ISSUE 21| AUGUST/SEPTEMBER | FREE COPY
CITY HOTELS OUR FAVOURITE NAIROBI PROPERTIES
PIKI PIKI RIDE THROUGH KISII
ON SAFARI WITH MY DAUGHTER
NOTES FROM THE BUSH
NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019
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WHERE IN THE WORLD FEELS MOST LIKE HOME RIGHT NOW? EMILY WARD Topshots, Page - 10
IS “SOMEDAY” JUST CODE FOR NEVER?
s we all but sprint into the last quarter of the year (can time just stop to catch its breath for a quick second?) I can’t help but think about all the highly anticipated trips that haven’t quite come to be realised yet. We still have about four months to go, but still...
My desk keeps mocking me. No, not an office one as I have none because I’m away so much that whenever I pop in, I’m always resigned to lounging out on the balcony with the garden monkeys. It is the desk in my apartment, which is strewn with souvenirs, travel magazines and resentment. There’s the travel book on Italy, where I had hoped to have done cliche tourist things like taking selfies on a gondola in Venice or riding a vespa from some quirky little Airbnb in Florence for yet another dose of pasta and gelato from the family-run cafe down the street. There’s the worn out map of Africa, where I had marked out a tentative trail that would have taken me from Nairobi to Cape Town, checking out six countries along the way. On top of it lies postcards from Ghana, Egypt, Ethiopia and Morocco, four countries I had hoped to have checked out by now (granted, there’s a high chance of getting my passport stamped from at least two of those places in the next month). I’m not certain why I haven't quite gotten around to going on some of the trips I was so excited for at the beginning of the year. Things have kept coming up, and I keep saying I’ll still see these places ‘someday’. But do you know what Tom Cruise’s ever suave character says to an ever leggy Cameron Diaz about that word in the movie Knight and Day? He says, "Someday. That's a dangerous word. It's really just a code for 'never'". But, really, that doesn’t apply to me. I will still tick off most of the countries on my list. Someday.
Jinja, Uganda. I'm originally from the UK but have lived here along the Nile River for most of the past 12 years. We were drawn here by the river but have stayed because of how much we love our lives here. There is a beautiful climate, exceptionally friendly people and lots of adventures to be had. Living abroad has given me so many opportunities to learn and grow and I will forever be grateful to Uganda for that. MARTYN POLLOCK A piki piki ride, Page - 40 After ten years in the army and moving to a different hemisphere, you certainly begin to question what and where is home. I wouldn’t exactly call it that, but for now, weekly commuting takes me to an isolated village about 30 mins from Kisii town. The village of Bogeka is where I spend most of my nights. In a deep dark wood stands my three-bedroom bungalow devoid of running water and with an al fresco lavatory. It certainly has a rustic charm. ADITYA SHAH Topshots, Page - 8 India. I traveled and worked in India for a year, and Mumbai tickled, tantalized and terrified all my senses. Incredible sights, riots of colour at every corner, a cacophony of sounds, aromatic and pungent smells, and the glorious flavour-packed food. Living there, travelling on the jam-packed local trains, exploring its streets, meeting its people and discovering its peculiar culture and climate makes it feel like home – it’s truly a vibrant melting pot.
NOMAD ISSUE. 21 AUGUST 2019 · PUBLISHED BY WEBSIMBA LIMITED, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MANAGING DIRECTOR MIKUL SHAH EDITOR WENDY WATTA DESIGN BRIAN SIAMBI SALES VANESSA WANJIKU DIGITAL FAITH KANJA CONTRIBUTORS SAMANTHA DU TOIT, MARTYN POLLOCK, SIMON MARSH CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS BRIAN SIAMBI, EMILY WARD, ADITYA SHAH, TREVOR MAINGI MARKETING & OPERATIONS DANIEL MUTHIANI, JANE NAITORE, ANGELA OMONDI SALES ENQUIRIES CALL NOMAD 0711 22 22 22 EMAIL EDITOR@NOMADMAGAZINE.CO
NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019
34 In this issue 8. TOP SHOTS This month’s featured photographers capture the action of a kayaker during the Nile River Festival, and flamingos taking off during a sunset in Botswana. 12. NEWS Direct flights from Mumbai to Nairobi set to boost tourism, tourist numbers in Kenya hit an all-time high as the humpback whale migration season kicks off at the coast. 14. WHATS ON From this year’s Magical Kenya Travel Expo the premiere of a documentary dedicated to Sudan the famous rhino, find a roundup of must-attend events this season. 44. WHAT I PACK FOR MY TRAVELS Kenyan-Japanese artist Patti Endo, who together with her sister Yvonne just collaborated with Sandstorm on the Endo² X Sandstorm line of bags, gives us a peek inside her travel bag.
33. CITY HOTELS From hotels in malls and in the bush to historic and airport hotels, in this special issue, we profile our pick of some top hotels from around Nairobi.
18. NOTES FROM THE BUSH As the moon illuminates the earth, scorpions crawl out of hiding, their exoskeletons glowing bright green/ yellow under a UV torch due to a special fluorescent pigment in their exoskeleton, writes Samantha du Toit.
38. A MARA SAFARI WITH MY DAUGHTER For families with kids, Simon Marsh lays out some fun activities to do on safari to ensure both parents and their children have fun. 40. A PIKI PIKI RIDE THROUGH SOUTH NYANZA From a bustling nightlife in Kisii to a fishing village in Homa Bay, Martyn Pollock tears across counties on the wheels of a Honda Ace before hopping aboard a speedboat to the little-known Ngodhe Rao Island, and back.
ON THE COVER THE TRIBE HOTEL, NAIROBI IMAGE COURTESTY OF THE TRIBE HOTEL
NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019
ADITYA SHAH Instagram: @mowglishah I shot this at Makgadikgadi Salt Pan, Botswana, at dusk, whose soft light I find perfect for bird photography. I used a Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon 100400mm IS II lens using the settings: 1/160, f/5.6, ISO 100, at 400mm TIPS: Behavior - birds have a predictable flight pattern. Observe these so you can anticipate their movements and position yourself. Composition - apply the rule of thirds to ensure you have space for the birds to fly in a certain direction and give the image breathing room.
NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019
EMILY WARD Instagram: @emwardphotos This shot was taken during the Nile River Festival 2019. Fortunately I'm a kayaker as well as a photographer, so with my camera in a dry bag between my legs, I was able to follow the kayakers as they paddled down river and surfed various waves along the way. I used a Nikon D750 with a Nikkor 24mm 1.8 lens. My settings were: 1/2500 sec at f/4.0, ISO 100, at 24mm. TIP: Consider your foreground elements. What can you include to make the image more interesting or help your story? What can you include that helps frame your subject?
NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019
PREMIERE OF KIFARU FILM DEDICATED TO RHINO SUDAN
Kifaru is a film dedicated to Sudan, the last male Northern White Rhino in Kenya, who died last year. The award-winning documentary is proudly presented by Ol Pejeta Conservancy and will premiere on 24th October at the Trademark Hotel. The feature-length documentary follows the lives of two young recruits who join Ol Pejeta’s rhino caretaker unit - a small group of rangers that protect and care for Sudan. Spanning their first four years on the job, Kifaru allows viewers to intimately experience the joys and pitfalls of wildlife conservation firsthand through the eyes of these caretakers who witness extinction happening in real-time. Get your ticket from mookh.com
SUBMERGE- AN UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION Nat Geo 2019 Explorer Jahawi Bertolli will be showcasing an underwater photographic and fundraising event on 30th August 2019 at the Nairobi Serena Hotel from 6:00pm. The Kenyan-Italian photographer spends a great deal of his time diving into the depths of the ocean to document marine life with an aim of shedding a light on their conservation. There will be a live performance featuring Gilad and the Superband. Tickets go for Ksh 8,500 and include a three course dinner, raffle, auction and more. To book your ticket call Nadine on +254 708379689.
NAIROBI BEER FESTIVAL MAGICAL KENYA TRAVEL EXPO
The Kenya Tourism Board is delighted to bring you the 8th edition of the Magical Kenya Travel Expo which will be taking place from 2nd to 4th October at the KICC in Nairobi. Get to network and explore business opportunities at the leading travel trade expo in East Africa. Benefit from pre-scheduled appointments between exhibitors and hosted buyers, listen to the latest industry trends at their seminars, boost Africa sales from major global markets, and more. Your presence as an exhibitor, hosted buyer or trade visitor will go to ensure the continued development and growth of tourism in this region. For more information visit, mkte.co.ke
The Nairobi Beer Festival is back from 6th-8th September at The Alchemist, and will also feature the city’s top DJs. Experience more than 35 beer tastings from all over the world paired with delicious gourmet bites. Enjoy unique craft beers, draft beers, lagers, ales and more. VIP ticket holders will receive, among other things, branded limited edition Sandstorm gifts and an exclusive professional beer glass set. For more information and tickets, visit ticketsasa.com
A Promise Kept Since 1950
EXCESSIVE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION IS HARMFUL TO YOUR HEALTH. NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019 13 NOT FOR SALE TO PERSONS UNDER 18 YEARS.
TOURIST NUMBERS TO HIT 2.2 MILLION IN 2019
The number of international tourists is expected to grow by 10 per cent from last year, CS Najib Balala has said, despite a slight drop in the first half. In 2018, 2,025,206 tourists visited Kenya, and thatâ€™s the highest ever in the country's tourism history. During the yearâ€™s first half , US led as the top market source for international tourists. This is an indication that among other factors, the direct flight to New York is having a substantial positive impact on tourism. The current political stability and heightened security are expected to support the industry's performance going forward. The Tourism ministry is putting up a strategy to capture Russia, China and Indian markets as international markets remain positive.
HUMPBACK WHALE MIGRATION SEASON SETS IN AT THE COAST
Every year, humpback whales migrate from Antarctica to warmer climates, congregating in Kenyan waters between July and August to calve and mate. For visitors, watching whales in their natural environment leaping out of the water, sometimes in pairs, or in larger family groups, is an amazing and unforgettable sight. Visitors mostly watch the whales from boats accommodating up to eight people for a trip costing between Ksh 5,000 to Ksh 45,000 per person, depending on the operator. One of the best places to see whales is the Malindi-Watamu Marine National Reserve, where Watamu Marine Association (WMA) has studied dolphins and whales since 2011.
DIRECT FLIGHTS FROM MUMBAI TO NAIROBI SET TO BOOST TOURISM
A move by Air India to resume direct flights between Mumbai and Nairobi from September has been welcomed as a huge opportunity for the hospitality industry. Air India used to operate directly between India and Kenya but later abandoned those operations. The airline is expected to fly four times a week and will cut the time used to travel from between 10 and 11 hours to six hours. This will save hours spent on flights that usually involve long layovers in Dubai, and consequently, South Asia leisure travelers will have more time to spend experiencing all that Kenya has to offer. Data released in January by Tourism CS Najib Balala showed that India ranked among the top five markets for tourist international arrivals in Kenya.
NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019
SILVERPALM SPA & RESORT Bofa Road, Kilifi P.O. Box 41247-80100, Mombasa | Tel: +254-780745837 /+254 707745837 Email: email@example.com | www.silverpalmkilifi.com
HIGHEST RANKED HOTEL IN KILIFI TOWN EA Classification 2017 by TRA
Nestled in the foothills of Mt Kenya, award-winning accommodation 40 minutes from Nanyuki, endless opportunities to relax, reconnect with nature and the special people in your life. Now offering half-day horse riding safaris into the neighbouring 36,000 acre, privately-owned wildlife conservancy. Proud to be #1 of 22 on TripAdvisor, B&Bs/Inns of Laikipa County
For rates contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org | We also offer resident rates | www.olepangifarm.com
Set on a private 18,000 acre wildlife sanctuary, 90 minutes from Nairobi, you will find Naivashaâ€™s best kept secret.
