Tag Archives: Kenya

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

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

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

Unlikely.

Read on for some lesser known experiences in Kenya.

1. Breakfast with giraffes

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

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

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

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

The Giraffe Manor is closed in April and May.

2. Take part in a rally

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

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

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

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

3. Foster an elephant

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

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

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

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

4. Propose at Africa’s Hogwarts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Get married like the Maasai

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

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

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

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

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

6. Go on a cheese tour

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

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

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

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

7. Go on the Rhino Charge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Tackle a snake safari

This is going straight to Facebook.

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

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

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

Check out a video here.

9. Be ‘eatertained’

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

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

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

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

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

10. Eat in a cave

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

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

The restaurant serves international cuisine, but specializes in seafood.

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Why Zuru Kenya?

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

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

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

1. Home of Safari

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

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

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

3. Rich Culture

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

4. The exclusivity of Lamu

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

5. The Great Wildebeest Migration

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

6. Our History

Fort_jesusA portrait of Fort Jesus

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

7. A wide range of activities

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

8. Affordability

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

9. Climate

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

10. Great Game

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

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

 

 

 

 

A Kenyan’s guide to Kenya (HILARIOUS)

I’ve often been terribly disappointed by the tourist  guidebooks written about Kenya. Most of the time they tell you stuff you already know, like “you can go on safari and see some lions.” That’s probably why you wanted to come here in the first place, so that’s not helpful. Other times they give you all manner of useless information. For example: what’s the point of telling you how to ask for directions in Kiswahili if you’re not going to understand the answer? (sometimes they seem to be written by a malicious Kenyan who hates tourists). One time I was taking a walk at the beach alone and was accosted by an earnest American who said, “Jambo. Nyinyi mna Kula Viazi?” First of all, no Kenyan says “Jambo”. Secondly, I was alone and I definitely wasn’t eating potatoes.HUH 1000x500px-LL-90ad9322_WTF-ARE-YOU-TALKING-ABOUT
These books never tell you about all the amazing people you can meet in Kenya, or how to understand what they’re saying. Determined to correct this horrible wrong, I’m issuing the first of many useful, practical tips for our many visitors. Here with the Volume I of “A Kenyan’s guide to Kenya.” (Disclaimer: this is written from a Nairobi Perspective. Other parts of the country are a whole other story and will cost you extra.) Here’s what you should Know:
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1. When we want you to pass us something – the salt, say – we’ll point with our mouths. Example: We’ll catch your eye then say, “Nani.” Then we’ll use our mouths to point at the desired object. This is achieved by a slight upward nod followed by an abrupt thrusting out of the lower lip, which is pointed in the object’s general direction. There’s no explanation for this. (“Nani” can be roughly translated as, oh I don’t know, “Whats-your-face,” “You,” or “Thingie.” We’re unfailingly polite.)

turoWhy lift a finger when you can point with your lips??

2. Frequently, and for no reason whatsoever, we’ll refer to a person as “another guy.” However, this MUST be pronounced/slurred thus: An-aa guy. This also applies to “the other day,” which is when some momentous event in our lives always took place. We do the same thing with Kiswahili words like ‘bwana’, which is pronounced ‘bana.’ Example: “I was driving in town the aaa day and this guy comes from nowhere and cuts me off, bana. Man I abused him!” ‘Abused’ in this sentence must be drawn out and emphasised for maximum effect: a-BUSE-d.

3. We claim to speak English and Kiswahili, which technically means that we should be able to communicate with the English-speaking world and Tanzania. What we really mean is that if you’re not Kenyan you won’t understand a damn word we say or why we say it. Example:“Sasa” in Kiswahili means “now.” We use it as a greeting. Correct usage: “Sasa?” “Ah, fit.” It confuses us that Tanzanians don’t understand this.

images1We also, just as randomly, might greet you by saying, “Otherwise?” Common response: “Uh-uh.” There is no explanation for this.

4. Kenyans are multi-lingual, but all this means is that we believe that if we translate something word for word from one language to another it will make sense. A Kenyan might say, for example, “You mean you’re not brothers? But you look each other!” Be kind, they just think that muna fanana can slip into English unfiltered. Speaking of filters, that’s why some people (tribe/ethnicity withheld to protect my uncles) will claim to ‘drink’ cigarettes. If you’re not Kenyan you won’t understand this. Let it go.

