Category Archives: Lifestyle

National Museums of Kenya & the Murumbi Trust Present “Pioneer Women of the Arts”

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 TrowellJoy AdamsonMagdalene OdundoRosemary KarugaGeraldine RobartsRobin AndersonYony Wai-TeNani 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.

African Arts and Crafts by Margaret Trowell 

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.”

Gabra Woman by Joy Adamson

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.

Pot by Magdalene Odundo

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.

Work by Rosemary Karuga

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.

The Birds by Geraldine Robarts

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.

Silk Batik by Robin Anderson

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.

Painting by Yony Wai-Te

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.

Stained Glass Mosaic by Nani Croze

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.

Painting by Theresa Musoke

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:
https://africanheritagehouse.info/exhibition-pioneer-women-of-the-arts/.

 


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.

Advertisements

5 Things to do on an all vegan trip to Kenya

Veganism seems to be the new fad these days. Not because Vegan food is healthier than meat and stuff; but mainly because there’s a growing awareness among people in relation to a healthier ecosystem that involves non-killing and zero exploitation of animals for personal needs. The “revolution” is seemingly here to stay; with America having witnessed a skyrocketing 600% increase in converts since 2014 and the UK not being left far behind with an average 350% surge in their vegan numbers. The rest of the world is catching up too. Kenya included.

kenya vegan

As the transition to veganism picks pace globally, it now seems increasingly easy to travel as a vegan. While Kenya has catered to plant-based diets for years, it was and still is to a large extent a bit difficult to find restaurants and/or accommodations that solely cater to herbivores – aside from Indian restaurants of course! – making it quite a difficult adjustment to your culinary tastes when you have to travel.

Experiencing other cultures and traditions is all swell – but if your interests lie more towards exploring the greener world around you as a vegan, Jenny Travens, let’s you in on 5 things you could do to not only make your trip a little bit more seamless but also benefit the planet and other people while at it.

  1. Select the destination carefully

Give a good thought in choosing your desired destination. Research is everything! Being vegan, you obviously want to find out where the nearest vegan restaurant/café would be from where you’d be putting up – Google maps is your friend here. Your accommodation choice would also be dependent on whether the establishment offers plant-based diets or if they could recommend alternative eateries/supermarkets within their area.

  1. Vegan restaurants galore

Even before you start, you dream of enjoying local yet tasty delicacies on your trip.

Travel bloggers believe that native and healthy foods are a prerogative of travelers. You just can’t keep them away from the popular food street. It’s like, if they haven’t tasted the favorite dishes of the region, their journey is incomplete. It is quite easy to follow a plant-based diet in Kenya as majority of our meals are vegan friendly.

max-delsid-479098-unsplash

Look for restaurants that serve vegan food. You can find plenty of vegetarian eateries wherever you go. Even the ones, who were serving non vegetarian food over the years, have now added meatless dishes to their menu.

One tip would be to go to an Indian restaurant. India is historically known for its vegetarian food habits. While in Nairobi, you can sample one of the Chowpaty restaurants – a four chain restaurant serving purely vegetarian. Rest assured you’ll find a plethora of amazing food items there.

  1. Green memories

Shopping is a must on holidays! Isn’t it?

You can never go wrong with Kenyan-made artifacts that you for sure want to carry back as souvenirs. The Masaai Market is one thing you should look forward to for your shopping.

Refrain from picking things made of leather and suede. Instead, handicrafts and artifacts of paper, cotton, jute and vegetable fiber are a good buy. Fabrics like silk, angora and wool shouldn’t be preferred either. If you love books and stationery stuff, make sure it uses hand-crafted papers which are environmentally friendly.

Such items may not be that shiny, finished and have a machine precision look but certainly add to that vintage value. Believe it or not, most things of the past are making a comeback today.

  1. A day at the countryside  

This one is my favorite, to be honest.

