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.

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.

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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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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.

Giraffe Ark Game lodge a gem in Nyeri county.

If you are a follower of my blog by now you know how hard it is for me to turn down a trip to Mt.Kenya tourism circuit… and today was that time again. When an invite to visit Giraffe ark Came along I took it because I had missed visiting this gorgeous property far too many times.

Giraffe Ark Game lodge is 3 and a half hours from Nairobi its located in Muiga 36km from Nyeri town. Its tucked near Aberdare Ranges. Even though muiga can get quite dry and dusty on arrival I noticed the lodge has maintained its compounds very green and have planted a lot of trees.

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At the receptions we were received warmly with a cold towel and fresh juice. During my stay here Victoria the marketing Manager who was our host gave us a tour of the property. Giraffe Ark Lodge has a choice of 30 rooms: 6 Deluxe, 5 Luxury, 1 Royal Suite, and 18 Executive Suites , they have incorporated a blend of Pan African, Western, Oriental and Arabian themes.

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All rooms have verandah/balconies, Flat Screen TV’s with premium channels (DSTV), Ensuite bathrooms with hot water. Most of the rooms also have an exquisite view of the Majestic Mount Kenya. From the furnishing in the rooms is obvious the propriety has heavily invested in the décor. Its actually evident through-out the lodge. Everything is placed masterfully.

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The rooms I can guarantee you are very comfortable and quite spacious, airy and well lit. Another thing I noted is they are located away from the social places hence giving you the peace and serenity you might need while on holiday.

 

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The chef didn’t disappoint either the meals were delicious. They have a restaurant that serves European and Kenyan classics with a twist. They offer the freshest flavours of locally sourced produce, as they work with the farmers who provide them with the best the market has to offer , The property also have a beautiful and well equiped chinese restaurant where you can catch all the latest sporting events on mounted big screens . The environment blends well with nature as you enjoy a sundowner cocktail drink at our elevated terrace restaurant above a rocky dam. The outdoor sitting area offers a good atmosphere as you also take advantage of Aberdare range’s fresh air.

 

There are many activities one can engage in while there e.g Swimming, cycling, horse riding, hiking, game drives ETC you can also engage in rounds of chess from their giant chess boards and if you have small kids there is an arena for them. The property also has a conference facility and grounds great for events.

We highly recommend this property and we thank Mr.Peter Magu for hosting us.

Should you ever want to to stay at giraffe Ark Game lodge, write to us venture.omania@gmail.com or call, text, Whatsapp +254722838338

Is there more to family travel in Kenya Beyond All inclusive resorts? Must read for every Family planning a vacation this Holiday.

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Memories made together last and bide a family a lifetime

When I was young, Family vacations were spent at my grandparents house. It was un-written rule that all grand-kids were to spend their long school holidays there. It was fun making pots out of clay, picking wild berries, sliding through the mud, cooking in Tins…. Everyday we were busy doing something, and by the time we got home to grand ma’s and great grandmas fairy tales, we were worn out and all we needed was to eat, shower and drag our selves to bed.

Fast forward in our world today, Many parents just want all inclusive resorts because the young ones will be kept entertained and busy through out the day. Kenya happens to have such resorts that have mastered the art of Family travel and to our rating , Voyager beach Resort, Baobab Beach resort & Spa and Turtle bay Beach club all on the Kenyan coast would rank highly on this.

There are quite few things we need to consider before taking that Family vacation

  • Family vacations aren’t about the destination, the sights etc its about Family. Focus on spending time together not hoping from one destination to the next.
  • Remember that each family members fun might be different from the rest, sit down and narrow down to activities that you all can enjoy considering the interest of each of you. Trust me you don’t want to go around with groomy members… hehehe!
  • When all is in order consult an expert, let them give you a few options according to your shortlisted interests. Consult friends and ask for recommendations. The advantage of this is, the travel consultant has a wealth of knowledge and he/she will save you time and energy.
  • Its always good to ask another family to join you wherever possible. That puts more people in charge of planning and takes some of the pressure off of you. It’s also a great way to save money. For example, you can split on a number of things e.g Transport, accommodation etc. When kids have playmates along, kids are more easily managed, and more people on hand means more eyes to help you watch your brood!
  • When all the planning has been done and you have settled on a package always remember to let your agent know in-case there are special diets requirements. Some hotels and lodges also don’t take children below a certain age..reconfirm all this things.
  • Don’t forget that travel expands our minds including children’s it also a good way of reconnecting and bonding. Remember you are away from your schedules so there will be a lot of focus on each other. Embrace this moment and learn one another.

when all is in place remember to pack and carry a lot of patience as children can get cranky when you list expect. Bear in mind there are quite a number of destinations and activities around Kenya that kids can enjoy besides the beach. E.G cycling, camping, bird watching, game drives… It always good to expose this young ones to different forms of travel it opens up their mind to different possibilities. Places that can give kids different form of experience are Farm houses or hotels. They get to learn more on where most of the products they love come from, how they are grown or manufactured. Some of this properties come highly recommended.

Goshen Farm House in Muranga.early-morning.jpg

This is A small property tucked in the highlands of murang’a County, it boasts all the trimmings of a city boutique hotel, in the country side. It has 24 spacious rooms, each with a balcony. your views every day is tea plantation surrounding the hotel and the beautiful landscape of hilly neighborhood. There are quite a number of activities one can engage in as they also keep domestic animals e.g tea picking, feeding and herding cattle, cycling, football day tours to chinga dam etc for more infor check this link out

 

Olepangi farm house in Nanyuki

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This luxurious farm house sits in a big farm ranch on the foothills of Mt.kenya. its located in one of the most scenic places in Timau. your stay here feels short no mater how long as there are quite a number of activities one can engange in. From farm activities, to horse riding, to Nature walks to Hiking…. check them out here

 

 

Ocean sports Malindi

Ocean Sports has always been a family friendly hotel. Located on 14 acres, the majority of which is still indigenous bush, our prime, beach front location and large gardens make it the perfect place for any child to explore.

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You won’t find a ‘kids club’ here showing endless cartoons, instead, each child is given a challenge on arrival, a check list of 50 things to do at Ocean Sports where we take full advantage of the nature and wildlife which surrounds us.

The hotel has chickens, ducks and quail; guinea fowl roam the gardens. Plated lizards can be seen sunbathing on the rocks and bush babies and night jars heard in the evenings. Your children will leave Ocean Sports having learnt and seen a great deal, and usually with a host of new friends.

There are quite a number of holiday options one can explore the only thing your travel agent need to identify is your interest, age and energy levels.

Know of a place with unique experiences? kindly comment and recommend it we would like to hear from you.