Kenya holidays https://kenyaholidays.travel/ The best safari deals Thu, 27 Aug 2020 08:48:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://kenyaholidays.travel/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Favicon-1.png Kenya holidays https://kenyaholidays.travel/ 32 32 The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage https://kenyaholidays.travel/the-sheldrick-wildlife-trust-elephant-orphanage/ https://kenyaholidays.travel/the-sheldrick-wildlife-trust-elephant-orphanage/#respond Tue, 25 Aug 2020 14:26:00 +0000 https://kenyaholidays.travel/?p=4721 A visit to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage is one of Nairobi’s most enchanting experiences. It’s also one that has to be planned in advance as the opening times are limited. Here’s a taste…

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A visit to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage is one of Nairobi’s most enchanting experiences. It’s also one that has to be planned in advance as the opening times are limited. Here’s a taste of a visit to one of Africa’s oldest and most pioneering conservation projects.

Elephant playtime

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Rapa
‘Rapa’ enjoying the mud © Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

It’s one of the highlights of a visit to Nairobi – a definite ‘must do’ for children and grown-ups alike. The baby elephants come out to play for an hour a day between 11 am and 12 noon. Accompanied by their keepers, each armed with a giant milk bottle, they hurtle out of their nursery area and into an open space, around which the visitors are gathered. It’s very informal – the little elephants dash about, play football, enjoy a mud bath, drink their milk and interact with the visitors from whom they are separated by only a rope.

Visitors at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Each of the keepers gives a short speech about his particular charge. He’ll generally explain where and how the elephant was orphaned. Also how it is being rehabilitated and when it is expected to return to the wild.

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust feeding time
Feeding time at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Returning the elephants to the wild

Rehabilitation is a major part of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s work. The majority of elephants are taken to Tsavo East National Park after they’ve been cared for by their keepers in Nairobi. Here, they are taken for walks in the bush and encouraged to meet with other elephants. It’s a long process, but eventually the elephants return to the wild. Typically, however, they will return to the Tsavo shelter from time to time to greet the new arrivals.

Tsavo dust bath
Enjoying a dust bath in Tsavo © Mia Collis

The Unsung Heroes

Dame Daphne Sheldrick’s book – Unsung Heroes – tells the stories of just some of the elephants that have passed through this most famous elephant orphanage. It also celebrates the men and women who have gone to extraordinary lengths to help elephants in need.

Read our article on Unsung Heroes here.

Need to know

The Orphanage is approximately 17 kms from Nairobi City Centre adjoining Nairobi National Park. Entrance to the Orphanage for the visiting hour requires a minimum contribution of US$7 dollars / 500 Kenya Shillings per person.

For ‘foster parents’, those who have ‘adopted’ an orphan, a more private visit can be arranged in the afternoon (5pm to 6pm). This visit will enable you to have a one-on-one meeting with a keeper and his little elephant. Typically such a meeting takes place as the elephant is being settled down for the night in his sleeping quarters. This visit must be booked direct with the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

To find out more about the excellent work or the Trust, visit their website.

To adopt an orphan, visit here (minimum annual donation UK£ 35 / US$ 50).

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Horse riding in Kenya https://kenyaholidays.travel/kenya-horse-riding-safaris/ https://kenyaholidays.travel/kenya-horse-riding-safaris/#respond Mon, 24 Aug 2020 14:10:14 +0000 https://kenyaholidays.travel/?p=4379 Imagine galloping across the plains alongside a herd of giraffe, riding up to an elephant, or watching the migration unfold from your saddle. Enjoying a short ride or a full horseback safari in Kenya is…

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Imagine galloping across the plains alongside a herd of giraffe, riding up to an elephant, or watching the migration unfold from your saddle. Enjoying a short ride or a full horseback safari in Kenya is an exhilarating experience and a very popular choice.

Rides for all abilities

Kenya has a long history of conducting horse riding safaris. As well as the specialist operators, many of the lodges, hotels and private reserves have their own stables. Game viewing on horseback is a very special experience. And it benefits from the fact that many animals in the wilderness don’t see horses as a threat and allow them to get extraordinarily close.

Horse riding safari in the Chyulu Hills
Horse riding in the Chyulu Hills © Ride Kenya / photographer: Max Melesi

Rides can be as short as a few hours, a full day (with a picnic lunch), or a full safari for a week or more. If you’re riding around the grounds of a lodge, no vetting is required but if you’re going out into the wilderness however, you will typically be assessed to grade your proficiency. And you will always be accompanied by a guide – known as a syce in Kenya.

Riding in the Masai Mara
Riding in the Mara © Offbeat Safaris

Many of the lodges offer family rides using horses which are known to be docile. Often the younger members of the family will be attached by a leading reign to the syce.

Family rides Chyulu Hills
There are riding experiences for all age groups © Campi ya Kanzi, Chyulu Hills / Silverless

Where to ride

The most popular horse riding safari destinations in Kenya are: the Masai Mara conservancies; Laikipia and the central highlands; and the Chyulu Hills, between Tsavo and Amboseli. In these beautiful areas you can ride for days, taking in the scenery, getting close to the wildlife and reaching areas inaccessible by vehicles.

Riding among the wildebeest
Riding among the wildebeest © Safaris Unlimited

Depending on the exact itinerary of your riding safari, accommodation will be provided in permanent or mobile bush camps (with full safari kitchens, mess tent, WCs and hot showers), or in luxury lodges. Often a combination of both is used – so as to allow days of rest and pampering between the rides. Such a safari also offers plenty of scope for guided walks, ornithology, riverside sundowners or bush campfires.

Horses for courses

As well as riding, you can take time out from your Kenyan safari to enjoy some equine sports. Around central Kenya, you can take in some world-class polo matches – polo being a sport in which Kenya excels. If you’re in Nairobi, you can place a bet while enjoying the style and pace of Nairobi Racecourse, rated as one of the world’s most beautiful racing venues.

Kenya horse riding safaris – find out more

For a short horse-ride in Kenya you will be issued with a hard hat. If you’re planning on doing a longer ride (or a full riding safari), you will also be able to access boots, gloves and other equipment. Check with your tour organisor in advance.

The following operators and accommodation providers have an excellent reputation for conducting horse riding safaris.

