Category Archives: Where to stay

ANGA AFRIKA: BRINGING THE BACK OF BEYOND TO NAIROBI

Whenever one is picking out camps and lodges for their next safari in Kenya, Nairobi as a destination barely comes to mind. Never mind the fact that Nairobi is the only city in the world to host a national park, many travelers hitherto only view the city safari  experience merely as a transit option to the real bush experience.

What if we told you though that the much sought out Hemingway bush and tent experience is right here at your doorstep? That you don’t have to go the extra mile, leave Nairobi, that what stands between you and your much desired safari is a mere 20 minutes or so?

Because many safari lovers only use Nairobi as transit, not much effort has been put into establishing accommodations that offer these enthusiasts a full safari experience right within the city. One family is however trying to re-write this script.  Launched early this year, Anga Afrika, a family owned and run establishment, seeks to ensure that you don’t have to leave for upcountry into the back of beyond in order to experience life under the sun and the stars, to experience the story of Africa in the wild that is much told.

Sidney Trompell, one of the owners of Anga Afrika introduces us to the whole idea behind the establishment and fills us in on why it would be such a shame if you missed out on the experience offered.

  1. How long have you been open and what was the inspiration behind owning Anga Afrika?

We opened in the beginning of the year, although it was already years in the planning. The special thing about Anga Afrika is that every little detail was very thought through. We took our time.

My family and I always liked Karen because we are generally people who prefer peace and nature over the noisy turmoil that is often Nairobi. After we had finished building our home we wanted to share our little ‘island’ with people who share our mindset and philosophy. That is how Anga Afrika came to be. We feel that luxurious tented camps embody the Kenyan holiday experience the best and we wanted to provide our guests with the most authentic “out of Africa” experience.

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  1. Why the name Anga Afrika and what should people expect when they get here?

Our place in Karen is 1850 m above sea level; therefore relatively close to the stars, hence the name Anga Afrika. Also, since our tented suites are made up of canvas, which really gives our guests the feeling that they are truly sleeping under African skies. The view of the stars on a clear night is breathtaking.

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  1. The sort of experience you offer is rarely found in Nairobi, why set up away from major safari destinations, why Nairobi? What is unique about Anga Afrika’s location?

The special thing about our location is that it feels like you’re 100’s of miles away from Nairobi, but really you can be in the city centre within 20 minutes. It’s ideal for people who want to be immersed in nature as well as for Kenya first timers who want to experience Kenya in the most authentic way before embarking on major safaris to Masai Mara, Amboseli etc. Also, since our home is literally next door we try to connect with our customers on a personal level, build relationships and make sure that if they need anything that there’s always someone they can talk to. We also enjoy meeting new people from all around the world and exchange experiences and stories with them.

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  1. What authentic local experiences will guests have access to here and what types of guests do you expect to attract?

First off, the experience of living in a tented camp as opposed to a hotel. This is a huge deal. I remember the first time I went glamping in the Masai Mara with the family and it was an unforgettable experience. Therefore we think that this type of accommodation will be very memorable for a lot of people. We also organize tours for our guests to local attractions such as the Giraffe Centre, Nairobi National Park, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Karen Blixen Museum.

To maintain a certain standard of exclusivity, we hope to attract people who have a strong appreciation of nature, peace, and the love for Kenya. Profit maximization isn’t our first priority, but maintaining a certain standard, living by our values and providing the best possible African experience is. We truly enjoy what we do here!

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  1. If you could describe your property or the glamping experience you offer in three words, what would they be?

Modern. Authentic. Africa.

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  1. What makes Anga Afrika a destination in itself?

Definitely the altitude…The cool temperatures in the morning, the fresh air, jogging in the morning fog, enjoying a cosy campfire in the evening…it literally gives you the feeling that you’re living in the African mountains such as Mount Kenya or Aberdares.

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  1. A stand out meal in your restaurant, what would you recommend?

We have a lot of outstanding dishes at our restaurant, but George, our chef makes sweet potato bread that is to die for. A lot of our guests go home with the recipe because it is simply that good!

