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;

 

Why we think a visit to East Africa Rock city is not complete without a stay at Waghill lodge and spa.

One of those moments your fingers ache to type… Unlike many other times, I am on a roof top restaurant in Mwanza town the R00ck city as the locals like to call it.

Rock city is Tanzania’s second largest town. The geographical features around this town are quite interesting and breathtaking at the same time. For a moment I almost forgot my immigration woes earlier after a journey of 650km from Nairobi to Mwanza, the border Immigration officer in Isebania Border made me feel like I was in an interrogation room and to some point I just told Him to give me back my papers and go back to Nairobi; talk of catching feelings hehe! The most annoying thing is, he had already stamped them…and it took the intervention of modern coast management for him to let me go, But now I am brighter, no matter what you are going to do in Tanzania just say you are visiting life will be easier that way….

By the time we left the border it was already morning and our journey to Mwanza was wonderful great views of rocky hilly landscapes, traditional homes, farmlands, wildlife, and by the time we were getting into Mwanza there was no warning –Town features- only traffic grew but the housing wasn’t as modern as Nairobi is.

Our host Mr.George, picked me and my friend upon arrival at 11:00hrs from the bus station and he gave us a brief history of Mwanza. Our first stop was at Wag Hill rooftop restaurant on Nyerere avenue. The restaurant Gives you a 360degree of Mwanza town. And you could Cleary see houses impressively built on rocks, -wish they would paint them colorfully- a good view of lake Victoria from a distance, the hustles and bustles of Mwanza Town……just like downtown Nairobi they got venders selling their wares

 

After our brief rest and a snack we departed for Wag hill lodge with a city center tour, I could see lots of similarity with other towns in east Africa, things beyond the Swahili language.

There are quite a number of historical sites and monuments to visit in Mwanza e.g The Bujora museum which showcases the culture of the biggest tribe in Tanzania the Sukuma People, Kageye Historical site ETC But I enjoyed the view of Bismarck Rock on the shores of Lake Victoria massive granite rock right in the city. It attracts lots of interests from those new here and a lot of myths surround this rock. For a moment you might think that this naturally arranged rocks can fall off by merely pushing them with your fingers but they are solid and they have been soo for centuries.

Bismarck rock, Mwanza
Bismarck-rocks, named after the most famous German Chancellor in the days prior to the World Wars, who served his Kaiser at a time when the notorious Berlin Conference, which divided Africa and Africans into colonial possessions, created boundaries over which modern African countries today still are in dispute.

 

When in Mwanza you may also want to explore more and head to Ukerewe Island and Rubondo home of a national park with diverse natural attractions, rich in birds and a wonderful beach, Historical museums of Halwego Handebezyo in Ukerewe.

Our Journey from the city to Waghill Lodge, which was going to be our home took approximately 30mins. A cinnamon collection lodge. The lodge lies on southern Peninsula Of lake Victoria amidst lots of kopjes. Lake Victoria is nearly 69,000sqKM, it borders Kenya, Uganda and more than half of it is in Tanzania. It looks quite massive… yet well controlled by this massive landscape of kopjes all around.

On arrival at Waghill we were warmly welcomed and escorted to our rooms to freshen up before going for a late lunch. But the beauty and uniqueness of this property re-energized us such that you just wanted to be out there, its built in a way it doesn’t interfere with the natural surroundings yet at the same time giving you the maximum and the most breath taking views of the lake and lands and islands beyond.

The sunrise and sunsets are wonderfully captured…you can’t afford to miss this and if possible take the nature trails from the lodge to the hill top for a bird’s eye view. The lodge has two natural Harbors which have become breeding grounds for some of the largest tilapia one can find anywhere in the world, The scenary in this part of the lake has breathtaking granite rock structures that appear to defy Gravity. The lodge in itself is a full package as everything is well thought of. The tented rooms and The cottages are constructed in a way you enjoy total privacy and serenity of the place without interfering with the breathtaking views of this location. All rooms are self contained and elegantly furnished. The foot paths also done in a way they mix and blend in with nature. There are quite a number of activities one can enjoy while there like Swimming, Nature walks, Paint Balling, Horse riding, boat rides, fishing, kayacking etc Even if you stay here for a week you still won’t get bored and you can still enjoy sometime at their spa or swing your troubles away while enjoying the lake-views.

