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Real Life Stories
By: Amaka Onyeaka
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Kenya is etched in the world map - as a favourite African holiday destination that truly indulges your ‘Me Time’ breaks. Are you the type of traveller who enjoys a kick-back holiday in the lap of luxury and control of your itinerary? If yes - then Kenya is the place for you. A favourite of A- Listers such as Angelina Jolie, Cheryl Cole, paternal home of American President Barak Obama, and not to be left out Royalty {Prince William proposed to his bride to be Kate Middleton there} –

The Republic of Kenya (named after Mount Kenya) is situated in the East of Africa, and lies alongside the Indian Ocean. It shares borders with Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania and Lake Victoria. Geographically, Kenya offers a variety of choices for holiday makers, because though it lies along the coastline for beach combers, as you embark further inland - the Savannah grasslands welcomes you to nature – ideal for wildlife adventure enthusiasts and golf addicts. Populated by 39 million residents, there are 47counties in Kenya each with its own semi-autonomous government which adds further allure to this great nation. Read on to learn a bit more about the joys of Kenya as a possible holiday destination.
Tidbit: Did you know that Archaeologists have stated that Kenya is almost certainly the cradle of mankind i.e. where the modern man first originated?
 
 
 
Lamu: Kenya’s enchanted island.
The island’s history is steeped in mystery and is as thoroughly fascinating as its winding streets and medieval stone houses. With no vehicles, the only means of transport is by donkey or the traditional dhow boats docked on the pristine beaches. An ideal retreat for those in search of a leisurely paced holiday as life moves at a slower pace in Lamu Island.
Tidbit: Good to visit during the three days Lamu Cultural Festival in November – where you will see a showcase of traditional dances, theatrical performances’, beautifully hand crafted artefacts, visiting artists and  many more.
 
 
Accommodation in Lamu
The Red Pepper House – This exclusive hotel in Lamu integrates beautifully with its surroundings. It is nestled between the beach and captivating forests. Makuti thatched roofs adds to this scenery. Rooms are spacious and luxurious, and guests have their own butlers on hand.
Other activities at Lamu includes: trips into Lamu town to soak up the Swahili culture, visits to the ruins of the city of Takwa, sunset dhow boat trips, deep sea fishing, snorkelling and relaxing massages.
 
 
 
Other Coastal escapes…..
South Coast of Mombasa -Wasini Island has palm fringed beaches, white sands, turquoise waters of the Indian ocean, varied sea life, diving, snorkeling, rainforest for birdlife and wildlife including baboons and the rare colobus monkeys.
 
North Coast of Mombasa- Tana River Delta. The great inland wilderness of the North meets the beauty of the coast here. Offering spectacular panoramic views, encompassing a scrubland teeming with game and birds, and the endless rolling sands of deserted beaches – a beach combers paradise
 
Worthwhile checking out the Manda and Pate islands, Kipungani resort, Diani resort, Tiwi resort, Gazi beach retreat and Cove retreat too.
 
 
 
Experience the Safari Collection in Kenya – Solio Game Reserve (22km north of Nyeri).
Wildlife enthusiasts need a dose of Solio Game Reserve when in Kenya. Established in 1970, this private reserve spreads over 17, 500 acres of land and boasts of black and white rhinoceros, buffalos’, zebras, giraffes, lions, leopards, cheetahs, a wide array of birdlife and game which includes eland, oryx, impala, waterbuck, thompson's gazelle and warthog.
 
 
 
Accomodation – ZZZzzz’s
Going on a safari does not involve slumming it out in grotty surroundings. Solio lodge is located within the game reserve itself, and is comprised of luxurious camps and lodges. Beautifully located in the Valley and dramatic slopes of Mount Kenya and the rolling peaks of the Aberdare Mountains – one is surrounded by the very best that nature has to offer.
Only six thatched cottages are available – offering the best of luxuries and spacious private decks. The lodges themselves were built using locally sourced materials and all offer panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
Activities at Solio includes: horseback riding, walking, game drives, trout fishing, trips to Mount Kenya, helicopter flights and expeditions to the Aberdare Mountains.
 
 
 
Other Wildlife reserves worthy of note:
Maasai Mara National Park – Home of Africa’s largest population of lions, stretches across 1,672 sq. kilometers, also home to the wildebeest migration - one of the most spectacular natural events in the world.
Samburu and Shaba National Parks and Buffalo Springson the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River, known for attracting large herds of elephants, leopards as well as gerenuk and giraffe.
Tsavo National ParkThe largest national park (split into East and West Tsavo) and also the most easily accessible from Mombasa. Tsavo plains are crossed by the tracks of the historic Kenya/Uganda railway, which brought fame to this region through the legend of The Man-eaters of Tsavo.
Nairobi National Park– Where else in the world can you find herds of zebra and giraffe, lion and rhino families living free and wild just 20 minutes away from a major city centre?  This was Kenya’s first national park.
 
 
 
City Life in Kenya – Nairobi!
If city life does it for you – then this is the place that you want to be when you visit. This Capital city of Kenya comprises of sprawling cosmopolitan skyscraper buildings. It is the hub of business activities, night life and many more.  Some of the highlights of the city include the National Museum of Kenya, Nairobi National Park, the Karen Blixen Museum, Daphne Sheldrick’s Elephant Orphanage and the Maasai markets.
 
 
 
Restaurants: Kenya boasts some of the finest dining in the world, with its diversity of history and culture combining with the abundance of natural produce lending itself to a broad variety of cuisine. Recommendations of local delicatessens are: Ugali - the national dish for Kenya, Tusker beer - the most popular beer in Kenya and many others.
 
Hotels: Holiday Inn, Tribe Hotel, Leopard Rock Lodge, Gazi Beach RetreatSerena Hotel and many more!
 
Time Difference: +3 hours GMT.
 
Flight Time: From the UK is approximately 9 hours - Virgin Atlantic, Kenya Airways, British Airways, Qatar Airways, Swiss via Zurich, Emirates via Dubai and KLM via Amsterdam.
 
Local Flight connections: Kenya has a good network of domestic flight carriers and small airstrips which allow ease of access by air to the coast, major game parks and Western Kenya. Domestic air taxes are included in ticket or charter costs. Internal domestic flights are dominated by Kenya Airways, Regional Air, and Air Kenya. Domestic Air charter is also available.
 
Size: Roughly the size of France
 
Language: English (official), Kiswahili (national), and other many tribal languages.
 
Currency: Kenya Shilling. US$, £ and Euro also widely accepted.
 
Climate: Temperatures are consistent throughout the year and cool for an equatorial region, ranging mostly in the high 20°Cs to low 30°Cs (80°Fs to low 90°Fs) on the coast, dropping slightly inland and then raising again closer to Lake Victoria.
 
Health & Safety: Consult with your GP or a specialist vaccination centre at least six weeks before departure. However, malaria tablets will generally be recommended as is mosquito repellent.
 
Passport / Visa Info: Visitors from the UK and Western Europe must present a valid passport of their country, valid for at least six months, upon arrival. All visitors are also required to obtain an entry visa – these can be obtained prior to travel through the Kenya High Commission in London or purchased on arrival for US$25.
 

For more information on Kenya please visit www.magicalkenya.com or call 0207 367 0931

Images: Courtesy of Kenya Tourist Board

 

 
 
 
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