Category Archives: Regions

Western Kenya untapped

Are you a value minded traveler looking to explore nature and enjoy delicious pot-boiling traditional foods? Then Kakamega and Bungoma counties in western Kenya are calling.
With a basketful of sights and sounds these areas will undoubtedly draw your appreciation for nature. Birding enthusiasts will for the most part love the Kakamega forest in Kakamega County, home to over 360 species of birds and more than 380 species of trees. The only tropical rainforest in the country, Kakamega forest is also host to 27 species of snakes, baboons, and white tail monkeys. An interesting spectacle here is Mama Mutere, a name coined by the locals for the oldest tree in the forest, nearly 400 years old.

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Kakamega forest also provides for nature walks although it is advised that one carries a heavy jacket and gumboots on some occasions as the forest can get quite chilly and the terrain muddy when it pours.

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Further down from kakamega is the stunning webuye (Broderick) falls in Bungoma County. Draining into Lake Victoria, the hippo infested falls serves as a beautiful destination for team building and great scenery. One can also enjoy a spectacular view of Webuye town from the Chetembe hills.

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To relax, indulge and explore what nature offers, these areas are available for tourists at pocket friendly fees.

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Lastly, you cannot have been to western Kenya without trying their famous sumptuous meal of the traditional chicken (ingokho) and ugali. These can be enjoyed at Park Villa and Camp David hotels.

Need a break? 4 pristine islands in Kenya to daydream about.

Manda Island

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Photo source: Manda Bay
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Photo source: Manda Bay

With the allure of the pristine beach, Manda is site to several new luxury homes and a couple of boutique resorts.

Kiwayu Island

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Photo source: Mikes Camp
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Photo source: Mikes Camp

The stunningly remote and beautiful Kiwayu is a fabulous spot, one of the most alluring locations on the whole of the East African coast.

Funzi Island

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Photo source: Funzi Keys
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Funzi Island is known for its pristine beaches and as Kenya’s best nesting site for a variety of sea turtles. Sailing, creek fishing, windsurfing and canoeing are some of the activities to enjoy here. Plus spotting dolphins should be fun!!!

Rusinga Island

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Photo source: Rusinga Island Lodge
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Photo source: Rusinga Island Lodge

One of Kenya’s most remote areas, Rusinga takes you away from hustle of city life. This place excudes an atmosphere of serene tranquility; Lapped by lake Victoria waters and with beautiful exotic gardens.

Western Kenya: As You’ve Never Seen It Before

An aerial view of the beautiful environments,  amazing sites and scenic accommodations only found in western Kenya, as seen from a new perspective: through the lens of a flying camera.

Produced, filmed and edited by Ben Kreimer for African SkyCAM and the Kenya Tourism Board.

Credits: Africanskycam, Benkreimer, magicalkenya.

Kenya’s “Little Italy”

Visiting  Malindi for the first time, one would be forgiven for thinking to be in some part of Italy and rightfully so…one glimpse at this coastal town and everything Italian is conspicuous; Italian restaurants, hotels, bakeries and so on. As a matter of fact, there are more than 2,500 Italian-owned properties in the town including residences, supermarkets, barber shops, butcheries, and other small businesses. What’s more, the locals who by the way speak fluent Italian, will warmly welcome you with a “Ciao Bella” with kids joyfully shouting “Ciao, Ciao”.

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Italian culture is rife in Malindi. More and more Italians are either taking up residence or visiting the town annually. Today around 4,000 Italians are permanent residents, while 30,000 tourists visit each year. There is only one foreign consulate in Malindi — it represents Italy. Italian is probably the third most widely spoken language here, after Kiswahili and English. Goes to show just how deep the culture has seeped in “little Milan”. In fact many local businesses now advertise in Italian, alongside either English or Kiswahili. There has also been the mushrooming of many Italian language centers.

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For a taste of good pizza, fine Italian wine, gelato and great Italian conversations, Malindi or better yet “Little Italy” is the place to be.

