Tag Archives: Kenya

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.

Tusker Twende Kazi

50 days, 8 countries, 50 people, 1 Tusker…All on an incredible journey through East Africa and Europe to deliver a taste of home and show the world that a little bit of Kenya can go a long way.

Kenya is 50, and what better way to celebrate it than this; Tusker Twende Kazi. Last week, East African Breweries Limited (EABL) launched an all new reality TV show, the first of its kind in the country, “Tusker Twende Kazi”.  The East African version of the popular reality series, The Amazing Race, this show which kicked off at Uhuru Gardens (the location of Kenya first ever flag-raising), follows 50  East African citizens as they race from Kenya to London on a task to deliver “a  little bit of home” – tusker Lager to the celebrated Kenyan rugby export Humphrey Khayange, currently based in London. BgbeiZ2CAAE3OV9 The 50 participants grouped in 25 teams of two (comprising of an ordinary East African citizen and a celebrity) must find their way to London through 8 countries armed with nothing but their strength and charm. The teams will get around with no money at all! and must rely only on goodwill from strangers and all the charm they can muster to get to the various checkpoints they will be sent to each week. Celebrities featured here from East Africa include; Ezekiel Kemboi, Legendary Kipchoge Keino, Nameless, Bebe Cool, Maurice Kirya, STL, “the blackest man in black Africa” – Fred Obachi Machoka, Eve D’Souza, Collo, Radio & Weasel, Papa Shirandula, Jalang’o and a host of many others.

To get them through this long, tough, obstacle ridden 50-day journey, each team will have the option of traveling by car or air, depending on how far the next checkpoint is from their current point. Each team has a time limit to get the Tusker bottle to the next team in the relay; no delays!

BhLyQwUCIAExhr8The relay Tusker bottle

Unlike the Amazing Race though, participants of Tusker Twende Kazi  are not in it to win any race or money, but to show what a great country and a people we are. The journey is meant to demonstrate the resilience of the Kenyan spirit to achieve whatever it sets out to do; it is a nation-building mission. It is further aimed at bringing East Africans together and igniting the belief that we can do anything, demonstrating that together, we can make a little bit of Kenya go a long way.

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We were introduced to the participants in the first episode, with  Team 1 members consisting of Ezekiel Kemboi and Michael Nduati  setting off with the “relay bottle”  to face tasks ahead in a bid to get that bottle to Humphrey Kayange in London. The other 24 teams left in one hour intervals subsequently.

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Eric Kiniti, the Corporate Affairs Director had this to say about the show “As we join Kenyans’ in celebrating the 50th anniversary of independence, this show is meant to demonstrate the resilience of the Kenyan spirit to achieve whatever it sets out to do. This show is tailored to reflect Kenya’s coming of age.”

Below, some of the teams seek help from strangers along their journey…

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BhfLRSgCEAAFmLb.jpg largeDon’t forget to catch your favorite teams as they traverse two continents to accomplish their task. The show airs every Sunday from 8pm, on Citizen TV hosted by Channel O VJ, radio and TV personality Joey Muthengi. It also broadcasts across East Africa.

Tusker, “My beer, My country!!”

Channel O VJ, actress, radio and TV personality, Joey Muthengi
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/entertainment/pulse/article/4375/tusker-twende-kazi-unveiled
Top celebrities from across East Africa joined the race last night as East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL) launched the Twende Kazi reality TV show. The Nairobi hosted red carpet affair featured the who-is-who in the entertainment and corporate scene across the region. The show is a first of its kind, a 50-day racing affair that will see celebrities carry a bottle from Kenya to London where the regional hero, celebrated Kenyan rugby export Humphrey Kayange will receive it. The show’s host is the sassy Channel O VJ, actress, radio and TV personality, Joey Muthengi. In the company of 1968 Olympic Champion Kipchoge Keino will be yet another great athlete; Ezekiel Kemboi. Charles Bukeko better known as Papa Shirandula will also take part in the challenge, which will test his resilience and fighting spirit as will Uganda’s bad boy Moses Ssali alias Bebe Cool.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/entertainment/pulse/article/4375/tusker-twende-kazi-unveiled

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

I pledge my loyalty…

Growing up, the national pledge is something we routinely recited  either on Fridays or Mondays (depends which school you went to) during school assemblies. Without putting much thought into it we would excitingly and loudly declare the love we had for our country under the watchful eye of our principle/headmaster. But honestly back then I doubt we had any clue as to what we were speedily reciting, as a matter of fact many of us mumbled through most of it until the infamous ‘HARAMBEE” part. See then they were just words…words that every student in the 844 system had to cram. I wonder how many of us can actually recite our national pledge today (without peeping)…

The Pledge of a nation is a binding promise or agreement we make between ourselves and our Nation. It is meant to act as an overall direction of which the country chooses to take and how it plans to get there.

