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.

Tumetia Sahihi kuwa Watamu Ni tamu– We acknowledge Watamu is Nice..Read Through to know why..

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Recently our Tourism Association was Invited to Visit Malindi By Jacaranda beach Resort Watamu it was one of those impromptu invites you have to honor given that they were willing to give members discounted rates. As usual we don’t recommend places we haven’t experienced ourselves and given that Easter was first approaching sounded great to visit before including it into our packages. I love road trips coz of detours and chit chats with locals but on this particular day I opted to fly simply because I had not flown  with the new baby in town Silverstone Air  and they had a good bargain to MYD.

Well the plane was comfortable by all means I am just not sure about the noise about the noise from one of the engine it was kind of disturbing from where I was seated you just couldn’t ignore it  anyway we landed safely and crew was super awesome. Jacaranda beach Picked us up on arrival and we were welcomed with a cold juice and towel very much appreciated as it was hooot.

The name Watamu is Swahili for ‘nice or sweet people’. Among the natives of Watamu, the destination is known as the ‘lovers’ paradise’. Its blessed by long, white sand beaches that are unavailable anywhere else in the world. The sands are collected from all over the world by the Indian Ocean and deposited on this quiet lagoon and this protected natural reserves is home to unique species both above and below the surface of the Indian Ocean, from coral reefs to coastal creeks to forests alive with birds..

Image courtesy of Wonders of watamu

How lucky were we to be hosted by a resort that is idyllically set just in the heart of the enchanting Marine Reserve of Watamu, it is surrounded by a compelling beach of fine white sand. When there are low tides, it is surrounded by spectacular landscapes and fascinating coral atolls. The coral atolls that surround Jacaranda can be easily reached on foot when there are low tides. There are quite a number of activities one can choose from organized to entertain guests and perhaps one staff you would never forget when you leave is a hilarious sweet annoying laughter of one of the animators lol!

The resort has quite a number of rooms to choose from and I loved my suite. One thing to note is carry power cables that are two pin friendly as the three pin Sockets are only available in the balcony. The resorts host a lot of Italian visitors so 80% their menu works around Italian cuisine however they do have theme nights with local cuisines. The management has set in various amenities that will make the local market feel embraced and appreciated.

During our stay the Resort Organized various Packages and on our second day we visited Marafa Depression.

Marafa Depression /Hells kitchen /Nyari is One of the more intriguing sights inland from Kenyas North coast About 30km northeast of Malindi, it’s an eroded sandstone gorge where jungle, red rock and cliffs heave themselves into a single stunning Mars-like landscape. 
The depression is currently managed as a local tourism concern by Marafa village, with the steep admission costs going into village programs. A guide will walk you around the lip of the gorge and into its heart of sandstone spikes and melted-candle-like formations, and tell the story of Hell’s Kitchen. Which goes like so: a rich family was so careless with their wealth that they bathed themselves in the valuable milk of their cows. God became angry with this excess and sank the family homestead into the earth. The white and red walls of the depression mark the milk and blood of the family painted over the gorge walls. The more mundane explanation? The depression is a chunk of sandstone that’s geologically distinct from the surrounding rock and more susceptible to wind and rain erosion.

It’s such a breathtaking view worth visiting while in the coast region.

we have a lot to tell about Watamu and this is just the beginning… of our five days tour..

Trip fully sponsored by Jacaranda Beach Resort. Best regards to the management of this wonderful resort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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..

 

 

 

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!

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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.

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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.

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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…..

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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

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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!

 

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.

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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.

Why you might consider the services of Travel Agent/Tour operator in your next trip.

You may Ask yourself why hire a Travel Agent, When we can plan or get most of the information online? its simple, agents are still the experts, and, bottom line, they know more about travel and have access to more deals than your average vacationer. Phocuswright, a travel market research company, reports that for the first time in years, the number of people booking exclusively online has leveled off, while the number turning to traditional agents is on the rise, growing 5 percent for the fourth straight year in 2015. A recent experience triggered this article.

The tour guide in me is soo strong that no matter where I go what I do I shall always remain as one. As a matter of fact I am in soo many online guides platform, and its through one of this platform I had a rare encounter. Two family friends one from Brazil and another from Portugal hired me for a four nights safari as their guide, all they needed from me were tour guiding services everything else they had booked online and they didn’t need assistance.

