Tag Archives: Kenya

5 must-visit historical sites in Nairobi

We have such an exciting city, thriving as a frenetic concrete jungle with lots of art and culture, fantastic social initiatives and a fascinating nightlife scene. Urban explorers would be more than ecstatic about this energetic cosmopolitan we call Nairobi. Something is always going on! It’s a vibrant city with so many varied activities woven into its web.

Amidst all this buzz however, there are certain quaint places that tell a story of this city’s past. Places that might just slip by you if you aren’t keen enough. The tale of this modern, upbeat, Kenya’s capital, sits pretty in various unassuming sites, which promise to serve a pleasant surprise when explored.

To get a proper feel of Nairobi at its essence, you have to immerse yourself into its glorious preceding times and pay homage to a place that began as a rail depot on the Uganda – Kenya Railway.

Let’s dive into and appreciate five (5) heritage attractions that allow historical enthusiasts to explore our capital’s chronicles and also serve as remembrance of their great architectural, aesthetic and historical importance.

1. Nairobi Railway Museum

Nairobi Railway Museum | zuru Kenya | historical sites to visit in Nairobi

This museum is dedicated to the history of the country’s rail network. As mentioned earlier, Nairobi saw its inception as a rail depot. Nairobi Railway Museum, housed in the former East African Railway offices, showcases an intriguing collection of artifacts, models of railway engines and a variety of exhibits illustrating the construction of the railway. 

Within the museum yard, you will also get to experience a number of steam and some early diesel locomotives which operated as part of what was then the Kenya-Uganda Railway. Look out for the “man-eaters of Tsavo” tale in one of these locomotives. The very carriage from which a British superintendent was dragged by these beasts is on display here.

Entry Requirements

CategoryRate
Non-resident adultKes 600 (6 USD)
Non-resident studentKes 300 (3 USD)
Resident adultKes 500
Resident studentKes 200
Non-resident / Resident childKes 100
Citizen adultKes 200
Citizen student/childKes 100
Reserch FeeKes 1000

Payment only by Mpesa or Visa Card

Timings: Open Daily: 8am – 5pm (Including weekends and public holidays)

Photography is strictly forbidden unless confirmed by the establishment.

2.   Kenya National Archives

Kenya National Archives | zuru Kenya historical sites to visit in Nairobi

Just a few blocks from the Nairobi Railway Museum, the Kenya National Archives sits quite conspicuously in downtown Nairobi. Amidst the modern skyscrapers in the city, this colonial building is not to be missed. Inside the doors of what we commonly refer to as just Archives, formerly the Bank of India, lies a treasure trove of approx. 40,000 public historical records and archives that go as far back as the pre-colonial era.

The ground floor of the Kenya National Archives building also houses the Murumbi Gallery (named after Joseph Murumbi, Kenya’s second vice president) which contains traditional weapons, ceremonial artifacts, furniture, textiles, musical instruments, fine arts, contemporary paintings, among other goodies collected in the 19th century. The gallery is currently the largest Pan-African art gallery in Africa. The collected artifacts were acquired by the government of Kenya after a concessionary arrangement was agreed upon with Joseph Murumbi, who had initially turned down several huge offers to buy his collections by overseas bidders.

If you are a history buff and stamp collection is kind of your thing, you will especially love this place.

Entry Requirements

The exhibitions are open to the public at a small fee of Kes 50 for citizens and residents, and Kes 200 for non-residents. If you would like to use their library services, they also charge a membership fee of Kes 200.

Timings: Open Daily 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Advance booking is required for schools and other institutions

3. Nairobi National Museum

Nairobi National Museum Kenya – zuru Kenya | historical sites to visit in Nairobi

Looking to dive in more into the Kenyan heritage? The Nairobi National Museum is your go to. Built in 1929, this is the flagship museum for the National Museums of Kenya, housing celebrated collections of Kenya’s History, Nature, Culture and Contemporary Art present for both educational and leisure purposes. Perhaps what’s even more impressive here are the in the early man section, where actual fossils, discovered in the country, are displayed. This includes the fossil of a proconsul that dates back 18 million years, which encouraged archaeologists to consider Kenya as the birthplace of humankind.

