A customized tour of Nairobi
Shiko Mburu was the perfect person to show me Nairobi. I wanted to see traditional as well as offbeat sites around the city. My unconventional requests were inspired by the Kenya episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown. Having seen the episode herself, Shiko enthusiastically tagged this part of our day as “the Anthony Bourdain Trail” as we visited places the late Bourdain chose to give his viewers a feel for Nairobi. Our first stop was Kibera, where a young man, a resident, escorted us around this largest urban slum in Africa. It was filled with interesting sights, some sad, some inspiring, including a little art store with paintings done by locals. Next we went to the nearby Toi Market—three acres of secondhand clothes, mostly from the U.S. Each small, open-air stall was stuffed with goods, making us want to hunt for treasures for hours. We had to press on, though, to the traditional part of the tour in a different, upscale area called Karen, named after Karen Blixen, the Danish author of Out of Africa. Here I got to see the Karen Blixen Museum, orphaned baby elephants at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and women making beautiful ceramic jewelry at the Kazuri Beads Factory. This was a rich day I will always treasure, made possible by the capable and fun Shiko.