With such a high profile list of visitors to Malindi, the owner of Suli Suli Hotel which was later renamed Bougan Village, the late Duranti Camillo, may long have passed on and his body interred at the Malindi Christian Cemetery but his legacy lives forever in Malindi because he is the one who opened the doors for Italian tourism in Malindi. “Malindi’s good weather and its friendly people make the resort just addictive. Italian holiday makers who come to Malindi for the first time are so overwhelmed by its beauty they often come back, some come back to stay forever” says the Italian Consul in Malindi, Roberto Macri, who himself arrived in Malindi in 1978 and got stuck here. “I found this small fishing village where the weather was so good, the beaches wide and empty and the people extremely friendly, always smiling and co-operative and just felt at home. I decided to stay and even started my new life here complete with a family,” explains the Italian Consul who speaks fluent Swahili and some local languages. Italians interest in Malindi could as well have started in earnest in 1964 when Italian engineers and space scientists arrived in the then bushy town and established the San Marco Space Research Centre in Ngomeni area. Malindi tourism Among other early investors who put Malindi tourism on the world map for quality include international architectural designer and art promoter Armando Tanzini who constructed the White Elephant Hotel & Resort around 1981. Encouraged by Armando and following on his footsteps, other Italian investors such as millionaire Vitali Gianfranco established the Coconut Village. Years later came the Coral Key chain of hotels now owned by one of the most respected Italian investors Marco Vancini. Today the Italian investor owns several blue chip tourist resorts among them the Coral Key, the Blue Key and the Lawfords Beach Club besides many villas and cottages which provide accommodation mainly for top notch Italian tourists.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000082966&story_title=the-italian-connection-in-malindi&pageNo=2
With such a high profile list of visitors to Malindi, the owner of Suli Suli Hotel which was later renamed Bougan Village, the late Duranti Camillo, may long have passed on and his body interred at the Malindi Christian Cemetery but his legacy lives forever in Malindi because he is the one who opened the doors for Italian tourism in Malindi. “Malindi’s good weather and its friendly people make the resort just addictive. Italian holiday makers who come to Malindi for the first time are so overwhelmed by its beauty they often come back, some come back to stay forever” says the Italian Consul in Malindi, Roberto Macri, who himself arrived in Malindi in 1978 and got stuck here. “I found this small fishing village where the weather was so good, the beaches wide and empty and the people extremely friendly, always smiling and co-operative and just felt at home. I decided to stay and even started my new life here complete with a family,” explains the Italian Consul who speaks fluent Swahili and some local languages. Italians interest in Malindi could as well have started in earnest in 1964 when Italian engineers and space scientists arrived in the then bushy town and established the San Marco Space Research Centre in Ngomeni area. Malindi tourism Among other early investors who put Malindi tourism on the world map for quality include international architectural designer and art promoter Armando Tanzini who constructed the White Elephant Hotel & Resort around 1981. Encouraged by Armando and following on his footsteps, other Italian investors such as millionaire Vitali Gianfranco established the Coconut Village. Years later came the Coral Key chain of hotels now owned by one of the most respected Italian investors Marco Vancini. Today the Italian investor owns several blue chip tourist resorts among them the Coral Key, the Blue Key and the Lawfords Beach Club besides many villas and cottages which provide accommodation mainly for top notch Italian tourists.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000082966&story_title=the-italian-connection-in-malindi&pageNo=2
With such a high profile list of visitors to Malindi, the owner of Suli Suli Hotel which was later renamed Bougan Village, the late Duranti Camillo, may long have passed on and his body interred at the Malindi Christian Cemetery but his legacy lives forever in Malindi because he is the one who opened the doors for Italian tourism in Malindi. “Malindi’s good weather and its friendly people make the resort just addictive. Italian holiday makers who come to Malindi for the first time are so overwhelmed by its beauty they often come back, some come back to stay forever” says the Italian Consul in Malindi, Roberto Macri, who himself arrived in Malindi in 1978 and got stuck here. “I found this small fishing village where the weather was so good, the beaches wide and empty and the people extremely friendly, always smiling and co-operative and just felt at home. I decided to stay and even started my new life here complete with a family,” explains the Italian Consul who speaks fluent Swahili and some local languages. Italians interest in Malindi could as well have started in earnest in 1964 when Italian engineers and space scientists arrived in the then bushy town and established the San Marco Space Research Centre in Ngomeni area. Malindi tourism Among other early investors who put Malindi tourism on the world map for quality include international architectural designer and art promoter Armando Tanzini who constructed the White Elephant Hotel & Resort around 1981. Encouraged by Armando and following on his footsteps, other Italian investors such as millionaire Vitali Gianfranco established the Coconut Village. Years later came the Coral Key chain of hotels now owned by one of the most respected Italian investors Marco Vancini. Today the Italian investor owns several blue chip tourist resorts among them the Coral Key, the Blue Key and the Lawfords Beach Club besides many villas and cottages which provide accommodation mainly for top notch Italian tourists.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000082966&story_title=the-italian-connection-in-malindi&pageNo=2
