Sarova Spotlight 5

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ambo and Karibu to the fifth issue of ‘Sarova Spotlight’. The tourism sector is once again celebrating news of an increase in tourist arrivals. Making the announcement, Tourism Minister Najib Balala said the results indicated that the period January to October 2011 had marked a 16 per cent increase in growth.

Company Mission. We are grateful to various partners that have come on board to work with us in uplifting the living standards of the communities around us. One of the communities that has benefited from such a partnership is the Daaba community in Shaba, where Sarova Shaba Game Lodge joined hands with Well Aware and Nobility Project in the rehabilitation of a borehole as well as the construction of class-

After a rewarding 2011, Sarova Hotels, Resort

rooms at Daaba Primary School.

& Game Lodges is geared up for an even more


light’, we highlight some of the fun activities that you

these being the major refurbishment of Sarova

Sarova Shaba Lodge has been awarded Silver

animation squads are always on hand to ensure a

Panafric. The hotel gives a whole new meaning

Certification under Eco Tourism Kenya’s Eco-

captivating break for our leisure and business guests.

to the term Afro-chic without taking away from its

Rating Scheme. This is a great achievement, as Eco

glorious 46-year legacy of pan-African splendour. It

Tourism Kenya commends the lodge’s commit-

We have also put together incisive features on

gives us great pleasure to receive positive feedback

ment to promoting responsible and sustainable

‘Destination Kenya’, allowing one to appreciate

from our distinguished patrons on the Panafric’s

tourism through ecotourism best practices. The

Kenya’s rich cultural heritage as we quench the

enhanced ‘Refreshing African Hospitality’ experi-

criteria for certification cover environmental and

wanderlust for places to visit and things to do

ence. Our focus in continually improving the guest

socio-economic issues. Emphasis has been given

during your valuable time as our guest.

experience across the group, through the adoption

to sustainable use of resources, protection of the

of new and innovative services and products, was

environment and support to local economies

Easter offers a tempting escape for much-needed

recognised through the numerous international

through linkages and building of capacity of local

body, mind and soul rejuvenation. As you plan your

and regional awards we brought home last year.

communities and employees.

holiday this Easter, we have lined up irresistible

We shall continue to reinvest in our portfolio in a

The Sarova Cares Initiative, launched in partner- for details on what is on offer at each of

bid to ensure our guest experience resonates to

ship with the Kenya Red Cross Society last year,

the Sarova Hotels, Resort & Game Lodges.

world-class standards. To this end, major room

continues to enable our esteemed guests to

refurbishment at Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort &

become important partners in Sarova’s community

As we look forward to your continued patronage,

Spa in Mombasa has commenced. We are also in the

uplifting projects, centred on the areas of health,

I would like to sincerely thank you, on behalf of the

process of enhancing internet data connectivity across

education and environmental conservation.

entire Sarova family, for choosing to stay with us.

exciting year in 2012. Last year saw the completion of various property upgrade projects, key among

can engage in at Sarova. Our entertainment and

offers for the entire family. Please visit www.sarova-

the group’s entire portfolio, which will see our guests access stable and speedy internet services.

On the lighter side of life, a major factor in making a holiday or break truly memorable is

Jaideep S. Vohra

Our commitment to giving back to the commu-

in the joy-filled memories that stay with us long

Managing director

nities we work with is well enshrined in our

after we return home. In this edition of ‘Spot-

Sarova Hotels, Resort & Game Lodges





A publication of Sarova Hotels and designed by

Land & Marine Publications (KENYA) Ltd Suite A5, 1st floor, Ojijo Plaza Plums Lane, off Ojijo Road, Parklands PO Box 2022, Village Market 00621, Nairobi, Kenya Tel: +254 (0)20 374 1934 Cell: +254 (0)722 731 003 E-mail: Contributing Editor: Denis Gathanju Sales Manager: Linda Gakuru Photo credits: Denis Gathanju, Sarova Hotels, Shutterstock The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the editor, or any other organisation associated with this publication. No liability can be accepted for any inaccuracies or omissions.

Š2012 Land & Marine Publications (Kenya) Ltd


24 12


16 LET’S PLAY Keeping active while on holiday

4 4


Hell’s Gate

10 Sarova News 12 OurHeritage

Fort Jesus

24 Nakurro

Where nature, fun and adventure meet history and culture

28 OurHeritage

Mombasa Old Town


Abbas Gullet


A cultural homogeneity?

42 Faces of Sarova

Dzombo Mwadzombo and Jayne Mbaya

46 GivingBack

Pupils enjoy a normal school life thanks to well-wishers

50 Menengai Crater

Could this be the devil’s mountain?

54 Sarova Hotels & Lodges Index 64 What’s cooking

35 Easter at Sarova

Special offers during the holidays






Experience the NEW

‘coast’ in Naivasha

Rift Valley town is the perfect getaway





he small town of Naivasha, on the floor of the Rift Valley, is now regarded as ‘the other coastal town’ after Mombasa. But with an obvious lack of white sandy beaches and an open ocean, why is this so?

Situated about 90 km north-east of the capital,

spectacular views of cliffs, rock towers, deep gorges,

Naivasha is quickly gaining a reputation as a

scrub-covered volcanoes along with plumes of

favourite holiday destination.

geothermal steam, then you have a dream destination for an exciting weekend getaway.

Unique national park

Whether you are alone or with friends, family or

Another notable feature that attracts both local

colleagues from the office, there is plenty to see

For many Nairobians seeking a quick holiday away

and foreign tourists to the town is its park. Hell’s

and do at Hell’s Gate. The park is dotted with

from the city, yet close enough to dash back on a

Gate National Park is unlike any other national

picnic sites and viewpoints from which to see the

Sunday afternoon and be in the office on Monday

park in Kenya because of the range of options

various spectacular features of the park.

morning, Naivasha offers the best option.

for getting around that include driving, walking, hiking, rock climbing, cycling and horseback.

Whether you are alone friends,





plenty to see and do at Hell’s Gate

If you enter the park via the Elsa Gate and drive further down the road, you will reach one of the

Thanks to its rich biodiversity, the park is a favourite

park’s major attractions, Fischer’s Tower. This 25

spot for nature lovers. And when you add in the

metre high rock tower is a perfect place for lovers of action sports, notably rock climbing. Novices, amateurs and experienced rock climbers are all welcome and there is an experienced crew on hand to give assistance to visitors.

Fischer’s Tower Fischer’s Tower, named after the German explorer Gustav Fischer, is a giant volcanic plug, the remnant of an ancient eruption. Fischer was the first white man to set eyes on the rock plug in 1883 after being commissioned by the Hamburg Geographical Society. He was met with Maasai hostility, however, and forced to turn back. Maasai folklore has it that the volcanic rock is the petrified figure of the daughter of a tribal chief. According to legend, the young girl was on her way to get married and was warned not to look back until she arrived at her future husband’s manyatta (traditional abode). As she reached the spot, however, she decided to take one last look at her village, and at once turned into the rock plug that stands in the middle of the park. Today, Fischer’s Rock is a favourite venue for climber, while the rocks around it provide a habitat for rock hyraxes and other small animals. The open plains around the rock tower have excellent trails



fischer’s tower, named after the german explorer gustav fischer, is a giant volcanic plug, the remnant of an ancient eruption where visitors can walk or cycle within view of wild game such as gazelle, giraffe and zebra. In addition to Fischer’s Tower, the park contains the Central Tower or Ol Basta. Like Fischer’s Tower, this began life as semi-molten rock that was forced through a fissure and later cooled and solidified to form a tall rock plug amid the grasslands.

Nature-lover’s paradise The park has two nature trails: Ol Basta Rock Tower and Hobley’s Volcano. The park has many picnic sites where visitors can take a break and enjoy the magnificent views. Picnic sites are provided with benches, water taps and shower blocks, rubbish bins and pit latrines.




For campers, Hell’s Gate National Park offers some of the best sites in Kenya – secure, scenic

Sarova’s Group Marketing Manager Peter Waweru scales Fischer’s Tower at Hell’s Gate

and easily accessible. However, campers are advised to bring their own water and other essential items such as walking boots, sun screen and electric torches. The park contains at least five campsites.

birdwatchers The park is also a paradise for birdwatchers, providing a habitat for over 100 species. Here, visitors can catch a rare glimpse of the endangered Lammergeyer vulture (gypaetus barbatus) which was reintroduced into the park in a bid to save it from extinction. A drive deeper into the park will take the visitor to the lower gorges, with an opportunity to explore the long and winding deep caves that

kenya is the only country in africa to have a fully tapped are the Ol Njorowa Gorge. The gorge has hot water springs which, according to the Maasai,

geothermal electricity source

have medicinal value, especially for treating skin diseases and infections. The hot springs are the result of volcanic activity deep inside the earth.

or leaving the park via the Ol Karia Gate, visitors

Hell’s Gate has brought film crews knocking on

will pass by the Olkaria Geothermal Power

its gates for the past 50 years. Among the notable

From within the park, plumes of white steam

Station, where the main road is lined with giant

films containing scenes that have been shot within

are visible. These are some of the geothermal

pipes from the sunken geothermal wells.

the park are ‘Born Free’, ‘King Solomon’s Mines’, ‘Tomb Raider’ and ‘Where No Vultures Fly’.

wells that are scattered across the park. Kenya is the only country in Africa to have a fully tapped

While the park’s spectacular views are a magnet

geothermal source of electricity. When entering

for nature lovers, the spectacular scenery of



WINE REVIEW MARA NYEKUNDU (Red) Nyekundu means red in Swahili. This is a bold yet easy-drinking wine packed with rich fruit flavours, especially raspberries. The wine is made from a blend of at least five distinctive grapes. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot stand out. Mara Nyekundu is a dry red wine with an invitingly strong taste that goes hand-in-hand with a range of Kenyan cuisines, especially beef, to further heighten the dining experience. The bottle of the Mara Nyekundu – like that of the Mara Nyeupe – is adorned with a colourful Kenyan bead amulet made by rural women. In this way, tourists can support rural enterprises by buying the amulets and thus providing the women with a regular income to support themselves and their families.