Kenya-FlagI pledge;

My loyalty to the president and the Republic of Kenya

My devotion to the words of our national anthem,

My life and strength in the service of our republic

In the living spirit embodied in our national motto,

Harambee,

And perpetuated in the Nyayo Philosopy of Peace Love and Unity.

Now, there are phrases in the loyalty pledge that deserve a brief historical background. Kenya gained her independence from the Britons on 12th December, 1963. It became a democratic country, headed by a president, complete with a parliament and a senate. Elections – or what passed for them – were held every five years; there was no term limitation on how long a guy could rule, especially the president. In 1978, Jomo Kenyatta, the first president, passed on, after ruling for 15 years. His then deputy, Daniel Arap Moi, took the reins of power, with a pledge to follow the “footsteps” of the “founding father”. Therefore, Nyayo (footsteps) became the motto, the name of the president, the catch-phrase…it became everything, including part of the loyalty pledge. ( source; Stephen Magu )

Right after the 1982 attempted coup on the then president Moi’s government, things had to change….From then on, there was a systematic attempt to crack down on any alternative political thoughts. Parliament introduced, debated and passed an infamous Section 2 (a) into the constitution, which made the country a de facto one-party state. True, elections continued to be held for the next 11 years, but there was only one party in power, so it was almost akin to choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Among the changes that were introduced in the school system during that period, was a free school milk program (once every week, for all the good that could do), an 8-year primary, 4 year secondary and 4 year university education system, a departure from the British system, and…yes, the loyalty pledge. If I have ever seen indoctrination of minors, that was the purest form. The loyalty pledge was recited in every school in Kenya, under the watchful eyes of stern-faced, stick-holding, menacing-looking head-teachers, deputy head-teachers and teachers on duty. It became routine; something we did not really think about, or whose ramifications really did not manifest themselves to us.

Moi’s era gone, two governments later,  and the loyalty pledge continues, to the best of my knowledge – to be recited. Patriotism to one’s country is to be aspired for. It is paramount for the cohesion and unity of a country.  Whereas pledges of loyalty and allegiance should probably not be mandatory, I do believe that it is the highest form of indoctrination to have some pledges, such as the Kenyan one. When you have a party whose motto is “Nyayo” and have every kid reciting that pledge, now that is influencing the political process and the future direction the country’s thinking will take. It is my supplication that the pledge of allegiance ought to have free reign; but the Loyalty Pledge…now that is something else. I don’t believe kids should be pledging loyalty to particular parties, philosophies; perhaps more appropriately, to national unity, cohesion, the flag and concepts/symbols that are neutral, but that which all citizens of a country can identify with. ( source; Stephen Magu )

Kenyan National Anthem

The Kenya National Anthem reflects the traditional music of Kenya and the nation’s values. Composed in both English and Swahili, the national anthem focuses on Kenya’s rich heritage that is integral to the nation’s identity. It also emphasizes peace and liberty both within Kenya and with her neighbours.

Interestingly, the method selected to create the anthem had never been tried in Africa. Kenya’s national anthem is notable for being one of the first anthems to be specifically prepared by a group of local musicians. The five member team consisted of G.W. Senoga-Zake, Thomas Kalume, Peter Kibukosya, Graham Hyslop, and Washington Omondi. The tune was derived from a traditional lullaby sung by the Pokomo community. It showcases authentic African melody. The lyrics reflect the convictions and aspirations of Kenyans, evoking utmost civic pride and patriotism.

Source:http://www.statehousekenya.go.ke/anthem.htm

Kiswahili English
1 1
Ee Mungu nguvu yetu
Ilete baraka kwetu
Haki iwe ngao na mlinzi
Natukae na undugu
Amani na uhuru
Raha tupate na ustawi.
O God of all creation
Bless this our land and nation
Justice be our shield and defender
May we dwell in unity
Peace and liberty
Plenty be found within our borders.
2 2
Amkeni ndugu zetu
Tufanye sote bidii
Nasi tujitoe kwa nguvu
Nchi yetu ya Kenya
Tunayoipenda
Tuwe tayari kuilinda
Let one and all arise
With hearts both strong and true
Service be our earnest endeavour
And our homeland of Kenya
Heritage of splendour
Firm may we stand to defend.
3 3
Natujenge taifa letu
Ee, ndio wajibu wetu
Kenya istahili heshima
Tuungane mikono
Pamoja kazini
Kila siku tuwe na shukrani
Let all with one accord
In common bond united
Build this our nation together
And the glory of Kenya
The fruit of our labour
Fill every heart with thanksgiving.