Offbeat Safaris
Safaris Unlimited
Great Plains Conservation – Ride Kenya

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Climbing Mount Kenya https://kenyaholidays.travel/climbing-mount-kenya/ https://kenyaholidays.travel/climbing-mount-kenya/#respond Fri, 21 Aug 2020 17:13:06 +0000 https://kenyaholidays.travel/?p=4609 Thousands of people enjoy climbing or trekking up Mount Kenya every year. Most reach only Point Lenana (4,985 m) because to go higher requires more advanced climbing skills. Some people make the summit in 3…

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Thousands of people enjoy climbing or trekking up Mount Kenya every year. Most reach only Point Lenana (4,985 m) because to go higher requires more advanced climbing skills. Some people make the summit in 3 days, others in 4-5 days: it all depends on the route and the degree of altitude acclimatization required. All agree, however, that for variety of landscape, wildlife, views and just sheer exhilaration – it’s one of the world’s most stunning climbs. Here we give an overview of the three most popular routes to Point Lenana.
The peaks of Mount Kenya
Mount Kenya: left to right: Point Lenana (4,985m), Nelion summit (5,188), Batian summit (5,199m) © Franco Pecchio / Creative Commons licence

About Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa and its stunning natural wilderness and forest has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The mountain is an ancient extinct volcano, last thought to have been active around 2.6 million years ago. There are 12 remnant glaciers on the mountain, though all are receding rapidly. On the lower slopes, the mountain comprises dense bamboo and rainforest changing to Afro-Alpine moorland at higher elevations.

Trekking to Point Lenana, Mount Kenya
Trekking to Point Lenana, Mount Kenya © Jeremy Goss

Climbing Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya’s highest peak is Batian (5,199m), followed by Nelion (5,188m) and Point Lenana (4,985m). Batian and Nelion require technical climbing skills but Point Lenana is a trekkers peak, which can be reached in 3-5 days depending on the route. However, a reasonable level of fitness is still required: one should be comfortable walking for 6-8 hours per day. And trekkers should also ensure they allow adequate time to adopt a sensible pace and avoid acute mountain sickness.

Naro Moru Route

This is probably the most popular route, being the shortest up the mountain – it can be ascended in 3 days. Many guests base themselves at the popular Naro Moru River Lodge.

The Park entrance (2,400m) is 17km from Naro Moru town, to the west of the mountain. From the entrance, a paved road leads to the Met Station (3,050m) where the trek begins. (It is recommended that trekkers who are not used to high altitude should spend the first day walking from the Park entrance to the Met Station, rather than driving, in order to acclimatize.)

Mount Kenya climbing - the vertical bog
The vertical bog © Franco Pecchio / Creative Commons licence

From the Met Station, you reach a steep, marshy section known as the “vertical bog”. The route continues through open moorland to the crest of a ridge overlooking the Teleki Valley, then descends to the valley floor and up again to Mackinder’s Camp (4,200m). The trekking time from the Met Station is approximately 5-6 hours. Usually an acclimatization day follows.

The next part of the journey is a steep, winding route on loose ground to reach the Austrian Hut, or Top Hut (4,790m) at the foot of the Lewis Glacier. It is then onward to Point Lenana, with the added excitement of a ‘via ferrata – or fixed lines – to help you scamble up the summit ridge.

The Chogoria Route

The Chogoria route is widely regarded as the most picturesque of the routes up the mountain with several lakes and tarns to explore. There are no huts however, so trekkers and climbers need to be prepared for camping. It is also a longer route than Naro Moru, usually taking 5 days in total.

The route sets off from Chogoria town, to the east of the mountain. From here it is a 30km drive to the Park entrance (3,000m). Accommodation is available at the Meru Mount Kenya Lodge.

The Gorges Valley on the Chogoria Route
The Gorges Valley on the Chogoria Route © Jeremy Goss

The path continues through giant heather and forest to Chogoria Road Head (3,300m) and then across the north side of the Gorges Valley to Hall Tarns (4,230m), offering spectacular views over the valley and Lake Michaelson. The hiking time from Chogoria Gate to Hall Tarns is approximately 6-9 hours.

Lake Michaelson Mount Kenya
Lake Michaelson © Jeremy Goss

The path from Hall Tarns continues past the Simba Tarn and Harris Tarn to Point Lenana (4-5 hours).

The Sirimon Route

The Sirimon Route approaches from the north and is another walking route that reaches Point Lenana. It is probably the easiest of the three routes and also offers spectacular scenery. It usually takes 5 days.

The Mackinder Valley, Mount Kenya
The Mackinder Valley, Mount Kenya © Chris 73 / Wikimedia Commons

From the park gate, a road leads to Old Moses Hut and Judmaier Camp (3,350m). The track then climbs 300m to a communications station and then crosses moorland and ridges, dropping down to the Liki North River and then up a ridge to the Mackinder Valley. The path continues to Shipton’s Cave and then climbs steeply to Shipton’s Camp (4,250m). The route then ascends to Harris Tarn from where Point Lenana is reached.

Point Lenana Mount Kenya
Point Lenana © Jeremy Goss

Getting down

Having reached Point Lenana and taken in the views, there are various options for a descent route: the stunning Chogoria route is popular, but quicker descents can be made on the Sirimon route or the Naro Moru route.

Climbing Mount Kenya – more information

For information on climbing routes, visit the Mountain Club of Kenya website: www.mck.or.ke
Note: the MCK is a members-run, non-profit club and does not offer guiding services directly.

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A Maasai village visit https://kenyaholidays.travel/a-maasai-village-visit/ https://kenyaholidays.travel/a-maasai-village-visit/#respond Fri, 21 Aug 2020 08:22:15 +0000 https://kenyaholidays.travel/?p=4409 One of the highlights of a visit to Kenya is the chance of experiencing an authentic Maasai village visit. Such visits will generally be arranged by your tour guide or lodge and are well worth…

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One of the highlights of a visit to Kenya is the chance of experiencing an authentic Maasai village visit. Such visits will generally be arranged by your tour guide or lodge and are well worth doing. This feature aims to give you an idea what to expect of your visit.

Once outside the boundaries of the Masai Mara National Reserve, the landscape changes. We drive past small settlements, people walk alongside the road; donkeys graze and little bands of children turn to watch us go by. We turn off the road and bump along a track until we come to a high brushwood fence.