For reservations call:0722 200 596 or 0707 645 631 email: email@example.com NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019
NOTES FROM THE BUSH
As the moon illuminates the earth, scorpions crawl out of hiding, their exoskeletons glowing bright green/yellow under a UV torch due to the special fluorescent pigment in their exoskeleton, writes Samantha du Toit.
ne of my favourite things about spending so much time outdoors, and sleeping in a tent, is knowing what phase of the moon it is on any given day. This is not something I think about when we go back to Nairobi, but out in the wilderness you can’t help but see the moon and know which nights you can navigate the path back to the tent without a torch to guide you. Some nights, as we lie in our tent with the flaps up so we can see outside, there is the complete darkness that comes with a moonless night. Indeed, it can be so dark that it is hard to tell whether my eyes are open or not. Then my other senses sharpen, and sounds and smells become clearer and more useful in piecing together the story outside. Whose footsteps are those crunching carefully through the leaves? Then, on other nights, the moon is so bright it wakes us up and we can see whoever is passing by, from the little mongoose to the large elephant. All manners of creatures come out only at night, but our favourite ones to look for are the scorpions. During the day we rarely see them, and it is such a surprise therefore to see just how many crawl out of the woodwork, literally, to start their day as the sun goes down. We recently purchased a
good ‘black light’ which is a UV torch great for finding scorpions. To the children’s delight, scorpions glow bright green/yellow under UV light due to a special fluorescent pigment in their exoskeleton. I have not yet managed to find anyone who knows for sure why scorpions have this, but it is thought that they perhaps use it to see each other, warn predators of their venom or to detect the UV rays from the moon and stars, allowing them to know when it might be too bright for them to risk going out hunting, for fear of becoming prey. Most evenings after dinner, we now walk with the black light to our tent and count the number of scorpions we see. Often we count more than thirty on our five minute amble, and we are learning where we are most likely to find them, marvelling at how different they all are. Some stay in the barks of trees and seem to have the larger pincers and smaller tails; we can see these ones still in the same place in the day time, although hidden a little deeper inside their hideouts. Once we even saw two of them having what looked like an arm wrestle, pincers clashing and thrashing around as they tried to displace each other. Others we find scuttling around the undergrowth. Some big ones seem to have very small pincers and larger tails with sharp stingers on the end, and we make sure to
steer clear of them. The children ask often where the scorpions go during the day, and I remind them of how I have mistakenly discovered the answer on more than one occasion. Their favourite story is about the day I once discovered a small scorpion asleep in a hand towel which was hanging on a tree branch outside our lunch tent. As I used the hand towel to dry my hands (not knowing there was a scorpion nestled on the inside), I must have given the scorpion quite a shock as it stung me on my finger. It was a heavy sting for a small creature and the pain was intense, lasting a long fifteen hours. It then vanished abruptly, leaving me no worse for wear but perhaps a little wiser as to where to check for slumbering scorpions in the future. As we snuggle into bed and turn off the lights, we compare scorpion counts. Closing our eyes, we feel the darkness folding in around us like a safe blanket, falling asleep listening to the sounds of the night creatures going about their nocturnal business. 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.
NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019
VIPINGO RIDGE 10 YEARS ON
In 2005, a sisal plantation sat neglected, sprawled across the rise of an ancient sand dune. Today, after years of stunning transformation, this is now home to Kenya’s premier golf course, some of the most luxurious residences on the coast and a vibrant community of people from all over the world. With high-level security, world-class amenities and panoramic views from the Indian Ocean to the Chodari Hills in the west, like nowhere else in Kenya, Vipingo Ridge is a place of unique allure. As soon as you enter the gates off the Mombasa Road, it is easy to see the attraction; a beautifully manicured championship course, impressive Clubhouse, tennis courts, multiple swimming pools, horse stables, sports bar, airconditioned gym -there is little that Vipingo Ridge doesn’t offer. As a result, this is a secure and relaxed hub of activity where people come together to live, laugh and play in the company of friends. With golf at the heart of this luxury development, great care has been taken in building the 18-hole course designed by one of the world’s most imaginative golf course architects, David Jones. After officially opening in 2009, it was soon to win the first of multiple awards and became Africa’s only PGA-accredited course. Up high on the ridge, a game on the Baobab Course is cooler than you might think. Combined with a meandering system of lakes and streams, the swirling breeze may be refreshing but it also adds to the challenge of the game. Travelling back down the escarpment to the water’s edge, you will find Vipingo Ridge’s Beach Club. Launched in 2016, it soon became a familyfavourite along this piece of coastline due to its rare privacy and unspoilt nature -untouched by tourism and development and therefore brimming with nostalgia for a simpler time. Here, mouthwatering plates of fresh seafood are paraded across
silvery sands and served up to happy punters during lazy lunches or evenings under the stars. With various activities including snorkelling, boules and beach volleyball, there is plenty on offer to entertain guests of all ages. Get adventurous by exploring the rock pools teeming with sea-life or simply lie back on one of the makuti-shaded swing seats and settle into the unhurried rhythm of these Swahili shores. With over 300 residents and homeowners, the growing community among an incredible setting makes this one of Kenya’s most sought-after addresses and now that the grounds have reached full maturity, the flamboyant trees are in bloom and an abundance of wildlife has returned to the area, Vipingo Ridge beckons people from across
the region to sample a life better lived behind their walls. Until the end of the year, a special weekend package is the perfect opportunity to experience this glamourous enclave and play Kenya’s finest course in view of a sparkling sea. For just KES 14,500 per person sharing or 19,500 single occupancy, play 9 holes on the Friday night and join the signature Club Night supper, stay in a luxury villa overnight and enjoy a hearty breakfast before taking on the full 18 holes on the Saturday. Costs include all green fees, dinner and bitings, 5-star accommodation and breakfast. The 2, 3 & 4-bedroom villas on the footprints of the golf course await to spoil you with unrivalled comfort, an Indian Ocean seascape and some with rooftop plunge pools too. Book your stay by quoting “NOMAD10” and enjoy 10% off your accommodation during September 2019. Amid the spoils of the Kenyan coast, each day spent here will be yours to craft and enjoy. Whether you want to take on the challenge of the PGA Baobab Course or set sail on a Swahili dhow, indulge in fine dining or a game of tennis with the kids, you are invited to come for a day and stay for a lifetime. For more information, please visit www. vipingoridge.com, For bookings, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take your place among this secure gated community and live, laugh and play in the company of friends.