MALINDI, KENYA: When sometime in December 1978, one sunny afternoon, a group of 150 Italian tourists landed at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa, in a charter flight from Italy, and headed to Suli Suli Hotel in Malindi, no one knew that the arrival would herald the opening of tourism floodgates from Italy to the sleepy town of Malindi. Demand for accommodation and Italian lifestyles have, since that December 35 years ago, seen Italians invest trillions of Lira (the Italian currency) in tourism sector in Malindi. Not for nothing then Malindi has come to be known in some circles as the ‘Little Italy’ in Kenya. Looking back , there is no doubt that without Italians, the tourism industry in Malindi would have long died since the Germans and Swiss stopped coming to the resort town many years ago. Italian community The Italian community has invested so heavily in Malindi’s Hotel and Villas accommodation to a level that today- it is one of the few small urban centers in the world with an Italian consulate. Tourism in Malindi is highly Italian-oriented with close to 50 Italian-owned hotels and resorts employing more than 15,000 Kenyans. On the other hand, private villas and cottages in Malindi which are mainly patronized by Italian provide between 5,000 and 6,000 accommodation units. At least 10,000 workers are employed by the owners of the villas and cottages with an average of at least 1,500 Italians living in Malindi permanently throughout the year. At least 30,000 Italian tourists visit Malindi every year. Malindi’s wide, pristine and golden sandy beaches have proven an irresistible attraction to Italian holiday makers who have often included billionaires, politicians and celebrities willing to pay top dollar for the privacy and tranquility that is only found in Malindi. Former Italian Prime Minister and billionaire Silvio Berlusconi has holidayed in Malindi several time including a visit a few months ago.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000082966
With such a high profile list of visitors to Malindi, the owner of Suli Suli Hotel which was later renamed Bougan Village, the late Duranti Camillo, may long have passed on and his body interred at the Malindi Christian Cemetery but his legacy lives forever in Malindi because he is the one who opened the doors for Italian tourism in Malindi. “Malindi’s good weather and its friendly people make the resort just addictive. Italian holiday makers who come to Malindi for the first time are so overwhelmed by its beauty they often come back, some come back to stay forever” says the Italian Consul in Malindi, Roberto Macri, who himself arrived in Malindi in 1978 and got stuck here.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000082966&story_title=the-italian-connection-in-malindi&pageNo=2
With such a high profile list of visitors to Malindi, the owner of Suli Suli Hotel which was later renamed Bougan Village, the late Duranti Camillo, may long have passed on and his body interred at the Malindi Christian Cemetery but his legacy lives forever in Malindi because he is the one who opened the doors for Italian tourism in Malindi. “Malindi’s good weather and its friendly people make the resort just addictive. Italian holiday makers who come to Malindi for the first time are so overwhelmed by its beauty they often come back, some come back to stay forever” says the Italian Consul in Malindi, Roberto Macri, who himself arrived in Malindi in 1978 and got stuck here. “I found this small fishing village where the weather was so good, the beaches wide and empty and the people extremely friendly, always smiling and co-operative and just felt at home. I decided to stay and even started my new life here complete with a family,” explains the Italian Consul who speaks fluent Swahili and some local languages. Italians interest in Malindi could as well have started in earnest in 1964 when Italian engineers and space scientists arrived in the then bushy town and established the San Marco Space Research Centre in Ngomeni area. Malindi tourism Among other early investors who put Malindi tourism on the world map for quality include international architectural designer and art promoter Armando Tanzini who constructed the White Elephant Hotel & Resort around 1981. Encouraged by Armando and following on his footsteps, other Italian investors such as millionaire Vitali Gianfranco established the Coconut Village. Years later came the Coral Key chain of hotels now owned by one of the most respected Italian investors Marco Vancini. Today the Italian investor owns several blue chip tourist resorts among them the Coral Key, the Blue Key and the Lawfords Beach Club besides many villas and cottages which provide accommodation mainly for top notch Italian tourists.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000082966&story_title=the-italian-connection-in-malindi&pageNo=2

