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ISSUE 16 | FREE COPY

WEEKEND AWAY TRAVEL COUPLE GOALS

NAIROBI’S ELUSIVE LEOPARD

ISLAND HOPPING THE SEYCHELLES


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t s a l o t s e i r o Make mem alentines forever this V 0 7 ,2 5 s e K t s from ju

Daily flights to memorable locations like Malindi, Lamu, Mombasa and Zanzibar NOMAD MAGAZINE FEBRAURY/MARCH 2019 1 Book your romantic getaway from www.fly540.com or call us on 0722/0733540540


SALT OF THE EARTH On Exhibit Somerset House The International Fashion Showcase London Fashion Week 11 – 24 Feb 2019 2

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@amidoshishah


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Tel: +254 EXPERIENCE

(0) 723 697 346 || Email: info@mbh.co.ke www.msambweni-beach-house.com


ED’S NOTE

MISSED CONNECTIONS...

F

or some reason, I can’t help but think about missed connections this month. The best example I can remember on the spot occurred at the airport in Zanzibar. I had gotten there early and therefore had to find ways to while away the next half hour.

People watching is one of my favourite pastimes and I quickly noticed the tall, handsome man seated a few isles from me. I noted, too, that he kept glancing at me then looking back down, repeatedly. Not feeling bold enough to say hello, I was bundling up my luggage to head to the queue forming at our boarding gate when he marched right up to me, handed me a folded serviette, said something incomprehensible then moved back to his seat. I could see him looking at me intently, smiling every time we made eye contact, but in the confusion of the moment, I placed the napkin in the back pocket of my jeans and shuffled on. It was only later in the cramped loo of the plane, someplace mid-air, that I unfurled the napkin to find a hurried but precise and very beautiful portrait of myself. After getting over the initial surprise, my heart sank when I realised there was no contact information. Missed connections happen to the best of us. The beautiful woman at the airport with a GoPro and some hiking sticker on her laptop- common interestswho keeps looking at you and smiling demurely. Perhaps you’ll even strike up a flirty conversation when you both meet at the cafe counter for some overpriced coffee and terrible sandwiches, but then you both get on different flights. Or maybe it was that man who plopped on the seat next to you at the bar while on your beach getaway, made you laugh all evening, then you had to leave without getting to say goodbye. Maybe it all stopped at prolonged eye contact at the train station, and while there was mutual attraction, none of you said hello out of fear. Whatever the case, our stories this month will sure have you wishing you had made that move when you had the chance!

Wendy Watta

wattaonthego

NOMAD ISSUE. 16 · FEB/MAR 2019 · PUBLISHED BY WEBSIMBA LIMITED, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MANAGING DIRECTOR MIKUL SHAH EDITOR WENDY WATTA DESIGN BRIAN SIAMBI DIGITAL LEROY BULIRO, FRED MWITHIGA CONTRIBUTORS HANNAH SIMPSON, MORRIS KIRUGA, ANTHONY WANJIRU KURIA, THE TRAVELDOTE, SAMANTHA DU TOIT, FRANCES WOODHAMS, HARRIET JAMES, RUPI MANGAT, MAURICE SCHUTGENS CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS BRIAN SIAMBI, ZOLLO NYAMBU, MWANGI GATHECHA SALES, MARKETING & OPERATIONS VANESSA WANJIKU, DANIEL MUTHIANI, LEROY BULIRO, JANE NAITORE, MICHELLE SLATER SALES ENQUIRIES CALL NOMAD 0711 22 22 22 EMAIL EDITOR@NOMADMAGAZINE.CO

NomadMagazineAfrica

@NomadMagAfrica

@NomadMagazineAfrica

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COVER IMAGE: Niels van Gijn www.Silverless.co.uk LENTORRE LODGE, MAGADI

FEB MARCH 2019

8 8. TOP SHOTS This month’s featured photographers capture the gently rolling hills of Taita Taveta, and a safari vehicle against the backdrop of a snow-capped Mt Kilimanjaro. 14. NEWS Elewana Lodo Springs set to open in Kenya, the Kenyan passport is ranked the 8th most powerful in the Africa while Anup Shah is named The Greatest Maasai Mara Photographer of the Year.

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16. WHATS ON From the annual Lamu Yoga Festival to a vibrant Turkana Cultural Festival, find a roundup of must-attend events this season.

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24. GLOBETROTTERS Harriet James tracks down Luxury Travel Influencer and Consultant, Scott Eddy, who travels so much he hasn’t had a permanent home in five years. 48. WHAT I PACK FOR MY TRAVELS Travel writer Nancy Roxanne gives us a peek inside her travel bag.


CONTENTS

28-37

FEATURES 28. COUPLES THAT TRAVEL TOGETHER... If you still have doubts about booking a trip with your partner then perhaps these couples will get you motivated to finally merge those bucket lists. 34. THE PERFECT DATE Anthony Wanjiru Kuria rounds up five activities perfect for thrillseeking couples this season of love. 32. 6 SPOTS FOR ROMANTIC VACATIONS From cozy lodges with postcard-ready views to pristine secluded beaches, these high end spots will sure up the romance factor on your next vacation. 36. GETTING LOST IN THE SEYCHELLES Often separated by thousands of miles, Maurice Schutgens and his long-term girlfriend reconnect in the idyllic Seychelles archipelago to explore its beautiful islands 40. CONSERVATION: NAIROBI’S ELUSIVE BIG CAT The leopard is one of the world’s most enigmatic big cats. It is also very elusive despite the fact that it is found in almost every habitat – from the snow-topped mountains of Asia to Africa’s savannah plains. 46. SPOTLIGHT ON: LANTANA GALU BEACH The Nomad team heads down to Lantana Galu Beach on the South Coast for some much needed relaxation and team building 42. GREAT HOTELS: TAWI LODGE, AMBOSELI It’s a hive of activity at the waterhole with everyone showing up on time for the Monday morning staff meeting. Mr Elephant, the office boss, is closely followed by boisterous baboons who have got to be the office clowns. Soon, all the other animals arrive... 44. ROAD TRIPS We rev up our Land Cruiser 4x4 and set off for Turkana via a rough and rugged terrain that’s certainly not for the faint of heart.

REGULARS 18. KENYAN TRAVELER With the official season of love upon us, Morris Kiruga ponders over the quandary that anyone planning a surprise romantic getaway for their partner might face: to surprise or not to surprise? 22. NOTES FROM THE BUSH With festivities in full swing out in the bush, Samantha du Toit discovers what friendship is really about. 50. BUDGET PICK: SAMATIAN ISLAND Tucked away at the bottom of the Rift Valley in Lake Baringo, The Traveldote discover that Samatian Island is a haven perfect for large groups traveling on a tight budget. 51. RETROSPECTIVE Mo Amin, the late photographer, captures the Nairobi skyline in 1973. 52. LAST WORD: CHILLY IN THE CITY Finally fulfilling a long-held promise to Aunty Rose, Michael swaps the Nairobi sunshine for the cold city of London.

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NAIROBI: The Hub, Junction, Sarit Centre, Village Market, Yaya Centre, Westgate 8

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www.sandstormkenya.com


CONTRIBUTORS

RUPI MANGAT Nairobi’s Elusive Big Cat, Page 40

MAURICE SCHUTGENS Getting Lost in the Seychelles, Page 36

HARRIET JAMES Globetrotters, Page 24

Diving into the crystal clear, ice cold water of the Ngeng River high on the Mathews Range, it is paradise. There’s no one around because there are no access roads beyond the forest at 5,000 feet. Little touched by the human hand, it’s one of the most intact forests left in Kenya – virtually an island forest in the desert. That’s why Mathews Range is my ideal romantic getaway... it is just so deliciously untouched.

My girlfriend and I are always on the lookout for an opportunity to disappear off the beaten track. We don’t need fancy lodges or expensive dinners but instead focus on enjoying each other’s company when in the outdoors. Be it hiking amongst remote Himalayan peaks, exploring deserted tropical beaches or watching elephants grazing peacefully from the roof of our Land Cruiser. For me, sharing these moments with her is incredibly romantic and I cherish them.

Matemwe beach in Zanzibar is secluded and has clean white sands, and that’s ideal for me when it comes to a romantic beach getaway. I loved the fact that each beachchic chalet in the laid back lodge I stayed in had a private sea-facing verandah where one could relax undisturbed. It also had impressive sites where one could marvel at the abundance of exotic marine life including turtles, colorful reef fish and dolphins.

GIVEAWAY!

It’s really easy to enter our competition to win a Sandstorm Wash bag and Passport Holder, worth Ksh 5,000. All you need to do is tell us where you’re heading to in 2019, inspired by this or any of our previous issues. Send us an email with the subject line “My 2019 bucket list” to editor@ nomadmagazine.co by midnight EAT March 2, 2019, to stand a chance to win!

NOMAD MAGAZINE FEBRAURY/MARCH 2019

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TOP SHOTS

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ZOLLO NYAMBU Instagram: @zollz13 This image was captured at 6:20 pm in Mwanda, Taita Taveta County. I shot facing the sun to get the highlighted outline of the hills as well as the lens flare. My settings were 1/1250s, F/7.1 at ISO 320 and I used a Nikon D500 with an 18-105mm lens at 34mm. TIP: Shoot from a high vantage point to show how vast a landscape is or low to show how high and imposing a hill is.

