The Beauty of Aberdare National Park, A walk in the wild side…

As our journey continues from the previous post we continued to explore Aberdares National park under the guidance of the Kenya Wildlife Rangers. Below are all the gorgeous views and moments we had.

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Follow the leader….. KWS ranger was our guide which is mandatory for anyone accessing the interiors of the park for safety reasons

 

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Restful moment at Salient picnic site.
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And then the owners came knocking……

 

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These high altitude forests are broken by moorlands and plains, and through the abundant tree cover there are sensational views of the Rift Valley and the peak of Mt Kenya

In the next few days we got to hike to the highest peak in aberdares at 3999M is Le Satima peak.

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le satima peak at a distance

Ol Donyo Le Satima means “mountain of the bull calf. The peak lies at the northern end of the Aberdares, which themselves are along the eastern side of the Great Rift Valley, and is their highest point.

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Oh Hail the #LuxeQueen has summit-ted. Standing tall at 3999M above sea level.  I did it so can you.

Around it stand a number of sharp volcanic cones called “the Dragon’s Teeth

 

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The Dragon Teeth in Aberdares.

 

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we had a very rare chance to spot the Giant forest hogs Grazing.
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At Field Marshalls Kimathi Post office. Mau Mau freedom fighters who had taken refuge in the Aberdares among other hideouts made the tree a secret rendezvous for fighters and messengers and also made the gaping crevices on its trunks their ‘post office’. Commanders of the two main battalions in the forest would leave each other letters. Fighters based in Mt Kenya Forest also found the ‘post’ office and used it to communicate with their counterparts.

 

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#Occupied… Privacy required..

 

Welcome to our world….

While still in Aberdares we also managed to visit quite a number of accommodations  options inside the park Besides Fishing lodge and numerous camping sites there are also other options within the park.

Treetops Hotel; This lodge is famous as the place where Queen Elizabeth II visited as a princess and left as queen. Originally built in 1932, Treetops Lodge lies in the path of an ancient Elephant migratory route between the Aberdare Ranges and Mt Kenya National park, and is strategically sited right in front of a natural watering hole and salt lick, making it the perfect place to view game. Treetops is as much a part of nature as it has an ancient tree growing right through the hotel, with the lodge being built around it. It is the perfect fusion of nature and comfort sporting a rustic look that fits right into the Aberdares.

 

The Ark Lodge Aberdares; Resembling and named after Noah’s Ark, The Ark comprises of three decks from which numerous balconies and lounges provide a superb location for wildlife to be seen. This iconic lodge overlooks a floodlit waterhole and salt lick, which attracts a host of awesome wildlife.

 

our Trip ended with a visit to Twin rocks in Northern Aberdares. Two large rock outcrops, known as Twin Peaks, dominate the moorlands in the northern sector of this peaks.

 

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Its light out for us in Aberdares cheers for now.

The truth is there is a lot one can write about this salient forest as it a haven of adventurous hikes, gamedrives, walks etc but sometimes images send the experience home. Aberdares is not for the chosen few its open for all and is quite accessible. for more information about the park http://www.kws.go.ke/content/aberdare-national-park

 

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I am totally Grateful to the team that put this together and made it possible, KWS Aberdare National park Led by Senior Warden MDM Wambani and quite an Insightful conversations with VD Mt.Kenya Circuit Simon Ngugi.  To My fellow Travelers, bloggers and photographers thank you for being the cherry on top….. Cheers To many more trips together.

Is Kenya ready for Halal Travel?

Sometimes last year I happened to host a Muslim family from Argentina and automatically I was their guide and during their stay we happened to take a day trip to a national park and after a meal one of them asked if I knew if the hotel had a prayer room where resident could use…. where else Serena was kind enough to offer somewhere it came to my mind if the tourism industry in Kenya is quite prepared for the muslim travelers needs besides Halal foods. So whats Halal Travel

  • Halal travel: This is a  travel by muslim who do not wish to compromise their faith-based needs while traveling for a purpose, which is permissible.

jamia mosque Nairobi

The Muslim travel market is one of the most lucrative and one of the most rapidly growing market segments in the industry. It is also one of the world’s highest spending tourist markets. Therefore it is vital that destinations, businesses and travel-related entities take the needs of this market segment into consideration when devising business models and plans.