Why holidaymakers throng the coast for the christmas season

Its that time of the year again…well almost, just a few days remaining till December comes knocking. I’ll bet you anything that by this time most of us already have everything set for that Mombasa trip. You might not personally be traveling, but you most likely know of someone in your circles headed down to the coast for the holidays.

One thing is certain though, the Coastarians just can’t stand it when ‘Watu wa bara’ are around because suddenly the city gets congested, the beaches aren’t as relaxing and generally their comfort zone is altered.

Nevertheless, we attempt to define the phenomenon that has everyone running around trying to get last minute bookings…

Appeal of the Place

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Its been a long year;  work, school, exams…at the end of the day  sun, sand and sea seems like the perfect remedy. Moreover, the exotic appeal of the Island popularly  associated with fun, “Mombasa Raha”  is a major pull factor.

Familiarity

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For many individuals, this is one place they are guaranteed of having a memorable holiday experience, judging from last year’s events and the year before that. Be it visiting family and friends, quality of accommodation, people & culture or events… the reasons behind becoming repeat tourists here are varied and it is this sense of familiarity that makes this holiday destination tick for some.

End of year Events (Beach Parties)

tumblr_static_dance-friends-night-party-rave-favim.com-120797The Kenyan coast is where its happening come end of the year…with a whole range of beach parties and events on offer, why would anyone want to miss out?

Safety in numbers

original Many individuals tend to tag along with their friends simply at the thought of how much they’d be missing out…and as such the peer pressure factor comes in. On this occasion though, it is not such a bad thing…the more the merrier hey?

Imaging travel-quoteEach year, the Kenyan coast is captured as having been the most eventful region come Christmas and end of year. This drives the curious never-beens to head down come the next Christmas holiday season in order to find out for themselves what the fuss is all about. Imaging thus plays a key role here.

Nightlife

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Having worked hard all year, most travelers head down to the coast to let loose and what better way to achieve this than through its nightlife? Mombasa in itself isn’t a raving spot although you may find one or two joints within the city. The life of the party however is in the resort area north of Mombasa with places like Mtwapa promising to rejuvenate your spirits. Many revelers are bound to fall in love with this region and might have some difficulty leaving.

Whatever your reason for going to the coast this season,  hope you have the time of your life!! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mombasa: The “Island of war”

Situated on the Eastern coastline, bordering the Indian Ocean, Mombasa is Kenya’s second largest city and the top coastal destination. The city, originally known by its Arabic name منبعثة Manbasa,  was popular as ‘Kisiwa Cha Mvita’  Swahili for “Island of War”, due to the many changes in its ownership. Sitting on an island it is separated from the mainland by two creeks Tudor and Port Reitz.

