Travel and adventures

Adventures in Kenya Part 1

Challenging expectations and preconceptions

Karin Blak
10 min readAug 16, 2022

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View from our room at The Luke Hotel

Talking with friends and family about my upcoming trip to Kenya, brings remarks such as “Uh, it’s going to be hot there”, even the stewardess on our Qatar flight asks excitedly, “Are you going to see the migrating wildebeest?”.

The image of a sunny and warm, if not hot, Africa with wildlife hiding around every corner, sends our minds into dreamy fantasies reminiscent of Karen Blixen’s book, Out of Africa. Having been to Tanzania on a similar trip, and believing I’m prepared for what might be in store, my imagination is coloured by the reality of previous experiences.

This trip is made possible because my husband, Jeff, has been invited to teach on a field course in Kenya arranged by the Tropical Biological Association (TBA). We’ll be spending a month in the Laikipia region and I feel lucky and excited at being able to take part in this adventure.

Our initial destination and rendezvous for the whole TBA group is Nairobi. It’s easy to imagine the romantic connotations of an African city with shantytowns and market stalls drooping with colourful goods. Narrow roads and alleyways, and street bars where, in the movies at least, you take shelter from criminals chasing you. The name Nairobi reminds me of the feisty, yet enthusiastic and motivating bank robber in the Netflix series Money Heist.

We arrive in Kenya’s capital city in the morning of 11th August 2022, exhausted and in need of a shower after a 15-hour overnight flight. Stepping onto the tarmac, the cold hits me just as hard as the 36-degree middle-of-the-night heat had done in Doha, where we transferred to the third leg of our journey.

The contrast between the two airports is just as great as the temperatures. Doha with air-conditioning, the latest in security, designer shops, and up to date facilities all shine like ‘bling’. Nairobi airport on the other hand, is concrete, corrugated steel, torn tarpaulin and not a shop in sight. Officials make physical effort to sort us into queues for customs and passport check. This process involves taking our fingerprints, producing visas and vaccination certificates all of which has been made easier by the internet to complete…

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Karin Blak

Author of The Essential Companion to Talking Therapy, Watkins Publishing. Therapy, society, relationships, true stories and fiction. www.karinblak.co.uk