Notes on Nairobi (9): National Museum and Snake Park

Day six (Wednesday) of our trip started with a morning in which Vee and I did our own thing. We organised for Kennedy to drive us from the hotel to the National Museum which proved to be full of well organised, well labelled, and most interesting exhibits. On the ground floor, the Birds Of East Africa gallery has around 900 stuffed specimens, the Great Hall Of Mammals has dozens of stuffed mammals, and the Cradle Of Civilisation gallery highlights how the earliest humans came from the Rift Valley in what is now Kenya.

Upstairs is an extensive History Of Kenya exhibition focusing especially on the British colonial period, the struggle for liberation, and the post-independence search for identity in a country of 42 tribes. Also there is an exhibition of illustrations of fauna and native peoples by the famous conservationist Joy Adamson whose rearing of the lion cub Elsa in Kenya was depicted in the 1966 film “Born Free”. Vee, who is half Czech, was fascinated to learn that Adamson was born in a part of the then Austro-Hungarian Empire which is now the Czech Republic (her original name was Friederike Gessner).

In the same grounds as the museum is a small zoo called Snake Park and we visited this too. As the name suggests, the main exhibits are snakes including the puff adder, the black mamba, the African rock python, and the Gaboon viper (with the longest fangs in the world). Other animals on display include varieties of fish plus turtles, lizards and crocodiles.

The complex also includes a cafe, restaurant and craft shop and Vee and I had a light lunch in the cafe before Kennedy picked us up and drove us out to Richard & Emily’s place. While Richard worked, Vee and I played with Emily and Catrin. They had a new children’s board game called “Faireyopolly” which is described as “a magical game for little fairies”. Somehow the smallest fairy of the players managed to wipe the board with the rest of us.

As usual, we ate early and at a different place. This evening, we went to an Ethiopian restaurant called “Abyssinia” where all our dishes were served on one huge circular plate into which we all dipped with “injera” (a spongy kind of flatbread). I missed my dessert though so, back at the hotel, I had banana split before we went to our room.

Vee and I have now said farewell to Richard. In the last two months, he has already worked in Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia and Zambia and tomorrow he flies to Uganda. We have no idea when we will see him again.


XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>