As a child, I always wanted to visit Kenya. I know what you are probably thinking, who didn’t? Well, right as you might be, unlike most who saw it as a huge zoo, I was not keen on visiting for the animals, but for the Masai. I have been a jumper all my life and the idea of jumping with a Masai has always been intriguing. So it was my quest and it was not a secret.

Of course I wanted to see Nairobi, wanted to experience the food, ambience and the friendly hospitable people of this beautiful cosmopolitan African city and yes I got to do all of the above…

The Kenyan people, hospitality 101…

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A waiter serving at carnivore restaurant Nairobi Kenya

I believe Kenyans have hospitality subliminally embedded in their DNA. I guess maybe because their number one source of income is tourism, it’s become second nature. From the parking attendants, waiters, taxi drivers to the store managers, restaurant owners, et al, they all take their time to make sure you are well served. Funny thing is that my Kenyan friends did not feel the same, they felt the service could be better. Even that idea, was rather encouraging because it says, no one is resting on their laurels…

 

Malls galore…

With over 12 malls all over the place, I made it to 3 of them, ‘Yaya Center’ at Kilimani, ‘Prestidge Plazaon Ngong Road and ‘The Junction’, where I had breakfast at the ‘Java Coffee House’, it felt like I was at a café in Atlanta. The food was amazing, the atmosphere great, ok, I confess, I took a picture of the dish, yeah yeah, it was that good, don’t hate.

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I looked like the real tourist walking through the malls in bewilderment, cause on one hand, I was amazed that this was Africa and on the other, I was amazed that this is Africa, did I just say the same thing? Anyhow, you catch my drift. The quality of the stores, the architecture of the malls, just brilliant. They actually have waiters at their food courts competing for your business, rather interesting.

 

Karaoke, Karaoke and live band singing…

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Being a writer/producer, I wanted to experience the music scene, feel the pulse of the people and what they vibe to, so I went to this karaoke joint (don’t laugh) It’s a good way of telling what people like musically. It’s called ‘Ozone’ at Valley Arcade, and hey, I won $100 for being the best singer that night, thank you. I went to another karaoke night at ‘Pots and Pans’ a sort of makeshift outdoors set-up, but a whole lot of fun. Then went to ‘K1 Club House’ in Parklands area and sang with the house band. ‘The Crave’ in Lavington area, off the chain jazz band, was honoured to sing a few songs with them too. You’ve probably figured, I love to sing… I can tell you that they have a very eclectic music scene in Nairobi. They love Nigerian music so much and you would see people pack the dance floor when the DJ plays the likes of Davido, Wiz kid etc. A lady even sang Asa’s song ‘Ti’m ba’n ke’ with the house band at ‘The Crave’. impressive.

 

Restaurants, let’s eat…

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‘Mama Ashati’s’ is a West African restaurant, a nice bungalow with a huge yard. The décor is a mix of western and West African; now I thought we (Nigerians) were the African kings of hot and spicy food, oh nooo, the Ghanaian dishes had me on fire…

I had a local dish ‘Mukimo’ at an outdoor covered restaurant at the animal orphanage in Langatta. The dish is made with beans and peas, very nutritious.

For my birthday, I was treated to dinner at ‘La Salumeria’ at Valley Arcade. The Italian restaurant made my Italian accent come out in full bloom, felt like I was in Milan. ‘Brew Bristol’ on Ngong road, a sort of high-end hangout for drinks and food, House music was on point.

 

My dream come true…

Masai

While all this was going on, we were looking for Masais so I could fulfill a life long desire. We were heading to Maasai land, but the traffic was too much, but as fate would have it, we turned around and drove through ‘Karen’ near Mamba Village and there was a little group of Masais. I was like a kid in a candy store when I got a nod from the beautifully cladded warrior in full regalia that we could jump together. The experience, priceless, I even jumped as high as he did. Ok, maybe just my luck, the Masai was not so tall. Next time, I will visit the animals…

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As a child what dreams did you have about Africa? Share [email protected]

Kehinde Dacosta-Lawrence (KDL) is a writer/producer/director. He has worked directly or indirectly with the likes of Usher, Whitney Houston, Jagged Edge, Kashif, Stevie B, Eddie Murphy and Barry White. He was musical director for Nigerian Idol (2 seasons) and consults for a number of entertainment entities. He  Loves to travel and share his experience…

 

 

Miriam Chiazor

Miriam Chiazor

Content Editor
Miriam is the cornerstone of content planning, fiercely dedicated to resolving the critical issues of the day. She loves a good challenge, thrives on deadlines, pressure and learning new things.
Miriam Chiazor
Miriam Chiazor
Miriam Chiazor

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