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0313 EnglishPoint Marina in the foreground. Mombasa Island between Tudor Creek and Kilindini Channel Mombasa city overflows with an abundance in culture that dates back to its history as a significant trading center. The Swahili culture at the coast today has retained ancient customs and traditions highly influenced by the Portuguese, British, Chinese, and Arab settlers. The city is also affiliated with great explorers like Vasco Da Gama – the first European to land in the then town, with several memorabilia still standing to portray the historic presence of the Portuguese in the coast. The Mijikenda, Swahili, Arabs, Taita, and Akamba are among the Inhabitants of this beautiful land.  Whereas the major religions practiced are Islam, Christianity and the Hindu.

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Aside from being an important regional tourism and cultural center, Mombasa is also a significant economic hub. It boasts of a large seaport, the Kilindini Harbour, that serves not only Kenya but also links other interior countries to the Indian Ocean. The rich marine life is also something to brag about allowing individuals the pleasure of pursuits like scuba diving, snorkeling, deep sea fishing among others. Mombasa is also envied for its nightlife, its lovely weather, phenomenal white sandy beaches as well as its quality beach resorts. Revellers can enjoy a good time out in the many night spots available most of which are beachfront. Some of the top hotels here also offer their own clubs.DSC01171Other entertainment spots in Mombasa include casinos, cinemas and a Little Theatre Club, the latter of which puts on some fun shows. The region is also known for its divine dining experience where travelers get to enjoy aside from fresh sea food, internationally-inspired cuisine, that includes but is not limited to Chinese, Indian, Italian, and Swahili.

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Getting Around
Mombasa is the central access point for the entire coastal region. It can be accessed directly from Nairobi by air, road, or rail. There are scheduled flights to Mombasa as well served by Moi International Airport although travelers can also access the coastal city via various airstrips. The main mode of transport around the town is by matatus, Taxis and tuk tuks. Some of the historical sites in the city can also easily be accessed on foot.

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Must do in Mombasa:

Fort Jesus

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Fort Jesus is Mombasa’s most popular tourist attraction. The fort, located along the coastline near the Old Town, is a monumental piece of architecture that was built in the 16th century by the Portuguese. The fort has a museum that displays various artifacts from the era where Mombasa served as a transit point for the slave trade and commodities, and which enjoyed regular visits by seafarers and the like.

Its interior comprises of torture rooms and prison cells where slaves were kept in captivity before being traded. Weapons such as canons, which were used to defend the fort from invading foreigners as well as rioting locals, can be seen both inside and outside of the fort. The fort opens its gates for viewing in the morning and closes at dusk.

Old Town  

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“Old Town” is the part of Mombasa that is reminiscent of the days when the Arabs exerted a heavy influence on the town and its culture, and especially in the architecture and language (Swahili has a lot of phrases derived from various Arabic dialects). It is well known for its ancient buildings, extravagant art designs and curio shops that sell antique and popular Kenyan souvenirs.

Old Town is best seen when explored by foot with an experienced guide, as the streets are too narrow to accommodate a large number of vehicles. The town’s inhabitants are mostly of Arab origin who’s forefathers once roamed the same streets of the town. Fort Jesus is located just a few steps away from where the town “starts”, thus a complete tour of the fort and the “Old Town” can be done in a single day.

Mombasa Elephant Tusks 48983702Like the great arches of St Louis and the Eiffel tower, the great elephant tusks monument  in downtown Mombasa is probably the cities enduring monument and landmark known world over. Built to commemorate the visit of Queen Elizabeth to the town in 1952, the pair of overarching, giant intersecting elephant tusks sit astride eastbound and westbound lanes of the busy Moi avenue and are a symbolic representation of entrance into the heart of the town.

The “tusks” aside from symbolizing the ivory trade that Mombasa, and Kenya overall, was known for also coincidentally spell the letter “M” for Mombasa. Take a leisurely walk along this road and look at the various shops or buy curios. You can even stop by the many restaurants to eat your favorite Arab, Swahili or European themed foods.

