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Hiroyuki’s Safari

Three leopards on the first day of safari, can you believe it?!  That was Hiroyuki’s experience when he came to Kenya in August 2016.  He contacted us because he had seen our commitment to community projects and wanted to spend some time with Amani Kibera in the slums of Nairobi.  Here’s the story of his short time in Kenya and how we helped him see both the real life and the safari life of Kenya.

The Kenyan Life(s)

Hiroyuki arrived in the late afternoon and we arranged for Ben to meet him at the airport.  Ben is the co-founder of Amani Kibera, a community-based organisation working with youth in the Kibera slum.  Hiroyuki was very interested in learning about life in the slum and if possible doing a homestay, so we asked Ben and his wife Mariam to host him.  I think Hiroyuki got more than any of us bargained as Ben took him on a drive through Nairobi’s city centre on the way from the airport to Kibera.  Hiroyuki then got taken for a night out with the boys, experiencing Kenyan life as authentically as one probably could!

When Francis went to pick him up the next morning, he was very tired and possibly just a little hungover.  But he was about to face the five-hour drive to the Maasai Mara – not the hangover cure I would be looking for!  He managed to sleep all the way, which would have made the drive less painful.  Before getting to the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, Hiroyuki was to spend a night experiencing another side of “typical Kenyan life”, this time in a rural Maasai community.  The contrast was pretty significant to the previous day, but that’s the wonder of travelling – finding these contrasts and realising that a stereotype of “Kenyan” is just not possible, as with all nations.

As I said at the outset, this was a short trip and so his third, and final, night was at last spent in the game reserve.  His accommodation was on the Talek River at Aruba Camp which meant traversing the park to get there.  It must have been a big night with the Kibera boys, because he was still tired and struggling to keep his eyes open on the game drive.  Incredibly, Francis found three leopards that afternoon while Hiroyuki dozed.  Francis tried to rouse him and he did wake up to take a photo before going back to sleep.  Eventually Francis gave up and took him to the camp early.  It seemed a shame that not everyone is lucky to find even one leopard in three days of game driving and here in one afternoon were three leopards and no one to enjoy the sightings.

The next morning was better for everyone and they saw eland, lion, ostrich, hyena, wildebeest, vultures, elephants and a secretary bird.  But that was the end of the trip.  After the morning game drive they headed back to Nairobi and the airport for the flight out.  It seems a long way to come for three days, but he experienced a range of environments giving a real taste of all the facets of Kenyan life.

Nairobi to Kigali Tour Part 1 – Nairobi to Maasai Mara

The mess of traffic provided immediate entertainment for Chris and Tom when they arrived in Nairobi.  Roundabouts with traffic lights and policemen all sending conflicting messages to drivers creates a show for new arrivals.  We managed to arrive at Roussell House in one piece, and enjoyed a welcome Tusker (Kenyan beer) in the beautiful gardens.

The trip started with a visit to the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage.  Elephant orphans from all over Kenya are rescued and reared here after their mothers have died as a result of poaching, falling in a well, or natural causes.

Afterwards we headed to Kibera, Nairobi’s largest slum and the second largest on the African continent.  Ben and Pius of Amani Kibera met us and we enjoyed a local lunch of pilau (rice with spices and meat).  After lunch we walked to the library and the girls’ centre both established by Amani Kibera.  Despite being confronted with the poverty, Chris commented that there was a ray of hope through Amani Kibera’s work and we were not left with a feeling of hopelessness as often happens when visiting such a place.  Instead, the positive energy from the Amani Kibera team could only inspire us.  At the girls’ centre, a meeting of local performers had just concluded a planning meeting for the upcoming Amani Kibera festival.  We spent time talking with some of them about their work in the community before they invited us to the pub to watch football – go Gor Mahia!  We had been completely embraced by this community and no longer felt the tourist/local divide.  What a great welcome to Kenya!

Tom donates some books to the Amani Kibera library

The following day the “real safari” started.  In the morning we drove to the Amboseli region where we would spend two nights at Maasai Simba Camp.  After lunch we were introduced to the people who run the camp and learnt about the community projects supported by the profits.  In the late afternoon we went for a walk with some of the moran (warriors) to see the sunset over Mt Kilimanjaro.

A full day was spent in Amboseli National Park, one of Kenya’s premier parks.  Before we entered the park we were greeted by dozens of giraffe along the side of the road.  Inside the park we saw elephants, reedbuck, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles, zebras, wildebeest, hippos, waterbuck, warthogs and an array of birdlife including egrets, Grey Heron, Blacksmith Plovers, Crowned Cranes, ostriches, Fish Eagle, weavers, Superb Starlings and African Jacanas.

