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JULY-AUGUST 2017 ISSUE 2

An interview with

elephant foster mum Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick

“benvenuto” to

Malindi

on safari with the man who knows everything

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE KENYA TOURISM BOARD & KENYA TOURISM FEDERATION


Foreword by Hon. Najib Balala, EGH, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Tourism.

Kenya has many faces: wilderness and wildlife, heritage and culture. Eternally enchanting and always inspiring, the faces change with the seasons. Our food (gastronomy) scene is evolving with the entry of global brands of food outlets and authentic Kenyan eateries.

The Pinnacle will be the tallest building in Africa

I am excited to state that a total of 80 new hotels (4,213 rooms) have been opened in Kenya, since 2013. Another six (785 rooms) will open by the end of 2017, whilst two (221 rooms) in 2018 and one (255 rooms) in 2019-2020. Five new hotels are also expected to be built during this period. My Ministry partnered with the United Nations World Travel Organization (UNWTO) to organize the Tourism Innovation and Change Forum (TICF) 2017, held between 2nd – 3rd June, 2017 at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), focusing on how Kenya’s tourism sector can harness approaches to change from global technology pioneers and business innovators. It will also soon be time for the careering herds of wildebeest to arrive in the Masai Mara National Reserve. And there, they and their supporting wildlife cast, will stage ‘The Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth.’ So many sights to see: so much action to enjoy. So much wilderness to discover: so many images to capture. So much cuisine to sample: so much culture to absorb. And so many people waiting to meet you. So come soon. And let us show you why WE LOVE KENYA!

Hon. Najib Balala, EGH, CABINET SECRETARY

WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017

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The best of both worlds One of Kenya’s most respected real estate developers, Manrik boasts two iconic properties ideal for the business traveller, the safari guest or those that wish to combine business with pleasure. Wildly different experiences but the same warm hospitality.

Eka Hotel in Nairobi offers modern accommodation, extensive business

Ol Tukai Lodge is situated in the heart of Amboseli National Park, a

and leisure facilities and of course exceptional service. The hotel is ideally

spectacular wilderness with the awesome backdrop of Africa’s tallest

situated along the Mombasa highway, adjacent to the Nairobi National

mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro. Described as ‘a home for the gods’, Amboseli

Park and close to both the international airport and the city centre. The

offers the perfect safari experience where guests enjoy game drives, walks

nearby bypass means that guests can effortlessly enjoy some of Nairobi’s

and cultural trips as well as sundowners and bush dinners; and Amboseli

popular day-trips such as the National Park, Daphne Sheldrick’s elephant

is undoubtedly the best place in Africa to see large elephant herds. The

orphanage, the giraffe centre or the famous Karen Blixen museum.

eco-rated lodge boasts 80 luxury chalet-style rooms with private terraces.

To find out more visit www.ekahotel.com

To find out more visit www.oltukailodge.com


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24 Contents

MANAGING EDITOR: Jane Barsby

CONSULTANT: CONTENT & IMAGERY Lyndsey McIntyre

SALES: Beth Litunya, Richard Steel

CREATIVE AND EDITORIAL TEAM: Mike Jones, Pam Kubassu Papa, Moses Ochieng, Sam Ndung’u, James Mwania

PHOTOGRAPHIC AND EDITORIAL CREDITS: Alexander Leisser, Angama Mara, Barbara K. Minishi, Beverly Joubert, Billionaire Resort, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Fairmont Hotels, Freya Dowson, Gautam Shah, Jane Spilsbury, Kempinski, Ker & Downey Safaris, Make It Kenya / Stuart Price, Mia Collis, Midego Fotography, Mills Publishing Ltd, Neil Thomas, Sabuk Lodge, Safarilink, Saruni, Savage Wilderness, Serena Hotels, Shaun Mousley, Simpson Photography, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Steve Garvie, Stuart Butler, Tamarind Group, The Hub Karen, The Safari Collection, www.africaimagelibrary.com, www.michaelsheridanphotography.com

ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES: advertising@colourspace.co.ke

EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES: editorial@colourspace.co.ke

PUBLISHER: MJS Colourspace Ltd. Victoria Towers, Kilimanjaro Road, Nairobi Tel: +254 (0)20 2738004, 2737883 Mobile: +254 (0)727 794041 Cover photograph: Tsavo elephant dust bath © Mia Collis Foreword photograph © The Pinnacle Copyright © 2017 Why I Love Kenya Magazine. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior permission of the publishers. The publishers do not accept responsibility for the advertising content of the magazine and nor do they promote or endorse products from third-party advertisers. Why I love Kenya is published by MJS Colourspace Ltd. Printed in Kenya.

www.whyilovekenya.com

03 Foreword 06 Zoom Lens 10 Wide Angle Lens: The greening of Africa 12 Cameo Shot: Daphne Sheldrick on ‘Why I love Kenya’ 14 Wide Angle Lens: Kenya’s star quality 16 Depth of Field: The safari tradition 18 Moving Image: The man who knows everything 24 Cultural Contact: The keepers of God’s cattle 30 Capturing the Coast: The EA Whale Shark Trust 34 Capturing the Coast: Magical Malindi 40 Capturing the Coast: Ghostly in Gedi 42 Wild Action: On your bike 46 In Portrait: How to make an elephant 50 Spotlight On: Millennium unicorn 52 In Close Up: Safari capital of the world 55 Portfolio: Will you marry me? 58 Snapped: The best of the Kenyan buys 60 Kenya Brief

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Drop in for

breakfast? Nairobi’s famous Giraffe Manor hotel has just starred in a BBC series called Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby. And the resident Rothschild giraffes were right on cue to present themselves for breakfast with journalist Giles Coren and chef Monica Galetti. Too tall to fit in the dining room, however, the giraffes did as they do every morning they stuck their heads through the window and dined off their own personal bowls of pony pellets. If you’d like to breakfast with a giraffe, or have one pop its head through your bedroom window then book yourself into this iconic boutique hotel, which is set amid 12 acres of wilderness in Nairobi’s leafy suburbs and immediately adjacent to the Africa Fund for Endangered Wildlife Giraffe Centre. For further information: www.thesafaricollection.com

© The Safari Collection

US-born model and Bollywood actress Nagris Fakhri with Sudan © Make It Kenya / Stuart Price

The world’s most

eligible bachelor He’s the only male left on the planet. In fact, he’s so precious that he has his own team of bodyguards. What’s more, he’s looking for romance, so if you’re interested check out the social dating site, Tinder. Only one problem, Sudan is a white rhino, so unless you’re a female white rhino, he’s unlikely to be interested. And even if you are a female white rhino you’d better act fast, because there are at least 17,000 other lonely girls desperate to snap him up. It’s a great story, and all part of a publicity campaign, organised by Kenya’s Ol

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WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017

Pejeta Conservancy, which is committed to raising USD$9 million to protect the northern white rhino from extinction by carrying out vital research into Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART) and in-vitro fertilization (IVF) in white rhinos. If successful, the research is expected to deliver some successful pregnancies. It will also assist in gradually building a viable herd of northern white rhinos that can ultimately be released back in the wild. For further information www.olpejetaconservancy.org/most-eligible-bachelor/


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Gorgeous

If you like your wheels, and you like them stylish, plan to visit Kenya’s most gorgeous motor event - the Concours d’Elegance. Featuring 70 classic and vintage cars and motorcycles, all of which come with their individually fabulous tales as to how they made their way out to Kenya over the last century, the 2017 Concours (the 47th such event) promises to be even more glamorous than usual. Organised by the Alfa Romeo Owners Club of Kenya, this utterly unique event will be held at the Nairobi Racecourse on September 24. What’s more, if you’d like to buy one of these beauties – this is your chance. For further information: www.alfaromeoownersclubkenya.com

wheels on parade

© Alfa Romeo Owners’ Club Kenya

© mfauzisaim / Shutterstock.com

Cross-legged in Lamu

© Neil Thomas

The cream of

Sub-Saharan Rugby comes to town Nairobi - 26 to 29 September - is the place to be if you’re a rugby fan. Not only can you watch the cream of Sub-Saharan African rugby in play against England, Portugal, Italy and Spain, but you can also revel in the carnival atmosphere and roar alongside the Kenyan supporters, who are said to be the most fun-loving and LOUD on the planet. For further information: 7s.safaricom.co.ke