Hindu Temples

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Hindu temples are one of the many symbols of Mombasa’s cultural diversity. Temples are a popular tourist spot and a tour can usually be taken inside the temple, with a historical background of the particular temple given by one of the temple gurus. Extravagant idols and stone carvings of the various religious beliefs are typically displayed within the temple and on its walls.

A popular spot for locals and international travelers alike,  Mombasa is undoubtedly  the perfect coastal holiday destination.

Nairobi; Green city in the sun

A place of cool waters, they called this place; Ewaso Nai’beri  is the name the local Maasai gave to what we now call Nairobi. It started out as Mile 327, a basic camp for construction workers back in the railway days slowly upgrading to a rustic village, a shanty town capital of all British East Africa and now a big city, one of Africa’s largest as a matter of fact. Nairobi, Kenya’s Capital, is a hive of activities; Here is where people of all tribes, race and origin assemble in search of the good life where hustle and bustle is the order of the day. It is in fact the economical hub for the East and Central African regions. Contrary to Nairobi being a big economical hub, it is also home to the largest slum in Africa and poverty is a major problem here due to unemployment. Population here therefore comes from both ends of the spectrum.

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Nairobi is however not all business, Visitors here can get treated to a variety of interesting places to explore being home to museums, historical sites, monuments and a booming night life for those who fancy a little partying. Wildlife lovers can also get to sample a taste of what awaits them in the Kenyan wild before setting off on safari as Nairobi goes in the books as the only city in the world that boasts a natural national park teaming with wildlife right on its doorstep. Here travel enthusiasts can explore the various ecosystems that await them in the wild as well as different species of wildlife including, herds of Zebra, Wildebeest, Buffalo, Giraffe,  Rhino, Cheetah,  a large number of Lions and many more.

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Nairobi being the capital, is the arrival point for many visitors. There are two airports in the city; Jomo Kenyatta International (handles international and domestic flights) and Wilson airport ( handles chartered domestic flights). The main mode of transport around the city is by matatu (mini-bus) and buses. Taxis are also widely accessible and are parked at convenient locations around hotels and tourist areas. Public transport is marked with a yellow line on each side.

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Must do in Nairobi

  • Nairobi National Museum

The country’s National Museum and largest in the city, it houses a large collection of artifacts portraying Kenya’s rich heritage through history, nature, culture, and contemporary art. It also includes the full remains of a homo – erectus popularly known as the Turkana boy. Other prominent museums include the Nairobi Gallery, Nairobi Railway Museum, and the Karen Blixen Museum located in the affluent Karen suburb.

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  • Nairobi National Park

The city boasts of it’s very own national game park where lions and buffalo’s roam free! It is located just moments away from the city center and is one of the best Nairobi attractions.

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  • Uhuru Gardens

Uhuru Gardens, a national monument and the largest memorial park in Kenya, is also the place where the first Kenyan flag was raised at independence. It is located along Lang’ata road near the Wilson Airport.

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  • Ice skating

Nairobi is home to the largest ice rink in Africa: the Solar Ice Rink at the Panari Hotel’s Sky Centre. The rink, opened in 2005, covers 15,000 square feet (1,400 m2) and can accommodate 200 people. You are bound to have loads of fun here with a group of friends.

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  • Shopping

Shopping malls in Nairobi include; The Yaya Centre (Hurlingham), Sarit Centre (Westlands), Westgate Shopping Mall (Westlands), ABC Place (Westlands), The Village Market (Gigiri), Junction Shopping Centre (Ngong Road), Prestige Plaza (Ngong Road), Galleria Shopping Mall (Bomas) Crossroads Shopping Centre (Karen), and T-Mall (Langata). Nakumatt, Uchumi, and Tuskys are the largest supermarket chains with modern stores throughout the city.