Early the next morning we went for another walk with the Maasai and we were so lucky to see a “naked” Kilimanjaro!  The mountain is usually covered in cloud but this morning it was completely clear.  As we stood on top of a hill and watched the sunrise over Kilimanjaro, our guides showed us how to clean our teeth Maasai-style, with a special stick that breaks down into a brush.  As we descended the hill we found the tree whose sap provides the toothpaste.  We saw a black-backed jackal as we walked, which made us wonder what else was lurking in the undergrowth, but only met some hornbills.  On returning we said farewell to our hosts and headed back to Nairobi, where Tom and Chris went for complete contrast by having dinner at the historic Stanley Hotel.

Tom and Chris brush their teeth “Maasai style”

To the Maasai Mara next for another wildlife spectacular!  We set off early in the morning for the reasonably arduous drive to Kenya’s top tourist attraction.  We were greeted immediately by warthogs, impalas, giraffe, zebras, a mother elephant and her baby and finally some lions.

Join OTA between 3rd and 23rd November for another Kenya to Kigali Adventure.  Contact to book your place today!

Amani Kibera 5th Anniversary Celebration – “Ukabila ni Ujinga”

Amani Kibera invites yourself and your organization to be part of its 5th anniversary football tournament to be held for 6 days from 17th December to 22nd December 2012.

The event is an opportunity for young people from all over Kenya to demonstrate their central role in the mission of building friendship, peace, and saying no to negative ethnicity. This being the 5th year for the Amani Kibera Peace Soccer Tournament, young people from Kilifi, Kisumu, Naivasha, Kitale will be hosted by their peers in Kibera in an effort to foster a culture of peace and cultural acceptance in the country. In the selection of participants, we did not discriminate in regards to gender, religion, ethnic or cultural background.

The theme for the event will be “UKABILA NI UJINGA”= (ethnicity is idiocy/stupidity)

The event will be used to recognize and demonstrate the value of sports to unite, motivate, inspire, educate and strengthen the links between people from different ethnic backgrounds. The activities to be undertaken are designed to encourage peaceful solutions and cultural understanding.

Among the activities lined up are:

  • Soccer tournaments
  • Life skill workshops
  • Team building activities
  • Interdenominational prayer meeting
  • Edutainment (educative entertainment).

Invited organizations will also have the opportunity to share their experiences and exhibit their activities. Please come with your fliers, banners, videos, brochures or any other materials with information about your organization for the open space/Market day.

Amani Kibera will work closely with the families of the kids who participate in our activities to provide free family hosting for all the visiting teams! The families will have to be vetted before they are accepted as host families.

Please contact us for more information.

Best Regards,

Ben Ooko

Co-founder Amani Kibera

We are seeking support for the following items to assist us to host this event.  If you would like to pledge your support for any of the below items, please contact Tracey at and she will put you in contact with Amani Kibera.

Additionally, if you would like to attend the tournament, you are very welcome.  It would be great to see as many people as possible coming to support this fantastic event and cheering for peace in Kenya!

These costs are quoted in Kenyan Shillings.  As at 9 October 2012, the exchange rate was 83.5 KES for US$1.

Item description Quantity Unit cost Total
Playing grounds hire 4 X 6 days 3,000/= 72,000/=
Chalk dust 12 Bags 500/= 6,000/=
Soccer balls ( running the tournament) 12 pieces 1,500/= 18,000/=
First aid Kit 6 sets 5,000/= 30,000/=
 Refreshments & others      
Water 15 dozens 840/= 12,600/=
 Soft drinks  30 crates  600/=  18,000/=
Lunch 120 X 6 days 18,000/= 108,000/=
Public address system 1 X 6 days 10,000/= 60,000/=
Tents and chairs 4 X 6 days 4,500/= 108,000/=
Plat form 1 day 10,000/= 10,000/=
Referees  allowance 16 X 6 days 700/= 67,200/=
Awards No 1s (6 Teams)      
Uniforms 1  X  6 teams 20,000/= 120,000/=
Cash Awards 1  X 6 teams 20000/= 120,000/=
Trophy 1  X  6 teams 10,000/= 60,000/=
Medals 18 X 6 teams 200/= 21,600/=
Balls 1  X  6  teams 1,500/= 9,000/=
Awards No 2s (6 Teams)      
Training Bibs 1 X 6 teams 9,000/= 54,000/=
Cash Awards 1X 6 teams 15000/= 90,000/=
Trophy 1 X 6 teams 7,000/= 42,000/=
Medals 18 X 6 teams 200/= 21,600/=
Balls 2 X 6 teams 1,500/= 18,000/=
Awards No 3s (6 Teams)      
Training Cones 1 X 6 teams 5,000/= 30,000/=
Cash awards 1 X 6 teams 10,000/= 60,000/=
Trophy 1 X 6 teams 5,000/= 30,000/=
Medals 18 X 6 teams 200/= 21,600/=
Balls 3 X 6 teams 1,500/= 27,000/=
 Administration cost      
Transport and communication    50,000/= 50,000/=
Media and stationery   40,000 40,000/=
Ambulance 6 days 7000/= 42,000/=
Glucose 20 boxes 960/= 19,200/=
Banners and posters   50,000/= 50,000/=
 Contingency    50,000/=  50,000/=


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