In addition to the museum, visitors are treated to a variety of shopping and dining facilities, as well as botanical gardens that offer a serene environment. The artworks and materials used in the fabrication of outdoor sculptures, the landscaping and the botanic gardens, link to the four pillars of Kenya’s national heritage i.e. nature, culture, history and contemporary art.

While here, you can also visit the Nairobi snake park founded in 1961 within the botanical garden. Hosted here are 20 different snake species, an aquarium and crocodiles, among other reptiles and amphibians.

Entry Requirements

Admission Hours
Timings: Monday to Sunday: 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. All year round including public holidays and weekends.

The entry fee for Kenyan Citizens is Ksh150 per child and Ksh300 per adult, this is a combined National Museum and Snake Park entry fee.

Night Tours
Exclusive for organized groups for a minimum of 10 people, a request can now be made through advance bookings for night tours through publicrelations@museums.or.ke.

Timings: The Museum will be open between 6:00pm – 10:00pm except when there is a privately held function.

NIGHT TOUR RATES

Category Citizen – Kenya  (Kes)Residents – East Africa  (Kes)Non‐ Residents  (Kes)
TOUR PACKAGE   
Adults  50010002000
Below 16 years2505001000
GUIDED TOUR   
Minimum 10pax   
Adults100020002000
Below 16 years50010001000

Combination Tickets

Discounted joint tickets are available to purchase at Nairobi National Museum that include admission to the Snake Park.

  • Citizen Adults Kes. 300 (save Kes. 100)
  • Child below 16 years Kes. 150 (save Kes. 50)
  • Resident Adults Kes. 600 (save Kes. 400)
  • Child below 16 years Kes. 300 (save Kes. 300)
  • Non-Resident Adults Kes. 1,500 (save Kes. 900)
  • Child below 16 years Kes. 1,000 (save Kes. 200)

4. Nairobi Gallery

Nairobi Gallery | zuru Kenya | historical sites to visit in Nairobi

Built in 1913, what is presently Nairobi Gallery was the Old PC’s office building fondly referred to as ‘Hatches, Matches and Dispatches’ because of the births, marriages and deaths that were recorded here. Today, the building is a National Monument and serves as a museum holding temporary art exhibitions

Divided into 6 main rooms, each containing a different collection, the Nairobi Gallery houses the Murumbi African Heritage Collection and temporary art exhibitions. It is also the location of Point Zero, from which all distances were measured in Kenya.

Inside the Joseph and Sheila Murumbi Room, items collected and used by the Murumbis are on display. Joseph Murumbi and his wife collected African artefacts and the works of African artists. In 1976, they sold the collection to the Kenyan Government. It became available to the public in 2013.

Entry Requirements

Category Citizen – Kenya  (Kes)Residents – East Africa  (Kes)Non‐ Residents  (Kes)
Adults  1506001,000
Below 16 years100400500

Timings: Open Daily at 8:30am – 5:30pm.

5. Uhuru Gardens Memorial Park

uhuru gardens | zuru Kenya | historical sites to visit in Nairobi

Kenya’s largest Memorial Park, Uhuru (Swahili word for freedom) Gardens was declared a National Monument in 1966. Of importance to note is that it is Kenya’s birthplace. This is where the first Kenyan flag was raised marking the very first year of independence on the 12th December 1963.

Within the garden are two monuments commemorating Kenya’s independence, and a Mugumo (fig) tree. The first and most important of the two is a 24-metre high monument supporting a pair of clasped hands and a dove of peace and a statue of soldiers raising the Kenyan flag on one side depicting Kenya’s struggle and declaration of independence. The second monument is a fountain erected in 1983 marking the 20th anniversary of Kenya’s independence.

The Mugumo tree is symbolic as it was planted on the spot where the Union Jack (British flag) was brought down and Kenya’s national flag was first hoisted.

In addition to the historical significance, Uhuru Gardens continues to attract various events as a recreational park. It is popular as a rest area for families and friends, a must visit for schools and in recent times has gained popularity as an events venue for corporate launches, concerts, weddings, film location just to name a few.