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  • Eateries and nightlife

From a collection of gourmet restaurants offering local and international cuisine, Nairobi has something to offer to every age and pocket. Most common known food establishments include The Carnivore and The Tamarind Restaurants which have outlets in Langata, City Centre, and the Village Market. For those more discerning travellers, one can choose from a wide array of local cuisine, Mediterranean, fast food, Ethiopian, and Arabian. The city’s nightlife is mostly centred along friends and colleagues meeting after work especially on Fridays – commonly known as “Furahiday” (Happy Day), theme nights, events and concerts, and of late a new trend – “herbal bubble” or “Shiisha”. The most popular clubbing spots are centred in upmarket Westlands which has come to be known as “Electric Avenue”, Karen, Langata, Hurlingham, and “uptown” venues in the city centre. Nairobians generally go out every day of the week and most establishments are open till late.

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  • The Giraffe Centre;

Run by the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, this is a sanctuary for the rare Rothschild’s giraffe. Spend some time observing, hand-feeding (and if lucky, get a big wet kiss) as well as capturing close-up photos of the giraffes in case you did not catch sight of them while on safari. One can also enjoy a quiet nature trail through thick bushes and forest. Other animals you are bound to encounter include warthogs, hyenas and sometimes leopard.There is a variety of flora and fauna.

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  • Maasai Markets;

Meet craftsmen of authentic Kenyan artifacts and enjoy the sight of ladies beading and making jewellery at the markets. Held around the city at different venues on different days, bag yourself a set of souvenirs for your friends and families back home including wooden carvings and bead-work; beaded necklaces, batik wall hangings, shoes, soap stone carvings, sisal bags, kikois, textiles and much more.  All Maasai Markets items are Kenyan and the range of goods on offer is impressive .You can’t go wrong at the Nairobi Masai Market.

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  • David Sheldrick Animal Trust – Elephant orphanage

For the conservationists, and those who love elephants, this is a place you don’t want to miss. The elephant orphanage is inside the Nairobi National Park and to see the orphan elephants you must go between 11-12 (daily). Get to sponsor the orphans if you would like and also buy yourselves souvenirs including T-Shirts, Bags, Soap stone carvings and other memorabilia in support of the elephants.

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  • Bomas of Kenya

The Bomas of Kenya is a cultural centre at Langata, near the main gate to Nairobi National Park. The talented resident artistes perform traditional dances and songs taken from the country’s various tribal groups, including Arab-influenced Swahili taarab music, Kalenjin warrior dances, Embu drumming and Kikuyu circumcision ceremonies. Each boma (homestead) in this cultural village was built using traditional specifications of myriad Kenyan tribes; through architecture, crafts, music and dance this village serves to preserve Kenyan culture.

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  • Safari walk

Nairobi Safari Walk, funded by the Kenya Wildlife Service is a great way to learn about the animals of Kenya and to view the various natural environments Kenya has to offer. It is located at the headquarters of Nairobi National Park.

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This and many more other activities await you in Nairobi.

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Nairobi-Background

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Five star hotels in Nairobi include the Nairobi Serena, Laico Regency (formerly Grand Regency Hotel), Windsor (Karen), Holiday Inn, Nairobi Safari Club (Lilian Towers), The Stanley Hotel, Safari Park & Casino, InterContinental, Panari Hotel, Hilton, and the Norfolk Hotel. Other newer ones include the Crowne Plaza Hotel Nairobi in Upper Hill area, the Sankara Nairobi in Westlands, Tribe Hotel-Village Market, House of Wayne, The Eastland Hotel, Ole Sereni, and The Boma located along Mombasa Highway. International chains apart from the Hilton, the Intercontinental group, and Serena Hotels are also setting up prime properties in Nairobi city.

Photo credits;Lucas steuber, Mutua Matheka, Click

Lamu

Lamu Island, Kenya’s oldest inhabited town, tells a wonderful story of unspoilt culture and heritage, of unforgettable history and magnificent architecture and most of all, a story of a people with heart and love for others. Lamu portrays an influence of a myriad of cultures ranging from the Oman, Yemeni, Indian, Chinese, Portuguese, as well as the  Victorian British featuring in its architecture, museums, as well as the language of the people here. Founded in the 14th century, the town is regarded as the oldest and best preserved Swahili settlement in the whole of East Africa.

