A stay at Rusinga Island Lodge Exposed us to the most beautiful Islands of Lake victoria..

 

IMG_9067As our journey continues from Luanda Kotieno we landed in Mbita where we proceeded to Rusinga Island The sunset was quite welcoming and so was the Rusinga island lodge team where we were going to spend a night. Rusinga Island is on the eastern part of Lake Victoria on Winam gulf.

 

In 1948 Rusinga Island came into the history books when Mary and Louis Leakey made their discovery of the last common ancestor of the great apes,  proconsul heleloni, which was purportedly an early genus primate that existed around 27 million years ago. Since the Island is at the crossroads where Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania meet, it has been influenced by the three countries’ traditional cultures. This is seen as many cross the Lake and live in other islands where traditional Ugandan or Tanzanian foods can be found in the local menu such as Matoke (rabolo-plantain) as well as all fish and vegetables dishes. Luos from the Northern and South Nyanza mainland also bring their rumba-style music, their round thatched house model of homes and their love of partying to add to the mix. We visited the litare fishing village got to learn and participate in fishing with the local community

 

Rusinga Island also hosts the mausoleum of the late Tom Mboya, who is one of the most prominent personalities in Kenyan history. He was born Thomas Joseph Mboya on 15th August 1930 and was assassinated at the tender age of 39 on 5th July 1969.

TJ mboya grave Rusinga.jpgIt is widely believed that his profile and illustrious career as a brilliant and charismatic leader, which was seen as a challenge to the then political establishment, led to his assassination.

Our two nights stay here were spent relaxing, bird watching, Island Hoping, swimming etc. This place was truely magical as the images below showcase that stay.

 

You can check more about Rusinga Island on this link >>>>>

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Birds island is a protect birds area full of birds and monitor lizards 

During our stay here we got to visit the magical Takawiri Island  This a haven for hippos and a vast array of bird-life and one of the most unspoilt islands on Lake Victoria. Takawiri Island also goes by the names, Takavire, Takawiri Island, Takivere Island, Takiwiri Island.

Takawiri Island
Takawiri Island

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Takawiri Island
Takawiri Island

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well Good luck to all of us and as the sun sets on Rusinga Island Lodge so does our journey get to a close. we can only Thank the team here for the warm hospitality, delicious food and a very spacious extr-comfortable Room I had.

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This must be the most romantic drive ever in Nyeri county…

February is considered to be the month of love and many people will be under pressure to please their loved ones. Well there are soo many ways you can do it. I am not a relationship expert but doing something new or unplanned can be very exciting. There are many benefits of Nature walks or driving around scenic places you haven’t been before.

This really affects the attitude and perspective of the heart.  Together you will notice things you’ve never noticed before.  Take time to Enjoy the views, and point out the things to your spouse that you are appreciating including them and sometimes You don’t have to talk about anything.  Sometimes it’s just nice to be with each other with nothing but the sounds of nature and the footsteps.

 

I have been around many places and this place in Othaya called njigari touched my soul. My guide told me way back this place had the poorest backward people ever but currently the place is well up, with good roads meandering through this village, gorgeous tea farms that look like a green carpet rolling up the hills and down the valleys and at the end of it all the Aberdare ranges picks it up. I tell you this village is breath taking.

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The main road seems to be on top of the hills such that you are able to see unending valleys over and beyond.  I was in awe! hope this images will wow you! Kenya Is truly Magical. My guide exceeded my expectation and on our journey back we were all quiet for a while perhaps trying to digest the magical views. We made a stop at  zaina falls another breath taking water falls in Makanga valley in Nyeri. The journey to the falls is quite scenic with streams and rivers, brokes full of trout fish.

It kind of reminded me of the  late Nobel Peace laureate Professor Wangari wa Maathai childhood story; “when I was a child I would visit a stream next to our home to fetch water for my mother. I would drink water straight from the stream. Playing among the arrowroot leaves I tried in vain to pick up the strands of frogs’ eggs, believing they were beads. But every time I put my little fingers under them they would break. Later, I saw thousands of tadpoles: black, energetic and wriggling through the clear water against the background of the brown earth. This is the world I inherited from my parents.

Today, over 50 years later, the stream has dried up, women walk long distances for water, which is not always clean, and children will never know what they have lost. The challenge is to restore the home of the tadpoles and give back to our children a world of beauty and wonder.”

if we may go deeper in Gikuyu customs Wangari was a a munjiru one of the Kikuyu clans The Munjiru has a strong connection to all of nature and with his flute he can keep animals away or summon them to an assembly or to infest an entire village. In this way they were the guardians of the drinking places at the rivers so that people and their livestock could use the drinking places without fear of attack from wild animals. I guess she lived up to her true status..