Kenya’s “Little Italy”

Visiting  Malindi for the first time, one would be forgiven for thinking to be in some part of Italy and rightfully so…one glimpse at this coastal town and everything Italian is conspicuous; Italian restaurants, hotels, bakeries and so on. As a matter of fact, there are more than 2,500 Italian-owned properties in the town including residences, supermarkets, barber shops, butcheries, and other small businesses. What’s more, the locals who by the way speak fluent Italian, will warmly welcome you with a “Ciao Bella” with kids joyfully shouting “Ciao, Ciao”.

bakery Italian bakery

Italian culture is rife in Malindi. More and more Italians are either taking up residence or visiting the town annually. Today around 4,000 Italians are permanent residents, while 30,000 tourists visit each year. There is only one foreign consulate in Malindi — it represents Italy. Italian is probably the third most widely spoken language here, after Kiswahili and English. Goes to show just how deep the culture has seeped in “little Milan”. In fact many local businesses now advertise in Italian, alongside either English or Kiswahili. There has also been the mushrooming of many Italian language centers.

gelato-storeGelato store

For a taste of good pizza, fine Italian wine, gelato and great Italian conversations, Malindi or better yet “Little Italy” is the place to be.

With such a high profile list of visitors to Malindi, the owner of Suli Suli Hotel which was later renamed Bougan Village, the late Duranti Camillo, may long have passed on and his body interred at the Malindi Christian Cemetery but his legacy lives forever in Malindi because he is the one who opened the doors for Italian tourism in Malindi. “Malindi’s good weather and its friendly people make the resort just addictive. Italian holiday makers who come to Malindi for the first time are so overwhelmed by its beauty they often come back, some come back to stay forever” says the Italian Consul in Malindi, Roberto Macri, who himself arrived in Malindi in 1978 and got stuck here. “I found this small fishing village where the weather was so good, the beaches wide and empty and the people extremely friendly, always smiling and co-operative and just felt at home. I decided to stay and even started my new life here complete with a family,” explains the Italian Consul who speaks fluent Swahili and some local languages. Italians interest in Malindi could as well have started in earnest in 1964 when Italian engineers and space scientists arrived in the then bushy town and established the San Marco Space Research Centre in Ngomeni area. Malindi tourism Among other early investors who put Malindi tourism on the world map for quality include international architectural designer and art promoter Armando Tanzini who constructed the White Elephant Hotel & Resort around 1981. Encouraged by Armando and following on his footsteps, other Italian investors such as millionaire Vitali Gianfranco established the Coconut Village. Years later came the Coral Key chain of hotels now owned by one of the most respected Italian investors Marco Vancini. Today the Italian investor owns several blue chip tourist resorts among them the Coral Key, the Blue Key and the Lawfords Beach Club besides many villas and cottages which provide accommodation mainly for top notch Italian tourists.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000082966&story_title=the-italian-connection-in-malindi&pageNo=2
With such a high profile list of visitors to Malindi, the owner of Suli Suli Hotel which was later renamed Bougan Village, the late Duranti Camillo, may long have passed on and his body interred at the Malindi Christian Cemetery but his legacy lives forever in Malindi because he is the one who opened the doors for Italian tourism in Malindi. “Malindi’s good weather and its friendly people make the resort just addictive. Italian holiday makers who come to Malindi for the first time are so overwhelmed by its beauty they often come back, some come back to stay forever” says the Italian Consul in Malindi, Roberto Macri, who himself arrived in Malindi in 1978 and got stuck here. “I found this small fishing village where the weather was so good, the beaches wide and empty and the people extremely friendly, always smiling and co-operative and just felt at home. I decided to stay and even started my new life here complete with a family,” explains the Italian Consul who speaks fluent Swahili and some local languages. Italians interest in Malindi could as well have started in earnest in 1964 when Italian engineers and space scientists arrived in the then bushy town and established the San Marco Space Research Centre in Ngomeni area. Malindi tourism Among other early investors who put Malindi tourism on the world map for quality include international architectural designer and art promoter Armando Tanzini who constructed the White Elephant Hotel & Resort around 1981. Encouraged by Armando and following on his footsteps, other Italian investors such as millionaire Vitali Gianfranco established the Coconut Village. Years later came the Coral Key chain of hotels now owned by one of the most respected Italian investors Marco Vancini. Today the Italian investor owns several blue chip tourist resorts among them the Coral Key, the Blue Key and the Lawfords Beach Club besides many villas and cottages which provide accommodation mainly for top notch Italian tourists.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000082966&story_title=the-italian-connection-in-malindi&pageNo=2
