Taking a trip to the United States is something some Kenyans aspire to as a dream destination – Over 75 million tourists visit the United States each year. While some wish to visit places they see in the movies like Las Vegas and Washington DC, I aimed to tour the main fascinating sites in the country. This included attractions like Fort Lauderdale in Florida, Santa Fe in New Mexico,Fort Collins in Colorado, and Winston-Salem in North Carolina, among others.
I wanted to cover as much ground as possible. So before I flew out, I sat down and crafted my most desired destinations and things I would like to do once I landed. Doing so came in handy since I ended up having a fascinating time in America.
Here is a list of places I toured while I was in the United States.
1. Sequoia National Park In California
The first day was a bit slow since I had to unpack and acclimatize. I spent most of my time in my hotel room, relaxing. I later took a stroll and had a nice dinner at an exquisite restaurant nearby.
The next day I started my adventure, and the first place I decided to visit is the Sequoia National Park in California. The park is not only among the best places to visit in the US but also one of the most rated parks in the country. Sequoia boasts of a remarkable landscape that consists of giant sequoia trees. Mount Whitney gives the park a spectacular backdrop and adds glamour to the site. I passed by the General Sherman Tree, which is thousands of years old before I left.
2. MacKerricher State Park In California
MacKerricher State Park is famous for many things, including rare plant species as well as whales. But then, among the top reasons for including the park on my list was to see the famous glass beach.
The first time I heard of glass beach I swore I was going to visit the site when the time was right. The idea of a beach covered with sea glass was stunning. The site is marvelous and one of the places to visit if you want to have a lovely day. I stuck around until sunset and left for my hotel.
3. The Living Desert Zoo In Palm Desert
The next day I spent time at the Living Desert Zoo in Palm Desert. The attraction site offers a vast array of activities, including animal shows and hiking trails. I also took my time to visit the wildlife hospital, where I got some insight into how to treat animals. I also found the mountain lions and cheetahs a bit scary and amazing to watch.
I finished off at the botanical garden where I saw plants I have come across in Africa. The whole experience was fulfilling.
4. Route 66
While in California, I also got to see part of route 66, which I learned stretches from Illinois. Throughout its stretch, the highway goes through eight states and a total of three time zones, making it one of the most popular routes in the United States of America.
If you’re a machine enthusiast or an avid motorcyclist who loves to ride, that’s the route you should explore.
Before calling it a day, I passed by a millennium restaurant and had a delectable vegan meal, which I washed down with a glass of refreshing juice.
5. The Wave In Arizona
On my fifth day, I took a trip to Arizona to visit The Wave. The sandstone rock formation remains to be a spectacular site that attracts huge crowds every day. The Wave also provides a perfect hiking spot for anyone who loves taking long walks while enjoying a breathtaking landscape.
You should, however, be quick since only twenty permits are given out in a day. The slopes of Coyote Buttes provide a great view making the region one of the best attractions in the States.
I also visited the Grand Canyon to see if it is as legendary as advertised. The place is dreamlike. I could only manage to set foot on the South Rim where I biked. I then took a helicopter tour to get a better view.
6. The Kennedy Space Center In Florida
The Americans were the first people to land on the moon, and so I had to see how they made that happen. That is why I went over to Orlando to have a look at the National Aeronautics center. The place is fantastic and sophisticated at the same time. At the visitor complex, you will see all sorts of space equipment.
7. Rhodes Island
My seventh day in the country was more about music and vibe, and that is why it found me in the city of music festival, Newport in Rhodes Island. At the place, people worship music, and I found it fantastic given that I often listen to jams whenever I want to clear my head.
8. Washington Park In Portland
I wanted my eighth day to be peaceful. That is why I saved Washington Park for last, and it worked perfectly fine. The gardens in the area are beguiling, and the impressive landscape is enough to make your day better.
With so much happening in this field in the US, I thought it was a must-visit to explore what cannabis offers to the medical world. The place is fantastic with amazing finishes. Bright lights enhance the beauty of this place multiple times.