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TOP SHOTS

MWANGI GATHECHA Instagram: @thirdworldhippy I shot this at around 8:00 am. I waited for about 25 minutes for a safari vehicle to get in the right position. Patience is key. My settings were 1/200s, F/7.1 At ISO 100 and focal length 70mm. I used a Canon 6D with a Sigma 70-200 F2.8 lens. TIP: Take your time and scout the subject to see what other opportunities are there. Shooting form above or below can make for interesting perspectives.

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INDIA BULKELEY @indiabulkeley I took this shot of wildebeests and zebras crossing the Sand River in the late morning with my settings being: ISO 500, 440mm, f.29, 1/13sec. I used a Nikon D5 with a Sigma 150600 lens. TIP: I always look for new ways to capture familiar scenes. Slow shutter speeds enable you to create a unique sense of motion in your images. My aim here was to capture the feeling of chaos in the migration.

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NEWS

KENYAN PASSPORT IS RANKED 8TH MOST POWERFUL IN AFRICA Kenya’s passport is the eighth most powerful in Africa. The ranking by the Henley Passport Index, the most rigorous and sophisticated measure of global access, takes into account how many countries you can visit with which type of visa. Globally, Kenya was in position 72, in a ranking that placed Japan on the top, with the Japanese citizens able to travel to 190 countries without visas. Kenyan citizens can travel to 71 countries without visas (or with visa on arrival) out of a possible 218, ranking behind Seychelles, South Africa, Mauritius, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland.

ELEWANA LODO SPRINGS TO OPEN IN KENYA Elewana Collection will open Elewana Lodo Springs in June 2019 in northern Kenya. The brand will now have 16 camps, lodges and boutique beach hotels in iconic locations across Tanzania and Kenya. The high-end tented property will complement the existing 57,000acre Loisaba Conservancy. The announcement underpins Elewana Collection’s dedication to conservation in northern Kenya and its position as one of the largest sustainable tourism operators in East Africa. The camp will offer an ultra-private experience and spacious tented rooms with impressive views that stretch out to Mount Kenya.

ANUP SHAH NAMED THE GREATEST MAASAI MARA PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR Anup Shah has been named Angama Foundation’s winner of The Greatest Maasai Mara Photographer of the Year 2018. His image, titled “Escort”, was of a calf elephant boldly walking between two adults elephants. Anup’s image was selected from 10 finalists. He won a five-night safari for two at Angama Mara (including return flights from Nairobi) and US$10,000 in cash. The competition ran from January through TO October 2018 receiving almost 1,000 entries in that time. Acclaimed wildlife photographers, Art Wolfe, Federico Veronesi and Adam Bannister judged the entries.

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ESPRESS’ YOUR LOVE

dormanscoffee @dormans_coffee @dormanscoffee

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WHAT’S ON

LAMU YOGA FESTIVAL The sixth annual Lamu Yoga Festival will be held from 18th to 22nd March 2019. With over 25 teachers, 150 yoga classes, meditations and workshops in Shela, Lamu town and Manda Island. Participants will experience many different styles of yoga including Aerial yoga on the magnificent Shela beach. Apart from the natural beauty, tropical climate and sandy beaches that define Lamu, an ideal destination to relax, you’ll also get a taste of Swahili tradition and culture, food and a sunset dhow sail. Register online at www.lamuyoga.org

LAKE TURKANA CULTURAL FESTIVAL

The south-eastern coast of Lake Turkana will once again become a meeting place for diverse ethnic groups. The three-day carnival will celebrate the cultures of the El Molo, Samburu, Gabbra, Rendile, Watta, Daasanach and the Turkana. As always, there will be traditional dances, singing, food and other showcases of culture at this unique event that acknowledges the richness and history of the people of Kenya. The venue will be Loiyangalani, Marsabit County in Northern Kenya and it will take place from 18th to 20th April. Call 0719499804 for more information.

10TO4 MOUNTAIN BIKE CHALLENGE

Help raise money for the Mount Kenya Trust’s community projects and mountain conservation by participating in this bike challenge starting at the slopes of the mountain and ending at the savannahs of Borana Conservancy. Riders will kick off at an altitude of 10,000ft and end at 4,000ft, dropping through alpine moorland and more. Taking place between 15th and 17th February, the 10to4 will also offer activities like the Altitude Horse Ride for participants looking to ride alongside wildlife.

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LAMU PAINTERS FESTIVAL

Between the 23rd and 25th of February, painters, sculptors and other artists will congregate at the Baitil Aman Guest House in Shela for a weekend filled with fun, creativity and artistry. This is a chance to bring out your talent or promote the art industry by buying the works of locals. The paintings and sculptures will be showcased at an exhibition in Lamu Fort. Other activities will include a soul concert at Manda, artistic kites and flags, a dhow race and music on Shela Beach. Visit www.lamupaintersfestival.org for more information.


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A KENYAN TRAVELLER

TO SURPRISE OR NOT TO SURPRISE?

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With the official season of love upon us, Morris Kiruga is faced with the quandary that anyone planning a surprise romantic getaway for their partner might encounter: to surprise or not to surprise? here are we going Morris, and are we coming back today?” she asked. Although I knew the answers to both questions, I just smiled and kept my eyes

on the road. We were just a few kilometers past Naivasha. Our destination, as would soon become clear, was a hotel right by Lake Elementaita. It was two weeks before Valentine’s Day and the visit was equal parts for work and pleasure, but she didn’t know that. In my haste to plan this surprise, I’d forgotten a basic rule of surprise getaways. The truth is, I should be the last person to be trusted with surprises. I am not good at planning them. In my overzealous pursuit for the perfect reaction, I sometimes forget basic details that ruin the whole thing. That is exactly what was happening when these questions were asked, but I would only understand that later. An hour later, as we checked into the hotel, I told her we were booked for two nights. You should have seen the look on her face! At first, I thought she was pleasantly surprised but her next question stopped me right in my tracks. “What exactly do you expect me to wear for two whole days?” In my haste to get this done, I’d only told her I wanted to take her somewhere. I was

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however vague on the details and hadn’t stopped to think, until it was too late, that a weekend away needed more mental preparation and details than I’d offered. Instead, I’d grabbed my overnight bag and driven to pick her up. The displeasure with my oversight dissipated as we had breakfast by the lake and then went exploring on horseback. She’d traded her jumpsuit for my sweatpants but every few hours, she’d remember she had no clothes and glare at me. We were however having too much fun to make the drive to Nakuru for a change of clothes, so we ended up living off my overnight bag. December is generally the only month when you’re allowed to play such games on fellow adults. It is said to be the month when you leave the house to buy food and unexpectedly end up in Naivasha. Three days later and you don’t even know whose clothes you are wearing anymore. Any other month and such randomness is to be frowned upon. I went on a trip to Sagana late last year where I only learnt of the destination when I hopped into the van that morning. It ended up being one of the most exhilarating weekend getaways I’ve ever had. The only reason I didn’t bother to ask where we were going beforehand was that the invite had been from my travel buddies. I knew them well enough to carry at least one change of

clothes and enough energy to last an entire weekend. Reminiscing on this was my weak attempt at understanding how my date must have felt when she realized I’d planned a weekend getaway but not given her the details. I’m awkward with being the subject of surprises because I overthink everything. The first time someone held a surprise party for me, I was so unnerved that I didn’t know what to do with my face and hands. Then, to make it worse, my friends tossed me into a pool. My phone was still in my pocket but it survived the dip by the sheer utility of dry rice. Then I could tackle my next problem, which is that I didn’t have clothes to change into. I was going to be that guy with wet pants in a matatu on a dry June evening. That was years ago, and on this weekend getaway, I should have known better than to overlook a detail as crucial as a change of clothes. It’s however more than just being about clothes. It’s also about what surprises mean to different people. Some of us are over-planners and would want the chance to decide whether to pack all our clothes for just one night away. A few of us are children of randomness, ready to travel at a moment’s notice and sweat the details later. What kind are you? Morris Kiruga blogs about travel, culture and more at owaahh.com


AN OL PEJETA

WEEKEND GET-A-WAY Escape to Ol Pejeta and camp under the stars among the Big 5. Wake up to magical sights and sounds of nature, get up close with the last two northern white rhinos and learn how we keep them safe by visiting the anti-poaching dog unit.

