Category Archives: Things to do

12 heart-thumping reasons why Kereita Forest should top your bucket-list

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!

Zip line
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!

Paintball
Pick your team, get kitted out and start dodging… shoot or be spluttered in sticky paint in the most exhilarating activity at The Forest.

zuru kenya the forest - kereita

Archery
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.

zuru kenya the forest - kereita

Mountain Biking
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.

E-bikes
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.

Forest Rovers
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.

Nature Walks
Inspiring and informative, a guide leads you through the forest and reveals its secrets.

Tree planting
Give back to the future by planting indigenous trees.

Fly Fishing
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.

Foot golf
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?

Horse Riding
The Forest on a horse back WOW! This activity is available to experienced riders as well as first timers.

Camping

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!

Team Building

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!

Advertisements

Get off the beaten path with safarisharing

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.

#BudgetTravel: 7 Ways To Save Money While Traveling In Kenya

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

zurukenya budget travel

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

zuru kenya budget travel
Image credit: Modern

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.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

7 Wildlife Photography Tips to know for Your Next Safari

There’s only one thing better than an actual wildlife safari adventure, and that’s going through all your photographs on your return. Shooting photographs of wild animals is an art form and it can be extremely gratifying when you get extreme close ups of the big five or an action shot of a kill. Not only is it cool to boast to your friends about what you’ve seen, but you’ll have all these amazing memories of your trip to look back on forever.

zuru kenya photography tips

Any African safari produces the perfect opportunity for memorable photo taking. Here are some photography tips for your next safari.

#1. Make Sure You Have The Right Gear

Having the right photographic gear while you’re on your safari is essential. You’ll want to capture a number of different shots, which will require a variety of lenses. You’ll also want to ensure that everything is easily accessible. If you don’t have a proper camera bag that fits your camera and gear, it would be a wise investment. Then you only need to remember to take one bag on the game vehicle with you and everything will be within reach. In your camera bag you’ll want to pack:

  •       Camera body
  •       Lenses with lens covers or caps
  •       Battery packs
  •       Memory cards
  •       Battery charger
  •       Cables for instant transfer to your tablet or laptop
  •       Camera cleaning equipment

#2. Zoom Lens Is A Must-Have

Make sure you have a great zoom lens on hand in order to capture shots that are further away from the vehicle than a standard lens can capture. You don’t want pixelated photos, but want to be able to enjoy every detail down to a lion’s whiskers. Anything from a 200mm to a 500mm is your most popular choice and is still manageable and easy to carry around.

Image credit: Dave Dugdale

#3. Pack Extra Batteries And Memory Cards

What could be worse than spotting an incredible sighting such as a leopard in a tree or a mother hyena feeding her young… and you realise that your memory card is full? Frantically trying to delete photos from your memory card could result in you deleting something worth keeping. A dead battery is the absolute worst and it’s totally avoidable. Ensure you have a spare, charged battery and memory card in your camera bag to avoid any missed shots.

#4. Use Your Guide’s Knowledge To Your Advantage

Your safari guide or ranger will have expert, intimate knowledge of the bush and will – in most cases – be able to tell when you’re about to encounter an animal. They can track animals from kilometers away and also hear or see them long before you do. Alert them to the fact that you’re seeking that elusive photograph and they can give you a heads up when the opportunity is approaching. They can also position the game vehicle favorably for your photographic benefit.

#5. Be Camera Ready At All Times

Make sure that the shutter speed and aperture are both ready and set for you to take photographs at will. Then when the moment arises, you simply need to perfect your composition, focus and snap the shot. If you’re not comfortable working with a manual setup then you can always set your camera to automatic and simply point and snap as and when you see the perfect moment.

#6. Avoid The Flash At Night

It sounds counter intuitive, but the flash can blind the animals temporarily, which can be really dangerous for prey and tame game. It also makes the animals eyes come out red or white in the photograph, which isn’t very appealing.

#7. Practice Before The Drive

Take a few practice shots before the drive at different angles and with the light coming from different directions. Make sure you’re happy with your setup and that you’re aware of how the direction of light and angle of the shot will affect your end product. The sun behind you will always produce the best shots, but isn’t always possible. Take full advantage when conditions are perfect and take as many photos as you can.

Of course you can always edit your photographs afterwards, but the best shots are those that require minimal tweaking.

Good luck!


Guest Post courtesy of  TourRadar, an online marketplace for travelers to compare and book multi-day tours.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

6 must-try indoorsy attractions in Nairobi

Nairobi is probably the most popular destination in Kenya, and with good reason. The city known as a place of cool waters is famous largely for blending the country’s largest urban area with the nature that brings so many tourists to this part of the world. As such, it’s known largely for outdoor attractions: the national park, the Uhuru Gardens, the giraffe center and elephant orphanage, and even some of the authentic markets. These are the main draws to the city.