5. We can buy beers at police stations. Grilled meat too. Heck, in some cop shops you can even play darts. I am NOT making this up. Example: “Man the aaa day I pitiad (pass through) the Spring Valley cop station after work. I was leaving there at midnight, bana. I was so wasted! I told those cops to just let me go home.”Oh, that’s another thing: when we’re leaving a place (your house, a wedding, the cop shop bar) we tend to say, “Ok, me let me go…” We’re not implying that you’re holding us against our will; we’re just saying that we’d like to go. (The plural is, of course, “Us let us go.”)

6. When Kenyans say that you’re mad, it’s a profound compliment. “Man this guy is mad. You know what he did…” then they’ll go on to recount some of your admirable exploits. It’s high praise. Smile modestly and accept it. By modest I mean look down, draw a circle in the dust with the toe of your shoe (or just your toe) and then smile, draw your mouth down into a brief frown, and smile again. Alternate quickly a few times. This is known by English-speaking Kikuyus as The Nyira Smile, or The Sneering Smile. Then say “aah, me?” in a high, sing-songy voice. However, only do this if you’re female.On the other hand, if Kenyans ask, “are you normal? (sometimes pronounced “nomo”), then they’re getting a bit concerned about your state of mental health. Reassure them by buying another round.

7. Which brings me to Alcohol. Our national pastime. You know that myth about Eskimos having thousands of word for ‘snow?’ Well, our beloved drinks are known by a thousand names and phrases too. Kenyans will ‘catch pints (or just ‘catch’),’ ‘go for a swallow,’ have a ‘jweeze,’ ‘keroro,’ ‘kanywaji,’ ‘jawawa…’ really, no list can be exhaustive. Be aware, though, that the words you use will immediately tip off your audience about your age. (For the Kenyans reading this, no I was NOT born during the Emergency, you swine.)
cheers 8. Our other pastime is religion. (What contradiction?) If you’re broke on a Sunday – and your hangover is not too bad – stroll over to one of our parks and catch some open-air preaching. Jeevanjee Gardens in town is a prime location. There you will see us in our full multi-lingual, spiritual splendour. There is always, and I mean always, a freelance preacher thundering in English while his loyal and enthusiastic sidekick translates into Kiswahili. 

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Sample:
Preacher: And then Jesus said…
Sidekick: Alafu Yesu Akasema…
Preacher: Heal!
Sidekick: Pona!
Preacher: HEAL!
Sidekick: PONA!
It’s hypnotic. We suggest you go with a Kenyan who understands both languages because sometimes the sidekick nurses higher ambitions and, instead of translating, tries to sneak in his own parallel sermon. If you’re bored in Kenya it’s because you’re dead.
pastor-translator-17-11-139. As you’ve probably figured out, we like abbreviating things. (Why would the word ‘another’ have to be any shorter than it is? Why would the Kenyans reading this find it odd that I keep talking about ‘Kiswahili?’) This can lead to unnecessary confusion.
beats-me
But by now you should have figured out that when you’re catching and someone says, “Si you throw an-aa ra-o?” they of course want you to buy another round of drinks. Don’t worry about the ‘si;’ like so many words in Swa it’s impossible to translate. Embrace it, sprinkle it liberally in your speech and move on.
Courtesy KLIST 

Source: DAILY POST

Why holidaymakers throng the coast for the christmas season

Its that time of the year again…well almost, just a few days remaining till December comes knocking. I’ll bet you anything that by this time most of us already have everything set for that Mombasa trip. You might not personally be traveling, but you most likely know of someone in your circles headed down to the coast for the holidays.

One thing is certain though, the Coastarians just can’t stand it when ‘Watu wa bara’ are around because suddenly the city gets congested, the beaches aren’t as relaxing and generally their comfort zone is altered.

Nevertheless, we attempt to define the phenomenon that has everyone running around trying to get last minute bookings…

Appeal of the Place

slider1Photo credit: H2O-extreme

Its been a long year;  work, school, exams…at the end of the day  sun, sand and sea seems like the perfect remedy. Moreover, the exotic appeal of the Island popularly  associated with fun, “Mombasa Raha”  is a major pull factor.

