Am I in Kenya?

There are many stories to tell about my recent trip to Kenya, but I figure I better start telling them while they’re still relatively fresh in my mind. I’ll start with what the country is like.

Wheat field and Acacia trees

Wheat and Acacia

Of course, there were some landscapes that were unique to Kenya and the vegetation is particularly unique. I’d never seen an acacia tree – in person – before.

However, the landscape was surprising to me, but not for expected reasons. You see, as a military brat and in my adult life, I’ve had the opportunity to travel all over the continental US and some other locales. Therefore, I kept seeing US landscapes in the Kenyan landscape. (All photos of Kenya are ones I took and can be enlarged by clicking on the photo.)


A LOT of Kenya reminded me of various parts of Northern California. Take a look.

California's Foothills

Rift Valley

Hills of the Rift Valley

Sutter Buttes South Butte

Sutter Buttes - California

Mountain in distance of Rift Valley

From the Rift Valley, my favorite mountain

Much of this landscape is also similar to Nevada, but finding photos of that particular landscape online was slightly more difficult.


Heading toward the Rift Valley, we went through some countryside. These regions reminded me of Lancaster County, PA and other such regions.

Lancaster County, PA

Fields in Lancaster County, PA

Between Nairobi and the Rift Valley

Some people who have visited Italy have said that this landscape of Kenya reminds them of Tuscany or other regions.

And yet other parts of the country reminded me of Utah, Kansas, and Texas.

Of course I knew where I was and I was reminded of where I was when I brushed my teeth (using bottled water) and thus was quite thankful for using tap water afterward once I reached Amsterdam and the US.

The point here is that a lot of the landscape was familiar to me, particularly outside of the city. Therefore, it was necessary for me to remind myself that I was in Kenya, and not in the US. The parts of Nairobi we visited also reminded me a lot of Mexico, particularly with the colors, the roadside stands/markets, and even with some customs (eg. bartering). It all felt very familiar and like traveling to someplace I’d already been, and yet knew I hadn’t, like perpetual déjà vu.

It wasn’t until we starting seeing some wild animals on our way to the safari, and definitely the safari itself, that I really felt like I was in the Africa that is pictured on National Geographic or Discovery. I’ll leave that photo essay for another post.

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