SAROvA NEWS INvESTMENT IN ICT INFRASTRuCTuRE REWARDED Sarova Hotels, Resort & Game Lodges continually seeks to enhance the guest experience by adopting new and innovative services and products. Over the past few years, this has included harnessing the power of information and communication technology (ICT) with a view to enhancing the overall guest experience at Sarova. Every year, the CIO 100 Awards honour 100 companies that demonstrate excellence and achievement in ICT. The 2011 awards gave recognition to Sarova Hotels, Resort & Game Lodges for using ICT in an innovative way to deliver value to customers. Sarova Hotels, Resort & Game Lodges scooped the following awards: • Special Award – Security: this award recognised the security enhancements put in place by Sarova in regard to e-commerce transactions, specifically online bookings. • PlusOne Award – Hospitality: Sarova was given the award for leadership in the use of ICT in the hospitality industry. • Group IT Manager: John Muthiora, of Sarova Hotels, received the Top 100 award for achieving excellence in enterprise ICT deployment and was admitted as a ‘CIO 100 Honoree’. In a field of over 600 companies from across the East African region, Sarova Hotels, Resort & Game Lodges emerged in 40th position, thus securing a place in the CIO Top 100 Club.

MARA NYEUPE (White) Nyeupe means white in Swahili. This is a lovely white wine with a rich tropical fruit flavour and a distinctive passion-fruit flavour that really stands out. The wine has a splendid feel on the tongue, with underlying hints of lemon. This is a relatively new wine that goes particularly well with seafood. Like the Mara Nyekundu bottle, the Mara Nyeupe bottle comes adorned with a bead amulet made by rural Kenyan women.

Supplied by MIA Wines and Spirits International Email:

SAROvA STANLEy PROvIDES CHRISTMAS CHEER FOR CHILDREN IN HOSPITAL Christmas is a time for sharing. Sarova Stanley associates took time off during the festive season to visit the pediatric ward at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), where they spent time with recuperating children. All members of the Sarova Stanley family made a personal contribution and the money was used to buy items on the pediatric ward’s Christmas wish list. The donation of room heaters, stationery, plastic chairs, diapers, a water dispenser, rechargeable lanterns and tea urns was well received by the hospital community.


CORPORATE LEADERSHIP AWARD FOR SAROvA WHITESANDS BEACH RESORT & SPA Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort & Spa won the Corporate Leadership Award at the inaugural National Ability Awards in Nairobi in December. The award recognises a business that demonstrates leadership and commitment to enhancing accessibility, inclusion, universality and the elimination of barriers that may impede the full participation of persons with any type of disability in community life. Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort & Spa was nominated by Sweet Waves Band, which performs at the resort, for its keen support of the disabled, among other Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. Sweet Waves is a talented group of Kenyan musicians who play a wide selection of African and contemporary music. They share more than a musical bond, however, as they are all visually impaired. But this does not stop them producing some of the finest live music in Kenya.

SILvER ECO-RATING FOR SAROvA SHABA GAME LODGE Sarova Shaba Game Lodge has been awarded Silver Certification under Eco Tourism Kenya’s Eco-rating Scheme. Eco Tourism Kenya praised Sarova Shaba Game Lodge for attaining this level of certification and commended its commitment to promoting responsible and sustainable tourism through ecotourism best practices. The criteria for certification cover environmental and socioeconomic issues. Emphasis has been placed on sustainable use of resources, protection of the environment and support for local economies through linkages and building of capacity of local communities and employees.


SAROvA MARA GAME CAMP DISPLAyS MASTERy IN HOSTING INCENTIvE GROuPS In January, Sarova Mara Game Camp exclusively hosted the Africa, Middle East and Asia diagnostics sales team from Abbott, a leading pharmaceutical company with branches worldwide. Over 170 participants attended the special conference and the Sarova Mara Game Camp team was on hand to provide the signature African hospitality. From spectacular Maasai welcome dances to exquisite dining in the champagne-coloured plains of Mara, the guests had the time of their lives in this majestic setting. Each day had a different theme that was complemented by first-rate cuisine. Activities included visits to Maasai cultural villages and hot air balloon rides. The crowning event was a gala dinner at which guests, dressed in their national costumes, were treated to an array of delicacies, after which they danced the night away at a ‘disco in the wild’.



OurHeritage: FORT JESUS

An enduring symbol of the great struggle to control Mombasa




isiwa cha Vita (‘Island of War’) was the name given to Mombasa in its formative years. The title underlines the violent and turbulent times witnessed by this ancient city as it constantly changed hands between various occupiers. There is no doubt that Mombasa was an object of desire; and the legal tender to own this strategic island was blood, sweat and tears. Thousands of lives were lost, and every time a ship appeared on the horizon, the occupiers of the island braced themselves for battle. You never owned the island; you were merely a tenant until another occupier arrived with bigger guns and more firepower. For Mombasa, this was the case for many years. Then came the Portuguese, who were determined to hold on to the island. In order to do so, they built what at the time was an almost impenetrable garrison that would afford them security from enemy fire while offering a clear view of the harbour and ocean beyond. The new building was named Fort Jesus.

Construction of Fort The fort was built in 1593 on the orders of King Philip I of Portugal, who also ruled over Spain. The aim was to protect the Portuguese from Turkish invasion and to protect Mombasa, an important stop on the trade route to India. The fort was designed by an Italian architect and built by African labourers. Seldom had so many nationalities come together to construct one building. During the ground-breaking ceremony on 11 April 1593 the fortress was named Fortaleza de Jesus de Mombaca by the Portuguese resident captain, Mateus de Mendes de Vasconcelos. Built in the shape of a man, the fort was completed in 1596 with four bastions named S. Felipe, S. Mathias, S. Alberto and S. Mateus. The fort was provided with a double gate system as a barrier against enemy forces. Today,



OurHeritage: FORT JESUS

this houses the ticket booth for the Fort Jesus

1631 and 1875. The Omani Arabs attacked the fort

Museum. There is also a curved antechamber

many times, most notably between 1696 and 1698.

with an alcove at the top – a reminder that the men who built the fort were Catholics.

The Portuguese managed to hold on to the fort partly because of their superior military skills and deadly

The fort is said to have at least three secret

firepower and partly thanks to the cordial relations

passages including the Passage of Steps and the

they had established with the Sultan of Mombasa.

Passage of the Arch. The latter has a tiny sideroom that was used to store ammunition. The

However, this relationship began to deterio-

entrances to these secret passages, one of which

rate after the departure of Captain Mateus de

was used by enemies in 1631 to sneak into the

Mendes de Vasconcelos. In 1626 Muhammad

fort, are closed off by iron grates.

Yusif returned to Mombasa from Goa in India. He was baptised as Dom Jeronimo Chingulia and

Bearing witness to the turbulent years of the

made Sultan of Mombasa. On 16 August 1631 he

past are four canons, called carronades, after the

surprised the Portuguese when he entered Fort

Scottish company Carron which made them. Any

Jesus and killed Pedro Leitao de Gamboa, the

enemy vessel sailing into the old harbour was

Portuguese captain. Goa to retake the fort. The battle lasted two

within range of these powerful guns.

A bloody past

Sultan Chingulia went on to massacre the entire

months between 10 January 1632 and 19 March

Portuguese population of Mombasa – 45 men,

1632 when the Portuguese abandoned the siege.

35 women and 70 children.

Fort Jesus witnessed a long series of battles for

However, the Sultan abandoned the fort two

control and possession of Mombasa Island, which

There was a fast and furious response from the

months later to become a pirate and the Portu-

changed hands no fewer than nine times between

Portuguese, who sent in a military force from

guese retook Mombasa and its fort on 5 August

fort jesus was the first european-style fort to be built outside europe 1632 under the command of Captain Pedro Rodrigues Botelho.

First fort of its kind The fort was designed by Giovanni Battista Cairati, of Milan, who was chief architect of all Portuguese installations on the east coast of Africa. The earliest known plans for construction of the fort are in a manuscript dated 1610 by Manuel Godinho de HerĂŠdia. Fort Jesus was the first European-style fort to be built outside Europe and was designed to resist canon fire. Today, the fort is testament to the







was the

recently world

heritage list by unesco quality of 16th century Portuguese military architecture. The building has also been modified by Omani Arabs and by the British, who captured the fort at one stage. For military commanders who wanted to control Mombasa and the regional trade routes, capturing Fort Jesus was paramount. When the British colonised Kenya and proclaimed it a protectorate in 1895, they captured Fort Jesus and turned it into a prison. Fort Jesus ceased to be a prison on 24 October 1958 when the British declared it a national park and placed it in the custody of the trustees of the Kenya National Parks. Excavation was carried out by James Kirkman and Fort Jesus became a museum in 1962. The Fort Jesus Museum was built with a grant from the Gulbenkian Foundation. Within, the exhibits include finds from archaeological excavations at Fort Jesus as well as archaeological finds from other ancient Swahili city states such as Gede, Manda and Ungwana. Today, the fort is an important historical landmark in East Africa and was recently added to the World Heritage list by Unesco. Over the years, a variety of banners have flown from the citadel on one section of the fort to identify the occupiers of the fort and rulers of Mombasa. Today, Fort Jesus is a place of calm and tranquillity as the modern metropolis buzzes with life further up the road. And on the citadel is a banner that everyone hopes will dance to the

Excursions to Fort Jesus Museum and Mombasa Old Town can be arranged from Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort & Spa

tune of the ocean breeze forever – the Kenyan flag.






families F u n and games for and b u siness g u ests





ll work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and the old saying could not be more true than in today’s fast-paced world.

or holiday, the resort has a great animation programme that could be your formula for a


According to Nicholas Ladu, the Entertainment


Manager at Sarova Whitesands, the programmes

tion – and the Kenyan coast is the ideal place.

are arranged and developed according to the

Everyone who has visited the coast will agree

taste and achievement needs of its customers.

that the pace tends to slow down, allowing of the balmy climate, while others point to the fact that Mombasa is a resort city.


perfect stay.

