Valentine’s Day is the largest commemoration of love globally, and has been highly commercialised. As such, many feel the pressure to splurge, in a bid to prove just how much they love their significant other. As PD Wikendi team found out, this shouldn’t be the case. As they say, the best things are free (if not affordable). We rounded up some of the cost-effective yet unique and romantic ways you can make the most out of the fast approaching lover’s holiday
Affordable dining Going out for dinner with your beau shouldn’t have to be cash crunch. Restaurants such as Rocaffe on USIU Road offer a dining experience at low costs. Here, as is the norm, dining as a couple costs Sh1,200 and your meal comes with a glass of wine.
There are many eateries that offer fine dining set-up in a soft ambience, and their meal portions are enough for two, hence you get that romantic experience without having to break a bank. Jia Yuan Shi Fu Chinese restaurant at Pension Towers is a good example, where about Sh1,500 would be enough for a couple.
The sunny February weather is ideal for an outdoor Valentine’s celebration. Instead of dining at a restaurant, you can prepare some homemade bitings or food, put them in a basket and commemorate this day of love in a different way. Nairobi has many spots where one can enjoy beautiful sceneries and connect with nature.
For Sh100 entrance fee and Sh200 if you’re in a car, Karura Forest is an ideal place for a couple hoping to enjoy each other’s company in serene surroundings. Taking a walk through the scenic nature trails amid the gentle splashes of Karura River makes for a romantic getaway. Alternatively, you can opt to cycle through the forest as you view the beautiful scenery.
Hiring a bike is Sh500 per person for two hours. To mention but a few, other places are Nairobi Arboretum, whose entrance fee is Sh50 per person, Uhuru Gardens, where the entrance is free, and Ololua Nature Trail in Karen, that has an entrance fee of Sh100 per person.
At the Nairobi National Park, there is a picnic site named Kingfisher, ideal for a bush breakfast. You only have to pay the park fee, which is Sh500 for adult citizens, and if you have a car, an extra Sh350.
For an entrance fee of Sh150 per person, the picturesque Paradise Lost is not only a befitting picnicking spot, but also offers a number of activities at relatively low individual costs, such as boat riding and horse riding, the latter which costs Sh300.
For a couple that prefers a more active kind of pastime, hiking in Ngong Hills may be a good idea. The exciting rush of adrenaline during hiking is definitely a great way to connect with your date. The Kenya Forest Service charges an entrance fee of Sh200 per person.
Our city has amazing sites that make for enjoyable dates, which is a meaningful and unique way to spend Valentine’s Day. If your ideal way of marking Valentine’s is nurturing others and spreading some love, spending some time at David Sheldrick’s Elephant Orphanage feeding baby elephants or Nairobi orphanage feeding rescued animals is a good option. This will cost you Sh500 (adult citizen) and Sh215 (adult citizen) respectively.
Date night could also be spent stargazing at the KICC helipad, where you get to view Nairobi’s beautiful skyline. Entrance is Sh200 per person. Visiting the historic Kenya Railway Museum (Sh200 – adult citizen), the National Museum (Sh200 – adult citizen), the Nairobi Gallery near GPO (Sh150 – adult citizen), and kissing a giraffe at the Giraffe Centre (Sh300 – adult citizen), are all exciting ideas one can explore on a low budget. Find what speaks to yours and your partner’s taste, and enjoy your Valentine’s appreciating our beautiful city.
The Christian Valentine
Churches too are these days in on the craze, and many offer free or subsidised dinners during Valentine’s Day. Jawabu Youth Ministry for example, will on Wednesday night host a free Valentine’s Dinner dubbed The Wild Rose at New Breed City Chapel off Kiambu Road, whose theme is Sex, Money and Power. House of Grace Church in Embakasi will host Singles Dinner on Valentine’s Day, hosted by Rev Dodzweit and Mary Achero.
At a cost of Sh500 to be paid by February 11, the night’s speaker Robert Burale will address the topic Are you Mr/Mrs Right? Deliverance Church Thika hosted a free dinner last Valentine’s, and there is high anticipation of a similar event this time.
Although money-saving, these events may suit lovers or believers who might want to spend their Valentine’s in accordance to certain beliefs. Some of the activities during Valentine’s gigs at churches are movies, games, eating and more.
Staying indoors shouldn’t be less fun either. Indeed, it is a cost-effective yet romantic way to spend Valentine’s Day. Have you ever decorated your home in a romantic set-up and had a date with your partner, or do you just see it in the movies?
May be this time, send the kids to someone close who’s available, and try it out. You can prepare a delicious dish or order in, direct from a restaurant or via apps such as Yum and Jumia Food.
Look up ideas online on how to decorate the home for a date, then put on some music and probably have a candle lit dinner. You can also opt for a movie or a game night, with competitive games such as scrabble and cards.
Also, try karaoke or lip sync competitions, which are available online. Better yet, you can make a love box, where you put several love notes and read out to each other, or try any other couple games, which can also be found online. You’d be amazed at how fun and entertaining that could get.
If you don’t fancy something over the top, an indoor picnic is an option. Throw down a blanket and have a romantic picnic in the comfort of your bedroom. Alternatively, if you have a nice balcony set-up, that’s also a plan.
Make tasty bitings to have as you sip on some wine while listening to your favourite music and making nice conversations. This is great if it’s a new relationship, as you’ll get to know each other deeper.
If you are strapped for cash, or just keen on saving, what could be more ideal than getting treats at discounts? The upside of all the madness is the slew of deals available, and we are not talking about withered flowers sold at throwaway prices on Wednesday night.
Be on the lookout and avoid paying more for what you could get for less. One example is the offer online shop Jumia has. Shoppers of Saturn home appliances will be rewarded with two free tickets for the screening of Black Panther movie featuring Lupita Nyong’o at Anga Imax cinemas.
At Kilimall online shop, gifts for her and him are going at a discount of up to 70 and 80 per cent off respectively. A number of hotels and restaurants will definitely have options for couples, with offers on dinner, accommodation and entertainment. The Panari Hotel for instance, is offering an accommodation package at Sh9,000 per person sharing, inclusive of buffet breakfast and Valentine’s dinner.