Freitag, 28. Juni 2019

TRAVEL LIKE A LOCAL


Would you like to travel and immerse yourself completely in the place and culture when you go on holiday? There’s one sure way, travel like a local! You’ll find unique hidden gems, stumble upon local treats and meet the most delightful people along the way. Curious? Here’s how!


Stay at lodges, camps and other community owned facilities that allow you to experience the local people and their cultures, meet and mix with them in a more personal manner. Aside from learning a lot and enjoying a spectacular holiday, you’ll take away so many special interactions with you while helping the community too. We’re invested in and passionate about working with community owned places and projects, so it’s all up to you; where do you want to go and what do you want to do?



Another tip? Try booking in a walking city tour. Go out and explore the area you’re holiday-ing in on foot and truly get down and discover what there is to offer away from the go-to touristy spots. We truly enjoy taking you around on our arranged walking tours, to see an area for what it really is and experience it in a much more authentic way. You’ll also have a lot more mobility to stop when you see something interesting, you’ll be able to interact directly with people and just have an all-round adventure exploring a new place by actually diving fully in!

In addition to a walking tour, how about trying a culinary tour too? Experiencing a place through its food is another super fun way to get to know it better. By going to eat at small vendors and interesting, quirky restaurants in a new place, you’ll have a better understanding of the cultures and get to mix with the locals. We absolutely love curating food tours across the city and we bet you’d love them too!



On the same point, while you delve into the streets to explore and eat, why not shop local for mementos and beautiful souvenirs to take home with you? We offer all our guests a WAPI? Box, to allow them to support and have a taste of local, ethical Kenyan artisans and brands. Head off the beaten track when it comes to your shopping and avoid malls as often as you can.

Lastly, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, why not attempt a ride using the local transport? Jump on a Tuktuk while at the coast, or hop on a boda (motorbike) for a quick tour of the place. Figuring your way around using local transport will open many doors to what you can experience and explore as you’ll be able to access areas mainly frequented by locals and you can get tips and insights from your driver as to where to find hidden gems.



So? Interested to travel like a local? Contact us and let us know! It promises to be a memorable and exciting time as you explore and experience a place in an immersive way, whenever you’re on holiday.  



Images courtesy of Il Ngwesi.

Dienstag, 18. Juni 2019

THE JADE SEA


Gorgeous, brilliant green waters lap the shores of sandy beaches, dunes and a dry, desert landscape that looks like something out of this word; with its many volcanic overflows and petrified forests. Welcome to Lake Turkana! The largest permanent desert lake in the world and the most saline of Africa’s large lakes, this beautiful, lonely landscape is a gem waiting to be explored!



Lake Turkana lies in the Great Rift Valley basin to the north of Kenya, stretching over 250 km in length, longer than the entire Kenyan coastline! It’s fed by 3 rivers with no outflow, losing water only through evaporation in the searing, sometimes 50 degree Celsius daytime temperatures; which make sense seeing as this beautiful lake lies only 300 meters above sea level. It’s this lack of an outflow that contributes to the lakes alkalinity, which is among one of the highest worldwide.



Surrounding the vividly hued, green lake are high sand dunes, lava flows and petrified forests in a desert landscape that’s truly unique and other-worldly, windswept and desolate. The raw, stark beauty of the lake against this backdrop is stunning and adds to the adventure of exploring any of the three national parks in the area. From the remote, volcanically active Central Island, to the wilderness of the South Island National Park, to the arid and dramatic landscapes of Sibiloi National Park; famously known as the ‘Cradle of mankind’ for the early fossils discovered at the Koobi Fora archaeological site! For this, Lake Turkana was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 


Lake Turkana offers so much for the adventurous traveller, with its mix of amazing and diverse flora and fauna and its spectacular, extra-terrestrial landscape that one might easily think was devoid of life. However, this lake is home to the largest crocodile colony in the world, and is the largest breeding ground anywhere, of Nile crocodiles too! These powerful creatures can grow to immense sizes in this unique ecosystem, especially those found on Central Island, spending their days sunning themselves on the shores of the lake or lurking in the opaque waters… The ‘Jade Sea’ is also home to large populations of hippo, a number of venomous snake species and a countless birds too, as it’s a vital stop-over on their migratory routes.