Familiarity

tourists-mombasaPhoto credit: Business daily Africa

For many individuals, this is one place they are guaranteed of having a memorable holiday experience, judging from last year’s events and the year before that. Be it visiting family and friends, quality of accommodation, people & culture or events… the reasons behind becoming repeat tourists here are varied and it is this sense of familiarity that makes this holiday destination tick for some.

End of year Events (Beach Parties)

tumblr_static_dance-friends-night-party-rave-favim.com-120797The Kenyan coast is where its happening come end of the year…with a whole range of beach parties and events on offer, why would anyone want to miss out?

Safety in numbers

original Many individuals tend to tag along with their friends simply at the thought of how much they’d be missing out…and as such the peer pressure factor comes in. On this occasion though, it is not such a bad thing…the more the merrier hey?

Imaging travel-quoteEach year, the Kenyan coast is captured as having been the most eventful region come Christmas and end of year. This drives the curious never-beens to head down come the next Christmas holiday season in order to find out for themselves what the fuss is all about. Imaging thus plays a key role here.

Nightlife

Tom-Horton-Nightlife-Photograhy-012Photo Credit: Tom-Horton

Having worked hard all year, most travelers head down to the coast to let loose and what better way to achieve this than through its nightlife? Mombasa in itself isn’t a raving spot although you may find one or two joints within the city. The life of the party however is in the resort area north of Mombasa with places like Mtwapa promising to rejuvenate your spirits. Many revelers are bound to fall in love with this region and might have some difficulty leaving.

Whatever your reason for going to the coast this season,  hope you have the time of your life!! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Msambweni Beach House

Msambweni House is located just south of Msambweni village on the remote southern coast of Kenya. This family owned and run property is uniquely set and enjoys seclusion away from the busier south coast areas, a stay here thus guarantees utmost exclusivity.

EZFThis small boutique lodge appeals to individuals seeking personalized service and an intimate beach experience. It constitutes three suites in the main building, two detached cottages and a further tented room. Maweni Beach House is well thought out with its elegant Swahili-inspired design oozing pure luxury.

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W   ZGExpect top level comfort and service in this high-end property. Having your own private jacuzzi looking into the Indian ocean, butler service, and other staff at your disposal, Msambweni House is just the place to be. Highlight of the house is certainly its stunning centre-piece infinity pool that merges with the azure waters of the Indian Ocean. A whole range of activities are also offered here.

DA F SThe dining experience here is divine with meals being centred on Swahili, Belgian and French cuisine.Children of all ages are most welcome at Msambweni Beach House. There are no specific child care facilities but babysitting can easily be arranged. It is possible to tailor food requirements to children’s tastes and arrange for earlier meal times if required.

ZIILZJZRMsambweni House is almost certainly the best upper-end market option in the south and is open for rental on an exclusive basis. Keep in mind though, December is peak season so be sure to make reservations earlier in advance. It remains closed in May.

Holiday! Holiday! Holiday!

December is almost here with us and we know what that means…most of us will be headed to the beachside for the holidays. Join us as we feature resorts, hotels and apartments that we think should simply be at the top of your to do list!!! A-Boat-by-Beachside-With-Peaceful-Sea-and-Setting-Sun-Warm-and-Golden-Light-Are-Still-Gained-HD-Natural-Scenery-WallpaperAs you plan for your holiday we make it easier for you to select your accommodation at the coast.

Beachside Treasure, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Mombasa: The “Island of war”

Situated on the Eastern coastline, bordering the Indian Ocean, Mombasa is Kenya’s second largest city and the top coastal destination. The city, originally known by its Arabic name منبعثة Manbasa,  was popular as ‘Kisiwa Cha Mvita’  Swahili for “Island of War”, due to the many changes in its ownership. Sitting on an island it is separated from the mainland by two creeks Tudor and Port Reitz.

