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Top places to visit in Baringo county:Lake Bogoria

We have a new feature in our blog that will cover never seen photos of places I have have visited! These photos are meant to highlight key attractions in the different destinations and inspire you to visit while giving you an idea of the top attractions and things to do!

To start us off, spotlight will be on Lake Bogoria in Baringo  County.

Entrance to Lake Bogoria National Reserve.
More info about the reserve.

 

Well there you have it.

I hope these are enough photos to inspire you to visit Lake Bogoria.

 

 

 

 

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Climbing Mt.Kenya, attempting Point Lenana (4985M): The story behind the glory

As I had previously mentioned in part one of my Mt Kenya experience, I suffered from a terrible stiff neck on the first night of the hike which messed my whole experience-ish. The nights were severely cold and at some point I felt like I wasn’t going to make it.

I was so tired of this mind game, the never ending rocky slope, the kilometers that kept piling and a tough journey that came with no title! I was done. Completely. I wished everyone the very best and decided to just make it to the T- junction that led us to Lake Michaelson; our next camp.

Several attempts to start summiting proved futile until something strange happened.Determination.

I started walking slowly following the other guys footprints. There was no one in sight. The only option I had was to keep going.

I was barely moving, but I covered some distance.

After about an hour, I saw the first lot from our group crawling back. They had summited!They had an accomplished look on their faces but the exhaustion was evident as well. They were not talking much.

Somehow discouraging but I never gave up hope.I kept at it. It was probably going to take me three hours to go up,come down and catch up with the rest.

They were not sure I’d make it back on time with the moody weather. I was not sure either.

As I made the second turn up behind a huge rock, I saw Abbas; the leading guide. He was carrying two bags and encouraged me to go up. I mean if Abbas cheered me on, it was doable.

I crawled, sat, walked, stood but pushed on.

As I made it to the second turn, I saw Charles.

Charles was the other guide. He gave me painkillers the day I could barely walk. When he saw me, his eyes lit and he gave the warmest smile ever, stretched out his arm took my bag and held me.

‘I have met a guide who’s told me they left you struggling to come up, but they are not sure you’d make it past the fifth step! That you’ve struggled to make it this far, I will take you to the summit. I don’t mind going up for the second time. You are truly resilient.’ He told me.

Who wouldn’t get renewed strength with such encouragement? I had to make it.

Surprisingly enough, I did remarkably well thereafter.

Charles was heaven sent. I don’t know how he did it but the next thing I saw was Lewis glacier which is the largest remaining glacier but is quickly receding, I could see the Austrian hut; the camp set up by the Austrian Alpine Club, clouds, Batian and Nelion peaks stood there majestically as well, then alas! a ladder that led to Point Lenana! I instantly forgot everything else. I no longer had the neck and muscle pain. I smiled sheepishly at myself. If only I was this patient with myself always.

The fast receding Lewis glacier.
One moment there are no clouds, the next time its clouds all over.
Still can’t figure out where all this strength came from…

Snow 🙂

Batian checking me out…

At this point, I cared less about catching up with rest. I mean, I was at the summit, the view was breathtaking, Charles was there with me, I was the highest standing Kenyan in Kenya on both feet at that time and I had my camera! What more could I had asked for?

The final climb…
Well, seems like the victory pose world over…
The Bible at the summit.

Never seen such beauty before.
….Go where eagles fly…
The most deserved break!

I went, I saw, I conquered. Victory tasted so good!

Were it was not for Charles, I probably I would not have summited.

Me and Charles!
Charles…the friend with a golden heart.

There you have it! Summiting wasn’t easy, but I did it anyway.

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Hiking Nzaui Hills, Makueni County.

Contrary to popular belief, Makueni County in Eastern Kenya is not a desert,neither is it an expansive flat land with thorny bushes with drying crops and hunger stricken animals.

Allow me to introduce to you the Makueni County I went to last weekend for a hike. As the rest of the country wallowed in the continuing drought with visible repercussions, there was a different narrative from this side of the republic.

Rehabilitated land, irrigation schemes, gabions and mixed farming was heavily evident. Fertile slopes that would have otherwise been left to all sorts of erosion had been put to profitable agricultural use. This might not be the script in entire county but it holds water for the areas I passed through.

From the lessons learnt after Mt.Longonot hike, I was much wiser on this one and wanted to make it as comfortable as possible. This meant proper gear, more water, more fruits and energy bars!