CH

* * * * * * *

3-HOUR DRIVE FROM NAIROBI (SELF-DRIVE) EXCLUSIVE USE OF CAMPSITE MINIMUM TWO ADULTS FIREWOOD, WATER & CAMP TOILET PROVIDED CAMPING EQUIPMENT NOT PROVIDED PRICE KSH, 8,800 PER PERSON PER NIGHT CONSERVANCY FEE NOT INCLUDED

GET MORE when you visit Ol Pejeta Conservancy For more info;Call 0707187141 or email reservations@olpejetaconservancy.org

Lake Naivasha

With the private Oserengoni Wildlife Sanctuary at your disposal, the choices are seemingly endless. A one & a half hour drive om Nairobi, with amazing views over Lake Oloidien, is the stunning country home, Kiangazi House. Whether you want to enjoy a glass of wine watching the giraffe at the waterhole, go on a sunrise game drive looking for our many leopards or just relax by the pool, the choice is yours. For Bookings: Call: 0722 200 596/ 0707 645 631 Email: reservations@oseriantwolakes.com

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NOTES FROM THE BUSH

THE GENEROSITY OF FRIENDS

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With festivities in full swing out in the bush, Samantha du Toit discovers what friendship is really about.

he sun’s first rays shone through the tent window signalling a new day. The birds had already been up and calling for an hour or so and I had heard the faint grunt of a lion in the distance. Throughout the night, baboon alarm calls had woken us up intermittently and hyaenas had been whooping near their den on the plains behind camp. A typical night of the sounds of the wild, with one exception. Seyia bounced into the tent with the news that she had heard the bells of Santa’s sleigh and he had obviously landed close by and filled up her stocking, and her brother’s stocking too! It was indeed Christmas day. With glee the children opened their stockings on the bed, gasping with delight at their contents. How clever Santa was to have found them in their tents, and in the middle of the bush, and how did he know they loved marshmallows? The day proceeded with more presents from family, a camp table heaving with morning brunch, frolicking in the river followed by roasted marshmallows and goat around a huge campfire. In the depths of the darkness, the lions roared closer to camp and plans were hatched to go out for an

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early morning game drive to try to catch a glimpse of them. Exhausted children were hauled into the car at first light and we set off. All we found were fresh tracks. Returning to camp, we were told that two large lions had wandered into camp just after we had left, sniffed around at the store and walked out again. A few days later the children and I headed up to visit the family who farm the land next to the airstrip. We wanted to pop by to say hello and arrange for a playdate in the coming month. The family have children of a similar age and they all enjoy spending time together, tending the farm and playing endlessly amongst the watermelons. We were greeted by a pile of watermelons being sorted by size and weight for sale to a buyer who was taking them to Nairobi. We knew that this crop was what the family had been waiting to sell for months to provide them with much-needed income for the months ahead. Every night while the crop had been growing, the parents would take turns sleeping out on a small platform in the middle of the field to protect the crop from marauding animals, in particular elephants. The father, Baba Gloria as the children call him, came to greet us and immediately

insisted we should cut one fruit open and all eat a juicy slice, while he placed another in our car for us to take home. As we stood around with sweet pink juice dripping down our hands, he told us that by very bad luck, a few days earlier, a herd of ten elephants had raided the farm and destroyed two thirds of the watermelons. He had tried to chase them off with his motorbike and faithful dog, but the damage had been done. What was in the pile next to us was all that was left. Standing there in the shade at the entrance to the farm, the unfairness of the situation hit me. As my children had been dreaming of Santa coming to give them gifts, Baba Gloria had lost most of his hardearned crop. Still, he did not think twice about giving us some of what little he had left. I discovered right there what generosity is really all about. Samantha du Toit is a wildlife conservationist, working with SORALO, a Maasai land trust. She lives with her husband, Johann, and their two children at Shompole Wilderness, a tented camp in the Shompole Conservancy.


So delicious it might steal your date.

THE LOVE POTION Chocolate ice cream, banana, strawberries

#SHAREJAVALOVE T & Cs Apply


GLOBETROTTERS

With over 260,000 followers on Instagram and 700,000 on Twitter, Luxury Travel Influencer Scott Eddy has found a way to travel full time. In one month, he often goes to about 20 to 25 countries, flies around 175,000 miles and goes on three or four cruises. He talks to Harriet James about his love for travel.

What’s the best thing about being a Digital Nomad? Being a digital nomad means having no permanent home, and that is very special to me. I love being able to move from one destination to another as little or as often as I want, and I also get to meet new people all the time. Growing up, did you always have aspirations to travel the world? Not at all. My father and his entire family were all policemen and I desired to follow in their footsteps. The plan was that I was going to finish high school, join the police academy six months later, get married, have kids and die. I had it all planned out, but everything changed. On 25th May 1989, my father was killed in a plane crash while in the line of duty three weeks before I graduated from high school. I was just 18 years old and the only thing I knew how to do was be a cop. I didn’t like school so going to campus was not on the table for me. I was confused and didn’t know what to do, but was certain I didn’t want to be a cop because it reminded me of my dad. My friend was working for an investment banking firm in New York and introduced me to the profession which I stayed in for 11 years. From stockbroker to social media travel influencer – why the career change? The firm where I was working was sold, so I took a two week trip to Thailand to visit a friend. I loved it so much that I called my mother and told her to send over my things, and that’s how I stayed there for 11 years! I didn’t have a wife, kids or even a job so I could afford to take that risk. Which has been your favourite destination thus far? Thailand. I’ve never met nicer or warmer people in my life. For me, it’s all about the people. You can have a great experience and

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amazing food anywhere, but the people make or break the country. What do you love about Kenya ? I was born and raised in the States but have spent 17 years in many developing countries. I prefer countries overseas to home because the people are much warmer, nicer and more appreciative. I like being around nice people. Kenya also has beautiful wildlife and nature, and I particularly love the wildebeest migration which I was privileged to watch during my first trip. What are some hacks you’ve learnt about getting affordable travel? I think subscribing to hotels and airlines directly on their websites and social media pages is key. Because competition is getting so stiff, they are always posting new deals and offers. When you book directly with them, you can build your loyalty points. Despite being a Social Media Influencer, you don’t like that title. Why? People put that title in their bio but I think it’s stupid. It’s an egotistical word. If someone else calls you that then it’s fine. You shouldn’t tout it if you are...let others do it for you. It’s also such a small part of what I do, which includes consulting for airlines, speaking at conferences and more. What can you say is the secret to success? I believe I am nice and consistent in my work. Consistency is what people lack in the social media world. I am 24-7 on social media, checking emails, responding to comments and interacting with people. To me, it’s a 24-7 hustle. Do you ever see yourself slowing down on the traveling at some point? Traveling is my life. I don’t know about the future yet, but I’m sold out to this.


@Myenanai ||

Enanai

info@enanai.com +254722592962

* Luxury Suede Envelope Clutch

Enanai.indd 1

06/02/2019 17:18

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Travel and (Co)Work

N

airobi has developed quite the reputation as a leader in the African innovation and startup scene over the last few years. From Obama confirming the city’s innovation prowess by hosting the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi in 2015, to Microsoft also launching Windows 10 from Nairobi, the city’s place in the global startup landscape is firmly reserved. This is thanks to all the great innovations that have put Kenya on the map - home to M-Pesa, Ushahidi, M-Kopa, Cellulant - Nairobi’s entrepreneurs have pumped out innovations that have surprised the tech community world-wide. So on an average day in Nairobi, where do you go to find this innovation community in action? Where can you meet the entrepreneurs behind the magic? Home-grown, with an international flare, Nairobi Garage is the destination for many of the great tech companies entering the market, for ventures scaling up, as well as for local businesses looking to gain that edge in a quickly evolving and tech-savvy market. With two workspaces already active in the city’s Kilimani and Westands areas, Nairobi Garage recently added the jewel to its crown, opening its third location in the suburb of Karen. Now offering a network of offices spanning the whole of Nairobi, digital nomads, startup enthusiasts, and creative entrepreneurs, are able to drop in and work and network in any part of the city. Given the notorious Nairobi traffic, this accessibility is not to be undervalued. Rather than face a gruelling snail-paced drive in rush hour, members can pop into their nearest state-of-the-art workspace, order a coffee, open their laptop and wait out the traffic. And they might just bump into their next big business partner, doing exactly the same thing. Designed specifically with its vibrant business membership in mind, Nairobi Garage has ensured each of the three locations has its own vibe.The Kilimani office is the largest space, and has the most laid back “startup” feel to it - hosting weekly events, Monikos cafe and over 50 growing businesses, across three floors. The Westlands space, with its more “corporate” feel, houses a number of fintech and insuretech companies. The city’s role as a regional business hub is definitely felt in this space. The new Karen space - set in acres of lush green gardens - feels less like an office and more like a retreat from the city. The space has been carefully constructed to reflect the local lifestyle - a perfect blend of relaxation, functionality, and efficiency.

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NAIROBI GARAGE // KAREN VITAL STATISTICS •

FUN THINGS TO DO IN NAIROBI Whilst on your way around Nairobi, be sure to also check out local favourites, close by to the Garage locations - we recommend the following: KILIMANI - Home to a huge variety of eateries. Sierra Restaurant and wine bar, at Yaya Centre, is perfect for business lunches or romantic dinners. Nook Cafe, in Hurlingham, for a more bohemian lunch venue and food with powerful flavours. Both within a short walk of Nairobi Garage // Kilimani WESTLANDS - The epicentre of Nairobi nightlife, leave the office on a Friday and head straight to kick-off your weekend. A great spot to hang out, drink sexy cocktails and snack on yummy Kenyan-classics-with-a-twist: Nyama Mama. A two minute drive up Waiyaki Way from NG / Westlands IN KAREN - Enjoy the calm of beautiful Karen; weekends here are enviable and endless. Visit the Polka Dot Art Gallery, inside the Souk, and be inspired by the art work of talented Kenyans on display. Down the road from Nairobi Garage // Karen.