48e85b9223f98b3c8ee3c611d7754ccf
Immerse yourself into country living by exploring Kenyan community-based village home-stay programs // image source: worldpackers.com

You can never experience the natural side of the terrain and landscape if you stay put in the city. People living in villages and back roads are always closer to nature. Immerse yourself into country living by exploring what the community-based village home-stay programs in the country have to offer. You might as well get your hands dirty with some farming and also enjoy varied cultural community practices while at it.

  1. Promote Veganism in style

Let your entire trip be dedicated to encouraging vegan ways. Avoid partaking in events/tourism activities that may use animals or support animal exploitation such as donkey and camel riding. Also beware of products that owe their existence to the illegal wildlife trade.

Whilst you have a blast on your trip, don’t forget to let the rest of the world in on the vegan-friendly causes and activities you partake in. Social media can be a great tool to let people in on how the world is changing and growing responsibly.

Final Words –

Before winding up, let me share a cool marketing tip – Contribute to a cause and post it on Instagram. You’ll be amazed by the resultant reach and number of people you’ll appeal to!

————-

Jenny Travens –

oEhadYkF_400x400

Jenny is a creative blog writer who has many passions and interests. Health and wellness is one area where she likes to contribute as much as she can. She is currently contributing to – HxBenefit & Remedy.

Email – jennytravens9@gmail.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/jennytravens

Sports Betting and the Kenyan Youth: Why sports betting is becoming more of a lifestyle in Kenya

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.

Image: Bizna Kenya

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?

Image: Betin Kenya

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.

Image: Betin Kenya

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.

Sports Betting: Could this be the answer to funding your travels?

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.

  1. 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?!

  1. 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!

#OnFocus: Travel, Focus & Capture with Moses Obanda

“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.

#onfocus zurukenya

#onfocus zurukenya

#onfocus zurukenya

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.

#onfocus zurukenya

#onfocus zurukenya

#onfocus zurukenya

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.

#onfocus zurukenya

#onfocus zurukenya

#onfocus zurukenya

Which of your photographs is your personal favorite and why (what’s the story behind the making of it?

#onfocus zurukenya

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.

#onfocus zurukenya

#onfocus zurukenya

#onfocus zurukenya

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.

ZuruKenya #OnFocus

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.

#onfocus zurukenya

#onfocus zurukenya

#onfocus zurukenya

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.

#onfocus zurukenya

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.

ZuruKenya #OnFocus
Obanga standing in front of his Landscape and Travel Photography Exhibition at CUEA.

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.

Dear Ramadan, Thanks for stopping by

Dear Ramadan,                                                                                  

We always love it when you come by.

For a many reasons the enhancement of spiritual nourishment, self discipline and piety. We acknowledge that our lives are transformed for the better on account of the seclusion, simplicity, self reflection and introspection provided for by the holy month.

There’s no denying though that you can be a difficult month. We always start off enthusiastic – that doesn’t last long to be honest. Refraining from essentials of daily living is hard enough.

So when enthusiasts um, pass on impending travels to islamic populated regions (Kenyan Coast) during the holy month,  it’s no offence to you.

You see, the experience is just not as it were outside of Ramadan.

The uber friendly, super generous hospitality that is the norm at the coast is not assured. You may on occasion, regrettably run-in with some grumpy locals who possibly will place blame for their wanting service and temper flaring on the rigours of saum. Understandably though, the searing temperatures at the coast can really do you in.

It is for this reason perhaps that some traders choose to close up shop the entirety of the holy month. City streets are pretty dull too. Did I mention that the savory Swahili delicacies that you’d be probably looking forward to indulge in don’t come by easy during the day? Basically if you choose to explore the coast during Ramadan, you are in essence committing to somewhat of a day travel fast yourself. That shouldn’t faze you though.

Come Iftar the meal after sunset to break the fast, everything comes to life.

Coastal people are very welcoming, giving you an opportunity to enjoy Iftar with different people for the duration of your stay.  Street food selling, large feasts in restaurants, huge family parties and gatherings, increased mall shopping (Many restaurants and shopping malls tend to extend their hours at night to accommodate those who had been fasting during the day); night life at the coast is a buzz at Ramadan.

