Touring Ngong Hills

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Ngong hills is a good site for Team building, hiking, and chilling with friends and family.

IMG_20161118_140240Locals are charged 200 Kenya shillings (at the time of this post) at the entrance. In case you need to go further into the hills you will need security to accompany you. For that you will be charged 1500 Kenya shillings.

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Here are some tips to know before you decide to take a trip to Ngong hills.

1. Its advisable to wear warm since the weather around this place is usual chilly and cold.

2. Pack some snack/food  since there are no shops and hotels nearby

3. Stay together while going for hiking for security purposes.

4. Carry a bottle of water to keep you hydrated.

5. Don’t forget to pack your camera and take shots of the beautiful scenery.

Check out this short video I did while touring Ngong hills.

 

Enjoy😊😊!!!

 

 

Social media: A hub for millennial travellers

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Many research studies show that millennials are not the best group to target while looking for a group of travellers to sale a package to. Reason being millennials do not have enough money to travel and are busy wasting the few coins they have on clubbing. To some extent this might be true but also with the continued growth of social media platforms millennials now more than ever have embraced travelling. Here are some of the reasons why I believe Social Media is a hub for millennial travellers
1. Peer Pressure
Peer pressure from friends on how well you spent your weekend has forced some millennials to save up and join others in adventure. For them it’s about telling their friends where they went to over the weekend and the likes they will get from what they post on their Social Media accounts. Sometimes their intentions and the end goals don’t match but all in all a need has been satisfied.
2. Time
According to SocialMediaToday an online website the amount of time people spend online is constantly increasing. Teens now spend up to nine hours a day on social platforms, while 30% of all time spent online is now allocated to social media interaction. Majority of the time is on mobile (60% of social media time spent is facilitated by a mobile device). From my observation tour operators, hoteliers and other tourism stakeholders have had to adapt to Social Media platforms in order to reach this large group of potential customers. Coming up with exciting packages and posting them online helps millennials hype each other and save up for such trips.
3. Competition
Most millennials don’t want to be left out. They want to be part of everything that involves fun including travelling which sometimes proves to be expensive for them. An example would be seeing a friend posting on Instagram stories their experience on the SGR train. It becomes an element of discussion in your next meet up with your friends which leads to plans on how to get to Mombasa using the SGR train.
4. Platforms
According to SocialMediaToday the social media platforms themselves are evolving their tools and options to further attract and engage new audiences (e.g. advent of live-streaming features and 360 –degree photos/videos). Newer social media platforms including Snapchat, Instagram and now Musical.ly are also competing for their share of the market. This gives millennials a variety of option on where to get information about travel since brands are heavily investing in advertising on social media platforms.
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Millennials look up to their fellow millennials in the society who have a voice in this industry. In America most millennials would look up to Kardashian in terms of fashion and lifestyle. Here in Kenya most millennials follow xtiandela who is a social media influencer and a trend setter. Social Media influencers in the travel industry have a major role to play to influence more millennials to embrace travelling.

 

 

 

12 hours in Nairobi

I love Nairobi. Not until recently when I started exploring it did I realize its beauty. I know there is traffic, which sucks most of the time, but you can’t compare it with the beauty that this city has to offer.

I embarked on a one-day tour around the city and I got to visit 4 places despite the fact that it was on a Friday. City dwellers know how Friday’s can be. I had a good experience and I would like to share it with you.

Here is a simple one-day tour guide within Nairobi:

If you leave the house at around 8.30 am you can get to Museum Hill road at around 9.00am- 9.30 am and make your way to The Nairobi National Museum.

You’ll be required to pay 200/- (Adults) while the children fees are 150/-  (citizen).

The National Museum houses a lot of our (Kenyan) history. Starting from how barter trade took place in Kenya, to some of the tools that were being used to fight during Pre-independence period.

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Tickets go for 150/-

You can also visit the snake park and learn about the different species of snakes. Your tour should take approximately 1 hour.

This will give you time to make your way to David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust which is located along Magadi Rd. If you are lucky you will get to the place 10/20 minutes before its opened to the public. As a Kenyan, this will be a moment that will leave you in awe as you watch tens of foreigners who eagerly wait for the gates to be opened so that they can see the elephants. I know right? why should anyone be excited to see elephants? I get it, we live in Africa where you have all the time in the world to see wildlife. To me, that was an actual challenge. Seeing people eager to see elephants just made me realize I take the little things I have for granted.

img_5487 The orphanage is open to the public from 11 am to 12 pm (every day), during which people get to see the baby elephants feed and also interact with them. This is because the elephants are sensitive animals and like a peaceful environment to exist in. The public is, therefore “Privileged” to interact with them for just 1 hr (I know it’s not enough time coz they are adorable beings). There are 24 baby elephants at the orphanage, who have been rescued from different parts of the country. you can adopt the baby elephants by visiting their website where you get to choose the elephant you want to adopt. This will give one the opportunity to interact with the baby elephant in the evening for one hour.

