If you were to tell me that I was going to Africa this year, I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s not that Kenya wasn’t on my travel bucket list, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so SOON. But that’s the funny thing about life sometimes, fate has different plans.
I was lucky enough to go with an amazing team and a celebrity influencer, but work things aside, let’s dive into the mermazing things I did while there.
DAY 1 Animals, lots n’ lots of them
I’m sure I’m not the only one that grew up watching the Lion King, but experiencing the animal kingdom Irl is a whole other story.
Fun fact: did you know that Simba and Pumba are the actual Swahili words for those animals?
You can find animal sanctuaries in Nairobi if you don’t plan on venturing far into the Maasai Mara, we visited two.
What to wear
It’s a bit more conservative in Kenya, so cover up more than you would. That doesn’t mean you can’t look cute. I styled a vintage teal dress that went past my knees, with some Vans cause I knew I’d be outside in the mud, and the platforms kept me comfy all day. In fact, it was the only shoe I wore for the entire trip. Avoid wearing black, there are so many vivid colors there and you’ll attract less bugs.
The Giraffe Centre
This lovely place takes care of the endangered Rothschild Giraffes, just east of the bustling city of Nairobi. What’s truly special about this place is that you can feed the giraffes by hand or through kisses, like what I did… A couple of times.
These tall friends love using their tongues though, so be warned that frenching might occur.
David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage
A phenomenal rescue and rehabilitation program since the 70’s, this is a haven for not just orphaned elephants but for warthogs, giraffes and a blinded Rhino called Maxwell.
We had the opportunity to visit the baby elephants privately and learn about their stories, which hit us right in the feels. There are so many awful reasons as to why these little guys might have lost their parents, from drought to poachers. Luckily, this place is committed to helping them grow so they can be released in the wild later in life.
The caretakers are so devoted to these young babes, they even sleep in the same rooms to feed them every 3 hours with massive milk bottles!
If you truly feel a connection to one of the elephants at the orphanage, you can even adopt them and contribute to their food and upbringing through monthly donations ( I know what I want for Xmas this year).
We closed the busy afternoon with a late lunch at the exclusive and stunning 148. Tucked away from the rocky road, 148 is a private boutique restaurant and hotel filled with a sense of peace, light and art. It was just what we needed to recharge.
After we had our delicious lunch, we were off to the Mara for our next adventure! The Maasai Mara is 6 hours away from Nairobi, but if you take a small plane it only ends up being 45 mins. It’s a really popular way of getting around Kenya, since the roads can be pretty underdeveloped, dangerous and rocky.
That’s not to say I wasn’t scared getting on one of these. I had a moment.
After a bumpy ride, we landed in the dunes of the Mara safe, and I swear all I wanted to do was kiss the ground but I was quickly distracted by the bright blue skies and picturesque trees.
We were then welcomed by the Maasai warriors, who exude wisdom and elegance. With every step they take, you can hear the jingle of their incredible draped, beaded jewelry.
DAY 2 Intimate Mara Life
The next day we visited incredible communities that ME to WE helped empower through education, clean water, opportunities and health care.
Everyone was always so grateful and friendly during our visit, welcoming us into their homes with open arms and bright smiles.
What to wear
We were going to be outside all day, so to avoid a fun sunburn I covered up with a vintage front tie Maxi dress, made of light, breathable, cotton. Paired with my Vans and a faux leather backpack.
We then retreated to our Bogani camp tents, who were by the way, incredible. Equipped with full working bathrooms, cooling floors, traditional tapestry and electricity. I have never glamped so hard in my entire life. It reminded me of my time in the Thai jungle, hearing exotic birds in the wake of the morning and howling animals at night.
DAY 3 Safari Stories
On the last day in the Mara, we went on a safari at Richard’s camp. We, of course, had to fly there in one of those small planes (again). But my fear quickly dissipated once we landed and saw the breakfast spread shaded under a luxurious tent.
What to wear
I wanted to be comfortable, and the mornings can get quite chilly in Kenya. So I wore some Lulus with an Aerie soft sweater, I almost changed up my Vans for Docs, but I figured since we’d be in a car there was no call for boots.
A safari is something you kind of HAVE to do if you’re in Kenya. Seeing all those beautiful animals up close felt surreal. I kept having to remind myself that this wasn’t some episode of planet earth, nope, this was really happening.
We spotted all of the animals on our bucket list, and then some. Our tour guide was so knowledgeable about all the wildlife and the ecosystems around. We most definitely felt safe in the car, even when up close to those questionable lionesses and their cubs. As long as you’re respecting the environment, you really have nothing to fear.
And so, this mermaid traveled to a new continent. One filled with free roaming animals, sunny days and welcoming people.
Have you ever been to Africa? What were some of your favorite things to do there?