COME FOR A DAY. STAY FOR A LIFETIME.
We turn our focus to Nairobi in this issue, listing some of our favourite spots around the city; from those with a rich history that have been around since the early 1900s to business hotels, and more
NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019
HISTORIC FAIRMONT THE NORFOLK
If youâ€™re looking for a place with history, then The Norfolk, as it started out in 1904, is it. Sitting on the Lord Delamere Terrace, one can still imagine what it must have been like for a guest in the early days, drinking a beer overlooking green wilderness that has inevitably given way to the city spread.The then Jewish-owned hotel went through huge upheaval in 1980. These days, itâ€™s a rare, high-class idyll in a quieter part of the centre, and hosts two excellent restaurants. Location: Harry Thuku Rd. www.fairmont.com
It launched into Kenyan history in 1902 by becoming the first luxury hotel in Nairobi and the gracious host to prominent world leaders and celebrities. Sarova Stanley retains much of its historical charm while offering all the luxuries and amenities of a five-star hotel. Towering high up on the 8th floor is the charismatic and chic 1902 Club Lounge. With it comes a promise of the very best personalized business solutions; exclusive boardroom access, specialized concierge services, whole day refreshments and city sundowners to wind down your day. Location: CBD. www.sarovahotels.com
FAIRMONT THE NORFOLK
NAIROBI SERENA HOTEL
A celebration of sophistication and a rich fusion of Pan-African design influences from Ethiopia, the Maghreb, West Africa and East Africa - it merges business and leisure, art and gastronomy and five-star style and service. The 199 guestrooms and suites have been newly remodelled and appointed with the sought-after extravagances. Established in 1975, it stands on the land that carried the current National Museum in 1922. The hotel is a living embodiment of its locale and has played a role in a number of historic moments in Kenya over the years. Location: CBD outskirts www.serenahotels.com
This 85 room landmark hotel which currently has modern art and design opened its doors in 1961, quickly becoming popular as an important hub in East African politics. It played host to East African presidents, senior government officials and civil servants as well as Elite Africans in various conferences and meetings of state. It is said that Kenya’s first president, the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, was a regular guest. Location: at the heart of the CBD, along Tom Mboya Street and opposite Kenya National Archives. www.hotelambassadeurkenya.com
In 1969 when Hilton Nairobi was officially opened, it stood out as the pinnacle of international style and class. Owned by the Hilton family, the brand has a worldrenowned history. Today it has a good blend of old and new decor. Whether you are seeking an indoor or outdoor dining experience, their three restaurants, two distinct bars and charming Hollywoodthemed café offer innovative cuisine and friendly service. Tour the five continents with weekly themed buffets at Travellers restaurant, there’s the British-themed Jockey Pub, and more. Location: Mama Ngina St. www.hilton.com
The 127-room Fairview Hotel’s decor is typical of Georgian colonial style. The original hotel was built with a countryside atmosphere in mind. Having been built earlier, in 1946, a family bought and successfully ran it for three generations spanning almost 70 years, until only recently. Over the years, renovations have been done, careful to retain the country feel in what has now become a bustling urban center. Expect neatly manicured and well kept tropical gardens, four restaurants, a swimming pool, sundowner bar with pianist, and more. Location: Bishop Rd. www.clhg.com
NAIROBI SERENA HOTEL
NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019
APARTMENTS KINGFISHER NEST
Named after the home of the striking kingfisher birds, the two-bedroom serviced apartments here are spacious and comfortable, and come with a fully functional kitchen, two bathrooms and a large balcony. The apartments have a rooftop heated pool and gym, where you can work out or go for a relaxing dip while taking in the Nairobi skyline. Indulge in Italian and Indian cuisine at Feaston, the restaurant on the first floor. Meals can however also be provided at the comfort of your apartment. Location: Opposite the former Nakumatt Ukay, Westlands. www.kingfishernest.com
The property consists of one and two bedroom apartments, and presidential suites. Each is designed with large panel windows, spacious wardrobes, a living and dining area as well as a fully equipped open plan kitchen with modern facilities. If you’re not keen to cook, however, head up to the 11th floor for some continental cuisine at the main restaurant, Argenti, which means “silver” in Italian. There is even a gym with a fitness instructor, sauna and steam room, as well as a world class spa. Location: Riverside Lane. www.gemsuites.com
PALACINA RESIDENCE & SUITES The beautifully-furnished one, two and three-bedroom suites which all have very well-equipped kitchens come with all the conveniences of a hotel – the Moonflower restaurant on site, a lobby with sofas to sink into, and daily breakfast. There are also double bedrooms available, the newer ones, at a higher price, in The Residence North. Throughout the hotel is the Palacina touch, and the interior design arm is situated in the shop just next door. There is a long indoor pool and gym on site. Location: off Dennis Pritt Rd, Kilimani. www.palacina.com
SERENE KAREN BLIXEN GARDEN COTTAGES
The cottages have been designed after the historic Swedo House which was originally built as a hunting lodge in 1906. They give a sense of relieving history in elegant style, with high beam ceilings with fireplaces, and wood and mazeras stone floors complimenting modern bathrooms. All cottages have a verandah for relaxing while enjoying the birds, butterflies and flowers of the garden. They even have feeders to attract a wide variety of birds. A private swimming pool and private garden bar are available for a relaxing afternoon. Location: Karen Rd, Karen. www.karenblixencoffeegarden.com
NAIROBI TENTED CAMP
This Porini-branded camp is an intimate property in a shaded part of the national park, and has just nine tents and a minimal footprint. All are set on a wooded rise above the main part of the camp. The communal area is a lovely, old-style area with large sofas and leather armchairs, again all under canvas. By staying here, guests access the wealth of Africa knowledge of the Gamewatchers Safari family, started by safari old-timer Jake Grieves-Cooke who has decades of experience in Kenyaâ€™s tourism sector. Location: within NNP, Langata. www.nairobitentedcamp.com