mg_1267Image credit: Joe Lukhovi

0313 EnglishPoint Marina in the foreground. Mombasa Island between Tudor Creek and Kilindini Channel Mombasa city overflows with an abundance in culture that dates back to its history as a significant trading center. The Swahili culture at the coast today has retained ancient customs and traditions highly influenced by the Portuguese, British, Chinese, and Arab settlers. The city is also affiliated with great explorers like Vasco Da Gama – the first European to land in the then town, with several memorabilia still standing to portray the historic presence of the Portuguese in the coast. The Mijikenda, Swahili, Arabs, Taita, and Akamba are among the Inhabitants of this beautiful land.  Whereas the major religions practiced are Islam, Christianity and the Hindu.

mombasa_1Source: Magical Kenya

Aside from being an important regional tourism and cultural center, Mombasa is also a significant economic hub. It boasts of a large seaport, the Kilindini Harbour, that serves not only Kenya but also links other interior countries to the Indian Ocean. The rich marine life is also something to brag about allowing individuals the pleasure of pursuits like scuba diving, snorkeling, deep sea fishing among others. Mombasa is also envied for its nightlife, its lovely weather, phenomenal white sandy beaches as well as its quality beach resorts. Revellers can enjoy a good time out in the many night spots available most of which are beachfront. Some of the top hotels here also offer their own clubs.DSC01171Other entertainment spots in Mombasa include casinos, cinemas and a Little Theatre Club, the latter of which puts on some fun shows. The region is also known for its divine dining experience where travelers get to enjoy aside from fresh sea food, internationally-inspired cuisine, that includes but is not limited to Chinese, Indian, Italian, and Swahili.

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Getting Around
Mombasa is the central access point for the entire coastal region. It can be accessed directly from Nairobi by air, road, or rail. There are scheduled flights to Mombasa as well served by Moi International Airport although travelers can also access the coastal city via various airstrips. The main mode of transport around the town is by matatus, Taxis and tuk tuks. Some of the historical sites in the city can also easily be accessed on foot.

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Must do in Mombasa:

Fort Jesus

Fort-Jesus

Fort Jesus is Mombasa’s most popular tourist attraction. The fort, located along the coastline near the Old Town, is a monumental piece of architecture that was built in the 16th century by the Portuguese. The fort has a museum that displays various artifacts from the era where Mombasa served as a transit point for the slave trade and commodities, and which enjoyed regular visits by seafarers and the like.

Its interior comprises of torture rooms and prison cells where slaves were kept in captivity before being traded. Weapons such as canons, which were used to defend the fort from invading foreigners as well as rioting locals, can be seen both inside and outside of the fort. The fort opens its gates for viewing in the morning and closes at dusk.

Old Town  

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“Old Town” is the part of Mombasa that is reminiscent of the days when the Arabs exerted a heavy influence on the town and its culture, and especially in the architecture and language (Swahili has a lot of phrases derived from various Arabic dialects). It is well known for its ancient buildings, extravagant art designs and curio shops that sell antique and popular Kenyan souvenirs.

Old Town is best seen when explored by foot with an experienced guide, as the streets are too narrow to accommodate a large number of vehicles. The town’s inhabitants are mostly of Arab origin who’s forefathers once roamed the same streets of the town. Fort Jesus is located just a few steps away from where the town “starts”, thus a complete tour of the fort and the “Old Town” can be done in a single day.

Mombasa Elephant Tusks 48983702Like the great arches of St Louis and the Eiffel tower, the great elephant tusks monument  in downtown Mombasa is probably the cities enduring monument and landmark known world over. Built to commemorate the visit of Queen Elizabeth to the town in 1952, the pair of overarching, giant intersecting elephant tusks sit astride eastbound and westbound lanes of the busy Moi avenue and are a symbolic representation of entrance into the heart of the town.

The “tusks” aside from symbolizing the ivory trade that Mombasa, and Kenya overall, was known for also coincidentally spell the letter “M” for Mombasa. Take a leisurely walk along this road and look at the various shops or buy curios. You can even stop by the many restaurants to eat your favorite Arab, Swahili or European themed foods.

Hindu Temples

hindu-temple

Hindu temples are one of the many symbols of Mombasa’s cultural diversity. Temples are a popular tourist spot and a tour can usually be taken inside the temple, with a historical background of the particular temple given by one of the temple gurus. Extravagant idols and stone carvings of the various religious beliefs are typically displayed within the temple and on its walls.

A popular spot for locals and international travelers alike,  Mombasa is undoubtedly  the perfect coastal holiday destination.