We can all benefit from some time off for recrea-

visitors to ease up a little. Some say it is because





guests a


relaxing holiday or business trip’

“Our programmes are aimed at providing our guests with a deeply relaxing holiday or business

To cater for these age groups and offer them

Enter the Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort &

trip that further complements the excellent facili-

physically and mentally engaging programmes,

Spa and the equation changes. Here, business,

ties and services at the resort,” he says. “They

the animation team has come up with four main

holiday and play go hand in hand. While everyone

are therefore custom-made to suit the needs of


is rushing to beat business deadlines and taking a

our guests. The duration of such programmes is

quick holiday before returning to work, Sarova

dictated by the desired end-result for the guests.”

Hotels has a unique programme aimed at making

• Ozone Kids Club • Team Building

your stay, especially at the Sarova Whitesands

The animation programmes are not discriminative

• Evening Entertainment

Beach Resort & Spa, even more relaxing and

since they suit all age groups and all the various guests

• Daytime Sporting Activities.

enjoyable. Whether you are here on business

staying at the resort, where on holiday or on business. Members of the Team A animation team perform at Cocos Beach Bar

The Ozone Kids Club is one of the most popular animation programmes at the resort and across the entire Sarova Hotels group, offering a unique programme for children and making the Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort & Spa the ultimate family destination on the Kenyan coast. Programmes are designed to ensure that children on holiday at the resort are kept busy and spend quality time away from their parents, allowing them to relax.

premier club “The Ozone Kids Club is the premier club for young children at Sarova Hotels,” says Nicholas. “The club is most active at the Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort & Spa for a number of reasons, key among them being the huge space we have at the resort. This gives us enough playing space – and kids love space and they love coming here because they can be themselves away from their parents. The parents also love coming here with






this is a favourite destination thanks mainly to the


programmes their kids because they need not worry about the

Activities at the Ozone Kids Club are divided into

kids. They can have a wonderful time together.

various categories. They include Ozone Kids for

This makes Sarova Whitesands the ideal resort

members of the Kids Club, Ozone Tree House,

for that family vacation.”

Ozone Playground and Ozone Swimming Pool.


children lives,” says Nicholas. “We have watched the kids


develop into more responsible people and we

the ultimate resort for parents travelling with

The Ozone Kids Club is a membership

talents that they would otherwise have not

young children.

programme for children aged four to 12 who are

discovered had it not been for such informative

enrolled in a one-year renewable membership.

yet engaging programmes that we have devel-

“The federation has high compliance standards and

The children normally meet every first Sunday of

oped under the Ozone Kids Club.

we have passed this test many times and continue

the month for fun and games, commencing at 10

to do even better,” he says. “Moreover, the

am and concluding at 5 pm. Sarova Hotels also

“One such kid is an eight-year-old boy called

positive feedback we always get on various travel

helps Kids Club members to celebrate their birth-

Samir. We have watched this child develop his

websites such as TripAdvisor has gone a long way

days at the resort. They normally receive a free

singing talent since he joined the club four years

to positioning us as the best of the best and we are

birthday cake from Sarova Whitesands.

ago. Samir will soon be recording his first song in

According to Nicholas, the Federation of Tour Operators has identified Sarova Whitesands as

have watched others discover their God-given

a professional studio and we are happy that we

continually doing more in that area to ensure guest satisfaction that cannot be matched by anyone else.

“We have watched these young kids grow, not

have played a role in helping identify the hidden

This has made us a magnet for families.”

only in age and height, but in every facet of their

talent in the young lad at such a tender age. We



A mini golf course at the Sarova Mara Game Camp 22



wish him all the very best like we do for all the

“Over the Easter holidays, we have a five-day

children that come here.”

programme that is equally as exciting as the Christmas programme. The activities run from

Christmas and Easter

6 am to midnight depending on the tasks to

Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort & Spa has proved

adults participating.”

be undertaken and the number of children and

a favourite destination for both local and foreign tourists staying at the coast thanks mainly to the animation programmes it provides for children.

Crazy Olympics As well as animation programmes, the team

Other animation programmes at the resort are

conducts daytime sports that have been nick-

timed and tied to the two main holiday seasons

named the Crazy Olympics – physically engaging

and are targeted mainly at families, especially

programmes targeted mainly at adults staying

during the Christmas and Easter holidays, when

at the resort on business and/or on holiday.

most families travel to the Kenyan coast to spend

Programmes include tennis and basketball.

time together in a relaxing atmosphere. Sarova Whitesands has four well-kept lawn tennis

Archery at the Sarova Mara Game Camp

“We normally have dynamic programmes over

courts and one basketball court. These have

these two main holiday seasons,” says Nicholas.

proved popular with teenagers and adults staying

try your hand at traditional archery courtesy of the

“The Christmas programme is mainly a 12-day

at the resort. Courts are floodlit, allowing guests

rich Maasai culture at the lodge. While here, you

affair that is deeply engaging for both the children

to go on playing after dark.

can also take to boat rides in the massive pond within the property or engage your family, friends

and their parents. It is mainly spread out for that duration because most families are on a long

Another action sport covered by the Crazy

or workmates to a game of golf at the lodge’s mini

holiday and they stay here longer.

Olympics is archery. The resort has basic archery

golf course. You can also engage in a sport fishing

equipment and is in the process of acquiring

competition in a race to catch and release the catfish

professional-level equipment.

in the pond within the Sarova Mara Game Camp.

different tasks. We never repeat the programmes

Darts is a popular activity that can be enjoyed

If staying at the Sarova Shaba Game Lodge, a camel

to avoid boredom and so as to bring out the best

over a beer or a soft drink at the popular Cocos

safari would be an added activity that would take

in everyone at the end of their stay.

Beach Bar. Also at the Cocos Beach Bar, adults

you and your friends and family through the wild

and children can jointly participate in brain

trails of a Samburu settlement and into the wide

teasers and puzzle-solving activities, especially

open bushlands of the north. The camel safari is

over afternoon coffee or during a tea break.

not only a great way to experience the beauty of

Table tennis is another sport that can be enjoyed

the north, but an incredible way of learning the

near the pool deck, with two tables available.

Samburu culture. While at it, you can compete

“The programmes are well thought through and every day we offer the kids and their parents

‘the are

programmes well


against each other in a lighting fire competition

through and every

water sports

day we offer the kids

Water sports can also be enjoyed across the other




different tasks’

Sarova properties, especially at the game lodges.

using the age-old tested traditions of the Samburu and the Maasai communities. No matter where your travels take you, it is by now an open secret that engaging the mind in a

A host of other engaging fun and games are also

playful mode helps our minds and bodies relax

available at the lodges. These include table tennis,

and reinvigorate better.

badminton, darts, pool and board games. For those staying at the Sarova Mara Game Lodge, you can

So, go on and explore, experience and play.






NAKURro Where nature, fun and adventure meet history and culture





akuru County, home to one of Africa’s fastest growing cities, is a land of bountiful harvests and amazing contrasts. A natural crossroads for traffic and trade, Nakuru is in the agricultural heartland of the nation, thus earning the nickname of ‘Kenya’s bread basket’. Known to the Maasai people as Nakurro or a place of whirlwind dusty winds, Nakuru is today Kenya's fourth-largest city. The city offers residents and visitors alike a host of interesting outdoor activities that can be sampled within a driving distance of only 30 minutes in all directions. To start with, the city lies between the world’s second-largest volcanic crater to the north and the alkaline lake that is home to one of the world’s largest flamingo populations.

the close proximity of lake naivasha to nakuru and nairobi has turned this once sleepy town into a hive of activity, especially at weekends The majestic Menengai Crater is the second-

For those keen to have a proper work-out, you can

rhino as well as the best conservation sites for

largest of its kind after the better known

leave your car at the entrance and trek all the way to

endangered species.

Ngorongoro Crater in northern Tanzania.

the pinnacle of this magnificent crater. The stunning

Located on the northern outskirts of Nakuru,

views from the summit will crown the day for you.

Just across the Nairobi-Nakuru highway is another important place of interest, the Karian-

the Menengai Crater covers an area of 90 sq km


dusi Prehistoric Site. The national museum here


To the south of the city is the world-famous Lake

in 1928 by archaeologist Louis Leakey.

Access to the crater is off the main Nairobi-

the park, which covers 188 sq km, it is easy to spot

The stone tools displayed at the museum are

Nakuru highway via the leafy residential area

game. The lake’s greatest attraction is the more than

believed to have been made by Middle Stone

– only 10 sq km less than Ngorongoro Crater.

has a display of artefacts excavated from the site

Nakuru National Park. Owing to the small size of

of Milimani and then a dirt road. Kenya Forest

2 million greater and lesser flamingos that feed there.

Age inhabitants between 700,000 and 1 million

Service charges an entrance fee to see the

Another big attraction is the park’s huge population of

years ago.

crater. The road is very narrow in parts and you

endangered black rhino and white rhino.

must give way to oncoming vehicles. Owing to

Closer to Nakuru you will find the Hyrax Hill

constant rain showers, the road is lined by deep

Today, Lake Nakuru National Park provides one

Museum, just 5 km from the Central Business

and narrow trenches.

of the safest locations in Africa for endangered

District. This museum has a display of cultural



artefacts from the Sirikwa people, a sub-tribe of the larger Kalenjin community who inhabited the area. The Sirikwa people lived in the Iron Age and iron tools have been found at the site. Driving out of this bustling city towards the western escarpment of the Rift Valley, you will find the Lord Egerton Castle just a few kilometres outside Nakuru. The castle is a monument to what a man in love can do. It was built by Lord Egerton for the woman he loved and wanted to spend the rest of his life with. However, she declined to give her hand in marriage and a bitter Lord Egerton swore he would never marry. Today, the 52-room castle stands in its grandeur and plays host to numerous tourists and even wedding parties. There is no doubt that a trip to Nakuru County will be deeply rewarding in all respects, whether you’re a birdwatcher, a nature lover, a rock climber, a cyclist, a horse rider or just about anyone who wants an exciting, educational and rewarding getaway. Whether travelling alone, with friends and family or with office colleagues, Nakuru County beckons. Why not come and visit?




