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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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Summiting Mount Kenya:Sirimon-Chogoria route in 5 days(Part 1)

Mt. Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second highest in Africa. It has three peaks namely Batian,Nelion and Point Lenana in that order.

Mount Kenya National Park receives an estimated 16,000 visitors per year. Apart from hiking and mountaineering which are the most popular activities at the park,game viewing,camping and bird watching is also common with both local and international visitors.

Hiking Mount Kenya is not easy and can not be taken on without preparation. You just do not wake up and decide you want to hike Mt.Kenya. It takes months of training and preparation.

A careful consideration has to be made when choosing a tour company for the important 5 day hike that might be a matter of life and death if not planned by an experienced tour planner.

I booked my hike with Xtrym Adventures back in January 2017 for the April hike. There has to be at least four mandatory preparation hikes,all adequately spaced out within the four months. It is during these hikes that you get to experiment with your new gear so you don’t get disappointed with improper gear and the discomfort that comes with new shoes and gear.

The cost of the hike was charged as follows;

  • Citizens-Ksh 27,000
  • Residents with work permits-Ksh 30,000
  • Non Residents-Ksh 25,000 plus KWS park fees of USD 260.

The above cost does not cover tips for the guides, cooks and porters. It also doesn’t cover for the prep hikes. While budgeting, it is also important to set aside enough money for buying hiking gear which costs an arm and a leg. The easiest way out is renting. Duncan of Xtrym adventure hooked us up with Chris Tembo who rents out mountain gear at the best rate in town.

With more than sixteen organized group trips to Mt.Kenya and countless others to Mt.Meru and Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Ruwenzori at the border of Congo and Rwanda plus a host of many other mountains, Xtrym adventures was the most suitable candidate for the job.

The last prep hike was at Ngong Hills, which is approximately twenty two kilometers from Nairobi city centre. It was during that hike that we got to meet the entire team(popularly referred to Team Xtrym Adventures Mt.Kenya Easter 2017 Edition) and have a final pre-departure meeting. From the onset, a whatsapp group was put in place for ease and convenience of communication.

It takes a total of five days to hike Mount Kenya starting from Sirimon gate and finish at the Chogoria gate.

We set off on Thursday 13th April and finished on the 17th of April 2017 as follows.

Day 1

We departed from Nairobi at around 6:00 am. Everyone else kept time apart from me. It was a bit embarassing to hop into the bus and everyone is settled waiting for you.

There was anxiety in the air. I was scared too. The horror stories, altitude sickness and trekking for an estimated 80km in total wasn’t something to look forward to. We made two quick stops for breakfast and the other one in Nanyuki at the Equator.

Shortly after leaving Nanyuki, Duncan made it so clear that if there was anyone who wasn’t so sure about the hike, then Nanyuki would be the best place to turn back…There was a piercing silence there after. Stuff suddenly got real.

Arrival at Mt.Kenya National Park…

We arrived at Sirimon gate at around half past midday. When we got there, it was straight to business, off loading the bus, taking lunch, introduction to the porters, guides and cooks. So for the twenty five of us, there were twenty five porters . Your porter is in charge of your main bag.

The bus ready to leave after dropping us.
Sirimon gate.

 

Quick lunch.
Duncan and Abbas the lead guide looking at the future.

 

My babies.
The pairing session.

After a brief introduction, the porters and the cooks left quickly with our luggage for the first camp.

With the lighter day bags, a nine kilometer tarmacked stretch to Old Moses camp,a full tummy and a not so hot sun wasn’t a bad idea after all.

Sunset at the mountain was magical! However, as soon as the sun sets the weather drastically changes and temperatures drop sharply.

Sunset in the mountains.
Cool Kids.

We arrived at Old Moses camp at dusk. The camp sits at 3,300m high. It is basic, dunk beds, benches, two washrooms and a tiny common sitting area. The frigid cold at night was out of this world. Popcorn, biscuits and hot black tea came in handy! Remember, showering is not an option during the first four days and your core business is walking.

 

The cooks did remarkably well with the food. Their consistency with quality and variety and serving meals on time gave me something to look forward to at the end of each day.

Day 2.

The day started at around 6:00am. Sunrise was spectacular and the peaks could be seen from the camp. I wondered why we needed so many days to finish this hike. I mean the peaks were just there.

Breakfast was quick, so was the stretching/workout session. However, all was not well with me. My chances of summiting began getting slimmer because of a stiff neck from the previous night. So painful was my neck that the thought of going back home crossed my mind. There were strict instructions not to take any form of medication and the pain balms and ointments were not working. Tough times.

Waiting for sunrise.
Breakfast.
The peak from Old Moses camp.

 

Stretching session.

Plan of the day was to walk to Shipton camp which is at 4,200m high. The hike was an estimated 17km and was to take any where between 6-8 hours.

We crossed  Likii valley and Mackinders valley.The crystal clear rivers, streams and plants I got to see for the first time. This was the first time in my life I drank directly from a river.