Our meeting was at   a hotel in Karen and they had kids full of energy which was awesome. Our fast day took us to Naivasha and was without any hitches, our second day took us to the Maasai Mara it was an awesome journey until we reached the lodge they had booked online. The Hotel didn’t have their reservation and since it was peak season the hotel was fully booked for the next two days, with my tour operations background I was afraid but of course I couldn’t show I had to switch to troubleshooting mode. My guests had a confirmation of reservation from Booking.com, the lodge manager says they never got their reservation and he has no rooms left and all his partners were fully booked it was a back and forth for like two hours even booking.com wasn’t be able to help.

Now I had to take charge and engage my guests it was time to look for an alternative accommodation, it was getting late, we were all exhausted especially the kids as the road to Mara isn’t a smooth one. We are in the wilderness, it was also a public holiday meaning most hotels reservation offices were closed, but I knew a few hotel managers and we got availability for like three lodges. So we got into a conversation deciding which is which, and the next handle was my guest were referring their ranking on Trip advisor even after 17.00hrs we were still discussing where to stay. Finally I firmly recommended Mara simba lodge and we settled to revisit the issue the day after. However, they were satisfied, their three night stay was memorable and quite interesting and the team at Simba gave them a wonderful experience, the kids had a lot to do, from nature walks, games, farming etc I was relieved too..

The above experience might not have a positive outcome for everyone especially if your guide has no Tour operations/co-ordination back ground and you all would be stranded.

While  we can’t ignore the fact that internet has revolutionized travel and has lots of travel information e.g tips, recommendations, reviews  etc but the expertise of a good agent can make the difference between a good and a great vacation. The human element is crucial to travel as most things don’t remain the same. We have rounded of, a few reason why you should identify a good agent for your travels..

  1. It saves you  Time and Money

Travel agents eat, sleep and breathe traveling, much like any professional does for their chosen field. We cut through the kind of online clutter that leads to information overload “Not only do we send thousands of travelers a year from destinations to destinations, we ourselves go and experience the different destinations and types of travel, we know first-hand where to get the best of everything; we know the best location for that perfect sunrise or sunset, we know how to bypass the lines to busiest places, we use our inside connections to get you upgrades, offers, and other extras that add value to your travels. This extra experience can lead to tips and tricks that will help save you time and money and may allow you to see things that you’d never find through a Google search.

2.Personalized service

The travel agent is there to listen to your needs, wants and dreams for your perfect vacation. You may go in thinking of a certain location and they may show you an even better one that you didn’t even think of. “We take what we hear and we create a travel experience that is best suited for you and the type of trip you are taking at that time. Whether it is for business, a long overdue vacation, a honeymoon or anniversary, an adventure package, missionary travel, humanitarian travel, family travel, food and wine, etc., we take care of every aspect so that you can focus on achieving your travel desires and goals,” Because agents travel to many destinations, properties and attractions they recommend, they can offer specific information about how to tour confidently and book appropriate accommodations, particularly if you are alone or have a disability or medical conditions etc.

3.Solves your problems

Travel can be fraught with pitfalls e.g flight cancellations, traffic delays, meetings rescheduled etc your agent can re-book your flights and any affected part of your itinerary. An agent will know if the weather, political or social unrest to your destination might affect your travel, and proactively react and rearrange flights and hotels booking. in my case above what if the drivers never showed up? or demanded extra pay to cover the miles to the other lodge? what if a vehicle breaks down? with a n agent you would have it replaced and it wont affect your itinerary.

4.Connections and Partnerships

Agents and agencies team up with resorts, airlines and cruise lines to give you access to the best deals possible. Those relationships generally trump any deal you could find online. We work with Many suppliers of travel every week and know who has the best negotiated prices for certain destinations. Many do not work with the general public and will only partner with accredited travel agencies. While you may be able to plan a less expensive vacation on your own, you may not find as good a value or the same quality vacation as what you can book through a travel agent.

5.With an Agent you got yourself an advocate.

If you have issues while traveling, the Internet is not going to do you any favors or advocate for you — but a travel agent will. Travel agents work for you, the customer, not the travel companies, so they can help resolve your issues for you. If you have a situation arise with a hotel, attractions, cruise line, or airline arrangements, we become your advocate on getting those situations resolved as soon as possible. This can be extremely helpful if you are in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language or if a situation arises that requires you to change your plans quickly.