9. Yellow Stone In Wyoming
It was not until I visited the yellow stone that I realized it was the first national park in America. The attraction has a fantastic landscape with breathtaking sites. I found places like the steaming geysers, hot springs and the long trails to be incredible. You can also book a tour guide and have yourself driven through the Lamar and Hayden valleys. I found the place fun and exciting, given that I am a nature lover.
10. The Statue Of Liberty
Leaving the United States without visiting the Statue of Liberty is one mistake that I was not going to make. I thus decided to make my last days exclusive by flying to New York which is easily one of the most happening places for planning a vacation.
The copper statue is phenomenal. Staircases are available to get you to the balcony where you can observe the stature better. The tickets were however limited, and it is only by luck that I got one.
Throughout my visit, I learned that the US is a fascinating country with many attraction centers which are not only fun but exciting to visit. I also noticed that if you don’t have a plan, you may find it hard choosing which place to visit and which one to spare for your next visit. My adventure was not only successful but also splendid.
– By Jenny Travens
33 years ago, a movement began. Catalyzed by the desire to see a trash free coastline, the international coastal cleanup was born in Texas geared by two individuals; Linda Maraniss and Kathy O’Hara.
What may have seemed then like just a small project has since sparked into a great movement spanning across the globe with volunteers from over 100 countries joining in, coming a long way from the first cleanup with just a handful of volunteers. What makes the international coastal cleanup outstanding is that volunteers do not just pick up trash but also go a step further to record each item collected on a standardized data card in order to identify ways to eliminate ocean trash in the future.
This year, Kenyan locals along the Indian Ocean coastline came out in numbers to show their resolve of beating plastic pollution in our beaches. Led by the Kenyan team coordinators – Ocean Conservancy has coordinators in all countries involved in the ocean conservancy – the Kenyan cleanup was segmented into various beach cleanup sites with the main event culminating in a ceremony at Mama Ngina Drive. Zuru Kenya helped coordinate and took part in the Kikambala Beach cleanup.
Pictures below highlight the successful event that took place across the entire coastline. We are grateful for all those who came out to help clean our coast and create more awareness to the effect of pollution on our oceans.
National Museums of Kenya and The Murumbi Trust presents an exhibition of artworks by nine acclaimed women of East Africa, titled “Pioneer Women of the Arts.” The exhibition which launches on Sunday, September 9 at 2:00pm, at the Nairobi Gallery in Nairobi, Kenya led by AMB. Amina C Mohamed, EGH, Cabinet Secretary for Education, will highlight works from legendary East African artists; Margaret Trowell, Joy Adamson, Magdalene Odundo, Rosemary Karuga, Geraldine Robarts, Robin Anderson, Yony Wai-Te, Nani Croze, and Theresa Musoke. The exhibition will be open through to December 8, 2018.
Attendees of the opening ceremony should expect a thrilling performance by PAPILLON, a young Kenyan musician and protégé of the world-famous Kenyan musician Ayub Ogada. PAPILLON creates his own instruments inspired by African instruments thousands of years old and writes his own music in an effort to preserve authentic Kenyan music not influenced by Western rap and hip hop. PAPILLON follows in the footsteps of Kenya’s African Heritage Festival, founded by Alan Donovan, which travels the world with its cast of models, musicians, acrobats, stilt walkers, hair dressers, chefs and others.
Each artist showcased in “Pioneer Women of the Arts” was selected based on the various paths that have paved their existence in the art realm, and their earned acclaim through their unique struggle. These female artists have generated a significant impact on the art and culture of East Africa.
Trowell, with her six books and art school at the prestigious Makerere University in Uganda, which was the best in the region – and perhaps all of Africa, is undoubtedly an influential pioneer artist and teacher to whom all artists in East Africa owe a debt. Her main goal in creating art, Trowell said, was to “make it plain that art is of the people and natural to the people.”
Adamson, conceivably best known for her children’s books and later TV series “Born Free,” has also had a tremendous impact on the preservation of African culture. Throughout her travels, Adamson realized that she must paint the people of Kenya in their many tribal dresses before they were abandoned for Western wear and imports. She spent six and a half years living in all parts of Kenya during this pursuit after the Kenyan Government commissioned her to make a comprehensive record of all the traditional dress and ornaments of the people of Kenya.
