I’d like to write a guide on how to tour Nanyuki.
I think it will definitely recommend driving down with friends.
Get a sensible data bundle plan so you can happily get married to the aux cord without qualms. I recommend playing RnB from the early 2000’s, no one is too cool to sing along to that.
Occasionally look at maps, but allow yourself to get lost in the scenery and a sunset that you never successfully capture so that you can actually get lost. What’s the point of going on a road trip if you don’t take the wrong road, at least once?
Get into town so late that you have to run to the supermarket to grab a toothbrush, before they close. Get that toothbrush. You forgot deo too? Fiiiiine! Get that too but be kind enough to avoid the wet patches on the floor, it’s not the attendants’ fault that you’re late.
Definitely stay in a home if you can. Hotels are crisp but homes are friendly and invite you to be yourself.
Be kind to your host.
Be kind to your host, did I already say that? Allow the host to ease into your madness but once you’re sure they can handle whatever demons you dragged from Nai, unleash them all. Well, the good, fun ones, don’t turn the poor dude into a therapist okay?
Help out with meal prep, it’s what nice people or just decent people in the face of strangers, uno?
Chill outside and watch the moon as you tell stories. Let the mountain air get to you and when it begins to feel like bits of you are beginning to freeze off, go in doors. Pass out. Attempt to sleep in. Get up anyway.
If you’re in Nanyuki, common sense demands that you don’t make breakfast in the house, not on your first morning anyway. Find your way to the I Love Nanyuki coffee shop. Their berry smoothies can cure the most vile hangover, in one sip, but order the steak melt first. Props to you if you can eat the damn thing and finish it in one seating, don’t apologise for the mess you leave. Eating with your hands is a contribution to the advancement of mankind- quote me.
Walk around town. Run official sounding errands. Or just go to the mall and stock up on more toothbrushes. Don’t ogle the soldiers, even if people in uniform are your thing, especially if I’ve never seen you ogling traffic cops, okay?
Head back to the house for lunch. Lay a foundation for day drinking.
If your host is pretty cool and asks if y’all should pack a cooler, agree. Agree and throw a couple wine bottles into the cooler. It’s okay if you forget to pack food but throw in a few ciders too and a can of Monster for the non-alcoholic in the group.
Whatever you do, find yourself at Ol Pejeta. It will cost you Kshs 1,100 per Kenyan adult and Kshs 400 (6 seater or less) per vehicle. This guide is for those that are afraid of snakes but if you wanna camp it will cost you Kshs 1000 per person, per night. (exclusive of the entry fee and 50% less for kids)
The assumption here is that you had enough to eat at lunch, it’s now time to open the cooler and realize you didn’t pack glasses.
The wine is perfectly chilled and doesn’t drinking wine straight from the bottle, while on a drive somewhere on the plains of Laikipia sound like something only your fave could dare? IT’S TIME TO BE YOUR OWN FAVE!
See animals. Get excited, stop the car. Should your host, who’s since turned into a friend, tell you there’s little difference between buffaloes and cows, tell him you don’t have cows in Nairobi anyway.
But please get excited over zebras! Over impalas and every animal you see. This will be your very own Big Cat Diaries episode, feel free to run voice overs in your head. This is your Nat Geo moment, all of you better be present.
When you come to the memorial, allow your high to well, come down. Be ashamed, be very ashamed of your species and if tears come to your eyes, that’s alright. Take a moment to feel then allow yourself to be distracted by a herd of the most gorgeous cows you’ve ever seen.
Make cow jokes with your friends… 🎶 Bitch I’m a cow, mooooo 🎶
Drive. Find other humans. Find Baraka. Feel yourself fall in love. Feed Baraka. Rub Baraka’s back, even Black Rhinos like backrubs too. Be kind to him, talk to him… it won’t make up for all the relatives he’s lost to poaching but you know… someone sang to try a lil tenderness 🤷🏾♀️
Baraka is blind, he definitely doesn’t speak human but his caregivers do. So talk to them, ask them questions about Baraka, ask them about their jobs, ask them about themselves, ask them about their lives outside Ol Pejeta… ask because everyone wants to matter, ask because you believe you’re more than your job too, ask. And if the conversation drifts back to the conservancy and how they’ve worked there for over a decade, how they’ve watched the place almost triple in size, listen. You take pride in your work too, don’t you?
Wander off. Allow the caregivers to attend to others. Stand for a bit and let the goodness of the day wash over you.
Whatever you do at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, don’t skip out on visiting Sudan (the world’s last male northern white rhino) he might die a few months after your visit and you will have to live with the regret.
But maybe planning to visit the Chimpanzee Sanctuary next time will ease the pain. Who knows…