Our journey to Aberdares National Park.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Chania WaterFalls

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

This must be the most romantic drive ever in Nyeri county…

February is considered to be the month of love and many people will be under pressure to please their loved ones. Well there are soo many ways you can do it. I am not a relationship expert but doing something new or unplanned can be very exciting. There are many benefits of Nature walks or driving around scenic places you haven’t been before.

This really affects the attitude and perspective of the heart.  Together you will notice things you’ve never noticed before.  Take time to Enjoy the views, and point out the things to your spouse that you are appreciating including them and sometimes You don’t have to talk about anything.  Sometimes it’s just nice to be with each other with nothing but the sounds of nature and the footsteps.

 

I have been around many places and this place in Othaya called njigari touched my soul. My guide told me way back this place had the poorest backward people ever but currently the place is well up, with good roads meandering through this village, gorgeous tea farms that look like a green carpet rolling up the hills and down the valleys and at the end of it all the Aberdare ranges picks it up. I tell you this village is breath taking.

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The main road seems to be on top of the hills such that you are able to see unending valleys over and beyond.  I was in awe! hope this images will wow you! Kenya Is truly Magical. My guide exceeded my expectation and on our journey back we were all quiet for a while perhaps trying to digest the magical views. We made a stop at  zaina falls another breath taking water falls in Makanga valley in Nyeri. The journey to the falls is quite scenic with streams and rivers, brokes full of trout fish.

It kind of reminded me of the  late Nobel Peace laureate Professor Wangari wa Maathai childhood story; “when I was a child I would visit a stream next to our home to fetch water for my mother. I would drink water straight from the stream. Playing among the arrowroot leaves I tried in vain to pick up the strands of frogs’ eggs, believing they were beads. But every time I put my little fingers under them they would break. Later, I saw thousands of tadpoles: black, energetic and wriggling through the clear water against the background of the brown earth. This is the world I inherited from my parents.

Today, over 50 years later, the stream has dried up, women walk long distances for water, which is not always clean, and children will never know what they have lost. The challenge is to restore the home of the tadpoles and give back to our children a world of beauty and wonder.”

if we may go deeper in Gikuyu customs Wangari was a a munjiru one of the Kikuyu clans The Munjiru has a strong connection to all of nature and with his flute he can keep animals away or summon them to an assembly or to infest an entire village. In this way they were the guardians of the drinking places at the rivers so that people and their livestock could use the drinking places without fear of attack from wild animals. I guess she lived up to her true status..

Getting to Zaina its not a tough terrain but its a 30 minutes walk, the bridge to cross Chania river was broken and there was no way in hell I was going to walk on the log- fear of heights-  so i decided to get rid of my shoes and get into the river as it wasn’t as a deep,, but the water was cold and soothing and nice, then cold, soothing lol!

 

when coming here you can carry picnic baskets and just enjoy the magical views. As I bade Nyeri goodbye this is one journey that has been imprinted in my mind… Forever.

Thank you Le Pristine

Always Nice to hear from you drop us a shout out.

 

 

 

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..

 

 

 

Madaraka Day Special Zanzibar Flying Package from Nairobi.

 

Madaraka Day Special

29th May – 08th June 2017

Incredible Flying Package to Zanzibar

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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

Want to know where you were conceived? Twende Bogoria and stop at Mogotio Equitor Monument.

Day two of My #TembeKenya Diaries landed me in Mogotio equator monument on my way to lake Bogoria. It’s at this stop-over that the resident guide made known to us that how our hair lie’s, is determined by the side of the equator you were conceived from, if your hair stands still then your parents must have conceived you at zero degree…. Hehe! The Coriolis Force is also demonstrated for travelers, the effect is zero on the equator but, flows clockwise or anticlockwise depending on; if you are on the northern or southern hemisphere. This was demonstrated to us using water and a match stick though a leaf may also be used to show motion.

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At Baringo equator Monument with Charity of Adventure360 and the local guide as he demonstrated the 13 countries in the world which the Equator passes through.

As we share the uniqueness of having different flora and fauna from each side of the Equator Perhaps the most unique feature, of all the countries that the equator cuts across, Kenya has the highest mountains, we also have the most beautiful landscape and great weather. We have earned this brag rights….. but who is saying..

