwana (Hello, hello Sir)
Habari gani (How are you?)
Mzuri sana (Very fine)
Wageni, mwakaribishwa (Foreigners, you’re welcome)
Kilimanjaro, hakuna matata (Kilimanjaro, there is no problem)

Tembea pole pole, hakuna matata (Walk slowly, slowly, no problem)
Utafika salama, hakuna matata (You’ll get there safe, no problem)
Kunywa maji mengi, hakuna matata (Drink plenty of water, no problem)