Old Town

has a special charm





he Kenyan coast is rich in historical and archaeological sites that bear witness to the formative centuries of Swahili culture. Across the coastal strip there are remnants of mosques and other buildings that show the various styles of Islamic architecture using lime, coral stone and timber.

Like other medieval Swahili city states on the east coast, Mombasa retains some remnants of its ancient past. A stone’s throw from the majestic

into the traditional Swahili culture as well as clear

Fort Jesus is Mombasa’s Old Town.

signs of the Muslim influence on the town and its inhabitants.


The only downside to this is that many of the

While the Old Town lacks the medieval charm

ancient houses are starting to disappear. Many

of Lamu or Zanzibar, it still offers a rich cultural

are literally falling apart through years of neglect,

and historical outing that will transport the visitor

while others have been modernised. All is not

several centuries back. The houses in the Old

lost, however. There is now a preservation order

Town are characteristic of the ancient coastal

on the remaining doors, balconies and houses in

Swahili architecture, which was heavily influ-

order to help preserve this historical heritage.

enced by the Omani Arabs. It consists of ornately

The National Museums of Kenya organisation

carved doors and window frames and fretwork

has been working closely with the Mombasa

balconies that were designed to protect the

Old Town Conservation Society to preserve and

modesty of female inhabitants.

restore this ancient city state.

In tandem with Muslim-influenced architecture,


the Old Town has traces of its Indian and British colonial past. Many houses in the Old Town are

The best times to tour this part of the city are

modelled on ancient Swahili designs in which the

early morning and late afternoon when the streets

defining feature was the intricately carved designs

are more vibrant and colourful and the sun is less

on their doors.

harsh and draining than at midday. The narrow winding streets lead into residential quarters away


Today, you will find some of these designs on the

from the bustle of the modern metropolis with

furniture of upmarket hotels in Mombasa, Malindi

its skyscrapers. A tour of the Old Town takes

and Lamu. A walk through the Old Town will

between 30 minutes and an hour depending on

reward the visitor with some fascinating insights

how many stops you make along the way.


In addition to the Old Town and the Fort Jesus Museum and historical site, Mombasa contains

of the ancient coastal

many more interesting sites and monuments.

swahili architecture

the Mazrui Cemetery, the ruins at Allidina

They include Fort St Joseph, the Mbaraki Pillar, Visram School and other minor remains of great interest to tourists.



Man who has moved Kenyans to show more

care and compassion 30


ICONS: Abbas Gullet


t the headquarters of one of Kenya’s most active aid organisations, Sarova Spotlight Contributing Editor Denis Gathanju met the man who has changed the humanitarian landscape of the country. He is Abbas Gullet, Secretary General of the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS). Whenever and wherever there is a crisis, the staff and volunteers of the KRCS are at the forefront. But even amid such dedication to the relief of human suffering, Abbas Gullet stands out. Born 52 years ago in a small town in Garissa County, he is driven by a quest to bring hope to those who face disaster. “We are the first ones in and the last ones out whenever there is a natural or man-made calamity,” he says. “The Kenya Red Cross is today not only the best-known humanitarian organisation, but the most dedicated to helping alleviate human suffering in Kenya. We work tirelessly



ICONS: Abbas Gullet

to see that our people are able to cope with whatever disaster they are faced with.”

Call to action Abbas Gullet and the wider KRCS are well known for calling Kenyans from all walks of life into action during the famine situation in 2011. They helped bring together corporate giants and persuaded Kenyans to donate selflessly to the famine-stricken communities of northern Kenya under the Kenyans4Kenya initiative. Abbas opened our eyes to what was happening right in front of us. Orphaned at a young age, Abbas Gullet grew up in Mombasa, where his adopted family lived. “I was adopted at a very tender age and I never lacked or missed anything in my life while growing up – maybe my biological parents, but nothing else. I grew up a happy child and I was loved by my adopted parents as if I was their own,” he says.

'this is a great country and can be even greater, but we need to have tolerance for each other' “And for that I am most grateful to God Almighty.

As part of this scheme, he was required to learn volunteer skills such as basic first aid – and this

“The ethnic background of my adopted parents

actuated his volunteering spirit.

was different from mine, but they loved me as if I was their own,” he says. “This is what that made me harbour great respect for human life


and dignity. It made me tolerant of other people

He volunteered to work with the Kenya Red

who were culturally and ethnically different.”

Cross in Mombasa every evening and at weekends between 1973 and 1975. This led to

Abbas first came into contact with the Kenya Red

many training opportunities and the chance to

Cross while a high school pupil in 1973 when he

travel extensively.

participated in the President’s Award Scheme.



Fired with the volunteering spirit, the young

“Well, there have been numerous incidents,” he

Abbas devoted his spare time to visiting the

says. “I will forever remember the post-election

sick and weak in hospitals across Mombasa. He

violence in Kenya since it was unlike anything I had

worked with community-based organisations in

ever witnessed in Kenya in my life. In the region,

the city on many programmes.

the events that happened in western Tanzania after the genocide in Rwanda are etched in my mind.


This was when the Tanzanian government force-

“This was a critical time for me because it opened

refugees across the border into Rwanda.

fully sent back the more than 700,000 Rwandese








and I never lacked anything in my life'

up my eyes and I was able to better appreciate human life and share the little that I had with the

“I will never forget the utter hopelessness I saw in

less fortunate in the society. When I devoted my

the faces of the many men, women and children

time, I felt a new level of achievement and fulfil-

who were being sent back home by gun-toting

ment. I was happy helping others.”

military personnel, knowing all too well that they would be ‘welcomed’ across the border by

And so, for a man who has witnessed human

armed militia that was hell-bent on killing them.

suffering at its worst, what has been the most

It was a sad moment for me and all the humani-

moving incident in your life, I ask.

tarian personnel that witnessed this.”




ICONS: Abbas Gullet Abbas Gullet is credited with reviving the once run-down organisation. He came in when the KRCS had lost credibility with the Kenyan people and the donor community. Moreover, the organisation was up to its neck in debt. After working for the International Federation of the Red Cross in Geneva, he was concerned about what was happening back home and offered his services to the KRCS. Employing near-military precision and discipline, Abbas has succeeded in transforming the organisation, which has gone from a US$500,000 debt to a surplus of US$50 million in just over 10 years. “Today, the Kenya Red Cross is one of the most respected humanitarian organisations in Kenya and around the world,” he says proudly. “The Kenya Red Cross is tops in Africa in terms of good governance, management of resources, credibility and a positive image. “But I did not do this alone, I pay tribute to all the men and women who have served and

An ardent sports fan, Abbas tells me he loves

continue to serve the organisation selflessly. I am

watching almost all sports. But with football being

very proud of the entire team that we have here.

one of the best followed sports across the world,

These are men and women who have dedicated

he could not hesitate to inform me that he loves and

their lives to help the less fortunate in society.

supports Arsenal Football Club of London. Being a

They are the kind of people who would lay down

die-hard Manchester United fan myself, I fail miser-

their lives for the sake of another.”

ably to convert him to join the winning team.

Today, he says, the KRCS has an 800-strong

“I follow Arsenal, not because of the titles they win,

workforce and more than 70,000 volunteers

but because of the attractive soccer they play,” he

across the country, and has, in that respect,

says with a big grin on his face.

continued to play a critical humanitarian role in the interest of the Kenyan people.

However, I feel that I have to ask him one last question. This being an election year, why can he

Family man

not run for President?

As a busy man, only a phone call away from

My question is met with a deep laughter. He is flat-

responding to a disaster, Abbas values the time

tered, I can tell.

he spends with his family. He is married with four children, two boys and two girls.

“I believe that you can achieve more and make an impact in people’s lives without being a politician.

“I am forever grateful that I have such a loving and

What I am doing here is public service and I am

understanding family,” he says. “They give me all

helping transform the lives of many Kenyans out

the support they can and I am very proud of them.”

there through my work. No thanks,” he sums it up.



'i am forever grateful that i have such a loving and understanding family'




aster comes as a well deserved break after a busy first quarter of the year. At Sarova hotels, resort & game lodges, the easter holiday is a family affair. it’s a time for your family to meet our family and savour the delights we have prepared to complement this long-awaited season. from our signature Best of Kenya culinary offers to a wide array of cultural and contemporary entertainment, we have left nothing to chance in ensuring a memorable stay for you and your loved ones.

you can enjoy easter with a neo african touch

culture and their co-existence with the wild,

at sarova Panafric, where drumbeats and the

to splendid wilderness safaris. you can sample

strumming of strings will serenade your party as

our renowned cuisine, whether in the wild

you savour our chef’s creative delights.

masai mara, in the heart of Kenya’s ‘born free’ country, by the banks of the crocodile-infested

eASter By the BeAch

uaso nyiro river or in the land of maneless

at sarova whitesands beach resort & spa the

lodges and camps provides the perfect backdrop

fun never ends. This easter, bring along your

for an exciting easter for you and your family.

friends and family for a memorable break at east

enjoy special treats ranging from legendary game

africa’s most fun-filled venue. you can enjoy the

drives to energetic cultural dances – or just relax

culinary mastery of our talented chef and have a

by the swimming pool with a tall cocktail. be

what’s more, in keeping with tradition, our easter

great time with the whole family, courtesy of the

sure to take part in the easter egg hunt with a

egg hunt will provide fun for the whole family.

fun a animation team. meanwhile, we also have

safari touch.

lions at Taita wildlife sanctuary. each of our game

the clues to an exciting easter egg hunt.

eASter in the city

To crown your easter break, why not relax and

tree PlAnting

a quiet city in the sun is what nairobi will be this

rejuvenate at our Tulia spa, where the signature

during your stay at any of the sarova game

easter – the perfect setting for a well deserved

Tulia treatment is simply heavenly.

lodges and camps, you will have a chance to plant

city break at one of the two sarova hotels: sarova stanley and sarova Panafric. experience a traditional easter in nairobi’s

a commemorative tree and thus help to conserve

eASter At SArovA gAme loDgeS AnD cAmP

heritage hotel, sarova stanley, taking you back to

Thinking of taking a classic safari? easter is a

the edwardian era but with trappings of modern

perfect time to explore the wild and unique

luxury. The hotel offers a selection of dining

surroundings of sarova game lodges and camp.

options; from the legendary Thorn Tree restau-

brace yourself for a range of unique adventures,

rant to the Thai chi restaurant.

from getting to know exotic communities, their

our environmental heritage. To enjoy all these, contact our central reservations office or book and pay online at:






A cultural homogeneity?