The lodge also Has a four bedroomed self-catering Villa, fully equipped, luxuriously furnished and with an exclusive swimming pool. Great for private functions or family getaways

My time here felt soo short… would have loved to extend but like they say every good thing must come to an end. It was lovely to re-connect with the general manager Mr.Stanley Morley having interacted with him during hospitality forums in Kenya and with a worldclass experience, I have confidence in Him that Waghill as a brand will continue to raise. The meals at waghill were mouthwatering complements to the chef, and to all the staff at Waghill, Thank you for your hospitality and great service. This is one lodge will keep watch and continue to recommend.

For those who would wish to travel to Mwanza its easily accessible either by road or By air through Mwanza Airport. The lodge is perfect for family getaway, a honey moon package, solo trips and for anyone who likes luxury and exclusivity. Its perfectly located in away you can end a safari from serengeti or even a day trip before departing Tanzania.

#ThumbsUpWagHill.

Christmas Package to Mwanza.

WAGHILL lodge and Spa.

 

 

 

Check this Exclusive lodge in a private island you will book it right away…

If you have ever harboured the secret wish of finding yourself the sole inhabitant of a beautiful tropical island, but without the effort of having to lift a finger to fend for yourself,

Mnemba Island is just the place for you! Discover sheer, unpretentious paradise on this private island, where the simple pleasures become your most treasured of memories for many years to come. Relax and unwind in the exclusivity of your own stretch of beachfront, where simple yet luxurious bandas peep out onto unblemished sands from the dappled shade of the casuarina pine forest.

There is soo much to do here From snorkelling, swimming and kayaking, to massages on the beach, to doing nothing at all, Mnemba has something for everyone.

If you would wish to book your stay in this Island; write to venture.omania@gmail.com, call us or whatsapp on +254722838338, +254736365886

There is alot of conservation work in this island

GREEN TURTLE CONSERVATION; The Island is one of only two protected nesting sites for the endangered green turtle in Zanzibar. With statistics measured since 1998, an average of 34 turtles nest on the island per year, with more than a hundred hatchlings born per nest. An estimated 60 000 green turtles have been born on the island in the 17 years since the lodge team began keeping records. Mnemba is one of the top three sites for green turtle laying in Tanzania and is deemed very important to Sea Sense, a non-governmental Tanzanian organisation and the NGO that Mnemba collaborates with on data sharing and training.

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COCONUT CRAB CONSERVATION; The biggest land crab in the world, so little is known about the coconut crab that they do not even have a conservation status with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), being listed as ‘data deficient’. Mnemba Island has a small but stable population of these crabs and recently hosted two researchers from Gothenburg University in Sweden, who conducted a study of the coconut crabs at Mnemba and nearby Chumbe Island. This was the first study of its kind conducted in Africa, as any previous research has taken place in the Asia-Pacific region. The initial output of the research shows evidence of breeding behaviour among the crabs. &Beyond Mnemba Island is one of two island lodges in the company’s stable and is one of its smallest in terms of guest numbers. By contrast, the benefits of their conservation measures and successes are substantial and far reaching.

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ADER’S DUIKER CONSERVATION; The rarest antelope species in Africa, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) estimates that there are between 300 and 600 Ader’s duiker remaining in the wild. In 2005 five of these antelope were introduced to Mnemba Island and have since tripled their number, with a population of 15 now living on the island. Mnemba Island is believed to be the only place in the world where these little animals can be spotted in the wild. Working with WCS, &Beyond has collected information on the duikers’ diet and behaviour and we hope that this will allow us to improve the breeding programme, leading to a further increase in the numbers of the species.

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SUNI ANTELOPE CONSERVATION; Zanzibari suni were introduced to Mnemba Island from Jozani Forest with the aim of diversifying and increasing their population. On Mnemba, where they have no natural predators, they have been breeding twice, rather than once, every year. Over the years, more than 250 suni have been moved to 13 sites throughout Zanzibar. Suni numbers remain carefully monitored and 15 new individuals were recently introduced onto the island to dilute the gene pool.

Community

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SUPPORTING ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY AT LOCAL VILLAGES

Mnemba Island has no resident community but works closely with the villages of Matemwe and Kigini, situated on the main Zanzibar island. In addition to supporting schools and helping to develop vegetable gardens, Mnemba has erected a windmill and sponsors beach clean-ups. Financial support and housing for MIMCA staff has been provided and ways are explored to prevent over-utilisation of reef fishes.

FUN CONSERVATION LESSONS; In order to protect and preserve the rich and fragile ecosystem of the Zanzibar Archipelago surrounding &Beyond‘s beautiful Mnemba Island, the lodge has embarked on an ongoing campaign to inform and inspire the youth from the nearest community through interactive and exciting Conservation Lessons.