• • • • • •

Located in the Watermark Business Park, Ndege Road (opposite Karen Hospital) Fully furnished and serviced workspace High-speed WiFi and premium boardrooms Lounge spaces, shower facilities, Skype booths On-site bistro, Brioche Air conditioning throughout the space Complimentary tea and coffee service

WHAT’S ON OFFER • • •

Daily pass // Ksh 2,000 Monthly coworking desk space // Ksh 20,000 Private Offices // From Ksh 120,000 a month, all inclusive

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COUPLES THAT TRAVEL TOGETHER...

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ALISHA POPAT & HANNES ECKMAYR @alishapopat

We met at my aunt’s food truck at The Alchemist Bar. I’ll admit that I made the first move. I saw this tall, handsome man struggling to choose a meal off the menu and swooped in to save the day. My recommendation was excellent, so we spent the next hour eating our crispy chicken poussin together, drinking whiskey and chatting. The best part about traveling together is that we get to fulfil a common shared love for travel, with our individual favourite human being! There’s the popular saying that ‘couples who travel together stay together’. Traveling will reveal who you really are...your strengths, weaknesses, fears and passions. You get to grow together and create memories that make your relationship stronger. The most romantic destination we’ve been to together is a toss up between Rome and Cape Town. Rome was so romantic because having lived there for a while, he knew exactly where to take me and what I would like. Our days were filled with good food and wine, long walks through cobbled streets listening to street performers, gardens filled with oranges and cathedrals covered in historic art. I used to live in Cape Town and knew that after I showed him around, he wouldn’t want to leave. Swimming with seals, wine tasting all day, sunset horse rides down deserted beaches, cuddling in a cave overlooking the ocean listening to Xavier Rudd...this was no doubt one of the most romantic destinations we have traveled together. Travel tips for couples: If you’re traveling to a place that your partner hasn’t been to before, surprise them! Don’t plan too much ahead of time and keep things mysterious by not sharing all the planned activities. Don’t share a suitcase; take your own to avoid silly tiffs. Challenge each other by choosing activities that neither of you has done before. Finally, remember to date someone who is home and an adventure all at once.

CHANDNI PARMAR & NIKHIL SHAH @chandnisparmar

We met in high school when we were both 15, and we stayed really good friends ever since. We however only started dating in our final years at university. Couples should travel together because you really get to know each other. You are together 24.7, and there is no escape! You discover pet peeves you didn’t even know

you had. Traveling together for a few weeks is honestly the ultimate relationship test, so do it. The best part about travelling together is that being each other’s best friends, there’s never a dull moment. We make each other laugh, always cook together and it’s nice to have a cuddle buddy on hand. We also have similar interests so that makes trips all the more fun. When you’ve been together for long, the “remember when…” conversations a few years down the line are priceless. As far as romantic destinations go, Diani Beach is really close to our hearts but I’d say our trip to California where we rented a Mustang and drove down to San Diego was pretty epic for us. It was like being in a movie. We had dinner at a restaurant on a pier and watched the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. San Diego was a dream! Travel tips for couples: Just consider one another’s interests. We’re lucky to enjoy similar things but sometimes there’s stuff I want to do more than he does and vice versa, so just learn to compromise. Our next trip will be back to Sieku Glamping for my birthday. It’s one of our favourite places in Laikipia. Later in the year, we’re planning to visit Italy together, so fingers crossed things work out.

JAN FOX & GABRIELLA WAUGH @goingplacesafrica

We first met 10 years ago at university in London, in the courtyard of our student halls. I was fresh off the boat from Kenya while she grew up in the countryside in the south of England. We were friends through most of uni but got closer in our final year, and I eventually managed to convince her to move out to Kenya with me. When Gabie first moved to Kenya I just really enjoyed taking her to places that meant a lot to me growing up. Now, six years down the line, we’re discovering new places together. We learnt very quickly

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that we shared the same travel interests so deciding where to go next is never difficult. We’re both keen campers, too, which diversifies our options and means that we can travel on a budget. Kenya is full of fantastic out-of-the-way camping spots and we love nothing more than spending our weekends exploring them together. The most romantic destination we’ve been to has to be the Robin Hurt’s campsite in Shaba. We’ve got a real soft spot for this little reserve - mainly because it’s where I proposed! The campsite sits on a broad bend of the Ewaso Nyiro River, and is shaded by doum palms and acacias - what more could you want? The week after we got engaged we spent a night at The Cliff in Lake Nakuru National Park and that was a pretty special trip too. Travel tips for couples: Don’t always rely on your partner to pack what they say they are going to pack before a trip. I’m often guilty of leaving things behind, so double-checking doesn’t hurt. We use an extensive checklist now when we pack for our camping trips to make sure that we don’t forget anything essential. Our next big trip will probably be to take the Chogoria route up Mount Kenya, which we’ve wanted to do for a long time. Not to the summit, but to spend a few days camping by Lake Michaelson.

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BRIAN MUSILI & ELIZABETH MUTUA MUSILI @loveandroaddiaries

We met 26 years ago in nursery school. Brian says I was the most annoying person he had ever met because I was that deskmate who harassed him a lot. We lost touch in high school but reconnected the year he graduated. We’ve been inseparable since then and actually got married in 2017. Traveling together offers room for mistakes to be made and flaws to be revealed. You however quickly understand that there will always be challenges and learn to forgive each other and move on, otherwise the whole trip might be ruined. Traveling together is exciting and always reminds us of the reasons why we are together. Sometimes we’ll set off on an impromptu trip right after an argument. We’ll leave the house mad at each other but once we hit the road, we are always back to laughing and cracking jokes. The most romantic destination we’ve been to is Pwani Mchangani in Zanzibar. The lodge we stayed in was a true lovebirds’ nest. We visited Mnemba island and got to enjoy exciting activities like snorkeling, diving and swimming with dolphins. The highlight of the trip was however our

interaction with the locals at a village near Mnemba. Their stories made us appreciate their struggles, how that brings out the best in them and makes them stronger. Getting to know people and hearing their stories is one of our favourite aspects of travel. Travel tips for couples: Take up activities that involve teamwork. Enjoy some time separately whether that’s swimming or simply reading a book and remember to have fun and make something special out of the smallest of things. In 2015, for instance, we planned a trip to visit a friend in Arusha and what was supposed to be a regular trip that turned out to be a great milestone in our lives. While in Tanzania, we got engaged while on safari in Serengeti National park, and that was quite memorable. Our next trip is to The Maldives. We’ve been planning this for the longest time possible and 2019 might just be the year that we actually make the trip. We want to go diving there and see some Manta rays, swim with whale sharks and also get to see the bioluminescent phytoplankton in the waters at Vaadhoo island.


IROBI NAIROBI EXPLORE

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Travel Guide

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COMING SOON...

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WHAT TO DO || PLACES TO STAY || WHERE TO SHOP || RESTAURANT GUIDE


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SPOTS FOR ROMANTIC VACATIONS

From cozy lodges with postcard-ready views to pristine secluded beaches, these high end spots will sure up the romance factor on your next vacation.

LENTORRE LODGE, LAKE MAGADI

Photography: Courtesy Respective Properties

Nestled at the foot of the Nguruman Escarpment is this secluded lodge where accommodation is in rooms (part tent, part villa) all with their own plunge pool, as well as an Italian-style pool for communal use. For romantics, consider the room with two baths adjacent to each other overlooking the Shompole plains. There is even an animal blind next to the watering hole, where you and your partner can lie in wait for arriving game which ranges from elephant to cats. Located 90 minutes from Lake Magadi, Lentorre is offered on an exclusive basis and sleeps a maximum of 16 people. www.lentorre.com

FOUR SEASONS SAFARI LODGE, SERENGETI

Perched on a series of elevated platforms and walkways, this lodge sits next to an animal watering hole where you can watch wildlife stop by for their morning drink as you sip your own out on your room’s private balcony. Surprise your loved one with a bush safari or scenic hot-air balloon ride above the Serengeti. Take a dip in your private, infinity pool overlooking the savannah then rinse off on the outdoor shower before tucking into a private romantic meal, which can be set up on request. For yoga lovers, walk uphill to the top of a sunset kopje and settle in for a guided meditation session overlooking the most scenic of views. www.fourseasons.com

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SANCTUARY GORILLA FOREST CAMP, UGANDA

Amid the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, this is one of the few places where you might actually get a gorilla sighting without even having to leave the camp. Part of the hugely successful Sanctuary Retreats group, this intimate eight-tented camp is an ideal base for gorilla tracking, a perfect stop for adventurous wildlife-loving couples. And what better way to wind down after a trek than to take a spa treatment. The spa here offers a range of rejuvenating treatments from hot stone massages and mud wraps to foot rituals, all deliciously invigorating. www.sanctuaryretreats.com


WEEKEND AWAY

ESSQUE ZALU ZANZIBAR

Essque Zalu represents urban chic on an island paradise. This resort boasts 40 suites and eight private villas catering to a clientele that like their their modern creature comforts. In front of the property is a huge lagoon-style pool. The Healing Earth Spa offers a long list of treatments including rituals like “Jozani Rain Forest”, African potato body wrap or the Maasai Ritual- a unique two-hour journey of renewal in specially-erected tents, involving facials and full body scrubs. Special honeymoon and wedding packages are available on request. www.essquehotels.com

RAHA MSTAREHE, CHAMPAGNE RIDGE

This quirky property is magnificently located on a cliff top, with the master bedroom perfectly positioned to catch those views. There are four main bedrooms, one a twin, with overflow for kids in the more cramped loft above. Guests can enjoy the built-in barbeque area and even a squash court. Four couples with children, there’s an outdoor one-up, one-down treehouse for kids and a small cottage nearby for overflow. Ideal for three or four couples, but the whole property sleeps up to 12. For those looking for a writing retreat, a modern office overlooks the ridge. Try working though, with those views. Contact the owners via Airbnb.