People from the north borrow cultural traditions from each other

The great ocean to the east, the great lake to the west, the great desert to the north and the great mountain to the south: these are the physical boundaries that mark the great nation in the middle, Kenya. Kenya is known for its wonderful landscapes. It is a land teeming with wildlife like no other nation on earth and, most of all, a land of contrasting peoples and cultures.


arova Spotlight Contributing Editor Denis Gathanju has been writing the People & Places column with a view to demystifying these unique and fascinating cultures. In this edition, Denis goes north to investigate how cultural diversity has influenced the way people live and relate to each other. Although they speak different dialects and come from various tribal groups – Cushites, River Lake Nilotes, Plain Nilotes and Bantus – these communities have much in common.

In addition, this large region contains a wide range of communities that are rich in culture and tradition. While most of these communities are nomadic, others, such as the Meru, are agrarian. They have managed to co-exist for many years and share limited natural resources such as water and pasture. To many of these communities, the town of Isiolo, with its wide range of services, is a natural meeting point. For instance, the trading outpost will soon help

The Northern Frontier District, which starts

transform the livelihoods of the Meru people,

from the future resort city of Isiolo, is one of the

who live on the slopes of Mount Kenya and to

least explored regions of our country. While the

the east of Isiolo town.

area has little in the way of historical heritage, it has one of the largest diversities of wildlife in

The Kenyan government is in the process of

the country.

establishing a resort city in Isiolo. This city will




be at the crossroads of two major trading routes

Merians (Meru people) are a Bantu-speaking

which the government is seeking to open up

group who are mainly agrarian and keep some



domestic livestock. The word Meru is used to

neighbour, Ethiopia, and the new Republic of

refer to the people as well as their location, since

Southern Sudan.

the main trading and commercial capital of the





Meru people is called Meru.

Merus are a Bantu-

For the Meru community, that will go a long way towards enhancing exports of the miraa

The Meru have a detailed yet confusing and

(khat) which they produce from their farms. The

intriguing history and mythology. Legend has it that

Kenyan government is building an international

the Meru were once enslaved by the ‘red people’.

are mainly agr arian

airport in Isiolo town.

However, they managed to escape from their


Culture of the Meru

speaking group and keep


domestic livestock

masters and, in their exodus, came across a large water body that they called Mbwaa. Legend has it that they managed to cross these waters magically.

The Meru community live in the upper mid eastern region of the country, north of Mount

Once across the water, they followed a route

Kenya, in a rich agricultural region.

that took them to the hills of Marsabit. They continued their travels further down and eventually reaching the Indian Ocean. They stayed there for a while but, owing to the poor climatic conditions and constant threats from the Arabs, the community was forced to travel inland through the Tana River basin until they finally reached the Mount Kenya area, where they settled and remain to this day.

Passage into adulthood As in most African cultures, male and female circumcision is an important rite of passage into adulthood for the Meru. However, it must be noted that this rite of passage was embraced by the Meru only after they had settled into their current location, perhaps owing to the influence of other neighbouring communities such as the Kikuyu to the south, the Turkana, the Samburu and the Borana to the north. Nonetheless, male and female circumcision has since been deeply engrained in the Meru culture and has become a mandatory path to adulthood. Circumcision was preceded by two preparatory ceremonies, namely, the igiita ria kugerua matu (the ritual for marking the spots where ear



perforation would be performed) and the igiita ria guturwa matu (the ritual of the actual ear perforation). After these rituals came the actual circumcision, following the same customs as performed by the Kikuyus.

council of elders Apart from circumcision, the age-set system among the Meru, which is known as Mwerega, was heavily influenced by its neighbours, mainly the Borana, the Turkana and the Samburu. Under the system, young circumcised boys and girls would enter a particular age group, dictated largely by the actual time or season they were circumcised. The Meru council of elders, known as the Njuuri Ncheke, is perhaps the most august institution among the Meru people. The decisions made by the Njuuri Ncheke were largely binding. The council of elders mainly ruled and continue to rule on matters that touch on the Meru culture.

Colourful Samburu The Samburu, to the north-west of the Meru community, are a community that has influenced Meru culture in one way or another. The Samburu were given this name by their neighbours because of their colourful traditional garb. The name Samburu means ‘butterflies’. Before they acquired this name, the Samburu were known as the Loikop. Like their Maasai

The Meru have a somewhat detailed, and





and mythology




cousins, the Samburu have an intricate and fasci-

ally handed down through the ages, setting up a

Samburu people, for instance, have always advo-

nating culture. However, the Samburu have a

system of age hierarchy and respect for tradition

cated marrying people outside their clans and

deeper appreciation of beauty and this is shown

that bolsters the whole society.

even from other communities. They do not mind marrying people from different communities

by the amount of attention and detail they put into physical appearance and personal adornment.


such as those of the Turkana, Rendille, Borana and Maasai.

And, just like the Meru people who have This delicacy and beauty is in deceptive contrast

borrowed some cultural attributes, the Samburu

to their fearsome reputation for hunting and

have borrowed cultural practices from the

fighting prowess. Warriorhood and initiation

Rendille, a community that lives further north.

Such marriages are not treated as special by the

are the backbone of the Samburu community.

Most recently, the Samburu have taken to

respective communities. For the Turkana, for

Age-sets of youths initiated together maintain

keeping camels. Over the years, the Samburu

instance, if one of their girls is being married off to

lifelong bonds. The Meru community has

have formed a close relationship with the Turkana

a person from a different community, then they

borrowed this age-set system from the Samburu.

and the Rendille communities from the north.

(the community of the man) would have to follow


the dowry negotiations and marriage customs of The Samburu pass cultural traditions from one

However, one of the common denominators

the Turkana people. This stance is adopted by all

age-set to the next through a custom known

that have successfully brought these communi-

the communities, including the Samburu, Borana

as Olpiroi (fire stick). Thus a fire stick is liter-

ties closer together has been intermarriage. The

and Meru.



The Samburu were given this name




because of their colourful tr aditional garb




THE FACES OF SAROVA R ashid Dzombo Mwadzombo Resident artist, Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort & Spa


e dropped out of school for lack of school fees, but armed with a deep determination and a positive outlook on life, he has managed to overcome the odds and a poor background to stand tall.

If you are attending a business conference at the

With time, Rashid was able to buy professional

Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort & Spa and you

brushes that allowed him to do the job with more

notice the giant conference logo of your company

precision and achieve better results.

and other insignia strategically positioned in the conference hall, you can be sure that Rashid is the

In order to improve his skills and ensure he was

man behind that creation.

at the top of his game, Rashid enrolled for a tech-

Today, his works evoke a sense of awe and

nical course in signwriting at the Christian Industrial

amazement at the same time. He has achieved

Rashid’s story is one of hard work, determina-

Training Centre in 2003. He also did a course in 2005

this through sheer hard work and a strong sense

tion and a passion to excel in his field. The young

at the Mombasa Industrial Training College, where he

of self-belief. This soft-spoken fellow is humble

Rashid did not let his lack of completing school tie

sat for his Trade Test III in Painting and Decoration.

and, when you couple that to the high team spirit

him down. Instead, he decided to acquire technical

he has in him, you have a winner.

skills as a motor vehicle mechanic in Mombasa. It

“I started working with Sarova soon after I did the

was while he was working in a garage that he acci-

staff canteen painting in 1998,” says Rashid. “First

Meet Rashid Dzombo Mwadzombo. While not

dentally discovered his hidden talent. The young lad

I worked with Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort &

many people have had the pleasure of meeting

would chew on coconut sticks which turned into a

Spa as a casual before I was given a work contract

this ever-smiling young man, many have been

brush and he did some signwriting.

with Sarova in 2002. However, the work here

impressed by his work. Take a walk at the Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort & Spa and you will see

continued to increase and I became a full-time


employee in 2007.”

Soon, he started making money from his sign-

Today, Rashid heads the creation team at Sarova

Rashid and his team are the brains behind these

writing as the owners and drivers of matatus – the

Whitesands. He has learned a lot from the whole

inspiring works, from the well decorated Ozone

local minibuses – kept asking him to paint designs

team at Sarova Whitesands and this has improved

Kids Club hall on top of the pavilions to the

on their vehicles to make them attractive. Having

his interpersonal skills both as an individual and as

awesome giant works that are displayed at the

discovered a trade thanks to his hidden talent,

a professional.

entrance of this beach resort.

Rashid decided that the sky was his limit and he

many examples of his work.

never looked back.