According to the United Nations some two billion people practice yoga worldwide today. And no wonder: it makes you feel good; it makes you look good and it helps you to achieve that balance of mind, body and spirit that eradicates stress and optimises performance. However, if you’d like to combine your yoga with a visit to Kenya’s iconic Swahili island paradise, Lamu, then book up for the Lamu Yoga Wellness Festival 1-5 November, which will feature beach yoga sessions, organic cuisine, meditional workshops, Ayurveda treatments and much more. (Proceeds go in support of girl-child support, safari doctors, local orphanages and the provision of free yoga classes for all). And if that doesn’t sit well with your schedule, then what about the 14-18 March 2018 Lamu Yoga Festival – same venue, same vibe? For further information: lamuyoga.org

WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017

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Catching up with the migration Awesome is an over-used word. In relation to the annual migration of the wildebeest, however, AWESOME is the perfect word to use. Around one million wildebeest careering across the savannah like so many manic blue-black rocking horses is a sight to be seen. So are the accompanying herds of zebra, which seem to run with the wildebeest out of the sheer joy of living. And then there are the prowling packs of predators growing fat on the carnage. And the massive crocodiles that leap out of the churning waters of the Mara River to snap their fearsome jaws around the oddly fragile legs of the wildebeest. It’s quite a show: ‘The Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth’ or the ‘Seventh Natural Wonder of the world’ – you choose your title. Until you see the migration for yourself, however, you can have no comprehension of its awe-inspiring splendour. So.

How best to see it? Well, planning helps. But, the migration is a phenomenon of nature and it doesn’t run to schedule. Nor can seats be booked. But it does follow a pattern; and here’s what you need to know.

When and where? December to June -The wildebeest are in the Serengeti National Reserve in Tanzania.

July - The migration is on the move from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara National Reserve of Kenya. August to October - The migration is in the Masai Mara. November - The migration moves from the Mara to the Serengeti

What and why? Over one million wildebeest and several thousand zebra make a round trip of around 1,000 kilometres, over two countries (Tanzania and Kenya) in search of water and good grazing grass. 250,000 animals perish on the way. Some scientists believe that the wildebeest are motivated by the chemistry of the grass in so much as the herds are attracted to higher levels of phosphorus and nitrogen, which changes in response to the rains. Nor is the migration one single big herd, but many smaller herds – sometimes compact, sometimes scattered. And to complicate matters further – the Mara has its own sedentary herds of wildebeest, some of which migrate within the Mara itself as part of the increasingly famous Loita Migration. So whenever you visit Kenya, you’ll see the wildebeest – you might catch them during the birthing period, you might catch them on the move. Or you might catch them as they cross the Mara River sometime between August and October. But whenever you see them, and wherever you see them, it will be worth it.

Dropping into Ngulia Every year between October and December, millions of migrating birds drop out of the sky and settle for a night or two around a lodge in Tsavo West National Park. It’s a stunning spectacle and attracts ornithologists from all over the world. Known as the Ngulia Phenomenon this strange occurrence first came to light in 1969 when Ngulia Lodge was built. Later it transpired that on moonless nights, the birds, which were migrating from the northern hemisphere, mistook the lights of the lodge for the moon and altered their flight paths accordingly. The fact that they came down to land, however, allowed scientists to ring them and track their onward movement, thus delivering some fascinating insights as to how and why birds migrate. If you’d like to witness the spectacle, or assist with the ringing just contact: www.naturekenya.org

© Saruni

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WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017

Call in on a Colobus Visiting Kenya’s superlative Diani Beach on your safari? Then why not call in to Colobus Cottage, which is hidden away among the coastal forest. Not only can you take a nature trail that winds its way through one of the last tracts of indigenous coastal forest on earth, but you can also view its primate inhabitants – the gorgeous black and white colobus and its cousins the vervet and sykes monkey. Established in 1997 to protect the nationally threatened Angolan Colobus monkey, Colobus Conservation hosts a wide range of projects ranging from research and rehabilitation to the building of aerial ladders, which allow the colobus to cross the coastal roads in safety. For further information: colobusconservation.org


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wide angle lens

The

Greening of

Africa

Visit the Aberdare National Park, and you will encounter a moss-green realm of tumbling waterfalls, flower-filled glades and ancient gnarled trees. You’ll also catch the odd shower – such as the one this buffalo is enjoying. Known by the early settlers as ‘Scotland with lions’, the Aberdare mountain range is one of Kenya’s prime water catchment areas. Covering only 2% of the total land area, these so called ‘water towers’ are invaluable in providing water for industry and people alike.

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Wildlife highlights Mammals of the forest zone include blue and colobus monkey, leopard, lion, elephant, warthog, black rhino, giant forest hog, bushbuck, buffalo, red duiker and suni. Mammals of the moorlands include serval, eland, several species of duiker and the rare bongo antelope. Threatened species include: bongo, leopard, black rhinoceros, African elephant, giant forest hog and golden cat. Endemic species: The Aberdare Mole-shrew and Aberdare Mole-rat. Birds: The prolific birdlife features 250 recorded species. Photo: Cape Buffalo in the Aberdares Š Gautam Shah

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cameo shot

Kenya Why I Love

By Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick

In this interview, our Editor, Jane Barsby, asks Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick, the world-famous wildlife conservationist and founder of Nairobi’s famous elephant orphanage, why she loves Kenya. When and how did you fall in love with Kenya? I fell in love with the Kenyan wilderness in my childhood. Then I married into it. My brother was the first Assistant Warden of Nairobi National Park and I married his best friend Bill Woodley, which took me to Tsavo. And there I met and married my second husband, David Sheldrick, who was my lifelong soul mate, and about whom I still dream every night. What are your most poignant images of Kenya? They stem from the safaris of my childhood. It was then that we discovered the ‘wild places’. I also remember my family home in Gilgil. It had the most beautiful garden overflowing with roses. We had a host of domestic animals, all of which I loved, but one day I was brought an orphaned bushbuck that had been abandoned in the wild. My parents allowed me to rear it - but only on the condition that when it was ready to live in the wild – I would let it go. I did so then, and I have done so ever since with the wildlife that has come into my care.

And how has Kenya shaped your life? Kenya’s wild places and wild creatures have shaped my life. I love all animals and all life because they help us to understand that each and everyone is important to the whole; and that all are crucial to the wellbeing of Mother Earth. What about the Kenyan people? I love the Kenyan people because they are respectful of others; because they are blessed with a unique sense of humour; and because they are always so warm and welcoming to visitors. Apart from the scenery, what typifies Kenya for you? The smell of the land after the rain; the sunsets, the nocturnal bird song and the sounds of the bush. And, of course, the images of elephants against the backdrop of the savannah… Do you have a favourite place in Kenya? Tsavo, undoubtedly: Tsavo makes my heart sing. If you had to choose a particular plant or tree – that you particularly love – what would it be? A baobab, because it typifies Tsavo. Are there any particular sounds in Kenya that, no matter where you were in the world, would remind you of Kenya? The roar of a lion and the call of the hyenas and jackals. What, in your opinion, gives Kenya her special place upon the world’s stage? Her wildlife, her wild places, her perfect climate and the superb athleticism of her runners How would you sum up ‘why you love Kenya’? Kenya is my home, and I love everything about it. But I especially love its still-pristine ‘wild corners,’ and I retreat to them whenever possible.

Top Left: Dr. Dame Daphe Sheldrick © DSWT / Photo: Freya Dowson Bottom left: The DSWT Orphanage in Karen © DSWT / Photo: Freya Dowson Right: Good friends Kibo and Suguta © DSWT

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About Daphne Sheldrick Born in Kenya in 1934, Daphne Sheldrick has devoted her life to wildlife conservation. Working for 25 years alongside her husband, David, since his death she and her family have lived and worked in the Nairobi National Park, where they have established the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and its pioneering Orphans Project. This is now a global force for wildlife conservation. The author of an autobiography, four books and numerous articles, Daphne has also promoted wildlife conservation worldwide by means of lectures and television appearances, such as the BBC Documentary, Elephant Diaries, and the film, Born to be Wild, which featured her work with orphaned elephants and the orang-utans of Burma. In 1989 Daphne was made a Member of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. In 1992 she joined the elite ‘Global 500 Roll of Honour’ of the United Nations Environmental Programme. Later, she was made a ‘Moran of the Burning Spear’ by the Kenyan Government and received the BBC’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The Smithsonian Magazine has named Daphne as, ‘one of 35 people worldwide who have made a difference in terms of animal husbandry and wildlife conservation’. In 2006 Queen Elizabeth II appointed Dr Daphne Sheldrick as Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, the first Knighthood to be awarded in Kenya since the country received Independence in 1963.


