Category Archives: Things to do

Tips for traveling with kids

August is here!! which means school term is over for a majority of the kids. Which also means that your kids will need entertaining.

For those of you planning to take your kids off to some fun destination this August, we have compiled some facts you need to put into consideration before you embark on your travels.

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Image source: Kuoni

Let’s be honest. Traveling with young children during holidays is a hassle for a number of parents. This can be attributed to kids throwing tantrums, becoming disorderly and a nuisance hence messing up with the whole fun.

Traveling with small children doesn’t need to get on your nerves though. With a bit of know-how on how to manage them, good recollections can become of the road trip. Traveling with them should be a moment to ignite indelible memories of joy and provide a platform to bond well with them without much worry.

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Here are a number of tips you can put in place before you go for a vacation with small children.

Safety for the kids
When hitting the road, safety comes first. Is your car in good condition? Are the seat belts well fitted? Or is the children’s car seat comfortable? In case you are going to use different cars make sure the seats are comfy for them to enjoy when traveling regardless of the distance.

Look for a child friendly hotel
Quite a good number of hotels in tourist attraction sites are not child-friendly to a degree of exposing kids to stress or danger. Before settling in any of the rooms, as a parent you have to make sure the room is well lit, windows and doors are well fitted to keep the kids out of cold weather in cases of winter/cold seasons. You should also take note of those doors with noisy hinges that may wake up kids while in sound sleep. If the room has a balcony, make sure the guard rails are firmly fitted and not providing a chance for them to pass through to an extent of falling off the balcony. If not change your room real quick.

Eat at nice hotels
Remember you are on vacation and everything has to be exciting mostly for the kid(s) so as his/her attention cannot be diverted. The hotel should be appealing to the little angel(s) ask the waitress/ waiter if certain kinds of foods are offered to avoid giving the children food they are not fond of. DON’T do buffets. Some hotels have a low food turnover and this can result to food poisoning not only to the kids but also, you as an adult. To avoid this, you can look for a busy hotel where you can be sure the food served is very fresh. You can also request for a comfortable sitting arrangement that won’t ruin other people’s peace at the hotel since kids tend to pull tables or run around disrupting other people.

Engage the children….
It is rewarding to include the kids in activities during the outing. It is sensible that children are kept aware of the trip. Involving them in planning, shopping makes them feel part of the trip. This will help impart some sense of responsibility. When in a park, let them learn to take photo shots or if it’s a fishing escapade for instance, teach them how to do it. It will help them recollect the memories after the trip.

Finally, you can never be sure of weather patterns and though you are guaranteed of experiencing fatigue, you may not know if the kids will develop some allergy while on the trip. It’s therefore of much essence that you carry some medicine with you.

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Reasons why you won’t feel like a loner, backpacking!!

Sipping my healthy smoothie by the  Kilifi Backpackers bar counter, I watch as my friend tries to get a splinter off of *James (a fellow traveller’s) foot . Poor thing went swimming at the beach and left his stuff (bag, shoes, and bicycle) unattended. Unfortunately for him, “Cha kuokota si cha kuiba” finding is not stealing, is a rule some people live by on this ends, his bag and shoes got stolen and had he not left his bicycle somewhere in the bushes, his transport back “home” would have gone too! With his shoes gone, getting his bicycle from the bushes left him with a thorny situation.

Even after cleaning his wound when he got back from the beach, *James could still feel some sharp pain on the foot and that’s when he asked us to check it out. Funny thing though about this whole situation, I doubt he would have gotten any such assistance from fellow guests in a classic or luxury travel setting, everyone keeps to themselves! Imagine you and your friends enjoying your drinks in some luxurious hotel bar, laughing with each other about jokes nobody outside of your group will understand, based on memories and past experiences you had with those friends. Now imagine some random dude approaching you and asking for help with his foot situation. What would your reaction be? weirded out perhaps?

With backpacking, things are different.  Sure, not everyone will be welcoming with open arms when you ask if you may join them for dinner, some people want to be left alone sometimes, but I guarantee you that 99% of people will say “sure, no problem”.  See even though we were not really “buddies” with James, we were not really strangers per se, we had cheered him on during the daily beach volleyball, shared conversation over breakfast,  heck we even got to “babysit” his beers!! so we were already familiar with him.

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If you are setting out to travel on your lonesome and are worried about loneliness creeping up on you, fear not, backpacking is here!

Just like our time at Distant Relatives, you will realise that almost everyone backpacking is travelling alone as well. Moreover, everyone wants to make friends. As a matter of fact, you may have to TRY to be alone!  It does not matter how introverted you are, it is impossible not to meet new people; for instance, at times you may just be sitted by yourself wanting some alone time when a stranger joins you for conversation.

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Whether you’re lounging in a hammock on the balcony or frying something in the communal kitchen, at any moment you could strike up a conversation with a  stranger and make a friend for life.

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Aside from that, meeting new people is inevitable when staying in a hostel, or dorm rooms. You won’t have a choice but to get to know them. Just say hello and ask where they’ve been, where they’re going, how long they’ve been around and if they’d recommend anything cool to do or see.

I’m not sure it’s possible to feel lonely at a hostel and more often than not, you may end up craving some alone time.

In the backpacking world, it’s always someone’s first or last night and therefore a reason to go out – which means there’s a lot of drinking going on (A LOT!). Therefore, if parties are your thing, you will never fall short. Going out for dinner one night with several strangers and never seeing them again is part of the fun and it’s what happens. People are aware of it and it’s kind of the norm.

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You meet great people, and then tomorrow they are gone. Maybe you will see each other again, maybe not. In some cases though, some of these people may end up being the group you travel around with, which is a great bonus!

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Backpacking is a great lifestyle; It’s fun, social, has a  youthful vibe to it and you get to meet amazing people. There will be people you meet who become your friends for a week, friends for a month and friends for life. Happy Backpacking!!!
Photo Credits: Distant Relatives Kilifi Backpackers

19 Reasons Kenya Needs to Be Higher on Your Bucket List

There are few places in the world that have the incredibly varying landscapes that Kenya has, which is what makes this small, yet breathtaking country such a magical place to visit. The range in temperatures, habitats and geography are the reason this country is home to so many different species of rare wildlife, many of which can be only be found in the grassy plains, rain forests and wooded savannas of Kenya. But it’s not just the wildlife that captivates you when you’re visiting; the incredibly rich culture, amazing food and humble and passionate people pull you in with an almost magnetic pull.

The sad truth about Kenya, however, is that the beauty of this place remains unseen to so many groups of tourists due to the scary, and somewhat fabricated, reputation that has sprouted up due to social and economic problems recently faced by the country. For a country just recently (within the past 50 years) liberated, there are bound to be some growing pains with establishing a government and status quo that works. But isn’t that the case with many countries? Sure, there are parts of Nairobi that are dangerous and some coastal villages are facing struggles between land and state, but why should that deter you from seeing the other 99 percent of the country that is not only safe, but welcoming and hospitable? Whether you’re in the very touristy areas or off the beaten path, you’ll be welcomed to Kenya with a warmth, openness and beauty that will have you truly speechless.