Even though this hidden gem is over-looked in favour of ‘popular’ destinations such as the coast, Lake Turkana promises nothing but adventure and the exciting thrill of being completely in the wild; immersed in and surrounded by miles and miles of untouched, pristine nature. You’ll have an unforgettable time exploring the unique terrain and the one of a kind waters, but be sure to watch out for the notoriously strong desert winds that come out of nowhere and whip up the calm lake causing sudden storms… All just part of the wild, untamed beauty that is the Jade Sea. 

Want to experience this unique magic and beauty? Adventure with us!


Freitag, 31. Mai 2019

GREEN TRAVEL


Travel is good for the soul…but you know what’s even better? Travelling responsibly,   otherwise known as green travel!

So what is it? Green travel is simply travelling with the environment, wildlife and the local communities in mind, being eco-conscious and ethical about your holiday while having an amazing time! Is it possible? Yes, and easy too! Here are a few things you can start to do;

Might seem obvious, but reduce or better yet, refuse single use plastic as much as you can. Carry a reusable shopping tote for all your retail therapy, say no to straws every chance you get and carry your own refillable water bottle…most countries don’t have adequate recycling, so whatever plastic you bring probably ends up in a landfill. We choose to recycle our guest’s water bottles with Mister Green Kenya, to ensure we do our part to fight plastic pollution.

Limit your carbon footprint. If possible, book group excursions and safari’s, one car is a lot better than several. You’ll be helping the environment and you might make some life-long friends! We take things a step further and provide seedballs from Seedballs Kenya, to all our guests so they can contribute to reforestation even while on safari! Another great tip is to try as much as possible to eat the local food and what’s in season. Specialty items usually have to be flown in, increasing their carbon footprint. Besides, part of travel is the cuisine, delve in and try new things! 


Following that point, eating local, shopping local etc. also greatly contributes to uplifting livelihoods. Whenever you choose local goods and services, you’re supporting individuals and communities to be self-sustaining. We work with a number of community owned lodges that support local communities and projects, as well as gifting each of our guests a WAPI? Box that showcases and supports the work of local artisans. And why not? Artisanal products are beautifully handmade and often one of a kind!

Ooh, this one’s an important one. Don’t buy anything made from endangered animals or plants, it’ll support and even promote the trade in these natural treasures. So however beautiful, stay away. More so on animal welfare, don’t participate in tours where you’re not sure how the animals are treated. Posing for pictures or playing with seemingly docile wild animals probably means those animals were trained and often not in a nice way. Instead, we organize visits to conservancies, animal rescue centers or orphanages if you want to get up close and personal. Or opt for game drives in the wild, where you can experience the thrill of wildlife and nature where it belongs!

Our last tip? Be mindful of delicate ecosystems. We work with a number of eco-rated lodges, who ensure a beautiful holiday while caring for the environment. Enjoy a surreal snorkeling adventure, but make sure not to damage the coral, take a hike up a breathtaking mountain but be careful to stay on trail, don’t feed the animals, or climb on fragile natural formations… Basically, leave it how you found it.

Green travel is the best of both worlds, isn’t it? We get to go on adventures, travel the world and have a ton of good times while doing good at the same time! Come adventure with us, we’ll take your travels green.




Donnerstag, 9. Mai 2019

BEACH VS SAFARI…WHICH HOLIDAY IS PERFECT FOR YOU?


Beach holiday or safari? Too many options? Here are some tips to help you choose the perfect holiday for you!

If you’re dreaming of sand between your toes and the sound of waves lapping on the shore, if you’re in the mood to snooze under palm trees, tan and smell the ocean breeze, a beach holiday may be just what you’re looking for! Sea-side holidays are easy and relaxing, with more likelihood of lazy days spent watching the waves, long strolls on the beach and not many taxing activities. The ocean front provides tranquility, there’s just something about the coast that slows things down, whether you put it down to the heat and humidity or that quintessential ‘island time’ vibe; there’s no hurry by the sea. 

A beach holiday is serenity, but it’s also very much a cultural experience, from the food to the locals and the coast’s rich history. Explore the ancient 12th century Gede ruins, hit up the popular Fort Jesus that dates back to 1593, indulge in the delicious Swahili recipes with their flavourful spices, shop handmade trinkets and take a trip to the Old Town where you can mingle with friendly locals and admire the historical architecture. But to all the adrenaline junkies out there, worry not! You can definitely find exciting activities to do if you’re in the mood, from sky-diving, jet-skiing, kite-surfing, snorkeling, swimming with dolphins…the list goes on. All in all, a beach holiday is rejuvenating, refreshing and leisurely.