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tab title

Star Quality Kenya’s

I

f you’re on safari in Kenya don’t forget to look up at the night sky – you’ll find it spectacular indeed. And the further you are away from the ambient lights of the cities, the better it is. This image captures the night sky from the Chyulu Hills as captured by Shaun Mousley. High in the night sky, the Milky Way seems to point to Mount Kilimanjaro on the horizon. Simply breathtaking. According to star-watchers, the Southern Hemisphere has the two best globular clusters, the largest and brightest naked-eye external galaxies, the largest diffuse nebula, the largest dark nebula and an exceptionally bright Milky Way. The Southern Hemisphere also claims the three brightest stars of the night sky: Sirius, Canopus and Alpha Centauri. Canopus belongs to the Carina constellation, notorious for two things: the Carina Nebula, four times as large and even brighter than the famous Orion Nebula, and the star system Eta Carinae, which is expected to burst as a supernova or hypernova sometime in the next thousand years. Alpha Centauri and Beta Centauri (the 11th-brightest star) are called “The Pointers,” as they form a line in the sky to the constellation Crux (the Southern Cross). Crux is the smallest of all 88 constellations but one of the most distinctive.

Photo © Shaun Mousley

WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017 15


depth of field

The

Safari tradition T

he history of the safari belongs to Kenya. Even the word ‘safari’ comes from the Swahili language – and means ‘to travel’. Established at the turn of the 19th century in colonial Kenya, the early hunting safaris were traditionally known as ‘foot safaris’ and typically comprised a small group of wealthy European visitors, a professional hunter and several hundred cooks, grooms, gun-bearers and porters (80 porters per European hunter, each carrying 80 pounds of luggage on his head).

Hugely complicated undertakings, a safari might take six months to organize. During this time enormous piles of ‘kit’ would steadily accumulate outside Nairobi’s famous Norfolk Hotel. And, since safaris lasted for around four months, the contents of the pile would be fantastic indeed: there might be silver candelabra, crystal glasses, lace tablecloths and starched napkins. There would be tents, medicine chests, folding baths, salt for preserving skins and ammunition for the guns. Finally there would be countless ‘chop boxes’ containing food for the meals, most of which ran to seven courses and required a fleet of chefs to prepare. Finally, when the safari ‘went out’, the streets would be lined with cheering crowds, the line of men and pack animals might stretch for a mile, and the dust cloud it created would take days to settle. Every safari also had its clown, employed solely to keep the porters happy, who ran up and down the line bizarrely costumed, often with a pair of horns lashed to his head cavorting, pulling faces, telling jokes and, best of all, mimicking his employers.

Sid Downey, founder of Ker & Downey, in the 1950s. © Ker & Downey Safaris

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One of the most legendary safaris ever to traverse Kenya, the 1909 Smithsonian-Roosevelt Expedition was led by former American President, Theodore Roosevelt, and collected over 11,400 animal specimens. © Smithsonian Institution Archives. Image # SIA2009-1367.

Tales of safari extravagance were legendary. One American insisted on having a grand piano dragged on rollers into the bush to that he could play by moonlight, another decided that champagne was the only thing that ‘travelled’ and had it served all day, every day, as well as having his vegetables cooked in it. A particularly well-upholstered hunter had a custom-built four-poster bed taken on tour, and another dictated that his safari dined only on tinned peaches. Common to all safaris, however, was the idea that at the end of a hard day’s travelling or shooting, folding chairs would be drawn up around the campfire and drinks should be served as the sun went down. And from this concept was born the modern idea of ‘sundowners’.

© Ker & Downey Safaris

The ‘sundowner’ represents the quintessential ‘moveable feast’. At the end of a leisurely late-afternoon game drive, your driver/guide will select a scenic spot, set up some safari chairs and serve drinks. It is also customary to serve what are known locally as ‘bitings’, which might constitute anything from roasted cashews or macadamia nuts (a Kenyan speciality) to game-meat kebabs. Now nature takes over as the sun begins its descent, which since Kenya straddles the equator is always at around six o’clock. And it rarely disappoints, typically descending as a vast redgold ball against a rose-pink sky. Better still, is the fact that the hour before the sun goes down is blessed with what photographers call ‘magic light’ – a time of soft golden light that displays the Kenyan wilderness to optimum advantage.

Centre right: Prince Charles and Princess Anne on safari in Kenya in 1971. Bottom right: Osa Johnson, American explorer, filmmaker, and writer in 1921.

© Mills Publishing Ltd


moving image

The man who knows Everything Main photo © Make It Kenya / Stuart Price

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I

t’s a fact of life. Nothing turns out quite as you expected. And safari game drives are no exception. We had set out on ours in the afternoon and were now centre stage to the majesty of the Masai Mara. The landscape was khakicoloured and rolled away to lap at the foot of the distant escarpment. In the foreground there was a smudge of low silver-green scrub: on the horizon a flat-topped acacia. A secretary bird strode ahead of us, its grey-and-black feathered suit mimicking that of a Victorian secretary, his hands metaphorically clasped behind his back. A typical safari scene: just what we’d expected. But not exactly what we’d hoped for - no rollicking herds of wildebeest. No roaring lions. No hyenas. No kills. Ah well. Never mind. A little later, the safari vehicle draws to a halt and John, our driverguide gazes at the far hillside. ‘You wanted elephants?’ he says. Well, yes, we had said that we’d like to see elephants. But we hadn’t expected them to be available to order – off the safari menu as it were. ‘Over there,’ says John casually, and raises his binoculars. We do likewise, but it still takes a lot of looking before we find the elephants. Amazingly, given their size, elephants make quite convincing bushes when seen from a distance. ‘There are more,’ observes John ‘if you look over the head of that cheetah.’ Cheetah? What cheetah? A stone’s throw from our vehicle, rolling on its back, its creamywhite belly exposed and fluffed out like a cushion, is a cheetah.

John Parmasau, the man who knows everything

John surveys it. ‘Not pregnant,’ he says musingly, ‘just got a full belly. She ate about an hour ago.’ We gaze at the creature in awe: and then at John. How does he know these things? The more time you spend with John, the more your faith in his ability to know everything grows. As the cheetah rubs itself back and forth on the harsh savannah grass, John casts a contemptuous glance at a cluster of vehicles on the horizon: all seemingly focused on one thing. ‘Why gather around one cheetah,’ he observes, ‘when you can have three hunting males all to yourself?’

WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017 19


moving image

He’s done it again. Grey Crowned Crane © Angama Mara

Right: Long-crested eagle © Make It Kenya / Stuart Price

Bottom: African elephant © Make It Kenya / Stuart Price

From stage-left slink three haughty cats, their black-tipped tails waving with purpose. They throw us a glance and then, with one accord, hurl themselves on their backs, wriggle back and forth, and wave their legs in the air. ‘Tsetse flies’, says John, ‘they roll on them: to squash them.’ This man is omnipotent. But we’ve seen nothing yet. As we grind across the landscape, there’s a lone hyena sitting in a muddy puddle. It eyes us warily as we draw alongside but seems disinclined to leave. ‘Refrigerator,’ says John, ‘it’s got a kill in there.’ We look closer. One tiny hoof protrudes from the muddy water. ‘New born wildebeest,’ says John, ‘born around nine this morning.’ He can’t possibly know this. But of course he does. The wildebeest are all giving birth at the same time in the Masai Mara, as wildebeest do. And they’re all doing it mid-morning. Later, we stop to observe the wildebeest herds. They’re now thick on the plains and the newborns run behind their mothers – nose to tail. Their gait is uncertain but determined. Suddenly we see that one is bolting alone across the plains, cut off from its mother. Behind it lopes an ominous spotted shadow. The hyena is taking it easy; the young wildebeest is but a bite away. ‘Will it kill it?’ we ask, horrified. ‘Better it does,’ observes John, ‘if it’s left alone it will starve to death slowly.’ He throws us a glance and tilts his head to one side: storing away our stricken faces. The sun is beginning to drop. It’s a mango-red ball against a dovegrey sky. John halts the vehicle beneath the lone tree, to which we now realize he has been heading all along. It provides the ideal setting for our sundowners, as he knew it would. He sets out chairs and unscrews the front grill of the vehicle so that it drops down to form an impromptu table. With a flourish he shakes out a red Maasai shuka and uses it as a tablecloth. On it he lays out stuffed quails eggs, miniature meatballs and thumbnail-sized omelettes. We don’t tell him what we’d like to drink. Why bother? He already knows. As we sip our drinks, every blade of grass seems to turn gold in the setting sun. The scene is magical, just as John had determined that it would be. We ask him how he got into the safari-guiding business. ‘I had just left school,’ he says, snapping the cap off a bottle of soda, ‘my cousin was a waiter at a safari lodge and he told me they wanted young men to train as guides.’ He smiles, ‘I didn’t want to go. I had never left the village. All I had ever done was herd my father’s cows’. He pauses to refill the glasses we had not realized were empty. ‘When we got to the lodge,’ he continues, ‘the lights seemed so bright, because I had never experienced electricity, that I was blinded and my cousin had to lead me by the hand to the office.’ ‘But you got the job?’, we prompt. ‘Of course,’ says John, ‘I knew nothing about that world, but I’m a Maasai, and I know everything about this world.’ He nods to the wilderness, which is now laid out before us and bathed in golden light. Shafts of silver mark the place where the sun has finally sunk. The next morning we’re game driving again with John. ‘I think I saw that young wildebeest when I was driving back from your camp,’ he says suddenly, ‘the one that was being chased by the hyena?’ We nod eagerly. ‘The mothers call out to them,’ he says, ‘and they run to the sound. That one was lucky.’ It’s a happy ending, and we’re grateful for it; but as to whether it’s true or not? Who knows? Probably just John doing what he does best: delivering the ultimate safari experience. And making us happy.

John Parmasau is a guide with Great Plains Conservation, Masai Mara.

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All photos, unless specifically credited Š Make It Kenya / Stuart Price

Angama Lizard Š Angama Mara


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22 WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017


Where hippo own the night and lions claim vast territories... Here we submit to the supreme power of wild Africa and take our lead from Mother Nature…

W W W. A N GA M A .CO M

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2017/03/15 1:14 PM


24 WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017


cultural contact

It’s one of Kenya’s most iconic images, the Maasai warrior in his traditional pose, spear in hand, scarlet shuka cloak thrown over his shoulder, one leg raised to rest on the other, gaze turned to the far horizon. Certainly the most visually striking of the colourful tribes of Kenya, the Nilo-Hamitic Maasai are a nomadic people whose style of life has remained unchanged for centuries and is still dictated by the constant quest for water and grazing land for their cattle. >>

The

Keepers

of God’s cattle Maasai Warrior © Stuart Butler

WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017 25


cultural contact

Called ‘Maasai ‘after their form of speech, which is known as ‘Maa’, the Maasai are renowned for their bravery. They are also distinguished by their complex character, good manners, impressive presence and almost mystical love of their cattle. These days ‘I hope your cattle are well’ is still the most common form of Maasai greeting, whilst milk and blood remains the traditional Maasai diet. Cowhides provide such things as mattresses, live cattle establish marriage bonds, and a complex system of cattle-fines maintains social harmony. Thought to have migrated to Kenya from the lower valleys of the Nile, the Maasai encountered a troubled history in their adopted home. Firstly their people were decimated by famine and disease, secondly they lost many of their cattle to the scourge of rinderpest, thirdly their development was affected by the arrival of the European explorers and, finally, they lost much of their land to the influx of British colonialist settlers. Nor did their dispossession end there, because in recent years they have also had to endure the steady shrinkage of their ancestral lands thanks to urban settlement and the establishment of the National Parks and Reserves.

26 WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017

Undeterred, however, the Maasai have risen to the challenge. Many have entered into cooperative ventures with the tourism industry and created lodges and conservancies on their land. And, rather than killing lions as was the custom of the young warriors of the past, the morans of today are actively engaged in protecting them. Some things, however, never change – such as the Maasai love of their cattle. No matter how large the herd, each cow will have a name and a lineage. And only in the harshest of circumstances will a Maasai part with a single animal. Why do the Maasai love their cattle so dearly? Perhaps the best explanation is given by the Maasai themselves in the following folk tale. In the beginning, the Maasai did not have any cattle. Then one day God called to Maasinta, who was the first Maasai, and said to him, ‘I want you to make a large enclosure, and when you have done so, come back and inform me’. Maasinta went and did as he was instructed. Then, God said, ‘tomorrow, very early in the morning, go and stand in the enclosure and I will give you something called cattle. But keep very silent no matter what you might see or hear.’


Very early in the morning, Maasinta went to the enclosure and waited. Suddenly there was a great clap of thunder and a leather thong descended from heaven. Down it descended hundreds of cattle in all the colours of brown and black, some with great horns, others with velvet dewlaps. Meanwhile the earth shook so violently that Maasinta’s house nearly fell over and he was gripped with tremendous fear, but he did not make a sound.

This folk tale has been adapted from Naomi Kipury’s Oral Literature of the Maasai (Nairobi: East African Educational Publishers, 1993) and Kenyan Oral Narratives by K. Adagala and W. Kabira (Nairobi: East African Educational Publishers, 1994).

Photo: Maasai herders © Beverly Joubert

It was at this moment that Dorobo, who shared the house with Maasinta, woke from his sleep and went outside. There, seeing the cattle descending down the leather thong, he let out a great shriek. Immediately God withdrew the thong into heaven and, thinking that it was Maasinta who had shrieked, He said to him, ‘what’s the matter? Are these cattle not enough for you? If that is the case, I will never send any more – so you had better love these cattle in the same way that I love you.’ And that is why the Maasai love their cattle so much.

WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017 27


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28 WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017


capturing the coast

In kiswahili the whale shark is called “papa shillingi”, translating as “shark covered in shillings”. There is a local legend that God was so pleased when he created this beautiful fish, that he gave his angels handfuls of gold and silver coins to throw down from heaven onto its back.

Turtles guaranteed… dolphins by the dozen

&Whale sharks in trust

Shell out for turtle conservation The East African Whale Shark Trust has found a novel way of raising funds, selling gorgeous fibre-glass wall lights in the shape of turtle shells.

30 WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017


capturing tab title the coast

N

ot many organizations offer a guarantee that you’ll definitely (or your money back) see a turtle while diving with them – but the East African Whale Shark Trust has the confidence to do so. Founded in 2005, the Trust operates out of Kenya’s world famous Diani Beach, and offers an alluring range of marine-based visitor attractions. During the whale shark season (January to March), for instance, they not only ensure that their guests get to see the magnificent whale sharks that visit the Kenyan coast at this time, but they also offer them the chance of swimming with these gentle giants – a life-changing experience if ever there was one. The Trust also promises dolphin and turtle encounters of the visual and in-the-water-with-them kind. Not content with putting the turtles together with their fans, however, the Trust has also recently made a major contribution to turtle conservation. They’ve opened a shop selling fibre-glass wall lights in the shape of turtle shells. Beguilingly beautiful and emitting a uniquely soft golden light, the lights are so popular that interior designers from all over the world are already queuing up to buy them. Speaking about his new undertaking, Volker Bassen, explains how he is using the proceeds from his turtle lamps to finance a project designed to teach Kenyan fisherman how to use more

environmentally-friendly fishing methods in the interests of protecting the marine eco-sphere. ‘In the past the fishermen used large-mesh nylon drift nets to catch their fish’, explains Volker, ‘but this had a serious downside – not only did these nets entrap turtles and other creatures but they also turned into “ghost nets” which floated off into the sea and caused immense damage to our fragile coral reefs while entrapping dolphin, turtles and whale sharks alike.’ Today, Volker’s Trust and similar conservation bodies up and down the coast, are working together to make such destructive practices a thing of the past. In Volker’s case he is using the proceeds from his business to provide fishing lines rather than nets to the local fishermen – and teaching them how to use them. Finally, he is working to fund a Whale Shark Research and Discovery Center, which will rescue, rehabilitate, tag and track whale sharks. ‘We have our own Vision 2030,’ says Volker, ‘we’re going to breed whale sharks in captivity and then release them back into the sea’. If you’d like to dive with the Trust, or help with their turtle and whale shark satellite tagging campaigns you’ll be guaranteed a warm welcome. Simply visit www.whalesharkadventures.org To find out more about the great work of the Trust, or to get directly involved, visit: www.giantsharks.org

WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017 31


capturing the coast

Pygmy seahorse

Porcelain crab

Bottlenose dolphin

Kenya’s marine ‘Big Five’... and where to spot them... Ask most visitors about Kenya’s ‘Big Five’, and they’ll think you’re talking about the safari stars (lion, elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo and leopard). But it’s a lesserknown fact that Kenya hosts another Big Five – the marine mega-stars (dolphin, turtle, whale, shark and dugong). Cuttlefish

Dugong

Five of the world’s seven species of turtle are found in Kenya – green, hawksbill and olive ridleys nest along the coast, and the loggerheads and leatherbacks migrate through the waters. As for dolphins and whales, visitors can expect to see Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, spinner dolphins and humpback whales, with occasional sightings of killer whales, sperm whales and dwarf minke whales. More unusual species include pilot whales, Bryde’s whales, striped dolphins, and more recently, Pan Tropical spotted dolphins. Rarer still are the dugong, more commonly known as sea cow. Kenya has five major marine reserves all of which offer spectacular marine tours, most of which are run by community boat operators for the good of the local community as a whole. They are: Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve, Malindi Marine National Park, Kisite-Mpunguti marine National Park, Kiunga Marine National Reserve, Watamu Marine National Park. For further information visit www.kws.org or www.magicalkenya.com

Hawksbill Turtle

32 WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017


capturing the coast

Magical

Malindi M

alindi doesn’t just have a blissful climate, beautiful beaches and a brilliantly bustling vibe; it’s also got style, chic and a hot, hot, HOT nightlife. No wonder, it’s had over six centuries to perfect its exclusive take on sun, sand and scintillation. Mentioned in one of the world’s first ever travel guides, written by traveller and historian Abu al Fida (1273-1331), Malindi has been attracting the world’s glitterati since the 13th century, when it had already established itself as the ‘go to’ resort of the East African coast. In 1414, the Chinese explorer, Zheng He, anchored his fleet off the town and such was his rapport with the locals that they gave him a giraffe as a gift. Next came Vasco da Gama in 1498. It was the first place he visited in Africa – and he liked it so much that not only did he rush back there on his return from India, but he was also very keen to sign an exclusive trading agreement with its ruling sheikh.

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tab title

Ernest Hemingway first visited Malindi in 1934 and stayed at Brady’s Palm Beach Hotel, opened in 1932 and renowned as Malindi’s first hotel. Malindi is thought to be the inspiration for his novel ’The Old Man and The Sea’.

By 1498, Malindi was booming. It had a wealthy ruling Arabic class, a heady mix of Indian, Chinese and African merchants and markets full of hedonistic treasures. By 1499 the Portuguese had joined Malindi’s fan club, establishing a trading hub there, and by 1861 the Sultan of Zanzibar had made Malindi his slave-trading capital. By 1890, the British had taken over and abolished slavery. But everyone still wanted a piece of the magical Malindi action. In the 1930s Malindi was in the news again, this time as the preferred haunt of writer and celebrity Ernest Hemingway, who famously drank gin at the Blue Marlin hotel and fished for marlin in the blue waters of the bay.

In the 1950s Malindi boasted a number of fashionable hotels, many of them built by Europeans returning from the war, and was the preferred holiday resort of the British colonials. And then, in 1964, a small group of Italian scientists arrived in Malindi to establish the San Marco Space Research Centre. And so enchanted were they by the intoxicating mix of sun, sea and Swahili style that most of them never left. Soon word of this enchanting Swahili town had drifted back to Italy and, throughout the 1970s, the Italians flocked to the place (swiftly followed by the rest of the fashionistas of Europe). The Italians, however, liked Malindi so much that they christened it ‘Little Italy in Africa’ and today 30,000 Italian tourists visit the town per annum, 1,500 Italians live there permanently, there are over 50 Italian owned hotels and resorts in the place, and it is regularly visited by Italian billionaires, beauties, celebrities and politicians alike. It even has its own Italian Consulate. So no wonder then, that the pizzas in Malindi are the finest you can get outside of Italy, that the streets are studded with superb Italian restaurants, that the prosecco starts popping late morning, that the gelati are as good as you’ll get outside Rome; and that the style on the street is Malindi meets Milan.

WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017 35


capturing the coast

© Billionaire Resort

So what’s to see and do in Malindi? Plenty... Juma mosque © www.africaimagelibrary.com

© www.africaimagelibrary.com

36 WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017

© Billionaire Resort


capturing tab title the coast Inset top: Hell’s Kitchen; bottom left: Sokoke Scops Owl © Steve Garvie; bottom right: Mida Creek

Swahili style Bright, bustling and intensely Swahili in character, Malindi has restaurants, bars, boutiques, craft markets, carving centres and more. It also features a number of 13th century Portuguese monuments, the distinctive Juma mosque and pillar tombs, a number of fascinating curio shops and a working fish market. There is also a reptile park, falconry centre, horse-riding centre and the Malindi Golf and Country Club.

Hot nightlife Thanks to its cosmopolitan air and young and fashionable clientele, Malindi has a reputation for the vibrancy of its nightlife, which centres on a superb selection of live music venues, clubs, discos, casinos and bars – each of which is defined by its own very distinctive character. The action starts early and finishes late – very late; and the cocktails are legendary.

Mecca of the big game fishermen Malindi is the venue for the most prestigious of Kenya’s big game fishing tournaments. Typically taking place between October and February, they attract anglers from all over the world, all of whom come to do battle with such giants of the deep as; marlin, reef shark, barracuda, manta ray, tuna and sailfish.

Beach life Malindi’s beaches are exquisite, attracting sun worshippers from all over the world. Standing on a panoramic sweep of bay where surfing is possible all year-round, Malindi boasts numerous water-sporting schools and 13 superb dive sites.

Coral gardens and whale sharks The famous Watamu Marine Park and Reserve shelters a wide variety of tropical coral and marine life (leaf fish, frog fish, octopus, crocodile fish, angel and butterfly fish, groupers, barracuda, white-tip reef sharks, manta rays, whale sharks and dolphins).

Around and about In the unlikely event that you run out of things to do in Malindi – there are plenty of places to visit within easy reach. Such as:

Hell’s Kitchen A vast cauldron of streaked ochre and gold, simmering-hot in the heat of the day and glowing a magnificent dull gold as dusk falls, Hell’s Kitchen, or to give its official name, the Marafu Depression, lies a half-hour drive out of Malindi town. Known by the locals as the place that broke itself, this very perceptive title reveals an ancient race memory. Once upon a time, it seems, this area was an unusually soft sandstone escarpment but over the centuries it was eroded by wind, rain and crashing torrents of water until it came to resemble a miniature Grand Canyon. Now its towering rock chimneys and its deeply gouged sides give it the appearance of a soot-streaked giant’s cooking pot. Owned by the local community, Hell’s Kitchen makes a fascinating sidetrip from Malindi and there are guides on hand to show you around. But be warned: if you go during the heat of the day, you’ll find out exactly why it’s known as Hell’s Kitchen.

Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve The largest tract of indigenous coastal forest remaining in East Africa, this cool green shaded realm is famous for its 240 species of birdlife, its butterflies and its nature trails. It is also world-renowned as the home of the rare golden-rumped elephant shrew.

The mystique of Mida Creek A place of mysterious mangrove forests, startling bird life, stunning sunsets and secret creeks, Mida Creek offers canoe trips, bird spotting and a trail-blazing eco project in support of the local Giriama people.

The ghostly glamour of Gedi Easily the most fascinating Swahili settlement in East Africa, a visit to the haunted city of Gedi is not to be missed. See our report on page 40.

WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017 37


marketplace

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38 WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017


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WATA M U THE PLACE TO VISIT


capturing the coast

Ghostly in Gedi

P

ale yellow butterflies dance down the chalky white road that leads to the lost city of Gedi. More flutter in the car park; blue ones, yellow ones and white ones; some are as large as folded bank notes. It’s hot and humid here; the air hangs heavy as a blanket; the sun has reached its zenith and is on its way down, but your shirt still sticks to your back and the uniform buzzing in the air tangles with your thoughts. The car park, the ticket office and the small, seemingly half-finished, museum stand in a clearing in the dense coastal forest. But their tenure has no conviction. The surrounding forest edges in on them, keen to take back its own: it’s a sly, secret place. Huge baobab trees, their grey trunks bulbous as elephant bellies, cast pools of dappled shade. You flit between them to reach the silver-grey maze of the ruins.