A smiling Maasai welcome

Maasai village welcome

A group of young men wait by a break in the fence. They’re dressed in traditional Maasai costume – red, plaid, shuka cloaks, simple sandals made from old car tyres, known as ‘thousand milers’, strings of beads wound around their chests. Our driver calls out a greeting and the young men approach to welcome us. Their English is perfect; their smiles are wide.

Maasai traditional huts

We move on into the village or boma (enclosure).  It’s a large circular enclosure containing a central area of bare mud. Around the perimeter are perhaps eight or nine low huts with mud walls and flat brushwood roofs. A few scantily clad children peep around corners – eyes large. A yellow dog with a curled tail sleeps in the sun.

We meet the villagers

We are introduced to the chief of the village and now, as if beckoned by some unseen signal, people emerge. Women cradling babies, old men leaning on long sticks. But there are no warriors and no younger women. The reason soon becomes apparent – they have been getting into their dance costumes.

Maasai village visit

The warriors approach in a long line, their heads dipping as they pace rhythmically forward raising and lowering their spears as they come.

And then the dance begins. In the centre of the boma, the maidens sing, their voices high-pitched, reed-like and surprisingly loud. They move in a stamping, swaying dance – like so many brilliantly coloured butterflies.

Maasai jumping

The young men take the stage. Their song is deep and reverberating. They form a semicircle and one by one, step forward and jump high into the air. It’s uncanny just how HIGH they can jump. ‘The current Maasai record is eight feet’, says our guide as an aside.

Naturally, we’re encouraged to have a go ourselves.

Maasai jumping

Bartering for beadwork

Almost as quickly as it began, the dance ends, and the colourful crowd moves off. ‘Now to the market,’ says our guide. Beyond the rough fencing of the boma, a makeshift market has been set up – and here the people from the surrounding bomas have set up their display.

Maasai village beadwork

Some ladies sit on the ground, others have simple stalls – and the display of beadwork is stunning. There are necklaces and collars, beaded walking sticks and beaded belts. Every lady strives to thrust her own wares forward. It’s utterly chaotic and superbly colourful. Cameras whirr. The ladies don’t speak English so the chief translates. We’re expected to barter and, though timid at first, we enter into the swing of things. Finally, laden with belts, beads, shields, gourds and fly-whisks we return to our vehicle. But we’re not alone. We’re escorted by the ladies, the dancers, the warriors, the toddling children and the yellow dog.

A Maasai village visit is an experience and a privilege

Reluctantly we depart. We’re silent in the vehicle. Absorbing it all. For perhaps 45 minutes we have been welcomed into another realm – one so entirely unlike our own that we are simultaneously humbled and uplifted. It’s an experience and a privilege. And one certainly not to be missed.

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The migration of the wildebeest in the Masai Mara https://kenyaholidays.travel/the-wildebeest-migration/ https://kenyaholidays.travel/the-wildebeest-migration/#respond Thu, 20 Aug 2020 14:35:40 +0000 https://kenyaholidays.travel/?p=4444 The migration of the wildebeest in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve is the largest single movement of wildlife on the planet. It’s also known as the Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth – with good reason.…

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The migration of the wildebeest in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve is the largest single movement of wildlife on the planet. It’s also known as the Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth – with good reason.

The annual migration of the wildebeest in the Masai Mara is a spectacle unrivalled in grandeur. Pure theatre, it is always awe-inspiring, sometimes comic, often tragic. Painted large across the face of the savanna it presents an image that is both breathtakingly beautiful and bitterly brutal. 

The Blue wildebeest is also known as the gnu

The blue wildebeest is a large antelope that gets its name from the silvery blue sheen of its hide. Looking rather as if a can of paint has been emptied over it, it has shaggy festoons of black hair that tumbles from its head and along its back.

Blue wildebeest in the Masai Mara

Between the end of July and November, over one-and-a-half million blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus), accompanied by half again as many zebras and gazelles, migrate from the short-grass plains of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park to fresh pasture in the grasslands of Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve.

Towards the end of October, the wildebeest begin crossing back into Tanzania. The actual timing of the migration, however, is dictated by the weather and does not always run to schedule.

A new-born wildebeest learns to walk in minutes

Some 500,000 wildebeest calves are born in February and March of every year. Weighing up to 22kg at birth, they learn to walk within minutes. At maturity, a wildebeest can run at up to 80 kilometres per hour.

The famous Mara River crossing

Moving in groups of up to 20,000 at a time they thunder across the plateau hesitating only briefly to cross the Mara River. And here many fall prey to the waiting crocodiles which drown their prey by clutching them in their strong jaws and pulling them below the water, twisting them to break off bite-size pieces. A crocodile can lunge more than half of its body length out of the water to grab a potential victim and can also use its tail as a secondary weapon.

Wildebeest migration leap of faith
Wildebeest migration Mara River crossing
The Mara River crossing © Angama Mara

Swarm intelligence

While the migration may seem like a chaotic frenzy of movement, research has shown that a herd of wildebeest possess what is known as ‘swarm intelligence’. This means that the wildebeest systematically explore and overcome an obstacle as one entity. However, because wildebeest have no natural leader, the migrating herd often splits up into smaller herds. These also circle the main, mega-herd, going in different directions.

Wildebeest migration swarm intelligence

Wildebeest sightings in the Masai Mara are guaranteed

As well as featuring in the main migration, Kenya has its own private migration. This is known as the Loita migration, which commences in April. At this time, some 30,000 wildebeest migrate from the conservancies to the north of the Masai Mara National Reserve to the mineral-rich soils of the Loita Plains. And they linger there until June when they move back to the private conservancies.

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Mudanda Rock, Tsavo East https://kenyaholidays.travel/mudanda-rock-tsavo-east/ https://kenyaholidays.travel/mudanda-rock-tsavo-east/#respond Thu, 20 Aug 2020 11:07:32 +0000 https://kenyaholidays.travel/?p=4489 In this feature a member of our travel writing team visits Mudanda Rock, Tsavo East. Kenya’s answer to Australia’s Ayers Rock, Mudanda is a place steeped in ancient history. It’s also very popular with the…

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In this feature a member of our travel writing team visits Mudanda Rock, Tsavo East. Kenya’s answer to Australia’s Ayers Rock, Mudanda is a place steeped in ancient history. It’s also very popular with the local elephants.
Tsavo East elephant herd

There’s a stunned silence as we arrive at Mudanda Rock. It’s taken us five hours to get here. And we have hardly encountered another human being or seen a single car in all that time. We’ve traversed valleys painted white-over with blossom where the air is laced heavy with scent. And we’ve driven under skies almost blackened by swirling flights of swallows. We’ve encountered great herds of elephant mining for water in the dry riverbeds, lone kongoni perched atop ant hills, drifts of zebra and squabbles of vultures. But not a single sign of civilization.