Whilst travel at Ramadan can be a daunting idea, with the reduced daytime activity and tourist traffic, it’s not that bad if you are resilient. Plus you get to enjoy Eid with the locals. What could be more rewarding than experiencing a different cultural perspective?

Whatever your experience nonetheless, either spiritual or travel wise. Ramadan, you have been good to us this year. Come back soon. Till then,

Eid Mubarak!

#MadarakaExpress: The all new rail travel revolution giving Kenyans a little more thrill and less frills

6.00 am – an hour to the designated pick up time, I heave a sigh of relief as I spot the very green, very modern shuttles while we approach the Mombasa Railway station. There had been stories of shuttles that would ferry passengers for free, week long after the train service launch. Pick up points would be the old Nairobi and Mombasa Railway stations. Scheduled pick up time – between 7.00 am to 8.00 am so as to allow passengers enough time to purchase their tickets at the Nairobi and Mombasa termini.

I decided to arrive an hour early just in case this shuttle business was just what it was – a story and I found myself having to organize for other means of transport to the Mombasa Terminus. Sure enough, the shuttles were there as promised, courtesy of the National Youth Service (NYS) although I highly doubt there were any shuttles left by 7.00am. I barely managed to catch the first shuttle out; it seems I wasn’t the only eager passenger.

zurukenya SGR
Image by Micheal Khateli

Train travel has always been very alluring. It’s no wonder Kenyans have turned up in their thousands to sample the #MadarakaExpress for themselves since its launching. Took me back to my childhood days when holidaying meant travelling in a train. Had me wondering whether it would still feel the same as it did during the #LunaticExpress days. Sadly the only faint memory I have of the good old days was the splendid yellow long buns served in the train by the pantry boys. Those were some yummy buns.

The commencement of the train service has nonetheless not been without its tiny hitches. Those should be aired out soon enough though as service picks pace. This post however highlights observations, appreciations and tips that should serve to make the experience of other train enthusiasts seamless.

zurukenya SGR
Image by Micheal Khateli

#1 The Madaraka Express Experience is a pretty sweet deal.

As if having cut down travel time by half doesn’t have you sold yet, the fare charges should have you travelling to and from coast over the weekend just coz you can afford to no?! *Although I can bet a mighty dollar that the fee is bound to go up soon enough.

Did I mention breakfast in Mombasa, lunch in Nairobi and vice versa? The train service is moreover going to provide a truly budget alternative to road transport once the sub-stations are fully functional and the trains operational.

#2 The pre-commute commute can be daunting.

Unless you live within the confines of Miritini or Syokimau, commuting to the respective terminus is inevitable.  Reduce the amount of time and money spent on your pre-commute by staying within city limits of the termini.

PS. Traffic bound to be experienced to and from departure and arrival points beats the whole “convenience” of train travel time.

Zurukenya SGR
Image by Micheal Khateli

#3 No Signage

There is no signage to steer traffic towards the stations along the highway. I hopped into a syokimau matatu trusting that the conductor would be familiar with the terminus only to find myself at the syokimau railway station. Luckily I had enough time to spare so I walked all the way back to the Nairobi Terminus. If you are for that reason not quite familiar with the area keep in mind to be on the lookout for the station from a distance.

#4 African Timing for who?

If there ever was an invention that would help keep Kenyans in toe when it came to time keeping, this would be it. 9 O’clock sharp the train is off. If you are therefore of the African timing philosophy, you will definitely be left behind. Time waits for no man.