30 Epic Places You Absolutely Must Visit Before You’re 30

Traveling young is important because it shapes your worldview. When you travel young, you realize who you are and what you believe in before it’s time to make the big-kid decisions (career, marriage, and all that scary stuff) that will impact the rest of your life.

If you were to visit each of these places before turning 30, you would be pretty darn well in touch with yourself and pretty equipped to take on real, adult existence.

Check out — and check off! — our ultimate soul-searching bucket list.

30. Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert, Namibia
Larger-than-life red sand dunes will make you feel, well, smaller than life. In a good way.
sossusvlei

29. Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Bhutan
Padmasambhava, known as the “Second Buddha,” meditated in this cliff-top carve-out for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours. Close your eyes for three minutes, and inspiration will find you, too.
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28. Jellyfish Lake in Palau
Swimming through thousands of golden jellies without a sting leaves you feeling half awestruck, half invincible.
jellyfish lake

27. Dharavi in Mumbai, India
One of the largest slums in the world, this friendly community is a square-mile pocket of poverty in India’s booming economic center.
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26. Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, California
It’s just a day hike, but it’s a strenuous one at that. When you summit, you’ll know what it’s like to stand on the top of California.
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25. The Songkran Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand
In a display of national unity, pretty much everybody in Thailand has a wild water fight to celebrate the new year.
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24. Hydra, Greece
Before you surrender to big city life, learn to savor the pace of a small town (in what happens to be an incredibly artsy small town).
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23. The Washington Monument observation deck in Washington, D.C.
Sure our country is defunct sometimes, but it gave you the freedom to be.
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22. The Rhino Charge in Nairobi, Kenya
Every year, extreme drivers embark on a 10-hour, off-road race through the savannah to fundraise for animal conservation.
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21. Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, Mexico
The only soccer stadium in the world that’s hosted two World Cups– sit in the seats where fans before you witnessed Maradona’s “goal of the century” in 1986.
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20. Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia
The world’s largest salt flat is miles of flat, zen, abandoned bliss.

19. Disney World in Florida
Because soon you’re gonna have to bring your kids with you, and they’re not going to stop for a beer break.
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18. The Pyramids of Giza in Egypt
This is the only of the seven wonders of the ancient world that’s still in existence.
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17. Rio Upano in Ecuador
Whitewater raft through the rainforest and see what it’s like to grow up beside toucans in a native tribe.
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16. La Closerie des Lilas in Paris, France
Picasso, Cezanne and Apollinaire used to chat at this fancy café. So did Hemingway– you can still sit at his favorite bar stool.
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15. The Inca Trail in Peru
On the 26-mile trail to Machu Picchu, you’ll pass five lesser-recognized Incan towns that were once thriving.
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14. Nowhere, Spain
Each year, attendees at the desert festival design their own society based on “creative freedom.”
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13. Bernauer Strasse in Berlin, Germany
When the Berlin Wall first made one side of this residential street part of Soviet East Berlin, people died trying to jump out their windows to a free neighborhood on the other side. It’s an odd and important contrast to modern Berlin’s hipster-filled streets.
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12. Plaza Mayor in Madrid, Spain
Spending downtime outdoors is a weird concept to Americans. Madrid’s social hub will change your opinion real fast.
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11. Macau Tower in China
The second-highest bungee jump in the world starts 760 feet above China’s version of Las Vegas.
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10. Drake Passage, Antarctica
Get a penguin’s eye view of our Earth’s very bottom before you start working your way to the top.
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9. The Dead Sea in Jordan
With a Biblical history and a perch in the midst of modern conflict, this could be the most historic (and saltiest!) body of water on Earth.
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8. XS Nightclub in Las Vegas
Go big with bottle service at the highest-grossing club in America.
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7. The Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague, Czech Republic
Stacks of graves are layered over each other, so nobody knows exactly how many people are — or who exactly is — buried here. That’s intense.
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6. Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Last year, literal millions of people turned up for what might be the biggest party on Earth.
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5. Havana, Cuba
Get a glimpse of what happens when a culture hits the pause button.
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4. Hitachi Seaside Park, Japan
These zany, Seuss-like fields will reintroduce you to your zany little kid self.
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3. Zurriola Beach in San Sebastian, Spain
Surfers in this small city get amped about riding the same waves, on the same beach, every single day. And they never ask for anything more.
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2. Bodø, Norway
The quiet village outside the Arctic Circle will give you major room to think, especially when you spelunk deep into one of its caves.
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1. Mount Fitz Roy in Patagonia, Chile
At the top, you’ll treasure the view of towering, unspoiled glaciers– and the pride of knowing you climbed there.
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The Huffington Post