We’re in Tsavo East National Park, one of the last great tracts of wilderness on earth. Much of it is so wild, so far off the beaten track, that it’s visited only by the rangers of the Kenya Wildlife Service. Closer to the park gates there’s a tiny circuit of roads bustling with tourism vehicles. But we are not on it.

Tsavo East vulturine guineafowl
Vulturine guineafowl

We’re out on a limb, taking a risk: these rusty-red tracks are treacherous. Some are blocked by trees newly felled by elephants, some by vulturine guineafowl, others have been washed away by torrents of water in the recent rains. Others end abruptly in yawning chasms. But we’re in safe hands, our guide knows this area well; he’s checked out the roads in advance. He’s also a happy man. ‘I can’t remember the last time I visited the rock,’ he says, ‘most visitors don’t have the time to get there.’ He turns around to smile at us, ‘most don’t even know it’s there. You’ve given me a real treat,’ he says. His ‘treat’ is Mudanda Rock.

And we’re sitting in silence. Staring at it.

Mudanda Rock is a step back in time

At first glance, it’s underwhelming. A huge whale of pinkish red stone that rises unexpectedly out of the bush with a flight of steps cut into its huge flank. They look like a stairway to the stars. There’s a signboard at the foot of the steps. It tells us that Mudanda Rock is Precambrian basement rock – between 570 and 4,550 million years old; that it’s popular with leopards and elephants; and that thousands of years ago it was used by hunter-gatherers known as the Waliangulu as a place where they dried their elephant meat. ‘That is what ‘Mudanda’ means’ says our guide, ‘the place of dried meat’. We’re mildly diverted, but still underwhelmed. And then we begin to climb the staircase. And everything changes.

Climbing Mudanda Rock
Mudanda Rock, Tsavo East © Jeff Vize

Climbing to the top

It’s only when you start to scale the vastness of Mudanda Rock that you realise just how massive it is. Running for 1.5km, it’s like a vast pink runway, a landing strip for the gods. Atop its summit, streaked all the colours of pink and purple, the view over the wilderness is matchless. Here, great natural stone benches rise from the smooth pinkness; some are blood red as though drenched in elephant blood. Time spirals backwards; you can almost sense the presence of the hunter-gatherers.

The hippo pool

On the far side of the rock, the hump metamorphoses into a cliff and drops steeply away into a great pool of water. As we watch, a thin vein of red moves out of the khaki of the bush and makes its way to the water. It’s a herd of elephants. As they near the water, they fan out, each to stake his or her own claim to a particular stretch of water. They’re dwarfed by the immensity of the rock. So are the hippos as they rise to chortle and blow, their little ears spinning like radar dishes.

The residents show up

Agama lizard at Mudanda Rock
Agama lizard

In the far distance there’s the glint of the Galana River as it snakes along the foot of the Yatta Plateau, the longest lava flow in the world. An agama lizard arrives; his colours flaring orange and blue against the salmon pink of the rock. He’s followed by a troop of baboons. They’re disdainful of us. We don’t belong here and they know it.

As we leave, the elephants arrive

We descend the staircase and regain our vehicle. As we drive away we notice that another herd of elephants has arrived. And with infinite care, one plate-sized foot after another, they’re scaling the rock. The thought comes unbidden: what if they’d met us on top? It’s a thought that must have occurred to many a hunter-gatherer. Many moons ago.

Tsavo East – the facts

Lugard Falls, Tsavo East
Lugard Falls on the Galana River, Tsavo East

Tsavo East National Park (13,747 sq km) is one of Kenya’s oldest and largest parks and lies in a semi-arid area previously known as the Taru Desert. A number of early Stone Age and Middle Stone Age sites have been recorded and there is great evidence of a thriving late Stone Age economy from 6,000 to 1,300 years ago.

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What to see and do around Lake Nakuru https://kenyaholidays.travel/things-to-do-lake-nakuru/ https://kenyaholidays.travel/things-to-do-lake-nakuru/#respond Wed, 19 Aug 2020 16:18:14 +0000 https://kenyaholidays.travel/?p=4402 In this feature we discover some of the things to see and do around Lake Nakuru, outside the National Park. Close to the Lake there are a number of interesting prehistoric sites and also one…

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In this feature we discover some of the things to see and do around Lake Nakuru, outside the National Park. Close to the Lake there are a number of interesting prehistoric sites and also one of the world’s largest volcanic calderas.

Hyrax Hill

Hyrax Hill Lake Nakuru
Hyrax Hill near Lake Nakuru is the location of several Neolithic settlement sites

Overlooking the lake, just 3.5kms out of Nakuru town heading in the direction of Nairobi, is the prehistoric site of Hyrax Hill. It is named after the hundreds of rock hyrax that once scampered here. This is a Neolithic seasonal settlement that goes back some 5,000-6,000 years and is liberally littered with the assorted relics of man, from hand-axes to clay pipes.

The Hyrax Hill site was discovered in 1926 by the famous palaeontologist, Louis Leakey and excavated between 1937 and 1938 by Mary Leakey. The site shows two separate areas of occupation: one from the Pastoral Neolithic and late Iron Age periods, and one from the early Iron Age.

Some of the most evocative remains that can be seen here are the ancient ‘Bao’ boards. These were carved into the rocks by our far-distant ancestors and can still be played upon today. ‘Bao’ is a board game that involves the movement of seeds or small stones around a series of hollows. The hollows represent cattle encampments (Bomas) or captured herds.

The site is open daily 9.30am to 6pm, fees are payable upon entry. Further details can be obtained from the National Museums of Kenya.