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  1. Any other experiences you can recommend in the area for a combined trip when staying at Anga Afrika?

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a must. Seeing orphaned elephants taken care for and interacting with them gives you such a fulfilling experience. You can even adopt one if you are committed to support it for a long amount of time. Otherwise Karen Blixen Museum is a great place to learn about the history of Karen and how it came into existence, Giraffe Centre, where you can ‘kiss’ Giraffes on the mouth. Literally. There’s quite a lot you can do in our area and we are always more than happy to provide our guests with help and guidance to make this experience as memorable as possible.

Location: Karen Area

Establishment Type: Luxury Tented Camp

Contact for Bookings: http://www.angaafrika.com/

Attractions around: David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Karen Blixen Museum, Giraffe Centre, Nairobi National Park, Nairobi Animal Orphanage.

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The Ultimate Luxury Hotel in the Heart of Africa

 

 

Make some time for rooftop cocktails and shisha. (Photo: Tribe)

“You never know who you’ll run into at the Tribe.” That’s what the locals and visitors consistently say about this luxury property in Nairobi.

It’s true. The Tribe has become a go-to destination for visitors here from movie stars, heads of state, famous chefs, supermodels and the adventurous tourist.

Kenya’s bustling capital city, Nairobi, has quite the split personality these days.

The vibrant, thriving metropolis with rich culture and cosmopolitan flair shares its boundaries with an expansive National Park and game reserve.

Interestingly, the 137-room Tribe Hotel is a perfect reflection of the city’s duality. The contemporary and sleek architectural property pays perfect homage to Kenya’s wide ranging historic and natural wonders.

The Vibe

The hotel is serene and sanctuary-like, making you feel soothed and welcome from the moment you set foot inside the lobby. Warm, wide smiles greet you at every turn and the blend of modern design and beautiful displays of African Art give the space a sophisticated style that is elegant but unpretentious. Everywhere you look there are colorful carvings, paintings, tapestries and unique pieces of furniture that blend will with the angled rooms and spaces. The bedrooms are designed to be calming but highly functional while common areas, and there are many, are warm and inviting.

The Location

Tribe Hotel is located in a quiet upmarket suburb in the northern part of the city. While this area is certainly a distance from the busier city centre and airport, it is just steps from the Village Market – an upscale shopping area with plentiful shops and dining options. Nearby is also the Friday Maasai market, a great place to purchase local crafts, and the Karura forest is also walking distance away. Most other attractions are a taxi ride away.

The Rooms 

Rooms are bright, clean and comfortable while each is uniquely floor-planned and decorated, again with a mixture of original artwork and en vogue styling. Several feature a loft-style, split level lay out that is spacious and well-suited to those who like to work and relax in their room.

 

 

Rooms combine modern luxury with gorgeous local art. (Photo: Tribe)

The adjoining bathrooms are sleek and well-appointed with large soaking tub and open showers. One unusual aspect in some of the suites is a glass sliding wall that separates the bedroom from the bathroom. While it opens up the space and gives you a nice view of the beautifully designed bathroom, it provides little sound insulation and therefore privacy. So if you are cohabiting in the room, be prepared to share a whole lot more than just your space.

The Food 

The hotel’s main restaurant, Jiko, has an extensive and well curated menu of tasty international options from soups, salads and pasta to burgers, sushi and traditional steaks and seafood dishes.

 

 

Indulge in delicious homemade sweets at the aptly named Suite 101. (Photo: Tribe)

The included daily buffet breakfast is plentiful and nicely laid out.

The Staff

Service standards at The Tribe Hotel are unparalleled and the staff might just be the highlight of your stay. They are impeccably courteous, and helpful, almost to the point of it being frustrating, but in no way does it feel false or forced. Each and every member of the team loves their job, it oozes from them, and their attention to detail provides a truly personalized service.  So, if you want to be pampered and well taken care of, this is the place.

Added Bonuses

The luxurious spa is excellent with treatments ranging from hot stone massage and body wraps to facials and chemical peels, while the fitness centre is well equipped, even featuring a boxing area, and is staffed with personal trainers – an unusual addition to a hotel gym.