Odundo holds the highest position in international arts of any East African, as Chancellor of the University of Creative Arts in the UK. She has received an OBE by the Queen of England for her service to the arts, and has achieved international acclaim for her ceramic and glass works, which have been collected in museums globally. Odundo is known for being one of the world’s greatest contemporary potters.
Karuga was the first woman to attend the prestigious Makerere University School of Fine Arts. She has exhibited her works with the leading artists of the continent and has been a mentor to world-renowned ceramicist Magdalene Odundo. Karuga pioneered a unique form of collage using local materials, and was eventually given a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the art world.
Robarts has lifelong experience as a painter and University Lecturer in Fine Arts, including Makerere University and Kenyatta University. She is always pushing the boundaries of what paint, color, and new materials can achieve, and loves exploring the world to bring her inimitable style to her creations. Robarts is also a prominent worker with grassroots women’s groups in Kenya and has worked to bring art, health, and economic opportunities to communities who had previously struggled to survive.
Anderson has made a lasting impact on the art world of East Africa, perhaps most famously as the co-founder of the leading East African contemporary art gallery, Gallery Watatu, which served as a platform for serious contemporary art in East Africa with recurrent exhibitions by leading artists. Inspired by the people and wildlife of Kenya, Anderson was a forerunner for what became a burgeoning industry of batiks in South Africa with her elegant batiks on silk.
Wai-Te is most famous for co-founding the first major contemporary art gallery in East Africa, Gallery Watatu, which has become the leading contemporary art gallery in the region. Her wildebeest and wildlife paintings populate hotels and public buildings throughout East Africa and have gained her an international following and reputation synonymous with the safari style of the region. Through her Wildebeests Workshops, Wai-Te has worked and trained many East African women’s groups and artists.
Croze, as an artist, educator, and environmentalist, has brought another dimension to the art of East Africa. Founder of the Kitengela Glass Research and Training Trust, a center for recycling used glass into art, Croze has conducted numerous glass training workshops for young women from Kibera slums creating glass beads, pottery, and mosaics. Her monumental stained-glass and recycled glass works appear in numerous public spaces, including the courtyard and entry of the National Museums of Kenya.
Musoke was one of the first women to obtain a degree from Makerere University at a time when very few African women were attending University. Her distinctive works romanticizing wildlife in a moody mixture of abstract batik and oil paintings have won Musoke great acclaim. She also taught art at Makerere and other leading art institutions in East Africa.
To learn more about “Pioneer Women of the Arts,” please visit:
About National Museums of Kenya
National Museums of Kenya (NMK) is a state corporation established by an Act of Parliament, the Museums and Heritage Act 2006. NMK is a multi-disciplinary institution whose role is to collect, preserve, study, document and present Kenya’s past and present cultural and natural heritage. This is for the purposes of enhancing knowledge, appreciation, respect and sustainable utilization of these resources for the benefit of Kenya and the world, for now and posterity. NMK’s mutual concern for the welfare of mankind and the conservation of the biological diversity of the East African region and that of the entire planet demands success in such efforts. In addition, NMK manages many Regional Museums, Sites and Monuments of national and international importance alongside priceless collections of Kenya’s living cultural and natural heritage. As an institution that must respond to the growing needs of the society, NMK is striving to contribute in a unique way to the task of national development.
About The Murumbi Trust
The Murumbi Trust was established by Alan Donovan in 2003 to protect and preserve the art collection of Kenya’s second Vice President and famous art collector, Joseph Murumbi. As the continent’s greatest private collector of art, books, postage stamps, artifacts, textiles, jewelry, and everything African, Murumbi played a key role in the preservation of African heritage in Kenya. In 1972, he opened the continent’s first Pan African Gallery, with his wife Sheila and Alan Donovan, now the present Chairman of the Murumbi Trust. The gallery became and has remained a showcase of African culture and the largest organized supplier of arts and crafts from Africa to the rest of the world for over three decades.