“One of my proudest moments was when I did a portrait of a repeat guest at Sarova Whitesands,”

R ashid and his team

“My big break came when I did a painting at the

he says. “I never knew that someone would be

Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort & Spa staff

moved to tears by a painting I had created. But

are the br ains behind

canteen,” says Rashid. “A friend of mine who had

the most important thing was that I had made

been working at the hotel asked me to work on

someone feel appreciated through my works.”

these inspiring works



the painting. The painting was loved by everyone and soon I started getting small jobs from Sarova

Rashid is married with two boys, aged 14 and four,

and other hotels at the coast.”

and says he is proud to be part of the Sarova family.

‘I never knew that someone would be moved to tears by a painting I had created’



THE FACES OF SAROVA Jane Mbaya Assistant engineer at Sarova Panafric It is often said that machines and women never mix. But one determined lady was willing to go the extra mile and prove the critics wrong. The funny thing is, she had no clue in the world that she wanted to be an engineer


am Jane Mbaya, the unit assistant engineer at Sarova Panafric Hotel. I was very articulate and loved debate when I was young and my parents encouraged me to be a lawyer. But, in actual fact, I did not know what I wanted to become.

course, my father wasn’t happy about this, but he said nothing. After struggling with the radio for a while, I was able to make it work.

environment that I encountered here helped me a great deal.

overhaul Sarova Panafric was in the process of undergoing overhaul the lobby and some of the rooms. I

ment was immense for me. And I would say that

had to oversee this, and when you throw into

that opened a new door in my life that no-one

the works a new administration block that was

could shut. My next encounter with things technical also happened at our rural home when

just wanted to keep myself busy. It was then that

we were installing a solar lighting system. I was

I noticed a spoilt radio in the house. Out of sheer

so engrossed in what the solar engineers were

curiosity, I opened it up and investigated.

doing and I followed all the wiring and connec-

‘i joined sarova hotels almost


tions that they did. And it was then that I realised

after i gr aduated and

that I had a liking for making things work and I

I was thrust right

thought to myself, why not be an engineer?

I knew nothing about radios and how they make it work. It was all purely trial and error. Of

the deep end. However, the favourable work

a major refurbishment programme that would

upcountry. I had pretty nothing much to do and I

operated and I was curious to see if I could

graduated and, admittedly, I was thrust right into

The excitement that came with this achieve-

This changed one school holiday while I was


I joined Sarova Hotels almost immediately after I

into the deep end’

degree The thought fascinated me so much that I shared

simultaneously being erected at the head office,

it with my parents. They did not discourage me,

you have at your hands a huge challenge. And to

but I remember my dad asking me to take time

cap it all, I was eight months pregnant. The entire

the r adio for a while, i

and think it through.

process was energy-sapping as it involved a lot of

was able to make it work.

But I already had made up my mind when I


was called to Moi University to do my degree

But the joy of it all is that I managed to pull it

programme in production and mechanical

through and I delivered my first baby a month

engineering. The programme was tough and

after the completion of the refurbishment of

challenging, but I enjoyed it all along.

the lobby.









walking around to supervise the works.



school life Pupils enjoy a normal

thanks to well-wishers


ducation, it is often said, is the key to a better and brighter future. This could not be truer than in a fast-paced world that has been changing by the day, thanks to the advancement of technology.

I have come across. For these children, going to school is fun and affords them a better chance to achieve a bright future in spite of hardship. It was not always so rosy for the youngsters, however. Just a few years ago, learning was not

In a remote corner of Isiolo County, on the

much fun at this outpost. A few years ago, the big

western edge of the Shaba Game Reserve, the

tree that stands in the middle of the compound

midday sun seems to roast everything in the

was the main classroom for the young minds.

open. A cloud of dust swirls through the dry, open rangelands. The peace and quiet is interrupted by

Here, they were at the mercy of the elements.

the noisy cheers of young minds at work.

The scorching sun would make it almost unbearable, the strong morning and afternoon winds

This is Daaba Primary School, a remote institu-

would blow away their books, and the occasional

tion in the middle of nowhere. However, the

rains would make the bare ground, where they

pupils are as enthusiastic about learning as any

sat and wrote, muddy and uncomfortable.



Children at Daaba Primary School play football in the school’s dusty playground




Fast forward to today, and the children at this

the cover of trees and learning was very difficult,

school can boast of superior classrooms that

very unpleasant. Sarova Hotels and other well-

have been provided through donations from

wishers are helping change and shape the future


of these young children though the construction of these classrooms and donation of books.”

Some of these well-wishers include the staff of Sarova Shaba Game Lodge, who have gener-

With the completion of these two new class-

ously contributed to the building of two new


classrooms. Furthermore, the staff have donated

classrooms for all the children from Class 1 to

desks for the children, and this has gone a long

Class 8.






way towards enhancing education standards at the institution.


Charles Lokosio, the head teacher at Daaba

Adding further to their fortunes, Sarova Shaba

Primary School, says the institution has made

Game Lodge has teamed with Nobility Inter-

giant strides from what it was just five years ago.

national to provide a new solar water pumping

borehole. This proved a dangerous undertaking

system at a borehole located only a stone’s

because the wells are deep.

“We are most grateful to the Sarova Shaba Game

throw from the school. “We lost a six-year-old girl in 2009 when she fell

Lodge for facilitating the construction of this new block of classrooms in our school,” he says.

“This means that the school and the entire

into one of the open wells while trying to draw

“Their support means a lot for us as a school and

community can now gain access to clean and

water from the well,” says Charles. “Another boy

community and we will remain forever grateful

safe drinking water and most of the kids can now

was serious injured when he fell into another well

for their continued support.

devote more time to their studies,” says Charles.

while fetching water. The new solar-powered

“Five years ago, we did not have a single class-

Before that, he says, the youngsters would break

room, our students attended their classes under

from school early to fetch water from an open

water pumping system comes as a relief to the school and the entire community at Daaba.” With this new development, Charles hopes the school will one day benefit from a solar lighting system that will enable it to hold evening classes. “We currently have only four teachers, including myself, catering for about 228 children from class one to eight,” he says. “With the installation of a solar lighting system at the school, we would be in a better position to have evening classes so that we can teach in shifts. And since this is the only school within this area, we expect to have a larger number of children enrolling at the school.” For now, however, the sky’s the limit for these children because they can have their lessons in a better, cleaner and more secure environment – thanks to Sarova Shaba Game Lodge and other well-wishers.



‘the new solarpowered




comes as a relief to



and to the entire community’






THE DEVIL'S MOUNTAIN? Menengai cRaTeR insPiRes aWe and adMiRaTiOn in eQUal MeasURe




o some, this is the most beautiful landscape on earth; to others, it is a place occasionally visited by the gods, and where prayers are quickly answered. To other people, however, these ‘mountains’ are shrouded in mystery and provide a place for demons to roam freely.

Whatever your views or beliefs, one thing is certain: the Menengai Crater is breathtakingly beautiful. But if you put its sheer beauty aside and question the local people about the mysteries that surround the crater, you may be surprised by the responses you get.

The devil’s kitchen? I recall on two occasions, while still in primary school, when I overheard one of our Swahili teachers mention that this crater was full of evil spirits. He said that every time he had gone to the crater, there were spots down there that were always emitting smoke, even on rainy days.

the thought of superhuman creatures and ghosts roaming the grounds would scare the living daylights out of me It is such legends and mysterious stories that “That is the devil’s kitchen,” a frightened me

while looking around and have got lost for hours

have earned the crater the title ‘Kirima kia ngoma’,

would say. And to be honest, the mere thought

before finally resurfacing, without having any clue

meaning ‘the mountain of the devils’. It is said that in

of superhuman creatures and ghosts roaming the

about what transpired during their disappear-

the late 1950s and early 1960s ghosts used to farm

very grounds I stood on would scare the living

ance. Their memory is hazy. This unexplained

on a fertile strip of land on the floor of the crater.

daylights out of me.

confusion, say the locals, is the work of the devil


and the evil spirits that roam the crater.

violent battles

Other mystery theories put forward by the locals

Mysteries aside, historians say the area around

According to the local people, these theories are

including sightings of the devil riding a motor-

the crater was a scene of violent battles between

true. For them, this is not a holy place. They speak

cycle in the early morning and evening. There is

the Laikipia Maasai, who did not recognise the

of various unexplained and often incomprehensible

also the widespread allegation of an unexplained

authority of the Laibon, the spiritual leader of

occurrences to justify their claims.

‘flying umbrella’ which, according to the locals,

the Maasai, and the Ilpurko Maasai. In one of the

appears across the crater whenever it rains.

defining battles, the Laikipia Maasai morans are

Other people, say the locals, have come to

They say the umbrella belongs to the devil as he

said to have been thrown into the caldera by the

explore the crater, but have become confused

shelters himself from the pouring rain.

Ilpurko Maasai morans.



Menengai Crater The Menengai Crater is described as a collapse caldera, which means it was formed as a result of volcanic eruption. Little research or available data is available about the crater, but it is believed to have been formed over 3 million years ago and to have first erupted about 20,000 years ago. The last eruption is said to have occurred about 1,400 years ago.

volcanic Geologists regard a collapse crater as an important volcanic structure because it has a huge geothermal potential and could have rich mineral deposits. Even though it is classified as a dormant volcano, the crater has signs of deep volcanic activity. The Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has identified new geothermal wells to generate power, while new wells are constantly being explored. The main viewpoint at the peak of the crater gives visitors an astonishing panorama of the caldera and the Rift Valley. Lake Baringo lies north of the crater and to the south is Lake Nakuru. At the peak, 2,300 metres above sea level, is a signpost giving distances to world capitals such as New York, London and New Delhi. While the crater is the subject of numerous Mysteries aside, the Menengai Crater is a

theories, it has a rich biodiversity that it supports

wonderful place to explore. For many, hiking up

within the greater Menengai Forest ecosystem.

to the crater’s peak offers a unique opportunity of

However, no comprehensive research has been

seeing this gem in Nakuru while at the same time

conducted on the resident flora and fauna within

offering quality bonding time for families, friends

and around the crater.

or workmates on a weekend getaway. Among the animals found in and around the It was this battle of the Maasai that gave the crater its name. ‘Menengai’ is a Maasai word meaning ‘corpse’ in reference to the Maasai morans who died when

World’s second-largest crater

they were throw off the cliff into the crater. Histo-

In geological circles, the Menengai Crater is the

rians believe this battle took place in 1854.

world’s second-largest crater in size. It covers an area of about 90 sq km – only 10 sq km less than

It is said that if you stand still by the rim of the

the world’s largest crater, the Ngorongoro Crater

crater, you will hear the moaning spirits of the

in northern Tanzania. The crater has a diameter

dead Maasai cry out in the wind.

of about 12 km and a depth of 485 metres.

