Tag Archives: Editor’s Pick

5 Things to do on an all vegan trip to Kenya

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

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

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

  1. Select the destination carefully

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

  1. Vegan restaurants galore

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

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

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

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

  1. Green memories

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

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

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

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

  1. A day at the countryside  

This one is my favorite, to be honest.

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

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

  1. Promote Veganism in style

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

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

Final Words –

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

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Jenny Travens –

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

Email – jennytravens9@gmail.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/jennytravens

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We’ve been nominated: Please vote for us

zuru kenya- kenya travel awards

Happy New Year!

2018 has started off on a high note for us and we’re delighted to announce that Zuru Kenya has been nominated in the Kenya Travel Awards 2018 by Jumia Travel! We’re up for Best Destination Website, and we’re pretty excited about it.

The awards aim at promoting Kenya’s tourism sector, and responds to the need of encouraging hoteliers to improve the quality of their services for further advancement of their respective destinations.

“By organizing these African Travel Awards, our mission is not only to recognize and reward the merit of local tourism stakeholders, but also to provide a credible benchmark for the African tourism industry,” said Joe Falter, CEO of Jumia Travel.

We’d be thrilled if you showed your support and voted for us. The process is straightforward and voting should take just a few minutes – all you will need to do is click the link, enter a few details and submit your vote. Anyone is welcome to vote, so please do feel free to share the link with your family and friends – it would be hugely appreciated! Plus Bonus! All voters will automatically be entered into the Awards’ prize draw, where you could win a stay in the winning hotel – oh my!

Voting closes on 26th January, with winners being feted at a ceremony which will be held on February 1st, at Fairmont the Norfolk from 6PM. In other Jumia Travel countries, the awards will be held simultaneously on the 25th of January; in Lagos, Algiers, Dakar, Abidjan, Accra, Douala, Dar es Salaam, and Kampala. Vote now!

#OnFocus: Travel, Focus & Capture with Moses Obanda

“I go by Moses Obanda, a landscape and travel photographer with six years of experience. I enjoy reading books and obviously traveling. I’m a bit socially awkward but once I’m behind the camera, I can conquer the world. I have a bachelor’s degree in communication from Africa Nazarene University, graduated in 2014.”

Zuru Kenya: When did your love for Travel photography crop up and what exactly sparked it?

Obanda: When I was a second year student in campus. That’s when I realized my heart was in Travel Photography. Before that I was into a lot of pencil drawing but once I picked up the camera, I fell in love and was amazed by the fact that I could visually illustrate what I had in my mind.

How often do you travel?

I try to travel at least once a month. Worst case scenario, once every two months dependent on whether I have the money to travel.

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Since getting into travel photography, are there any hurdles that you have encountered along the way?

I personally think that there are more hurdles in Travel Photography than in any other form of photography. For starters, it’s quite expensive. So there’s that. Then you might find yourself treading in dangerous and unsafe places just to get the perfect shot. There’s also the issue of security when travelling to remote areas and then of course the weather is always unpredictable! All that aside, when your heart is fully in it, these obstacles become just but miner details that make your journey and the outcome even more adventurous.

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What kind of DSLR do you shoot with and do you always have a camera with you?

When am not shooting with a Nikon D5300, I have with me a Canon 6D. Yes, I always have a camera with me. It’s the most essential item for me; especially when I leave town.

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

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I took this photo a while back when a couple of my friends and I had gone camping in Maasai Land. We stayed there for a week and on our last day while walking back from our hike; I spotted from a distance, a Maasai herding his cows on a hill. As I wanted to capture him and the hundreds of cows by his side, I started running towards him trying to get as close as I could for the perfect shot. Unfortunately, by the time I got a clear shot, only two cows were left standing beside him. Nonetheless I was lucky to have captured it the way I did; a perfectly balanced-out piece of art. I consider it one of my most priced images.

Your 3 favorite places to photograph so far and why?

My favorite places to photograph are Maasai land, Watamu and Amsterdam. These places not only have rich histories but also conducive environments to photograph. Locals here are also always welcome to a photograph or two.

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The one place in Kenya you’d go back to over and over again?

The one place in Kenya that I would go again, is Maasai Land, I have actually gone there twice and am going again next year for another expedition.

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Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?

My inspiration is drawn from ‘creatives’ in general, not just photographers. Writers, poets, singers; people who chose to pursue their passion and are excelling at it. When it comes to photography however, I’m mostly inspired by fellow young budding photographers.