With such a high profile list of visitors to Malindi, the owner of Suli Suli Hotel which was later renamed Bougan Village, the late Duranti Camillo, may long have passed on and his body interred at the Malindi Christian Cemetery but his legacy lives forever in Malindi because he is the one who opened the doors for Italian tourism in Malindi. “Malindi’s good weather and its friendly people make the resort just addictive. Italian holiday makers who come to Malindi for the first time are so overwhelmed by its beauty they often come back, some come back to stay forever” says the Italian Consul in Malindi, Roberto Macri, who himself arrived in Malindi in 1978 and got stuck here. “I found this small fishing village where the weather was so good, the beaches wide and empty and the people extremely friendly, always smiling and co-operative and just felt at home. I decided to stay and even started my new life here complete with a family,” explains the Italian Consul who speaks fluent Swahili and some local languages. Italians interest in Malindi could as well have started in earnest in 1964 when Italian engineers and space scientists arrived in the then bushy town and established the San Marco Space Research Centre in Ngomeni area. Malindi tourism Among other early investors who put Malindi tourism on the world map for quality include international architectural designer and art promoter Armando Tanzini who constructed the White Elephant Hotel & Resort around 1981. Encouraged by Armando and following on his footsteps, other Italian investors such as millionaire Vitali Gianfranco established the Coconut Village. Years later came the Coral Key chain of hotels now owned by one of the most respected Italian investors Marco Vancini. Today the Italian investor owns several blue chip tourist resorts among them the Coral Key, the Blue Key and the Lawfords Beach Club besides many villas and cottages which provide accommodation mainly for top notch Italian tourists.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000082966&story_title=the-italian-connection-in-malindi&pageNo=2
MALINDI, KENYA: When sometime in December 1978, one sunny afternoon, a group of 150 Italian tourists landed at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa, in a charter flight from Italy, and headed to Suli Suli Hotel in Malindi, no one knew that the arrival would herald the opening of tourism floodgates from Italy to the sleepy town of Malindi. Demand for accommodation and Italian lifestyles have, since that December 35 years ago, seen Italians invest trillions of Lira (the Italian currency) in tourism sector in Malindi. Not for nothing then Malindi has come to be known in some circles as the ‘Little Italy’ in Kenya. Looking back , there is no doubt that without Italians, the tourism industry in Malindi would have long died since the Germans and Swiss stopped coming to the resort town many years ago. Italian community The Italian community has invested so heavily in Malindi’s Hotel and Villas accommodation to a level that today- it is one of the few small urban centers in the world with an Italian consulate. Tourism in Malindi is highly Italian-oriented with close to 50 Italian-owned hotels and resorts employing more than 15,000 Kenyans. On the other hand, private villas and cottages in Malindi which are mainly patronized by Italian provide between 5,000 and 6,000 accommodation units. At least 10,000 workers are employed by the owners of the villas and cottages with an average of at least 1,500 Italians living in Malindi permanently throughout the year. At least 30,000 Italian tourists visit Malindi every year. Malindi’s wide, pristine and golden sandy beaches have proven an irresistible attraction to Italian holiday makers who have often included billionaires, politicians and celebrities willing to pay top dollar for the privacy and tranquility that is only found in Malindi. Former Italian Prime Minister and billionaire Silvio Berlusconi has holidayed in Malindi several time including a visit a few months ago.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000082966
With such a high profile list of visitors to Malindi, the owner of Suli Suli Hotel which was later renamed Bougan Village, the late Duranti Camillo, may long have passed on and his body interred at the Malindi Christian Cemetery but his legacy lives forever in Malindi because he is the one who opened the doors for Italian tourism in Malindi. “Malindi’s good weather and its friendly people make the resort just addictive. Italian holiday makers who come to Malindi for the first time are so overwhelmed by its beauty they often come back, some come back to stay forever” says the Italian Consul in Malindi, Roberto Macri, who himself arrived in Malindi in 1978 and got stuck here.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000082966&story_title=the-italian-connection-in-malindi&pageNo=2
With such a high profile list of visitors to Malindi, the owner of Suli Suli Hotel which was later renamed Bougan Village, the late Duranti Camillo, may long have passed on and his body interred at the Malindi Christian Cemetery but his legacy lives forever in Malindi because he is the one who opened the doors for Italian tourism in Malindi. “Malindi’s good weather and its friendly people make the resort just addictive. Italian holiday makers who come to Malindi for the first time are so overwhelmed by its beauty they often come back, some come back to stay forever” says the Italian Consul in Malindi, Roberto Macri, who himself arrived in Malindi in 1978 and got stuck here. “I found this small fishing village where the weather was so good, the beaches wide and empty and the people extremely friendly, always smiling and co-operative and just felt at home. I decided to stay and even started my new life here complete with a family,” explains the Italian Consul who speaks fluent Swahili and some local languages. Italians interest in Malindi could as well have started in earnest in 1964 when Italian engineers and space scientists arrived in the then bushy town and established the San Marco Space Research Centre in Ngomeni area. Malindi tourism Among other early investors who put Malindi tourism on the world map for quality include international architectural designer and art promoter Armando Tanzini who constructed the White Elephant Hotel & Resort around 1981. Encouraged by Armando and following on his footsteps, other Italian investors such as millionaire Vitali Gianfranco established the Coconut Village. Years later came the Coral Key chain of hotels now owned by one of the most respected Italian investors Marco Vancini. Today the Italian investor owns several blue chip tourist resorts among them the Coral Key, the Blue Key and the Lawfords Beach Club besides many villas and cottages which provide accommodation mainly for top notch Italian tourists.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000082966&story_title=the-italian-connection-in-malindi&pageNo=2

