Mwea Game reserve… a Hidden Gem in Embu County..

 

 

mwea 8
crossing Thimba River

I have been to places but never been to this park so when a chance arose a decision was made quickly and I found myself and my Travel buddies depart Nairobi at 18:30 hrs for Embu so that we can spend more time in the reserve. we spent a night in Embu and decided to try local delicacies and of course some nyamchom but the guy grilling our nyama was in cloud nine and at some point we wondered did he even get our order right?? Anyway the nyama was on point..

mwea.jpg

The following day we departed for Mwea very early in the morning. The landscape, the little towns and the rivers on the way were very panaromic, we got to Mwea NP within an Hour and the road was good even the 10km strecth all weather road to the park from the main highway. The warden welcomed us to the park and he gave us a history of the park.

mwea 20.jpg

The Mwea National Reserve is located within Mbeere District, in Eastern Province, a distance of about 200km from Nairobi.  The savannah ecosystem comprises of small hills with bushy vegetation and scattered large trees. Other areas are open grasslands while along the main rivers, large trees with thick undergrowth are found. Trees mainly found within the ecosystem are the different Acacia species and baobab trees.  The ecosystem’s main features are the meeting point of rivers Tana and Thiba, Kamburu and Masinga hydro-electric dams, which harbour variety of biodiversity.

The Residents

Major wildlife attractions include the  elephants, Rothschild giraffes, Common zebras, Lesser kudu, Buffalo, Water Buck, Bush buck, Impala, Vervet Monkeys, Aardvark, Yellow baboons, Grants gazelle, Dik dik, Cape hare, Warthog,  Black backed jackal, Duiker, Sykes monkeys, Genet cat, Slender mongoose, Stripped ground squirrel, Dwarf mongoose, Crested porcupine, Rock Hyrax, Tree Hyrax and tortoise. Hippos and crocodiles are also found in the dams and rivers. Different birds and reptile species have been recorded in the reserve.

The visitors

you can engage in other activities like boat rides and camping besides Gamedrives and nature walks.

We would recommend this park to all those looking for some quiet time out in the wilderness and KWS should market this park especially to residents of Embu county and the surroundings as it is within reach. There are soo many other places in this county that Travel agencies can combine and create packages off the already known  and give travelers new experiences…..as we bade Mwea Goodbye we cant help but think how much God has Blessed us with a gorgeous Country that we have just assumed its normal… Lets  #TembeaKenya , #LiveTheMagic and #ExploreMore  so that we can be ambassadors of our own products..

The Goodbye was loong as the one giving it..

mwea 18

 

Need to go to Mwea or you have been there? Engage Us…. its always good to hear from you.. Keep it to our blog as we continue to encourage Domestic tourism through our own travels…

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.

photo-629.jpg
Follow the leader….. KWS ranger was our guide which is mandatory for anyone accessing the interiors of the park for safety reasons

 

photo-244
Restful moment at Salient picnic site.
photo-242
And then the owners came knocking……

 

photo-612.jpg
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.

le satima.jpg
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.

27332064_10155271661268030_434987404249824659_n.jpg
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

 

dragon teeth.jpg
The Dragon Teeth in Aberdares.

 

photo-276
we had a very rare chance to spot the Giant forest hogs Grazing.
photo-305.jpg
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.

 

photo-222
#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.

 

photo-822
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

 

photo-800.jpg
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.

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 >>>>>

IMG_1271
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

IMG_9401IMG_9433

Takawiri Island
Takawiri Island

IMG_9436IMG_9461IMG_9463IMG_9469DSCN1658

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.

Rusinga_Sunset___boat.jpg

 

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.

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.

IMG_8961

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…

IMG_8958

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.

IMG_8949

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 

Le Pristine Hotel….The waoh factor of Nyeri town.