Getting to Zaina its not a tough terrain but its a 30 minutes walk, the bridge to cross Chania river was broken and there was no way in hell I was going to walk on the log- fear of heights-  so i decided to get rid of my shoes and get into the river as it wasn’t as a deep,, but the water was cold and soothing and nice, then cold, soothing lol!

 

when coming here you can carry picnic baskets and just enjoy the magical views. As I bade Nyeri goodbye this is one journey that has been imprinted in my mind… Forever.

Thank you Le Pristine

Always Nice to hear from you drop us a shout out.

 

 

 

Rhino-Watch Lodge a true Oasis of Serenity and Hospitality

Nyeri county happens to be one of the most green areas in Kenya with dramatic geographical landscapes and attractions. The county has alot of history dating back colonial era.. with most British colonialist settling in this region because the weather was favorable for them and the soils were fertile.. My journey today takes me to the remote and semiarid place of Muiga. My host is Miriam Kinge of Rhinowatch lodge and I am accompanied by StellaMaris of Stejos Tours. We approached Rhinowatch from Nyeri using the Nyeri-Nyahururu Road and it’s a smooth ride all the way, the lodge is easily accessible as the entrance is on the main highway.

When we arrived the team at the lodge was eagerly waiting with a cold towel and welcoming drink. Verily, verily I tell you this was the best thing ever, given that this area can get quite hot. The way that Cold scented towel felt on my skin….. Unlike the surrounding areas this lodge has a well maintained garden with trees allover it looks like an oasis in a semi-arid place. The air changes to a fresh cool, soothing atmosphere.

After checking in we had lunch and we enjoyed every bite.. #ComplementsToTheChef

we spent our afternoon swimming at their infinity pool, even my phone decided to swim lol, Thanks to Apple tips online the idea of putting it in an airtight container full of rice worked., Apparently the rice absorbs all the moister. From the pool area as its on a higher  ground The view of Mt.Kenya  is unblocked its clear and vivid from every location within this property. The lodge is on the valleys between Aberdare Ranges and Mt.Kenya and within 10minutes to solio game reserve. There are quite a number of activities one can enjoy while here e.g biking, game drives, swimming, nature walks, giraffe walks, spa therapy etc

The lodge has 7 luxury chalets 2 of them being family chalets  with 2 rooms and 2 bathrooms all fully furnished en-suite with hot water shower and they can fit up to 5 family members. All Chalets have a panoramic view from the bed, overlooking Mount Kenya with very high roof which ensures natural ventilation, private terrace which has attractive view to Mount Kenya and the Solio plains. The terrace overlooks a glorious garden. The generous front windows offer a wonderful view of Mount Kenya.

The lodge alos have 8 luxury tents 1 of them is a family tent. All accommodations have hot showers and flush toilets, 24hrs electricity with a backup generator. Luxury tents are furnished with either a queen size bed or 2 single beds. The baths are built of stone, offering a comfortable shower, a washstand and a toilet. In front of the veranda you will find a flower garden.All the Tents have been tastefully decorated in the African style..

 

They also have one honey Moon suite that’s away from the main amenities for exclusivity.

All rooms have hot water bottles and coffee/tea making facilities which is awesome as this area can get quite chilly at night. I slept in one of the luxury Chalets and my rooms Highlight was finding a chocolate bar on my bed while going to sleep and waking up in the morning and right through my big wide window was Mt,Kenya glaring at me “Good morning” Then realizing the sun is not up scooping my phone from a bag of rice, doing the sign of the cross for it to charge.. ooh it did yeeh! Charging it for 10mins praying Please sunshine don’t come out yet hahaha! Then rushing out with my PJs to capture the sunrise from the poolside area..things we do, to share that perfect moment….oooh!’

While interacting with Miriam I realized that the lodge supports local community by giving them jobs and truly I saw that local women were the ones responsible of various duties within the property. The lodge also supports local children homes, Sponsor some dis-advantaged children through schools and also supporting children who have been affected or Infected by HIV. I spoke to one of the ladies working there and she was full of praise for the opportunity the lodge brought to her and her Family. Surely a community that receive relief food once a many times from The govt they sure have a lot of needs that need support from every one and Rhinowatch is adding value into their lives and restoring their dignity.

We highly recommend this lodge the staffs are polished, the food is delicous, the rooms are exquisite and the location breath taking..

Anyone who would wish to holiday here visit their website or you can reach out to us on venture.omania@gmail.com 0722838338, 0736365886.

Feel free to Engage us, to share our blog with others it might just be the holiday they need.

Did you know that Elephants can actually decide to have an abortion? My Botanical and Bird watching tour in #Nyericounty was full of surprises..

