We met up with my parents in Nairobi before our safari. Since we didn’t want to risk missing any of our safari due to delayed or cancelled flights, we decided everyone would arrive a day early. This would give us some contingency time should anything happen with our flights.
Mom was glancing at places to stay and was shocked at the prices. I did a similar search and came up with the same excessive prices of $200 a night. This would have put Andy and I grossly over budget so I looked for more affordable options.
After a quick search on Airbnb, I was able to find a 2 bedroom apartment for a reasonable price. The reviews for the apartment were great and it had high security. Shortly after I put in a request to stay there, it was accepted and we were booked.
Before we arrived, our host coordinated an airport pickup for both my parents as well as us. His rate of $20 was less than our safari company who quoted $30 each. When we arrived, our driver was outside the airport as promised, holding a sign with our name on it. The same driver returned to the airport several hours later to pick up my parents.
When we first arrived at the apartment I was surprised by the size. The photos online had made it seem larger than it actually was. For the 4 of us for 2 days, the size was more than enough though so it was not an issue.
The entire apartment was very clean and well furnished. While all of the finishings are not what I would choose, they are the African style that we saw being sold all over town.
There were 2 bedrooms, one with an ensuite bathroom and the other with a detached bathroom. Both of the bedrooms had a queen size bed and large cabinets to hold our gear. The beds were equipped with mosquito nets which we did not use since we kept the windows shut and had very comfortable mattresses.
The showers were outfitted with suicide showerheads. The showerheads that were installed looked much safer than other suicide showers that we had used during our travels in Central and South America. This however, was mom and dad’s first time using a suicide shower. Mom struggled during her first shower, forgetting my words of wisdom “water pressure or hot water” as she turned the water on. She also made the second mistake of touching the showerhead where she got shocked. After a second tutorial, she had a much easier time.
Something that we had not seen before was an on-demand water heater for the bathroom sinks. Typically when there is a suicide shower, you have only cold water available in the sink. It was a nice perk which we appreciated, especially when we were washing our faces.
The kitchen, like the rest of the apartment was clean. It had everything that we needed to cook – stove, oven, microwave and fridge/freezer. There was also a large jug of bottled water which we appreciated having.
We believe to save electricity, the fridge was not plugged in when we arrived. Luckily we realized this before we went shopping which allowed time for the fridge to cool when we were shopping. Knowing that mom and dad like ice for their happy hour drinks, we also put some water in the ice cube tray so it would be ready by happy hour.
The grocery store didn’t have great options for lunches or dinners as the meat looked a bit unsafe. We were able to get quite a few items for breakfast – fresh fruit, yogurt, granola and ingredients to make French toast. It was the perfect breakfast for everyone as it was filling and healthy.
It was a bit of a shock to mom when she arrived at the apartment for the first time. There was a security guard who opened a large gate which had an electric fence on top of it. Naturally, mom was wondering what neighborhood the apartment I booked was in. I explained that things in Africa are the reverse of home with high-end places having lots of security and lower-end places lacking the security.
We all got used to the high security during our time at the apartment and were always welcomed back with a smile from the guard on duty.
When I saw that there was a washer at the apartment that we selected I was very excited. Not only would we be able to go into the safari with all of our clothes clean but we could also wash them ourselves which meant that nobody would lose laundry, everything would be clean and we would save money. There was no dryer, but with a large drying rack and an arid, windy climate, the laundry dried very quickly.
Before my parents arrived, Andy and I did a load of laundry. Since mom and dad were bringing quite a few things for us, we told them to pack light on their clothes and do their laundry when they arrived. Since there was only 1 drying rack, we wanted to make sure that they had space to dry their clothes once their wash cycle completed.
It took 2.5 hours to wash a load of laundry which seemed a bit excessive but when the clothes came out, they were very clean.
The apartment had 2 wifi networks which was more than we needed. Both of the networks were very fast and we were able to catch up on loading all of our pictures from our time in South Africa to our Google drive before we left. This was great since we knew that we would be taking a ton of pictures on our safari and wanted to get caught up before we left.
The fast wifi also gave us a chance to call Andy’s mom on Facetime. She was happy to be able to see us since we had a streak of slow internet which required audio calls since there wasn’t enough bandwidth to support a video.
We were told that the apartment was in a high end, safe neighborhood. I believe that this may have been the case, but it was very different from home. Just a few blocks from our apartment were dirt roads and the neighborhood outwardly did not scream upscale. Fortunately we were waking distance to a grocery store which made it easy for us to purchase everything that we needed for our breakfast.
We didn’t venture out of the apartment much except to go to the grocery store and out to dinner at a hotel near our apartment. We spent most of our time catching up with my parents since we hadn’t seen them in person since early September before we left for our trip.
Our host before and during our stay was great. He always replied to my emails very promptly and did whatever he could to make sure that my stay was enjoyable. The pricing was very reasonable for everything that we got, especially when you compare it to the price of a hotel.
The checkout could not have been easier. We locked up the apartment and left the key with the security guard. This was much easier than having to coordinate someone meeting us at the apartment before we left for the safari.
If I were to return to Nairobi, I would absolutely stay at the same apartment. Even if I didn’t have a justification for the 2nd bedroom, the price was extremely fair and in my opinion, worth more than the hotels which were charging more than double for a single room.