Africa overtakes Japan and Australia as the most preferred destination by Chinese travelers, A TravelZoo Survey

Travelzoo® , a global publisher of exclusive offers and experiences for members, is forecasting the largest popularity growth of Africa in 2018 among avid Chinese travelers, according to the results of the latest Travelzoo Travel Trends Survey.

The survey shows a record high number of Chinese respondents, more than 60 per cent, who plan to travel in-depth in 2018. “In-depth travels” is a term used by travel websites in China to describe the type of trips that involve more unconventional journeys beyond the typical tourist experience.

For the very first time, Africa moved up to first place as the top in-depth travel destination Chinese travelers hope to visit in 2018, dethroning the ever-popular Japan and Australia.

Among the destinations in Africa, Travelzoo’s Chinese members are most interested in Morocco, Tunisia, South Africa, Namibia, Madagascar and Tanzania, according to Travelzoo’s website statistics.

Travelzoo deal experts say the rapid growth in popularity in exotic destinations such as Morocco and Tunisia is largely due to relaxation of visa requirements for Chinese nationals.

Chinese passport holders have been granted visa-free access to visit Morocco since June 2016 and Tunisia since February 2017, and visa-on-arrival access to enter Tanzania and Egypt.

There was a 378% year-over-year growth in Chinese arrivals in Morocco and 240% in Tunisia during the six months after the easing of visa requirements, which pushed Morocco to first place and Tunisia third as the destinations that enjoyed the greatest growth in Chinese visitors.

Furthermore, the survey showed a 25% increase in the number of Travelzoo members in China who plan to take five or more overseas holidays in 2018. Travelzoo’s statistics show the click-through rates of Morocco deals have increased 20% since the visa-free Morocco access was announced.

“Travelzoo members like to explore the less-traveled destinations and have immersive local experiences,” comments Yoyo Huang, Associate Publisher at Travelzoo in China. “These Travelzoo members become influencers for their friends and family when they seek travel suggestions. Now that the major visa restrictions were lifted, our members are definitely keen on Africa and their friends will follow. 2018 is about time that Africa took off and continued to grow in popularity throughout the year.”

Beach holidays still top the activities Chinese travelers are interested in, followed by food and wine. Third place, however, was taken by historic attractions, rising from fifth spot last year.

Cruises climbed to seventh place from tenth and photography tours appeared in the top 10 the first time. Otherwise, shopping dropped out of the top 10 activities for the first time and sightseeing also fell from ninth spot to last.

“The days when Chinese tourists were entertained by merely sightseeing and shopping are long gone,” adds Huang, “the middle class in China are now seeking unforgettable experiences at their own pace when they travel. The destinations that offer rich culture and nature should expect many more Chinese visitors, so we’re confident in our prediction that 2018 will see Africa secure its place as the fastest-growing popular destination among avid Chinese travelers.”

Additionally, the survey revealed that the U.S.—one of the top five destinations of all time for Chinese travelers—fell from the third place to fifth this year while Japan and Australia remain number one and two. The U.K. retains the fourth spot, while no other Western European country made it into the top 10 this year.

www.travelzoo.com

Article as reflected on https://africabusinesscommunities.com/africadata/africa-overtakes-japan-and-australia-as-the-most-preferred-destination-by-chinese-travelers-travelzoo-survey/

Our journey to Aberdares National Park.

 

IMG_1362[1]

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

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

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

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

IMG_1737[1]
Stellamaris stejosTours, Rosebell EAluxury, Eliud SafiriNasi, Mr.Simon KWS AD, Duncan Xtrym Adventures, John Cheetah Safaris, Moses Warden KWS and our Pilot.

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

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

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

aberdare-national-park-1363697630
Karuru waterfalls  fall in three steps, 1st step 117M, 2nd step 26M and 3rd 130M, making a total of 273M.