And how many countries leave you at a loss for words? When I came back from my trip to Kenya, that’s exactly how I found myself. And I’ve decided that maybe words aren’t what this incredible place needs to encourage people to visit, maybe it’s just photos. As I sift through the thousands of images I took of the beautiful Masai people, the landscapes and the wildlife roaming free, the adage “a picture says 1000 words” has never rang so true.

1. Hot air balloon safaris over the plains

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Where else can you blend a hot air balloon ride and a game drive at the same time? Plus, most only run at sunrise or sunset, giving you insanely gorgeous views of the bright pink and orange skies over the Masai Mara. Oh and did we mention that a full breakfast and champagne cocktails conclude your trip?

2. Herds of elephants in the Amboseli

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The Amboseli National Reserve is located in the Rift Valley Peninsula of Kenya and is famous for being the best place in Africa to get close to free-range herds of elephants. So close that one of the young, curious male’s trunks may accidentally touch the side of your face.

3. Pack of lions in the Masai Mara

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When you grow up in the U.S., the only time you see lions up close are behind the cages of your city’s zoo. When you grow up near the Masai Mara reserve in Kenya, you see packs of lions almost everyday on your way to work. And it’s surprising just how lazy these “kings of the jungle” really are.

4. The conservancies

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People crave adventure, once in a lifetime experiences and culture, which is why safaris have been a bucket list item for thousands of people for centuries. What makes a safari in Kenya especially meaningful is that you can choose to go on game drives in one of the 25 trusted conservancies, which work with the land owners and local tribes to further protect their wildlife. Instead of working against the local people, eco-tourism groups and hotels work with the owners of the land to build trusts which help protect the animals from human harm and poaching, while also helping the local people with a trusted source of income so they can better their lives and focus on education for their kids.

5. Sunsets over the conservancies

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There’s no better place to watch the sunset than over one of the twenty-five incredible conservancies in Kenya. For one, no skyscrapers or light pollution will obstruct the view. And two? You’ll see herds of zebras and wildebeest in the distance as you watch the sun dip.

6. The migration of Wildebeest from the Serengeti

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If you’re lucky enough to see the migration of the wildebeest, you’re lucky enough. Every summer (typically around August) they leave their home in the Serengeti National Reserve and migrate to the Masai Mara in Kenya. The most incredible part is that they often move in single file, very organized lines, which is beautiful to watch.

7. The bustling streets of Nairobi

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Nairobi has a bad rap, probably because you only hear about the crimes that happen in certain parts of the city. Like most growing cities, it does have crime and sections that should be avoided by tourists, but it also has parts that can’t be missed, like the National museum, the game reserve in the center of the city and the budget-friendly shopping where you grab locally made souvenirs.

8. The surprisingly delicious food

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Due to the country’s dynamic range of different cultures, tribes and backgrounds, there is no one “singular” dish that defines Kenya. Instead, the country is made up of various dishes that utilize the fresh and local produce, proteins and grains found in the area. Arguably one of the most popular dishes among locals is ugali, which is a cornmeal staple (much like polenta). You’ll also find lots of rice, beans, collard greens and rich meats like lamb, beef, chicken and goat.

9. The Hemingway Hotel

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Arguably the best hotel in Nairobi (and one of the most beautiful in all of Kenya), the Hemingway is where you want to stay when you’re spending a few days in the bustling capital. The vibe is very “5 star Indiana Jones” with stacked vintage suitcases and tufted couches. The rooms and the staff will make it very hard to leave.

10. Mount Kenya

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It may not be as high as Mount Kilimanjaro, but the hike up to the peak of Mount Kenya, a staggering 5,000 meters, is no walk in the park. Located in the eastern part of the Rift Valley, Mount Kenya is the highest peak in Kenya. The hike up offers stunning views of the Rift Valley and you’ll encounter rich vegetation, deep glacial valleys and snow topped peaks on your way up. Image via Go to Mount Kenya.

11. Amboseli National Park

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Best known for their families of elephants, the Amboseli is a park you can’t miss when you’re visiting Kenya. Not only is this reserve home to elephants, but here you’ll also find exotic birds (native to only Kenya), hippos, baboons, buffalo and cheetahs. Here you’ll also find the best full view of Mount Kilimanjaro than anywhere else in the world.

12. The amazing people

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People flock to Kenya for the incredible diversity in animals, but many don’t realize that the human population is just as fascinating. There are over 40 different ethnic populations that call the country home, from the Masai, to the Kikuyu and the Luo and Kamba. Not only that, but the demographic of Nairobi is equally as diverse, with large groups of Europeans, Americans and South Africans living among the busy streets. Along with the variety, you’ll never meet more personable, humble, proud, outgoing, excitable and funny people as the Kenyans.

13. Lamu

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You have have heard of Lamu in the news recently, sadly due to some violent outbreaks caused by neighboring tribes who live in the small town. However, don’t let these very rare outbreaks deter you from visiting one of the most beautiful villages in all of Kenya.The town is one of Kenya’s oldest inhabited ones and was founded in 1370 by the Swahili tribe. I don’t know what’s more beautiful, the town center, which is a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site, the townspeople or the stunning seaside and beaches. Image via WM Magazine.

14. The ever-changing landscape

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The country’s dramatic geography not only makes Kenya a great home to the thousands of different wildlife who live there, but also makes it such a desirable destination for all sorts of travelers. On the coast you get white sandy beaches and aqua water, in the north you have the mountains and more rugged terrain, while in the central and south you have tall grassy plains, rain forests and stunning lakes. It’s a geographical wonderland, really.

15. The elusive leopard and cheetah

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Arguably the most remarkable moments I have from my multiple game drives in the Masai Mara, Nairobi Park and Amboseli are when we were able to watch the very elusive leopards or cheetahs sitting, walking or eating. These wild cats are very endangered and the chances of seeing them are very rare, but when you do, these beautiful creatures will absolutely take your breath away.

16. Mara Plains and Mara Toto

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Mara Plains, the big sister of the two resorts located on the Olare Motorogi Conservancy, is sophisticated enough to be a five star resort but humble and personable enough to feel like an extended home away. Mara Toto is smaller, with just 7 tents, making it the perfect place to rent if you have a big family or a friends getaway. The staff at each place make you feel like you’re family, which make every second that much more relaxing.

17. Nairobi National Reserve

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The Nairobi National Reserve is only 117 square km wide, but don’t think that means you won’t see any wildlife. On our 3 hour game drive in this beautiful park just 7 m outside of the city center, we saw giraffes, zebra, impalas, buffalo and one elusive rhino. In fact, the Nairobi National Reserve is one of the only places in the country where you’ll still find the very endangered rhino roaming around.

18. David Sheldrick Elephant and Rhino Orphanage

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Poaching is still one of the major causes of death for elephants and rhinos in Africa. And you are never more aware of this fact than when you visit the David Sheldrick Elephant and Rhino Orphanage right outside Nairobi. Baby elephants (some as young as 1 month) who are orphaned due to poaching are rescued and brought to the orphanage to receive care until they are old enough to go back into the wild. Here you can adopt an elephant, which will give you the chance to catch a feeding, where keepers feed and nourish the baby elephants with bottles.

19. The quiet, peaceful moments

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In a world so crazed with busy schedules, constant emails and nonstop pressure from colleagues, friends and social media, it’s no wonder we don’t recognize a quiet, peaceful moment when it stumbles upon us. This moment, as we floated through the sky in a hot air ballon, was one of them. My travel colleague told us to all put down our cameras and our phones and just be in that moment. It was probably the most meaningful moment I had in years. The tranquility and the serenity of the landscape and the quiet was astounding.