#5 Weekends are a rush

If you plan on travelling over the weekends, be sure to book your ticket early enough. There seems to be a plethora of people journeying to and from coast for whatever reason. Ticketing starts at 7.00 am, incase you’d rather still chance it up and book the day of, make it that you arrive early on, ticket queues start budding as early as 5.45am.

zuru kenya train station
Image by @kenyarailways_

#6 Waiting rooms get crowded.
Given the number of passengers, the waiting lounge can get crowded pretty quick.  The pros to booking train travel is that you can show up to the station within minutes of your train’s departure time, avoiding any uncomfortable waiting once the  lounges are filled to capacity. Plus concern of being the first in line for a seat in the train is a non-issue.

#7 hit the dining car at the start of your adventure.

“The restaurant car is in coach 6. Kindly wait in your seat and someone will come and get your order shortly.”

Unless you can still sit tolerantly 3 hrs into the journey, the above announcement on rotation, with no food or person to get your order in site, darling find your way to coach 6 whilst the queue is still bearable and before all the café tables are taken. Hunger waits for no man. In my opinion, it seems the caterers are yet to adjust to the overwhelming number of mouths to feed in just one trip, so whilst others are still shuffling for their seats, sort yourself as early as possible. Food pricing is also not to everyone’s taste so if you can, carry your own snacks along.

zurukenya SGR
Image by EPA

#8 Game Drive, No park fees, Take in the sights.
Road transport robs you of the allure of long distance travel. More often than not, one would need to psyche themselves up for one tedious Nairobi – Mombasa journey.  Train travel, however, has this thrill to it. 4 and a ½ hours in but boy does it pack a punch! A perfect blend of town and countryside, travelling through lush lands and savannah landscapes, in between small, quaint towns, through new construction and forgotten dilapidation, experiencing both rural and urban at one go, simply magical.

Did I say magical, how about a journey through Tsavo East and West National parks, Elephants and numerous other wildlife put in impressive appearances on your train safari. There goes that word again, magical! Perhaps the highlight of the Madaraka Express experience would be at Mtito Andei when the two trains – from Mombasa and Nairobi respectively – intersect and you get to witness just exactly how fast your own train is traversing because honestly when inside the train you barely notice that the train is moving fast paced if at all.

zurukenya economy coach
Image by @kenyarailways_

#9 There is Room to Roam

The Madaraka Express train doesn’t cramp your style. You are more than free to walk around and explore other parts of the train as opposed to being confined to an uncomfortable seat your entire trip. Heck, you can even change seats if you want to (although as I came to realize not everyone can be as kind-hearted).

#10 Ready to mingle?
Is it that hard to spark conversations while travelling by bus or is there just something in the train’s air? Perhaps it’s the natural proclivity to converse provided for by the seating arrangement or maybe it’s the pure fascination of the rail travel revolution that has everyone talking. Either way, Madaraka Express not only offers you the comfort of a good face to face conversation, it also guarantees you a new friend or two at the end of the journey.

There’s no denying that  across stations, help desks, ticketing booths, uniforms, promotional material, security and overall train service, customers get a good feel of the value-focused attitude of the SGR brand. Unlike the Lunatic “Express“which travelled at a lazy-man’s jog with frequent breakdowns, the Madaraka train service gives a whole new meaning to express. SGR offers an irresistible sense of discovery,  of adventure and finer aspects of travel and thrill that long-distance buses and even budget airlines cannot afford you.

Your first #MadarakaExpress Experience is guaranteed to be a memorable one but generally the notion is that you’re responsible for your own experience.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

#Coupletravel: I Want to Travel the World with you

Alone.
Wandering the world, travelling, even just exploring the city.
It gets beautiful but it gets sad as well. You start to notice everything, you’re there to appreciate every little detail but you realized, who is there to appreciate you? I look around and you see happy eyes, sad eyes, blank eyes but none of them looking at me. And so I kept on walking.

Today, two kinds of  people sit on the opposite end of the spectrum; those who couldn’t care less for Valentine and those who, well…have been counting down days to this very moment.

In case you happen to sit on the latter end, then this post is right in your lane. Today we celebrate love. Featuring some of the most dreamy travel couples in the blogosphere and on Instagram.