DHEVATARA BEACH HOTEL, SEYCHELLES

If you really want to push the boat out, spoil your partner with a trip to this island idyll. Located on the pristine island of Praslin, this beautiful boutique beachfront hotel offers 10 individually styled and designed suites providing all the amenities a modern traveler would expect. It pays tribute to the Seychelles cultural and historical background and you can expect touches of African, Indian and Victorian in the decor. The sun sets on this side of the island and coupled with the most breathtaking of views, makes this the perfect location for a proposal, wedding or romantic retreat. www2.hermesretreats.com

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THE PERFECT ESCAPE Anthony Wanjiru Kuria rounds up five activities perfect for thrill-seeking couples this season of love. MAGICAL DHOW CRUISE IN LAMU Lamu has a lot to offer: tropical climate, excellent accommodation, unspoilt beaches, car-free streets, fresh seafood, intriguing culture and the warmest of residents. For couples, a cruise along the Indian Ocean is the way to go. If you are keen to follow the ancient tradition of sailing between the islands on the trade winds and you fancy exploring the archipelago from the deck of a boat, a full or half day dhow/yacht safari will offer a truly special experience. Stop for a picnic on a remote island after a morning of snorkelling and wave hello to inhabitants of the fishing villages. Sailing from Manda or Shela to Kiwayu and back is arguably the best way to experience the archipelago. For a shorter trip,

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book one of the popular sunset dhow cruises. Watch the sun go down from the sea over drinks, Swahili snacks and traditional music. SCENIC CHOPPER RIDE AROUND MT KENYA’S PEAKS Pick your air charter company of choice and the flying excursion begins from the Nanyuki Airfield. Guests can be picked up from hotels in Laikipia. From there you’ll fly around the peaks of Mt Kenya’s Nelion and Point Lenana peaks. Mount Kenya is vast and desolate with a towering summit, sheer cliffs and glaciers. The flight unveils great views of the many tarns and rivers found on its upper slopes. You’ll then touch down for a picnic breakfast at the alpine Lake Michaelson and enjoy breathtaking views

and unique mountain flora. An extraordinary landscape awaits to the western and northern foothills of the mountain. From mountain bamboo, luxuriant evergreen forest and the stunning savannah plains of northern Kenya, there is no better way to appreciate this contrast than by helicopter. MEMORABLE BUSH BREAKFAST IN NAKURU Several camps and lodges can set up a romantic bush breakfast or camel ride for you two. One option to consider is Mbweha Camp set within the vast Soysambu Conservancy on the southern boundary of Lake Nakuru National Park. The conservancy hosts aardvarks, zebras, buffalos, leopards, various antelope species and is said to have


WEEKEND AWAY

an elusive albino giraffe. Before sunrise, make your way from camp on a camel to Lake Nakuru, a haven for numerous bird species including large flocks of flamingos that often paint the water a soft blush pink given their sheer population. Watch the sun rise in the horizon over the lake then ride further uphill to a sumptuous English bush breakfast, the apt way to crown an already perfect morning. Other activities in this area include bush walks, cultural safaris, mountain biking, guided hikes to Delamere’s Nose, Menengai Crater and Lake Elementaita hot springs. ADVENTUROUS HIKE ALONG RIVER MATHIOYA For adventurous couples, lace up your hiking boots and set off on a leisurely walk through

green countryside: this scenic trail along the beautiful River Mathioya provides the perfect escape from the hectic city life. Better yet, the drive to Murang’a County from Nairobi only takes about 2.5 hours. You will walk down a lush path passing through maize farm boundaries and tea fields, and lined with dense eucalyptus forest. Tourists like to raft further downstream but along this path, the river is much quieter and peaceful. Bring along your camera...set against the Aberdares, green backdrops and tumultuous water eddying through the rocks make for some beautiful shots. As it gets hotter, you can go for a swim and might be lucky to even spot some trout. Don’t forget to bring along some food for a picnic.

SCUBA DIVING IN DIANI Go scuba diving in the southern coast which offers breathtaking dive sites and reefs, both home to an array of aquatic life. For instance, the Diani Beach stretch boasts an incredible community of Hawksbill and Green Sea Turtles. From November to February, there is always the chance to encounter magnificent whale sharks. Moreover, there’s the purposesunk MV Funguo which runs underground on the reef outside Kilindini Harbor. Since 2002, the wreck has blossomed into an artificial reef and become home to a plethora of corals and fish, a must-explore for any enthusiastic diver. If you are not keen on scuba diving, Diani also offers other activities like snorkeling, skydiving and an array of watersports.

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GETTING LOST IN THE

SEYCHELLES Often separated by thousands of miles, Maurice Schutgens and his long-term girlfriend reconnect in the idyllic Seychelles archipelago to explore its beautiful islands.

Unabashedly beautiful, unapologetically wild and hopelessly romantic; these are just some of the phrases synonymous with the Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands located in the Indian Ocean and just a short stint from mainland Africa. Home to spellbinding beaches, remote jungles and secluded hideaways, it is no wonder that the Seychelles are a favourite romantic getaway for newlyweds and couples. The heat and humidity hit us like a sledgehammer. We had arrived in the Seychelles, a place we had dreamt about for years. Our excitement at finally being here was heightened by the imposing green colossus of Les Dents which towers over the airport of Mahé. We picked up our pre-hired car, pulled into the sparse midday traffic and headed for the idyllic Anse a la Mouche located in the southwest of the island. As soon as we checked into our charming wooden bungalows located in a vibrant patch of forest, it was time to chase the sunset. My girlfriend- Jorien- and I have watched a thousand sunsets together and yet I desire to see a thousand more with her. Once at the beach we sat side by side as the sun finally surrendered to the horizon, happy to finally relax and chat about everything and nothing. Shortly after, the stars appeared in the sky and with them came the moon. Our first night at this dream location was magical, crowned by an exquisite candlelit dinner of fresh fish prepared in traditional Seychellois creole style. The next few days passed in a daze; viewpoints revealed isolated beaches and long forest walks ended at hidden waterfalls. There was so much to see that it was a complete assault on our senses. The stretch of coastline along Port Launay Marine National Park was especially wild. We went back on

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several occasions to just sit on a rocky outcrop overlooking the beach, with green towering mountains in the background and white caps of breaking waves hungrily advancing on the shores down below. We were tempted to sit back, relax and idle our days away, but Jorien and I often grow restless. Luckily, Mahé was an absolute hiker’s dream with an impressive network of trails, from the relatively arduous 30 minute scramble up to the Morne Blanc viewpoint to the 45 minute trail along Anse Major that takes you high above the azure waters then takes you down to a perfect little bay. After exploring the incredible beaches of Mahé, we hopped on a short 15 minute flight to Praslin. Our lodge, located high above the serene gold coast, looked out over the picturesque St. Pierre Island which shimmered in the bay further beyond. It made for excellent kayaking. Praslin Island is dominated by the jungles of the famed Valle de Mai National Park where visitors flock to see the Coco de Mer. It is said that centuries ago when fishermen came across the nuts which would wash up to the shores, they believed these came from underwater forests which were home to terrifying sea monsters that preyed on unsuspecting fisherman. True or not, seeing an endemic Coco de Mer was high on our list so we headed for Fond Ferdinand in the southeast of the island. Same nut, no crowds and significantly cheaper. As attractive as the nuts were, you’d be completely nuts to fork out Ksh 35,000 to take one home with you! No visit to Praslin would be complete without checking out the popular Anse Lazio, an award-winning stretch of coastline. While it lived up to its hype, we wanted to get away from humanity and find some solitude, and we

knew just where to find it. An unmarked trail led from Anse Lazio through the humid forest and after a strenuous 1.5 hour hike, we crested the final rise. There, magnificently spread out below us was Anse Georgette, sparkling in the sun with turquoise waters lapping powdery white sands. It was indeed a lover’s paradise and there we lost ourselves in Praslin and in each other. It was only a 15-minute ferry ride to La Digue which turned out to be small compared to the other islands. With a population of only 2,000 people, its streets were awash with bicycles (bicycles actually outnumber cars), reggae music blared from portable speakers and it was the very definition of laid back. One main road crosses the island. As you emerge from the forest, you feel the fresh ocean breeze on your face long before you see it, then you emerge on Grand Anse, a spectacular stretch of coastline. Most visitors are so mind blown they simply collapse under the nearest makeshift palm-leaf shelter and go no further. We pushed on to Petite Anse and Anse Cocos which are La Digue’s best-kept secrets. While most beaches on La Digue are postcard perfect, a favourite for visitors is the easily accessible Anse Source D’Argent (ASDA). We arrived in the late afternoon to avoid the crowds and see the colours at their most saturated. Nowhere else in the Seychelles are the massive granite boulders as incredible as on ASDA. Long after the crowds left, Jorien and I strolled barefoot on sands warmed by the sun, hand in hand. I couldn’t remember a time I felt happier. The rest of our days in the archipelago were incredible. Snorkeling amongst reef fish, hiking and tucking into local food. The Seychelles really are a lover’s paradise!