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If however, you’re craving an African adventure, a thrill and a ton of activity…head on a Safari! Safari holidays can be about taking it easy, but you’re more likely to do, do, do and go, go, go…from sunrise to view the game and back at sunset again. Safari holidays tend to be a full itinerary, to get the most out of them. They’re packed with early morning and late evening game drives, hikes, bird-watching, stalking wildlife at watering holes; and through it all you need to remain alert, for you never know which animal you might spot. 

There’s also a lot of different scenery to choose from on Safari, from mountain ranges like the Aberdares, to expansive savannah grasslands that stretch to the horizons in the Maasai Mara, hills, valleys and even deserts! Spend your days chasing down the big five and seeing natural wonders, then spend cozy nights around bonfires under the canopy of stars. We have to add, the sunrises and sunsets on the African plains are spectacular, fiery reds, oranges and pinks that will steal your heart. For those looking for a bit of quiet, there’s an element of serenity here too, what with the total silence on the savannahs except for the sounds of the howling wind…and the animals of course.

So what does your perfect holiday look like? Still can’t decide? Well, do them both! We’ll take you on Safari, then we’ll take you to the sea. Come adventure with us!
 

Dienstag, 13. November 2018

White water rafting in Kenya


Kenya is well known for safaris and beach. But also adventurous travelers can find activities. Beside hiking or biking you can do white water rafting. This became popular in 1990. 
Here are some spots for a good rafting experience.

resource: Tuko.co.ke

Athi River
The best white water rafting in Kenya can be experienced in four major rivers. Athi River is one of them, and it’s classified as one of the top 10 river trips in the world. Here, you will get to enjoy rafting fun and stunning views of African wildlife. Some of the most popular animals include giraffes, buffaloes, elephants, crocodiles, monkeys, baboons, and hippos, all in their natural habitat. So here's the fun part. Rafting here takes place on a section of the river that borders Tsavo National park. You will navigate stretches of class II to IV and also areas with calm water where you can catch your breath and enjoy viewing the wildlife. Moreover, you'll get to spend your nights on mobile moored hotels on the sandy riverbanks. We can provide rafting adventures mainly on mid-April to mid-June, and from mid-October to end of December. The minimum number of people required for each trip is 6 and a maximum of 24. However, it’s worth noting that the river is subject to water levels which fluctuate with time. Partner camps provides all the rafting equipment, a professional qualified guide per boat, as well as three to four days of rafting.

Tana River
If you have not been to Tana River, then you are missing out a lifetime experience. The river, which is just 95 kilometres from Nairobi, is a beehive of activities and has an excellent opportunity for you to enjoy white water rafting whether you're a first-timer or experienced. Notably, Tana River rafting involves navigating white water stretches of class II to V. 
In the Sagana area white water rafting is scary and unbelievably amazing in equal measure. All you need for you to engage in this adventurous activity is a good inflatable kayak or a raft and you are good to go. This location offers a combination of 16 kilometers of white water up to class V in then another 12 kilometers of clear river. In this final bit, you will shift to bird watching while enjoying the ambiance and beautiful scenery. First of all, the river itself is a home to crocodiles and hippos. The river banks attract herds of elephants, antelopes, zebras, giraffes, and lions. There is no better way to enjoy an African night like spending it on a sandbank as you gaze at the stars in the clear night sky. Sagana is the perfect place of rafting along River Tana and it provides grade 3 to 5 rapids depending with seasons. Notably, this is where the very first African Olympic Canoe qualifiers/kayaking championships were held in January 2008 and 16 African countries took part. The rafting trip is done under the supervision of qualified guides and it’s about 12 km long. You will negotiate different river routes which have different grades of rapids. They begin from grade one which is basically flat water to grade 5 rapids, all these depending on the season. For instance, Monsoon long rains in Kenya experienced during April to May and November to December raises the water levels. Before the trip starts, you are first briefed on general safety for about 10 to 15 minutes. You will then be introduced to the rafting guide. So in case you have any questions, you can always consult with the guide. A waiver form is also filled at the beginning of every rafting trip. Since there are many routes followed when rafting in Sagana, you'll definitely need an expert going down the stream with fellow rafters. 