Gedi tomb © Make It Kenya / Stuart Price Inset: Butterflies are abundant © Jane Spilsbury


Once inside what was once the greatest city on the Kenyan coast, the shadows vanquish the sun. Some fall from the great arched doors. Some from pillar tombs, some pool around squat wells. And as you wander the lanes and courts of this forgotten city, built around 1390 and sprawling over 45 acres of coastal forest, you could almost believe its inhabitants to have but recently left. In truth, they did so more than three centuries ago. There are narrow streets, flanked by cramped shops, each with their own rows of shelves and tiny niches for their lanterns. In the centre of the city is a great palace, its magnificent doorway, blind of its doors, leading into a sunken court flanked by stone benches where once the sultan’s supplicants must have waited. Behind the palace walls run secret passages into hidden rooms where once the harem fluttered. There’s even a secret vault reached only be a hidden trap door. But no jewel caskets remain. This was a cosmopolitan city; it was wealthy and powerful, trading with Arabia and China. Flourishing for several centuries, it grew in size and might. But then, suddenly, very suddenly, it was abandoned. Dropped jewels were found in the streets. Cups, coins, lamps; hurled to the ground as if in terrified flight. But from what? Nobody knows. Legend, however, tells us that the fearsome Galla tribe were advancing down the coast and had already laid bare all in their way. And they were cannibals. Good enough reason to flee. A place of shadowed corners and ruined arches, winding lanes and sullen courtyards, Gedi is gaunt, grey and hauntingly beautiful. It’s also hushed and eerie, a place of secrets. Lived in briefly by the maneating Galla, it was soon abandoned. Then the jungle took back its own and nothing remained but a dense wall of forest. Nothing but rumours that is.

Swallowtail Butterfly © Jane Spilsbury

The Great Mosque of Gedi © Mgiganteus

And like all rumours, they persisted and grew until, in 1948, a man called James Kirkman was appointed to discover exactly what lay beneath the grey grasp of the jungle. The locals wouldn’t go near the place, claiming it was haunted, but with a team of hired hands, Kirkman hacked his way through the choking coils of green to discover what we see today. Speaking of his job, Kirkman says ‘when I first started to work at Gedi I had the feeling that something or somebody was looking out from behind the walls, neither hostile nor friendly but waiting for what he knew was going to happen’. Intrigued, Kirkman enquired into local legend and was told tales of a giant sheep that slipped down the narrow streets at twilight, of evil spirits hidden in buried pots that drove men mad; and of a group of young people who tried to camp overnight in Gedi. But their hurricane lamps would not light; their torches went flat and even the car headlights refused to come on. Gedi is empty now. The tourists have left: only the monkeys remain. The shadows fall long and chill. A snake lies coiled on a still-warm stone, a shining vein of black ants marches across the sultan’s palace like a river of black blood. Without warning, a fleshy red blossom tumbles down and hits the flagstones with a dull thwack. There’s a high-pitched burst of chatter from the trees. Mocking. Out in the narrow streets you could swear that someone or something has just slipped around the corner in front of you. Time to leave.

For further information The National Museums of Kenya manages many regional museums, sites and monuments of national and international importance alongside priceless collections of Kenya’s living cultural and natural heritage. Visit: www.museums.or.ke

Top tip Immediately adjacent to Gedi (and clearly signposted) is the fascinating Kipepeo Butterfly Project, Kipepeo means butterfly in Swahili and this community-based eco-farm offers an enchanting butterfly display house as well as a startling showcase of butterfly products such as; moth pupae and other live insects as well as honey and silk cloth all of which is produced by the local community around the Arabuko Sokoke forest. For further information: kipepeo.org

WHY I LOVE KENYA July-Aug 2017 41


wild action

Mountain biking with attitude For the ultimate in mountain bike challenges, you might like to plan on conquering Mount Kenya. In which case, you’ll need to head to Kenya in February 2018 to take part in the annual Mount Kenya Trust ‘10 to 4’ Mountain Bike Challenge (16-18 February 2018). Not only does this iconic event raise valuable funds for the conservation of Mount Kenya’s unique Afro-Alpine ecosphere, but it also allows 250 riders of all abilities to cover up to 90km of forest tracks and drop from an altitude of 10,000ft to 4,000ft (hence the name 10-to-4). For further information visit www.10to4.org Alternatively check out the Mount Kenya Epik Mountain Bike Challenge - 28-31 October. A 5-day stage race covering 500km of spectacular scenery, this daring event also provides funds in support of Kenyan youth. For further information: www.mtkenyaepik.co.ke And then there’s the Rift Valley Odyssey (RVO) which delivers a series of breathtaking mountain bike races and adventures across Kenya’s Great Rift Valley. The RVO provides a unique mountain biking experience that is completely focused on creating an intimate rider experience and it is therefore limited to only 120 participants. Book now for the 2018 event (24-28 Sep 2018). For more information: www.riftvalleyodyssey.com For the very serious riders, you might like to know that August 2017 sees the flagging off of the second Tour D’EAC, East Africa’s version of the Tour de France. A heartwarming initiative that takes in all the nations of the East African Community while raising funds to promote peace and prosperity, this year’s event has been described as ‘an expression of unity, oneness, togetherness and peace’. Covering 4,500km and 42 days on the road, this two-wheeled epic will traverse Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda. It will also feature riders from all nations, abilities and walks of life. If you’d like to help, ride or simply spectate, visit: www.campfirelogsguild.net

Photo: Rift Valley Odyssey © Midego Fotography

42 WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017


On your donkey, your mule, your camel… or your ostrich

Kenya excels when it comes to horse-riding. Indeed you can trot across the entire spectrum of her topographical profile, from the beaches of the Indian Ocean, to the flanks of Mount Kenya. Around central Kenya, you can also take in some world-class polo matches – polo being a sport in which Kenya excels. And if you’re in Nairobi, you can place a bet while enjoying the style and pace of Nairobi Racecourse, which is surely one of the world’s most beautiful. Alternatively, you might like to take the family to one of Nairobi’s ostrich farms and let them try their hand at jockeying an ostrich. Prefer to keep to four legs? No problem, up in Maralal, in northern Kenya, you can go on a donkey trek. And, while the donkeys are traditionally used as pack animals for a range of stunning walking expeditions, you can always ask that a couple of mules or ponies are provided for those who’d like to spend a bit of time in the saddle. Northern Kenya is also the venue for some adventurous camel trekking – along the sparkling rivers of the Samburu district, or along the shores of the shimmering blue-green inland sea known as the Jade Sea - Lake Turkana.

© Sabuk Lodge

Man v. Fish Ernest Hemingway put Kenya on the ‘Big Game’ fishing map during his time in Malindi where he famously drank gin at the Blue Marlin Hotel and gathered inspiration for this book The Old Man and the Sea. If you’d like to sample the thrill of wrestling with your rod aboard one of Kenya’s fleet of state-of-the-art deep sea fishing charter boats, now is the time to plan your trip. What: Kenya is the Mecca of deep-sea fishermen who come in search of striped, blue and black marlin, sailfish, swordfish, sharks, wahoo yellow fin, tuna and dorado. Where: key areas are Shimoni, Watamu, Malindi and Kilifi When: the fishing season is August to March, billfish season November to March.

Falusi or ‘poor man’s marlin’ © Simpson Photography

There is also good freshwater fishing (all year-round) in the lakes and streams of Mount Kenya and the Aberdares while excellent Nile perch and tilapia fishing can be arranged on Lake Victoria.

Man v. White water Kenya’s rivers promise the rare combination of whitewater rafting up to grade V, a delightful tropical climate in which to get (very) wet, and some high profile game-viewing and bird-watching to enjoy along the way. Choose from a day’s adventure or a white water safari with camping overnight. Kenya’s exuberantly fastmoving rivers are also great for canoeing and kayaking. Where: Tana, Mathoya, Athi and Ewaso Ng’iro rivers. When: all year round, but mid-April to August and November to mid-January are optimum.

