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Kenya Travel - How To Spend You Time In Nairobi If You Miss Your International Connecting Flight

May 10, 2008
Besides losing out on the all-important deal, the business travellers' worst nightmare is probably the possibility of missing the next flight - for whatever reason.

No matter how well-prepared you may think you are for this small inconvenience, it will still throw you off-balance. It may happen to you after being bumped from your seat by the airline or you could simply get caught up in the unpredictable traffic congestions of the city and end up being late for the check-in. Whichever way it comes to you, you will end up with a situation to deal with.

Your first reaction is of course what we all expect and accept, especially if you believe the fault is not yours - rage, annoyance, whining, shouting match with the duty manager etc.

After all the telephone calls have been made and you have explored all options, you realize you have 14 hours in your hands before you can get into the next flight for your destination. The next revelation that comes to you, is of course the fact that life must go on. At this point, you know you are fine.

From this moment, I advise that you put into use the lessons you learnt from one of the very many self-help books you have been carrying around to keep you busy in - between meetings. Hopefully, one of the lessons would be: "Look at the bright side of it, and it will be better".

In other words, make a decision to use this time to enjoy some of the attractions and interesting places in and around Nairobi. Resist the temptation to book a hotel in Nairobi where you would spend the rest of the time feeling annoyed. Find out what you can do with this time!

Here are some options for day trips and excursions that can be done from Nairobi:

Tour of Nairobi City

If you are a first time traveller to Nairobi and have not had time to see the city, a 3 hour tour of the city will give you some 'feel' of this beautiful city in the sun. You get to see the central business district, viewing the shops, the city market, and the railway museum among other places. Normally this tour would end with a visit to the Snake Park and national museum that are just about 5-minutes drive from the city centre. Go for this option if have at least 8 hours between you and your next flight.

Tour of Nairobi City together with a visit to the Giraffe Centre and Karen Blixen.

If you have about 12 hours available to you before your next flight, you may wish to consider extending the city tour to cover the animal orphanage at the entrance of the Nairobi national park, the Giraffe centre and the Karen Blixen Museum. Or you could just skip the city tour and undertake the 4-hour tour covering Animal orphanage, Giraffe centre and Karen Blixen Museum.

The animal orphanage is run by Kenya Wildlife services. It lies just about 27 kilometres (approximately 16 miles) from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Unfortunately, the animals here are caged, and some people may not like this. But they are caged for a reason. Some were brought from the wilderness after losing parents to predators or poachers. Some were born at the orphanage while their parents are being taken care of. The Nairobi animal orphanage raises the orphaned animal with the aim of nurturing them and training them. Eventually, they are released back into the wild to lead a normal animal life!

The Giraffe Centre

The Giraffe Centre is an educational centre run by the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (A.F.E.W). The story of the Giraffe Centre and its begin has been narrated many times. It was set up to protect the endangered Rothschild giraffe. If you lean towards conservation and fun, please consider visiting the centre. You will get the chance to feed the giraffe from a raised platform as you contribute towards conservation.

Karen Blixen Museum

You must have heard about the film 'Out of Africa'. Yes, if you love history and antiques, you may consider a visit to the home Karen Blixen and step back in time for a few hours. Karen's home is now preserved as a museum. The museum lies about 30 minutes drive from your starting point - the airport.

Nairobi National park

The Nairobi National park is enjoys the unique status of being the only protected wildlife area so close to a capital city - Nairobi. It located just 7 kilometres from the city centre that means about 27 kilometres from the Airport. The park is home to the rhino, buffalo, cheetah, zebra, giraffe, lion and plenty of antelopes and gazelles. You will need at least 8 hours to enjoy this tour. You will use 4 hours for the tour, keep 1 hour to use from on the road to and from the park, and 3 hours for your check-in!

Lake Nakuru National park

Lake Nakuru National is known world-wide for the flamingos. Besides the flamingos, there is an additional 450 of bird species. It is also a sanctuary for the white Rhino. Situated just about 3 hours from Nairobi, you can visit the park either as a day long excursion or overnight trip if you have the time. You must have at least 11 hours here.
Six hours will be spent on the road between Nairobi and Lake Nakuru; 5 hours for your game drive in the park and lunch break.

It is important that you do not miss your connecting flight again. So let us summarize this:

Pick the Tour of Nairobi City if you have at least 8 hours. Combine the City tour with Karen, Giraffe Centre and Karen Blixen if you can afford at least 12 hours.

If you would rather do the individual excursions of Giraffe Centre or Karen Blixen, keep at least 8 hours for each.

Lake Nakuru National will take up at least 12 hours.

How do you make these arrangements from the airport? Well, just look around while at the Jomo Kenyatta International airport. There are reliable tour operators with desks at the airport and they can arrange the tours as you wait. Of course if you have contacts of your preferred local travel agent, you could call them up to have this done.

This is not a word of caution, just advice: Whichever excursion you take up, whatever you do, please make sure at the end of everything, you still have 4 hours 'buffer zone' to get to the Jomo Kenyatta International airport from the City centre. Three hours for your check in and 1 hour just in case there is heavy traffic on the road.
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