The estimated time of departure was 5:30 am EAT. According to the info sheet circulated earlier, it was clearly put that anyone arriving late was to be left behind. Well, I did not want to that person. So despite the insomnia and the three hour sleep, I was right on time.

Nairobi, Kenya at 5:30 am.

The first stop was Makongo in Makueni. It has a nice view point of the green hilly country side with hanging clouds,busy ants and a snaking tarmac road that made lazy turns between hills.

About an hour or so away was Nzui shopping center.This was the second stop. The tour bus we were traveling in couldn’t go further into the rough terrain,therefore we had to seek alternative means of transport to Matuluni shopping center where the hike was scheduled to start.

The two options we had were motorbikes or Toyota Probox. I had heard so many funny stories about Probox such as its supernatural ability to carry twenty people yet it has a capacity five,its imaginary turbo engine etc. Let’s just say after that ride, I understood why it has a ‘comfortable’ capacity of fifteen and twenty if you stretch it!

After about fifteen minutes, we were at Mituluni. All ready to start the hike. The weather was conducive for the day considering it had rained the previous day.

Nzaui hills is under Kenya Forestry and being a virgin trail, we were assigned two guides, one at the front and the other behind us just in case we got lost.

The terrain was moderate, no steep slopes and has the best landscape views.

A round hike was about 20km and it took approximately six hours.

The best aspect of the hike was the shade provided by the forest canopy.

About six kilometers into the forest, the gentle slope came to an end and a steep slope with undefined paths led to the first summit. That was the toughest part of the hike because the bushes were almost the same height as the tallest of us and one had to find their way through the thicket.

On approaching the first summit, you are presented with a view that instantly erases any memory that might be left of the tough ascent,the panting and sweating.

Summit two which was steeper was about thirty two minutes away. The bush gets thicker, the legs heavier and eyes narrows as one tries to make their way through.

As it is always true with hiking, the epitome is getting to the summit.

Nzaui hills proudly stands in the heart of Makueni County and can easily pass as a watch tower. From above, rivers, ox bow lakes,farms, shopping centers and homesteads can be seen as miniature structures.

The summit is a huge rock and has a perpendicular slope.

After enjoying the view at the top, the guide took us to a gentler slope during the descent and within a few hours were were back at the starting point in the shopping center!

The descent was scenic and picturesque. There were lots of soft wood trees and dried branches,millipedes and birds.

For this and similar hike experiences contact:

Xtrym adventures and Bucketlist Travels.

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The tale of a date,Wanjala and Kakamega Forest.

My name is Prexidis, I live in Lubao. Lubao is about six Kilometers from Kakamega town. My little town is famed for being the largest auction market for dogs and cats in Eastern and Central Africa. I don’t like talking much about myself but following an experience I recently had, allow me this once to tell you a story.

My Fiancé’s  name is Wanjala. We went to school together at Muhonje Secondary School years back.He was two years ahead of me. He was a sharp guy and soon after finishing his O level education, he was admitted to Kaimosi Teachers Training College.I can’t wait for the day I will be called bibi ya mwalimu.

Last weekend Wanjala was in the village. What I like most about his visits is his love for travel and creativity in finding areas that we can spend time alone as we discuss intricate details of our future together. He is a wanderer. He also likes taking photos with ‘our’ mobile phone. Our Samsung Galaxy Pocket. This phone changed our status in the village. He promised to give me that phone in December when he buys himself a Tecno phone.

Our date was on Saturday. Venue, Kakamega Forest. I have never been to Kakamega Forest.But from what Wanjala told me, it is the only tropical rain forest in Kenya and is said to be Kenya’s last remnant of the ancient Guineo-Congolian rainforest that once spanned Africa.To add on it,it is home to about 380 species of trees,330 species of birds, about 27 species of snakes and 7 species of primates,more than 400 species of butterflies and several species of mammals.. Wanjala will make a brilliant teacher!

The map of Kakamega Forest.

I woke up early that Saturday Morning. I was told that it was the best time to see lots of birds. The sun was unusually hot that morning and Matendechere my bodaboda guy took so long. We had agreed to meet up at exactly 8:00 am. Wanjala was not going to be amused.