Claire Gallam, Huffingtonpost.

Going Beyond the Safaris: Travel Experts Open Up About Kenya

It’s well known that Kenya is one of of the best spots in the world to take a safari. But did you know that it is also rife with topographical diversity? I’m talking about glacial mountains, Rift Valley volcanoes, coral reefs and desert escapes. Sounds pretty amazing, right? I thought so too, which is why I reached out to three travel experts–Jason Florio, of FlorioPhoto.com, Marcello Arrambide, of Wandering Trader, and Matt Gross, editor of BonAppetit.com and the author of The Turk Who Loved Apples–to get some of their best tips for traveling through this eclectic East African country.

Gnus and zebras in Mara Masai National Reserve. Image courtesy of Marcello Arrambide

Gnus and zebras in Mara Masai National Reserve. Image courtesy of Marcello Arrambide

What is your must-try food or beverage in Kenya? And why?

JF: I would go for a Somali lamb stew in the  Eastleigh neighborhood of Nairobi, which is also known as Little Mogadishu. Why have this in Kenya?  Because you don’t need six armed guards as your dining companions, which you would need if you went out to eat it in (Big) Mogadishu. As for drinks, I hate to be cliche, but it has to be the national brew, Tusker.

MA: The food I would say that everyone has to try are samosas and chapatis. Both are inspired by Indian cuisine but are found commonly throughout Kenya. They’ve become a common staple of Kenyan cuisine.

Samosas are what some may call an African version of an empanada. They are triangular in shape and deep fried, which creates an outer coating that is crispy brown. Inside you’ll find a tasty filling of spicy meat or even veggies.  You can find them alongside the endless number of street carts in the country (especially Nairobi). Samosas are one of my favorite things to eat while on the road in Kenya. Chapatis, on the other hand, can be compared to a pita flat bread.  No matter where I ordered this dish it was always the right texture and taste. Just soft enough to allow you to roll it into a pita and just hard enough to have with coffee or tea. It’s a great snack.

MG: I guess you have to eat ugali, which is sort of like the Kenyan version of polenta. They eat a lot a maize and corn there, and grind it up with flour to create this polenta-like semi-solid porridge that everybody eats at every meal. The other thing that’s pretty good is sukuma wiki. It’s a braised kale dish.

Giraffe licking Marcello in Kenya.

Giraffe licking Marcello in Kenya.

In your opinion, what’s an important “do this” or “don’t do that” when it comes to traveling in Kenya?

JF: Do learn how to paddle a tiny balsa wood canoe on Lake Baringo with the charming Njemp fisherman, and watch the fish eagles snatch fish from the lake around you–mind the hippos though.

Do not try and take pictures of the ferry crossing in Mombasa. The local security has come up with a neat little shakedown if they see you taking pictures. They have no authority and there are no clear signs about not photographing, but they will threaten you with police action. It cost me a $5 bribe and left a bad taste in my mouth–but that was soon washed out with a Tusker.

MA: When in Kenya interactions with the animals are a must. Outside of the common safari, I would highly recommend a visit to some of the orphanages and nonprofit organizations that allow tourists to get close to the animals. You can feed giraffes at the Giraffe Centre and even have breakfast with them at the Giraffe Manor.  Another exciting up close encounter would be the Elephant Orphanage where a massive family of elephants comes out for a feeding and to interact with the keepers. And then just outside of Nairobi the adventurous tourist is able to ride ostriches at a local ostrich farm. Tourists are even allowed to order ostrich for lunch as well.

MG: Do say hello to everyone–people you pass on the street, people you meet anywhere. Be happy, friendly and polite, because in Kenya people are friendly. They want to meet you, talk to you and hear about what’s going on. I got invitations to have dinner at random people’s houses because I was running past.

Don’t try to rush things. It’s a big country. It’s a bit messy and rough in places. You can’t assume that just because it is 30 miles from point A to point B that you should be able to get there in half an hour or that everything will be ready. You must be patient. You must also plan a lot of free time to account for the fact that things do not move as smoothly as they do in North America. But that can be enjoyable. It gives you more time to say hello to everybody.

Njemp people who live and work around Lake Baringo paddling their canoes made of balsa wood. ©Jason Florio 2013.

Njemp people who live and work around Lake Baringo paddling their canoes made of balsa wood. ©Jason Florio 2013.

Jason, what was one of the biggest challenges you, as a photographer, encountered while shooting in Kenya for the AFAR story, Runner’s High?

JF: Thinking I could make photographs of athletes sprinting along side giraffes.

Marcello, you saw the Big 5 on your first Kenyan safari, so I’m curious what your best tip is for someone going on their first African safari?

MA: I’d recommend that someone spends more time on a safari. The cheapest safari available is a three day safari where one drives all day to the reserve and a small drive is taken during the end of the day. The following day is a full day of safari and then an early departure the third and last day.  There are so many unique opportunities that can happen at a moments notice that one day just isn’t enough.  Also, make sure to have a good enough camera with a great zoom, even if you have to rent one. Safaris are a once in a lifetime experience and it would be shame if you couldn’t take pictures.

And finally, Matt, you spent two weeks running in the town of Iten for the AFAR story, Runner’s High, so what is your best advice for travelers who would like to go to Kenya to run?

MG: The thing is not to be intimidated. I was one of the slowest people for hundreds of miles around, but I ran twice a day and people recognized that. I remember coming back from one run, just like an afternoon/evening run that was like 10 miles, and, as everyone does, someone asked me, ‘How far did you run this afternoon?’ And I said, ‘10 miles.’ And they said, ‘Oh, oh, that’s nice.’ They were one of those professional Kenyan or British runners. And they were impressed that I did 10 miles after already having done five or seven in the morning. Forget all about your self-consciousness and just run, you’ll get respect for that.

Randy and Bethany

source: gadventures

Top romantic destinations this valentine’s

Valentine’s day is around the corner…

And whilst some of us may have already chosen the perfect destinations to spend with our loved ones, others may need a little help finding that ideal spot. Just in case you are planning to “pop that important question” this valentine’s but are yet to pin-point the perfect venue that works for you? no worries, you are in luck…we have a few ideas.

This beautiful country doesn’t fall short of romantic destinations. With a host of options to choose from, listed below are some top properties to guarantee you luxury, exclusivity and lots of romance.