This 10-room classy property has hosted all manner of celebs, including Madonna. It is the home of Emma and Anthony Childs who have created a luxurious bush idyll, a true escape whether en route to safari, or just looking for an escape from the city for a night or two. The bedrooms, all of which overlook the park, are huge and designed with a modern, contemporary feel. Each has a fireplace for chilly nights, and guests can feast on the views from their own wooden decks. Within NNP, Langata. www.emakoko.com
NAIROBI TENTED CAMP
NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019
HOTELS IN A MALL TRIBE HOTEL
The hotel is softly lit with warm colours, and boasts a good steakhouse called Jiko. The standard rooms are spacious – some with a bath, others are shower only – and adorned with colourful artworks and tribal artefacts. The tribal theme plays out across the hotel, which has some 900 pieces from around the continent. There’s a library with 3,000 books, a stone table on a raised deck in the pool should the idea of dining with water lapping around your feet appeal, and Kaya spa. Location: Village Market. www.tribe-hotel.com
With 215-rooms, this elegant and urban business hotel is inspired by the cultural and creative renaissance in Nairobi, reflecting the city’s industrious and innovative nature in its design. Each sound proof room offers a workstation, black-out curtains and various amenities. There is a clubhouse with striking views of the area on the topmost floor. Harvest, the hotel’s open grill brasserie, has excellent cuts of meat and focuses on farm fresh ingredients carefully paired with exquisite wines from their walk-in wine room, for the perfect dining out experience. Location: Village Market. www.trademark-hotel.com
CITY LODGE HOTEL AT TWO RIVERS
Opened by South African hospitality group City Lodge, it has 171 beautifully designed sound-proof rooms that strike a good balance between comfort and style. Rooms range from standard, presidential and those adapted for guests with physical disabilities. While the bathrooms feature showers, selected rooms offer baths. Guests can enjoy their meals at the cafe for breakfast, lunch and a light dinner, as well as a sundowner bar service. The hotel also has a swimming pool, boardrooms and a well equipped fitness center. Location: Two Rivers Mall. www.clhg.com
BUDGET WILDEBEEST ECO CAMP
This well-run hotel is unexpected given its location in the Langata suburb encircling a small marsh-bordered lake. It caters predominantly to groups and younger travellers, but has attractive whitewashed rooms as well as glamping options in the deluxe safari tent, and a range of more budget options right down to a two-man tent and dorm rooms. Meals are taken on the large deck overlooking the swimming pool, and itâ€™s an enticing spot for kids given the playground and mini zipline. Location: Mokoyeti Rd West, Langata. www.wildebeestecocamp.com
KENYA COMFORT HOTEL
This is a two-star hotel with 91 rooms located at the junction of Muindi Mbingu and Monrovia Streets, overlooking the lovely Jeevanjee Gardens. The hotel offers en-suite compact budget, standard and superior rooms. At the restaurant, all meals are prepared from fresh ingredients and the menu largely features Kenyan cuisine. The group also has three-star suites, in Kilimani, just around State House. Enjoy an aerial view of Nairobi from the rooftop sun lounge or relax at the steam and sauna rooms. Personalized packages for conferences and more are available. Location: CBD. www.kenyacomfort.com
The house can host up to 30 people. Rooms here range from single and double to six and eight person dorms, and these have shared washrooms. There is a communal living room and dining area, great for mingling with fellow backpackers. The outdoor restaurant serves freshly prepared food with an open fireplace for extra warmth on those cold Nairobi spells, best enjoyed with a drink from the bar. The staff is very friendly and the house is located in the serene neighbourhood of Kilimani, just about 2km from the CBD. www.manyattabackpackers.com
WILDEBEEST ECO CAMP
NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019
DECOR AFRICAN HERITAGE HOUSE
An architectural gem reminiscent of Timbuktustyle mud buildings, the house is crammed with rare art pieces collected from all over the continent by Alan Donovan, who built it following the demise of the African Heritage gallery in town. Each of the four bedrooms is themed with its own eclectic style, from the beds with the trinket holders on the carved bed-posts to the rock-pool like bathroom. Itâ€™s also a fascinating place to simply visit for a tour of the weird and wonderful African art. Book ahead. Location: Mombasa Rd, Mlolongo www.africanheritagehouse.info
THE KING POST
This is a Swahili village smack in the middle of Nairobi. It features a unique architectural synthesis as interesting as the influences on the Swahili culture itself, with Omani, Portuguese, Indian, African and British flair. Right from the wooden intricately carved gate with large brass studs, narrow alleyways lead you to the tranquility of your apartment, and you might as well be in Zanzibar. Apartments range from studios to three bedrooms. A gym, restaurant, hair salon and fashion boutique are also within the premises. Location: Rhapta Rd, Westlands. www.gablesgroup.co.ke
AFRICAN HERITAGE HOUSE
Here, style, entertainment and art converge. The decor is contemporary, colourful and chic with a refreshing sense of playfulness and exciting installations for art lovers. Offering world class cuisine from its array of bars and restaurants, stylish and spacious guest rooms, the award winning Devarana Spa and a striking red swimming pool, dusitD2 is the perfect urban retreat for both work and play. After closing down following the widely-covered attacks last year, the hotel reopens with a special accommodation package offering 20% off the Dusit Best Available Rate. Location: 14 Riverside Drive. www.d2nairobi.com
AIRPORT FOUR POINTS BY SHERATON NAIROBI AIRPORT
There is a distinct vertical garden which starts from the ground floor and winds all the way up to the hotel’s fifth floor. In any of the 172 guestrooms, there is a sense of thought in the design. If it’s something a little more indulgent that you want, a bathtub overlooking the National Park is just the thing in the Executive Suite. The rooftop restaurant has a pool, overlooks the JKIA runway on one side and the park on the other, and has a colourful mural by graffiti artist Bankslave. Location: Tower Avenue JKIA. www.marriott.com
FOUR POINTS BY SHERATON JKIA
With the stunning views of the park, especially when the animals come to the waterhole, this alone make Ole Sereni oneof-a-kind. Boasting modern technology and furnishings with an African-inspired décor, all rooms serve as a comfortable home away from home. Each of their four dining options capitalise on the unique location along the park, whether looking out over an infinity pool or from the fourth-floor at Eagle’s The Steakhouse. Here, you can enjoy fresh seafood flown in from Kenya’s coast or handpicked, aged steaks. Location: Mombasa Rd. ole-sereni.com