 

 

Nairobi is a city known for its wicked traffic. Let Tribe’s drivers get you where you need to go. (Photo: Tribe)

The hotel also has its own Range Rover which can be rented out for private safari tours into the Nairobi National Park (driver included!), so even if you are tight on time, or bad at organizing excursions, you can still have an opportunity to explore the wilderness.

-Sophie Forbes, Source: Yahoo! Travel

The One of a kind Floating House of Kilifi Creek that’s right on budget

Across from the Kilifi bridge, as you head north towards Watamu, is an epic piece of property which is magical in its simplicity.

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The floating house that Rene Faber and his co-directors at Kilifi Boatyard – Peter Bateman and his wife Siba, built in 2007 is an outstanding work of art that is also a self-catering rental cottage that can sleep six.

Built almost entirely using hardwood, the light-brown boat house is permanently anchored right inside the Indian Ocean waters, a few metres from the shore.

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Inside, the simple house that has proved to be a major attraction for both local and foreign tourists – according to Bateman, offers an easy welcome for residents with generous common spaces, three bedrooms and a great deal of ocean breeze.

It is the open lounge covering half the upper deck that perhaps wins it all for this floating property, which provides an ideal space to enjoy near 360-degree views of the creek that extends about a mile into the mainland.

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Bateman says the house was built to provide accommodation for tourists, which is complementary to the core business that Kilifi Boatyard provides; water sports facility, the sailing school and motor yacht repair.

“We needed to provide accommodation with a difference to complement the water sports and boat repairs service that we provide here,” he says of the floating house, the latest addition to the business started in 1976 to provide repair and storage of boats for sailors.

The highly-polished wooden floor, walls and stairway blend with ease, especially under the natural light from the translucent roofing to emphasise the strong attributes of the home’s interiors.

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The location of the floating house on the heavily sheltered lagoon means that the waters will always be calm even when the waves in the open ocean are high, ensuring that even those prone to sea sickness because of the waves can cope.

Apart from the floating house, little else has changed in the boatyard whose ownership has changed three times in the past couple of years.

It first belonged to the late Dickie Mason then his son Philip Mason and later to Faber- one of the current directors.

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“It was critical that we started providing accommodation if we were to attract local tourists because the dynamics have changed quite a lot that have discouraged sailing,” says Bateman, citing that among his clients are families from Nairobi.

The boathouse represents an alternative form of accommodation at the coast, where investors are rushing in to put up establishments that challenge the traditional tourist hotels.

Self-catering villas and apartments are perhaps the hottest class of property at the Kenyan coast, driven by shifting client demands.

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Hoteliers have had to introduce flexible holiday packages that come at a discount compared to the contemporary tourist facilities.

In the floating house, for instance, residents can fix their own coffee using the installed appliances though there is a main restaurant that still provides catering for main meals throughout the day. Daily room service is available similar to your ordinary hotel room.

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Basic amenities such as electricity and water are connected to the floating house from the mainland, linked through a suspended wooden wharf.

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Bateman says that the history of the facility dates back more than 35 years when Dickie was operating the boat repair business under a palm tree while the restaurant was a small makuti shack.

Today, the restaurant on the mainland, where the sailors would stop over for a meal or drink while their boats were being repaired, is still a simple outdoor eatery right on the shoreline only that most of the patrons are not on the move but locals who appreciate a late lunch and a cold beer.

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Despite its uniqueness, the floating house may not be the most expensive on the Kenyan coast but it certainly stands out.

-Moses Michira, Business Daily.

Image source: Traveling Kenya

Stunning! 9 Kenyan Accommodations with Breathtaking Views

Segera Retreat, Laikipia Plateau

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With Mount Kenya as the backdrop and spectacular views over the Laikipia Plateau, Segera Retreat is an extraordinary oasis of beauty.