1. INTO THE WILD – Loisaba Star Beds

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There’s nothing more romantic than being alone in the Kenya bush with your loved one, entwined in a comfortable bed wheeled out under the stars. Each Star Bed is a handcrafted wooden platform raised on stilts and partially covered with a thatched roof. The homemade “Mukokoteni” is a uniquely designed bed on wheels that enables you to be immersed in nature. Laikipiak Maasai will cook a delightful dinner and cater to your needs through the night, making the experience authentic and unforgettable. www.loisaba.com

2. THE GENUINE SAFARI EXPERIENCE – Mara Bushtops Camp

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Nestled in the Mara Siana Conservancy, Mara Bushtops is located close to the Mara River, a prime vantage point for the Great Migration, and boasts stunning views. Ideal for couples seeking a genuine and romantic safari experience, each luxury tent features a sunken hot tub made from local timber, indoor and outdoor showers, and incredible views of teeming wildlife. www.orion-hotels.net

3. THE BEACH STUNNER – The Majlis Hotel

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The Majlis Hotel is a privately owned boutique hotel, which faces Ras Kitau Bay and the soft murmur of the Indian Ocean waves. With 25 luxuriously appointed rooms and elegant architecture, The Majlis is an idyllic getaway for romantics seeking to explore another side of Kenya’s rich and diverse culture. The Majlis Hotel has the convenience of being close to Shela Village and Lamu Town. www.themajlisresorts.com

4. THE HEART OF AFRICA – Ol Malo

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Ol Malo is an authentic hideaway in Laikipia, which uses local materials to blend seamlessly in its stunning surrounding. Each double room features its own veranda and panoramic windows with views of Mount Kenya and the tribal heartlands of the nomadic Samburu people. From horseback rides to whitewater rafting, and camel safari to cross-mountain biking, Ol Malo boasts an array of activities for couples seeking romance and adventure. www.olmalo.com

5. THE MAJESTIC ESCAPE – Sanctuary Ol Lentille

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Santuary Ol Lentille conveys the epitome of African luxury. Perched on the flanks of a wooded rock kopje, Sanctuary Ol Lentille features four private, full-service and fully-staffed houses. From participating in community conservation programs to playing croquet or swimming in the “horizon” pool, Sanctuary offers a range of exciting activities sure to keep the romance alive. www.ol-lentille.com

6. THE ELEGANT OASIS – Joy’s Camp

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Joy’s camp boasts 10 sumptuous tents, uniquely adorned with Boran/Somali cloth design, handmade glass and the bright fabrics of local nomadic tribes. Each tent features unparalleled views, with a private viewing deck where couples can bundle up in a blanket and watch the sun set on the rolling hills. www.joyscamp.com

7. FASHIONABLE ECO-TOURISM – Shompole

Kenya_Shompole_Marsel van Oosten Heartbreakingly romantic and incredibly chic, the Shompole eco safari lodge comprises just eight thatched open air rooms perched on the edge of the Great Rift Valley on the site of the Nguruman escarpment.

The lodge offers a Swiss Family Robinson-experience with five-star class. The beds, bathrooms and private plunge pools are all open to the elements but cleverly concealed into the landscape to let you imagine you’re the only people around  – but stunning food and impeccable service remind you that you’re being incredibly well looked after every minute of the day. www.wilderness-ventures.com

8. PALATIAL SETTING – Ol Donyo Wuas

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Ol Donyo Wuas Lodge consists of ten expansive guest suites in six stand-alone villas. Each villa features a unique design and dramatic views of the plains and Mount Kilimanjaro. The privacy and luxurious décor enables couples to bathe in complete tranquility and unparalleled comfort, while retaining an authentic bush experience. www.oldonyowuas.com

9. BORN FREE – Elsa Kopje

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This classic safari lodge features eight thatched-roof cottages, which are crafted to incorporate and highlight its natural surroundings. Studded with baobab trees and incredible views, Elsa Kopje is the quintessential African escape. Named after the lioness made famous in the Oscar-winning 1966 movie “Born Free,” Elsa Kopje provides an amazing and serene backdrop for couples seeking to reenact an idyllic Hollywood romance. www.elsakopje.com

10. THE RUSTIC CHARMER – Il Ngwesi

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Situated on the northern edge of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, this intimate and environmental award-winning lodge is heralded for its successful efforts to coexist with the Maasai community and to protect the endangered black rhino. The comfortably furnished bandas feature open panoramic views of the Kenya wilderness. Couples can choose to hike the slopes of Mount Kenya, visit a traditional Maasai village, meet the endangered black rhinos, or take a dip in the horizon pool. www.ilngwesi.com

As an additional option here’s Rutundu Cabins, the retreat where Prince William proposed to his wife Kate Middleton.

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This remote retreat on the Northern slopes of Mount Kenya  features two cedar-log cabins with a kitchen, open log fires, and en-suite bathrooms. The cabins offer incredible views and the quiet setting is as peaceful, relaxing, and romantic as it comes.

Source: eturbonews.com

Top 10 Luxury Travel Destinations in the world

To most people, travelling in luxury seems like a very far-fetched dream. But the promise of privacy, beautiful views and special treatment doesn’t have to be something that’s completely unattainable. With a little bit of saving, you could be jetting off to the most exclusive villas in the world. Or maybe a luxury safari is really what you’re looking for? The promise of beauty, gourmet food and the most glamourous travelling experience should be enough motivation to get you up and working. To get you started, we’ve got the Top 10 Luxury Travel Destinations. And if it’s something you won’t be able to experience, it doesn’t hurt to dream now does it?

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Mexico is a delight for visitors, with a coastline that stretches more than 80 miles along the Caribbean and crystal clear waters that are home to hundreds of different marine species. It is filled with breathtaking landscapes and a vibrant, diverse culture rooted in pre-Columbian and European traditions and striking natural spectacles.

Where To Stay

Las Ventanas al Paraíso is a window to paradise. With a name like that you wouldn’t expect anything less than luxury and a touch of glamour, which is exactly what you get. The carefully decorated suites and inspired cuisine makes this beach hideaway a sanctuary of renewal and revitalization.

What To Do

There is a lot to do in such a beautiful place, but the most luxurious of activities is no doubt hopping on your own yacht and sailing into the sunset with the deep blue waters at your feet. With Cabo Adventures, you will be able to enjoy the warm winds of Cabo whilst onboard their most luxurious yachts. Spend the day exploring the stunning coastline secluded coves and beachesand encounters with dolphins and whales.

Cabo San Lucas Enjoy a touch of paradise in Mexico

St Jean, St Barths

St Barths is synonymous with wealthy and well-known celebrities looking to get away from hordes of paparazzi for a private holiday. The wonderfully warm waters and glorious sparkling sand beaches perfectly complement the surrounding natural beauty of this tiny, yet charming island.

Where To Stay

Isle de France is the island’s most sought after hotel, offering world class rooms, views and services. A gentle blend of simplicity and elegance in the heart of the Caribbean makes Isle de France the ideal place to escape from reality and live like royalty for a few days.

What To Do

Explore the promenade along the front of the harbour where you will find the very best in high-end luxury boutiques and designer wear. Whether it’s a custom Rolex, a swimsuit or a once-off designer piece, you will definitely find it in one of these extravagant stores.

St Barths St Barths is an ultra luxurious destination

Monte Carlo, Monaco

Monaco needs little introduction. It’s a city known for opulence, luxury and wealth. But it also has a a revered culture and old money class. Known for beautiful people, glitz and glamour, casinos, and its famous Grand Prix, you really couldn’t find a better place to relax and enjoy the luxury of natural and man-made luxury.

Where To Stay

With all of Monaco’s splendour, you would expect to find a hotel just as magnificent – and Hotel Metropole definitely delivers. The hotel’s architecture and decor are classic and timeless with a touch of contemporary allure. It has a warm Mediterranean spirit with an innovative and dynamic character offering the very best of personalised service to all its guests.

What To Do

Nothing says luxury like being behind the wheel of a fast sports car in the home of the F1 Grand Prix. Liven Up gives you the opportunity to explore Monaco and the Grand Prix circuit in a Ferrari, where you will drive on scenic roads with breathtaking views of Monaco.