HILTON GARDEN INN
Start each morning with breakfast at the on-site restaurant or grab a quick snack at the 24-hour Pavilion Pantry. Unwind with evening room service. Spend the afternoon at the 20m heated rooftop infinity pool, or the 24 hour well-equipped fitness center. Choose from any of the 175 air-conditioned guest rooms which includes complimentary WiFi, a well-lit work area, mini-refrigerator and flatscreen TV with freeview channels. Unwind with a drink in the relaxed lounge bar before enjoying a meal in the Garden Grille. Location: Mombasa Rd. www.hilton.com
NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019
BUSINESS VILLA ROSA KEMPINSKI
Offering the perfect fusion of European luxury and Kenyan hospitality, Villa Rosa Kempinski is a unique destination where guests can spend time relaxing or working. In addition to the 200 rooms and suites distributed throughout its ten floors, you will also find exquisite dining opportunities here. Their dining selection includes Cafe Villa Rosa, K Lounge which is the lobby lounge, Balcony Bar, Chinese Restaurant 88, Italian Restaurant LUCCA and a Levant -style lounge and restaurant called Tambourin. The hotel also has a grand ballroom and Kempinski The Spa. Location: Chiromo Rd. www.kempinski.com
PARK INN BY RADISSON
The 140 rooms here are designed for comfort, with a fantastic range of amenities to enhance your stay. Enjoy all-day dining at the in-house restaurant and terrace bar, or relax with friends at the rooftop lounge bar which offers amazing views of the Westlands neighbourhood. Keep up with your workout routine in the gym, or cool off in the swimming pool. For business, host your next conference, seminar, boardroom meeting or event in their convenient, on-site meeting rooms. There are five of those, ranging from 20 to 140 square meters. Location: Waiyaki Way. www.radissonhotels.com
VILLA ROSA KEMPINSKI
SANKARA AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION
Spacious luxury rooms and suites at this luxury hotel are bathed in natural light. The contemporary interior design, array of art and in-room facilities provide the highest level of comfort. There are several restaurants such as Graze, a New York-style steakhouse offering aged beef, succulent seafood and indulgent desserts paired with some of the finest wines and whiskies. With more than 250 square metres of multi-functional event facilities, they offer one of the most exclusive and convenient venues for corporate gatherings in Nairobi. Location: Woodvale Grove, Westlands. www.sankara.com.
PRIDE INN RAPHTA
This quiet three-star hotel was just recently refurbished. The cottage-style rooms are lined along a courtyard, and are shaded by trees and greenery making for a rather serene setting. The regular in-room facilities such as a work surface, DSTV, WiFi, fridge, a tea station and more are available. A swimming pool and restaurant with a vast multi-cuisine menu are available. For business travelers, the brand is renowned for its conferencing facilities, and they have another location in the neighbourhood just next to Graffins college. Location: Raphta Rd, Westlands. www.prideinn.co.ke
THE HERON PORTICO
Choose from a range of accommodation options such as the junior suites (which include a separate living area and a kitchenette) or standard and superior rooms. Great amenities and stunning interiors make this stylish and comfortable hotel an ideal choice. Choose from five fully equipped meeting and event halls for a wide array of gatherings like conferences, exhibitions, weddings and more. For foodies, there are four options for dining, and these offer patrons an array of international and local cuisine. Location: Jakaya Kikwete Rd. www.theheronportico.com
This chic and stylish hotel is the ultimate stopover for mixing of business and leisure. Restaurants such as Kilele Nyama and Utamu are available and offer a range of cuisine (the former in particular has a must-try mixed-grill platter). If you are keen to grab some post-meeting drinks, Tusker Lite Sky Bar can get quite lively on the weekends, and is the perfect spot to watch the city light up at night. Accommodation ranges from double to twin, triple and family rooms. Five conference facilities are available. Location: Rhapta Rd, Westlands. www.ibisstylesnairobi.com
NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019
Photographer: Trevor Maingi @the_mentalyst
With a background in Software Engineering and Aerospace Engineering, I decided to chase my wildest dreams of becoming a photographer. I've never really enjoyed labels and prefer to let a photograph speak for itself. I do however like to think of myself as a travel and lifestyle photographer/filmmaker. When it comes to urbanscape photography, I enjoy playing with lines, patterns and shapes. For those looking to venture into this field, here are some tips to always keep in mind: GEAR: Think about accessories such as a tripod and filters which can really play a big role in getting the best shots. Always carry extra batteries as well. COMPOSITION: Draw the viewer's eye by using leading lines, contrast, patterns and texture to bring cities to life. LENSES: Experiment with various lenses. I always find myself shooting using a wide and a zoom lens. The former is amazing, but details in a shot tell a different story. MOTION: This is where the ND filter comes through. Use one during the day to be able to shoot long exposure photos. At night, you will have less light for long exposures. PEOPLE: Incorporate human elements into your composition. People can not only bring life to cities but also help convey scale. RESEARCH: Find out key locations or vantage points to shoot from. Also find out if you need permission or a license. TIME OF DAY: Light is key. Pay attention to how it brings life to a city. I enjoy shooting in the early morning light, and the streets are also usually less busy. Also use shadows and sunsets to your advantage. VANTAGE POINT: If there are tall buildings next to you, shoot from street level looking up. Try different angles. Manual focus: With urbanscape, you won't be dealing with fast moving objects so switch to manual focus for consistently sharp images. EXPERIMENT: Go to the same area a couple times and try various techniques. SAFETY: Every city has its fair share of the good and bad. Ask around for places to avoid and always be aware of what's happening around you. NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019
NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019
A MARA SAFARI
WITH MY DAUGHTER For families with kids, Simon Marsh lays out some fun activities to do on safari to ensure both parents and their children have fun.