Live Like a Kenyan

Below are some common fun stereotypes about Kenyans and their ethnicity…(not to be tribalistic or anything). These stereotypes normally come up either because of the people’s cultures, economic activities or even how they interacted with the colonialists. Whereas some Kenyans maybe known to have great athletic ability, others are regarded as agile business people, traders and so on…Here are some fun stereotypes for you (true or not).

The Kikuyu

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Everyone has heard the one about Kikuyu women. How they plait their hair, read a novel or knit and placidly inform their partners to cover them when they are through with their business. If one day you return home to find an empty house and your children gone, then you are in the groove with a Kikuyu. They are known to be “packers”. They will pack and go with the children and furniture after 40 years of hard labor on a marriage. A common saying goes “A Kikuyu woman will treat you like a king as long as you have cash, but toss you like rotten mutura (traditional sausage) once you are broke.”

Cynics say Kiambu women are so materialistic! They will kill their marriages to enjoy the wealth alone. One Kikuyu lady coined the following phrases to her defense, “I would rather cry on a Mercedes than laugh on a bicycle. Money is not everything it is the only thing.” But Lydia Wambui comes to her sisters’ defense. “Everyone loves money. You cannot go to your landlord or the headmaster at your children’s school and say, ‘we are in love, please understand us for not paying.’ Love is no substitute for money.” Wags also poke fun at the culinary skills of Kikuyu women. They will mix rice, arrow roots,  sukuma wiki, potatoes, githeri and all imaginable ingredients in one pot. Their men have to always sneak out to enjoy nyama choma or chapati in a smoke-filled joint on their own.

They say all women are said to be schemers but the Kikuyu have perfected it to an art. On the first date, they have you all sized up. Wallet size, level of education, future ambitions. So by the second date, you will be paying their rent.

The Nyeri ones are fabled to be harsh and authoritative. If you have the bad fortune of marrying one, chances of being her punching bag are inevitable. They are the Thatcher’s of Wahome Mutahi fame. Rivals in love will also dismiss them on account of their figures. Below five inches in height, light complexioned, round pretty face with long lovely hair, over-sized chests, voluminous hands, flabby waist lines, ironed out behind, vertical hips all suspended on hockey-sticks-like legs.

They are known to have an undying thirst for white shoes.

Yet even their hottest critics acknowledge that they are so hard-working and organized that their men only come home in the evening to collect cash for their drinking sprees.

Men
The Kikuyu man walks eats and dream more plots, matatus and company shares. The ambitious and hard-working nature of these men dates back to the Wangu wa Makeri era. You are on your own after they give you a ‘mugunda’ a plot.

And most people must have heard the joke about the Kamau’s coming for your hard-earned money in the middle of the night. All the vices such as muggings, carjackings etc are believed to be their preserve.

It does not matter how far the economic ladder a Kikuyu man is, he will always have some “deals” in the name of business. Often these deals will be hatched and sealed in a smoke-filled bar.

But if you think he will have extra money to take you to some posh place, forget it. They are said to be so stingy that they believe leisure and expensive food is for fools. A typical Kikuyu man’s luxury car is a pick-up, and he believes you relax in the countryside weeding your shamba, not frolicking on the beach in Mombasa . Because of this, women think they are unromantic and dull. Their perfect date is taking a woman to dance to Mugithi while you eat nyama choma and mutura.

They also love moving in cliques and speaking their mother tongue everywhere even if you, a non-Kikuyu does not understand their language. Women say Kikuyu men assume that all light-skinned women are from their tribe. So they will talk to you in their mother tongue. If you express displeasure, they will sneer and tell you “wacha kujiringa!”