I decided to just walk to the main road, hoping to catch another rider coming from the south. Arimis and red clay soil don’t go so well, normally I’d wait for Matendechere but on this occasion, it was impossible,I had to get there quick.

Lady luck shone on me and in an hour I was right at the gate of Kakamega Forest National Reserve. Wanjala wasn’t so impressed. But he was happy to see me.

Dearest Wanjala;My heartbeat.
Entrance into Kakamega Forest.

He paid Ksh.600 park entry fee for both of us.

It was unbelievable that I hadn’t visited the forest despite being a local. We were assigned one guide whose expansive knowledge in plant and tree species amazed me. We never saw any birds though, just heard them chirping in the woods.I guess it was too late to bird watch.

Beautiful flora and fauna, cheeky black and white colobus monkeys, fresh air, breathtaking views and a general good feel in the air.

This was the first time Wanjala held my hands in ‘public.’ The feeling was magical.

Staircase to natural beauty.

Our first stop was the Udo’s Bandas. This is where their bandas and campsite were located. The accommodation had traditional huts and modern units.The bandas cost Ksh. 3000 per night while the traditional huts cost Ksh. 1000 per night.There was also another option of coming with your own tent and camp for Ksh. 500.

The next stop was Mukangu trails, along which were tens of labeled trees. We soon approached the oldest tree in the forest. I had never seen such a tall tree before. This was where our great great great grandparents use to pray to their ancestors and offer sacrifices.

Oldest tree in Kakamega Forest.

From there we did a steep hike to the view point of Buyangu Hill! The hike was exhausting but the view at the top was worth every drop of sweat. Wanjala promised to buy me a piece of land at the end of the forest. The furthest end where the horizon met the hills. The future looked so bright. He promised to bring me to Kakamega forest, why would I doubt that he will buy me that piece of land…

We were told that this is also the best location to catch the most breathtaking Sunset!

Wide view from Buyangu hill.

Somewhere beyond the hills,lies my piece of land.

The walk downhill wasn’t as tiresome as the way up. The narrow terrain opened up to the other part of the forest. It was picturesque.

There was a further ten kilometers to be covered to get to the small but lovely Isiukhu fall. I was getting thirsty and tired at this point. But the guide promised that a walk to Isiukhu will be the end of the trip. I couldn’t wait to see the water fall.Luckily,Wanjala had carried water in his backpack. It saved the day.

After about an hour or so, we could hear the sound of water gushing and falling hard on rocks beneath. I kept wondering how the sight was.

Well, I wasn’t disappointed when we got there.

Isiukhu fall.

Isiukhu fall.

Kakamega Forest has so much to offer.

Despite the exhaustion,this was one trip I wish I took earlier. I can’t thank Wanjala enough for making it happen. We spent quality time together, learnt new stuff and looking forward to spending more time together in this lovely County of ours. He even promised to take me to Lake Bogoria. I only read about it in GHC back in Primary school and sincerely I can’t wait.

If you have not been to Kakamega forest before, make a point to go. You will love It!

Till the next blog post…

Love and Itchy feet…

B on safari.

 

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The crocodile scarers of Chebloch Gorge-Elgeyo Marakwet(Kenya)

A trip from Kabarnet town  of Baringo County to Iten (Elgeyo Marakwet County) via the Kabarnet-Iten-Eldoret Highway is not complete if you dont make a stop at Chebloch gorge.

Chebloch gorge is a major tourist attraction in the area and also acts as a boundary between the two counties.

Kerio river from the nearby Elgeyo escarpments  cuts into the gorge especially during the rainy season to depths more than 20 meters.

 

At the time of visit, drought had hit the area and the level of water had dropped significantly inside the gorge.

A few years back Chebloch gorge made headlines in Kenya for having youth in the area diving into the gorge to earn a living. Being a tourist attraction, the young men quickly came up with theatrics to entertain guests by diving in the crocodile infested river at a fee. We were charged Ksh.500.00 for each diving act.

According to a funny tour guide I spoke to, a local, crocodiles almost die from heart attack and flee for dear life when the young men dive sharply into the river.

A part from the magnificent view of the gorge with a backdrop of the Elgeyo escarpment, there are other fun things to do like interacting with  the locals, a village tour, and  swimming in Kerio river (well the rocky shallow ends with no crocodiles.)