Kenyan iconic Hall of Famers

Kenya is today viewed as a great tourist destination with a beautifully warm climate, coastline on the Indian Ocean and Savanna grasslands. It is also home to and has been associated with many great men and women who have had greater successes over time. If Kenya had a Hollywood Boulevard then these names would definitely have their own golden star. Here we reveal a few Kenyan Hall of Famers.

1. Karen Blixen (Author & Early Settler)   510417_638_365

Karen Blixen, pen name Isak Dinesen, is the author of ‘Out of Africa’, a memoir of her seventeen years living on her own coffee plantation in British East Africa. Published in 1937 her book was ultimately a love story, yet gave readers a unique snapshot of colonial life in the 1940’s. Blixen also gave insight to the different tribes of Kenya, gently portraying the characters in her book as individuals and free of the racial stereotypes that plagued Western literature at the time. An area in Nairobi has been named after her and visitors can see the farmhouse where she lived, with many original items still intact.

Image credit: http://www.laescueladelosdomingos.com

 

2. Richard Leakey (Palaeontologist, Politician & Conservationist)

leak2source: afflictor

Born in Kenya to British parents, Richard Leakey and his family were all famous for their findings relating to early man. Richard Leaky continued the family traditional of palaeontology in East Africa, making many important discoveries of his own, which has helped better our understanding of human evolution. Leaky was appointed head of the Kenyan Wildlife Service in 1989.

In that same year, together with President Arap Moi, he made a dramatic anti poaching statement by burning a stockpile of ivory. Leaky soon became a well-known activist and politician, which made him many friends as well as enemies. His passionate views on wildlife conflict may have been the cause of his plane crashing in 1993. He lost both his legs, and although sabotage was suspected, it was never proved. After entering politics for a short time Leakey has continued to this day to promote animal conservation.

Image credit: http://www.greenwichlibrary.org

 

3. Jomo Kenyatta (Freedom fighter and Kenya’s first President)

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Kenyatta might not have a Hollywood star but he does have his face on Kenyan currency. He was the first President of the Republic of Kenya when it was declared independent from British rule in December 1964. Prior to this he was the face of the freedom fight for many years and is now widely considered by Kenyan people as the founding father of the nation. His face is synonymous with a free and independent country.

Image Credit: Albert Kenyani

 

4. Joy Adamson (Author, painter & conservationist)

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Joy Adamson was the author of novel and award winning film Born Free. Joy, together with her husband George, became adoptive parents to a very endearing lion cub, who they named Elsa. Rescued after her mother was killed, Elsa soon became a household name due to the glamorous portrayal of their life in the Kenyan bush. Together with a host of other cute adopted wildlife, Elsa was cared for in the Adamson’s home in Naivasha before being released back to the wild.

The Adamson’s were devoted to conservation and helped to revive Kenya as a world-class safari destination. Joy was also an accomplished artist, documenting much of Kenya’s plant life and traditional tribal costumes through her beautiful paintings. Some of her paintings and prints can be found at the National Museum of Kenya or Elsamere in Naivasha.

Image Credit: Suneet’s

 

5. Daniel Arap Moi (Kenya’s Second President)

Daniel Toroitich arap Moi is a Kenyan politician and former President of Kenya (1978 to 2002). He succeeded Kenyatta as President upon the latter’s death. Daniel arap Moi is popularly known to Kenyans as “Nyayo”, a Swahili word for “footsteps”, as he was said to be following the footsteps of the first.

Former President Moi

6. Wangari Maathai (Nobel Prize winner for her work with the environment)

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Maathai was a woman of many talents, a human rights political activist, a conservationist and environmentalist among other things. In 2004 she was the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. In doing so she set a precedent for other women in a country where they were often subdued under a patriarchal system.