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Go wild with A BUSH WEDDING!

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ADVERTORIAL

Congratulations. You’re engaged to the love of your life. It’s finally official. All roads lead to you getting married, and it’s time to plan your wedding. Exciting times ahead. Very few life events come close to a wedding. It is the coming together of two families to celebrate a union of love and eternal devotion between two people. It therefore only makes sense that the entire day should feel as special as the magic it signifies - sweet love. What setting could be more perfect for this celebration than being in the very heart of mother nature and all her glory? Whether you’re an outdoorsy person, a nature lover or someone looking for something different, a bush wedding is perfect. Vast expanse of sky, warm sunlight and picturesque backdrops add an enchantment that cannot be replicated anywhere else. To plan your big day, the TARPO Events Division is here to assist you with the process from start to finish. Dream it, envision it, then give us a call. We will arrange an initial meeting where we get to know each other. This is the first step in the planning process. Here, we listen and understand the scope of your needs and desires, ascertain your budget and assess the logistical parameters of the wedding. Next, we’ll prepare a rough draft or detailed list of your ideas and aspirations. For example, would you like a venue that has the possibility of wildlife in the background for those perfect photos or will a backdrop of lush forest work? How long would you like the experience to be, and what theme do you fancy? Which month are you looking at? This information will help us see the wedding through your eyes. Once everything has been captured and we’ve come to an understanding, in comes the most crucial part: finding a bush location that fits your criteria. Once the ideal location has been matched to your needs, it’s time to choose an exact venue. A site visit recce is

paramount for this, especially if the area has never been explored before. Our team of creatives are able to vividly visualize the endless possibilities that the bush offers to bring your vision to life. Details such as layout or the time frame that would be adequate to have the site ready are determined at the visit. We become wellversed with the area. For instance, which areas are naturally shaded for pitching of tents or and where does the sun rise and set? The recce basically positions us all for the best outcome. The beauty of bush weddings is that with a mobile camp, you can convert the ceremony into a holiday getaway for everyone. You can create a small temporary community of family and friends with accommodation, party and dining areas set up to mimic a lodge experience. Possibilities in this arrangement could be sundowners while spotting wildlife in the distance or simply sitting around a bonfire sharing memories in anticipation of the big day. You also have the rare opportunity of arranging magical jungle themed dinners or cocktail parties in the ambiance of nature. Depending on the location, thrill seekers can engage in activities like game drives before or after the wedding. Our mobile camps cater to all budgets and we will make recommendations from our wide selection of glamping packages. We ensure that all our clients enjoy the benefits of camping in the bush with none of its discomforts and inconveniences. Our higher end Malaika and Maridadi ensuite tent packages offer fully furnished canvas tents, wedding-themed bedding and décor and lots of extra room. Depending on proximity, the tent rooms could include electricity. Essentially, our luxury packages are a luxury hotel room smack in the middle of the wild! For tighter budgets, the Manyatta package keeps things simple yet comfortable with smaller canvas domeshaped tents fitted with camping beds. All our accommodation packages are fully serviced. Our tents are primarily manufactured using the highest quality cotton or poly-cotton canvas material

designed specifically for that authentic outdoor experience. They are breathable and all have enough mesh vents to ensure proper ventilation and condensation. Once we’ve figured out what option works best for you, we’ll take care of the rest. At this stage, all hands are on deck geared towards transforming the venue; it’s setup time. If there’s an area that we excel in, it is certainly our mobile camping setup. We’ve been known to pull a Houdini by transforming what seems like nothing into a glamping lodge in a matter of days. We always aim to be at sites early and that extra time gives us the opportunity to do final checks to ensure everything is as per your expectations. The next time we would see you again is at the wedding. By this time, everything is executed. You walk in and the venue looks impeccable. The layout is better than you expected. The time, sweat and passion that went into planning has paid off wonderfully. We take in the views and celebrate the accomplishment— a perfect start to the ceremony. Your day is finally here. You’re excited, we’re excited for you, and your guests are mesmerized by this unique setting. Mission accomplished. We’ve both achieved our goals and now it’s time to celebrate this win. Our dedicated on-site coordinator and team are on site throughout to handle anything that crops up leaving you to focus on your big day. Following the end of a successful event, we pack up and get the bush back to normal ensuring that we leave no trace of our presence. Planning bush weddings is a gratifying process for us and hopefully this has given you a clear picture of how we work and what your experience might be like. We can’t wait to work with you or your wedding planner! Do not hesitate to give us a call...we’ll arrange for a coffee and chat. CONTACT +254 722 204 747 events@tarpo.com, www.tarpo.com

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CONSERVATION

TEXT: RUPI MANGAT

PHOTOGRAPHY: YUMI YAMANE

NAIROBI’S ELUSIVE

BIG CAT

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CONSERVATION

T

he leopard is one of the world’s most enigmatic big cats. It is also very elusive despite the fact that it is found in almost every habitat – from the snow-topped mountains of Asia to Africa’s savannah plains. Despite it being very recognisable, there’s also little research about the spotted feline. When the eminent George Schaller did his thesis on the rarely-seen snow leopard in the Himalayas in the 1970s, he proved that it was not the mythical cat of the legends. His pioneering research on the snow leopard prompted the Asian governments to set aside protected areas to safeguard the cat from poachers and human encroachment. In the same vein, there’s little scientific research on the African leopard. The last major study on leopards in Kenya was by Patrick Hamilton in the 1970s and 1980s, some 40 years ago. The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), custodians of the country’s wildlife know of only two leopard researchers in the country at present. DIFFICULT TO SPOT “Leopards,” states Jonathan Scott, “are not easy to study”. He should know. Scott and his wife Angela have recorded the lives of the big cats of the Maasai Mara since the 1970s including writing several books on wildlife and presenting BBC’s Big Cat Diary viewed by millions across the world. Scott is one of the few who has written about the leopard. It took him six years to complete ‘The Leopard’s Tale’ published in 1985 based on the life of the leopards in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya’s most famous wildlife area. “That is how tough it was,” he admits. “Leopards shied away from humans,” continues Scott. In the 1970s they were even more elusive than today. “When I first wanted to study leopards in the Maasai Mara in 1977 they were impossible to find, let alone photograph. “In my first year living in the Mara full time and going out every day, I had two fleeting glimpses of leopards. This was because of the impact of the fur trade. Bold leopards were killed.” “Now that leopards are so much more visible in places like the Maasai Mara,” continues Scott, “There is no reason why someone might not attempt a comprehensive study.”

Their visibility is due to the hunting ban in Kenya in 1977. CURRENT LEOPARD LIFE Yumi Yamane has been studying the urban leopard in Nairobi National Park since 2009. She had to convince her dons at the university and donors that it was imperative to study the leopard given the fact that even today no one knows its population in the country or the continent. “At the time, people were telling me that it was not endangered,” she says. “My response was that there was nothing to prove that.” THE URBAN LEOPARD “My focus,” explains Yamane, “is to study how the leopard survives surrounded by people.” On the city side, Nairobi National Park borders the now increasingly populated neighbourhoods of Karen and Langata. “Nairobi National Park is a core area for leopards,” continues Yamane. In 2009, there were an estimated 15 in the 117.2 sq km park. Today there are fewer than 10. The pressure on them is intense as human population outside the park increases.

It is hard to fathom how this big cat can prowl through a denselypopulated city of more than 4 million people without being seen. Inside and outside the park, infrastructure like the Standard Gauge Railway and the southern bypass fragment their space. “The southern bypass has split Ngong Road Forest into five sections which is really affecting the leopard,” states the researcher. The urban leopard has always moved out of the park in search of new mates to breed with from as far as the Limuru forests keeping the gene pool healthy. They also prey on livestock in poorly constructed bomas and stray dogs in the slums including pedigree breeds in the upper-crust neighbourhood. Now, with limited movements out of the park, there are more sightings of leopards in the park giving a false impression that leopards are doing well. The two famous leopards are Koko the female and

Nguruman, a large male named by the Friends of Nairobi National Park, thought to be from Nguruman escarpment, 100 km away. Yamane’s study shows that a male leopards home range covers 100 sq km while a female’s is half that. “The old Karen residents have always had leopards moving through their gardens but they never reported them to KWS. Now with so many new residents moving into the area, there are constant reports to KWS from panicking people. But leopards are very nervous of people and will avoid contact with them.” TRACKING THE LEOPARDS Between 2009 and 2011, the researcher collared four leopards – three males and a female inside the park. “It’s very difficult to capture leopards and so whatever we could trap in the box-trap, we fitted them with GPS collars.” With signals sent every hour, Yamane followed the leopards from her office, and she’s come out with interesting observations. Inside the park, their worst enemy is the lions which far outnumber them. “I see leopards moving in the gorge (Mbagathi) along the river,” tells Yamane. By ‘seeing’ she means the GPS signals from the collared leopards showing on her laptop. “Leopards follow rivers outside the park, moving at night. They cross over to Karen, Kibera, Ngong Road Forest and further up to Limuru.” In September 2015, a middleaged collared female leopard was killed by hyenas in Ngong Road Forest in the heart of the city. It is hard to fathom how this big cat can prowl through a densely-populated city of more than 4 million people without being seen. “Leopards are not dangerous to people,” states Yamane. “They are extremely shy and are always hiding – even in Karen during the day.” COEXISTENCE According to her, it is not difficult to co-exist with the elusive cat to ensure their survival. “Leopards move along the riverine forests and so the most important thing is to protect these forests up to 80 m from the bank on each side.” “On the other hand, people in leopardareas can keep them clear of garbage and bushes near the houses where the leopard cannot hide.” This research on the leopard may help draw a national action plan to safeguard its coexistence with us, then we’ll be seeing more spots in the savannah.