he first time I took my daughter on safari as a three year old, she was transfixed with the experience and the creatures she had only ever heard about in stories. Fast forward to five years and innumerable excursions later, now the sighting of a big cat does no more than elicit a slight murmur of interest. A challenge to many seasoned parents on a bush excursion is how to make it an enjoyable, fulfilling and worthwhile experience for younger children whilst getting the most out of the experience themselves, all while avoiding arguments. Over the years, I have sought to instill a knowledge and passion for the country she knows as home, and in particular its flora and fauna. Children learn through interaction and remember through experiences so for me it was important to incorporate both while on safari, as well as hopefully getting a few epic pictures for the family album. The Mara never disappoints, and despite the heavy rains, this trip was no exception. In the quieter times, we were able to test each other’s knowledge and that of our Masai guide John by setting each other quizzes to test our bush knowledge. A pencil and notebook are cheap tools to occupy young minds, and they can also get to draw and colour what they see.
Next up was lighting fires the traditional Maasai way, by rapidly rubbing ‘sandpaper wood’ against another soft wooden base. Enough friction is created resulting in light embers which are then transferred to some very dry elephant dung, and this is carefully nurtured to create flames. Not nearly as easy as it looks, it transpired, when it was our turn. We also took a mould of a big cat’s footprint. Much of the fun was in the scrambling around to find a suitable print, then being patient enough for it to set. For my daughter, this came in handy while relating the experiences of the safari to her school friends in the show-and-tell section. The wonders of the bush can easily be explored on foot, and little experiences here and there such as luring a wolf-spider from its hole with a blade of grass or trying to determine which animal frequents a particular burrow based on what droppings or tracks are nearby, are always exciting. There is also the cheeky insertion of a finger into wet buffalo dung then pretending to taste it that always elicits giggles and mirthful faces of disgust.
We also took a mould of a big cat’s footprint. Much of the fun was in the scrambling around to find a suitable print, then being patient enough for it to set.
A small inexpensive camera is another great investment, although it inevitably means a lot of time subsequently spent deleting blurry selfies. The first time she was able to enter the school wildlife photography competition with her own pictures led to a sustained interest in all things four-legged which gives hope that a future “photographer of the year” may currently be undergoing the early stages of apprenticeship.
Back at camp, the guides and staff had prepared a range of fun activities. An increasingly competitive set of trials ensued between the staff, the determined eight year old and her talent-deficient father. These included the making of a bow and arrow followed by the multiple perforation of the cardboard-box derived target.
A family safari is however just as much about spending quality time together away from the distractions of everyday life as it is about the game viewing. I found her opening up about the highs and lows of school life, what was on her mind and being able to talk about hopes, dreams and aspirations in a way that was rarely possible around hectic work, school and social schedules. To me that's the real beauty of the experience, time together reminiscent of a bygone era and making memories that we will both remember. We stayed at Basecamp Leopard Hill, the newest addition to their portfolio in the Naibosho conservancy. One of the innovations in their well-outfitted tents is the ability to open a portion of the roof at the press of a button which will appeal to stargazers, who need not even get out of bed. Each room also has its own deck and firepit from where parents can enjoy romantic meals while the children sleep peacefully inside.
NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019
A PIKI PIKI RIDE THROUGH
SOUTH NYANZA From a bustling nightlife in Kisii to a fishing village in Homa Bay, Martyn Pollock tears across counties on the wheels of a Honda Ace before hopping aboard a speedboat to the little-known Ngodhe Rao Island, and back.