Menengai Crater

North of Lake Nakuru rise the massive grey ramparts of the Menengai Crater. The crater has a diameter of around 12 km and a depth of around 500 m. This makes it the second largest volcanic caldera in Africa. The crater was the scene of a famous battle between warring Maasai clans in the 19th century. And its eerily petrified waves of lava and towering volcanic walls are still believed to be haunted by the tormented souls of the thousands of vanquished Maasai ‘Morans’ who were hurled to their deaths from its rim.

The Crater is surrounded by lush forest of eucalyptus and acacia and is an ideal spot for hiking, nature walks and picnics. The view from the rim of Lake Nakuru and Lake Bogoria is awe-inspiring. As far as the wildlife goes, you can expect to see: tree hyrax and rock hyrax; Kirk’s dik dik; slender mongoose; black-faced vervet monkey; olive baboon; and mountain reedbuck. The bird-life is equally impressive – home to Verreaux’s eagle, lesser spotted eagle, Abyssinian ground hornbill and the African Marsh Harrier.

Getting there: Head out of Nakuru on the A104 in the direction of Nairobi. look for a road on the outskirts called, Menengai Drive. Take the fourth turning on the left off Menengai Drive (Crater Climb). Some 4.5 kms up the hill you will see a campsite followed by a telecommunications tower. Head for the tower then turn right along a path that leads through the remnants of the forest to the edge of the crater.

Entry is free and the crater is accessible during daylight hours. It is not recommended that you visit after dark or alone.

Kariandusi Prehistoric Site 

Kariandusi tools Lake Nakuru
Hand-axes from the Acheulean period made of obsidian and trachyte. Image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

The Kariandusi prehistoric site is situated further along the A104, heading out of Nakuru towards Nairobi. Discovered in 1928 by Louis Leakey, it features a museum and two excavated sites and is believed to date back to the Acheulean period (between 1.5 million and 200,000 years ago). Studies suggest that this was a prehistoric workshop rather than a place of permanent dwelling as it is strewn with stone hand axes and cleavers made from obsidian, a vitreous black volcanic rock.

The museum is open daily 8am to 6pm, fees are payable upon entry. For further information contact the National Museums of Kenya.

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Sundowners in Shaba National Reserve https://kenyaholidays.travel/shaba-national-reserve/ https://kenyaholidays.travel/shaba-national-reserve/#respond Sun, 09 Aug 2020 15:39:46 +0000 https://kenyaholidays.travel/?p=3149 There’s no better way to learn about the fascinating culture of the Samburu people than sitting down and chatting with warrior. And even better if it happens to be over a glass of chilled wine…

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There’s no better way to learn about the fascinating culture of the Samburu people than sitting down and chatting with warrior. And even better if it happens to be over a glass of chilled wine while watching the sun set and the elephants wade across the Ewaso Nyiro River in Shaba National Reserve.
Elephants crossing the Ewaso Nyiro River in Shaba
Elephants crossing the Ewaso Nyiro River in Shaba © Shaun Mousley

Night falls in Shaba National Reserve

The light is fading from grey to lilac and the baboons are streaming down to the riverbank. It’s their bedtime and they’re swarming up the trunks of the doum palms to lay claim to the best forks in the branches. Like all children, the young baboons resist the onset of bedtime. They’re chasing each other around the huge boulders that line the Ewaso Nyiro River. A tiny creature, all pink face and brown fluff, tumbles off the edge of a rock the size of a giant’s billiard ball. Quick as a flash, another hand is extended. The infant dangles briefly and is hauled back to safety. From the doum palms comes a cackle of maternal alarm. 

Baboons in Shaba National Reserve
Baboons in Shaba National Reserve © Stuart Butler

We set up our sundowner camp

On the other side of the river we’ve set up camp for ‘sundowners.’ We’re on a natural beach, on a bend in the river. It’s a sublime spot, backed by surreally sculptured boulders. Better still, it delivers long views down the cocoa-brown river. The sundowner tradition dates back to the time of the great game-hunting safaris of the 1900s. Then, European royalty and American wealth streamed to Kenya to hunt the ‘Big Five’; now the hunting culture is dead and gone. But the Samburu culture, immeasurably more ancient and profound, lives on. 

And one of its sons is sitting with us. 

Shaba National Reserve Lejale
Our cultural guide, Lejale © Shaun Mousley

Clad in brilliant colours and embellished with bandoliers of beads, Lejale has guided us on our travels through the painted deserts of northern Kenya. Now, as the thick brown river slips silently past and the baboons melt into the shadows, he deems it time to deliver his Cultural Talk. Well, why not?

The Samburu talk fast

And so he begins with the tale of how the brother-tribes of the Maasai, Njemps, Samburu and Laikipia migrated to Kenya from Southern Sudan some time in the 17th century. He tells us how the Laikipia elected to remain on the flanks of Mount Kenya while the other three tribes pushed on for warmer climes. It was a bad decision: their cattle died and they were reduced to pursuing their former clansmen and raiding their cattle. ‘But,’ declaims Lejale, arms extended like some prophet descended from the mountain, ‘they were defeated and now the people once known as the Laikipia are no more. Which leaves only the Njemps, who settled around the shores of Lake Baringo, and the Maasai and the Samburu.’ He glances at us, struck by a thought. ‘Do you know how to tell the difference between a Maasai and a Samburu?’ he asks.

Shaba-sundowners
Sundowners on the Ewaso Nyiro River © Shaun Mousley

We don’t. The answer is complex involving subtle nuances of hairstyle and headdress and arcane placements of knives in belts. Sensing our confusion, Lejale condenses matters. ‘The Maasai talk slowly,’ he says, ‘the Samburu talk fast’. 

And this seems to settle things. For him at least. 

The rites of passage of the Samburu

We move on to study the rituals of circumcision and coming of age. They’re fascinating but convoluted and eventually boil down to the fact that everything rests on the twin tenets of respect and bravery. An entire family will, for instance, be irretrievably disgraced if a would-be warrior shows fear in the face of the circumcision knife. But happy are those who come through this ordeal unscathed. Admitted to the sacred ranks of warrior-hood, they will enjoy white robes of triumph, magnificent feathered headdresses and lilting lines of undulating maidens. 