Metropole Hotel Monaco is known for luxury and extravagance

Crete, Greece

The stunningly white buildings and wonderfully blue waters in Greece are an absolute luxury in themselves. Greece’s fascinating history – with tales of gods and goddesses, the original battles of the Olympic Games, and as one of the first countries to have a democratic government – is made even more appealing by the warm and friendly locals. They’ll be ready to tell you everything there is to know about one of the oldest civilisations in the world.

Where To Stay

Elounda All Suite Hotel epitomises luxury island living. At Elounda’s All Suite Hotel you are guaranteed an ultra exclusive stay, what with the best of their rooms having private access to the beach as well as private pools. As a small boutique hotel all of their suites are private and secluded. Add to this great facilities like their own gorgeous spa, gourmet restaurant, wine cellar, seafront bar, and even a 50 seat cinema, and I’m sure you’ll agree a stay at Elounda All Suite Hotel is an experience you deserve.

What To Do

Blue Dolphin Diving Centre, the pioneers of diving in Crete, will make sure that you have a memorable diving experience while you’re in Greece. The clear waters and ample marine life make their job a little easier, but it’s their list of locations and helpful, experienced instructors that sets them apart from the rest. With Blue Dolphin’s efforts, Crete now has an abundance of fish life and other underwater species in an area that is the first natural protected resort for divers in Greece.

Crete Crete is an exclusive and unique destination

Fregate Island, Seychelles

There are very few things that scream ‘luxury travel’ as loud as a private island, where the footprints on the sand are all your own. The Seychelles, a melting pot of different traditions, promises to transport you to an island paradise miles away from any disturbances. In a place where there’s more sun than rain and where the birds and island animals work with the the sea and mountains to create an unmatched atmosphere of peace and harmony, you’ll find the Seychelles, a dream destination unlike any other.

Where To Stay

Fregate Island Private in the Seychelles is nestled right beside the coastline. If it’s privacy you want then you’ve come to the right place; all suites have a luxurious terrace, private infinity pool and daybed, and dining pavillion overlooking the lush jungle and deep blue seas.

What To Do

Being on an island means there is a lot to explore, so why not take a nature walk with one of the resident conservationists? Here you can learn more about the island’s ecosystem, observe some of the work the conservationists do and even help out by searching for tiny sea turtle hatchlings emerging from their nests or checking nest boxes for eggs or chicks. You can also make a valuable contribution to protecting and sustaining the island’s flora and fauna with the Tortoise Adoption Programme.

Seychelles Nothing says luxury like a private island

Bwejuu, Zanzibar

Not only will you be blown away by the clear coastline and lush green forests that make Zanzibar a tropical paradise, but you’ll also get an insight into the history and culture of the African island. With a past teeming with stories of sultans, pirates and princesses, and a diverse and interesting local culture, your holiday in Zanzibar will be a welcoming and magical experience.

Where To Stay

Villas at Baraza Resort are designed to characterise classic Swahili architecture. Dramatic arches and intricate hand carved cement decorations makes this resort completely unique. Rooms are spacious and complemented with beautiful fabrics, hand carved furniture and brass lanterns. As tempting as it is to stay in your beautifully decorated room, don’t forget that you’re in an outdoor paradise – venture out to the private pool or get a bird’s eye view of the island from your very own terrace.

What To Do

Enjoy an authentic Zanzibar experience aboard a dhow with Safari Blue. Safari Blue dhows, which are sailing boats made from African Mahogany, are kept well maintained. The dhows are equipped with communication equipment, sunshade, boarding ladder, gas inflatable life jackets, and waterproof bags. All you need to do is to sit back and enjoy the relaxing ride along the coast of Zanzibar.

Zanzibar Zanzibar is a tropical and exotic luxury destination

Lech, Austria

Snow-capped peaks, warm Austrian hospitality and lively après-ski events will make your stay in Austria unforgettable. Their unique cultural heritage and distinctive imperial history add to the allure of a place filled with luxury villas lit up by crackling fire-places. The best time to go is when it’s snowing, it adds that extra magical touch. You can keep warm by drinking delicious mugs of hot chocolate while looking out of the big, glass windows.

Where To Stay

Lech is one of Austria’s most posh and pricey resort towns, so you can expect only the best stay at one of the town’s best hotels, Kristiania Lech. Each room is individually decorated, from the rooms that focus on contemporary artwork, to the small, intimate rooms that uses nature as a theme, and my personal favourite, a Chinese style room that features an Oriental atmosphere. Who says you can’t have Asia in Austria? Very few things epitomise exclusivity as well as uniquely decorated rooms. All the suites at Kristiania boast contemporary artworks and antiques that set new but exquisite standards of living linked to the traditional Alpine heritage.

What To Do

Go for an unforgettable horse-drawn ride through the wonderfully scenic winter landscape. The ride starts in Lech and goes to the village of Zug, where you can indulge in afternoon tea and deliciously decadent cakes.

Austria Lech is a posh and luxurious winter wonderland

Male, Maldives

For an escape to an idyllic and unique destination you should venture to the Maldives. Set in the Indian Ocean you will enjoy superb sunshine, warm weather and an even warmer welcome from the locals. There’s nowhere better for gourmet dining, pampering spas and outstanding hospitality.

Where To Stay

Reethi Rah Resort in the Maldives lies among a string of corals,lagoons and white sands, so you can just imagine how breathtaking the views are. With a promise of warm hospitality, privacy and a magical time on the island, you are sure to fall in love with the Maldives. Reethi Rah’s villas are on the beach, secluded by lush tropical greenery, whilst others are set above the clear, protected waters of the lagoon all designed in an elegant, contemporary style.

What To Do

Maldives has a number of islands that you can explore. Venturing out to these tucked away land masses is the perfect way to get a taste of the culture. Island hopping allows you to take in all the different aspects of the Maldives, whether its visiting an inhabited island and watching the locals making boats, arts and crafts or going to an uninhabited island and exploring the untouched beauty. For breathtaking views across the turquoise waters of the Maldives and to get an aerial view of the different islands you can charter a seaplane. Good luck with that – it does take a little skill.

Maldives Escape to the idyllic and secluded beaches of the Maldives

Laikipia, Kenya

From the wide grasslands of the Masai Mara to the majestic wildlife that roams within it, there is no place like Kenya. And although a safari might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of luxury travel, Kenya’s offerings rival some of the best and most expensive destinations. From its pristine white-sand coastline and rich cultural background to top class resorts and impeccable service, the northern African country is the ideal destination for a luxury holiday.

Where To Stay

Accommodation at Loisaba is luxurious and authentically African. You will be pampered and well looked after while experiencing the atmosphere and energy of wild Africa. If you want a really unique wildlife experience, how does a night under the Kenyan stars sound? With Loisaba’s Star Beds you are treated to a slumber under the undisturbed African sky with only a blanket of stars above you.

What To Do

Hot Air Safari gives you the unique chance to experience Africa’s wildlife from above the ground in one of their fleet of five hot air balloons. The balloon flights take place in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve. You can choose from group flights or private flights over the Mara. The reserve is in the northernmost part of the spectacular Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, home to scores of wildlife such as elephants, giraffes, various antelope species and ostriches. Other wildlife which you might get a chance of spotting include hyenas, lions, cheetahs, crocodiles and hippos. As this is a wilderness area with free-ranging wildlife that is not fenced in, seeing these animals in their natural habitat is a matter of luck and going at the right time.