About Alan Donovan
Alan Donovan, co-founder of African Heritage Pan African Gallery in Nairobi and founder of African Heritage House, has been showing works by Pioneer artists of Africa for the past 5 years. Currently, Donovan hosts a Nigerian Festival that has been featured in several venues of Nairobi over the past year. The festival celebrates the 50th Anniversary of artwork from Oshogbo Nigeria and coincides with Donovan’s 50 years living in Africa, having arrived in Nigeria in 1967. He bought his first work of African contemporary art at Oshogbo in 1967 and has since worked closely with Nike Davies-Okundaye who is reviving the age-old textile arts of Nigeria. She opened Donovan’s present exhibition which features her handmade ADIRE indigo dyed textiles. Nike Davies-Okundaye now owns NIKE gallery in Lagos, the largest in Nigeria, and was recently featured by Richard Quest on CNN.
Whilst we all, overtime get bit by the travel bug, interests differ in relation to the sort of adventures we seek out. “Soaking in sun by the beach,” sort of vacation isn’t everyone’s cup of tea! If it doesn’t involve some heart pumping and loss of breath, then there’s no point to it.
An adrenaline rush-free adventure for some people is the worst! This segment of adventure seekers is seemingly the reason behind the rise of outdoorsy, adrenaline pumping adventure providers in the country; The Forest Adventure Center being one of them.
Located in the heart of the Aberdare Ranges, in the Kereita Forest, Kiambu County, The Forest offers thrill seekers a playground of sorts.
The center’s accessibility – it’s only an hour away from Nairobi City – quickly caters to your urge to burst headlong into the great outdoors. For adrenaline junkies, being here is akin to a kid in a candy store. Whether you get your kicks mountain biking, ripping through the beautiful Kereita Forest or riding through the nature trails on a mighty horse, all we can say is that the Forest more than makes up for an otherwise “boring” laze at the beach.
We bet you by the time you are done scrolling down the list of activities offered at The Forest, you will have had it at the top of your bucket list faster than we can say…Let’s head to Kereita!
Feel the rush of a world class adventure as you fly a total of 2.2 kilometers over spectacular views of forest canopies, guided by professional instructors maintaining the highest European Union safety standard regulations, with a carrying capacity of a maximum weight of 115kg and minimum height of 1.4m.
Fun fact: The oldest zippers yet at the Forest have been an 84 year old male and an 81 year old for female!
Pick your team, get kitted out and start dodging… shoot or be spluttered in sticky paint in the most exhilarating activity at The Forest.
Ever pictured yourself as part of Robin Hood or the hunger games’ cast? Well, daydream no more… bow and arrow in hand, The Forest gives you an ample opportunity to test your “hero” skills.
Got good aim? Let’s see if you can really hit the bull’s eye! The Forest’s experienced instructors will train you to become a master archer in no time on their dedicated range.
Fair warning!! Archery can be addictive.
Enjoy kilometers of enchanting trails in nature on mountain bikes as you inhale crispy mountain air and soak in sweeping views. The Forest’s qualified instructors are on standby to fit you into the right mountain bikes and helmets.
Looking for that extra zing? Try the newest first ever Electric bikes to be offered in East Africa. Ride through those banked corners with that extra jolt of power.
Discover your adventurous side by zooming through The Forest on off road capable Forest Rovers, guided by professional instructors while maintaining the highest level of safety and fun. A few minutes to practice riding and you are ready to go.
Inspiring and informative, a guide leads you through the forest and reveals its secrets.
Give back to the future by planting indigenous trees.
Love for fish comes alive at the Gatamaiyo River. Bring your own fishing gear and cast your rod to make a catch. Best done in the morning when the fish are hungry.
Play a game that combines the distinction, elegance and precision of Golf with the passion, energy and fun of football in a marvelous sport full of life. Try your best shot and putt a football with the fewest kicks possible.
CHALLENGE: Can you get a hole in one?
The Forest on a horse back WOW! This activity is available to experienced riders as well as first timers.
Enjoy star-lit nights at The Forest in a serene and secure environment sitting round a campfire. Each camp site has its own guards, fire-wood, pit latrines and bush showers. Make your camping experience memorable!
Talent wins games but team work and intelligence wins championships. With custom made activities, The Forest facilitates coming together as a family, group of friends as well as enhances cohesiveness and team work in the office.