Wangari also founded the Green Belt Movement for grassroots conservation of Kenyan wildlife and landscape. To complete her impressive CV, in 2006 she met President Barack Obama, whose father was educated on the same program that allowed Maathai to study in America during her youth.

7. David Sheldrick (Inspiration behind the Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi)

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Image Credit: Courtesy Photo, source WWD

At the tender age of 28, David Sheldrick had already taken on the role of game-keeper at Kenya’s largest National Park, Tsavo. In this role, he confronted poachers on a daily basis and began to form close protective relationships with the elephants. Later, with the help of his wife Daphne, they studied the elephants and collected data on their feeding and behaviour. They even hand-reared some particularly vulnerable calves.

After David’s death in 1977, Daphne founded the Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi to carry on his good work. The orphanage is still a very popular tourist attraction in Kenya as it has featured on international television many times, giving the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage a global reputation for their conservation efforts.

 

8. Iain Douglas Hamilton Zoologist & founder of ‘Save the Elephants’ & TV presenter

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Iain Douglas Hamilton is a world-renowned zoologist, who’s focus over the past four decades has concentrated primarily on the lives and behaviour of elephant groups in Kenya. Ian looked closely at elephant choices and for this he closely studied their migration patterns. In 1993 he started the organisation ‘Save the Elephants’ which has given him even greater fame around the world. His daughter, Saba Douglas Hamilton, is also a well-known face, appearing in many BBC wildlife documentaries. Growing up with her father in Kenya, Saba became very familiar with the animals on her doorstep and is also committed to protecting them.

 

9. Alan Root Photographer, filmmaker and conservationist

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Alan Root is a filmmaker and conservationist who has led a wonderfully exciting career in wildlife conservation and documentary production. Alan initially became famous along with his wife, Joan, for producing a documentary called ‘Two in the Bush’. The movie depicted the couple living close to nature and had some amazing footage of their adventures and connection to wildlife.

Alan moved to Kenya as a boy and his passion for animals, flora and fauna of Kenya led to him working for publications such as National Geographic and the BBC. His films were nominated for an Oscar. In his biography, Ivory, Apes and Peacocks, this gripping read gives a thrilling account of his adventures as an intrepid explorer and conservationist.

10. Ngugi Wa Thiongo  (Author)

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Image credit; Karisan Media

Ngugi is Kenya’s most celebrated author and playwright, he published his first novel, Weep Not, Child in 1964. He later left Kenya on exile in the 70s as a result of his outspokenness and harsh criticisms of the government of the day using plays and novels as his outlets. In 2006 he published his first novel in two decades, Wizard of the Crow which tells the story of an imaginary African state governed by its despotic ruler. Ngugi is currently based in the UK where he serves as a Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Irvine. He has become popular in Africa as a result of his literary works that are read all over the world more so in African Universities.

Sources: My Destination, Mwakilishi

Tribute to Leopard Queen of Talek, Olive.

25th of September was a sad day in the Mara, one of the Talek leopards was no more. Known for her appearances in BBC’s Big Cat Diary, Leopard queen Olive is believed to have died from what are suspected to be lion bite marks and there seemed to have been a struggle before her death. The famous Mara leopard was born to Bella, another Big Cat star who already passed on and named after a certain Olive tree (Olea africana) which was her favorite resting spot. Olive is survived by seven offspring, who will carry her legacy. These are, in the order of birth; Binti & Ayah, Kali, Paja & Nkaiyoni, Bahati and Saba. She was expecting cub number eight upon her death.
image 3Olive found dead with sustained injuries at the back of the neck and tail
Olive
Photo credit: Paul Kirui
For an in-depth look into Olive’s life, paul tells the story of a leopard he knew and admired so much, Leopard queen of Talek River .
_KP_3119Rhino Ridge male and Olive courting, Photo Credit: Paul Kirui
  _KP_6244Olive strolls across the open savanna one morning near Olkiombo airstrip
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091006-133231-_R8K1272Olive and cub, Photo Credit: Paul Kirui
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Olive & Male
The leopard queen of the Talek river will surely be missed by many of her admirers around the world.
  March 2000 – September 2013
 
 
 

Kenya's ultimate travel and lifestyle magazine

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