Then they are known to have parallel families. Word has it that a Kikuyu man will not marry a second wife, but will have mistress or two tucked away somewhere. It is only when he dies, that the other family surfaces. The joke is that, your kids and those of the mistress will have been born at the same time. If you have four children, she will also have her four. If you are thinking of ignoring the mother-in-law, then steer clear of this man. Kikuyu men are mama’s boys. So the way to his heart, is through his mother.

They are also said to be poor dressers and lack refined mannerisms. A must-have in every Kikuyu man’s wardrobe includes Savco and Freezer jeans preferably brown, Chicago Bulls T-shirts, North star sneakers and an over-sized leather jacket.

The Kamba

Kamba-CultureWomen
The myth of the sex athlete goes back a long way. Kamba women are known to be a force to reckon with. That is why they are hot material for barmaids. By the time she is 30, she is in total control. It is said that they are given a thorough briefing by their aunts and grandmothers as part of their initiation rituals. And yes, many of these women are unbelievably stunning in looks. She gives you a killer smile, giggles knowingly, and you want to marry her there and then. So why do Kamba women marry in the military? Army men’s weddings are full of glamour and endless feasts. They also love celebrity. However, for them, serious business is popping up juniors year after year.

And if you want to feed numerous dependents, then marry a Kamba. By your third date, her cousins, grandparents, sister’s boyfriend…are on your miserable payroll. And of course there’s the joke about colour clashing. You know, a mix of screaming orange and luminous green is a God sent match for them.

Men
Like their women, Kamba men are said to be athletes of sorts. Kamba men are born and bred to follow instructions. Starting from their mothers to their employers. For this reason, they make perfect domestic workers and messengers.

They are dismissed as being clueless about their future, their only ambition being to work in the army or at least get related to someone in the army through marriage. Kamba men have small features, which people say is because of the persistent droughts in their motherland. But if you were thinking that this would give you express liberty to be unfaithful, then forget it, they make jealous spouses and can be extremely possessive.

The Coastal People

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A police friend once informed me that their officers are given a firm warning when they get transfers to the Coast. You will need all your wit and guile to resist the coconut women. Love potions come in handy. Once the man is fixed with it, he is transfixed to her for life. You are her boi (boy) eternally. Critics say these women are so idle that they spend the whole day applying henna all over their bodies, prepare elaborate weddings and cook biryani the whole day as they gossip.

Stories have it that these women are well coached in the art of pleasing their husbands. No one understands better that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – chapatis and pilau (which they are experts in making) do the job. On the looks department they are endowed with dashing looks and mellow voices. The Taita are said to make exemplary, humble wives. But when they make up their minds that a relationship is headed for doom, they are known to vanish back to their parent’s faster than you can say ‘mdawida’.

Men
Coastal men are said to be smooth talkers but lazy to the bone. For any hard labor, look for a ‘mtu wa bara.’ With their mastery of the Kiswahili language, they can even talk Osama from his hideout.

They are the classic example of what a gentleman is supposed to be. With their use of flattery, and their love for speaking in low, husky tones, many women confess to being transfixed to the Swahili man. But in the words of one lady, “they talk too much; like they have swallowed a tape.”

The Taita are most humble. They fancy cooking mouth-watering dishes for their women. However, their Swahili counterparts are said to love living off the sweat of their women. And they are betrothed from birth.

The Luo

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Lakeside women are said to stick to their men like glue as long as they suspect love is in the air. But don’t you dare look at another woman! If you do, she will have you and the other woman by the neck. They are in love with first impressions. You have to have class.

If you wear moccasins on the first date and drive a pick-up, she will dump you like rotten fruit. And you better talk English (never Kiswahili) with a rounded twang. Big words (especially the ones she does not understand) make a lifelong impact. And the restaurant better be classy, not necessarily expensive. If you fulfill all these, by the tenth date, you will spot her clothes in your wardrobe. She has moved in.

Luo women are prided to have “drop dead gorgeous” bodies – with ‘Adhiambo sianda’ being their brand name. True African figures, they say. They are also known to be good cooks and bewitching lovers.

Men
Luo men are said to be romantic lovers and big spenders when they have the money. Whether it’s shopping in Dubai, being taken to posh restaurants or flying you off to some exciting location, the man to give you a good time is a Luo man.

Women are unanimous that these men from the lake will treat a lady like a queen, but only as long as a lighter complexioned woman does not emerge on the scene because then you will immediately be past tense. No wonder all Luo songs sing of ‘kalando’ (the brown one.)

Bar room chat is rife on the suave flamboyance and extravagance of a Luo man. For this man, tomorrow is a long way off. Life must be lived to the fullest today. Spending all his money on a cool Mercedes and parking it outside a grass-thatched hut in the village means nothing to this man. The important thing is to be seen driving the car.