Entry Requirements

Entry to the Garden is free but car parking fee is Kes 200

      Timings:  Open Daily at 8:00am – 6:00pm.

Mahali Mzuri: World’s Best hotel + Top Safari Lodge in Africa

Born out of a need to preserve the Maasai Mara ecosystem, the luxury safari camp that is Mahali Mzuri is indeed living up to its name as the “beautiful place” it was designed to be; that’s if the Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards 2021 is anything to go by. Voted best hotel overall worldwide, this camp located in the private Olare Motorogi Conservancy is a must tick on your travel bucket list.

Mahali Mzuri luxury safari tents
CREDIT: COURTESY OF MAHALI MZURI
Mahali Mzuri luxury safari tents
CREDIT: COURTESY OF MAHALI MZURI
Part of the Virgin Limited Edition collection, Sir Richard Branson's majestic safari camp in the Masai Mara is "just perfect," according to one voter. The seemingly space-age tents somehow rise up out of the landscape and blend in with it simultaneously. Wildlife remains abundant in the surrounding bush — ideal for the twice-daily game drives — and the guides are extremely knowledgeable. One respondent raved about the "excellent service," adding that "the hospitality provided at Mahali Mzuri resembles the name," which means beautiful place in Swahili. Another reader says simply that it's "the best luxurious camp to visit on the African continent."

Score: 99.73
More info: travelandleisure 

Mahali Mzuri is home to 12 no ordinary luxury tents; each fitted with an ensuite private bath, cozy bedding, leather furniture for lounging, grand clawfoot soaking tubs, and expansive windows and doors that open up to a massive deck where you can easily soak up sunrises, sundowners and everything in between. To paraphrase the establishment, The camp’s excellent location gives you a front-row seat, not just to the annual great migration, but also to the abundant game you get the pleasure of seeing all year round.

Guest suite at Mahali Mzuri, voted one of the best hotels in the world
CREDIT: COURTESY OF MAHALI MZURI

“Our super stylish tented suites make for the perfect retreat during your stay. We can cater for up to 24 guests in the camp at any one time, so you are guaranteed peace and quiet, as well as excellent customer service at all times.”

~ Mahali Mzuri

Mahali Mzuri luxury safari tents
CREDIT: COURTESY OF MAHALI MZURI

“It is an exceptional honour and dream come true to be named as the Number One Hotel in the World by Travel + Leisure’s knowledgeable readers,” says General Manager Wilson Odhiambo. “Being recognized in any capacity by one of the most respected and renowned resources on travel globally is incredible in itself. Receiving two accolades, including Number One Safari Lodge alongside World’s Best, is exemplary and a recognition of the hard work and dedication that every single person in our Virgin Limited Edition team puts into Mahali Mzuri and serving its incredible guests each and every day.”

Mahali Mzuri luxury safari tents
CREDIT: COURTESY OF MAHALI MZURI
CREDIT: COURTESY OF MAHALI MZURI

Travel + Leisure recognizes the top hotels, islands, cities, cruise lines, airlines, spas, and more, based on the results of their readers’ survey. Readers rated hotels on rooms/facilities, location, service, food and value. This year’s World’s Best Awards survey was open for voting January 11 through May 10, 2021, as destinations around the world were lifting COVID-19 restrictions. Survey rules have always allowed readers to reflect on their travel experiences over a three year period.

The 2021 World’s Best Awards lists, as well as survey methodology, are currently featured on www.travelandleisure.com and will appear in the October 2021 issue of the magazine, on newsstands September 17.   This year, the awards will see the Virgin Limited Edition collection triumph as Kasbah Tamadot, its beautiful retreat in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, is also named the Number One Resort in North Africa and the Middle East for the fourth year.

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

bucket list zuru kenya

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

bucket list zuru kenya 5

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

bucket list zuru kenya 6

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

bucket list zuru kenya 7

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

bucket list zuru kenya 9

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

bucket list zuru kenya 10

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

bucket list zuru kenya 11

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

bucket list zuru kenya 12

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

bucket list zuru kenya 12

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

Ol Malo Laikipia Kenya

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