If you happen to visit Nairobi, however, there’s always the chance that the weather will keep you indoors, or that you’ll simply be interested in breaking up your trip with a day away from nature exploration. In such a case it helps to know about the indoor attractions that are available, even in a city known largely for nature.

Banana Hill Art Gallery

indoorsy-activities-zuru-kenyaBecause there are so many natural wonders to enjoy in Kenya and the surrounding countries, some might be surprised to learn that this country is actually particularly well known for its numerous art galleries. The Banana Hill Art Gallery in Nairobi showcases the work of over 70 artists and sculptors largely from Kenya and the East African region. Having been opened some 11 years ago, the art gallery makes for an excellent exhibition of contemporary African art. Paintings and sculptures alike show off some of the best tendencies of artists from this part of the world, and make the gallery a perfect place to explore on a rainy day (or otherwise!).

Panari Sky Center Ice Skating

indoorsy-activities-zuru-kenyaYou don’t exactly think about ice rinks when you imagine a vacation to Kenya. Nevertheless, ice skating is very much an option, and can be a great change of pace from exploring the city and the surrounding country. Particularly if the weather is just getting a little too hot for you, you might want to duck in for a few hours of skating.

Finix Casino

indoorsy-activities-zuru-kenya

This is a casino just outside the main part of town that has it all: table games, slots, jackpots, roulette, etc. The slots in particular will be recognizable even if you’re not much of a casino person. This is because we’ve seen a lot of these slot games make a successful transition to smart devices, and therefore into mainstream gaming culture. At Finix, you’ll find some of these newest and most popular games, in addition to a generally festive atmosphere that’s always a nice break from the city. You don’t have to put much money down to enjoy the environment (and perhaps a few cocktails as well).

Nairobi National Museum

indoorsy-activities-zuru-kenyaAs stated, the area is known for a lot of art galleries. But the Nairobi National Museum is less of a painting exhibition or a demonstration of contemporary art, and more of a tribute to Kenya’s history. There are outdoor attractions (a hiking trail and botanical gardens) for nicer days, but if you’re looking to duck inside for a few hours there’s a lot of fascinating art and history to be enjoyed. You’ll find paintings, sculptures, artifacts, and explanations of numerous pieces significant to Nairobi and Kenya as a whole.

Le Palanka

indoorsy-activities-zuru-kenyaThis is a restaurant in town, but a very unique one that international travelers in particular will enjoy. That’s because the menu is very authentic, offering African ingredients and preparations done to perfection. A lot of guests rave about the environment, which makes for an experience that is fun and intimate. It’s a terrific place for a bite to eat, and for a prolonged meal if you’re escaping the weather for a little bit or for any other reason.

Brew Bistro

indoorsy-activities-zuru-kenyaKenya actually has about as strong a reputation for beer as any place in Africa. Thanks to the famous Tusker Lager, one of just a few African beers that are well known outside of their home territories. It’s not uncommon to see pictures of tourists enjoying this beer, or even to run into people wearing Tusker shirts, having traveled to Kenya at one point or another. As a result of the much savored kenyan brew, the brewing scene in the country has garnered great recognition which has seen smaller more custom breweries crop up. All the more reason beer lovers will enjoy Brew Bistro;  a place where one can enjoy a larger range of Kenyan beers in a clean, modern, miniature brewery. It’s a very fun option day and night, and a nice way to enjoy yourself indoors.

——–

Tyler Martin

|Freelance writer and world traveler|

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

What the tuk-tuk?: Mombasa’s Love – hate relationship with the little three-wheeled hardy vehicle

There are lots of things to expect once you land in Mombasa. Cultural diversity, a city rich in history, scenic beaches, a myriad of touristic destinations, warm people…

And then, there is the tuk-tuk.

There’s no missing the tuk-tuk.

tuk tuk zuru kenya
Source: thirdlocal.com

Swiftly maneuvering the old city’s narrow cobbled and congested streets, the little sputtering three-wheeled motorized vehicle has undoubtedly become very symbolic of Mombasa. They are everywhere! A multitude of them!