Samburu in Shaba
The Samburu © Stuart Butler

As the wine sinks in the bottle, we turn briefly to the mathematics of barter. We learn that, roughly speaking, one camel = 24 goats, one heifer = twelve goats, one male calf = three goats. Which firmly establishes goats as the common currency of Samburu-land. But now the light is dimming and far behind us rises the great bulk of Ololokwe, the Sacred Mountain of the Samburu. A massive flat-topped mesa that glowers over the landscape, this is the home of the Samburu God, Enkai.

Enkai: the god of the Samburu

‘If Enkai is not shown respect,’ announces Lejale ‘then the Samburu believe that drought will follow. And then our livestock will die and we will perish.’ He leans on his spear. ‘In times of drought, the married women must intercede. Because Enkai listens only to them.’ We gaze at him enquiringly.

‘The married women,’ Lejale says, ‘take up their sacred sticks and set off, singing and dancing as they go, to the foot of the mountain. There, they pour milk and water into the earth and Enkai listens.’

There’s a rumble of thunder downstream. The northern lands have been deluged with rain over the last few days. It’s rare. Typically this land is parched all year round. The songs of the married women must have been particularly lovely this year. 

Across the river, we can just make out the hunched shapes of the baboons high in the forks of the palms. The world is midnight blue. It’s time to go home. But, like all good lecturers, Lejale invites final questions. ‘How have the Samburu adapted to modern life?’ we ask. ‘They have not,’ he says simply, ‘why should they?’ ‘Don’t they want the things that modern life can give?’ we suggest. Lejale looks pityingly at us. ‘What they want,’ he says, ‘is goats, camels, cows and sheep.’ ‘What about televisions?’ ‘What use are televisions?’ says Lejale with scorn; ‘there’s no electricity in the village.’ 

Samburu culture past and present

‘But, don’t your people want to know what’s going on in the world?’ we pursue. The question sounds lame even to us. ‘Don’t they want to know about…’ we hunt for a topic of global relevance, ‘what President Trump is saying, for instance?’ Lejale smiles. ‘Most Samburu don’t know President Trump exists,’ he says benignly. ‘So what does matter to you?’ we persevere.  Silhouetted against the silent brown river, Lejale considers. 

The Samburu trance dance
The Samburu trance dance © Alex Walters

‘Mobile phones and motorbikes,’ he concedes, ‘education and culture’. At the mention of culture, his chin goes up. ‘It is thanks to our culture, that there is virtually no crime in Samburu land,’ he says, ‘and that the old and sick are always cared for. And it is out of respect for our culture that we share all that we have for the communal good.’ The inference is obvious. President Trump hasn’t a hope. As we pack up the chairs and grope our way back to the vehicle there’s one more question to be asked. 

‘And what about you, Lejale? What’s your goal in life?’

‘I,’ says Lejale, ‘would like to be a politician.’

Shaba National Reserve: Need to know

Shaba National Reserve lies in northern Kenya, close to Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves. Well off the beaten tourist track, it makes a magnificent backdrop to a very special sundowner experience.

This story took place on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River. Sundowners were organized by Sarova Shaba Game Lodge, who also provided our accommodation and our guides. Lejale is the lodge’s cultural attaché. He is also an inspired game tracker. 

The Sarova Shaba Game Lodge stands central to the three northern national reserves of Shaba, Samburu and Buffalo Springs. For further information: www.sarovahotels.com.

We travelled to Kenya’s arid north flying with Safarilink who offer daily flights to the region. For further details contact: www.flysafarilink.com

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What to do in Watamu https://kenyaholidays.travel/what-to-do-in-watamu/ https://kenyaholidays.travel/what-to-do-in-watamu/#respond Sat, 08 Aug 2020 18:35:21 +0000 https://kenyaholidays.travel/?p=3713 Escapist, enchanting, and with an indefinable air of having time-warped itself back to gentler days, Watamu is one of Kenya’s most popular beach destinations. Sheltered by the nurturing curve of Mida Creek, it abounds in…

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Escapist, enchanting, and with an indefinable air of having time-warped itself back to gentler days, Watamu is one of Kenya’s most popular beach destinations. Sheltered by the nurturing curve of Mida Creek, it abounds in rocky coves backed only by baobab trees; and shimmering lagoons fronted by great sweeps of silver sand. As well as boasting one of world’s most beautiful beaches, Watamu offers visitors a wide-range of activities, unforgettable day-trips and a fascinating insight into Swahili life. Here are just a few suggestions.
Things to do in Watamu - beach life

Explore Watamu village

In the village, there’s a cheery line-up of stalls displaying brilliantly-coloured fashions, local carvings and vibrant art. Elsewhere there are charming coffee shops, Italian gelato bars, delicatessens and bakeries. Fishermen sell fish fresh from the sea. The restaurants range from gourmet to simple roadside snack bar.

Watamu village

The clientele is cosmopolitan fusion. There are Italian and British residents; there are multi-cultural tourists; and there’s the welcoming mélange of the locals. And the happy-go-lucky, air of the place is epitomized by the fact that most people get around either by walking along the beach or taking a gaily-painted tuk tuk (motorcycle taxi).

Take a canoe ride through Mida Creek

According to Greek mythology, everything that ancient King Midas touched turned to gold. On the calm stretch of tidal water known as Mida Creek it’s the water that turns liquid gold as one of Kenya’s most stunning sunsets illuminates this secret domain of mangrove swamps and palm trees. For optimum immersion in the gold-painted early evening, take a spin on the creek in a traditional dugout canoe. Pole-propelled, it can nose its way into the mysterious forest of mangrove roots where ghost crabs flash briefly in the shallows, white egrets roost and grey herons stand as motionless as statues.

Canoe ride through Mida Creek, Watamu
Canoe ride through Mida Creek, Watamu © Greg Armfield

You’ll meet local fishermen – wading in the creek and crab-hunting with bows and arrows. You may even encounter the Mida rush-hour – a flurry of two or three little white boats packed with laughing local ladies and the odd surf board with a stool strapped on it – the paddler, more often than not, with his cell phone crammed to his ear.

Crab Shack, Mida Creek

And as gold gives way to indigo, you can head into the community-run Crab Shack for cold beers and golden-fried crab samosas. The crabs are farmed in the mangrove swamps so they don’t come any fresher; and by sampling the Mida experience you’re supporting the local community. It’s gold-chip eco-tourism. For further information: ckahindi@rocketmail.com

Visit Bio-Ken Snake Farm

Fancy holding a four-foot cobra, and milking it for its venom? Then head for Bio-Ken Snake Farm, just five minutes from the centre of Watamu village. Housing the largest collection of snakes in East Africa, the farm is also a vital source of snake-bite serum. It also makes a great family outing boasting both scare-value and education alike.