The Forest has made the extraordinary nature in its reaches accessible to thrill seekers through endless numbers of trails and adventure pumping adventures. What’s even more exciting about The Forest is that all activities on offer are pretty affordable and well worth every dime. This center offers child-friendly adventures too!
Alongside the affordable wide range of activities that will cater to your spirit of adventure, the Forest also affords you finger licking delicacies flattering to your taste buds. That said, the Forest Adventure Center is an absolute must-visit with guaranteed heart-thumping and total adrenaline rush!
In our previous post, we touched on sports betting and how it is currently transforming thousands of lives with just a little cash investment coupled with some betting technical know-how. We also put it across as a possible viable option to easily make money for your future travels. One of the tips that we cited as being beneficial to making you the most out of your wager was taking advantage of bonuses and promotions that give you extra value for your money. Betin Kenya offers you one such advantage and you can easily unlock your bonuses using the Betin Kenya Promotion Code. What we did not highlight however is the impact it has on the banters (individuals partaking in betting) and the Kenyan Market in general.
The multi-million industry that is sports betting has seen a booming growth in Kenya thanks to millions of sports lovers – football fanatics – who are betting heavily. This has as a result seen the rise of a good number of betting companies open shop in the country with proponents arguing that the industry is quite beneficial to our economy.
A quick look into the market indicates that a majority of the people engaging in sports betting fall within the youth bracket. Taking a stroll along the Kenyan streets on a football weekend, will bring you across a plethora of youths gathered around their local sports bars enjoying matches while putting up wagers on their favorite teams. Aside from majorly betting over smart phones, some companies have set up several betting parlors where one gets to watch their match and place their bets as they await their results.
Aside from making money from wager winnings, proponents of sports betting seem to be on to something, since as evidenced by the betting parlors, the industry is indeed beneficial to the economy by helping create hundreds of job opportunities to individuals who man said parlors.
Kenyan youth seem to be of the notion that sports betting is doing more good and not necessarily harm; transforming the lives of many with just a few Kenyan shilling per bet. It seems to be quite lucrative too. Imagine getting thousands of returns, well even millions, from as little as kshs50 investment.
The benefits of sports betting are not realized by the banters alone as evidenced by the numerous companies that have set up shop in the country. But what exactly is drawing thousands of youths into sports betting like moth to a flame?
We generally conceive that unemployment is the major driver leading youth to sports betting. The promise of easy money when employment is hard to come by probably makes the “venture” seem like a viable source of income and occupation. Many unemployed youth have turned to sports betting as a form of making a living. However, it has not been all glory for everyone as many have had to come to terms with huge losses of money. Losing money that one cannot afford to lose is perhaps why some people view sports betting companies as “vultures” preying on the poor.
It should be understood though that the world of sports betting is that one of give and take; you win some, you lose some. If you place a bet on your favorite team and it loses then the platform you are betting with benefits as well as if your team wins then you benefit. This is very clear to the banter placing a bet. Individuals involved in sports betting therefore get into it knowing full well that they are not being taken advantage of. How much one is willing to spend is purely up to them and so, it is advisable that one know how to limit themselves.
The proliferation of smart phones and ease of money transfer via mobile money has been a major driver in the growth of sports betting and penetration of international betting companies into the Kenyan Market. The easy accessibility to cash flow allows individuals to place as many bets as their credit allows and therein withdraw money as soon as their winnings are in their account. This understandably, aside from the high affinity towards sports – especially football, explains why a huge percentage of the youth in Kenya have tried their hand at betting.
Your 2018 travel bucket-list is all set. You are virtually halfway to your dream destination but there’s one constraint that threatens to bring your travel goals to a screeching halt; you have limited funds.
We are pretty sure that if Gordon Ogada shared similar concerns as you earlier in the year, he doesn’t have that problem anymore. If you are a little late to the bandwagon, welcome to the world of sports betting. Paul Gordon Ogada, is the newest multi-millionaire in Kenya thanks to sports betting; scoring himself a mega jackpot prize worth sh230 million (Sh230,742,881 to be exact!). What if like the latest millionaire in town and his other counterparts like Samuel Abisai who made home with winnings of sh221 million of the same jackpot, you came into some chunk of change by the stroke of lady luck and some betting skills of course?!