 

To sum it all up a good travel agent strives for you to have the smoothest

island dream camp
Agents Fam trip 

and the most memorable experience,they also add value to your travels.

 

The Giant within–when you visit Nyeri county take a moment and explore..

As I sip down my dawa at Valley Coffee in Yala Towers Nairobi, admiring the view of Nairobi from the balcony couldn’t  help but remember a journey I had taken a few days earlier so  I decided why not share it with others as I awaited for my meeting to commenceimg_8773

There is always something exciting that’s ignited in my stomach whenever I go to Mt.Kenya tourism Circuit the atmosphere is quite unforgettable. On this particular day my longtime friend Phoebe [my partner in crime lol!—no we are actually very innocent girls.] was joining me as we honored an invite to visit Nyeri and familiarize ourselves with the attractions in this area and also, to actually understand why even after being such a gorgeous place, with lots of attraction, Nyeri is still not reaping from its potential as a touristic destination. Leisure and Destination Marketing is something I hold dearly to my soul. So u can imagine how much my adrenaline was racing for such a challenge.

A journey to Nyeri from Nairobi is such scenic one as it traverses you through central Kenya from Pineapple plantations, coffee and farm fields, with beautiful landscapes, its everything a rural area would look like, on the way you will find farmers selling their produces e.g Rice, Irish and sweet potatoes, fresh fruits and vegetables, chickens, roasted maize and yams hehe..

For new people on this route watch out as it has lots of corners, drive at controllable speed especially if the road ahead is not visible for a distance. After a disappointing “Continental Breakfast “ at Lazarus café in town we departed for Nyeri our chit chats made the journey of 150KM short.. Upon arrival we met with the owner of Legacy Gardens who was our host and guide throughout our stay. Winfred is so passionate about Nyeri shes quite informed and up to date with things that could attract some one from whichever part of the Earth you belong to: we had a perfect guide…[I always advice travelers get yourself a reliable local guide and you will learn and enjoy a destination beyond the guide book and way beyond google].

We arrived in Nyeri around midday, checked in at Legacy gardens freshened up and we officially checked in Nyeri town [Rware as the natives call it]

Nyeri is famous for its hardworking and strong willed women –women of steel-women who have taken over the role of heading their families as some husbands had turned into alcohol, women who works soo hard to sustain their families the best way they can. It’s a role most find a ridicule to the masculine gender but what could she have done?? Well I find her extra-ordinally although some incidences reported perhaps due to frustrations etc can’t be erased.

Well, we first went to a restaurant for some chicken Kienyenji and Winnie just knew the right place, the bird was big and yummy and some Mataha [a mix of boiled dry maize, beans, potatoes and pumpkin leaves mashed together]. Mataha is a traditional food among the Agikuyu community. It used to be made in plenty and would be stored with Itairu [woven trays] in granaries and if you needed to eat all you had to do is go to the granary and fetch some hehe.. life wasn’t complicated then,  you didn’t need soup, maybe a glass of milk or water and you super..

We had an observation though every place that we visited that was frequented, the welcome was always a smelly toilet down stairs before you get to a wonderful place upstairs hehe.. so was the goodbye….but we are smart usitudharau..on our way down we held our noses till we hit the road across hehe… waa two minutes felt longer and I guess Our cheeky laughters attracted quite a few curious looks but well at-least the yummy kienyenji chicken wasn’t spoilt lol! #MissionAccomplished.

Our next stop was the newly 4star rated, one of the few in Nyeri county and that’s White Rhino hotel, a historical hotel built during the British east Africa era, in 1910 by three white settlers who had shot a white a rhino in the same location. The hotel now is open to all unlike before it had a sign “White Only” sits evident that this hotel has a history of over 100yrs. Well, from having rooms that aren’t self-contained to a modern classic city hotel with international standards, surely this hotel has rebranded…

There are other historical buildings in nyeri town like the Osmana ollus shop dating back to 1899, The baden powels grave site memorial, The Italian war Memorial chapel in Mathari, The Paxtu cottage belonging to Baden powell at Outspan hotel which was later occupied by.., The colonial civil and  criminal lawa courts situated in Ruringu: Did you know the first colonial African cell was in Nyeri, well it was, near provincial police post.