These travel couples will not only arouse the wanderer in you but also inspire you to embark on the road less travelled with your loved ones too.

“I want a man that loves travelling so that we can travel together all the world.”

  1. Newlyweds Sana and Faisal @twosaparty_ – capture the essence of stylish travel! Read their travel blog to see more.

 

2. Murad Osmann and his partner Natalia Zakharova @muradosmann – the famous ‘follow me to’ couple are seen travelling the world With Natalia leading Murad by hand everywhere they go.

3. Bianca and Brett @KiwisOffCourse –  This couple from New Zealand sure paint a colourful picture. Their blog is also ridiculously helpful and inspiring if you’re an active traveler:

4. Nick and Karen @globetrotwithus –  have dark and DREAMY visuals with an inspiring blog to match. Just have a look:

5. @MrandMrsMonnet – This gorgeous Hong Kong couple show us how to travel like an absolute BOSS! so very chic!


6. Jen & Rudolph @themarriedwanderers “Because what is marriage if not an adventure?” Follow this couple on their adventurous union here: Blog

7. Ryan and Sam @ourtravelpassport –  provide us with the perfect dreamy page travel inspirations. check their experiences here: blog

Happy Valentine’s Day!

#CoupleTravel: In the spirit of Love

What adventure do you reckon is more greater; to travel or to be in love?

How about both? To travel the world, expand your cultural understanding, discover new destinations that too with someone you love  by your side, what could be more rewarding than that?!

We’ve also heard that couples who travel together stay together. How true that is, we will leave to your judgement…meanwhile in the spirit of celebrating Love, we share some inspirational couple travel quotes.

zuru kenya couple
“A couple who travel together, grow together.” ― Ahmad Fuadi

“A couple who travel together, grow together.” ― Ahmad Fuadi

zuru kenya couples
Will you give me yourself? Will you come travel with me? Shall we stick by each other as long as we live? – Walt Whitman

Will you give me yourself? Will you come travel with me? Shall we stick by each other as long as we live? – Walt Whitman

zuru kenya couples
“Traveling is like flirting with life. It’s like saying, “I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.” – Lisa St. Aubin de Teran

“Traveling is like flirting with life. It’s like saying, “I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.” – Lisa St. Aubin de Teran

zuru kenya couple
Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back, and reasons to stay.

Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back, and reasons to stay.

zuru kenya couple
“Travel only with thy equals or thy betters; if there are none, travel alone.” –The Dhammapada

“Travel only with thy equals or thy betters; if there are none, travel alone.” –The Dhammapada

zuru kenya couple
“Travel brings power and love back into your life” – Rumi

“Travel brings power and love back into your life” – Rumi

zurukenya couple
I wanna travel the world with you. Go to every country, every city, take pictures and be happy.

I wanna travel the world with you. Go to every country, every city, take pictures and be happy.

zuru kenya couples
“Travel is like love, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.” — Pico Iyer

“Travel is like love, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.” — Pico Iyer

zuru kenya couples
“In Life, It’s Not Where You Go, It’s Who You Travel With” – Charles Schulz

“In Life, It’s Not Where You Go, It’s Who You Travel With” – Charles Schulz

Couple zuru kenya
“Only through travel can we know where we belong or not, where we are loved and where we are rejected.” ― Roman Payne

“Only through travel can we know where we belong or not, where we are loved and where we are rejected.” ― Roman Payne

10 Things to Know Before Moving to Kenya

Is moving to Kenya at the top of your things to do list this year? Fantastic! this is going to be one adventurous ride.

If this is going to be your first time in the country though, you need to fasten your seat belt because no thanks to the much sought entertainment value depicted in the Kenyan-based big hit films and documentaries, the Kenya you’ve familiarized yourself with on screen is nothing compared to the Kenya you are about to experience.

What then – if not sunsets and safaris?

1. It’s not always a sunny paradise

Image result for rainy kenya

Whilst the beautiful tropical climate might have drawn you here, don’t discard your cold weather outfits because some regions can be unforgivably cold.