Menengai Crater are rock and tree hyraxes, olive baboons, black-faced vervet monkeys, reedbucks, bush squirrels, tortoises, porcupines and dik diks.

Excursions to Menengai Crater can be organised from Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge



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LuXury HOTeL WITH A dASH OF edWArdIAn SpLendOur From the day in 1902 when it first opened its doors, Sarova Stanley, a five-star hotel in nairobi, has been making history by hosting royal safaris and a long line of living legends. The moment you pass through the century-old revolving doors, you enter another world. The heat and bustle of modern nairobi are left behind as you adjust to the cool victorian elegance of Sarova Stanley. The spacious foyer, with its patterned marble floors, chesterfields, antique clocks and ancient photographs, will take you back in time. Sarova Stanley is more than a hotel. It is the home of great events, wonderful memories, legendary characters and an enduring legacy. Indeed, the history of nairobi and Sarova Stanley Hotel are inextricably linked. As Kenya’s first luxury hotel, it has always occupied a special place in nairobi’s heart. Kenya’s first locally brewed beer was served at the hotel’s long bar in 1923. ewart grogan, who walked from the Cape to Cairo to prove his love for a woman, slaked his considerable thirst here. So, too, did ernest Hemingway, denys Finch Hatton and edward, prince of Wales. At Sarova Stanley, the stars came out at night. Cinema legends such as Ava gardner, Clark gable and Stewart granger have all stayed here.



Today, Sarova Stanley has preserved its heritage character while offering modern hotel services and amenities to create nairobi’s most special city hotel experience. This is underlined by the accolades that the hotel has continued to receive. They include Kenya’s Leading Hotel at World Travel Awards 2010 and 2011; Kenya’s Luxury Business Hotel at World Luxury Hotel Awards 2010 and 2011; and Kenya’s best City Hotel at Kenya Tourism Awards 2011.

aUThenTic Sarova Stanley has 217 guest rooms on eight fl oors in various categories including Heritage Suites, executive Suites and Club rooms. dining facilities include the legendary Thorn Tree Café, the Thai Chi restaurant (voted the most authentic Thai restaurant in east Africa), the exchange Bar (former venue for nairobi’s fi rst stock exchange), the pool deck restaurant and 24-hour in-room dining. Business facilities include wireless internet, a fully equipped business centre, meeting rooms of various sizes and secretarial services. The heated pool on the fi fth fl oor adjoins a fully equipped health club with gym, steam, sauna and massage facilities. Sarova Stanley’s mini shopping arcade houses gift shops, a newspaper stand, a beauty salon, a bookshop, a boutique, a curio shop, a chemist’s, an optician’s,

accOMMOdaTiOn sarova stanley has 217 individually air conditioned rooms on eight floors. They include: 1 Presidential suite 1 Penthouse 2 courier single beds 16 executive suites, 3 junior suites and 2 state suites 32 club rooms 160 deluxe rooms.

a locksmith, an art gallery and car rental outlets. guests can ask for a historical tour of the hotel to view old photographs and heritage suites. Sarova Stanley, part of Sarova Hotels, resort & game Lodges, is a member of the preferred Hotels group (pHg), a prestigious selection of privately owned and managed hotels worldwide.

A nAMe InSpIred By KenyA’S MOveMenT FOr peACe And HArMOny As many nations across Africa achieved independence and the pan African Movement began to gain traction among African leaders at the time, it has to be remembered that one hotel, perched on a small hill overlooking nairobi, opened its doors and welcomed African leaders who were inspired by the dream of a harmonious continent. Sarova panafric has lived up to its billing. Inspired by the pan African Movement, the Sarova panafric has remained true to its calling. Today, the hotel features a unique blend of colours and shades inspired by various African leaders and nations who embraced the movement. It was officially opened by the then Kenyan president, Jomo Kenyatta, in 1965 at the height of the pan African Movement, which was championed by African independence heroes such as the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya and the late Kwame nkrumah of ghana. Towering above other hotels in the city, this four-star property benefits from a unique location in a quiet neighbourhood, only a short walk from central nairobi. This makes it ideal for leisure tourists stopping over on their way to or from the safari circuit. Its tranquil atmosphere is equally well suited to business travellers staying in nairobi who would like a quiet evening as they work from their hotel or relax in the evening after a hectic business schedule.

guests at Sarova panafric can now experience a redefinition of refreshing African hospitality. The hotel has a brand-new entrance foyer, lobby and reception area, all themed in neo-African decor and tone. The comfortable and spacious lobby offers a pleasant working environment for business executives and other guests staying at the hotel. The lobby’s architectural theme is complemented by newly commissioned uniforms for all staff, designed as a blend of African prints and contemporary fashion trends. To further enhance the arrival experience for guests, the hotel has installed a state-of-the-art security feature and a new gatehouse that will ensure minimum inconvenience and a smooth flow of guest vehicles into the hotel. Leisurely meals can be enjoyed at the warm and lively Flame Tree restaurant, once a watering hole for freedom fighters, spies and foreign correspondents and named after the flame tree that holds pride of place in the gardens.


accOMMOdaTiOn The sarova Panafric has newly refurbished rooms and suites with separate air conditioning in every room. There are 164 spacious bedrooms, well spread on six storeys: 5 suites 13 club rooms 65 superior – 14 twin and 51 double 81 executive rooms sarova Panafric also has fully serviced apartments including 30 one-bedroom and 15 two-bedroom apartments.

Sarova panafric offers state-of-the-art banqueting and conferencing facilities with a range of meeting and function rooms equipped with the latest audio-visual and Wi-Fi equipment. To wind up the day, guests can take a dip in the pool or go for a leisurely massage – or simply enjoy a cool drink to the soothing sounds of Africa’s rhythm.



reLAX, yOu’re AT SArOvA WHITeSAndS BeACH reSOrT & SpA One of the largest and most luxurious hotels on the Kenyan coast, with one of the longest beach fronts, is the popular Sarova Whitesands Beach resort & Spa, located in the popular north coast resort area, less than 20 km from Mombasa. Sarova Whitesands Beach resort & Spa is the epitome of luxury on the Kenyan coast. As well as providing a host of deeply relaxing activities for leisure travellers, it caters for business travellers during the day and helps them relax and unwind in the evening. The hotel has one of the most developed health spas on the Kenyan coast, guaranteeing the ultimate in relaxation for both leisure and business travellers. The Sarova Whitesands Beach resort & Spa has created a unique niche for itself as a location for beach weddings, honeymoons and wedding receptions at the coast. Its long beach frontage, beautifully manicured green lawns, spacious ballroom and large pool play into the bigger picture of a truly successful wedding and honeymoon location. This beach resort has some of the best conference facilities on the north coast and has hosted various high-level meetings and conferences. These have included an international conference by the Swedish-based cosmetic maker Oriflame which brought



together more than 3,000 participants. The conference rooms include the Makutano, Fahari and Baraza halls, all of which are equipped with the latest audio visual equipment and LCd projectors. The resort has a wide range of restaurants and bars. These include the pavilion I and II restaurants, accommodating up to 680 people at a sitting. Buffet breakfasts, lunches and themed dinners are served here. The Minazi Café is open 24 hours a day and serves mouth-watering snacks and a children’s menu. The Lido Seafood grill, overlooking the ocean, is the resort’s fine dining restaurant. With a capacity of up to 45 people, the restaurant serves some of the finest seafood menus on Bamburi Beach and is open every day except Mondays. Cocos Beach Bar is a favourite with guests. This open-air bar is sandwiched between palm trees overlooking the Indian Ocean. The Tulia Health Bar serves health meals, fresh juices and salads. The Tulia Spa, arguably one of the best health spas on the north coast, offers the leisure and business traveller a wide range of therapies to relax the mind, body and soul. Among the therapies on offer are Ayurvedic, Western and Oriental. Therapists can also tailor a spa experience to suit the individual needs of the guest or couple staying at the resort on their honeymoon.

accOMMOdaTiOn sarova Whitesands beach Resort & spa is arguably one of the largest beach resorts on the kenyan coast. The resort has a total of 338 rooms, spread over three storeys, including: 2 Presidential suites 3 Rooms for the physically handicapped 6 executive suites 66 Palm rooms 128 seafront rooms 133 standard rooms. all rooms have a complimentary coffee and tea making facility. They also have a private balcony opening to the sea or with a pool view.

eXperIenCe THe MIgrATIOn In THe MArA As one of the seven wonders of the natural world, where the largest wildlife migration is recorded annually, the famous Masai Mara national reserve captures the imagination of every nature lover. Boasting a wildlife density and diversity like no other game reserve in Kenya, the Masai Mara is the epitome of a bush safari in Africa.

Africa. The biggest attraction, of course, is the wildebeest migration, which takes place every year between August and October. The commotion that occurs as the wildebeest and large herds of zebra and gazelle cross the treacherous waters of the Mara river, to the delight of the hungry crocodiles in the earth-coloured waters, is an impressive experience, to say the least.

When you combine the true spirit of an African safari with the refreshingly African hospitality enjoyed at the Sarova Mara game Camp, you have a winner; because the Sarova Mara game Camp offers not only wild safari excitement, but also front-row seats to the greatest show of all – the wildebeest migration. And what a spectacle that is.