Is there a possibility that sports betting winnings could fund your future travels?! Yes definitely. As evidenced from the previous multi-million winners, the world is your oyster once you score yourself some big winnings. Your problems will suddenly shift from having limited funds to being spoilt for choice for travel destinations; how about that?!
Betting has taken Kenya by storm over the years – evidenced by the number of betting companies that have cropped up in the country since the inception of sports betting in 2014. It seems like an easy way to make money and the youth are definitely sold on it! Before you embark on it though, you should note that sports betting in itself is risk-affiliated and should be done sensibly. Now that we got that out the way, how about we give you some tips on how you can make the most of your bet so you can begin to jet set sooner rather than later aye?!
1. Shop around – Take advantage of bonuses and promos
The betting sector has become very competitive and one can easily get confused as to who they should bet with. Feel free to shop around, figure out the company with the best price in the market for you. You will find out that most sports betting sites offer bonuses to reward their customers for loyalty which is a major benefit that you should take advantage of. Be sure to also check out promos and special offers that give you extra value for your money. A good example of the solid benefits you can get from betting with the best priced sports betting companies in the market can be uncovered using the following code: Mybet partner code.
Keep it Simple: the fewer selections, the better
It is for sure tempting once you start off, to make complicated wagers to try to win big. However, it is advisable to stick to simple bets so you stand a better chance of winning as a beginner. Complicated wagers can be made later on once you gain some more experience.
3. Know your sport inside out
Well it makes absolutely no sense placing huge wagers on sports you know absolutely nothing about. Use your knowledge to your advantage; how well do your teams play in the offensive and defensive, are they really good or do they just get lucky, how well do you really know the sport to enable you to likely make accurate predictions and increase your stakes?!
Don’t bet with your heart
It’s hard not to because fans want to see their team win; but the truth of the matter is the favorite doesn’t always win! Betting with your head and not your heart puts you at a risk off of losing so much to the bookies.
5. Compare the odds
Before placing your wager, make sure to compare the available odds. It helps that you’d already shopped around (tip 1) and secured yourself several accounts in different betting sites. If you’ve got a few different accounts, you just need to see which site has the best odds for any wager you’re about to place and go with them. Over time, this can make a noticeable difference to how much money you win.
6. Be sure to keep records
Your chances of winning sky rocket when you are better placed to make an analysis of your betting behavior based on previous saved records. Your track record gives you an insight on what trend is winning you money and what isn’t so you can focus on getting more profits.
Thanks to sports betting, making money now need not be an uphill struggle; you don’t need to know nothing about sport or betting, anyone can do it and it’s free and easy to have a go. Your travel dreams are edging more and more closer. However, please keep in mind that you should only bet with money that you are comfortable losing. Otherwise, happy sports betting & happy travels!
Happy New Year! New Year, new things; yes I know that sounds so cliché but just oblige us here. 2018 has so much potential; places to go, people to meet and new experiences to try. Even if you are working off of a set bucket list, if there’s but one experience you need to try this year, it should be the safarisharing experience.
Safarisharing opens you up to a whole new Kenyan safari experience. The dynamic that the “sharing principle” brings not only drives you off the beaten path to sample the premier of wildlife safari, you also get to cross paths with multicultural individuals eager to share the same unforgettable experience albeit soak it up differently.
But what is safarisharing?
Driven towards a more responsible and sustainable tourism, safarisharing – the brain child of Jorrit Kooi a Netherlander who’s had the opportunity to live in Kenya and explore East Africa – is an independent safari platform built around group travel with the promise of affordable unique experiences.
The agency, which is based in the Netherlands, appeals to the lone traveler looking to switch things up by finding some travel buddies to go on safari with but finding it a bit tough to do. As a matter of fact, difficulty in booking a spot with a group on an existing safari is what realized the inception of this platform in the first instance.