Individuals like Philip Kisia of Pelz photography & Annemiek Van Der Kuil to name a few, big names in their own right, successfully paving their own path in photography. I’m very appreciative of the fact that they are always at my disposal when it comes to feedback on my work and I can certainly attribute my growth to them.

My family and friends also inspire me a lot by way of their support. My sister Doreen makes a point to like every picture that I post and that gives me life.

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What do you look out for as a result when taking your photos and how do you get your photos to speak that?

I always try to capture the mood of the situation and of the people in my focus. Portraying that moment to my audience – be it a moment engulfed in sadness, happiness or despair, that very instance in time, just how I see it, is what I strive to showcase.

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What are a few tips you would give someone who wants to pursue travel photography?

Make certain that this is the path you truly want to follow; it will be quite a thrill – obstacles and all. Keep in mind that you also need to be open minded. Learn about other people’s cultures every chance you get and don’t worry about money too much. As cliché as it may sound, it’s not always about the money, when you want to do something and your intentions are right then it will all fall in place eventually.

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

What does your next year look like in terms of places you plan to visit, and why have you picked those as the first destinations?

I’m looking to visit more African countries, probably start with Zambia. Before that though, I intend on travelling to Turkana and the North Eastern part of Kenya; those are the only places in the country that I am yet to visit hence why they top my ‘places to go’ list for next year ( God willing of course!). I’m very much into African history and would love to simply explore the continent and learn more from its history.

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

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

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

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Image by Micheal Khateli

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

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

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Image by Micheal Khateli

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

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

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

#2 The pre-commute commute can be daunting.

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

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

Zurukenya SGR
Image by Micheal Khateli

#3 No Signage

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

#4 African Timing for who?

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

#5 Weekends are a rush

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

zuru kenya train station
Image by @kenyarailways_

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

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

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

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

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Image by EPA

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

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

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Image by @kenyarailways_

#9 There is Room to Roam

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

Top 10 African Travel Blogs

We are honored and humbled to have been featured as one of the Top 10 African Travel Blogs listed on Africa.com Thank you very much. Read the feature below…

One of the greatest pleasures for many travelers is getting the chance to travel extensively through the great African continent. For some travel aficionados, journeying across Africa has become their unofficial career and they’ve documented their incredible travels on a variety of interesting and thrilling travel blogs. Some bloggers use their special skills for telling a great story to showcase the great continent; others tap into a more specialized skill like their experiences working with animals or local communities to add texture and context to their blogs.

All the best African travel blogs have color, personality and take you on a visual tour of Africa’s countries and cultures. The only qualifier here is that the blogs need to be independent and personal – here are some of the most outstanding African travel blogs you have to start reading now.

1. Maroc Mamma – Amanda Ponzio-Mouttaki, Morocco

Moroccan travel enthusiast and food lover, Amanda, is based in Marrakech and travels extensively throughout the region documenting the food, drink and varied cultures of Morocco. Her favorite part of the country includes the immense and awe-inspiring coastline, and she highly recommends taking the time to stop and sip the mint-tea while experiencing Moroccan culture.

Her blog is also packed with tips for travelling through the region and beautiful pictures of her travels. There’s also a great guide to festivals and holidays in Morocco as well as advice on tours and trips and shopping… perfect for planning your first Moroccan holiday.

 

Maroc Mamma – Amanda Ponzio-Mouttaki, Morocco

2. The Incidental Tourist – Dawn Jorgensen, South Africa

Based in Cape Town, Dawn is an avid traveler and photographer with a deep love for Africa and its people. She’s been gorilla trekking in Uganda, turtle rescuing in Kenya and even tree planting in Zambia. Her background is in travel and hospitality and after selling her own travel tour company she’s spent the last few years as a professional tourist, promoting conscious and mindful travel across Africa that highlights responsible travel with respect for the cultures with which you interact.

Check out her blog’s guide to whale watching, her tips for visiting South Africa’s best malaria-free safari destinations, and her four-day hike through a rainforest in Madagascar… it’ll make you want to grab your bags and hit the road immediately.

 

The Incidental Tourist – Dawn Jorgensen, South Africa

3. Backpacking for African Beginners – Valerie Bowden , Ethiopia

In 2013, Valerie, now living in Ethiopia, backpacked all the way from Cape Town to Cairo by herself and only using public transport. Not only did she make some wonderful friends and connections on her seven month trip through the continent, but she picked up a bucket-load of useful information and practical do’s and don’ts for travelling through the continent alone and safely.