I remember having small talk with a lady who was selling tasty mangoes a few meters from the bridge. We quickly clicked because of her warm character and in no time she was talking me into buying ‘Damaris’. I struggled for a while trying to figure out what that was until she she pulled a basket under her mango stall and handed me a handful of Tamarinds!

Apart from Damaris, young boys can also be seen peddling fish from the river.

If there is one place I have made a brief stop during my travels and felt the warmth of the locals, then it must be Chebloch.

The Kenyan Western circuit is adorned with breathtaking sites, warm people, a wide selection of accommodation options, an endless list of fun things to do and generally good vibes.

Have you visited Chebloch before? What was you experience? Would you like to visit Chebloch? Let me know as well…

Love and wanderlust,

B on Safari ?

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Rusinga Island Lodge: An island retreat to rekindle your love this Valentines.

Rusinga Island Lodge is a little kept secret. An oasis of love and romance. So hidden that until you get into the lodge you won’t exactly know what lies behind the walls.

The lodge came in highly recommended as one of the best destinations to unwind and rekindle love at the Kenyan ‘west coast.’

An airstrip,manicured lawns,happy host and the aroma of delicious food as you walk in gives a rough idea of how the general stay will be. I finally understood why it was highly recommended. I mean, if love and all other things were constant I think a combination of a wedding and honeymoon in the same venue would work perfectly.

The lodge boasts of some many beautiful things; like a lovely sunrise,

Lovely sunrise.

Pleasant lake front view,

Lake front view.
Lake front view.

Green carpet grass,

Carpet grass

Indigenous trees,

Decades old indigenous trees.

Breathtaking canopies that try to hide the sun from above and cute  birds of varied species,

Birdie
More birds

Porch swings,

Garden furniture made from hard wood,

A long,firm impressive pier,

The pier!

The signature cushions on a raised view point overlooking the lake,

And a few palm trees dotting the shoreline.

 

Rusinga island lodge is the perfect place to pause time, forget the city and teach yourself how to breath fresh air again. Bliss.

As this valentines draws near, this is the place to visit with your better half.

Romantic set up,privacy guaranteed, self contained spacious cottages with furnished patios that are suitable for a quiet cuddly evening overlooking the lake.

If you are a sporty and adventurous pair, the lodge can organize water sport activities like kayaking,

fishing,



a ride to neighboring islands for sight seeing, bird watching or photography.

Other activities are;an organized game drive to Ruma National Park(Kenya’s only home of the Roan Antelope), a visit to Takawiri Island, the palmy Island with a white sandy beach on Lake Victoria.

 

Book a stay at Rusinga Island lodge and have an adventurous stay as you unravel this hidden gem with your loved one this valentines.

Rusinga Island Lodge has an airstrip right inside the lodge and together with Fly 540, they have a fantastic  flying package.It doesn’t get cooler than this does it? Contact them today for bookings  at: info@rusinga.com, or Tel: +254 20 2531314 / 5 and Cell: +254 716 055924 / +254 734 402932 / 0733 – 121148.

For a road or self drive package,contact Saiwa Safaris, via email on  holidays@kenyasafarisaiwa.com or saiwasafaris@gmail.com Mobile: +254 702 137 100/ +254 738 142 177 for bookings as well.

 

Hope you enjoy your stay!

 

 

 

 

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Dion Van Aardt- The Travelpreneur who tells his travel stories with pictures.

This month on the traveler, I spoke to Dion Van Aardt. Dion is an avid traveler with stunning travel pictures that ignites the wanderlust bug in all of us. He shared his travel experiences, how it all started and his travel goals.

Who is Dion?

I am a thirty six year old Kenyan,but was born in Zimbabwe. My family fled from Europe in the 1700’s for Southern Africa in search of a better life and we are all still here!

 

What inspired you to start traveling?

My family has always been quite nomadic and in fact my great grandparents came to settle in Eldoret,Kenya during the great trek from South Africa.It took them 3 years to get here. So I think it is in my blood to always have an itchy foot!

Again,my parents used to take us on lots of camping trips and mountain hiking adventures in Zimbabwe and encouraged us to make life exciting.

Are you a solo traveler?

I prefer to travel with a few friends because it is more fun.Moreover, it helps with cost sharing making the trip cheaper!

Do you travel full time or part time?

I travel part time

Are you a photographer as well? You have nice travel photos in your social media pages!