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Play time

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They showed up excited to see us

After leaving the orphanage, you can take a 30 minutes ride to Karen Blixen Museum which is on Karen Rd.

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Few things you should know about the museum.

  1. It was handed over to the government of Kenya in 1963 (Independence year)
  2. The movie “Out of Africa” was shot here (It was an account of Karen’s life)
  3. It was named after Karen Blixen, a Danish Author.
  4. Karen Blixen bought the Land to practice coffee farming which apparently became unsuccessful after a few years.
  5. There is a similar museum in Denmark built in honor of Karen Blixen

What caught my attention the most is the fact that Karen was among the few whites who came to Kenya during the times of colonialism and decided to be part of the community. She built houses for her workers at the plantation. She also opened a Nutrition school to teach women about Health & Nutrition. The institution is currently called Kenya Medical Training College (Karen Branch). She was also a painter. You will find some of her artistic works in the museum. She basically understood the importance of sustainability within a community which I applaud her for. She died aged 74 of Syphilis in her home in Denmark. The obvious reason was her partner loved many women (That’s what we were told during the tour).

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She loved books

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George Finch Hatton (her lover) was a hunter

By the time you are leaving the museum it will be a few minutes past 1 pm. You can stop at Tamambo Karen Blixen Coffee Garden which is located in a beautiful peaceful setting on Karen Road. They really have good food. You can take a quick rest as you enjoy your lunch as you prepare to head for Giraffe Centre.

At around 2.30pm, you can start your journey to Giraffe center which is about 30 minutes from Karen Blixen Museum. At Giraffe Centre, you will get a chance to feed the giraffe. It’s a fun experience. You get to have a “smooching moments” with the giraffe. It’s a good one right??

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That’s how you feed her

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Giraffe Centre also has a curio shop that sells artworks made by a women’s group in Kibera among other groups who live in the slums. Make sure to make a stop at the shop and #SupportLocal.

After leaving the center, you can leave for home or pass by a good joint and have some “Nyama Choma” to start off the weekend in a good mood.

Enjoy!!!!

A trip to Karunguru Farm

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A week ago, I was given a heads up by my boss of an upcoming trip to a coffee farm. I remember my friend laughing at me when I told him I’m going to miss my Saturday class in the name of visiting a coffee farm. For the first time in many months, I felt like someone dragged me to do the wrong assignment. I wanted to protest and scream my lungs out.

Anyway, I passed by the office to pick the camera and got into a cab. According to google map, the coffee farm was 59 minutes from Upperhill. We agreed with the cab driver to follow the directions as per the map. Unfortunately, one hour later we found ourselves headed for a place called Banana. We had to call the cab’s head office to get directions. We struggled for about another hour before we got to Thika road. We arrived at Karunguru Farm at around 12 pm after a long struggle trying to get our way there Map to the farm.

I was surprised to see that a couple of people showed up for the familiarization trip. We were taken through a 30-minute talk on the history of the Farm.

How it started

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Karunguru Coffee Estate was established on a 300-acre farm in 1928 by the Glassford family. It was later on purchased by Geoffrey Karekia Kariithi who named it Karunguru Farm after his father.

I will spare you the science involved in terms of the types of coffee they plant. You can check it here.

Back to the Familiarization trip. We set out to tour the coffee farm at 1 pm. Our first stop was at the nursery.

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The Nursery

We walked for a few minutes before we got to the actual farm where the coffee is grown.

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Unfortunately, it was not one of those busy days where a lot of (picking) was taking place on the farm.

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Coffee Berry

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A walk in the coffee farm

During the picking season, the coffee is processed at their own factory (Karunguru farm factory), where it is taken through parchment processing to sort out the coffee to ensure and control and monitor the standard of coffee produced on the farm.

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One of the machines at Karunguru Coffee Farm

 

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Finally, the coffee is dried under the tropical sun to retain its natural taste, aroma, and uniqueness.

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After finishing the tour we went back to the house where we were treated to a nice brunch. We couldn’t leave without sipping some good coffee. I am a coffee lover and I can tell you this for free, what we purchase from the shops and supermarket are “just coffee”. The coffee I had at the farm was on another level. From the aroma to the taste it left on my tongue. It is an experience I want to have if I get a second chance.

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The coffee is available in a 500-gram packet.