African Rock Python

For the very brave, Bio-Ken also offers a range of ‘Snake Safaris’. For further information: www.bio-ken.com

Take a tour of EcoWorld

On the sandy track that leads from Watamu to Mida Creek is a miracle. It’s called EcoWorld. And it’s deliciously inspirationally whacky. On one side of the road is an enormous pile of plastic refuse, on the other a stockade made of plastic flip-flop sandals. Venture inside and you enter the utterly surreal world of Watamu’s revolutionary recycling industry.

Fuelled by the refuse washed up on the beaches and by the vast amount of plastic and glass bottles generated by the local hotels, the EcoWorld team create everything from building construction blocks (plastic bottles filled with sand), bottle-bottom bricks, art made from washed-up toothbrushes –  to toys made from recycled flip-flops, charcoal made from crushed coconut shells and cooking gas made from rotting vegetables.

EcoWorld Watamu
Left: EcoWorld’s ‘bottle-nosed’ dolphin; Centre: some of the recycled products on sale designed by Ocean Sole; Right: WMA’s Blue Team in action cleaning the beach in Watamu

But the miracle doesn’t stop there – the Watamu Marine Association’s ‘Blue Team’ keep the beaches clean, the local hotels cook on the methane gas generated by their own kitchen waste, and the compost left over from the bio-gas generators grows luxuriant bunches of basil which fuel the local pizzas. An award-winning, benchmark-setting and superbly-symbiotic relationship between local community and tourism industry, the EcoWorld model is so successful that it’s being mirrored all over Kenya and the world. Visitors are welcome and the gift shop (itself constructed entirely from bottles) is a treasure trove of ecologically-sound gifts.

For further information, visit the EcoWorld Facebook page.

Spend a day big game fishing in the Indian Ocean

When it comes to big game fishing, Watamu is Mecca. Moored in the blue-green waters of the glorious bay is a stunning selection of double-tier fishing boats. They are festooned with huge rods, each of which is custom-designed to reel in the REALLY big fish, such as marlin, wahoo and sailfish. It’s mostly tag-and-release fishing, though hotels such as the iconic Hemingways do catch their own fish and serve them up superbly fresh in their restaurant. As to when to go – that really depends on which fish you’re after – but for professional advice you can do no better than contact the African Billfish Foundation: http://africanbillfish.org

Falusi
The Falusi or “Poor mans Marlin” © Simpson Photography

Help save the turtles of Watamu

The beaches of Watamu are a favourite nesting site for green, hawksbill, olive ridley and leatherback turtles. Local Ocean’s Watamu Turtle Watch monitors 50-60 nests per year in the area, not only to shepherd the baby turtles down to the beach, but also to rescue large turtles caught in the fishermen’s nets. The best time to see turtle hatching is between March and October.

To read the full article about saving Kenya’s sea turtles, click here.

Turtle hatchling, Watamu

To visit the rehabilitation centre, or discover how you can adopt a turtle or beach nest, visit: https://localocean.co

Paddle board with the dolphins of Watamu

Watamu is famous for its dolphins (Indo-Pacific bottlenose, Indo-Pacific humpback and spinner). Returning year after year to the sanctuary of Watamu, mothers arrive with their calves and males arrive to mate. What’s more, the regulars have been carefully catalogued according to their very personalized fin markings. This gives the dolphin spotting tours an added dimension.  

Stand-Up Paddleboarding with dolphins

You can also enjoy the rare treat of stand-up paddle boarding with dolphins. For more information: www.tribe-watersports.com

Go SCUBA diving…

It’s a tribute to the brilliance of the Watamu dive experience that people come back year after year. One visitor admitted to having done 750 dives off Watamu with Turtle Bay Dive Centre (www.watamudivecenter.com). When asked what made him such an unshakeable devotee of Watamu diving, he said it was a mix of friendly dive-guides and year-round clear, warm water. He also raved about the great selection of 20 world-class dive profiles ranging from cliffs, drop-offs, night dives and wreck dives. Also good to know is that, whether you’re learning or pro, Watamu boasts some exceptionally professional dive-schools. So… dive in. 

…or swim with whale sharks

Given that they’re the size of a double-decker bus, a whale-sighting is a perspective-changing experience. And in Watamu, such sightings are commonplace, not least because the whale-spotting teams liaise to circulate information as to where the whales are at any given time. Migratory pods of humpback whales pass by from Southern Africa typically between July and September.

Swimming with whale sharks

Meanwhile, the prime whale shark season is usually September to December when you can snorkel alongside these gentle giants. But whales are often seen at other times of the year too. Nor do you have to go out on a boat to see these gentle giants – they often ‘breach’ right off the headland – so you can see them from the beach bar.

Marvel at the magic of Watamu Marine Park

An inspirational water world, Watamu National Marine Park and Reserve showcases the entire water-sports spectrum to perfection. There’s kitesurfing, paddle-boarding, boogie-boarding, snorkeling, sailing – the lot. It also boasts a glorious coral reef. Here you’ll find 150 species of coral, 1000 species of reef fish and both sea turtle feeding and breeding sites. You can also expect the additional lure of sightings of manta rays, grouper and barracuda in the deeper waters.

Watamu Marine Park

Find haunted cities and magical culture

Watamu’s history is long and venerable. The vast city of Gedi, now a national monument, was first settled by Arab traders around the 12th century and not abandoned until the 16th century. Then, or so legend has it, everyone left virtually overnight, scattering their treasures as they ran.

But Gedi is not the only remainder of a forgotten civilization because on Temple Point, ringed by ancient baobabs, stands a ruined mosque. And there are more ruins on the utterly unspoilt and rarely visited island of Kirepwe, which lies on the far side of Mida Creek. 

Read the full article on Gedi Ruins.

Watamu day trips - Gedi Ruins
Gedi Ruins © Greg Armfield

Need to know

Getting there: It couldn’t be easier. Watamu is a scenic 95 km drive from Mombasa, or a short flight from Nairobi to nearby Malindi (Air Kenya, Fly 540, Jambo Jet and Kenya Airways).