© Savage Wilderness

WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017 43


kenya tourism board

A land of many faces Kenya is a land of many faces… World renowned for the abundance of her wildlife, the wonder of her wilderness areas, and the brilliance of her Indian Ocean coastline, she is also known as the ‘Birthplace of Mankind’, and the venue for the ‘Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth’, the annual migration of the wildebeest. Kenya also offers an unrivalled destination for conferences, exhibitions, product launches and business incentives. Her range of venues is WILD indeed. In Nairobi is the iconic Kenyatta International Convention Centre, as well as a stunning range of world-class hotels. Mombasa too offers a glorious range of Indian Ocean venues; and for those who would like to do business in the wilderness, Kenya promises an unrivalled range of tented conference venues. After hosting the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in 2016, and being the first African country to host the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference in 2015, Kenya has proved that she can host high profile events. The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) has also recently partnered with a range of international airlines to host over 150 travel agents and hoteliers from 15 African countries, all of whom have gathered together to explore the unparalleled richness of Nairobi as a business and leisure destination. When it comes to hosting the commercial sector, Nairobi has it all. Business visitors to Nairobi can, for instance, explore Nairobi National Park, the only national park in the world located in the city. With an hour or two to spare they can get up close and

personal with a Rothschild giraffe at the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife Giraffe Centre. They can also experience the enchantment of the orphaned baby elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. For the culturally inclined there are dance displays at the Bomas of Kenya, dramas at the National Theatre, and a fascinating array of contemporary music events. For the shoppers there’s a sumptuous array of traditional craft markets, modern malls and art galleries to be explored. For the heritage hunters Nairobi plays host to three museums, the National Museum, the Railway Museum and the Karen Blixen Museum. For nature lovers there are forests and nature trails to be enjoyed. There’s even a walk up the famous Ngong Hills. Alternatively, visitors can travel back in time by taking a walk through Nairobi’s very own ‘Cradle of Mankind’ – the prehistoric site at Olorgesailie, just a short drive out of town. Finally, Nairobi offers such a spectacular line-up of restaurants and bars that a gourmet safari while in the capital is an absolute ‘must’… and the glitz and glamour of the city nightlife has to be experienced to be believed. So… if you’re planning a conference, why not take it out of the board room….and into the bush? And if you’re organizing an international event, why not consider staging it in Kenya, the theatre of the wild. For more information: www.magicalkenya.com

Some of Kenya’s most magical settings are only a few hours from the capital © Fairmont Hotels

44 WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017


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Kenyatta International Convention Centre

Karen Blixen Museum

© Make It Kenya / Stuart Price

The breakout area: Nairobi National Park © Make It Kenya / Stuart Price

The Hub Shopping Mall © The Hub, Karen

Nairobi boasts an impressive choice of world-class hotels © Kempinski

Kenya Tourism Board, Kenya Re Towers, Ragati Road, Nairobi. Tel: +254 20 2749126. Take a tour: www.magicalkenya.com

WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017 45


in portrait

One Ton © Shaun Mousley

46 WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017


How

to make an

Elephant

H

ow do you make a life-sized elephant with wire and plasticine and then cast it in bronze? Well, if you’re Mark Coreth it’s more a question of how not to make it. Because once Mark has engaged with an animal he has to sculpt it. One of the world’s most celebrated wildlife sculptors, Mark’s work has been commissioned by royalty and regiments alike. His pieces are displayed in venues as diverse as London’s Natural History Museum and Royal Ascot; and in destinations as far flung as Rome and Australia. He’s undertaken projects as challenging as sculpting a polar bear skeleton in ice and then letting it melt in front of an audience, so as to demonstrate the fragility of the Arctic ecosystem; and as daring as creating a life-sized charging elephant, which weighed more than five tons when cast. His latest project, however, is a sculpture of an elephant called One Ton, which pulls heavily on his heartstrings. Mark and One Ton became closely acquainted in the Amboseli region of Kenya. ‘I followed him for days,’ says Mark, ‘I’d spend hours in the shade of a thorn tree just working on him. He knew I was there. He ambled around me – at first 40 meters distant, then 20. He was interested in me, but had no fear of me. And, though I was out of my vehicle and relatively at his mercy, I felt no fear of him. We trusted each other.’ It’s Mark’s intimacy of engagement with his subject that infuses his sculptures with the immediacy and, sometimes, the violence of the bush. His pieces vibrate with movement yet freeze fragments of time. They portray, for instance, the superb acceleration of a hunting cheetah, the delicate counterpoise of a herd of leaping impala, the quirky humour of a family of trotting warthogs, or the tragi-comic drama of the annual migration of the wildebeest. But to achieve such realism calls for a total immersion in the creature. ‘I become the animal,’ Mark explains, ‘it takes me over - inhabits me. It’s a love affair – utterly passionate.’

WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017 47


mapping intab portrait the title migration

Mark spent his early years on a farm in Kenya and it was there, against the backdrop of one of the world’s most magnificent theatres of the wild, that he learned to sculpt. ‘It was the natural thing to do,’ he says, ‘in fact, it was the only thing for me to do – because I’m fascinated by movement and dynamics but I think in three dimensions. So a sketch isn’t enough for me. It doesn’t portray the entirety of the creature – I have to be able to see what’s going on behind as well as in front.’ Entirely self-taught, Mark is committed to introducing other nascent sculptors to the fascination of Kenya’s wildlife and is shortly to run a series of sculpting safaris. ‘It’s my way of giving back,’ he says, ‘by teaching people how to create their own three-dimensional wildlife sketchbooks. By joining a sculpting safari, they’ll also be able to meet the people who live and work in the wilderness. And that’s a great privilege - I couldn’t have made One Ton without my Maasai guide – because he always knew where to find him.’ So how does one make an elephant? Mark makes it sound ridiculously simple. ‘You take your ‘backpack studio’ out into the bush. You spend time observing the animal. You become the animal, and you work incredibly quickly. You create an armature (a wire frame), which is as close to the skeleton of the animal as possible. You build up the plasticine or clay to create a maquette (a scale model) and if the clay fails to speak to you within a couple of hours, you destroy it and start again. Then you use the maquette to cast the animal in bronze to any size you like. How do you choose your animal? ‘In the case of One Ton it was easy,’ says Mark, ‘he was the undisputed king of his own arena: a dominant bull in his mid-50’s, he had presence, profundity and wisdom – a real gentleman of the bush. I first sculpted him as part of a group back in 2007. At that time he had two massive tusks. Now he’s broken one of them, but that means that I’m able to portray him in his older phase, and I appreciate that.’

48 WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017

Which creature is Mark going to make next? ‘I’ve just been studying tigers in Siberia,’ he says. ‘They’re hard to find and I only caught the odd glimpse of one, but it left a series of pugmarks in the snow and they painted a picture for me. I have all I need to create it now.’ So there you are – Mark Coreth can even sculpt animals he’s hardly seen, so what chance for the rest of us? Well, if you’d like to find out, sign up for one of Mark’s sculpting safaris, but act fast because he’s only taking six people at a time. For further information on Mark’s work, his sculpting safaris and the galleries where his work is on show, contact: mark@markcoreth.com Mark’s next exhibition will take place at the Sladmore Contemporary Gallery in London November 7th to December 25th. For further information: www.sladmorecontemporary.com


FOREST PARKS: UPCOMING INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN PUBLIC FORESTS Kenya Forest Service (KFS) manages over 1.9 million hectares of public forests in diverse ecosystems across the country. One of the functions of KFS is to collaborate with other parties in development of tourism and recreational facilities in public forests (the Forest Conservation and Management Act, 2016). In the 2016-2021 period, KFS shall focus its efforts on developing recreational infrastructure in selected forests designated as Forest Parks. Forest Parks are recreational areas located in forests near urban centers with the objective of providing forest-based recreation for persons living in or visiting cities and towns. The primary target clientele is recreationists (day visitors), not overnight tourists. Urban areas in Kenya continue to expand rapidly due to various factors including economic growth, infrastructural development and devolution. Forest Parks shall provide critical green spaces to serve the recreational needs of the people living in these towns. To develop Forest Parks, KFS shall collaborate with county governments, private sector, local communities, NGOs and other parties to construct unique low-impact recreational facilities including walking/jogging trails, picnic areas, amusement areas, arboreta, restaurants, gift shops, visitor education centres, community centres, zip lines, health & fitness facilities and special event areas. Some of the forests with opportunities for development of Forest Parks include: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Arabuko Sokoke Forest (Kilifi County) Eburru Forest (Nakuru County) Eldoret Block Forest (Uasin Gishu County) Kabiruini/Nyeri Forest (Nyeri County) Kakamega Forest (Kakamega County) Kessup Forest (Elgeyo Marakwet County) Kitale Township Forest (Trans Nzoia County) Kwale Forest Station (Kwale County)

9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

Leroghi Forest - Tamiyoi Beat (Samburu County) Munguni Hill (Tharaka Nithi County) Ndaragwa Forest (Nyandarua County) Ngong Hills Forest (Kajiado County) Njukiini Forest (Kirinyaga County) Njukiiri Forest (Embu County) Oloolua Forest (Kajiado County) Wire Forest (Homa Bay County)

To be informed when these and other ecotourism investment opportunities become available, send an email with the subject “Forest Parks� to info@kenyaforestservice.org Kenya Forest Service, Karura, off Kiambu Road, Nairobi. P.O. Box 30513-00100 Nairobi, Kenya. Tel: +254 20 2020285/ 2014663 Email: info@kenyaforestservice.org

WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017 49


spotlight on

Magical, mythical and mesmerically beautiful, the Grevy’s zebra is about as close as you’ll get to a unicorn on planet earth. And it’s SO rare that it is on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List, which means that the magnificent Grevy’s zebra will shortly join the unicorn in the realms of mythical beasts – unless something is done to save it.