 

 

 

This is one journey that has been long overdue.. it has been planned over and over but time just seems to be escaping us somehow.. But perhaps let me introduce to you Mr.King’ori the one person amongst many others who are trying to awaken the Giant that Nyeri county tourism is!

img_93051.jpg

I might have written many other articles about this but on this trip He has promised to show me a Nyeri most people just pass by and don’t take much notice of. As an engineer Mr.Kingori is well travelled all over the world, Loves not just delicious meals but also mouth-watering and after a day’s work he relaxes at his Home with a glass of wine and a good book, ooh and he’s has a million dollar view of valleys over and beyond.

IMG_9357[1]

During my interactions with him I came to learn Nyeri is not His rural home. He landed in Nyeri town by sheer coincidence, however the developer of the property he had identified suggested a different location  after sharing his mission with him and ended up being the perfect location.  It was a colonial farm house with good views of Mt.Kenya, beautiful valleys and gorges.. He took a leap of faith and relocated, he has never regrected this decision. His dream of having a top notch hotel commenced from here and through the support of his wife and children Le Pristine is turning out to be one great master piece.  You can tell by how much they have taken attention to details, from the staff, Menu, Décor, garden etc.

 

His mission is to create a fine dining experience that’s unforgettable for all in a family friendly environment.  Without a doubt, I  can confidently tell you that a visit to Nyeri  town without stopping at Le Pristine is like having a cake and skipping to eat the cherry on top yet its right there glaring at you…..

During his morning jogs he noticed that the neighborhood was a bird’s paradise and the surroundings had great beautiful trees, rivers, caves and shrubs, it’s like his soul was re-awakened, He started collecting different species and recreating a garden with both interesting indigenous trees and herbs.

 

His garden can put a botanist on a roller costar of different species. As I sat at the terrace listening to slow nice music that blend well with this rustic restaurant, I couldn’t help but smile when a song by Dolly Parton Coat of many colors was played, as the garden of le pristine is quite colorful; but unlike Dolly’s Coat this was, one Natural beautiful “Coat” no money can buy and no designer could create. But, also like Dolly’s coat this gardens have be made with lots of love and care. He told me his idea is, whenever one visits this place their five senses come alive. The garden has been divided in different segments where one can just go meditate, relax etc just surrounded by trees and flowers and of course birds twitting.

IMG_9361[1]
my soul was at peace I had a heavy flu but by the time I left Le-Pristine 3days and it was gone.. #NatureHeals
Le pristine  also have a big garden that’s appropriate for events like weddings, cocktails etc. At the moment Le pristine is only open for Events and fine Dining, accommodation is under construction.

In his quest to add value to Nyeri tourism products  he joined Nyeri county tourism association and as fate would have it through a mutual friend he got connected to a young guide Mr.Jackson a Nature Kenya member who share his passion.  On my four days tour together they shall be my guides[aren’t I lucky?]  as we explore this lands and retrace the Mau Mau footsteps, pludge in waterfalls, do some bird watching, scenic drives, hike and as they tell me we shall cross the bridge of the Gods…. I guess you just have to follow me and let’s see if for real the Giant is awake or…..

Christmas lighting at Le Pristine
Merry Christmas and a happy new year longest Christmas tree at Le pristine.

 

Just like the Name Le Pristine everything about this place fits in together like a puzzle. Follow their page to know more. For those who would wish to visit Le pristine its Near Mt.Kenya Academy and you can reach them to book for your table on 0731100201 or 0723409209

IMG_9048
Cheers to You Le-Pristine and Thank you for making my stay wonderful, Finally the Cherry of Nyeri Town has arrived! It’s official the Bar has been raised!

 

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

FamilyVacation
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

images.jpg

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.

images (1).jpg

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.

Madaraka Day Special Zanzibar Flying Package from Nairobi.

 

Madaraka Day Special

29th May – 08th June 2017

Incredible Flying Package to Zanzibar

Beach.jpg

USD777 Per Person sharing, Child USD444

                             Stay 4, Pay 3 Nights on Full board basis, Based on Superior rooms at Bluebay Beach Resort & Spa.

Includes return flights NBO/ZNZ/NBO, 3 Nights on Full board basis  and return airport transfers in Zanzibar.

 

Valid for NEW BOOKINGS ONLY
Via Email; venture.omania@gmail.com
Call/Text/Whatsapp; 0722838338, 0734730699