Kenya Kenya is authentically African and luxurious

Nadi, Fiji

Fiji is an area proud to promote eco-tourism and the Fijian people cultivate a wholesome, proactive attitude as a means to protect the island’s natural beauty. You don’t often find luxury travel that is conscious about the environment, but Fiji manages to combine the two, which in turn provides tourists with the opportunity to see crystal lagoons, idyllic waterfalls, lush rainforests, and vibrant coral reefs.

Where To Stay

Just a few guests can be accommodated at Royal Davui, so be prepared for an exceptionally exclusive experience from the moment you arrive. You’ll be treated to the warmth and hospitality of the Fijian people, something that will make your stay even more memorable. Royal Davui use purely Fijian products in the bathrooms and spa as well as 90% locally grown produce. They limit the amount of waste that they produce and ensure any waste that is created is disposed of in a careful and responsible manner. This is ideal for environmentally conscious tourists who enjoy luxury travel as you’ll be free to enjoy your stay knowing that you are doing your part for the environment.

What To Do

Granted, being strapped in a harness does not sound like the epitome of luxury, but it’s all worth it when you are zigzagging across the breathtaking Wainadoi River. While experiencing that rush of adrenalin (and a little bit of fear), be sure to take in the sights of flora and fuana and wilderness from a rather fast-paced, aerial perspective. With Fiji’s Finest Tours’ highly-trained guides you will be securely strapped in and shown how to use the special equipment and techniques; there’s no need to worry about safety, just enjoy the ride.

Fiji Indulge in luxury in eco-friendly Fiji
-Guest Travel Writer, Source: Essential Travel

10 things you probably didn’t know you can do in Kenya

Beasts of the Serengeti, exchanging pleasantries with the Maasai, camping out in the bush amid the acacias and elephant dung.

When it comes to activities in Kenya you might think you’ve heard it all before.

Unlikely.

Read on for some lesser known experiences in Kenya.

1. Breakfast with giraffes

Eggs, OJ and a very long straw coming up. Tea, toast and a dash of giraffe slobber. The large windows of the sunroom at Giraffe Manor are wide open, allowing some guests to pop their heads in, rather than take a seat.

The manor is home to a herd of Rothschild’s giraffe. Don’t forget to close your curtains at night — you never know who might be looking in.

About 20 kilometers from Nairobi, this 1930s boutique hotel is set in 12 acres of private land, with a view of the Ngong hills.

As well as giraffes the ranch is home to warthogs, dik diks, birds and bushbuck. A nearby giraffe center is a breeding area for the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe.

The Giraffe Manor is closed in April and May.

2. Take part in a rally

Cars must be pre-1978. If speed and endurance are more desirable, there’s this year’s East African Safari Classic Rally.

The 4,100-kilometer route starts and finishes in Mombasa, pitting some of the worlds’ best “classical” cars and drivers against tough Kenyan terrain.

Drivers dodge wildlife, try not to bust their suspension on boulders and leave competitors eating dust thrown up from Kenya’s roads.

The rally was cooked up in 2003 and aims to resurrect the glory days of the East African Safari Rally that started as an endurance race in 1953.

3. Foster an elephant

“No, honey, you can’t take it home.” Thousands of elephants are killed every year for their ivory, mainly driven by demand from Asia — especially China and Thailand. Conservationists say more elephants are being poached now than they have been for the last decade.

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi rescues and rehabilitates orphaned elephants and rhinos with the aim of returning them to the wild.

Visitors to the elephant orphanage come face to face with the infant survivors of the illegal ivory trade at the trust’s Nairobi nursery. The babies play around in their daily mud bath between 11 a.m. and noon.

Entrance fee is KES 500 (US$5.80). If you’ve fallen in love with an elephant or rhino you can foster one, starting from US$50 a year.

4. Propose at Africa’s Hogwarts

Guarantee yourself a “yes” and help the local community, too. According to Kenya Airways’ in-flight magazine, Ol Malo game sanctuary is the number one place in Kenya to pop the question.

Travel Africa Magazine describes the quirky design of Ol Malo, made of stone, complete with thatched roofs and the occasional spiral staircase, “as a kind of African Hogwarts.”

Andrew, the youngest child of the lodge’s owners, the Francombe’s, proposed to his wife, Chyulu, at Ol Malo. He organized a bonfire, champagne, flowers and cushions on a rock overlooking the river.

“I thought it was a belated Valentines Day and started tucking into the bubbly — totally unaware what a gibbering wreck Andrew was!” says Chyulu.

“Ol Malo is the perfect place to pop the question. There is so much you can do — just out on the ranch as we did it or in some far off place by chopper.”

Ol Malo is loacted at edge of the Laikipia plateau it is closed in April, May and November.

The lodge seeks to give back to the community and has established the Ol Malo Trust to help conserve the culture of the Samburu people.

5. Get married like the Maasai

Tying the knot — or should that be grassing the shoe? After 46 years of marriage Roger and Laurie Moore decided to remarry — Maasai style.

The village chief of Embiti “adopted” Roger while a family in a nearby village took Laurie under their wing.

After decking out Laurie in traditional garb, her face painted by warriors and grass put in her shoe (to symbolize food for their cattle), the bride was ready to be presented to her groom, who was equally made up.

Participants do a celebratory walk from the bride’s village to the groom’s. Dancing and singing Maasai await them and gifts are exchanged and a dowry negotiated.

Turns out Laurie was a bargain: “I was worth one cow and one goat, a very affordable bride!”

6. Go on a cheese tour

Award-winning African cheese. Kenya and cheese — not two things that automatically come to mind.

However, 30 minutes out of Nairobi is the award winning Brown’s Cheese factory. Its product has won many accolades, including the South African Dairy Championship and awards from the East Africa Cheese Festival.

Brown’s philosophy is to run the farm “on purely biodynamic and organic principles.” The factory tour shows how the cheese is made, after which guests can settle down to a cheese platter, followed by a three-course lunch complete with homemade chutneys, bread and homegrown salad.

Brown’s also offers cheese-making classes and, for kids, milking sessions with the factory’s Friesian cows.

7. Go on the Rhino Charge

Where’s highway maintenance when you need it? One hundred square kilometers of rough terrain, 10 hours, 13 check points, one map, one 4×4 and no set route.

Reach the most checkpoints in the shortest distance for victory. Just watch for the lions.

This is Kenya’s annual off-road motor sport competition — the Rhino Charge.

The precise location is kept secret until a few days before so competitors don’t go on sneaky reconnaissance missions.

The event is held every May or June, organized by The Rhino Ark Charitable Trust.

The rally raises money for the conservation of Kenya’s Aberdare Ecosystem.

Only 60 vehicles can participate in order to minimize environmental damage. The more cash you can put up, the more likely you are to get a place. Crews must be between two and six people.

8. Tackle a snake safari

This is going straight to Facebook.

There are more than 100 snake species in Kenya, and snake safari outfit Bio-ken arranges tours to spot them in forests, riverbeds, rocky cliffs and mangroves.