Her blog not only recounts her many travels disseminating a world-positive view of Africa and its people, but she has plenty of guides, lists and sage advice on how to plan and execute your ideal backpacking trip. Her tips include pointers on how to pack light, how to pre-plan your trip, what special travel gear and gadgets might be worth investing in, and some updates and red lights for things that can go wrong and ways to prepare for hiccups.

 

Backpacking for African Beginners – Valerie Bowden , Ethiopia

4. Bright Continent – Anton Crone, South Africa

Photographer, writer, editor and eco-blogger, Anton Crone, pens a blog exploring the bright cultural heritage of the African continent. From his native Cape Town, to delving into secular music in Mali, to exploring Tanzania’s Rubondo Island National Park, Crone often trails off the beaten track to highlight parts of the continent we rarely get to see. Even better, his posts are complimented with beautiful pictures from the most far-flung places.

Crone goes far beyond travel writing, his stories and accounts are insightful, often poignant, expansive and bright. His blog casts a fresh gaze on the continent, its people and cultures that creates a fresh narrative, one that is sorely needed in the travel space. Wending far off the beaten track then back again, always with a transformed perspective that make reading his blog a journey all on its own.

Bright Continent – Anton Crone, South Africa

5. The Travel Manuel – Lauren McShane, South Africa

Lauren and Vaughan McShane are the jet-setting duo behind one of South Africa’s favorite travel blogs, The Travel Manuel. And, no, they didn’t spell ‘manual’ wrong – ‘Manuel’ is Lauren’s maiden name. Their blog describes them as digital nomads and modern day explorers. Their travels across South Africa paint a charming picture of the country and its people and the blog is definitely worth getting into.

The blog is also packed with beautiful pictures and tips for travels across Africa. They often allow guest bloggers to contribute with their own stories and helpful travel advice and they also have a nifty section with product reviews for travel friendly items.

The Travel Manuel – Lauren McShane, South Africa

6. Zuru Kenya – Olive Majala Maloti, Kenya

With the goal of raising the profile of Kenya and showcasing its people, diversity, food, culture, wildlife and landscapes, Olive has built up her Zuru Kenya blog into a full high quality travel and leisure website packed with information, narratives and beautiful photography about East Africa.

The blog has been gaining massive popularity and was even nominated for a BAKE Kenyan Blog Award in 2015. Along with featuring Kenya’s amazing wildlife and safaris, it also highlights culture and traditions, food and festivals, people and the history. It also showcases the different regional attractions helping visitors plan well-rounded and diverse trips to the country.

Zuru Kenya – Olive Majala Maloti, Kenya

7. Duff’s Suitcase – Sarah Duff, South Africa

As the former digital editor for Getaway Magazine, Sarah Duff knows a thing or two about smart travel. Sarah travels the world, but she’s particularly insightful about the continent where she lives, telling incredible stories of people and places that paint a unique picture of Africa that will inspire your wanderlust.

Sarah’s been carving out a name for herself as an international blogger with her 500-day around the world trip and the beautiful pictures from her travels.  Her blog is also packed with personal stories from her trips across Africa and abroad with some good advice for others looking to do the same.

Duff’s Suitcase – Sarah Duff, South Africa

8. Discovering Kenya – Zainab Daham, Kenya

Kenyan born and raised, Zainab Daham created her blog to highlight the beauty of her Kenya to potential visitors. Zainab does more than write about her own travels through Kenya, she also documents the stories of her fellow countrymen discussing the food, culture, fashion, and travel.

Unlike a lot of similar blogs about beautiful Kenya, Zainab goes one step further by exploring the art and fashion of Kenya and the artists that create them. She also features some of the country’s most outstanding places from spas, to lodges, to beautiful old colonial towns along its coastline.

 

Discovering Kenya – Zainab Daham, Kenya

9. The World Pursuit – Cameron Seagle and Natasha Alden, Africa

American couple, Cameron and Natasha, have been building a following with their blogs documenting their travels around the world – their narrative is fun and light and packed with information and travel tips for fellow travelers too. They took to Africa on their HashtagAfrica adventure that tracked their journey via the route and a vlog along with notes on the logistics of their travel.

The duo revealed they were interested in a cross-Africa trip partly because they found a complete dearth of information on many of the places that should have been well-mapped. They make a good point, there’s much of Africa that is still unknown to tourists and travelers – check out their blog to see where on the continent you might want to explore.

The World Pursuit – Cameron Seagle and Natasha Alden, Africa

10. Mzansi Girl – Meruschka Govender, South Africa

Mzansi Girl is self-named for love of her country, Mzansi meaning “south” and a term locals often use to refer to her native South Africa – she’s taken that one step further, expanding her Twitter account that she started to document her travels across the country during the FIFA World Cup to a full blog packed with stories and travel tips from all corners of the country.