The never ending slopes were a mix of steep and gentle. The pain in my neck was growing and having my day bag on my back made it even worse as the pain radiated to the back of my head and my shoulders. I missed every laughter and joke. This was the time I started questioning the choices I make in life.

I was there physically but at home emotionally. However that did not stop me from taking photos of the enchanting landscape and the obviously tired but cheerful friends.

Old Moses camp from a distance.
The one and only sign post I saw in the entire hike.
Beautiful valleys.
More slopes and streams.

 

Wabbie!

Wabbie,Judy and the magician.

Tanya!
Nnenna!
Enchanting landscape.
Crystal clear streams.
Foggy hill tops.
Cute tiny bridges.

By the time we were stopping for lunch at Likii river, I was so beat and out. A quick estimated had me thinking of wherethe energy to finish the other half of the hike was going to come from. If we were to cover 17km, and we were halfway it only meant we had about 9km to go. I couldn’t eat. Everyone was so supportive and I remember Robert removing stuff from my bag to make it lighter. A quick nap as over lunch, painkillers and a hot water bottle did the magic.Somehow.

The long walk after lunch wasn’t as bad because of the diminishing pain. The scenery, plants endemic to Mt.Kenya, cute mountain rodents and the now very conspicuous peaks made it more exciting.

 

 

The long after lunch walk to shipton was quiet and uneventful. Vegetation was beginning to thin out as we started the rocky terrain. The higher we kept going the colder it became and got worse when the sun went down. Day two was tough.

When we got to the camp, there wasn’t as much excitement as the first night. This was the same night we were supposed to summit. We had four hours to freshen up, eat, overdress , sleep and get ready to summit.

I was not ready. I was scared and weak.

Day 3.(Summit Night)

No sooner had I closed my eyes and zipped up my sleeping bag than I had the wake up call. How now?

I grudgingly woke up, packed my bags then went for tea. The temperatures outside must have been minus a thousand degrees! My hands were freezing despite the two layers of my sub zero gloves.

On the summit day, the hike is meant to start at exactly 2:00am especially if it is a big group like ours. There were some delays but we eventually set off. Biting cold, lack of enough sleep, a throbbing head and a weak body was the story of my life.

The unspoken rule of hiking has it that the weakest hikers lead the pack. The first one hour of trying to get to 4,985m at sunrise from 4,200m was just ok. My body was pulling me back in as much as my mind was all made up for summiting. The breaks became too frequent and the rest of the team slowly but surely widened the gap with permission.

We were left lagging behind with Racheal; who had a bad case of altitude sickness that only got worse the higher we climbed. The only way she was to helped was to get to Lake Harris then start heading down to the next camp. On the other had, I was so weak with a slight headache. I could not even lift my own legs.

If there was that one time I felt so helpless in my entire life was summit day. Thank God for Habbakuk aka Haba Haba who helped with my day bag, held me by the arm and practically walked with me. Bless his soul. Duncan was there for moral support and entertainment and watched over Rachael together with Ken. He even labeled us ‘Team Machozi’.

The ascend was the toughest part of the entire hike. Steep rocky slopes with some eroded sharp edges and loose gravel and feeble legs.

The intention was to get to the peak at sunrise but that proved impossible because even the leading pack was moving with difficulties.

Sweat, tears, doubt and a possibility of not making it the summit was frustrating. The only thing I wanted was to get to lake Harris then figure out my next move.

Haba Haba the guy who came to my rescue!
Habbakuk, Ken and Racheal.
Abbas the lead guide and Nnenna!
Sunkissed Batian peak. The sun came to early!
Habbakuk again!
Jeremy leading the pack despite not being in shape.
Agenda of the trip; hike, walk then hike again.

The next hour was very quiet. Soon after we were at Lake Harris.

Lake Harris

At this point, Duncan had to release Habakuk and Ken. I wanted them to go summit as well.

The leading lot was about 45 mins away, I thought I could make it to go up with Habbakuk and Ken, but I was so weak.

Point Lenana was so near yet so far.

They say nothing is impossible to a willing heart. I removed two layers of my clothes, drank water; lots of it, took sultanas and an energy bar then sat for a while. I felt a bit energetic and decided to follow the rest of the guys. However, there was a problem. There was no way I was going up alone. The options I had were to wait for the other guys to come down after two hours then request one of our guides to go with me or to go down with Duncan and Rachael. Sitting next to the very cold breeze of Lake Harris for two hours at such high altitude was a recipe for a slow death. I did not want to die slowly.

The more time we took to reach to a decision the more Rachael worsened. The only solution was to go with Duncan and Rachael without summiting. Well, there went another ‘machozi’ moment.

As I absorbed what just happened and what was about to happen,something miraculous happen,a hiker and his guide showed up from Shipton and Duncan requested them to tag me along to meet my group.

No sooner had Duncan disappered than the guide told me they were in a rush and they needed to rush. Wow. Anyway, I released them but decided to take a step at a time to the top.No going back.

Check out part two of this series and find out whether I summited on not.