 

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

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

 

Chania WaterFalls

 

KWXW5809[1]
At Karimu River. Karimu means foolish. The river was given that name because it Defy’s gravity and flows upstream.
On our way back we spotted quite a number of animals, e.g bushbucks, buffaloes, elephants, birds and I must tell you it was getting quite chilly I mean really cold but when we got to the lodge the caretaker had lit the fire and we formed a semicircle at the fire place; then the news came in that the driver was going to pick something in town and the digital in some of us went biserk they just couldnt imagine 4days without electric power and internet #KidsOfNowadays lol! only the two of us were left at the lodge the rest of the team went to Twit hehehe but they came back with numb fingers…….

 

rhino.jpg

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

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

 

 

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

A stay at Rusinga Island Lodge Exposed us to the most beautiful Islands of Lake victoria..

 

IMG_9067As our journey continues from Luanda Kotieno we landed in Mbita where we proceeded to Rusinga Island The sunset was quite welcoming and so was the Rusinga island lodge team where we were going to spend a night. Rusinga Island is on the eastern part of Lake Victoria on Winam gulf.

 

In 1948 Rusinga Island came into the history books when Mary and Louis Leakey made their discovery of the last common ancestor of the great apes,  proconsul heleloni, which was purportedly an early genus primate that existed around 27 million years ago. Since the Island is at the crossroads where Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania meet, it has been influenced by the three countries’ traditional cultures. This is seen as many cross the Lake and live in other islands where traditional Ugandan or Tanzanian foods can be found in the local menu such as Matoke (rabolo-plantain) as well as all fish and vegetables dishes. Luos from the Northern and South Nyanza mainland also bring their rumba-style music, their round thatched house model of homes and their love of partying to add to the mix. We visited the litare fishing village got to learn and participate in fishing with the local community

 

Rusinga Island also hosts the mausoleum of the late Tom Mboya, who is one of the most prominent personalities in Kenyan history. He was born Thomas Joseph Mboya on 15th August 1930 and was assassinated at the tender age of 39 on 5th July 1969.

TJ mboya grave Rusinga.jpgIt is widely believed that his profile and illustrious career as a brilliant and charismatic leader, which was seen as a challenge to the then political establishment, led to his assassination.

Our two nights stay here were spent relaxing, bird watching, Island Hoping, swimming etc. This place was truely magical as the images below showcase that stay.

 

You can check more about Rusinga Island on this link >>>>>

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

 

Kisumu County as I Experienced it and fell in love..

A journey that took us a few hours from Kakamega  landed us  in Kisumu city, Kenya’s third largest city and the main urban center in Western Kenya, Kisumu has a lot to offer the to business and leisure traveler. In recent years, Kisumu has transformed from a provincial town to an attractive investment destination.

 

IMG_4715.JPG
The green patch is the View of lake victoria from Acacia Premier Hotel in Kisumu

As the East-African member countries are working more and more closely together, Kisumu is ideally located to play a significant role in this collaboration. Its location on the shores of Lake Victoria and its proximity to tourist attractions such as Kakamega Forest, Ndere Island and Ruma National Park, make it an increasingly popular base from which to explore Western Kenya- The main reason we were here.

We arrived to Kisumu city by road if you were following us you must have already read our previous post  we were coming from Kakamega and I must say I was impressed by how much the city has modernized but then again Our Luo brothers are known to have a FIIINE taste.. they say Luo is not a tribe but a lifestyle, and our Hotel proved all this. The Sovereign suites was nothing but incredible the staff was friendly and the meals delicious. Our rooms were quite spacious and comfortable you would just leave here.

 

 

While in kisumu we also took the liberty to check other properties like, victoria suites, Acacia premiere and jambo Chester inside Impala animal orphanage.  . Big ups to the manager of Acacia Premier Kisunu for a wonderful hospitality. You have truely set the bar high for Bleisure in Kisumu city.

 

Well after an overnight in kisumu city we reluctantly woke up to continue with our journey of west coast. Too bad we couldn’t trace the magical sunset and sunrises with rays reflecting over Lake victoria as the Hycnth has really covered this part of the lake and it looked like one green lake. we started by visit The impala Animal Orphanage. Set on the shore of Lake Victoria, the largest freshwater lake in Africa, the Kisumu Impala Sanctuary is a peaceful, relaxing place to enjoy the natural beauty that abounds here. The sanctuary hosts impalas, the rare Sitatunga antelope as well as big cats, buffalos, giraffes, cheetahs and several primate species. The sanctuary is also home to five campsites all with spectacular views of Lake Victoria. Bird watching, nature walks and glass bottomed boat rides compliment the activities availed at the sanctuary.