What makes Meruschka’s blog really interesting is that she writes about places many people know exist, or have even driven past, but few have stopped to explore properly. As a result she’s discovered some real treasures – check out her site to discover something new about South Africa.

Mzansi Girl – Meruschka Govender, South Africa
Source: First published on Africa.com

#Coupletravel: I Want to Travel the World with you

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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


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

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

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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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Let’s go Glamping!

Camping, this is one of those travel experiences with no in-betweens; you either simply love it or hate it.

If in incase you lean towards the latter because of the back-to-basics nature of camping, a new trend has emerged that might just be the reason you come around at least before ruling it out completely.

Glamping” or rather, glamorous camping resorts are sprouting up rapidly, with the makeup of extremely spacious luxury tents that come with a personal chef and butler to boot! Nothing basic about that!

Travelers keen to get off the beaten path are best suited for this new form of travel and Kenya has not been left behind in terms of serving you with some of the finest glamping destinations.

Kenya gives you a glamping experience with no barriers; wide, scenic views of the plains and colorful sunsets from your deck with a couple of wildlife looking to make a friend or two popping up at your doorstep to say hello. Here you are immersed in nature with high-end comfort.

Your accommodation tents are a far cry from the poles in the ground you might be picturing; they feature hardwood floors, private bathrooms, and four poster beds, in room Wi-Fi in camps situated in massive acres.

Say goodbye to pitching tents, unrolling sleeping bags, and building fire. There’s nothing like the allure of a luxury experience in the wild taking you back to Ernest Hemingway days.

So, if you really didn’t like your last back-to-basics camping experience, it might just be time for an upgrade. You might consider these destinations for instance;

Ashnil Samburu

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Ashnil Samburu Camp sits in Buffalo Springs Game Reserve which takes its name from an oasis of crystal clear water at the western end of the reserve. It is separated from Samburu National Reserve by Ewaso Nyiro River and is less hilly and dense yet equally very attractive.

Sanctuary Olonana

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This award-winning tented camp in the Masai Mara, is one of the best places in the world to see the annual wildebeest migration. This natural spectacle happens on the camp’s doorstep and you may catch glimpses of it from the private verandah of your tent!

Sasaab Lodge

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Sasaab is a stunning blend of Moroccan and Swahili style, located in the heart of the African bush. Each individual cottage is designed to offer majestic views of the landscape and offer a cooling retreat from the African heat.

Mahali Mzuri

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In Swahili, Mahali Mzuri means “beautiful place”, just one glance and you know it indeed is a beautiful place. It is also right in the path of the annual great migration. The stylish and luxurious tent suites are made to blend in with its surroundings and designed by borrowing elements of regions traditional architecture.

Lewa Safari Camp

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This tented camp in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, overlooks Mount Kenya and the reserve. The conservancy is a terrific place to view the endangered black rhino as it is home to about 10% of Kenya’s rhino population. The game viewing in Lewa is excellent.

Jambo Mutara Camp

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This elegant safari camp is located just west of Mount Kenya, North of Aberdares Forest. The camp is the only accommodation found in the Mutara Conservancy and it offers the best of safari accommodation in a luxury style.

Mara Bushtops Luxury Tented Camp

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Set amid the 60,000 hectares of the Mara Siana Wildlife Conservancy, directly bordering the Masai Mara itself, Mara Bushtops boasts a sensational location. Set in its own private conservancy, the camp has been designed to blend in with the natural habitat to ensure minimal impact of the environment. No expense has been spared on the fittings provided in the 12 spacious and fabulously appointed luxury tents, open on three sides to the great outdoors and each with its own special view. Featuring beautiful interiors solely designed for ultimate comfort and convenience, the camp’s private accommodation has everything you need for a luxurious stay.

Sand River Maasai Mara

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This classy tented camp perched on the banks of the Sand river in the Mara is a winner. Located in a quieter area of the Mara the camp has outstanding resident wildlife and is brilliantly located for the migration before it re-enters the Serengeti. The layout of the camp lends a sense of privacy & the decor is relaxed yet luxurious.

THE PRIDE OF AFRICA | FLYING HIGH IN 2016

“The Pride of Africa”

Our national flag carrier is on a lane of its own; seamlessly living up to its name if the World Travel Awards 2016 is anything to go by. Going by the title “Africa’s Leading airline” this year, Kenya Airways not only affirms its dominance in the African skies but also confirms that it is indeed, the Pride of Africa.