I started taking photos the time Kenya suffered security issues both in Lamu and Nairobi – my intention was to shift focus from the problem at hand and just showcase Kenya as the stunning place it is.Then three years ago I decided to take up photography as a hobby.I have since practiced taking photos.As of last year I had already taken slightly more than 38,000 photos. From those, I always get a few nice ones that I use on my social media pages. I am getting better at it and I hope one day I will call myself a photographer. As at now, it is  a hobby because I still have so much to learn.

I love Instagram because I have learnt a lot from other people, while having a platform to showcase the photos of the different places I have been to.

How old were you when you went for your first solo international travel? 

I was nineteen. I went to the UK to work and become rich and famous. However,I ended up living in a tent in Henley on Thames waiting on tables for 6 months!I moved around UK working and living in all sorts of places from the lake district to Suffolk where I worked as a tractor driver.

How many countries have you been to

Twenty four.

What is the longest time you’ve been away from home during travel?

Three months – I had traveled to the USA.

How do you finance your travels?

When I was younger I did odd jobs in the UK to save money to go away over the weekends.Then I moved to Kenya where I ran Kizingo;a small lodge on Lamu island. When it closed because of the rains for 3 months, I spent all the money I had saved from the trade on the island to go abroad.Now I am older and I prefer traveling around Kenya and Zimbabwe because we have so much to see and do so close to home.

What is your favorite extreme sport?

I love Rock climbing!

What has been your lowest moment during travel?

I had driven from Harare to Johannesburg when my car got stolen with all my luggage and passport in it!

What do you like most about travel?

I love getting a tiny taste of what it feels to belong to another place that is not familiar to me. I also like tough hikes and adventures that takes one off the beaten track and from the comfort zone. Such experiences makes that glass of wine and hot shower feel so much better when you get home!

Which of the countries you have visited so far that in your opinion has the warmest people?

I am a biased man so I will say Kenya and Zimbabwe but other than these places,I have to say the other friendly place I have ever been to is the USA. It is  the best country as far as I am concerned for solo travelers. People invite you to stay in their homes after just meeting you.

Are you luxury or budget traveler? 

Budget! Always.

Would you consider yourself a tourist or a traveler?

I like to think of myself as a traveler but when I start taking pictures I probably look very much like an annoying tourist!

What is in your bucket list?

I really want to climb the Ruwenzoris, explore the Mathews mountains in Northern Kenya and see the Gorillas in Congo. I would also like to Visit and hike in Northern Greece.

Can you share with us some of your travelutions for this coming  year?

I plan to hike the Ruwenzori’s, do a walk from Mount Ololokwe to the Mathews mountains, then Cherang’any Hills and visit Eldoret where my granddad and my parents were all born. I am also keeping an open mind for other adventures. Any suggestions are always welcome!

Best travel moments in the past year?

I did a wonderful five day hike in the Eastern highlands of Zimbabwe called the Turaco Trail. I enjoyed hiking to the top of the Mount Ololokwe recently well as.My latest Trip was a visit to Isaqbini in Garissa County to find the Hirola Antelope!

Best life lessons you’ve picked from travel? 

Try to always keep an open mind and everywhere has something to offer even if it is just to provoke you to think differently. Adventure is a mindset.

You don’t need to travel to the other end of the world to have a great adventure.

If you are not traveling what else do you do?

I have to sadly work!I run Kizingo lodge in Lamu part time and as a project manager in Ruiru.

Have you checked out Dion’s photos on Instagram? If not, check here.

Do you any questions you’d like Dion to answer about travel? Hit him up on the comment section below.

Who else do you want to talk about their travels, let me know on the comments section as well!

Happy reading!

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Litare Fishing Village-Litare Island,Homabay Kenya.

Rusinga Island Lodge is a luxurious, lake front private lodge in one of the Islands of Lake Victoria called Rusinga.

In my recent visit to the Lodge after several recommendations and months of drooling on pictures of the lodge I saw online, I finally got an opportunity to spend a few days there.

Intrigued by the manicured lawns, indigenous trees, lake breeze, an extended pier into the lake, delicate and tasty exterior design and the cosy rustic interior design, I was more than excited to call this my home for the next few days.

On the second day of my stay, the Lodge organized a day’s excursion to a neighboring fishing village called Litare.

Rusinga Island Lodge so far tops in my list of the most organized destinations I have been to.