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The small town is populated by a majority of Muslims seeing as the early settlers were of Arab origin. Each year the people of Lamu partake in the Maulidi Festival which takes place in the month of June, Rabi-al-Awal month according to the Muslim calendar. The event is a fun-packed affair with activities like dhow races, swimming competition, donkey races, Bao competition, henna painting, cross country, Koranac recitals, Swahili poetry, football and much more taking place.

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Lamu’s unspoilt culture is also reflected in its mode of transportation whereby very few vehicles can be spotted in the town hence no air pollution from exhaust pipes, the people either walk or ride on donkeys another alternative is the use of dhows and speed boats for transport. Due to its respect of heritage and preservation of culture,  Lamu town had the honor of being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 2001. It has managed to stay unspoilt and untouched by the mass tourism and development that has hit much of Kenya’s coastline. Lamu has retained all the charm and character built up over centuries. Most houses here have a rooftop which is used as a patio – indicative of a society where ‘hanging back’ and ‘catching the breeze’ is important. Visitors to the island can stay in one of these Swahili style Lamu villas where sandy-toed days stretch out into tropical rooftop evenings.

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Flying is the best way to reach this region of Kenya and there are daily flights to Lamu. The airport is located on the neighbouring Manda Island from where one will be collected by their hotel or lodge and transferred by boat across the channel to Lamu town (10 minutes), Shela Village (20 minutes) or further afield (up to 45 minutes).

Must do in Lamu

  • Dhow Safari
    A day spent at sea on a Dhow is a wonderful experience and a fantastic way to explore the area. The calm waters around Lamu are perfect for sailing, and the neighbouring islands are well worth visiting for their small fishing villages, ancient ruins and deserted beaches.

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  • Dhow Racing 
    Dhow racing is the most important event in Lamu annually taking place to usher in the new year. Lamu Dhow builders are considered some of the best on the coast, and this is a culture born of the sea and sailors. Winning the race is a great honour among Dhow captains, and the race attracts the best of the best. This event brings the Island to life, and the shorelines throng with supporters. Individual Dhows are brightly decorated, and festivities on race day last well into the night.

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  • SCUBA Diving and Snorkelling
    Private Dhow trips from Lamu often visit good snorkeling sites, and provide equipment. There are a few good dive sites to be found around Lamu and the surrounding archipelago.

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  • Big Game Fishing
    Big game fishing can be arranged from Manda Island or by some hotels in Lamu in season (December – March). Kenya’s main coastal game fish include Sailfish and Marlin, Kingfish, Wahoo, Horse Mackerel and others.  A tag and release program ensures eco-friendly fishing.

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  • Bird Watching
    The Kiunga Marine Reserve near Lamu is an important sanctuary for shorebirds and pelagics, including the Sooty Gull, White Cheeked Tern, Bridled Tern, Brown Noddy, and many Crab Plovers and Roseate Terns.

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  • Islamic Festival of Maulidi
    Held each year around the month of June, several special sporting events are held during Maulidi. The main event is a donkey race along the waterfront, running the entire length of the old town. Lamu residents are accomplished Donkey jockeys, and victory in this annual race is a much coveted title. The race attracts most of the townspeople, who gather along the waterfront or anchor offshore in dhows to watch the action. Both riders and donkeys are well prepared for the event and the competition is always fierce, with each competitor attracting their own loyal local supporters.The race day is a major event in the Lamu calendar, and there are plenty of festivities and celebrations both before and after the big event. Often dhow races are held around the island during the same period.

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  • walking tour of Lamu old town and a visit to the Museum as well as the Old Fort  which have been nicely restored and enjoy some fascinating displays.
  •  Shopping for beautiful clothes, kanga’s and kikoys, leather work, carved wooden furniture, silver jewellery and many more souvenirs.

Photo credits; Eric Lafforgue , Flowerbeetle,the fort, Joe Makeni, Jaime Windon, Urooj Qureshi