Preferred for their compact size and swift maneuverability, tuk-tuks make wheezing around Mombasa such a breeze. Their ability to negotiate tight corners and park almost anywhere is perhaps one of the reasons that locals favor them as a short-distance mode of transport which allows for convenient door-to-door service. Tourists would especially enjoy the tuk-tuk experience with their small canopy and windowless body providing for full view of the scenic sites while enjoying a breezy ride through the city at a much lower cost.

 tuk-tuk zuru kenya
Source: thirdlocal.com

This little three-wheeler with a capacity for three passengers (but just like a taxi, mostly boards one passenger at a time) has a little space at the back allocated for luggage and in case of bad weather, there’s a drop-down side flap that covers the windowless frame. You will also come to notice that tuk-tuks in Mombasa have a personality of their own, no two are the same. Well of course there are those drivers who prefer to stick with the tuk-tuks original outlook whereas others tend to get a bit more creative with their autos; tricking them out with bumpin’ speakers, flashing neon, graffiti amongst other forms of ‘bling’.

tuk-tuk zuru kenya
Source: travelstart.co.ke
tuk tuk zuru kenya
source: Graphic World

With the much expediency that tuk-tuks offer, why would anyone have a problem with them?

Here’s why,

The tuk-tuk invasion if you like, has primarily been a thorn in the side of the county government for a while now with several attempts to steer them clear of some parts of the central business district having been futile. Not only are they noisy but they are also believed to be a major contributor to the congestion of the city’s main streets. Getting rid of them has however not been an easy feat. This is especially so when a large number of passengers utilize them to traverse from one point to another within the CBD itself.

tuk-tuk zuru kenya
source: Daily Nation

Did I mention Noisy? Many residents tend to fume about the noise pollution and rightly so! The puttering noise that these hardy vehicles make is simply unbearable! Especially if you have to listen to it every second of every day bearing in mind that Mombasa city is not only a business area but also a residential area that houses a large number of locals. Sound proofing makes for a good investment if one resides within the city.

In case you are yet to embark on your own tuk-tuk experience within Mombasa city, we’ve listed some tips below to help smooth along your first encounter.

tuk tuk zuru kenya
Source: monitor.co.ke

Things to note:

  1. Don’t just board and pay at your drop-off point.  

Have you ever boarded a tuk-tuk only to be asked to pay an outrageous amount upon alighting?

Unless you are aware of the tuk tuk fare, do not attempt the “board and pay later” tactic. As you will learn fast, locals have a way of sniffing non-locals so to be safe, always settle on the fare before you climb aboard, otherwise you will find yourself having to shell out a hefty charge at your destination. Please note that some drivers will tend to note give out the rate firsthand after you ask, responding with “just get in” instead.  Be persistent and ask again until they respond with a satisfactory rate.

  1.  Familiarize yourself with route fares.

Find out the local rates before hailing a tuk-tuk. It shouldn’t be so difficult to realize the appropriate price by asking the locals – of course some of them will give you rates above the norm but mostly you should be able to get the correct price point. Be careful not to ask the driver the distance or duration of the destination, if they see that you are new to the area they will definitely lie and overcharge you for a distance that you may not have needed to get a tuk-tuk in the first place to get there. It’s also good to note that the locals of Mombasa are majorly friendly and readily willing to assist (unless of course for some elements whom I can neither confirm nor deny to be native locals), so plenty of times responses given should be pretty legit.

  1. Its ok to negotiate!

Familiarizing yourself with the price-points gives you a good advantage at bargaining where you can easily talk the drivers down to a certain level that is satisfactory to both of you. It’s also okay to walk away if you feel the fare is super high. There are plenty of tuk-tuks lined up so if one driver doesn’t budge another one will.

  1. Where to hail a tuk-tuk? 

Certainly, not in front of a fancy restaurant or resort I can tell you that much. Some tuk-tuk drivers have a habit of sizing people up and if they pick you up at a somewhat upscale location then that is some extra change for them. If you intend on using a tuk-tuk and are staying at a hotel, do not let the driver pick you up from the hotel’s entrance instead walk to the main road which shouldn’t be very far away. This will give you a better chance of striking a good bargain.

  1. The destination

There’s one thing in Mombasa that highly differs from Nairobi and probably other cities and towns, locals familiarize themselves with places and not street addresses. Do not expect an accurate response when you ask for Moi Avenue, Haille selassie, Nkurumah road, Nyerere Avenue or even Tom Mboya Street only a people few can pin-point that out for you if you are lucky. Instead ask for Ambalal, Posta, Nawal centre, Fort Jesus, Ferry and so on…

It is therefore more convenient to tell the tuk-tuk driver the name of the place you are going to instead of the address. The drivers have familiarized themselves with most of the hotels, touristic attractions, market places, office buildings and so on. If you give them the address, you will definitely get lost. That’s a  guarantee!