By 9:00 am in the morning, the speed boats used to ferry us to the fishing village were already on location. Traditional boats can also be used to get to the village but for that superstar feel, the speedboats are the best. They also navigate better when the tides are high.

Litare Fishing Village is located on a nearby Island, approximately thirty minutes away.

As you approach the village, you will spot many fishing boats docked during the day because the fishermen mostly fish at night.

Little egrets can also be seen in their numbers neatly perched on the boats. Our guide was quick to point out that they  were the laziest bird on the island. They patiently wait to eat the tiny fish brought in by the fishermen.

During the day, it is difficult to see the men of the village. We were told that they only get to catch their sleep during this time of the day, after a long night out in the cold fishing.

The women can be seen drying the fish in large mats outside as a method of preservation before vendors and buyers come for them after a day or two.

There are three types of fish caught by the fishermen. Nile perch, Dagaa(Omena) and Fulu (Similar to Dagaa but bigger in size).

Most of the fishermen leave their homes and come to rent houses in the fishing village but they get to visit their homes from time to time.

Our guide told is that the fishermen are nomadic in nature and the follow the fish patterns as they migrate.

Fishing is the main economic activity in this village.There are so many fishing villages in Homabay County alone.

The fishing boats used by the fishermen are made from Mahogany and Mvuli hardwoods. This wood is imported from Uganda. The approximate cost of wood for one fishing boat is approximately Ksh.30,000(USD 300).

Boats

Fishing is done at night using locally hand-made traps. The traps are anchored into the water with the upper side floating on water, then a lantern lamp is attached at the top and the other side is tied to the boat.

The lantern lamp attracts insects such as lake flies at night. When the insects get in touch with the lantern lamp’s hot surface, they die and fall into the water then are used as bait to attract the fish.

As we left the fishing village, the women were busy cooking for their hungry men to get them ready for the next fishing trip.

Did I mention how thrilled I was to ride in a speed boat?

Have you been to a fishing village before? Which one did you like most? Is it similar to Litare? I am curious, let me know!

To enjoy an experience like mine reach Rusinga Island Lodge via;

E-mail : info@rusinga.com

Tel: +254 20 2531314 / 5

Cell: +254 716 055924 / +254 734 402932

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Rusinga-Island-Lodge-899854163421465/

Twitter: @RusingaLodgeKE

 

 

 

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Fort Jesus

Facts about Mombasa Old Town that will make you want to visit

Mombasa old town is believed to be the first place at the Kenyan Coast to be settled by the Swahili ethnic group.

At the mention of this old town, the first thing that crosses ones mind is the view of an old quiet town located at the edge of the sea that boasts of rich culture,ancient architecture,a diverse community and deep history.

In my recent trip to the old town that was organised by my host,Voyager Beach Resort,I got to experience the old town’s warmth, interacted with locals,visited Fort Jesus;a Portuguese fort  that was built between 1593 and 1596, by order of King Philip I of Portugal  to guard the Old Port of Mombasa and has since been declared by UNESCO as a world Heritage site.

Most importantly I had a better understanding of the history of one of the most visited places at the Kenyan coast.

Inside Fort Jesus…

The architectural layout.
The architectural layout.
Fort Jesus
Fort Jesus.

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Curio shops inside the fort.

 

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Mombasa Old Town Brief History.

In the 12th Century, Muhammad Al Idrisi, a geographer and cartographer gave the first published reference of Mombasa.In the 13th Century: Moroccan explorer, Ibn Battuta traveled along the East African coast and claimed Mombasa among other Islands along the Swahili Coastline.15th Century: A standard map of Africa was drawn and the town of Mombaza is clearly Indicated.16th Century: The now old Port(Mombasa) was notably the docking place for Arabian, Indian, Persian and Somalian traders. During the annual monsoon winds, the traders would dock their dhows at this port and bring porcelain,textile, oils,silk and spices. During this period after the monsoon winds, some traders would stay back and settle in the old town. This settlement led to cultural blending that allows Mombasa to crow of diverse people, cultures, cuisine, architecture and languages.18th century: Kenya was declared a British protectorate and it proposed the construction of a new port with a deeper water harbor,to handle larger ships that brought in building materials and workers for the new railways, hence the construction of Kilindini harbor. This saw the moving of most activities from the now Mombasa Old port in Mombasa town.

The Old Town:

Architecture..