Where to stay: Watamu has it all: 5 star resorts, family resorts, eco resorts, apartments, simple guest houses and safe and secure camping.  

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Things to do in Lamu https://kenyaholidays.travel/things-to-do-in-lamu/ https://kenyaholidays.travel/things-to-do-in-lamu/#respond Fri, 07 Aug 2020 17:14:30 +0000 https://kenyaholidays.travel/?p=3680 Lamu confounds. The most hardened of travel writers, the most extensively travelled of tourists are all rendered speechless by Lamu. It’s enchanting, unbelievable, spellbinding and addictive. The Lamu Archipelago The Lamu Archipelago is located in…

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Lamu confounds. The most hardened of travel writers, the most extensively travelled of tourists are all rendered speechless by Lamu. It’s enchanting, unbelievable, spellbinding and addictive.
Make a wish in Lamu

The Lamu Archipelago

The Lamu Archipelago is located in the Indian Ocean just off the northern coast of Kenya. It comprises five islands: Lamu Island, Pate Island, Manda Island and the smaller islands of Kiwayu and Manda Toto. The largest town in the archipelago is Lamu Town, on Lamu Island – its ‘Old Town’ is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Here’s a taste of the many experiences on offer across the islands.

1. Take in the atmosphere of Lamu’s Old Town

Established in the 12th century, Lamu is Kenya’s oldest continually inhabited town. Down the centuries it has been influenced by the Arabs, the Portuguese, the Omanis, the Germans, the Sultan of Zanzibar and the British. And a dash of all of these influences have remained: the result is an exotic mélange that is both unique and entrancing. 

Today the town is a living monument to its past. The old houses are built with coral walls two-feet thick. They have a series of alcoves rather than rooms; and their size is decided by the length of the mangrove poles that are used for both floors and ceiling. Many are three-storeys high and feature winding staircases, vast carved doors, intricate fret-work screens, balconies and flat roofs.

Lamu Old Town oozes Swahili culture: the ladies are veiled and the men wear wrap-around kikois. The children patter on bare feet through the alleys, and the old men gather to play dominoes in the crumbling medieval squares. The majority of the population are Muslims; and the town echoes to the call of the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer at the 23 mosques of the town.

2. Visit the cultural attractions in Lamu Town

Lamu Museum
Housed in a grand Swahili warehouse on the waterfront this dusty old museum provides an excellent insight into Swahili culture. There are some fascinating exhibitions an ancient Swahili artefacts, traditional boat-building, weddings, the famous Lamu door carvings and even silver jewellery.

Lamu Museum
Lamu Museum

Lamu Fort
Built by the Sultan of Pate in the 1800s, this squat castle holds the island’s library and Swahili poetry collection. 

Lamu Fort
Lamu Fort © www.africaimagelibrary.com

Lamu market
Atmospheric and chaotic this is the place to buy fresh fish, fruit, vegetables and spices. It is best visited in the early morning – be prepared to haggle.

Swahili House
Visit this perfectly preserved 16th-century mansion for the full-on flavour of Swahili life.

The German Post Office Museum
Built by the German East Africa Company in the late 1800s, this is now a photographic museum covering the brief period of German rule. 

The Donkey Sanctuary
A man without a donkey IS a donkey or so says the Swahili proverb. Meanwhile, this sanctuary is devoted to giving shelter for some 3,000 donkeys that can no longer work. 

3. Lie back and enjoy the beach life on Lamu Island

A place of clear blue waters and gorgeously tropical temperatures (30 degrees Celsius on average), Lamu is a water lover’s paradise. Choose from snorkeling, diving, numerous watersports and dhow trips to deserted sand spits. It’s also a great place for walking the dunes and beaches or camel riding.  

Manda Island Majlis
Manda Island beach © The Majlis, Manda Island, Lamu
Shela, Lamu Island
Shela, Lamu Island © lamuyoga.org

A few kilometres south of Lamu town is Shela – one of Lamu’s fishing villages. It’s an enchantingly pristine place with a stunning 12 km of beach, perfect for a stroll.

On the opposite side of Lamu island to Lamu town is the village of Kipungani. A place of dreamy beaches and the centre for dhow building and palm-mat weaving.

4. Take a boat trip to Lamu’s neighbouring islands

Manda Island, Lamu
Manda Island is a short boat hop from Lamu. Here you will find dunes, mangroves and the fabulous Takwa Ruins, all that remains of a glorious 15th century city. 

Manday Bay on Manda Island, Lamu
Manda Island, Lamu © Manda Bay
Takwa Ruins Lamu
Takwa Ruins, Lamu © www.travelplusstyle.com

Pate Island, Lamu
Pate Island is a forgotten Swahili world. It is also the site of Shanga, the world’s most complete example of a medieval Swahili town. 

Kiwayu Island, Lamu
Remote, pristine and romantic, Kiwayu lies at the far northeast of the archipelago and has a reputation for causing all its visitors to fall hopelessly in love.

The island is also ideally situated within the Kiunga Marine National Reserve. A pristine string of 51 rugged coral isles, ringed by rainbow coral reefs, Kiunga promises turtles, dugongs and an underwater world of unbelievable colour, discovery and vibrancy. It’s the perfect place for a spot of snorkelling. To read more about the Kiunga Marine Reserve, click here.

5. Take part in one of Lamu’s fabulous festivals

Lamu dhow race
The famous Lamu dhow races. © Peponi Hotel

Lamu excels in festivals; the most famous is the Maulid, which features dhow races, donkey races, poetry, theatre, and an extravaganza of food. But there’s also the Lamu Cultural Festival, an Art Festival and a Yoga Festival. 

6. Hit the markets for some souvenir shopping

Lamu’s unique buys include exquisitely hand-carved furniture, Arabian antiques, copper lanterns, hand-made jewellery, kikois and exotic fashions. A great place to start is Gallery Baraka, famous for its wide selection of tribal masks, hand woven textiles, elaborate beadwork and incised stone boxes.

7. Sample Swahili cuisine

Swahili cuisine
Swahili cuisine © www.travelplusstyle.com

An extravagant fusion of Arabic and African, Swahili cuisine is a sublime blend of impossibly fresh fish, coconut, lime, spices and rice with plenty of fabulous fruit juices and spiced Arabic coffee. 

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