As we departed Mogotio the conversation trying to demystify our place of birth was on top gear… and let me sensor this I don’t want to be put of flying squad alert hehe!

True to the equator facts the vegetation changed as we entered Baringo county, unlike that of Nakuru it was more of semi-arid it was really hot.. Word of advice stay hydrated. Our journey to lake bogoria was awesome and at some point felt like we were on pacific route of ‘Need for speed’ only there was no lake but plains of lands… the view was breathtaking and the ride quite thrilling as we navigated through the escarpment down to the floor of the rift.

Upon arrival at lake Bogoria we proceeded to the reserve after buying eggs from the locals and getting our Ticket from Kenya Wildlife service offices.

 

I enjoy traditional stories –folklores and I had to get at least one legend of Lake Bogoria, A local was happy to narrate one quite interesting story. Their was no Hadithi Njoo [story come] he went straight to the legend. He said that long long ago the place was habited by two communities The Kapsokomos and the Kapsarakis, they were all pastoralist and they were blessed with very fertile land, however, one community was rude and very arrogant. The gods were very angry at them and they were given a warning, however they didn’t change an d the gods told them to leave, The Sokomos decided to leave, but that night it rained heavily that the ground started to tremor and jets of hot water started to shoot up from the ground, there were chaos, wails, confusions and desperations as they tried to escape, but quite a number of people were killed and homes and livestock destroyed. But the Sokomos were spared, their houses not touched despite the village being submerged in water.

The following morning they found themselves standing on an island and there was a narrow dry path leading them to the mainland. Sokomo and his household hurriedly left the island and by the time they had reached the mainland the path collapsed into the new formed lake the neighbors named it Lake Bogoria [steams] . .

I never got to pester more about the story as it was time for our game drive, as we drove around this saline, alkaline lake I couldn’t help but smile about the legend that was narrated to me before. The blue-Green algae give this lake a beautiful mix of turquoise, emerald like color, and the lesser Flamingoes love it-sometimes they flock here in thousands. The background hills, the Siracho and the Ngendelel escarpments looked like they were protecting some mystery only known to this eco-styem – its breathtaking. The variety of birds chirping and tweeting gave the surrounding a rhythm of different dis-orderly notes yet so harmonious with nature.

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The color of the lake due to the blue-green Algae

The geysers, looked like they were on a piano lesson perhaps just to portray the geo-thermal activity under or just to remind the locals the wrath of the gods. Lake Bogoria has the most concentration of true geysers in Africa, 18 recorded so far that can erupt up-to 5metres high, and they carry with them a strong pungent sulfur smell, their activity is affected by the fluctuation of the water levels which may expose some more geysers. It may be thrilling to watch them erupt but care should be taken as the springs are dangerously hot and beware of sinking grounds. Once Bogoria was a fresh water lake but I guess the heat contributed to a higher evaporation rate making the lake saline.

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On the shores of Lake bogoria at the Hot springs

Geologist says this Ramser site lake is Meromictic, meaning the water body is divided into layers that can stay for years without mixing.. interesting, right? The history of the lake is as beautiful as its physical attraction. I echo Bishop Hannington’s word when he first saw the lake: “This is the most beautiful view in Africa”

As much as the main attraction in this reserve is the lake, it also has some natural springs that one can bathe in and are believed to have healing properties. It’s also home to the uncommon greater Kudu amongst other plain games, cats and primates.

There are different types of accommodation available one is camping within the three camping sites designated by KWS and another is from a local community. Our stay was at the beautiful Lake Bogoria Resort and spa and it actually caters for accommodation across all budgets from camping, simple tented rooms to luxurious lodge rooms. The resort also has a natural spa in the sense that the pool water are supplied from the Bogoria springs. Its an awesome place to stay and the food is yummy.

 

As we departed Lake Bogoria Reserve to Eldoret, the images of this eco-system played a peaceful slide in my Mind.. Lets #FlirtWithKenya #MagicalKenya #SupportLocal

ooh just a few more final photos when @TravelWithEliud decided to walk on water and forgot to check on his eggs in the hotsprings,.. lol

 

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.

 

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

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

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

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

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

There is alot of conservation work in this island

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

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

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

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

Community

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SUPPORTING ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY AT LOCAL VILLAGES

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

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