Travel and Photography Blog
Narok is exactly like one of those towns that come to mind when you think about Africa: dusty roads with women carrying baskets on top of their heads, daily life concentrated around a rather run-down but colorful market, and men just hanging out with apparently nothing else to do. It wouldn’t even appear on a tourist map if it weren’t because it’s the gateway to the famous Maasai Mara National Reserve, meaning that to get to the reserve you first have to go through Narok. When we were planning our budget trip to the Maasai Mara, I saw on a map that we had to pass through Narok first, so I thought that it would be nice to overnight there. I “googled” Narok on the internet and I was surprised to see that there is virtually no information on the internet about the place, considering that every tourist passes it on his way to the Mara.
Anyway, after a 3-hour bus ride with Easy Coach from Nairobi, we alighted at the mysterious town of Narok. I had in mind a certain place, called the Kim’s Breeze Hotel, where we wanted to stay. I had read good comments about the hotel and its Facebook page even hinted that it had WiFi access. So I asked the friendly Easy Coach staff at the station for a taxi, which charged 200 shillings to the hotel. At the end, we had such a good time in Narok that we decided to stay there two nights. Our first time on our way to the Mara, and our second time on our way back to civilization.
Just in case you’re thinking of visiting Narok, for tourism or business purposes, here are a couple of tips that might come in handy when you are there:
Hotel. We had a hard time finding a hotel prior to our arrival. Fortunately, I contacted one through email, the Kim’s Breeze Hotel and Restaurant, and they were kind enough to respond. Through their email they said that a double room cost 1,500 shillings a night for 2 people. Upon arrival they tried to charge a little more, 2,000 shillings, but I refused and told them about the email, and they honored the original price.
The hotel is very nice and big. The rooms come with a TV, private bathroom with hot water, and a mosquito net. They also have an on-site restaurant offering delicious food for a good price (meals cost around 350 shillings). Obviously there was no internet access available. The thing that I liked most about the hotel is its location, just 2 kilometers out of town, a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city center. You’ll find it 100 meters after passing the Total Petrol Station on the Kamandura Mai-Mahiu Narok Road. There is also a small supermarket right across the street.
Map coordinates: -1.100268,35.85908
Where to eat. If you decide to stay at the Kim’s Breeze, you can eat there as they have a clean restaurant. If you’re staying somewhere closer to town, then I totally recommend the restaurant at the Stage View Hotel, which is the tallest building next to Narok’s matatu stage. They offer a nice and calm setting with views over the town’s colorful market and matatu stage. The food there is very good and their breakfast is huge! A full breakfast consists of a tasty sausage, samosa, chapatti bread, egg and a huge milk coffee. All that for only 250 shillings! Main courses cost around 350 shillings. The staff is very friendly and attentive.
Tip: if you need a place to sit and wait while your matatu leaves, come to this restaurant and order a meal. From the window you’ll be able to see your matatu and you’ll avoid all the unwanted attention that foreigners get while hanging out at the market. If heading for the Maasai Mara on a matatu, then you should arrive early, around 10:00 hrs, to book a seat. The matatu won’t actually leave until noon, but in the meantime you can sit at the restaurant. You better bring your luggage with you, don’t leave it in the matatu.
Getting around. The town of Narok is fairly compact and you shouldn’t have any difficulty getting around, unless you’re staying at the Kim’s Breeze. This hotel is outside town so you’ll want to take a cheap taxi or matatu. If you walk out to the main road in front of the hotel, a taxi (which in Kenya means any white car offering its service) will take you for between 50 and 100 shillings. If you call a taxi beforehand, the price will go up to 200 shillings.
Tip: during our time in Narok, we met a friendly Maasai taxi driver named Edward. He speaks excellent English. I will always be grateful to him because he helped us find the matatu we needed two times. It can be quite difficult dealing with the drivers at the matatu stage, especially because all of them want you to go with them to fill their van or to try to overcharge you for being a foreigner. Edward helped us buy telling us the correct fare and introducing us to the matatu driver. If you are ever in Narok and in need of a trustworthy taxi driver, you can contact Edward at: 0724-707761 or 0739-930758. He will charge 200 shillings from town to the Kim’s Breeze Hotel and vice versa.
Written by Daniel
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