Mathioya river
Water rafting in Mathioya River can only be done by people with knowledge and experience since it has the most technical rapids in Kenya. The trips here are available on mid April to mid June or October and November since they are the rainy seasons in the region. Here, you'll enjoy two trips a day, the first trip beginning at 9 am and the second one at 2 pm. The minimum number of people required for rafting is 4 and a maximum of 60 people. Camps provide all rafting equipment, a professional qualified guide per boat, transport between camp and the river and 3 to 4 hours of rafting.




Mittwoch, 13. Dezember 2017

Chimp trekking in East Africa





CHIMP TREKKING – where to find them in the wild.

Chimpanzee trekking is much more affordable than Gorilla trekking. Between 75 -150 USD is a Chimp permit in East Africa. The might be harder to spot than Gorillas but it´s amazing to observe there “human” habits in the wild.


Best place to spot them is probably Kibale Forest in Uganda. The forest has the highest number of primates in the world. The chimp viewing might be less intimidate than in Tanzania but there is a plenty of other primates to see as well like grey cheeked mongabey, red tailed monkey and different type of Colobus monkeys. Permit for non –resident goes for 150 USD and East African residents 27 USD.



The Mahale Mountains in Western Tanzania rising over Lake Tanganyika and are the most dramatic and scenic Chimp spot. Travelers can only reach there by boat or plane and have to spend a few days to spot them. Permit goes for 80 USD for non- residents and 2,50 USD for East African residents.



Less dramatic than Mahale and easier to reach but involve also a boat ride at Lake Tanganyika are the chimps in Gombe, Western Tanzania. Jane Goodall´s documentary brought the reserve to prominence. Depending on the season trekking here can be strenuous and involving long hikes. Like in Mahale the chimps offering possibilities for close viewing. Non – residents pay 100 USD and East African resident 5 USD per permit.

Freitag, 27. Oktober 2017

Omieri – a mysterioiusly huge snake that brings good luck





Omieri, is a snake rooted in Luo myths, a snake that lives in Lake Victoria and appears on land in times of drought to summon the rains.

In 1987, a massive python appeared in Nyakach, near a woman’s home. The Nyakach people immediately recognized the good luck charm and hoped that the snake would bring rain to the dry land.. Everyone loved her. The children reportedly massaged her beautiful black and tan back while men and women would lavish bread and Ugali on her. Some even left prized young goats and chicken unattended for her to pick up. An MP would insist she was a star attraction.
People came from far and wide to see the snake including international tourists. The Kenya Wildlife Service was concerned about the whereabouts of the snake and rightfully so. 

Sometime later, a villager burnt the grass surrounding the snake in a bid to show visitors its whereabouts at night, the snake got burnt and sustained injuries and was transferred to the animal orphanage in Nairobi for treatment and recovery. The Nyakach water supply and a local road have had serious problems since Omieri went to an orphanage in Nairobi. Worried residents soon called for her return “home”.  They wrote to KWS: “Omieri is our gift from God, given through our ancestors’ spirits to bring good tidings. We hope to get a good harvest, rainfall and a good omen after seeing our serpent. We beseech you to hear our cries and return our snake before we face untold suffering and a curse from our ancestors.”

Omieri was moved back to Kisumu where she died. She was given a proper burial, with a condolence book placed at the Kariokor Social Hall.
But she reappeared again…
 

In 2003, a 16 foot long python appeared in Wasare, Nyakach. The snake had come to the marshes to lay eggs. Residents gave it all manner or food to eat including Ugali, bread and goats. Although the snake rarely ate, the residents continued to revere it. The snake had security from the Kenya Wildlife Service and local youth, to ensure that no harm came to it. It is not clear what happened to the snake, it probably moved away from the area after some time.
In February 2006, a python appeared in Kano, another area of Nyakach. Residents of the area celebrated its sighting as a sign of good luck as there had been a long spell of drought. It is unclear whether there was any rainfall or good luck that was associated with the sighting of the snake.

By now it should be pretty obvious to you that Omieri is not one snake, but a type of snake. Any fully developed python, which appears in the vicinity of the Nyakach area especially near the lake, will probably be labeled as Omieri.


                                       And so Omieri lives on. A tale ever so fascinating!