When it comes to courtship a Luo man will not stammer in shyness when he approaches the woman he wants to be acquainted with and will not bat an eyelid when promising a non-existent heaven. He will insist on speaking to you in English because he cannot converse in Kiswahili.

They dress in flashy, expensive suits, shoes and ties. They will talk about their attractive young wife, the last trip overseas, the expensive car, furniture, electronics and mobile phones that they own. Listen to Poxi Presha’s ‘Otonglo time’ and the famous “Do I say line” will tell you everything you want to know.

Many Luo men from the older generation love old Lingala music and football. The younger ones love cricket and rugby. Cricket because it is still a mystery to many Kenyans and rugby because of the macho image.

It does not matter how vast your experience or how much wealth you have, without a degree, you are nobody. Count the number of professors from this tribe at any of our universities and you will know what I’m talking about.

But despite all this, a Luo man will not think of investing his money in anything substantive. Women from other tribes believe that even if he marries a non-Luo, this man will eventually marry from his tribe.

The Luhya

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These women are known to be modest and to have austerity. They cannot stand extravagance. A Luhya woman would rather stay at home and drink numerous cups of tea than have you take her for an expensive dinner. But as long as there is constant supply of ugali and Ingoho (chicken), she is yours for keeps. Then they are known to be in the business of making children. If she is not breast-feeding, she is pregnant.

The Internet caricature paints her as a being born-again, and forever busy. She is the village chairperson, treasurer of your kids kindergarten PTA, secretary of the women merry-go-round, weaves baskets in addition to being out every night for church Keshas. And if you are thinking of meeting the boys over a Tusker…then this is the wrong type. Luhya ladies are protective. And with their strong physiques, you would rather follow mummy’s advice than have your bones broken.

Curly kit hair is their distinctive look. They love it so much that every Luhya woman who prides herself as having a distinguished style will have her hair roasted for this look.

Men
Though hard-working especially manually, Luhya men are said to be very content with what they have. Their rivals say this is lack of ambition. That is why the shamba boys, watchmen and cooks joke comes from.

Those in the know say the Ingoho (chicken) men are intimidated by the modern woman. They’d rather marry a girl from the village who is happy to stay-at-home. But if you get married to the man, be ready to take care of his children from his teenage days to date.
Luhya men never leave their children behind. In addition, you will always have a full house. These men have many dependents. So start by investing in many utensils and big sufurias.

Unlike many men, you can always tell if a Luhya man is unfaithful. If he has not brought home a child from an illicit affair in five years, then relax, the man is an angel. And if you do not want to have a live-in mother-in-law, learn to cook ugali and mrenda before you marry this man. If you cook him rice or githeri for supper, he will still be waiting for dinner. The one about Luhyas and their addiction to salaams clubs and small portable radios is an old cliche now.

The Kalenjin

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My colleague informs me, that if you are bombarded with unsolicited information about her many prominent and rich relatives in the previous government, right after the first kiss, then you have nabbed a Kalenjin lady. Promise a Kalenjin woman marriage and she is yours for keeps. If you play your cards right then you can take her home on the second date.

Strictly missionary. They are agreeable and submissive, but rather like their alcohol. Nagging they are not, but their tempers are legendary so why do they say if you come home after three days, smelling of a strange perfume and with red lipstick all over your white shirt, a kalenjin woman will not utter a word?

If they discover their man is unfaithful, they will kill themselves and drown the children. Kalenjins like to joke that Nandi women are lazy, Tugen are rude and the Marakwet violent.

Men
If you are looking for a generous man then look no further. A Kalenjin man will be elated to spend his money on any lady and her extended family. For them, expensive is best. The joke doing the rounds is that if a Kalenjin man takes a lady shopping, he will beseech her to select the most expensive dress in the shop. They are also said to be very cold and remote. They always manage to look vague when so much is happening around them. But this does not hinder them from the desire to date classy women.

It is said that Kalenjin men have misplaced priorities. They will build a stone house for the combine harvester and the cows and surround their homes with beautiful fences while their houses are grass-thatched and mud-walled.

Kalenjin men do not carry their spouses to town. They leave them in the rural home to look after the shamba.

Kaunda suits, preferably a maroon one and a cardigan worn with a suit is a must-have for any self-respecting Kalenjin man. Men from the Kipsigis sub-tribe are reputed to be quite handsome.

The Maasai 

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Maasai women are unquestionably obedient. They will never dream of correcting their men folk. They still view their husbands as “lord of the house” People believe Masaai men are still glued to the custom of planting spears outside their age group member’s manyattas to warn the husband that serious business is taking place inside the manyatta.