The Majlis, Lamu

zuru-kenya-majlisIdyllic, luxurious, stylish, unique… The Majlis, with a superb beachfront location and breathtaking views over the bay and Lamu Island, offers the perfect setting and the ideal accommodation for barefoot luxury and informal pampering on your trip to Kenya.

Swahili Beach Resort, Diani

swahili-beach-pool-viewThis unique hotel offers a harmonious blend of the architectural influences from the East African coast, Arabia, India, and Zanzibar that have fused over millennia to create the vibrant Swahili culture. you can expect picturesque views across the gardens or cascading pools and of the Indian ocean.

Msambweni House, Msambweni – south coast

https://zurukenya.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/zf.jpgThis small boutique lodge appeals to individuals seeking personalized service and an intimate beach experience. Highlight of the house is certainly its stunning centre-piece infinity pool that merges with the azure waters of the Indian Ocean.

sasaab lodge, Samburu  Sasaab is a sensational and stylish lodge, majestically situated on the high banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River (Kenya’s third largest watercourse). Sasaab commands breathtaking views across the arid landscape of the Northern Frontier District towards the jagged peak of Mt Kenya, and offers a truly exceptional safari experience in an area renowned for its variant species.

Loisaba koija star beds, Laikipia

Loisaba Wilderness is outstandingly beautiful, its abundant wildlife is truly wild and its accommodation is comfortable beyond measure. Whether sleeping under the undisturbed African night sky on their unique Star Beds, rafting down the majestic Ewaso Ngiro and Ng’are Narok Rivers, or watching Africa’s best wildlife stroll past on a game drive, a visit to Loisaba will revive your mind, rejuvenate your body and revitalise your soul.

Mfangano Island Camp, Lake Victoria

mfangano-island-lake-viewLapped by the waters of Lake Victoria shaded by giant fig trees, and lost to the world, Mfangano Island Camp is an oasis of tranquility, an ideal retreat from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

Almanara Resort, Diani

almanara-restaurant-viewWho would have thought, tucked away on the East Coast of Africa would be this little gem. The beach is picturesque perfect, stunning white sand and crystal clear blue seas.

Sirai House, Laikipia

Situated high on a remote ridge at the edge of the indigenous cedar and wild olive forest, Sirai offers stunning views in every direction.

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Casa de Palma: The perfect long weekend getaway

This luxury holiday home catering to Mombasa living is bound to make your coastal visit one to remember. Inspired by Miami design, this elegantly furnished house sleeps up to six people.

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 “Malibu” comes fully furnished with two bedrooms, one office/bedroom, 3 baths, roof terrance with wet bar and jacuzzi, private garden with lap pool and outside dining, washer/dyer, air-con units in all rooms, 3 flat screen TVs with DSTV, and high-speed fiber internet connection.
Roof terrace with jacuzzi

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At Casa de Palma all the details are looked after. As a guest, you get to rest easy with 24-hour compound security, including guards, electric fence and power backup system all within the safe Mtwapa East Community.

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Garden

Whether you stay for a month or a night you will find more than just the essentials to make your stay exceptional.

The modern kitchen is fitted out with full sized American fridge that includes fresh water dispenser and ice marker, top of the line Ariston stove, oven and microwave and beautiful European plate-ware.

Modern kitchen
Modern kitchen
Modern kitchen

For quiet movie nights or to catch the news in the morning, the living room boasts a 55” Samsung smart TV with DSTV connection and surround sound. Each of the two bed- rooms are also contain Samsung smart TV on a swivel arm for optimal viewing from bed.

Living room

The two main bathrooms on the second floor offer beautiful rainfall showers with on demand hot water from the solar water heater and high quality bathroom finishing.

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Bathroom

The bedrooms offer orthopedic Latex mattresses from IKEA, private balconies, aircon units and beautiful high spec wardrobes.

Staying at Casa de Palma is not only pleasant but well worth it at $120 a night. The fact that it’s also located within Mtwapa creek near etablishments like La Marina Restaurant, the range of activities do to here is endless.

Western Kenya: As You’ve Never Seen It Before

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

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

Credits: Africanskycam, Benkreimer, magicalkenya.