NOMAD MAGAZINE FEBRAURY/MARCH 2019

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TAWI LODGE Amboseli It’s a hive of activity at the waterhole with everyone showing up on time for the Monday morning staff meeting, writes Wendy Watta. Mr Elephant, the office boss, is closely followed by boisterous baboons who have got to be the office clowns. Soon, all the other animals arrive... PHOTOGRAPHS: BRIAN SIAMBI

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GREAT HOTELS

T

he breakfast table is set under the shade of a giant tortilis tree overlooking the waterhole. Mother nature must have sent out the memo for the Monday morning staff meeting because two elephants walk right up to quench their thirst, and at barely 70 metres away, these gentle giants are absolutely breathtaking! Elephants have always been my favourite wildlife, and I can barely contain my excitement enough to tuck into the fresh fruit platter before me. They are closely followed by a troop of boisterous baboons who have got to be the office clowns- every office always has one of those! Zebras then march up to the waterhole, careful to give the elephants a wide berth. Everyone, even the cheeky baboons, seem to steer clear of the elephants- they are like the office boss that when you see approaching, you quickly switch from your Youtube tab to emails and pretend to be typing away at your keyboard with such vigour. “This is now becoming too much for my senses to handle!” I whisper to Nomad’s photographer, Brian, who’s taking pictures armed with a daunting telephoto lens, and is equally beside himself with excitement when we spot some Grant’s gazelle and a tower of giraffes walking up to join this meeting. With the birds not to be left behind, the waterhole

is a vibrant hive of activity this morning. The rest of breakfast goes by in a daze and I can barely remember what I ate. As far as entertainment goes, this is better than any show I’ve recently watched on TV, and for that, Tawi Lodge will forever stand out. After breakfast, Brian is to go off on a bush walk with one of the lodge’s guides while I’m set for a 40 minute camel ride through the plains. I make a quick dash back to my cottage to drop off some equipment before we leave. Set in a 6,000 acre community conservancy, mine is one of 13 luxury cottages at this eco-friendly lodge which was opened in 2010. Peacefully browsing a few metres from the private wooden deck of my cottage are three giraffes; these ones must have called in sick for the waterhole meeting yet they are out here feasting and relaxing. There’s always one of those! Inside, the cottage features a comfortable four-poster bed and white victorian bath overlooking the outdoors, a perfect vantage point for spotting more wildlife milling about as you soak off the day’s fatigue. *** The eventful game drive is crowned by a sundowner which we find being set up at an open patch of land overlooking Mt Kilimanjaro. At just a little under 6,000m above sea level with its snow-capped

peak proudly jutting out onto the sky well above the plains, its presence is prominent, particularly on this clear evening. Grilled chicken drumsticks and onion rings coupled with beers, sodas and cocktails are served as managers Peter and Anita regale us with stories about their time spent living and working in Tanzania before being posted to Tawi. The setting sun leaves vibrant streaks of pink in the sky and the scene is by all accounts absolutely breathtaking to behold. It also passes by quickly as clouds shift to block the view of the mountain, the sun disappears and the campfire ebbs. We hop aboard our Land Cruiser 4x4 and take advantage of the drive back to the lodge to spot nocturnal wildlife. If you are keen to visit Amboseli National Park, Tawi Lodge sits just 10 minutes from its eastern entrance. By road, a 4x4 to Tawi Conservancy is not mandatory although you should inquire about the state of the roads beforehand- we got stuck in the mud several times during an earlier visit in the rainy May season last year. Transfers can be arranged from the airstrip at Amboseli or the conservancy’s private landing strip should you wish to charter a plane. The boutique lodge also has a heated pool which is open at all times, four lounges perfect for big groups or couples, two bars, a fireplace, restaurant which often has a daily set menu as well as a small library. www.tawilodge.com

NOMAD MAGAZINE FEBRAURY/MARCH 2019

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ROAD TRIP

Nairobi-Kitale-Kapenguria-Lodwar

ON THE ROAD TO TURKANA

W

This month we rev up a Land Cruiser 4x4 and hit the road to the northwesterntip of Kenya, a rough and rugged terrain that’s not for the fainthearted.

hile there is an airport right in the middle of Lodwar town, when I got a call from the Kenya Tourism Board asking if I would be keen to hit the road with them for up to a week aboard a Land Cruiser 4x4, I simply could not pass up the chance. An avid thrillseeker, Turkana for me encompasses the very essence of adventure travel, one of the few parts of Kenya I was yet to explore. On the first day we covered about 400 km from Nairobi to Kitale with a brief stop in Eldoret for lunch. Early the next morning we set off for Lodwar, making a stop at Kapenguria Museum which is set at the prison where the Kapenguria Six- prominent leaders of the Kenyan independence movement- were held in 1952. We then drove through West Pokot via a scenic and well-tarmacked road which has certainly made this part of the country more accessible. We passed roadside vendors selling sweet, ripe yellow mangoes and herdsmen ushering their goats further afield. The car peacefully wended its way past rolling hills, patches of rocky outcrop, green

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trees and a rushing river before getting to the border into Turkana where good roads came to an abrupt halt a little after the police checkpoint. Security has long been a concern for travelers keen to explore this region, and this has largely been due to tribal clashes, cattle rustling and raids on vehicles. The policemen at the border advised us to get one of them to escort us through a 50 km stretch of sparsely populated land once notorious for raids. After some brief negotiations, we ended up paying Ksh 1,500 per vehicle for our two Land Cruisers. Truth is, there haven’t really been any recent cases of attacks in this area. I actually spotted a couple of cars driving past without police escort but the notion that there is insecurity here still prevails. The decision to pay for security as a precaution is therefore entirely up to you... The terrain from the checkpoint into Lodwar is so rocky and rugged that our car broke down. Car trouble while exploring Turkana is inevitable. One time, for instance, after what had been a rather idyllic day cruising down the waters of Lake Turkana and marvelling at the beauty of the volcanic crater lake in its Central Island, our car kept

getting stuck in the sand dunes requiring team effort to dig and manoeuvre it out. A one hour journey took almost three hours that night. The distances between tourist attraction sites are also rather long and on rugged roads so take that into account when preparing for your trip as it will directly affect your itinerary. Being the cradle of mankind, one key attraction here is for instance the site where the skeleton of the 1.6 million year old Turkana Boy was discovered. The drive there from Lodwar almost took a whole day. We drove on for so long, rattling along past scattered manyattas with houses made of mud, grass and sticks, and at some point after we had run out of water I was all but convinced that we had actually gotten into Ethiopia! If following this particular route into Turkana, at least five days are needed and even that may not be enough to explore all that this county has to offer. From Lake Turkana with its activities, islands and array of fishhumongous Nile crocodiles notwithstanding- to the tropical sandy beaches with towering palm trees in Eliye Springs that will momentarily have you thinking you’re on the Kenyan coast, this region is just begging to be explored.


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SPOTLIGHT ON

LANTANA GALU BEACH Diani

A

t the beginning of the year, our entire team went down to the South Coast for our annual team building. We stayed at Lantana Galu Beach which is set on a quiet and pristine stretch of beach in Diani. Several weddings take place here every year (one of our staff members is actually getting married at Lantana Galu Beach in a few months), and the property has long been a favourite with couples and families. There are a total of 47 well-furnished Swahili-style living spaces to book including suites and villas ranging from one to three bedrooms, all well-serviced for selfcatering, in addition to a restaurant and bar overlooking the beach. For families or bigger groups like ours, you can book one of the chalk-white three bedroom villas which include three spacious ensuite bedrooms (king, queen and a twin room) on the upper floor and a staircase winding downstairs to the fully equipped kitchen, lounge and dining room. The beachfront villa even has an outdoor private plunge pool in which we spent cool evenings having drinks and catching up. The indoor design is airy and open plan with large glass windows letting in maximum light and the coastal breeze. The decor is a mix of traditional Swahili carved furnishings with sleek and modern necessities such as air conditioning and ceiling fans - vital given the often warm coastal temperatures - WiFi, satellite TV, an intercom system and more. If you are looking to organise your own meals, you can take a tuk tuk out to shop for ingredients at several places along Diani Beach Road or you can choose to hire a private chef who will take care of all the shopping and cooking for you. Lantana also offers a convenience shop with a selection of items ranging from milk to bread and trendy beach items. Stop by Le CafĂŠ, the all-day

dining bar and restaurant next to the garden swimming pool overlooking the beach, with an extensive menu complete with an in-house bakery and freshly homemade pasta. As our aim was to bond with one another to foster a better working relationship, we had all our meals together at the main restaurant. OTHER FACILITIES There is a fully equipped 24 hour gym for any fitness enthusiasts, complete with a massage and beauty studio for your holiday pampering. There are also two pools: one beachside and the other in the garden, and we had an ever so competitive game of water polo in the latter. Both options have paddle pools excellent for children. The 24 hour reception and concierge service is exemplary, while the business centre offers printing, scanning and photocopying services. ACTIVITIES The Lantana Galu Beach team set up and facilitated fun competitive games such as beach handball, a sack race, towel squeezer, apple gobbling and more for our team. The concierge can help you organise an array of water sports and other activities such as kitesurfing for which this spot is a hub, windsurfing, deep sea fishing, dolphin safaris, scuba diving, snorkelling, sailing in traditional boats, skydiving and much more. You could also be content to just potter on the beach building sandcastles with your little ones, sunbathe, play beach volleyball or hop on one of the many camels that amble past everyday offering scenic rides on the beach. Prices during the low season start from Ksh 26,900 for a two-bedroom apartment and Ksh 20,900 for a penthouse suite. www.lantana-galu-beach.com