One more thing, If you have a family and you don’t have a plan for the weekend, why not go for a Farm tour at Karunguru Farm You will get to enjoy a swim and an evening gym session as well. I assure you, that you are well sorted at Karunguru Farm😊.

Disclaimer: This is not an endorsed post

ENJOY!!!!

Wildlife codes to respect while on a game drive

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I went for an evening game drive some time back at Ruma National Park in Mbita. During our drive, we were so eager to get shots of the Roan which the park is famously known for. Unfortunately, we left the park an angry lot having seen only a few zebras and birds. During the one-hour game drive, the driver kept telling us to keep our voices down to avoid scaring the wild animals away. Instead, we kept screaming “Look over there” every time we saw a creature.

Now that I know, here is some wildlife code you should keep while on a game drive according to Kenya Wildlife Service:

  1. Respect the privacy of the wildlife, because this is their habitat
  2. Beware of the animals, they are wild and can be unpredictable
  3. Don’t crowd the animals, or make sudden noises or movements.
  4. Don’t feed the animals, it upsets their diet and leads to human dependence
  5. Keep quiet, noise disturb  the wildlife and may antagonize your fellow visitors
  6. Stay in your vehicles at all times, except at designated picnic or walking areas
  7. Keep below the maximum speed limit (40 kph/ 25 mph)
  8. Never drive off-road, this severely damages the habitat
  9. when viewing wildlife keep to a minimum distance of 20 meters and pull to the side of the road so as to allow others to pass.
  10. Leave no litter and never leave fires unattended or discard  burning objects.
  11. Respect the cultural heritage of Kenya. Never take pictures of the local people or their habitat without asking their permission, respect the cultural traditions of Kenya and always dress with decorum.
  12. Stay over or leave before dusk, visitors must vacate the park between 7.00pm – 6.00am unless they are camping overnight. Night game driving is not allowed.

Next time you go for a game drive, make sure you have a screenshot of this blog post to help you not get in trouble with nature😉.

Below are some photos I took at Ruma National park.

Through my lens: Rusinga Island in pictures #RusingaFest2016

As I watch the waves move in great force, my heart calls out “devour me”. Nature called out to me like never before. I will be honest here, I have seen Lake Turkana before. It does have a large mass of water but, It didn’t excite me at all. It was quite and calm. It was so inaudible, I couldn’t stand it. I am loud in nature. I like it when things get all strange, bubbly and fun. That’s how my life functions.

I remember getting all excited when I saw Lake Victoria. It was around 6.45 pm in the evening. I was in the land cruiser trying to pick a conversation with the guy sat next to me, when he told me “Hey, check out the lake”. I still regret my reaction when I saw the strong waves hitting the shores of the lake. I looked like a kid who had just been given a ticket to Disney World. Everyone in the cruiser gave me a side eye that insinuated “Kid better sit your a** down. Anyway, I don’t care what they thought about me (actually, deep down I do). Moving on. I have a lot to say about my trip to Rusinga Island…but I tell better stories through the lens, so I’ll let you “Kula na Macho” as some crook mafisi’s say.

Enjoy!!!

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Takawiri Island, A white sandy beach. A 45 minute boat ride from Rusinga Island

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Suba bus. It ferries people from one side of the Island to the other.

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Lake Victoria

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Towards sunset.

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Sunset

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Abasuba Dancers

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Boat race competition during Rusinga Festival 2016

Check out my trip to Rusinga Island on You Tube:

Little did I know (Rusinga Tales: 1)

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Sunset in Rusinga Island

I had a good day, except for the bad cold I’m struggling with. Thanks for not asking. Anyway. I am currently at Rusinga Island, at a hotel called Blue ridge .

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BlueRidge Hotel

This is my first visit to this land. Yesterday as I was packing , I had a feeling I needed to carry a heavy warm sweater or probably a jacket. I assumed Rusinga Island is a chilly and cold area. Little did I know…..the place is so hot and humid. I won’t tell you the garb I’m in right now as I write this article (Gosh!!). This place is no different from Lamu.

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I’m suffering from a very bad cold and my body is producing tremendous amount of heat that is killing my vibe for this trip. I don’t know how many times you’ve been to Rusinga Island and its environs, or maybe you’ll one day be a first time traveller to this place like me: Take my word seriously, make sure you carry light attire like vests and shorts for men and for the ladies whatever is appropriate but light.

Just to let you know, I’m in Rusinga Island for the Rusinga Festival that is taking place on 22nd and 23rd of this month. This happens to be the third edition of this festival. I am glad and excited for what awaits me. I’m also looking forward to telling you my experience.

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Somewhere in Homabay

Enjoy!!!!