Take a Virtual Trip to KenyaBy Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Senior National Correspondent / January 14, 2021
With the pandemic badly hamstringing travel plans for so many people, the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) would like to take Black America on a trip to Kenya – at least digitally.
Destination: The World.
Until medical science gets a real stranglehold on the coronavirus, we invite you to explore from the safety of your home the many places around the globe that might make your bucket list.
We begin in beautiful Nairobi.
Nairobi is known for exciting activities like Rugby, the iconic Coke Studio Africa music show, and the Storymoja Festival. Once a year, book lovers gather at the Storymoja festival to enjoy the literary arts.
Coke Studio Africa is the biggest show in all of Africa. It began more than seven years ago and features different music genres and cultures, and artists come from places like Tanzania, Zambia, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda, and South Africa.
Unavoidable in Kenya’s capital city is the famed African safaris – after all, the city lays claim as the continent’s safari capital.
“Kenya remains one of my favorite places to visit on the continent because you get a lot of the Mother Land vibes there,” stated Chandell Stone.
She owns Destination Impact, an African American-owned volunteer travel company that offers service opportunities across the African Diaspora.
“Being in Africa is always powerful and empowering,” noted Stone, who, despite the pandemic, planned to fly out of New York to Africa following her phone conversation with NNPA Newswire.
“I can’t stay away … I love going to Africa,” the globetrotter proclaimed.
A short distance away from Nairobi in nearby Karen, Kenya, people young and old still find the red-colored dirt as fascinating as the banana trees that line the stunning city’s hills.
Workshops housing designers and artists cram busy roads that offer breathtaking views of the high skies against lush green landscaping and colorful flowers.
According to New York Times Travel Writer Ginanne Brownell Mitic, Karen, Kenya, was named after the Danish writer Karen Blixen, who published works like “Out of Africa” under the pen name Isak Dinesen.
“Karen has become a home to both ex-pats and wealthy Kenyans, with stately villas and a few five-star hotels for travelers who want to be luxuriously situated close to the airports for safari excursions or beach holidays,” Mitic wrote.
“It is also home to some of the city’s most intriguing and exclusive places to shop, for items like statement silver jewelry, hand-carved chairs and locally dyed and sewn fashion.”
In Nairobi, residents can shop at many open-air markets throughout the city, including Maasai Market, Toi Market, City Market Nairobi, and Muthurwa Market. Maasai Market, located outside the Nairobi Court of Appeals, opens each Saturday and contains an array of African jewelry and sought-after fabric. Toi Market, located in the Adams Arcade and Ngong Road area, routinely bustles with shoppers who can find items like dresses, skirts, slacks, and jeans. City Market, which is managed by the Nairobi City Council, is located at the intersection of the busy Market Road and Muindi Mbingu Street. It features drums, artwork, flowers, meat, fruits, and vegetables.
At Muthurwa Market, located in the Central Business District of the city, the crowded and often noisy retail space offers a range of food items and clothing.
Nairobi also features a “lit” nightlife, Stone and other travel experts exclaimed. Located in the Kilimani area on the first floor of Galana Plaza, the B Club counts among the most well-known among Nairobi’s residents and visitors. It is known for its charm and exotic ambiance.
Operating in a relatively small space on Lang’ata Road, 1824 Whisky Bar is regularly jammed with partygoers. It also has the nickname “Sunday School,” because of the club’s excitement on Sundays. As for food and places to stay, Stone of Destination Impact said delicacies in Kenya won’t disappoint, though she prefers Nigeria’s offerings over Kenya.
Stone also recommends two Black-owned hotels, the Sovereign and Westwood. The Sovereign is a five-star boutique hotel located in Kisumu within the business district. The Westwood sits in the Westlands area off Eldama Road and less than an hour from Nairobi’s airport.
It borders Karura Forest, where outdoor diners have a birds-eye view of wild animals, including Sykes monkeys.
“I’m not a hotel person, I think the best experience is at an Airbnb, but the Sovereign and Westwood are good hotels,” Stone declared.
Finally, airfare can be a significant obstacle to visiting anywhere in Africa. But Stone said prices have dramatically decreased.
“A few years ago, it would be $1,500 for a flight out of JFK Airport to Kenya,” she noted. “Now, you can get a flight for $600 or $700. It is worth it. I know I can’t stay away from Africa.”