Its an early morning at Le pristine and this time Mt.Kenya spreads its glory beautifully. It’s a bird watching day and my guides are soo excited, am not a keen birder  but I can spot quite a few birds myself, but rarely are they those that excite a keen birder lol.

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They say’ Birding is hunting without Killing, Preying without Punishing, Collecting without clogging your home’
I have a lot of learning to do today and mid you no major movements or talking everything is done softly quietly not to scare birds away. Our walk took us through Coffee plantations, Dams and Chania river all the way to the bridge of Gods,  The Locals call it the bridge of God because the river passes through under a rock hence no need for a Man made bridge. All we could see is how breathtaking the landscape was and I wished if that was my land I would capitalize on it to the maximum;

 

“Kūrįa kwī ngú gūtirī nyama” that was Mr.King’oris response we all laughed [it basically means you cant have it all]

During our walk I learn that Birds are attracted to Native or indigenous plants and trees according to birds this are like Moms home cooking lol! They’re the tried-and-true foods that keep the birds coming back. We spotted quite a number of birds during our 3hr walk.

 

Perhaps worth Mentioning is the rare Hindes babbler which is endemic to the Mt. Kenya Region and is listed as threatened due to habitat loss. you will spot them at Le pristine and the surroundings.

After Birdwatching we went Forest Bathing in Gathiuru Forest, Mt.Kenya. Now this was quite interesting because I learnt a lot about Trees, shrubs in relation to man, animal and health etc. There were quite alot of interesting facts about this botanical journey but two of them stood out;

1] Leleshwa; was used by Maasai Morans and Kikuyu Men as a deodorant

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I also learnt a lot about medicine and plants from treating Tooth ache, stomach aches, deworming, insects repel ants, Natural Tissue papers etc

Fact number two was quite shocking that Elephants can predict a long drought ahead and in some rare cases they do abort their babies by eating the bark of  of the red Seringa tree / Burkea Africana. Of course I went on a personal search about this and discovered that the survival rate of calves during long drought is 2%.. Now in his Elephant watch in Tsavo National Park ecologist H. [Holly] T. Dublin was puzzled one day when the elephant on his research wandered much farther afield than usual, not feeding until she came upon a small tree belonging to a species related to borage that she had never been seen by Dublin to include in her diet before. Watched by Dublin, the elephant almost entirely devoured the tree, until only its stump remained…Four days later, she gave birth to a healthy calf, and investigations by Dublin revealed that tea made from the leaves and bark of this particular species of tree seemed to induce uterine contractions…How Interesting Right?

 

About The Tree; Burkea africana is a deciduous, medium-sized, spreading, flat-topped tree up to 8 m high. Leaves are pinnately compound, silvery-pubescent. Leaflets are oval and silvery when they are young and marked with brown spots. Flowers are creamy white, fragrant and in pendulous racemes of up to 300 mm in length. The bark is toxic, rich in alkaloids and tannins and used for tanning leather. Burkea africana, like any other tree, is used for fuel wood, but is not very popular. However, the wood is important for making mortars. The leaves are the only food resource of two kinds of edible caterpillars which are harvested in thousands during the rainy season, mainly January and February. The bark is used as dye for Combretum zeyheri roots which are woven into baskets. The roots are used to treat stomach pain and tooth ache. For both treatments, the outer skin of the roots is scraped away, the roots are cut into pieces of about 50 mm long and are boiled for 5 to 10 min.

 

Now Imagine after a 3-4hrs walk around the forest learning about trees, insects and then you land into this?

 

After lunch by the water falls we headed back but not wthout a few drops from Mt.Kenya Afternoon rain.

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If you would wish to join Le-Pristine team for birding every Saturday Morning book with them on friday and be there by 06:00hrs in the morning its only a thousand Kenya shillings and it comes with water and lunch box..

 

This post I am sure it will attract a lot of debate and ideas and to be honest I hope it does coz Elephants are interesting creatures….it would be great to have more facts about Them inducing labour.

Historical tour of Nyeri County with a touch of breath taking waterfalls..

I tend to think a traveler is a seeker, someone with quest that gets satisfied over and over again. It’s through my travels that history has come so alive, be it biblical or otherwise. During my recent journey on my quest to see #NyeriCounty that’s not on paper or google maps, I embarked on a journey together with my two Guides both of whom love this county very much and wonder why most places haven’t been showcased.

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If you read my last blog by now you know who Mr.Kingori is lol!  A Keen Bird watcher and also a passionate historian. I love History, don’t ask me how it came to be while my High school history teacher was nick named `Kapiriton’ coz she used to make us sleep. Feel free to think I slept through my history class hehe! But somewhere along my loooooong life I picked it up big time…

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Well, on this particular day we started by going to the Mau Mau caves on your way to Ngorano.. You branch off at Marua , the junction to Nanyuki from Karatina. Mr.kingori tells me during the colonial Era there was a war there between the Maumaus and the British soldiers it was called Mbaara ya Rui ruiru #BattleOfTheBlackRiver coz the water there looks black maybe coz of the many rocks underneath, and the battle was between the Mau Mau and the british colonial soldiers.