Moreover, Its commitment to modern conviniences and overall customer experience, also saw it scoop the “Africa’s Leading Airline – Business Class” award for the fourth consecutive year.

In light of this remarkable achievement, we reached out to Kenya Airways’ Marketing Director Chris Diaz, to get his sentiments on the awards and future progress of the carrier.

KQ Marketing Director Chris Diaz. Photo/Hannington zurukenya
Kenya Airways’ (KQ) Marketing Director Chris Diaz. Photo/Hannington

For the past 22 years consecutively, South African Airways has been the best airline to fly with as far as winning the Africa’s Leading Airline Award at the World Travel Awards is concerned. This year however, Kenya Airways broke that cycle, taking the Africa’s Leading Airline Award home. How big a deal is winning this title and what does it mean for the airline and your consumers going forth?

The award was a tremendous honour and great reward for the monumental efforts all of us at Kenya Airways have put into making the airline a leader in the region. Going forward, we are working to ensure Kenya Airways remains at the forefront of international aviation with a commitment to continue offering our guests warm African hospitality . We continue to connect Africa to the world and the world to Africa.

Aside from Bagging Africa’s Leading Airline Award this year, you also scooped Africa’s Leading Airline – Business Class Award. This is the fourth consecutive year you are taking this award home; you clearly must be doing something right in this department.  Today, Business-Class travel experience is highly valued by flyers and a lot of factors come into play when deciding what airline offers seamless travel for this group. What sort of developments or services offered by your airline do you think sets you apart from the rest in the game, hence getting you this accolade for the fourth consecutive year?

Over the years we have invested heavily to get where we are. We have one of the newest fleet in the region. We have invested in ensuring our guests experience superior flying experiences in the Business-Class cabin. We are now operating from a fairly new hub at JKIA with a state of the art terminal, we have introduced new menus on board, and we have fully-flat bed in our aircraft. We also have world class inflight services and award winning lounges at JKIA. These are just some of our strengths but our greatest one is our people who work tirelessly despite difficult circumstances to keep our guests coming again and again.

Having won the “Africa’s Leading Airline” title, do you perhaps think that all eyes will be on you now to set the industry’s standards in terms of service and comfort?

Definitely. As a result, our focus is to remain committed to transforming air travel by continuously investing in the best people, products and technology and, in doing so, developing a highly acclaimed airline brand.

While we are still on that topic, are there any developments that Kenya airways may have achieved that perhaps are a first in the industry thereby setting yourself apart as a trend setter?

As mentioned above, our product and people speak for themselves. The fact that we also know Africa better than anyone else is a great advantage. We go to 42 destinations in the continent and if anyone knows Africa, it is Kenya Airways. In this case we continue to contribute to the sustainable development of Africa.

Of course, even with a successful a company as yours, one cannot fail to encounter a few shortcomings here and there, in a few reviews that we’ve taken a look at, we’ve come across several critiques in terms of “cost-cutting measures in regards to meals, delays without notice and/or apologies and sometimes a not so customer friendly staff and so on” thus while the airline might be good, the overall experience for some is not so good. Have you encountered any such concerns, and what are you doing to curb them?

We receive complaints and we know we are not perfect but are continuously investing to ensure we offer our guests the best in service and the quality of our product.  Yes, there is an opportunity to improve. We strive to bring consistency and quality by focusing on delivering consistently high levels of customer service that extend beyond in-flight service.

Last year, financial reports indicated a 25.7 billion after tax loss incurred by Kenya airways during the last fiscal year. One of the reasons given for this was the major challenge faced by the tourism Industry as a whole i.e. insecurity following terror attacks and the issuance of travel advisories by most countries. However, things are looking up now. Are there any measures or incentives that Kenya Airways has taken to try and draw more tourists to Kenya?

Yes. We currently executing a turnround strategy dubbed, Operation Pride in a bid to change the fortunes of the airline and we are already seeing some positive traction. We have stepped our efforts to ensure seamless connectivity through our hub, at competitive prices. We are working on improving our profitability by instituting several measures in the strategy. In the next 18 to 24 months, we should be breaking even.  In addition, the move by the Government of Kenya to reduce the visa restriction of for children under 16 years has impacted positively on growing tourist numbers especially for Kenya.

Lastly,  if you could recommend one place to tourists looking to visit Kenya, where would this place be and why?

As you know, Kenya is a world-class destination offering some of the best rated tourist activities and products including the Masai Mara and Diani Beach which were voted leading destinations at the Awards. I would recommend visiting these sites among the many others Kenya has to offer.

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