In Jorrit’s own words, “When I travelled to Arusha on a business trip sometime back, I tried to incorporate a safari towards the end of my trip but it wasn’t possible as I couldn’t find a group safari that I could join. Despite having contacted 20 tour agents, no one was able to hook me up with an existing group. All they could offer me was a very expensive private safari which I wasn’t interested in. That was how Safarisharing was born.”
As a result of the founder’s unfortunate experience, individual travelers are now able to join other groups of travelers for an existing safari departure. As the first front-to-end ecommerce platform in the African safari industry, safarisharing brings together individual travelers seeking to experience safari in East Africa as a group. It also seeks to incorporate educational trips to conservatories as well as engage in cultural initiatives that raise awareness on varied issues that affect east African communities alongside the classic safari as part of their focus on responsibility & sustainability in the industry.
Booking a seat with safarisharing assures you of a fair price, loads of fun with great travel companions and a unique more sustainable way of travel through the ‘sharing’ concept. This concept is not limited to travelers only though, safarisharing offers suppliers a great opportunity to generate additional revenue by putting up their spare capacity and unused seats of their safari vehicles for use.
Safarisharing plunges you into a world of anticipation; you never know who you are going to meet or what level of Camaraderie is going to be formed from this experience. That’s what makes this platform so exciting. Plus, you get to kick back and enjoy your safari without all the fuss of planning.
“I go by Moses Obanda, a landscape and travel photographer with six years of experience. I enjoy reading books and obviously traveling. I’m a bit socially awkward but once I’m behind the camera, I can conquer the world. I have a bachelor’s degree in communication from Africa Nazarene University, graduated in 2014.”
Zuru Kenya: When did your love for Travel photography crop up and what exactly sparked it?
Obanda: When I was a second year student in campus. That’s when I realized my heart was in Travel Photography. Before that I was into a lot of pencil drawing but once I picked up the camera, I fell in love and was amazed by the fact that I could visually illustrate what I had in my mind.
How often do you travel?
I try to travel at least once a month. Worst case scenario, once every two months dependent on whether I have the money to travel.
Since getting into travel photography, are there any hurdles that you have encountered along the way?
I personally think that there are more hurdles in Travel Photography than in any other form of photography. For starters, it’s quite expensive. So there’s that. Then you might find yourself treading in dangerous and unsafe places just to get the perfect shot. There’s also the issue of security when travelling to remote areas and then of course the weather is always unpredictable! All that aside, when your heart is fully in it, these obstacles become just but miner details that make your journey and the outcome even more adventurous.
What kind of DSLR do you shoot with and do you always have a camera with you?
When am not shooting with a Nikon D5300, I have with me a Canon 6D. Yes, I always have a camera with me. It’s the most essential item for me; especially when I leave town.
Which of your photographs is your personal favorite and why (what’s the story behind the making of it?
I took this photo a while back when a couple of my friends and I had gone camping in Maasai Land. We stayed there for a week and on our last day while walking back from our hike; I spotted from a distance, a Maasai herding his cows on a hill. As I wanted to capture him and the hundreds of cows by his side, I started running towards him trying to get as close as I could for the perfect shot. Unfortunately, by the time I got a clear shot, only two cows were left standing beside him. Nonetheless I was lucky to have captured it the way I did; a perfectly balanced-out piece of art. I consider it one of my most priced images.
Your 3 favorite places to photograph so far and why?
My favorite places to photograph are Maasai land, Watamu and Amsterdam. These places not only have rich histories but also conducive environments to photograph. Locals here are also always welcome to a photograph or two.
The one place in Kenya you’d go back to over and over again?
The one place in Kenya that I would go again, is Maasai Land, I have actually gone there twice and am going again next year for another expedition.
Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?
My inspiration is drawn from ‘creatives’ in general, not just photographers. Writers, poets, singers; people who chose to pursue their passion and are excelling at it. When it comes to photography however, I’m mostly inspired by fellow young budding photographers.
Individuals like Philip Kisia of Pelz photography & Annemiek Van Der Kuil to name a few, big names in their own right, successfully paving their own path in photography. I’m very appreciative of the fact that they are always at my disposal when it comes to feedback on my work and I can certainly attribute my growth to them.