There quite a nurhinomber of historical places in this blissful town as Baden powell referred it… e.g Field Marshal Dedan Kimathis Famous fig tree post office in the Aberdares, The treetops Hotel where queen Elizabeth II became Queen while vacationing in Aberdares, The Sacred site where Dedan Kimathi was shot in Tetu… Nyeri still continues to add on its history with Wangari Maathai Becoming the First African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace in 2004. Just like a cherry on top in May 2015 this town received world attention during the Beaitification of Sister Irene Stefani –Nyaatha, she was declared to have lived a life of Heroic virtue through her service to the sick in Nyeri before and during the world War 1.. I guess Nyeri is here to continue making Headlines both local and international.

Other attractions include; Zaina falls in Tetu, Mau Mau caves, Nyeri Hill, Othaya Hill zainacommon wealth graves, karura falls, lots of private ranches with magnificent waterfalls and landscapes. This place is a hikers galore, Religion traveler, wildlife enthusiast, birdwatcher’s haven, fishing expeditions, cultural and historical enthusiasts.
During our visit here I purposed to meet with few hotel owners and also to learn quite a few things about this town as a tourism destination. It wasn’t pleasing to learn that even if this county has world re-knowned attractions like Abedrare National park, Mt.Kenya National park, Solio game ranch, Olpejeta conservancy etc its still struggling on how to maximize on its full potential. Travelers still to choose to stop-over more than sleep over. Where else some hotels are struggling others are at 80% occupancy because they can afford costs arising from Marketing strategies. What happens to those who can’t afford? I would advise them to join hands and create some leverage. Being in tourism for quite a long time doesn’t turn me into an expert but its does expose me to realism—[is that English]- There is no way I can just leave my residence just to go stay in a hotel without a particular reason, there must be a reason for me travel…only then will I check where to sleep. Could this county be spending more time marketing their own individual hotels more than the Destination? If the already existing attractions aren’t attracting enough travelers, can they create reasons for travelers to want to stay or desire to visit Nyeri County more than any other destination?  Can they repackage this county to a more enticing product? The ball is in your court both the private sector and the county government of Nyeri.

#MyUnforgettable; The Nyeri observation point on your way to Ihururu has awesome sunset, it gives you this priceless sense of peace and stillness.img_8217.you basically loose yourself, the view below of coffee plantations and Nyeri town, Mt.kenya at a distance and Nyeri Hill at your back, Nature protecting you and exposing you to its beauty

As we departed Nyeri we had a lot of questions and recommendations for this county.. Would creating a happy valley tour or  recreating a mau mau route whereby travelers can experience our colonial era refresh this product? All I can say is unless they join hands and come up with campaign to #TembeaNyeri the best will get better and the rest will go worse with only getting overflows or very few check-ins.

We can’t forget to thank the White rhino Hotel, To Mr.Muchiri of Mpeta Guest House- if you are looking for self catering modern, furnished apartments this place would be for you especially for those travelling for business, need a short stay etc. It also has a high speed free internet and in a very accessible location.

Our utmost Gratitude goes to Winfred of Legacy Gardens for being such a passionate guide in Nyeri county and a wonderful host. Legacy gardens have self catering fully furnished Holiday homes, well manicured gardens, vibrant interiors and above all its just home-away-from-home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Diani By Bus just Like a local one hilarious journey…

If you read my last post ”From watamu with Love’ by now you know I had sworn not to go by bus any journey over 300km unless am driving me there hehe…Well I just did use a bus to Diani last weekend ooh to Mombasa ….well with such a convincing crew I was made to believe I shall be in first class with Mash Cool Bus 0f 2200hrs …its Via whatsapp guys so I can sue you lol! yes you LEO!…you promised more leg Room, wide spacious seats, wifi, sockets to charge your phone……well none of this happened coz when we arrived our bus was the old model a KBT wasnt as cool as the name and the Buses sandwiching us were all cool and fancy and gorgeous and……none of the sockets worked…and heloo I wasn’t even on First class either– shock on us lollest…I wasn’t amused of this but the guy we sent to buy tickets figured since all executive seats were sold out he would rather book any seat for the sake of travelling pamoja like United Kenyans we are, he will explain when we board hehe! Anyway we departed on time and had a slow smooth ride…..bila #LAWAMA…Thanks God it was a oneway Ticket…..

