I (30 yr old, asian female) will begin my safari trip to Kenya/Tanzania from Nairobi and am thinking of doing the Nairobi portion myself (DIY) to save cost, instead of combining it with the safari package offered by tour operator.
Like a typical first-time tourist, I plan to go to the following places:
- KWS Animal Orphanage
- Nairobi National Park (is this still worth going considering I am going to Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru etc?)
- Karen Blixen Museum and Giraffe center
- KICC for Nairobi views
- US Embassy Memorial site
- Maasai market
1) Are these sights all doable in 2 full days? assuming I will have hire a driver that drives me everywhere, or join a day trip (eg. to Nairobi NP)
2) Where is a safe place to stay? Is it really necessary to stay at or near Nairobi town center? What's the advantage of basing yourself in town center or near it?
The reason I ask is because hotel prices (4 stars and above) seem quite expensive ($220usd and above), while I noticed that are some cozy guest houses further out that are cheaper. Some of the ones I have seen so far are located in the area between Ngong Road and Waiyaki Way (ie. west of Nairobi town center). is this area alright to stay?
3) Where exactly is Westlands or Upper Hills area in Nairobi? are these places recommended for staying?
4) I am likely going to be by myself at Nairobi while waiting for a friend to join me for the safari portion of the trip, so will ideally look for a tour operator or company that will let me join their trip as a single person (with other folks), instead of me renting a whole van by myself and breaking the bank. Any suggestion on how to go about doing that? Also, should I choose to spend one of the 2 full days outside Nairobi instead eg. to Amboseli to see Mt Kili? At the moment, my Kenyan safari portion only visits Masai Mara and Lake Nakuru; Tanzania portion (Serengeti, N-Crater, Tarangire, Manyara, Arusha)
The most important criteria for choosing a place to stay will be cleanliness and safety. The cheaper the better ($50-$60 or less), but of course not to compromise quality as well. Any suggestion is welcomed.