  1. Enjoy your ride!

Once you’ve gained the confidence and are now familiar with the tuk-tuk ways, just hop on, tell the driver where you want to go, give the fare and hop off. It’s that simple. We do not however promise you of a smooth ride all the time; some streets tend to be bumpy, sometimes with potholes and never ending stream of pedestrians. Just hold on tight when the tuk-tuk bounces from one lane to another as some drivers tend to be oblivious of the fact that they have passengers on board.

#Stargazers: Chasing the African Night Sky

City life tends to get us engulfed in so much that we forget to appreciate and enjoy the little things in life. One such little thing is simply looking up at the African night sky, undoubtedly one of the best things you could ever take time to do.

The city robs us of this experience, what with huge skyscrapers, light pollution among other distractions. To be honest most of us only get to appreciate the existence of the moon let alone the stars when power goes out no?!

If you are yet to marvel at the beautiful African night sky, your best bet is to travel to the remote country areas. Something the  astrophotographers below got to appreciate. We are just glad they got to bring back souvenirs from their Kenyan stargazing adventures courtesy of their night captures.

Zuru Kenya - African night sky
Turkana – ©2008 Jon Warren/World Vision
Zuru Kenya - African night sky
Amboseli night sky – Nick Saglibeni
Zuru Kenya - African night sky
Amboseli National Park, southern Kenya ©Tunc Tezel
Zuru Kenya - African night sky
African night sky – @deadmau5
Zuru Kenya - African night sky
Babak Tafreshi/National Geographic Society
Zuru Kenya - African night sky
The Mara night sky – Mark Gee
Zuru Kenya - African night sky
Milky Way over Mount Kilimanjaro – Dale Johnson
Zuru Kenya - African night sky
Kenya Stargazing – image via flickr user Weldon Kennedy

Haller Park: From wasteland to Paradise

The beauty that is now ‘Haller Park’ was once an industrial wasteland. In 1970, one Dr. Rene Haller, took upon him the task of rehabilitating a barren cement quarry whose floor was hard as rock and groundwater saline.

Dr. Haller set out to transform this industrial wasteland into a flourishing natural park, something that was unheard of at the time. His vision; to establish a multitude of plants, providing food and shelter to a large variety of animals.”

Through careful observation of how plants and animals interact, and a series of trial-and-error experiments, Dr. Rene Haller achieved what many had thought was inachievable.

Over 1 million trees  planted, and having a range of insects, butterflies, birds and mammals introduced, we now have Haller Park; a serene nature enthusiasts’ haven. Each plant, insect or animal had a purpose to keep the ecosystem in balance. Now Haller Park is a beautiful Wildlife Sanctuary, home to over 30 species of endangered animals and a favorite spot for family time over the weekends.

Haller park zurukenya

Haller park zuru kenya

Haller park zurukenya

Haller Park zurukenya

Haller park zurukenya

Haller park zurukenya

haller park zurukenya

hallerpark zurukenya

haller park zuru kenya

haller park zuru kenya

haller park zurukenya

haller park zuru kenya

haller park zuru kenya

haller park zuru kenya

haller park zuru kenya

haller park zuru kenya

haller park zuru kenya

haller park zuru kenya

NB: Nearly 100,000 people visit Haller Park every year.

Entry Fee: kshs. 500 per person *subject to change

The Little Beach at Barracuda

Driving down the small trail, a Watamu local in the backseat giving us directions, I couldn’t have envisioned what awaited us. I’ve had my fair share of coastal beaches but what I was about to step into I couldn’t have imagined. This little piece of paradise sitting pretty outside the small village of Watamu, is no wonder Watamu is listed as having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Once you step on the beach, the rocky lagoons across the street instantly catch your eye. These reef-protected lagoons line the Watamu National Marine Park and Reserves, which are the oldest in East Africa and one of the best kept secrets in the world recognized internationally as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

The Blue Lagoon bay where we chose to spend our christmas afternoon is known for its extraordinarily clear waters sheltering a rich marine life; ideal for snorkelling and offers great panoramic views out over the bay. Watersports, swaying hammocks and luxury beachfront resorts complete the picture – it’s the perfect definition of paradise.