According to Mastercard report The Muslim market is valued to be worth an estimated $126 billion, with this figure expected to increase rapidly over the next few years. By 2020, the market value is estimated to reach $200 billion, with an estimate of 168 Million muslim travelers and will make up a significant percentage of total global expenditure.

By engaging with this dynamic market segment, destinations and travel-related businesses can benefit greatly. The untapped Muslim travel market has great potential for industry players with a wealth of business opportunities and revenue streams in the future.

Muslim travellers travel for the same reasons as any other tourist – to explore the different destinations and experience their unique culture. However they do not wish to compromise on their beliefs and have certain requirements and needs when travelling – such as the availability of Halal food and prayer facilities at their selected destination. Destinations that are able to provide these facilities and meet the requirements of Halal-conscious travellers are generally preferred amongst Muslims.

Understanding the unique needs of Muslim travellers can benefit destinations, accommodation providers, travel agents, restaurants, airlines, government associations and any travel-related entity. By evaluating their current offerings and upgrading a few facilities, it is possible to better serve Muslim travellers and become the preferred choice amongst the entire market segment.

Many destinations across the world have identified this potential and are adapting their offerings to better appeal to the Muslim travel market. One such example is Japan. In a bid to diversify its tourism industry, the Japanese Government is implementing plans to increase the availability of Halal food, prayer facilities and other Muslim-friendly facilities . As a result, Muslim visitor arrivals are forecasted to hit 1 million by 2020 with a growth rate of over 18% over the next few years. Other countries have applications around Halal Travel.

If you still haven’t considered Muslim travelers in your establishment, Here are a list of what you need to have to attract more of this travelers as categorized by crescentrating; The eBook here is a good guide on how a Hotel could cater to their Muslim guests during the month of fasting.

Need to Have; In the “Need to have” category are Halal food services and prayer facilities. Having an acceptable level of these services in places like hotels, attractions, theme parks, shopping malls etc., is integral to having a sustained growth of these travelers to the destination. Those unable to cater to these two needs are better off postponing targeting this segment until such a time as they are able to provide these services.

Halal food is by far the most important service that a Halal conscious traveler is looking for when traveling. As a result, it is one of the main beneficiaries of the growing Muslim travel sector.

Prayer rooms equipped with “foot washing” facilities easily accessible at the Destinations’ main tourism hotspots is another “Need to have” feature.

Good to have; Availability of water in wash rooms” and “the ability for a destination to cater to the Muslim travelers during the month fasting (Ramadhan)”  Use of water in the toilets is a Muslim etiquette. Not having a proper setup to do that is discomforting for travelers. Providing such facilities has become less cumbersome now with the widespread availability of hand showers, bidets or even Japanese style toilets.

Nice to have; Finally, in the “Nice to have” category are those services or facilities with “no non-halal services/activities” and “recreational services which provide privacy for males and females”. There is a growing sub-segment of Muslim travelers who are looking for destinations, resorts etc. offering these types of services. Some resorts in Turkey are already targeting these holiday makers and reaping huge benefits.

As far as Kenya religion goes, the Constitution of Kenya guarantees freedom of religion and worship to its people and that includes Islam one of the major religion in Kenya.  The largest number of Muslims in Kenya are found in Mombasa and the neighboring coastal regions, as well as the northeastern regions of Kenya. Nairobi also has numerous mosques and a notable Muslim following however there are mosques through out the country and yes kenya is open for Halal travel….

For assistance on Halal Travel reach out to us;

 

Our journey to Aberdares National Park.