The most popular package is a three-night snake safari along the banks of the Galana River. An alternative is the Big Five safari — a search for pythons, boomslangs, puff adders, cobras and mambas.

Some of Kenya’s top reptile experts lead the trip, the aim of which is to improve awareness and education about snakes and their role in the eco-system.

Check out a video here.

9. Be ‘eatertained’

Meat feast. Colorful shirts optional. Carnivore restaurant in Nairobi offers usual fare, such as rumps of beef, legs of lamb, chops, sausages and ribs, but also crocodile, ostrich and chicken livers and gizzards.

There’s no ordering here. Guests sit down and carvers dressed in zebra aprons and straw hats bring meat hanging off Maasai swords.

Diners signal they’re done by lowering the white flag on their table.

Martin Dunford, CEO of the organization behind Carnivore, The Tamarind Group, says Carnivore epitomizes “a theatrical, ‘eatertainment’ experience that makes your visit feel like an adventure.”

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

10. Eat in a cave

Echoes of the past. Welcome to Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant in Diani, thought to be around 120,000-180,000 years old.

Diners can spot stars while sitting at a table 10 meters below ground in this open-air coral cave. In bad weather, sliding covers are placed over the holes in the roof to ensure a romantic evening.

The restaurant serves international cuisine, but specializes in seafood.

Why Zuru Kenya?

Millions of travelers year in, year out, make Kenya their chosen holiday destination. There has to be a good reason why…

One of Africa’s top tourist destinations, not only does Kenya rank high in the world as a safari provider, it also features beautiful white sandy beaches, famous national parks, varied rich cultures, and very welcoming people. Granted some aspects of your trip may be affected by poor infrastructure or a few security concerns in some regions; the adventures, scenery, people and exhilarating experiences will have you coming back to the country for more!!

Here’s why we think Kenya should be top of your destinations to visit list!

1. Home of Safari

George_Elsa_Mak31eCrjpgSubject to a series of safari-inspired film classics such as Mogambo and Born Free, Kenya is famous in the safari world as having been host to the greatest, unrivalled private hunting safaris frequented by American presidents and European royalty. Photography safari was also pioneered here in the 50’s and 60’s and countless documentaries such as BBC’s Big Cat Diary serve as pull factors drawing safari enthusiasts to the country.

2. White sandy beaches  kenya-beach-2The Kenyan Coast boasts of both beautiful white sandy beaches along the warm azure waters of the Indian Ocean and an abundance of unspoilt coral reefs providing for  arguably the best diving sites in the world. The coral reefs harbor dolphins, turtles, tropical fish, as well as whale sharks. Activities here are centred around swimming, diving, game fishing, rafting, snorkeling among others.

The most popular beaches are Mombasa Beach, Lamu Beach, Diani Beach, Bamburi Beach Tana River Delta Beach, Malindi Beach, Watamu Beach and Tiwi Beach.

3. Rich Culture

Samburu-tribal-people-of--013One of the most exciting aspects of a safari in Kenya is the chance to meet and interact with local tribes people …With 43 or so tribes, this country is home to an abundance of culture  bound to give you great appreciation for other peoples way of life. Right from the most known Maasai/Samburu warriors, down to the Swahili culture at the coast…whether you are fishing with the people from the south, or riding camels in the North, here is where you’ll get to sample varied tastes of culture.

4. The exclusivity of Lamu

Lamu_Kenya20120328184732_sThe island of Lamu has seemingly become the place to go for exotic holidays. The place is a buzz with upmarket clientele during the holiday season and is certainly the embodiment of shabby-chic. The islands of north of Lamu also play host to some similarly shabby-chic but nonetheless upmarket beach lodges, notably Kiwayu Lodge and Manda Bay Lodge; great bases from which to explore the island ruins and isolated beaches, as well as to sail and dive the network of waterways.

5. The Great Wildebeest Migration

wildebeest migration in masai mara, kenya2011The most exhilarating experience is to watch thousands of zebras and wildebeests migrating in the “Great Wildebeest Migration” in the Masai Mara and Serengeti. Watch as the migrating animals fight for their chance at greener pastures while escaping the lions and crocodiles preying on them.

6. Our History

Fort_jesusA portrait of Fort Jesus

Kenya does not fall short of historical sites to visit. Some of which hold mysteries and facts bound to leave you in awe…be it political, social or economic, our countries history is one to draw you in. Some of the prominent sites include Fort Jesus, the oldest coastal fort in the world and Shimoni, once used a holding pen for slaves during the slave trade.

7. A wide range of activities

29-ACTIVITIES-3_600x300Enjoy wildlife safaris, bird watching, windsurfing, horseback riding, golfing, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, mountain biking, snorkeling, scuba diving, hot air ballooning, mountain climbing, hiking, water skiing, fishing, and many more wonderful activities.

8. Affordability

Money-ShillingWith a favorable exchange rate against many international currencies, Kenya is a fairly inexpensive tourist destination. Although the Kenya shilling fluctuates, it always gives a much better value compared to other major currencies, such as the United States dollar, sterling pound or the Euro. The cost of living is much lower in Kenya as well when compared to Europe or the United States.

9. Climate

climate-mapKenya enjoys a wonderful tropical climate. It is generally warm all year round, with plenty of sunshine and cooler nights and mornings. Visitors are able to enjoy most activities on the beaches and in the national parks all year round. Since Kenya lies on the equator, the seasonal temperature changes are not extreme. However, due to the differing topography, you will experience different weather patterns when traveling across Kenya. The hottest months of the year are February and March with temperatures as high as 93°F (34°C) while the coolest season falls between July and August with temperatures dropping to around 60°F (16°C). Kenya provides very perfect weather for those who live in colder countries to escape to.

10. Great Game

39.-Three-male-Lions-walking-closely-together-Masai-Mara-KenyaKenya offers some of the best and most accessible game viewing in the world, including the hard-to-resist attraction of the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino). These, together with many other animals that are unique to Africa, can be seen at the national parks and game reserves throughout Kenya.

The months between June and October, and December to March are the most popular times of the year to Visit Kenya. April, May and November can be quite wet.

 

 

 

 

Weekend City Tour

Over the weekend, we spontaneously decided to explore one of Mombasa’s oldest town and historical sites. On Sunday we went to tour Mombasa’s most popular tourist attraction, Fort Jesus where we spent a better part of the afternoon learning about its history and significance from our tour guide, Ali Mohammed whom we met by the entrance.

Read more about Fort Jesus… https://zurukenya.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/fort-jesus-fortaleza-de-jesus-de-mombaca/

DSC01024DSC01001 DSC01000 DSC01005 DSC01004 DSC01003 DSC01002 DSC01006  DSC01008 DSC01009  DSC01011 DSC01014 DSC01015Our guide Ali explaining to us about the materials used to build the fort.

DSC01016 DSC01017 DSC01019    DSC01026 DSC01024The view from the fort…beautiful!DSC01002 DSC01003 DSC01004 DSC01005  DSC01008   DSC01010  DSC01019 DSC01009 DSC01016 DSC01017   DSC01027 DSC01026 DSC01025   DSC01029 DSC01030

One of the curio shops within the fort. This was formally the kitchen area used by the portuguese and the setting remains the same to date aside from some minor renovations.