eon lights and flat screen TVs illuminate the clubs on Kisii’s second street. Couples mostly, sit packed together into small booths eating ugali and choma late into the night while Afro-Dance-Pop blares out of huge speakers several decibels too loud. Despite the nightlife on offer, I find myself on some backstreet dive. An unmarked door takes me and a friend four or five storeys up to what reminds me of a Scottish working-man’s social club; faded smoke-stained furniture and used sodden beer mats. Patrons line the bar knocking back high-octane Guinness and nodding to the rhythm. The band plays Kisii traditional music with a Latin beat, it’s a sound like I’ve never heard before and the place is jumping. Dancing is an all-male sport with plenty of awkward eye contact. In wellie boots and a ski jacket, our de facto leader controls the pack; he drops, and we follow time and time again. The band sweating into their mics seem to constantly lift the tempo and it’s gone half past three by the time we decide to make the journey home. Kisii has some surprisingly active nightlife. It’s the kind of surprise night you don’t forget and the next morning I’m feeling worse for wear. But I’ve got a free weekend, time to kill and I want to make the most of what South Nyanza has to offer. The Honda Ace is to the piki piki world what the Prado is to the world of luxury 4x4s: a premium machine with a premium price tag. They are pretty much all the same bike, but this has a feel of quality and workmanship that means even the older bikes still look and feel new. A chorus of ‘muzungu, muzungu’ follows as I jockey through Kisii town traffic. Stopping, starting, weaving the ride is exciting if a bit terrifying. After a couple of near misses, I’m free of the urban chaos and on the open road. Ahead of me lies pristine Chinese tarmac meandering its way westwards down, down, and further down towards Lake Victoria. Kisii town, and Kisii County for that matter, do not get large numbers of foreign visitors. A small Indian community of business owners and less than a handful of expats (of which I am one) and that’s the whole county. A shame really as the rolling hills of South Nyanza are truly spectacular. Banana, coffee, tea, avocado and of course maize cover every inch of land. If you drop
seeds here, they will grow. And for this reason, it is the most populous county in Kenya. It’s a sort of urban-rural sprawl where families are densely packed into tiny parcels of subsistence farm land. The villages are idyllic. Immaculate homesteads with wellbuilt houses, only the mabati sheet roofs and mobile phones serve as reminders that you are indeed in 2019. I take advantage of the new road and gun the bike through its 4-speed box all the way to a brisk 95Kph (downhill). The open road is a dream, but I continually remind myself that dangers lurk, and I try to remain focussed. Soon I’m in Homa Bay county and the dramatic landscape of the lakeside mountains and islands unfold in front of me. I try not to get too lost in the moment for fear of speed bumps, potholes and of course other road users. A boy of around nine years holds his hand out at the side of the road. As I come to a stop, he just stares at me wondering if his eyes are telling the truth. ‘Wathi’, the only
word I know in Luo, which means ‘let’s go’, and we are on our way. We ride in silence for a couple of miles until he says ‘hapa’ and as I come to a stop he runs off into the bush to tell everyone he meets about his free ride, questioning his own story with each iteration. I’ve decided to camp at Wayando Beach Eco Resort and I pitch my tent with a beautiful view of the lake. It’s a modest place in an excellent setting, serving up succulent fresh fish dishes at bargain prices. A great place to stay if you are travelling on a budget. After nearly three hours in the saddle and darkness setting in, I settle down for a few beers in front of an open fire watching the shifting shadows as the sun light turns to moonlight over this great body of water.
The next morning, I charter a fishing boat to Ngodhe Rao Island with the only other guest in the resort. Under a patchwork sail we cruise between the two islands at great speed. Our fishermen cum tour operators are eager to please. There’s Walter, the confident outgoing one with a steady stream of interesting facts, Bernard, the intern who is doing almost all the work and Dickenson who sits at the front almost in silence. It’s hard to work out who is the boss, but my money is on Dickenson. The waves lap at the boat as the morning sun begins to show its strength on my Celtic skin. The Sound is awash with boats, but hardly an engine can be heard as almost every boat is as the traditional dhow sailing design. Ngodhe Rao Island reminds me of a mythical pirate island in some classic eighteenth-century novel. Two distinct rocky peaks that lead down steep slopes to the lake. Coves and inlets patrolled by tropical birds and countless monitor lizards. But far from deserted this island has a vibrant community. We land at a small fishing village on the biggest stretch of beach. It is the closest thing to a town on the island. There are no cars and no bikes, and the pace of life is probably little changed in decades. Kids play in the water while adults fish with varying methods; line and net with the latter being a communal affair. Instantly I’m roped into hauling in the day’s catch. No mean feat as huge nets are pulled by opposing parties from hundreds of meters offshore. After about 40 mins of rhythmic heaving, I’m exhausted, but the net is on shore and the catch distributed evenly among the two parties. As I watch, a man is weaving a net on a huge wooden loom. “Which country?” he asks. “UK,” I reply. “How do you like Trump? I like Trump, he is a great leader,” he says. I nod, not wanting to correct him. Geopolitics aside and we are back on the boat to finish the circumnavigation of this idyllic isle and back to our campsite. I’ve got a three-hour blast ahead of me and I want to get back before nightfall. For all its pluses, the Honda Ace doesn’t have a fuel gauge which makes me nervous about coming unstuck. The journey back is smoother and faster. I’m used to the bike now and feel much more confident on the road. I turn into Suneka, the first town back in Gusii lands and the chorus of “muzungu” from every man, child and mzee begins again. I’m home.
NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019
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NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019
SANDSTORM: WHAT I PACK
Dorothy Tote bag from Endo² X Sandstorm collection Ksh6,900
Patti Endo is a Kenyan-Japanese artist who, together with her sister Yvonne, just collaborated with Sandstorm on the Endo² X Sandstorm line of bags featuring Patti's signature art. When running around Nairobi, here’s what you’re likely to find in her tote bag.
ZARA LEATHER JACKET - You can never go wrong with a leather jacket; it's a perfect statement piece that goes with absolutely everything I wear, and also keeps me warm in this unpredictable Nairobi weather.
MOSCHINO MAKEUP BAG - I never leave the house without it! It carries all my little bits and bobs which mainly includes my make up items for a touch up here and there.
ROGER & GALLET PERFUME “THÉ FANTAISIE”- One of my favourite everyday scents. I just throw it in my bag and spruce up as needed wherever I go.
FENTY LIP PAINT IN “UNCENSORED” - Red Lipstick is my go-to! I'm always rocking it no matter what. My favourites are either Fenty Lip Paint in “Uncensored” or Mac “Ruby Woo”.
LUSH HANDY GURUGU HAND CREAM - Moisturised skin is everything to me, especially because I have tattoos. This all-natural cream keeps my skin soft and helps keep my tattoos looking vibrant.
CARMEX CHERRY LIP BALM - hands down my favourite lip balm ever.
RAY-BAN ROUND METAL SUNGLASSES - Essential for my day to day...you can never go wrong with a pair of Ray Bans!
PHONE AND CHARGER- Just can’t live without them. I’m always chatting with family and friends, and also like to take pictures of adorable animals.
NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019
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