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The buildings are conveniently located opposite each other and separated by narrow streets.

They are a mix of old Arabian, Portuguese,old British and Asian architectural designs, characterized by raised balconies, wooden windows, large Arabian doors and white coral walls.

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Large Arabian doors...
Arabian doors…
More doors.
More doors.

They also have curved windows and narrow verandas if any.

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Mombasa Old town houses the oldest mosque in Kenya, the first hotel in Kenya and the first post office too!

First Mosque in Kenya
First Mosque in Kenya

 

First Hotel in Kenya
First Hotel in Kenya

History lovers will most definitely have a field day at the Old town.

Along the narrow streets of Mombasa Old town, is Ali’s Curio shop. This is where you get tangible pieces of history in form of  Arabian vases, treasure boxes, Aladdin lamps,  rags, utensils amongst others.

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After a long sunny day, the only place to go to is Jahazi Coffee HouseThe coffee house has been designed to be a meeting place where people of all walks of life can interact, share ideas and basically catch up over tea,coffee, juice and food.

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As you wind up the tour of the old town, just a few meters from the main entrance and opposite Fort Jesus, lies the graveyard of the family of Ali Al’amin Mazrui who was an academic professor and a political writer on African and Islamic studies. He was born in Mombasa.

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Checking Out:

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Beautiful place to visit no? As I always say…Pack your bags already.

Important tips:

  1. Carry bottled drinking water, dress for the coast and do not forget your sunscreen.
  2. Have some cash with you, it is more convenient than swiping your card.
  3. Have a guide with you during tours, tourists can be easy targets to thieves and con artists who masquerade as locals.Learn to bargain, unscrupulous traders usually take advantage of visitors and charge them exorbitantly for goods and services
  4. It is not mandatory to tip in Kenya, but a little appreciation goes a long way for proper services rendered.

Appreciation:

Heritage Hotels with their Mombasa Resort;Voyager Beach Resort for organizing the trip. You can also have a tailor made tour to the Mombasa Old town and other must visit places in Mombasa when you book your stay by dropping them an email at sales@heritagehotel.co.ke you can also read more about Voyager Beach resort here.

Thee Agora: A blog committed to the preservation of  Kenya’s rich history and culture by covering various aspects of our diverse history.

 

 

 

 

 

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Hotel Review:The Panari Resort Nyahururu

When you mention a daycation,weekend getaway or a holiday in Nyahururu Kenya, the obvious suggestion that usually pops up is ;The panari Resort Nyahururu. I recently returned from a weekend getaway from the resort and have not been able to keep quiet about it. My social media pages have been awash with stories from Panari and I am not about to stop.

The Panari Resort elegantly sits on a twenty acre piece of land against a backdrop of the scenic Thomsons Falls  that waters the surrounding Marmanet Forest as it makes its way effortlessly down stream as Ewaso Ng’iro river.

The Thomsons falls that forms the scenic backdrop of the Panari Resort.
The Thomsons falls that forms the scenic backdrop of the Panari Resort.

Checking In:

There is an aura of class, peace and tranquility as you drive into the resort. The security detail at the entrance gives a clear confirmation of  guaranteed security during the stay.

Entry.
Entry.

On arrival, you are received by the resort’s manager who cordially welcomes you to the establishment as the porter takes care of your luggage that will be taken to your room as soon as you are cleared.

I got there at around lunch time and was directed straight to the restaurant for lunch.

Dining
Dining.

The dining experience was exactly what I imagined and more. The dining room was exquisite with white walls adorned with expensive wall hangings,big windows, sliding doors, black polished tables with cream and dark brown seats that had bits of gold undertones. On one side of the room was an ancient statue made from Plaster of Paris and delicately placed on top of the fireplace.

The tables were set with snow white table cloths, polished silverware that could pass for mirrors and matching table mats. At every corner of the dining room stood attentive waiters and waitresses.

Finally the sumptuous buffet meal was cleverly displayed with the sole intention of spiking one’s appetite. Bliss.

 

Dining table.
Dining table.

 

Interior decor
Interior decor.
Wall Hanging
Wall Hanging.

The Dining Experience.

Chicken and Vegetable soup for the starter.
Chicken and Vegetable soup for the starter.
Red Snapper, Chicken, and carbs for the main dish... Haha I know.. I was hungry stop looking at the size of the portion.
Red Snapper, Chicken, and carbs for the main dish… Haha I know.. I was hungry stop looking at the size of the portion.

