Andy and I left Kenya 2 days after our safari ended. Since my parents left, we were on our own for a while and were unsure of what we should do. Before we got too far into planning, my aunt let me know about a connection that she had in Nairobi. My cousin, has a roommate whose parents are missionaries in Kijabe, a city not too far from Nairobi.
I got in touch with Rick and Ann and let them know that I was going to be in Nairobi and would love to see what they are working on in Kenya. While they had a prior commitment and couldn’t show us their work at Oasis for Orphans, they did get us in touch with a fellow missionary named Matt.
In addition to picking us up on the way back to Nairobi, they also set up a room for us the day we arrived, scheduled a driver for the day we would be spending with Matt, booked a room for us in Nairobi and coordinated a driver to take us to the airport for a very early flight. After doing so much planning on this trip, it was nice to be able to take a back seat and let a local help us out.
Amani Gardens Inn
Normally when we book hotels we are looking for a reasonably priced, centrally located hotel with good reviews. This is different than what was booked for us as the couple that booked the hotel are missionaries and set us up at a Christian hotel – Amani Gardens Inn. It was a little more expensive than we normally pay, but things are surprisingly expensive in Kenya so I wasn’t too shocked.
When we arrived, it felt like we were back in the US, not in Kenya. Everyone that we saw was caucasian, there was a perfectly manicured garden, families were everywhere and there were even birthday parties being held on the grounds.
When we got into our room, I saw a number of rules that the hotel had. There was no sun bathing in swimsuits and no alcohol allowed on the grounds among others. While we didn’t have any problems with these rules, it felt very foreign to us, even after so long on the road.
Our Room at Amani Gardens Inn
The first thing that we both noticed when we opened the door was that our room was quite large. We had a large bed, but it wasn’t overly comfortable as it was just 2 twin beds pushed together, leaving the seam in the middle of the bed.
The room was clean and had everything that we needed. We weren’t there too long as we arrived in the afternoon and checked out very early the following morning.
The room also had two other doors that opened up to two different ground level patios. Outside the one area was a children’s play area complete with a mini rock climbing wall. When we arrived, this is actually where the birthday party was going on, but it ended shortly after we settled in.
Similar to the bedroom, the bathroom was clean and had everything that we needed. While I wish that there was better water pressure in the shower, we had adequate hot water which we appreciated.
The hotel was a little removed from town and very far from the airport. We were originally surprised that the transportation cost to the airport was double what our apartment we stayed at originally was, but after we started driving, we realized that the drive was quite far.
We decided to eat at the on-site restaurant at the hotel instead of going out since dining out would have been more expensive. Had we gone out to dinner, we would have needed a taxi both to and from the restaurant, increasing the price of our dinner significantly. It worked out for us as the pizzas we ate at the hotel were good and inexpensive.
The hotel was fine for us to stay at for 1 night, but we both agreed that we felt a little awkward. We didn’t exactly know how to act in a very religious environment and that made us feel a little uneasy.
The wifi was horribly slow when people were on the network, but when we turned on the computer at 4am to get ready for our flight, everything was super quick. It did slow down again at 5am, likely when people started to get up.
If we return to Nairobi, we’ll likely stay at the apartment we stayed at before our safari. There was more space, we had everything that we needed, felt more comfortable and the location was much better for us.