IMG_8663
A Shot on the movie LOST lol.. anyway on the old railway line at Impala Sanctuary Kisumu.

 

There after we headed to Ndere Island and on the way we stopped at Kiti mikayi  According to the Luo folklore, Kit Mikayi, mother of the tribe, rested up near Ndere Island, The smallest game reserve in Kenya after her long journey south down the Nile valley.,She found the shore lines so pleasing that she and her people stayed.

16299080_10210453461886987_7013433032224274329_n.jpg
Forklore time with an elder at Kiti Mikayi Shrine

Folklore also exists about the cause of the rock weeping. It’s believed that Mikayi, “the first wife” went up the hill to the stones when her husband took a second wife, and has been weeping ever since. imagesAnother legend about the weeping rock exists of a man who was in love with the stone. He could wake up in the morning and walk into the cave inside the stone and stay there the whole day forcing his wife to bring him breakfast and lunch every day. The old man become passionately in love with this stone to the extent that if somebody asked his wife the of his whereabouts , the wife would answer that he has gone to visit his first wife-Mikayi hence the stone of the first wife is Kit Mikayi.

 

After Kiti Mikayi we headed to Ndere Island. The rocky features full of kopjes as we descended to board our boat was kind of interesting to the eyes and photographers alike. Located on Lake Victoria, this island is a haven for birds.

Covered mostly in grassland, Ndere Island provides beautiful scenic views of the Homa hills to the south, Mageta Island to the east and the glimpses of Kampala in Uganda beyond the south west horizon. The lake shore supports a wide variety of animals including hippos, monitor lizards, Nile crocodiles, several fish species, snakes, baboons, impalas, the rare sitatunga antelopes, water bucks, zebras and warthogs. Over 100 different species of birds can be seen here including African fish eagles, black headed gonoleks and grey headed kingfishers.

 

The community around Ndere island were very hospitable and we learnt quite of interesting things at-least I learnt how to mend fishing nets lol..

16807501_10154352661003030_1114320889963553594_n.jpg
learning how to mend fishing nets.

Our journey to Luanda Lotieno for our ferry to Mbita was filled with fertile farmlands and interesting landscapes and fewer Matatus lol…

We got at the boarding port quite early and trust Kenyan Travelers the first thing they look for in a new place… Nyamchom but in this particular area FishChom lol too bad…but they Got something else.. hehe!

IMG_8693
The CEO of Lake Victoria tourism Mr.Antony Ochieng acting as a translator to a local Dholuo elder during preaching.  Apparently they do this before boarding the ferry  to calm the sea.

That is a story for another Because someone started calling all travelers for a spiritual session. Apparently Before boarding the ferry all passenger must gather prayer and read the bible together to ward bad spirits away…. and the preaching were in Dholuo wee! But Antony our fellow Tourism Ambassador were there to safe the day and do the interpretations hehe…. It was kind of interesting. One thing travel has taught me is to mingle and fit in with the locals as much as possible you will learn a lot of things not on any map or book.

 

The ferry was still taking sometime and some of us decided to put on a show and dance on the shows of lake Victoria. Tip; while on a long journey; sometimes just looking through the window can be exhausting carry a book, Great company or some music with you. It will break the monotony. But I must say Kisumu county is quite Gorgeous… and the residents quite fun to be around.

IMG_8874.JPG

At Luanda Kotieno waiting for our ferry

IMG_8912.JPG
Our “Vifarus” also waiting to board the Ferry.
IMG_4900 (1).JPG
All Boarded to Mbita.
IMG_9028.JPG
The magical sunset that welcomed us to Mbita.
IMG_9051.JPG
Karibu Rusinga Island..

We got to Rusinga Island quite late and my #TwendeWestern Tale continues…….

If you have attractions and interesting things to do in Kisumu and its environs kindly share with us…