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Carol stands beside the tree believed to be 2 million years old, how outstanding!! This tree owes its existence to the Jurassic period and what stands here is believed to have been the roots of the tree that are now visible due to subsistence. The fort was built around it.

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Ancient Portuguese art on display at the fort. The art was excavated from the fort’s grounds and due to aging the museum had to trace the drawings using graphite.

DSC01053 DSC01056 DSC01057 DSC01058 DSC01061 DSC01062 DSC01063 DSC01065 DSC01066 DSC01067DSC01108 DSC01107 DSC01105 DSC01104Remains of one of the Portuguese soldiers buried at the fort

DSC01103 DSC01102 DSC01100Remains of the Portuguese chapel brought down by the Omani Arabs

DSC01097 DSC01095 DSC01094 DSC01093An Omani chest

DSC01092  DSC01090 DSC01089 DSC01068DSC01070Gede ruins replica

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After a few educative hours at the fort we headed on to the streets of Old town where we were awed by the architectural influence of the Portuguese and the Arabs on the buildings. The streets of Old town are always so alive with bright colours of the traditional coastal khanga and kikoy, the all purpose wrap around cloth worn by both men and women. The exotic town has retained its culture and one will find here busy markets, women along the narrow streets in traditional buibui, fishermen selling their fresh fish at the dhow docks and the sweet aroma of varied spices in the air.

DSC01140 DSC01141 DSC01142 DSC01143 DSC01144 DSC01145 DSC01146Shark teethDSC01147 DSC01148Ancient homes with Indian ArchitectureDSC01149 DSC01150 DSC01151 DSC01152 DSC01153DSC01154 DSC01155One of the oldest mosques in the area. It is still in use today.DSC01156Looks like residents here are Liverpool fans 🙂DSC01157 DSC01160The little Askari (soldier) guarding the place

DSC01163A very old warehouse used to store goods during the Arab trade daysDSC01164DSC01165Our guide Ali seems to really love his job and is good at it too.DSC01166 DSC01168 DSC01169DSC01171 DSC01172DSC01167

DSC01173 DSC01174DSC01175DSC01177 DSC01178 DSC01179 DSC01181Almond tree

This was an afternoon well spent. Many thanks to our guide Ali Mohammed for the tour and the things we learnt. Hope to go on another similar venture soon!

Keep travelling and exploring!!!

Nairobi in a day

Courtesy of The Tribe Hotel Nairobi, below is a take of things to do and places one should visit if they only had a day in the City.

 

Karura Forest;
Fancy a family picnic by the lake, bird walks, bike trails and generally a spectacular nature trail, Karura forest should then definitely be on your list of things to do. Things to enjoy here include the Mau Mau caves, scenic waterfalls, picnic sites, bamboo forest and nature trails. Karura does not fall short of wildlife as well one can spot  different monkey species, bush baby, bush-buck, bush pig, porcupine, duiker, genet, dik dik, African civet and epauletted bat.
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Cafe Brasserie;
Located in Nairobi’s Village Market, The Cafe Brasserie by Art Caffe is a bright, light-filled café famous for its roasted coffees, hearty dishes and mouth-watering deserts. With wood-panelled walls and high ceilings, the café has a unique character, and is the ideal spot for post-shopping coffee and cake breaks with friends, pre-shopping breakfasts and leisurely lunches. The contemporary interior with clean lines, combined with a convivial ambiance, have made this restaurant a staple on the local dining scene.
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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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House of Treasures;
The House of Treasures is filled with unusual and exotic goods from around the globe. Antique and modern furniture, architectural pieces, innovative fashion & jewellery, Africana artefacts, children’s toys and eclectic home-ware – all gathered in a striking double-storey gallery set in mature gardens in Karen, just outside Nairobi, Kenya.
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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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Baskets
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Adèle Dejak;
The Adèle Dejak brand creates handmade fashion accessories for the modern, sophisticated and multidimensional woman. Inspired by African shapes, textures and traditional techniques, the cutting-edge pieces sit perfectly between artifact and high fashion statement designs. The Adèle Dejak collections express acute appreciation for African-made fabrics, including Kuba cloth and kitenge (wax print); a dedication to using recycled materials including rice and cement sacks, brass, aluminium and glass and; a commitment to exceptional quality.
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Anselm – Kitengela Hot Glass;
Sleek vases the colour of sea glass, a coffee table that looks as if it is made of crushed ice.  Extravagant murals. A goblet that feels solid and perfect in your hand, majestic and bejeweled chandeliers. A splash of window that is a mosaic of the sun, a globe-shaped lamp glowing like a planet. A Maasai necklace design that is an explosion of colour and lighting. A passionate and practical ensemble of scrap window and bottle glass renewed, refashioned into stylish pieces, functional art and inspired design. All this and more at Anselm- Kitengela Hot Glass, each piece is unique, handmade to catch the eye and satisfy the soul.
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New Kitengela Works-Westend House, Westlands, 1_4 tonnes, 750 pieces
African Heritage House;
The African Heritage House overlooking the Nairobi National Park is described by the prestigious Architectural Digest as “an architecture rising from the serene Kenyan plain like an outcropping of earth, a vision of usefulness informed by the African genius for decoration.”
Designed by American Alan Donovan, co-founder of the African Heritage Pan-African Galleries, the house is a combination of the mud architectures from across Africa.The house is available for tours, meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinners on the rooftop or by the refreshing pool), conferences/functions, as well as overnight stays in its luxurious rooms, filled with African art and furnishings with modern appointments.
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Kalabash;
Once at Kalabash you will be awed by the creativity and pronounced ethnic artistry that awaits you. Kalabash Selections specializes in extraordinary art, crafts and accessories from across Africa.  The curated collection represents the finest examples of Africana in wood, stone, metal and beads. It  glows with unique earthly African shades of brown, which most of its racy crafts represent. Kalabash also stocks beadwork and artifacts made from driftwood, soapstone and clay.
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Kaya Spa;
Kaya, Tribe’s exclusive spa combines traditional and new-world treatments from around the globe. The five treatment rooms and hair studio infuse a sense of tranquility through inspiring design – taming the body, mind and soul.
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NEST;
Also at the Tribe,  NEST is the perfect location for sun-downer drinks, private parties, or just an intimate space to get away and hang out. NEST serves the best martinis in Nairobi which are a perfect compliment to aromatic shisha pipes or hookahs.
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Jiko;
Jiko holds true to the glamorous yet sophisticated feel of the Tribe hotel whilst maintaining the warmth and personality of Kenya. Its contemporary international cuisine focuses on carefully grown fresh ingredients and specially sourced international imports. The extensive menu features grilled meats and vegetables as well as house made pastas, breads, pastries and gelatos. Jiko’s exclusive wine list highlights some of the finest selections of wines to perfectly compliment the flavors of Jiko.
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Finish your day in style sleeping at the Tribe’s Presidential suite. A one-bedroom suite overlooking the protected natural wetland, the Presidential Suite features a living room with dining table and over-sized couches, a 60-inch plasma TV with a BOSE Lifestyle sound system, guest bathroom, a private balcony, enhanced storage facilities and the suite’s iconic master bathroom. The Presidential suite is furnished with a rain shower, bath tub, 300 thread-count sheets, and a king bed. Tribe offers a complimentary mini-bar and free high-speed wireless internet with all rooms.

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