by Zara Dance
KENYA, MY 3rd HOME a blessing that I never cease be grateful for and love
Updated: Aug 15, 2020
Those who know me may remember that I had a three month contract in Kenya, dancing in Nairobi’s nightclubs. When I left in April 2016, I was happy with the time I’d spent there. Three months seemed enough time and I was happy to move on to the next adventure.
I NEVER thought I would return again for bellydance.
However, that contract has been the gift that keeps on giving. Every year since, I have been invited back to Kenya to perform and each year IT’S EVEN BETTER!
I get the luxury of being flown in for just a weekend or a few days, staying in amazing hotels, enjoying the culture, catching up with friends and then back to my life, which is now in Cairo. It is fast becoming like a third home. The first two being the UK and Egypt.
This year the destination was Nairobi (I have also danced in Mombasa quite a lot) and I was blessed to have my best friend and dance companion, Tara, with me. The timing couldn’t have been better. It was Ramadan and my dance licence in Cairo doesn’t allow me to dace then, so the work was needed AND time to catch up with Tara was well overdue.
This booking was to perform at the unveiling of two new trucks by a Korean company now working in Kenya. This is the exciting thing about Africa. Africa is coming up! There are so many new and exciting business opportunities and I will hopefully be dancing at more events this new land of business can offer.
The event was in a fantastic venue, Safari Park Hotel. The guests at the event were a mixture of Koreans, who had flown in for the event, and Kenyans. Our performance went well. We opened with Isis-wings, which is a standard wow for international audiences, and a drum-solo followed by some fun shaabi music which everyone enjoys for a dance along. A highlight was that the Safari Cats were also performing at the event and I thoroughly enjoyed their show of African and fusion dance. They were great people and said they also enjoyed our show - DANCE LOVE. I also want to say that Nisha, the lovely lady who booked us for this event, was AMAZING. I loved her! She was the perfect hostess.
We were only in Nairobi for four days and unfortunately the first day was totally gone as a delayed flight meant Tara and I missed our transit flight in Egypt and ended up having to then to fly to Ethiopia and finally to Kenya in what was over 24 hours of hell.
But it was well worth it, as the gig was fun and in the days we had free I got to show Tara the best of what Nairobi had to offer, all my knowledge of this great place:
WHAT TO DO IN NAIROBI IF YOU HAVE 48hrs or less: Tara was given no option. I took charge. I was going to give her the FULL MONTY - all the things I love so much and had
during my 3 months in Nairobi, but in just a few short hours.
Catch your breath – Here we go:
DAY ONE 8am: Wake up eat the yummy hotel breakfast.
9am: My friend Patrick, a driver I know, picks us up and takes us to the supermarket where we buy a packed lunch, then drives us 3 hours through the Great Rift Valley to NAIVASHA. (Every time I come, tingles ripple throughout my body. I really feel a deep, spirtual connection to this place.)
12 noon: Hire bikes, and get ourselves a lovely guide: Dan. We cycle through Hell’s Gate National Park seeing wild zebra, gazelle, water hogs, ground squirrels (that Tara loved), monkeys, giraffes and LOADS OF OTHER ANIMALS. (You can cycle or walk in this park as there are no dangerous game. It is great to be out of a vehicle and so close to nature.)
2pm: We have cycled all the way to the gorge. Patrick meets us there and we have lunch. Tara is attacked by a monkey who cheekily steals her apple. lol
2.30pm: Refreshed, we start to trek through Hell’s Gate and Gorge to the Devils Bedroom! There is lots of climbing , slipping, jumping and adventuring.
5pm: We rush back to the car via a Massai market on the mountain and we drive to the natural sulphur spa at the top. We stay there until closing (6pm) but manage to get a bit of extra time and leave at 7pm. (Swimming and floating in this water is amazing and the skin is so softened – heaven!)
7pm: Our drive back starts with a burst tyre. It is surprisingly fun to help change it. Then we drop off Dan but not before having a cup of tea and actually quite a long chat with different park wardens and guides about the wildlife, struggles they face such as poachers, the ivory trade and the effects on the elephant and rhino populations.
11pm: Back in Nairobi and exhausted! Still in our trekking clothes but it doesn’t stop us meeting up with Nisha, the lady who booked us, and off we go to a high end members club for some interesting meetings and discussions with people in quite high power in Kenya.
We stay the night at Nisha’s.
9am: An amazing home cooked traditional breakfast with Nisha.
10am: Off to the elephant orphanage, a great place homing orphan baby elephants whose parents have often been killed at the hands of man. It’s busy. It’s a bank holiday. The elephants are cute all the same. These elephants will be released back into the wild when grown.
12 noon: Time to go to the Giraffe sanctuary and spend lots of fun time with the giraffes up close stroking and feeding them. They are full of character.
2pm: Home for a power nap followed by a lovely homemade curry, on the porch of Nisha’s house
7pm: We meet my friend Steve in Westlands, the party and night club capital of Nairobi. We drink local beer and have a boogie to African Beats at Black Diamond one of my favourite Nairobi bars.
10pm: Unfortunately our partying is cut short! We HAVE A PLANE TO CATCH. We head to the Airport and HOOOOOOMMMMEEEEEE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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