During our return drive to Hotel Intercontinental from Nairobi National Park, then from there to our next destination, we enjoyed a few of the sights of Nairobi, a city of over three million people.
The growing population doesn't stop Marabou storks from nesting in the trees lining the city streets. These birds can have wingspans of up to 20 feet, among the largest of the world's birds:
|Photo by E. Tooke|
|Photo by E. Tooke|
In spite of tribal adherence to native traditions, 82% of Kenyans say they are Christian and 11% are Muslim, although some sources say Muslims actually make up to 35% of the population. Most of the Muslims live in the northern and coastal regions of Kenya. We saw several interesting Christian churches as we drove through the city, such as this modern structure with its free-standing tower:
Three miles from the city center is the affluent suburb of Karen, named for none other than the author Karen Blixen, whose home--now a museum--is in this region. The neighborhood is full of Kenyans of European ancestry, as well as American, Japanese, German, and Scandinavian expatriates.
Our first of three stops in Karen was the Giraffe Centre, a sanctuary and breeding center for endangered Rothschild's giraffes. When the Centre was establish in 1983, there were only 120 Rothschild's giraffes left in the world, and they were all on a ranch in Western Kenya. Today there are about 670 Rothchild's giraffes in the wild--not a lot, but certainly a substantial improvement. We were lucky enough to see some at Lake Nakuru.
Admission for the Giraffe Centre was 1000 Kenyan shillings for foreigners, or about $11.25. Foreign children pay half that. Kenyan adults pay 200 KSH, or about $2.25, and Kenyan children pay only 50 KSH, or 56 cents. Awesome.
We saw several of these delightful "Polite Notices" in Nairobi:
|AFEW = African Fund for Endangered Wildlife. Photo from here.|
|Thailand, summer 2007|
Should I be jealous?
Besides hanging out with the animals, the Centre provided lots of great information about giraffes, including this map showing their distribution in Kenya. The green spots are National Parks and the red ones are Game Reserves. There are a few tiny yellow dots on the map that represent the Rothschild's giraffes:
Just as in the wild, there were other animals running around obnoxiously, tripping up the giraffes:
Somehow I think one of these wouldn't look as cute on my end table as they do standing together as a tribe on these shelves:
It was a hot and humid day, and it was at the end of our visit to the Giraffe Centre that my morning fatigue began to turn into an upset stomach. I looked around for a tree or shrub that could cure my nausea, but unfortunately there was none to be found.
Coming up: The Karen Blixen Estate and Women's Memoirs