It was a journey we had planned for like three weeks before it came to be as our availability seemed not in-sync I guess we had amended our hotel booking to a point we couldn’t do it anymore we had to go with who-ever was available….and we safely Landed in Mombasa at 0700hrs and it was raining, we decided to hire transport but our Swahili sold us out and this guys started charging us ridiculous prices to south coast until an empty Matt [shot of matatu- public transport vans] showed up and just like that we were saved from contributing 600shillings each one of us to 180shillings each, yaa-hoo!! that meant more milk for some of us hehe..but it wasn’t going to be smooth as we had to alright then catch a  ferry from Mombasa Island to the other side [likoni and south coast] we went through check point b4 boarding a ferry and then getting our transport to Tiwi Beach on the other side…

we arrived at Amani Tiwi at 0930hrs, we were welcomed with a cold towel and the eucalyptus scent made the skin soo relaxed…….some cold juice..Briefing..the we had breakfast before retiring to the rooms for a few hrs but the weather just demanded you be in water all day, you basically turn into a fish…

Amani Tiwi beach Resort is on Tiwi beach Kwale county just before you get to Ukunda. the resort has  A total of 209 air-conditioned including 110 interconnecting rooms, 4 rooms specially designed to be wheelchair accessible. All rooms enjoy Split unit Air Conditioning, LCD Satellite TV, High speed Wifi internet connectivity, Telephone, Mini-fridge, in-room safes, Tea / Coffee making facilities, Hairdryer, Mosquito net and balcony. Amani Room – Overlooking the swimming pool, with 1 double queen and single bed. 4 of the Amani rooms are specially designed to be wheelchair friendly.amani tiwi
Amani Deluxe Rooms – King Size/ twin bed, 16 with Jacuzzi bathtubs and 10 with rain shower and customized African interiors. Amani Executive Suites – For the business traveller. All rooms have a king size bed and rain showers. Amani Royal Suites – King-size beds, personal valet on call 7am to 11pm, with separate living room and dining room. Complimentary Wi-Fi, house wine bottle per stay. Amani Grand Suites – Ultimate in luxury, King beds, Ocean facing. Complimentary Wi-Fi, airport transfers, head and shoulders massage for a couple once per stay. The resort has a huge pool measuring 167metres long with 3islands. the resorts has 4bars and % restaurants each catering for various cosmopolitan cuisines available. they have different Meal Plans but my advise is the All Inclusive package would favor guests more.

Our two Nights stay here was great very personalized service with a few complains here and there but they were acted upon immediately. The animation Team was on point too got us engaged through out our free time, my hands still aching from Beach volleyball, zumba, water polo etc. the food was good and the buffet was well supplied with enough varieties……in the evenings they also have different themes and shows that end around 2300hrs it wasnt enough for us and we decided to do our own Karaoke which was fun with our own Karaoke Queen Phoebe lol we had fun…on the last nigh they did a beach party and dance and a few guests were suprised with cakes as it was their birthdays we danced the night away and i didn’t get to see the proverbial mermaids or ghost crossing the sea at midnight besides a giant crab that decided it could join in the party….hehe if have seen this let me know and it could just be on my bucketlist.

beach changes pipo
Beach Changes People hehe my travelpartners in crime.. which camera now??

there is quite a number of activities you can do here e,g watersports, tours to the nearby attractions and parks……we checked out at 1500hrs and headed back to Mombasa getting there at around 1740hrs the traffic at Likoni caught up with us however we got at Coast Bus on time to pay for our tickets for 2230hrs Bus then decided to have diner and watch some football at Bellavista Restaurant…after ordering diner showed up at 2200hrs and not as requested we had to do with whatever they brought in a hurry and headed back to Coast Air bus quite hopeful that at KES1600 we will have the best to compensate our previous experience and guess what the only diff is the bus wasnt full so we used two seat each one of us but the seats arent as comfy, and the bus is soundproof , on aircon through out which might not be friendly for asthmatic persons and Kids, the bus had no wifi and no sockets  but you do get snacks water and soft drinks….. My Take; Buscar and Horizon buslines are still my most top rated so far untill I try another busline……..

If you would ever want to stay at Amani Tiwi beach Resort contact us at venture.omania@gmail.com or Text, Call, whatsapp at 0736 365 886

watch out for our tales from Diani beach…..next at Leopard Beach resort. But Before then

let us know your favorite Bus To Mombasa and Why?