 

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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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Hiking Mt.Longonot

Domestic tourism in Kenya has been on the rise in the past five years. As an ardent local traveler,affordable domestic tour packages provided by local tour operators are the best things to happen in these wanderlust corridors.

Day tours or one to two nights out of town have gained popularity amongst Kenyans because of their affordability and the fact that they are mainly held over the weekend hence no interference with normal work week schedule.

Last Sunday, Xtrym Adventures  one of the leading organizers of adventures, safari and hikes in Kenya hooked us up with yet another group that was going to Mt.Longonot.

The cost of hiking the mountain, park entry fees, half a litre of water and transport to and fro Nairobi was all valued at Ksh.2,199 (Approx USD 22)

Mt. Longonot is about 60Km from Nairobi,Kenya. It located inside Mt.Longonot National Park. A trip from Nairobi will be slightly less than an hour to the gate of the park. The scenery as you descend Maai-Mahiu road is breathtaking. This is where you get to see the floor of the Great Rift Valley and even appreciate the mighty Mt.Longonot as is rises majestically to a thick cloud above.

Once we approached the park’s gate, the mountain looked like kid’s play.Easy stuff. Our guide mentioned we will be back to the gate after approximately six hours. Honestly we did not understand why… I mean seriously this hillock shouldn’t be a hard nut to crack.

Time is an important factor to consider when you are planning this hike. The earlier you begin the hike the better.Because then, the sun won’t be so hot. I guess the toughest task would be hiking with a heavy bag in scorching sun.

When we got to the gate, we stretched (vital to avoid muscle pull), paid at the gate then proceeded.

Mt.Longonot as seen from the gate.

There is a stretch that leads to the foot of the mountain. Zebras and Impalas can easy be spotted grazing.I did not see any monkeys though…I assumed they were still asleep.lol.

The initial stages of the ascend were effortless. But the events to unfold later made me want to take back my words. The trail slowly but surely became steeper and thinner and the peeping sun finally come out strong. The terrain was dusty but we soldiered on. I asked how long before  we got to the peak and everyone burst out laughing. I needed no answer clearly. We were no where near the peak.

Well, I guess sometimes you only need someone to laugh at you to ignite the fire inside.

The steeper the terrain ,the tougher I became. I had to prove a point you know…(Wrong mentality…but it was fun…)

Eva, my pal, did exceptionally well too. It was hard to imagine we were sweepers at some point.

Truth be told,hiking is not for the faint hearted and has nothing to do with physical strength. It all about attitude and mental strength. It is also not about competing with the rest, but just finding your own way to get to the top. Sometimes you lead, other times you are led.

After about an hour or so, we were told that the peak was a few meters away. That statement gave us a little more energy to soldier on. There was apparently a small hut at the top of the hill. Once you begin to see it, then be sure you are almost there. The hut is the first place you can sit and replenish.

A few minutes later, not only did we get to the hut, but also to the first peak!

The ‘Hut’
First peak.

We were allowed a ten minute break to breath and grab something. Be advised to carry some lucozade, a banana, apples or grapes. You will thank me later.

The next phase was a trek around the rim of crater. The view was encouraging. This was the point where Naivasha,Lake Naivasha and its environs could be seen in perspective. The Rim of the crater is said to be 7.2km. However it felt like 14.4km ?.

Aerial view Mt.Longonot. Source:Internet.

Phase two started out well. We were energized and excited to go round the rim. The excitement was soon to come to an end when I was told there is yet the highest peak of the mountain that we were to cover. This only meant, twice the initial effort and thrice the attitude.

The slopes were steeper here, the loose volcanic gravel beneath the feet proved difficult to just walk. Then there was a thick layer of dust. In my opinion, that was the toughest part.

Type of rock and sand in the trail.

The second peak, Kilele Ngamia.

In about one and a half hours we reached the second peak. Well the highest. It is called Kilele Ngamia. It was completely worth the effort. The view was so refreshing that any pain and struggle experienced earlier is quickly forgotten.

Nothing happens here apart from photos. From Kilele Ngamia, the rest of the hike was easy. It was mainly descending.

In about an hour, we were back to the little hut. Which has notoriously been named the ‘watering hole.’

Nothing feels as good as ascending and going round the rim!

Going down using the same route was at that point easier… Did I mention were were leading the pack that whole time?

Before long we were back to where we started.

All beat and tired and about 5 hours later.

What more would you like to know about this hike?

Hope to see you hiking soon!

You can also check out Africa Outdoor Safaris for more details.

Till the next post…

Be sporty!

 

 

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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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Fantastic photos that will inspire you to visit Meru County, Kenya.

I was in Meru County briefly over the weekend all the way to Isiolo for those random weekend plans. Hoping to plan a detailed safari soon and share the goodness.

In the meanwhile enjoy these lovely shots that should inspire you to visit Meru!

What are some of the places you’d recommend one to visit in Meru?Let’s engage …

See you soon in Meru soon ?!

Love and wanderlust,

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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