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The journey is quite interesting with beautiful valleys and vegetation’s and when we got to the falls it was obvious it’s a picnic site for the locals, while someone in Nairobi is dying to be dined and wined at Kempinksy etc a local here just want a quiet moment with the one they love by the falls and use the surrounding kopjes as seats and tables, others find this place good for their pilgrimages or just a quiet secure serene place to connect with Mwene Nyaga..

The journey down the falls is not as steep but has loose soil so it’s advisable to use proper hiking shoes. One thing I have noticed during my travels in Kenya, There are three types of people who knew and occupied breathtaking locations 1]The British colonialists, 2] The catholic church 3] The Mau Maus Maybe they selected them keeping their wellbeing in mind…. After visiting the caves we went to in search of other water falls all within 30minutes radius of Nyeri Town.

 

One thing to note is this places are great but not in a controlled environment and if people were to flood in this area there is no way the community would benefit from this. Challenge to you Nyeri county Tourism. we went to muruguru falls, Ihururu Falls

My day ended with a glass of wine at my now all favorite place Le Pristine Kindly note that all this tours can be arranged directly from Le Pristine Hotel Nyeri.

you have any more interesting places in Nyeri county kindly let us know you may also check this blog out 

Where It felt sooo good to leave our footprints in 2017.

As we enjoy 2018 we can only thank the heavens for the grace of new year and I cant help but remember that 2017 was one bitter sweet year.. Its one year we crisscrossed East Africa and still didn’t manage to get to Rwanda, However its still on our bucketlist this year.

Below were our 2017 Favorites there are quite a number of places we encountered but like everything else we remember most of what touches our hearts.

1] Kerio Valley Divers Kerio valley is one of the most scenic escarpment you will find in kenya, we loved it and especially the fearless divers at Chebloch gorge..

 

 

2] Enjoyed drinking Mursik; This is Kalenjin sour milk, its produced by leaving fresh milk to ferment spontaneously in a smoke-treated gourd for up to two days at room temperature.

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3] Forest Bathing in Kakamega forests; This ecosystem is a Botanical, ornithologists paradise. The forest has a variety of  species of birds, plants, insects, butterflies, monkeys snakes etc The soothing sound of the resident animals and insects, the fresh air of the unspoilt forest…your soul gets healed on instant.

 

4] Restaurant; Le pristine Nyeri . Most magical place you can dine while in Nyeri town with breathtaking views of Mt.Kenya and valleys beyond.

 

5] Takawiri is this small island tucked away in Lake victoria has the most white, fiiine sand i have ever seen. The water is so clear you can count all the pebbles and tadpoles inside.. we adored it..

 

 

6] Our Best lodge was Waghill lodge in Mwanza Tanzania this was one magical experience on the shores of lake victoria’s peninsula.

 

 

7] Nairobi National Park still remains our favorite due to abundance of wildlife a game drive in this park is never disappointing.

 

 

8] Conservancy; Ol pejeta. Ol Pejeta is home to three of the world’s last remaining three northern white rhinos and also has a sanctuary for the endangered black rhinos and also rescues Chimpanzee. The conservancy has other game co-existing together.

 

9] I had a blast enjoying the luo culture during my safari to western Kenya from the legends, food, their way of life, mending nets it was super awesome.

 

 

10] Kikuletwa hot water springs  is this Oasis in the middle of a semi-arid place on your way to Moshi. its located in a place where the view of Mt.Kilimanjaro stands soo majestically you would wish to live here forever

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11] Best Host got to be Kenya Tourism Board Their effort in promoting Kenya is getting more aggressive everyday and we love it. Thumbs up KTB

 

12] Nile Sunset Cruise Uganda; Nothing beats an African sunset and particularly one over the Nile. Salute the end of another great day with good company, good food and an ice cold beer or gin & tonic.nile sunset cruise.jpg

13] Camping site; Oloiden Naivasha. I am not a fun of camping I still haven’t done it coz of my own phobias but Oloiden can make anyone just camp or sleep in open field and stargaze and still enjoy the gardens are well manicured the place is soo clean..

 

14] Our favorite Holiday Home; Kiira House Naivasha. this rustic Cottage won our heart.

 

 

15]; Best Crew: Tour Operator Society of Kenya. Young vibrant and doing the best they can to promote local and regional tourism.

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You have a list of your 2017 favorite and it’s not mentioned here, please let us know we might just check it out in 2018…

Thank you for passing by..