2. Where you choose to live as an expat in Nairobi directly relates to your social circle

zuru kenya
Appleton Resort, a seductively and exclusive well designed town resort in the midst of the serene and leafy up market residential area of Westlands.

There are two obvious choices of living areas as an expat settling in Nairobi: Karen or Westlands. Karen is usually where you find the old-timers and the families who have been around for years, whereas Westlands boasts a more diverse community being the area of choice for the United Nations and other Embassies.

3. There’s no hurry in Africa

Image result for no hurry in africa

This is one phrase you’ll have to be accustomed to, so is the behavior that comes with it. Reality on the ground is that it shouldn’t come as a shock to you when an event you attend doesn’t start as scheduled. Don’t be frustrated if deadlines aren’t met either, Kenyans are always running late!

4. PaaPaa PeePeeeeeee… Traffic Jam In the city
Image result for traffic jam nairobi

 

Traffic congestion on our roads is horrendous! Nairobi being most notorious. One therefore needs to master the art of avoiding traffic so as not to get caught up in the madness. The rule of thumb is to leave for your destination before or after the rush hours; mornings between 7:00 a.m and 9:00 a.m and evenings between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.  nonetheless, you’ll want to allow extra time for your commute, even if it’s not “rush hour.”

5. You will start to refer to yourself as Kenyan, regardless of what it says on your passport

you'll call yourself kenyan zurukenya
Image: osbke.com

It is very easy to connect in Kenya simply because the locals are very friendly and welcoming. It also helps that most cities are a hub of social activities; festivals, concerts, art exhibits alongside having meetup groups that organize outdoorsy events. Don’t be a loner!

6. You are either a Land Rover or a Land Cruiser person

Image result for offroad safari kenya rhino charge
Hitting the road in the BRCK Land Rover Image: brck.com

The reason for this is simple: safaris. There is an ongoing debate as to which car is better to take bundu bashing (off-road driving).

Another thing, from the moment you land on Kenyan soil, you will realize  that driving here is not for the faint at heart…there aren’t any rules really. The bigger the car you drive, the better your chances of winning any on-road battle. So get yourself a four-wheel drive to be on the safe side.

7. Our reputation as an insecure country is undeserved

Image result for travel ban

Sure we’ve had our hiccup with terrorism but Kenya isn’t as dangerous as portrayed. You will however need to be cautious of security concerns common to all major cities such as petty crime.

It helps to avoid crowded areas, do not expose your most valued possessions in public and in case you use public transportation, stay alert the entire duration of the journey. Moreover,  be cautious of strangers who approach you in need of help; this may sometimes be a tactic to lure you into a dangerous situation.

8. Real Estate is Growing

Image result for real estate westlands and karen kenya
Have nowhere to stay yet? no worries, you’ll be spoilt for choice. The real estate market has grown significantly in Kenya  with both furnished and unfurnished apartments and houses being readily available. Rental listings are easy to find online and you could as well deal directly with a reputable real estate company, such as Hass ConsultKnight Frank, or Lamudi Kenya.  There are also expat community sites and groups online that could assist with suggestions. As always, exercise caution whenever you make contact online.

 

9. You will be kept in the dark. Literally!

Image result for candle light no power kenya

If patience is an area you need work on, then heads up, you’ll need lots of it. Be prepared for constant power outages, more so during the rainy season. In case you do not want to waste money on stocking perishables or better yet value constant internet connection, then you’d better stock up on a generator.

10. You don’t really need to carry cash. Ever!

Image result for mobile money mpesa

Well except for chump change in case you need to negotiate price. Thank God for ‘M-Pesa’ (mobile money service). The whole country uses M-Pesa. Using the mobile money service, Kenyans keep cash on their mobile phones and can then pay bills or send money just by sending a text. When they need the physical cash, they can then withdraw it at any  M-Pesa agent across the country in less than a minute. How about that?!

Save