Their women toil like oxen. They build the manyattas; graze the cattle, cook, and farm in addition to rearing children. They are also generous with their husbands. Even if their husband married the 7th wife in three years, they will not object. In fact they encourage their spouses to marry – you know, to share the work. They can be astoundingly beautiful.

Men

Maasai men are said to be fierce, courageous but unreasonable. You do not argue with one because you will provoke him to a feud.

A Maasai man will do anything to marry a beautiful woman. However, to them, wives are lower in rank than children. You will find them playing ajua the whole day as they await the return of their wives and children from grazing the cattle.

For a Maasai man, serious business is getting an extra wife year after year.

The Kisii

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Once a Kisii woman has it in her head that you make her world rock, then you have a lifelong attachment. She will never leave, even if you hire ten bulldozers to evict her from your house. They are also well-known for their fiery tempers. Recent cases in the media about battered husbands involved Kisii women. As for money, they are the reverse of Kikuyus – money and posh cars do not impress them much. And when it comes to dressing? Those in the know say their dress sense is not the most impressive

Men
The description “tall, dark and handsome,” applies to the Kisii man.

They are also known to be charming when the fiery tempers take a back seat. But like all gorgeous men, they have several other women on the side apart from you.

They are said to be so emotional that they will cry as they are beating you up.

The Meru

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If you are head over heels in love with a woman and are sure she loves you secretly, but she is playing hard to get by the 30th date, then you have struck a Meru.

Bar room talk has the Meru woman so faithful and agreeable that they will fight divorce to the bitter end.

They are traditional and remote, with the village never coming out of them.

Like their men, they are reputed to be hot-tempered and can shred you to pieces if you cross their path. In the looks department, a Meru woman will hold her own against any beauty queen.

Men

For a die-hard Meru man, it is against taboo to enter the kitchen. He would rather starve to death than enter this domain which he believes to be strictly a woman’s.

A Meru man’s temper is unmistakable. If you dare to provoke him, he will very easily smash you to pieces.

No matter how well exposed or versed in the Queen’s English he is, the Meru accent will never go away.

They have an attitude problem and take everything personally. They are also said to be quite bossy in a relationship. What he says goes.

Source: Fans of Crazy Monday’s

Did you know? (Interesting facts about Kenya)

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  • Kenya is the world’s forty-seventh largest country at 580,367 km2 (224,081 sq mi), just after Madagascar, roughly the same size as Texas at 362,040 square miles.
  • Kenya only has two seasons. One rainy season and one dry season in a year.
  • Driving the Kenyan way means fitting over 20 people in a 14 sitter passenger van.

Parks

  • Did you know that…There are more than 65 national parks and wildlife preserves in Kenya and about twenty hectares of rainforest here contain more bird species than the whole of Europe. Much of Kenya’s native flora is also not found anywhere else in the world.

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  • Kenya’s wildlife is unrivalled by any other in the world, both in terms of numbers and variety of species. Thousands of tourists visit Kenya every year to view the wild life particularly the wildebeest migration.

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  • Did you know that…The Meru National Park ( and Kenya, of course) has the distinction of being the home to lioness Elsa, one of the most famous animals in history, together with Rin Tin Tin (dog), Digit (gorilla), Lassie (rough collie), Laika (Soviet space dog) and Flipper (dolphin). Elsa gained worldwide fame as Joy Adamson published her bestseller “Born Free”, which had several million readers around the world.

GeorgeAdamsonStandingWithElsa_OfferingABirdGeorge Adamson with Elsa

Big Five

  • Did you know that…Elephants flap their ears to cool down their body temperature? Despite their size, elephants are able to walk silently through the bush because they walk on the tips of their toes – which is actually a  thick cushion made up of elastic tissue.

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  • Did you know that…Rhinoceros have roamed the earth for more than 50 million years. Rhinos have poor vision, but an excellent sense of smell, and good hearing.

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  • Did you know that…Lions are the most social of all cats, living in prides of several females, and working cooperatively to hunt and raise cubs. Lions will sleep up to 20 hours a day.

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  • Did you know that…A leopard’s spots (actually called rosettes) are shaped differently depending on their habitat. In eastern Africa they are circular  but square in southern Africa. Leopards are the ultimate athlete, being able to run at speeds of over 35 mph and have been known to be able to jump 10 feet in the air.

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  • Don’t mistake the physical similarities of the buffalo for their domesticated cousins. The Cape Buffalo is considered to be one of the most deadly of Africa’s Big 5. They have been known to mob predators and attack game hunters. Cape Buffalo need to drink every day – that’s why you’ll see them in herds numbering in the thousands in the grasslands, but never find them in the dessert.

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