I hate layovers.
But what can I do? My bank account is still stuck on “the millionaire you’ve dialed is not available at the moment”, so for now I’m banished to the world of affordable connecting flights.
I think my opening line should have read, “I hated layovers”. That’s because a layover at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi opened my eyes to the possibilities. A 12-hour could mean waiting at the airport before a further flight to Seychelles. It could also mean seeking adventure. I had an epiphany, and in that moment, I hit the jackpot of 2 destinations at the cost of one ticket!
By the time I was done exploring Nairobi – without missing my connecting flight of course – I reached out to the talented infographic specialist and friend, @mosimi of EatTechTravel. Our collabo birthed this exciting itinerary: 12 Hours in Nairobi, with a handy, and shareable infographic
Touchdown Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
Nairobi wants you, even if all you have is a few hours to spare. How else do you explain a dollar dispensing ATM strategically positioned before the immigration desk. And airport lounges as uncomfortable as your in-law-to-be’s living room.
As a Nigerian citizen, all that’s required for a transit visa are your valid passport, onward ticket and $20 visa fee. Getting around the city is fairly easy with Uber, but trust me to find a local affordable cab driver, Paul. He was an exceptional addition to my adventure; the human GPS. Call him up on +254 729 947794. Tell him Susan says hi.
Get Some Beauty Sleep
My flight arrived Nairobi way past bedtime, sleep was inevitable. I chose the Nairobi Airport Homestay due to its close proximity to the airport & the Nairobi National Park.
Reserve about $38 for hotel accommodation and head over to Muthama Access Road, off Mombasa Road.
Big Five in The City
Until I arrived the Nairobi National Park, I didn’t think indulging a typical African safari was possible within the confines of a major urban center. Almost like a scene out of Penguins of Madagascar.
It is home to 4 of the “Big Five” African animals: lions, leopards, buffalos and rhinos. A $20 entrance fee will open the gates to a native African wildlife game drive.
At lunchtime refuel at the popular Carnivore Restaurant. It’s an all-you-can-eat buffet, where as long as the paper flag on your table stays upright, swords of pork, beef, chicken, lamb are served.
Their doors open at noon. Unfortunately, I couldn’t feast on Kenya’s famed nyama choma (barbecued meat) no thanks to my earlier departure time. Your experiences, in stories and pictures will be a consolation to my still aggrieved stomach, promise me you’ll share if you visit. Promise.
Conservation and Smooches
Kissing the tall, elegant giraffe, Eddy, at the Giraffe Centre is the most action I’ve gotten this year. But don’t let me bore you with my single status relationship woes.
The Giraffe Center was established to protect the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe. Feeding of the giraffes by visitors is done from an elevated platform, which even makes kissing East Africa’s graceful giants possible.
Your $10 entrance fee support operations at this conservation center. Extra donations will go a long way.
“Calling all checked in passengers on Waka Waka Airlines to Mahe, your flight is now boarding at Gate 21”
The thing about layovers is that they might be exciting, but they don’t last forever.
Make the most of it.