 

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The Aberdare National park has been open for all since May 1950. The locals called it Nyandarua as from a distance it looks like dry hides while others called it Kiambiruiru coz of the dark patches seen from a distance. However, Joseph Thomson a famous explorer name it after the then president of the royal geographical society Lord Aberdares.aberdares123

On this visit I am honoring an invite From KWS aberdares in their quest to expose this magical place to the world and especially to encourage Kenyans to include it in their holiday destinations. Most people think that this park is in accessible given that it hosts the Aberdare ranges a region of stunning and diverse landscape where jagged peaks soar up to 4,001m and deep ravines cut through the deep forested slopes. What most don’t know is there are quite good roads within the park and proper hiking trails; for security you can organize to have a kws Rangers Because of the wild animals.

I was accompanied by my felllow travel enthusiasts and we approached  Aberdares from Kinangop side at Mutubio Gate its only one and a half hours from Nairobi  and of course we could just skip enjoying the big Mandazis and creamy tea synonymous with this sides, someone chose mahindi choma with tea lol!

Upon arrival we were received by the warden and The assistant director Mt.Kenya Region Mr.Simon Gitau

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Stellamaris stejosTours, Rosebell EAluxury, Eliud SafiriNasi, Mr.Simon KWS AD, Duncan Xtrym Adventures, John Cheetah Safaris, Moses Warden KWS and our Pilot.

The journey from Ndunyu Njeru to Mutubio gate is steep and needs a resilient car. It takes you through locals farms, to community forests before getting into the bamboo thickets and magical views of the riftvalley.  At the gate Mr.Kariuki the customer care KWS briefed us and our first stop was to check in at Fishing lodge a kws self catering house. Then grab a bite before proceeding to the activities of the day.

Fishing Lodge is located on the misty moorland of the Aberdare Hills and are 2 units owned and operated by the Kenya Wildlife Service. Fishing Lodge Guest House is 180 kilometers from Nairobi (via Nyeri) depending on entry gate into Aberdare National Park. Distances from Nyeri: Treetops Gate 17 kilometers, Ark Gate 28 kilometers, Ruhuruini Gate 20 kilometers, Kiandogoro Gate 30 kilometers, Wanderis Gate 37 kilometers. Distance from Naivasha: Mutubio Gate 50 kilometers.)

The rest of the afternoon we visited Chania Falls, Queen caves and Falls, Karuru Falls

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Karuru waterfalls  fall in three steps, 1st step 117M, 2nd step 26M and 3rd 130M, making a total of 273M.

 

At the queens waterfalls and caves@Queen’s Cave Waterfall, located inside the Aberdares National Park, a habitat that is also a mine of historical information.

A picnic table is set at the entrance to a waterfall and a cave that was once used by Dedan Kimathi, the Mau Mau freedom fighter. The cave, which lies at the base of the 10,000ft was christened the Queen’s Cave after Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, were served lunch here by Major Eric George Sherbrooke Walker in 1952. The site offers an ideal place for picnics with staircase leading into the cave.

 

Chania WaterFalls

 

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At Karimu River. Karimu means foolish. The river was given that name because it Defy’s gravity and flows upstream.
On our way back we spotted quite a number of animals, e.g bushbucks, buffaloes, elephants, birds and I must tell you it was getting quite chilly I mean really cold but when we got to the lodge the caretaker had lit the fire and we formed a semicircle at the fire place; then the news came in that the driver was going to pick something in town and the digital in some of us went biserk they just couldnt imagine 4days without electric power and internet #KidsOfNowadays lol! only the two of us were left at the lodge the rest of the team went to Twit hehehe but they came back with numb fingers…….

 

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Now! now! one of the bonfire story was when a ranger in the wilderness had the need to use a bathroom so she decided to hit the bush and in the middle of her business she had a breathing and she knew that was a rhino she charged back into the car more than a rhino could… hehehe! the hilarious part was the breathing Demo it got me on Floor laughing…..#Sensored

After a great diner this day ended up with the most unfare poker game in the world eti HAIKUHUSU lol! But it was better than the hussle of warming bed sheets….

 

 

This is just the first out of our fun four days keep it here you wouldn’t want to miss the hilarious jungle stories and experiences of our rangers while protecting wildlife.