Little beach at barracuda - zuru kenya

little beach at barracuda 1 - zuru kenya

little beach at barracuda 2 - zuru kenya

Little beach at barracuda 3 - zuru kenya

little beach at barracuda 4 - zuru kenya

little beach at barracuda 5 - zuru kenya

little beach at barracuda 6 - zuru kenya

little beach at barracuda 7 - zuru kenya

little beach at barracuda 8 - zuru kenya

little beach at barracuda 9 - zuru kenya

little beach at barracuda 10 - zuru kenya

little beach at barracuda 11 - zuru kenya

little beach at barracuda 12 - zuru kenya

little beach at barracuda 13 - zuru kenya

little beach at barracuda 14 - zuru kenya

little beach at barracuda 15 - zuru kenya

little beach at barracuda 16 - zuru kenya

little beach at barracuda 17 - zuru kenya

little beach at barracuda 18 - zuru kenya

little beach at barracuda 19 - zuru kenya

What to anticipate: A “beach boy” or two may approach you with a boat ride offer to the Marine Park. On seeing that we weren’t interested in seeing dolphins, the guy who’d approached us offered to join him and his crew at their hangout joint, a small makuti restaurant where they look out for clients.

Here I met Hussein Guida Turistica who currently goes by the alias Brian when at work. Given the terrorist attacks that majorly hurt the tourism economy, he fears that using his real name Hussein will ward off clients and he could not afford to lose his main way of earning a living.

The little beach at barracuda 20 - zuru kenya
Hussein Guida Turistica taking me round the bay

little beach at barracuda 21 - zuru kenya

little beach at barracuda 22 - zuru kenya
Hussein Guida Turistica requested for this photo with this lovely lady when we first met him

Italian is the language of commerce here and once in a while he and his friends would shift from swahili to italian when they didn’t want us  to here what they were saying while bargaining for a boat ride to the Marine Park.

Ways to keep kids happy during a game drive

Now that we are settled on a safari this festive season, we of course have to give you tips on getting through it with ease and ensuring that you enjoy your experience to the fullest.

If your’s is a family getaway, you may be a bit worried if your kids will be safe and sound while embarking on game drives. Worry not; our tips will set you up for that perfect holiday experience.

The biggest attraction of any family safari holiday is naturally “The Big 5″: lions, African elephants, Cape buffalo, leopards, and rhinoceros. With this in mind, guided safari drives are the safest way for children and families to maximise the magical Kenya experience. Whilst children may get very excited about seeing wildlife, patience is often needed while tracking the African game therefore the main concern here is whether your kids may or may not behave.

Wait until your children are at an appropriate age
The key is to wait until your kids are at the point where they can take instructions (especially on when to keep still and be quiet for the safety of the group). Recommended ages is 5 and over, however ensure that you check with the accommodation first on their policies regarding children and game drives (most require children to be at least 8 years old).

Encourage participation
Children get bored easily. You definitely want to ensure that once bored, they do not start causing tantrums. Let your kids be part of the action by either letting them use a camera or a binocular, who knows they may spot the game before you do.

zuru kenya ways to keep kids happy on a game drive

Have activities ready to keep children busy during the drive
Driving to your safari destination may take a few hours and parents know that even the most patient child will get bored during the drive. You can either prepare your ‘our activity package’ with coloring sheets and quiet games, or ask your safari guide and lodge for ideas to keep children busy.

Consider a self-drive or private safari
At larger lodges where families may have to share vehicles during a game drive, keep in mind not all travelers will enjoy having children on their safari. In such cases, get a private guide and vehicle if possible.

ways to keep kids happy on a game drive - zuru kenya

Book with a reliable tour operator that accommodates kids
The family travel market is full of tour operators offering safaris to families on a budget; it may be tempting to book with a less expensive operator. Keep in mind that not all lodges accommodate children and that less expensive is not always better. Look out for a single tour operator offering an established portfolio of properties.

Pack clothing that will keep them comfortable
Most family safari game drives take place in the morning or afternoon but older children may want to take part in night drives too. If this is the case, remember to bring warm clothes in the jeep.

ways to keep kids happy during a game drive - zuru kenya

Remember your little kids are potential prey for the Big 5
Yes, it’s a scary thought that your young children could potentially be a meal for wild dogs. On her post on National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel, Heather Greenwood-Davis reminds parents to weigh the prey factor. “My sons once stepped out of a jeep at a game reserve where wild dogs were being preserved and the immediate transformation of the dogs from playful puppies to hunters made me very grateful for the electric fence,” she writes.

Don’t feel pressured to go on every safari game drive
The excitement of being on a family trip can get the kids wanting to take part in all the drives and activities offered which in turn may leave them cranky and exhausted. If your children are tired, let them sleep. “Let your little ones rest when things are slow and rouse them for the highlights, tired kids make for terrible safari companions.”

ways to keep kids happy during a game drive - zuru kenya

Since safari lodges and camps offer several drives throughout the day, you and your family can still get a break from the excitement of it all and enjoy some quiet family-time together back at camp.

Image courtesy: andbeyond.com, bushtracks.