When it comes to the dessert, one is definitely spoilt for choice! So much to choose from.

Dessert
Dessert.
Had to settle for something..
Had to settle for something…

Accommodation:

Transport to the room was by these clean,colorful and classy buggy cars. They are available on request. The signage to the different areas  of the resort has been properly done and hence no unnecessary confusion considering the size of the resort and the identical buildings.

colourful buggy cars.
Colorful buggy cars.

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Proper signage.
Proper signage.

A welcome note neatly placed on the hardwood table from the manager of the resort was one of the highlights of my experience.Every guest wants to feel welcomed,taken care of and assured of a comfortable stay…Well done Panari.

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As the warmth of the welcome note sipped through my system slowly, something else caught my eye.The room. It had a queen size bed,with white covers and lemon lime pillow sets, a huge floral wall painting with a corresponding colour scheme,an African themed bedside lamp, roof to floor window with drapery curtains that complemented the bed and wall colours. It had a polished wooden floor, furniture made from Mahogany wood (haha I guess) and a beautiful modern fireplace. On top of the table was an electric kettle, bottled water and an assortment of beverages for a quick fix.

The room
The room.
Hardwood Furniture and a fireplace.
Hardwood furniture, polished wooden floor and a warm fireplace.
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Thou shall not be thirsty in the hotel room.

 

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Modern hair drier.

 

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Sliding doors that lead to a panoramic view of the Marmanet forest.
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Details….

I love wall hangings. There were two high quality canvas painting  carefully and thoughtfully placed on the wall facing the sliding door. Products of fine art. Art that takes you back into time.

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The room is self contained and  has a modern bathroom that is well stocked with towels and toiletries.

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Clean tap and sink.

 

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High quality Shampoo and shower gel.
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The H tap actually gives instant hot water…no stories…
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Abundant supply of white, fresh fluffy towels.

There was yet another surprise that awaited me when I opened the sliding door that led to the balcony. The panoramic view of Marmanet forest,The gushing water from Thomson’s falls as it furiously made it way down the gorge and the wide angled clear horizon.

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The chirruping of birds and the gentle breeze in the valley added flare to the already perfect picture that nature had painted.

The front porch of the room paved way to the other side of the hotel giving a sense of direction and bearing in case one felt lost.

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One view of the resort from the room.

 

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Views from the front porch.

Fun things to do:

In case you are wondering what else there is to do in the resort then wonder no more. The resort houses a fully equipped gym, a heated indoor swimming pool that is right opposite a small bar, Eucalyptus Spa and Salon, aerobics and yoga studio. There is a trained instructor on site just in case you need assistance

Swimming Pool
Swimming Pool.
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Poolside restaurant.

 

Aerobic Studio
Aerobic Studio.

 

The lemon water at the gym entrance.
The lemon water at the entrance to the gym.

 

Gym
Fully equipped gym.
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Eucalyptus Salon.
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The Spa.

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As you walk away from the utility complex, there is a site to behold. Manicured lawns, no stray grass, an artificial water fall, lovely benches,swinging seats, fresh air and a few ornamental canons.

Manicured lawns.
Manicured lawns.
Swinging seats fro relaxation. Ideal for reading.
Swinging seats for relaxation. Ideal for reading.
Waterfall.
Waterfall.
Do not step on grass :-)
Do not step on grass 🙂
Benches.
Benches,aren’t they cute?
More benches.
Then more benches.
Ornamental canons.
Ornamental canons.
more buggy vans...
More buggy vans…
Kid's play area.
The well equipped kid’s play area.

After a stroll around the resort, I ended my evening at the Silk Oak bar. This is where style meets class. Enough space at the counter, leather lounge seats and a sufficiently stocked bar!

Silk Oak Bar.
Silk Oak Bar.
Hanging wine glasses.
Hanging wine glasses.
Spacious round table and seats.
Spacious round table and seats.
Thirsty merchant making his way to the bar.
Thirsty merchant making his way to the bar.
More space.
More space.

It is true what the say when you are having a great time…Time flies.

It was a memorable stay at Panari Resort Nyahururu and will definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

For more information about the resort, visit their website here.

Or drop them an email on…reservations@panariresort.com

With Love…

Bonnita-sig

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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