NOMAD MAGAZINE FEBRAURY/MARCH 2019

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WHAT I PACK

SANDSTORM

What I pack … for my travels

Nancy Roxanne is a travel writer who works with The Standard. She shares with us some of the essentials she always packs for her trips. TEXT: ANTHONY WANJIRU KURIA Instagram: @roxannekenya

Tan Moshi Ksh15,900

CYGNETT USB-C POWER BANK. I travel with a lot of devices which need regular charging. This advanced power bank charges everything simultaneously.

MACBOOK AIR My job as a columnist allows me the flexibility to travel. As such, I never leave for a trip without my MacBook Air so I can continue working from wherever I happen to be.

TRAVEL SIZE COSMETIC BAG I always travel with a portable makeup bag which carries essential items like concealer, powder, lipstick and mascara. I can easily touch up with just those items and I’ll feel ready to head out.

AMAZON KINDLE OASIS I try to read at least five books a month and can’t always carry physical copies. I can download over 500 books and read comfortably on my Kindle. I’m currently going through Disgrace by John Maxwell Coetzee.

VERSACE CRYSTAL NOIR I like smelling good wherever I go. This perfume has a sweet floral scent that is not too overpowering.

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BUDGET PICK

SAMATIAN ISLAND, LAKE BARINGO TEXT & PHOTOGRAPHY THE TRAVELDOTE

Tucked away at the bottom of the Rift Valley is Lake Baringo, a freshwater lake renowned for its array of bird life, breathtaking sunsets and spectacular surroundings. Lake Baringo is also a Ramsar site, having been recognized internationally as an important wetland. Lake Baringo is home to several small islands but we set out to explore one in particular, Samatian. We left Nairobi at dawn; 275 km and 4.5 hours later, we were at the shores of the lake at Robert’s Camp. This is where we would park our cars for the next three days (charges are Ksh 500 per vehicle per day). We eagerly waited for the Island manager, Richard, to come and collect all 12 of us, our food, drinks and luggage on his two Sesse Canoes. Samatian Island is another 20 minute boat ride from the camp. OVERVIEW Samatian Island is a small and exclusive private island on Lake Baringo. It boasts panoramic views across the water with the Laikipian Escarpment as a backdrop. The island offers self-catered accommodation comprising of five open-plan, thatched rooms. Two of the rooms are family units with a partitioned bedroom, verandah, sitting room and bathroom. The other three rooms are en suite with sitting areas. One of the family rooms also has a rooftop deck, and the other has the best view from the bathrooms as well as a tub for added luxury. All bedding, mosquito nets, towels, loo paper, soap, firewood and charcoal are provided on the island. The island can comfortably fit 12 adults

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and 3 children, and there is an option to book full board catering for 6 pax or more. There is a communal bar area which had until recently been submerged due to the dramatic rise in water levels but has now been refurbished and is good to use. There was also a pool but that’s still underwater and is now a plunge pool. Yes, there are hippos and crocodiles in the lake but according to the staff, they’re not usually on that side of the island...just don’t swim after dark. Your booking also comes with two kayaks so if you’re not up for the risk then you can still have some fun paddling out into the lake. There is a separate dining area on the island under a mess tent with views of the lake. The staff usually set the table then take your food up there for breakfast and dinner. For lunch, they set up the grill for us down by the lake as per our request. There are harmless snakes on the island and two species of scorpions so be mindful of that. Sunrise and sunsets here are absolutely magical, as is the starry night sky. If you can, book close to a full moon because we witnessed the most magnificent moon rise during our stay. WHAT CAN YOU DO? While you can just relax and do nothing, there are plenty of activities to keep you (and the kids) busy. Go on scenic boat trips with Richard on the Sesse Canoes where you can bait fish eagles with small fish from the Njemps fishermen (a boat can fit seven and costs an extra

Overall 10/10 Ksh 2,000). Kayak around the island and for added fun, take a fishing rod with you and try your luck. Go on nature and bird walks or visit the local Njemps tribe. Take a walk around Giraffe Island, home to six endangered Rothschild’s, ostrich, warthogs, impalas and hyrax (conservation fee is Ksh 500 per person). You can also enjoy sundowners on the beach, which Richard can arrange for you. PROS • Remote and exclusive getaway • Ideal for large groups • Unique, one-of-a-kind location with striking views • Chefs and daily cleaning available • An entire island just for you!

. CONS Dramatic rise in water levels means no chlorinated pool (it’s now a plunge pool) HOW TO BOOK & COSTS A night on Samatian Island is Ksh 6,000 per person on a self-catering basis. To book the island you can email them on infosamatian@gmail.com or call 0700 888 646. Their website is www.samatianisland.com.


RETROSPECTIVE

Nairobi Skyline, 1973 This photo forms part of a retrospective series celebrating the work of renowned Kenyan photographer Mohamed “Mo” Amin, who died in 1996 when his Ethiopian Airlines flight was hijacked and crashed into the Indian Ocean. Photograph courtesy of Salim Amin. NOMAD MAGAZINE FEBRAURY/MARCH 2019

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LAST WORD

Chilly in

ichael has been promising to visit Aunty Rose for some time now. Each year she hints that it might be her last, in spite of being a spritely 70 who still cooks and shops for herself. There’s a January special on KLM so Michael decides to bite the bullet and go. “It’s all good Aunty,” he says down the crackly international line, “I’m coming to London to see you.” But first there’s the conundrum of what to pack. Amber weather warnings have been issued for the weekend ahead. Michael pops down to a sun scorched mitumba market in his lunch break to find an overcoat and scarf. Items he has never had cause to buy before and can’t face trying on in the heat. “How cold can it actually be?” he asks himself. The flight passes pleasantly enough, despite the burden of a shopping list issued by his wife just before leaving the house. On it is written; laptop, tablet, perfume, jackets for the kids, toys, a Sunday dress, oh and if there is time to nip to Tesco? Doesn’t Joyce know that Christmas is over? There’s a sense of foreboding as passengers pile on layers before disembarking. Down jackets magically

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By Frances Woodhams

materialize, along with hats, wraps and scarves. Michael’s watch says 3.30 pm but it’s already dark. The baggage hall feels chilly as passengers pull luggage from the carousel, the sunshine of Nairobi left far behind. “It’ll be freezing later tonight,” the Uber driver says. “Might even snow.” Michael pulls his jacket collar close. “You come from far?” “Nairobi,” Michael answers, wondering at the sight of a jogger in reflective gear, pounding the pavement in the rain. “Sunshine over there is it? Been a helluva winter over here.” *** “Ahhh, Michael!” Aunty Rose pulls him into a wooly embrace as he navigates object-strewn side tables, sofas and armchairs trailing his large, empty suitcase. Every surface in the tiny terrace house is covered with items that could easily overturn; cast into an orange light from the glow of an electric heater pulled close to Aunty’s chair. There’s a stew bubbling on the stove and a travel-worn Michael is grateful to have arrived. The following day, he wakes up at 4:00 am London time. Later, venturing down the narrow, carpeted stairs in search of a cup of tea, finds Aunty wrapped tightly in a floral dressing gown and slippers in the kitchen.

“Eh, it’s so good to see you Michael.” She says. “How you’ve grown my dear.” Michael feels about 12 years old and smiles. “Aunty, you must come back to Kenya. It’s warm there!” “Ah, Michael, stop fussing. I have everything I need right here.” *** At the mall, Michael is overwhelmed. Shops crammed with piles of goods on sale filled with people browsing and buying, balancing armfuls of clothing, juggling handbags, shopping bags, coats and take-away cups. Each shop is heated to sauna levels, so it’s on and off with the overcoat amid hot flushes of panic. Outside, something wet and cold called sleet is falling. The dawn had come slowly and the sky is still iron grey. Michael left Aunty with her walker in the supermarket. She’s gamely picking up groceries, expertly navigating her way amid a hundred other shoppers. Michael feels a pang of guilt. Joyce’s list will have to wait. He finds Aunty and takes her off to the supermarket café where they find hot food and place it on sliding trays. “Now isn’t this nice Michael,” says Aunty. “I’m so glad you came.” Frances Woodhams is author of the blog: www.africaexpatwivesclub.com

SKETCH: MOVIN WERE

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