My family and friends also inspire me a lot by way of their support. My sister Doreen makes a point to like every picture that I post and that gives me life.
What do you look out for as a result when taking your photos and how do you get your photos to speak that?
I always try to capture the mood of the situation and of the people in my focus. Portraying that moment to my audience – be it a moment engulfed in sadness, happiness or despair, that very instance in time, just how I see it, is what I strive to showcase.
What are a few tips you would give someone who wants to pursue travel photography?
Make certain that this is the path you truly want to follow; it will be quite a thrill – obstacles and all. Keep in mind that you also need to be open minded. Learn about other people’s cultures every chance you get and don’t worry about money too much. As cliché as it may sound, it’s not always about the money, when you want to do something and your intentions are right then it will all fall in place eventually.
What does your next year look like in terms of places you plan to visit, and why have you picked those as the first destinations?
I’m looking to visit more African countries, probably start with Zambia. Before that though, I intend on travelling to Turkana and the North Eastern part of Kenya; those are the only places in the country that I am yet to visit hence why they top my ‘places to go’ list for next year ( God willing of course!). I’m very much into African history and would love to simply explore the continent and learn more from its history.
Peak season is fast approaching. If you haven’t booked yet, Dennis Carruthers is happy to let you in on tips to help you navigate this beautiful country without breaking the bank.
#1. Don’t travel at peak season if you can avoid it.
So we know the mention of peak season would suggest that you get right on it and book your travel before you are left out of the action but to be honest, the best time to save money on travel to Kenya is off-season on the tourist calendar. The country has tropical climate throughout the year, so anytime goes. Unfortunately, this might also mean missing some engaging experiences. The peak season falls in mid June through October (The best time for safaris and the famous wildebeest migration takes place in July) and mid December to February.
#2. Travel with a group
Individual costs are higher when you travel solo. You will still pay the same for things such as taxi fares and guides. A shared tour also offers the advantage of shared costs. Service providers such as safari operators will still charge you for a dedicated guide and vehicle when you travel alone. You can save on the accommodation budget as well as meals when shared. Additionally, group tours carry more bargaining power even on the ground.
#3. Look for tour packages and special offers
Tour operators frequently run discounted campaigns and specially organized tour packages. Take advantage of these, as they are cheaper than standard rates. Expect minor sharing challenges. For example, a tour operator may decide to pack eight passengers in a van, the standard tour vehicle, instead of the usual six. This lowers the cost as you pay per seat and not for the whole car alone.
#4. Evaluate your accommodation options
Kenya offers excellent urban hotels such as the Intercontinental Hotel and the Nairobi Hilton alongside two and three-star establishments with elegant facilities and service. Additionally, there are numerous luxury camps and lodges, but since we are in the business of cost saving, why not book yourself a chic budget boutique hotel or better yet stay at a rental, shop at the farmer’s market, live like a local and save on your meal tab. Kenyans are also very hospitable people and if you are lucky, you might just land yourself a host for your stay – try couchsurfing. Feel free to also compare your dining options away from your accommodation.
#5. Plan your itinerary in advance
Which sights excite you the most? How do you want to get there and for how long? A layover of a few hours is different from a week’s safari. Some destinations require travel outside of the major cities e.g. Lamu, Maasai Mara Game Reserve, and so on; Batch together destinations within the same locality to maximize time and save on cost.
#6. Research pricing and costs in advance
Knowing the average price of key services will increase your confidence. In Kenya, you can bargain the prices on any product or service unless the provider firmly insists it is fixed, which is rare. Brush up on your bargaining and negotiating skills. For example, a day’s meals should cost you around a $10 or lower if you try local meals and double that for a day’s alcoholic drinks.
#7. Do as locals do
Hotel vans and tour operator services can get expensive. Although there is no government-run public transport system, locals use numerous alternatives. These include urban public transport vans, cross-country buses, and a revamped passenger rail service.
Things to note: The local currency is the Kenya shilling. One US dollar is roughly a hundred Kenya shillings.
About the author
D Scott Carruthers, a graduate of Western State University loves photography, exploratory travel and blogging about his adventures and journeys.