The camp is located deep inside the Masai Mara national reserve, about five hours from nairobi by road and a short 40-minute hop by plane. The camp is set on an elevation surrounded by two streams and is uniquely laid out over the sprawling grounds, which include rolling, manicured greens, a virtual mini forest of indigenous shrubs and exotic trees, a large pond stocked with fish, a bird sanctuary and an authentic Maasai village adjoining the camp, all guaranteed to enhance the overall guest experience of

The camp also provides delightful bush dinners, breakfasts and lunches at numerous spots across the game reserve. It is a preferred destination for bush weddings and honeymoons.

accOMMOdaTiOn The camp has 20 club tents, 51 standard tents, two family tents, a main restaurant, a bar and many bush dining options. The free-form swimming pool has its own pool bar.

The camp offers morning and afternoon safaris in the game reserve, where wild animals can be seen in their natural habitat. The camp has an excellent fleet of safari vehicles and deeply knowledgeable guides.



WATCH THe FLAMIngO dAnCe In nAKuru Sitting on an isolated hill in the scenic Lake nakuru national park, the Sarova Lion Hill game Lodge offers the ultimate weekend and holiday getaway. Its location just a few kilometres from nakuru and about two hours’ drive from nairobi makes it an ideal family getaway location guaranteeing ultimate relaxation. Thanks to its position, The Sarova Lion Hill game Lodge enjoys a spectacular view of the pink-ringed, alkaline waters of Lake nakuru. guests have an unobstructed view of the lake from the balconies of their chalets, arranged on four levels up the hill. The Sarova Lion Hill game Lodge is one of only two game lodges inside the Lake nakuru national park. Lake nakuru national park is a birdwatchers’ paradise. The park is home to over 450 bird species and it is possible to spot up to 100 different bird species within one hour. Sarova Lion Hill game Lodge employs the services of david ole naso, a Maasai with deep knowledge of the resident and migratory birds within the park. david is a talented guide who takes guests on informative nature walks around the lodge. Lake nakuru national park is home to the world’s largest flamingo population. The flamingos come to feed on the lake’s algae-rich alkaline waters. every year, immediately after the long



rains, the famous mating dance, a well orchestrated routine conducted by the lesser flamingos, is worth watching. As well as a birding haven, Lake nakuru national park is a successful rhino breeding sanctuary with large numbers of endangered white and black rhinos. Owing to the park’s small size, it is easy to spot game.

acTiviTies Sarova Lion Hill game Lodge organises a range of activities within the grounds of the lodge and in the park. These include: • Cultural dances each evening round a bonfire

accOMMOdaTiOn 67 ground-floor chalets spread across four levels on the gently sloping lion hill. 46 superior rooms 18 deluxe rooms 3 suites

• Bush breakfasts and off-site sundowner cocktails.

• Morning and afternoon game drives


• Animation programmes for children

• Two conference halls with overhead and LCD projector

• Nature and birdwatching walks in the lodge grounds

• Flamingo Restaurant serving breakfasts, lunches and dinners

• Tree planting programmes as part of conservation efforts by the property in collaboration with various agencies including the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS)

• Rift Valley Bar

• Bush weddings and honeymoons

• Massage tent overlooking the lake.

A unIQue deSIgn In A MAgICAL SeTTIng Sarova Salt Lick game Lodge, 7 km from the Sarova Taita Hills game Lodge, features a unique architectural design and style. The entire property is built above ground, yet it conforms to the traditional homesteads of the local Taita tribe who inhabit the region. The rondavels, built on stilts, are an imaginative reproduction of the local ancestral abodes. The lodge has 96 oval rooms, all overlooking a waterhole. practically every day, this attracts a large array of wildlife, including elephants, especially in the evenings, when they come to drink water and lick the salt.

The sanctuary has a large dam and small ponds where young crocodiles are bred. young hippos are to be introduced to the sanctuary, as well as rhinos. As part of its conservation efforts, the property is keen to make local communities and guests more aware of conservation matters through an elaborate tree-planting programme within the sanctuary.

accOMMOdaTiOn sarova salt lick game lodge has 96 rooms built over two oors. 55 Twin-bed rooms 41 double-bed rooms

The underground tunnel at Sarova Salt Lick game reserve is a wonderful spot for viewing wild game such as elephants and buffalos that come to drink from the water pan near the lodge.



geT CLOSer TO WILd gAMe In TAITA Sarova Taita Hills game Lodge offers luxury accommodation and is the ultimate base from which to explore Africa’s largest game park. The creeper-covered stone buildings bring english country charm to the African plains and guests have the opportunity to enjoy first-class service and facilities in an unforgettable setting. This magnificent property offers a wide range of business and entertainment options, with two conference rooms capable of accommodating up to 100 participants.

sPaciOUs The lodge has 62 rooms with two suites, a swimming pool, a spacious lobby, a boutique, a restaurant, meeting rooms and a conference hall and is located next to a well maintained air strip. The Sarova Taita Hills game Lodge is located within the privately owned Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, a protected area consisting of 28,000 acres of semi-permeable terrain. This in turn forms part of the greater Tsavo ecosystem, which covers about 40,000 sq km.



The sanctuary is home to huge animal populations that include large herds of elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra and resident lions. In addition, the sanctuary is home to more than 350 bird species. The sanctuary nestles in the lower zones of the surrounding Taita Hills. These form part of the eastern Arc Mountains range, which is recognised by the International union for the Conservation of nature (IuCn) and World Wide Fund for nature (WWF) as conservation area of global significance. Moreover, the overall game viewing experience is enhanced, because the sanctuary is located within the wildlife migratory corridors that link Tsavo east and Tsavo West game reserves.

aMeniTies • The lodge features a large restaurant and bar • Sarova Taita Hills Game Lodge has a large pool and two conference halls.

accOMMOdaTiOn sarova Taita hills game lodge has 62 rooms spread over three storeys. 2 suites 20 Twin-bed rooms 31 double-bed rooms 9 Triple-bed rooms

eXperIenCe THe SAMBuru SpeCIAL FIve On the banks of the ewaso nyiro river, in the northern frontier county of Isiolo, sits the jewel of the north – Sarova Shaba game Lodge – arguably Kenya’s best-kept secret. The lodge is located in the Shaba national reserve, about 8 km from the great north road that links Cape Town in the south with Cairo in the north via nairobi. Thanks to the newly constructed tarmac road from Isiolo to Moyale on the Kenya-ethiopia border, access to the lodge from nairobi is now easy. It is in this location that guests can see and experience the Samburu Special Five. These include: gerenuk, Samburu ostrich, grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe and Oryx. A natural spring lies within the grounds of the lodge and waters trickle down in small streams and fountains under footbridges and along footpaths in front of the single-storey chalets lining the river frontage. The well manicured lawns and the doum palms around the chalets provide the guest with peace and tranquillity. This is Born Free World. Sarova Shaba game Lodge is the only game lodge within Shaba national reserve. It stands on the picturesque banks of the ewaso nyiro river. guests can watch the crocodiles at night and early in the morning as they feed on the banks. The crocodiles can also be seen basking on the giant rocks that line the river.

Known as ‘The Lover’s nest’, the lodge has been synonymous with bush weddings and honeymoons, romantic bush dinners, breakfasts and lunches. There are many places where such romantic getaways can be arranged, including The Beach, a large, sand-covered dry river bed at the bottom of a cliff where sundowners and dinners are served. The Boma, within the grounds of the lodge, is a spot where themed dinners are served. Morning and afternoon game drives from the lodge to Buffalo Springs & Shaba national reserve and Samburu national reserve can be organised. Because the lodge works closely with the local Samburu, Turkana and Borana communities, visits to their traditional homesteads and villages are also organised. The lodge is also a wonderful team-building and conference venue for corporates. The Sarova Shaba Survivor challenge is a set of challenging activities that require individual and team spirit to complete successfully. It includes a range of activities such as mountaineering, rock climbing, clue solving and cook-outs at various venues including the magnificent Msilima gorges within the reserve. All this makes for a highly engaging team experience.

accOMMOdaTiOn There are 85 rooms spread over the one-storey chalets, with each block having four rooms. These include: 1 Presidential suite with a private lounge and Jacuzzi. Private breakfasts, lunches and dinners can be served here. 4 executive suites with private lounge 70 standard rooms – 40 twin, 15 double and 15 triple 10 deluxe rooms – 5 double and 5 twin.

Buffet breakfasts, lunches and dinners are served at the Surpelei restaurant, a large, tree-level restaurant. A pool and a lounge bar are also provided.

The lodge has a conference room accommodating up to 150 people. The room comes with audio-visual equipment and secretarial services are available.



What’s cooking

Whole oven braised thyme and ginger chicken with peanut mash potato and herb salad

INGREDIENTS Garlic – 4 cloves Ginger – 2 pieces (grated) Onion – 1 piece (whole) Paprika – 1 tablespoon Salt – 1 tablespoon Corn oil – 400 ml Thyme – 5 sprigs Herb salad Rocket leaves (shredded) Chives – cut into 3 to 4 pieces

Method: Blend the garlic, ginger, onion, paprika,

Boil the potatoes and drain immediately. Mash them

salt and corn oil together to create a smooth paste.

to a smooth paste. To infuse the peanut flavour, add

Dill leaves

Put the mixture in a bowl.

the peanuts to the mixture and cook over a low

Basil leaves

heat. Add salt to taste.

Peanut mash potato

Place the whole chicken into an insert and add

Mashed potatoes – 6 medium-sized

the paste until the whole chicken is covered in it.

Ground peanuts – 100 ml

Leave the chicken covered in the paste overnight

Salt – a pinch

in a refrigerator. This will ensure that it absorbs all


the flavours from the paste. Remove the chicken

Thyme and ginger

from the paste and braise in the oven at 180°C for between 30 to 45 minutes.



Serve the main dish with the cold herb salad on the side. Bon appetit!

Serves: 4

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