The Millennium

Unicorn The situation is dire: there are only 2,800 Grevy’s zebra left on Earth. To put this in perspective, towards the end of the 1970s the global population of Grevy’s was around 15,000, which means that in four short decades, the Grevy’s zebra has suffered an 80% decline. What’s more, since the Grevy’s live in 10,000 sq km of wild and rugged territory in the far north of Kenya where only a meagre 1% of land is protected by national parks or conservancies, their chances of survival were looking as slim as their iconic stripes. Until some unlikely saviours stepped in.

A Rendille Zebra Warrior, part of a team of warriors from the Grevy’s Zebra Trust who live and work in Kenya’s northern rangelands. The warriors are protecting the last 2,800 Grevy’s Zebra on the planet. Photograph by Mia Collis.

50 WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017

Salvation appeared in the form of the so-called ‘Zebra People’ of the northern territories – the Rendille and Samburu people, who are now working with the Grevy’s Zebra Trust to save their own particular fantastic beasts from extinction. Arguably as threatened in survival terms as the animals they are working to save, the ‘Zebra People’, are now tracking, collaring, photographing, observing and protecting the last remaining Grevy’s. They’re also educating the local people as to just how precious this creature is. To find out more contact: www.grevyszebratrust.org


Learn your stripes Grevy’s zebra have undergone one of the most substantial reductions of range of any African mammal. Historically, they were to be found right across the Horn of Africa including in Djibouti, Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan. Now they are found only in Ethiopia and Kenya. Interestingly, the Grevy’s zebra was the first of the zebra species to evolve after asses, and can be differentiated from the common Burchell’s zebra by virtue of it being taller, having narrower stripes, large ‘Mickey Mouse’ ears and a brown muzzle. Even more whimsically, it gets its name from the fact that in 1882, Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia thought his zebras to be so regally magnificent that he gave one as a gift to Jules Grevy, the President of France.

Grevy’s zebra © www.michaelsheridanphotography.com


Safari capital of the

World Cool, clear and cosmopolitan Nairobi is the natural departure point for most safari itineraries. A city of contrasts it is simultaneously the largest, the youngest, the most modern, the highest and the fastest growing city in East Africa. Nairobi (Nyrobi meaning ‘the place of cool waters’ in the Maasai language, Maa), came into being in May 1899 as an artificial settlement created by the European builders of the East African railway, halfway between Mombasa and Uganda. Set in bleak swamps, it began life as a supply depot and campsite for the thousands of Indian workers, who were employed to build the so-called ‘Lunatic Line’. Whether you begin or end your trip in Nairobi, there’s plenty to do and see: for an hour, a morning, a day or a week. Here are just some of the suggestions; for more information visit: www.magicalkenya.com

Top: Nairobi National Park © Make It Kenya / Stuart Price Left: The Nairobi Railway Museum © Alexander Leisser

52 WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017


in close up

The Nairobi ‘City Tour’ Discover the vibrant diversity of this historic city, the uncontested ‘Safari Capital of the World’ and self-styled ‘Green City in the Sun’. Travel straight to the heart of Kenyan culture by visiting art galleries, handicraft centres and bustling markets. Gain a unique insight into Kenya’s past and present by seeing the Parliament Building, Jomo Kenyatta’s mausoleum, the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, the Railway Museum (background to the ‘Lunatic Line’ and man-eaters of Tsavo), or the stunningly renovated National Museum of Kenya with its Arboretum and Snake Park. Most hotels offer a city tour, which can be booked from reception.

A crocodile steak... and make it snappy

Walking the walk Nairobi Safari Walk and Animal Orphanage is a hybrid. A cross between a zoo and an orphanage, it is an excellent educational facility for children and adults alike. It also promises a superb introduction to Kenya’s wildlife. A refuge for abandoned and orphaned animals, it also offers a wooden boardwalk that meanders through examples of savannah, forest and wetland areas and gives an overhead view into the holding pens of the many animals – all of which are designed in such a way that the animals appear to be in the wild. For more information: www.kws.go.ke

© Tamarind Group

No trip to Nairobi is complete without a visit to the world-famous Carnivore Restaurant (frequently listed as one of the best restaurants in the world). In entirely unique surroundings, you can get your safari off to a really intrepid start (or a truly carnivorous end) with a famous ‘dawa’ cocktail (lemon, honey and vodka) followed by such hunter’s delights as: ostrich, eland and crocodile steaks seared over red-hot furnaces and served on skewers at your table. For the more faint-hearted there are plenty of fish and vegetarian choices too. For more information: www.tamarind.co.ke

© www.africaimagelibrary.com

A taste of Kenyan culture For a one-stop introduction designed to deliver the full flavour of Kenyan culture, you might like to take in a visit to the Bomas of Kenya. A dedicated cultural entertainment centre, the ‘Bomas’ is situated in the Nairobi suburbs (very close to the gates of the Nairobi National Park). Home to the famous ‘Harambee’ dancers and musicians, who perform daily, it also offers a traditionally-built Kenyan village for your exploration; and the Nyama Choma Boma restaurant, serving traditional Kenyan food. For more information: www.bomasofkenya.co.ke

WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017 53


Operated

Tel: +254 204450036, +254 702 692648 Email: reservations@atua-enkop.com

Elephant Bedroom Camp - Samburu

Mara Ngenche Safari Camp - Mara

Naibor Camp is a luxury tented camp, a striking combination of contemporary style and comfort, in the heart of Kenya’s world famous Masai Mara Game Reserve. The camp is hidden in a grove of riverine woodland on the banks of the Talek River and consists of sweeping pale canvas tents, king-sized beds made from local fig-wood, wide sofas furnished with bolster cushions, and wool rugs - a luxurious base from which to explore the Mara.

Discover the Mara - Naibor style

Mbweha Camp - Lake Nakuru

Get in touch, we’d love to hear from you Reservations: +254 (0)729 406582 Landline: +254 (0)20 2679594 E-mail: enquiries@naibor.com Take a tour: www.naibor.com Tipilikwani Mara Camp - Masai Mara

Website: www.atua-enkop.com

54 WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017


portfolio

Will you

Marry me?

R

esearch has revealed that couples are spending more on their weddings than ever before (the average in 2016 was around US$35,000). Brides are also going to enormous lengths to score points over their friends in the wedding pizzazz stakes. Bouquets now feature fruit and vegetables and are so heavy that they can no longer be thrown (a second one is provided for this purpose), and most have hidden GoPro cameras that allow the bride to film her walk down the aisle. Meanwhile, if you don’t have your wedding photos taken by an overhead drone – you’re a bridal dinosaur.

Come to Kenya to get married, however, and you won’t need to worry about such technological point-scoring because you’ll be able to rely on the sheer gorgeousness of the venue – not only to deliver jaw-dropping images, but also to give you a day that you and your guests will never forget.

1. ‘Royal’ weddings If you’d like to follow in the footsteps of one of the most famous couples on the planet and spend your first evening as an engaged couple in front of a roaring log fire in a private pine-log cabin on the slopes of Mount Kenya, then you’ll have to head for Rutundu Cabins. Remote, rustic and breathtakingly beautiful, Rutundu has many attractions. One of them is the view from the verandah of such soul-stirring brilliance that it prompted (or so the world’s press would have us believe) Prince William to ask Kate Middleton to become his wife. Others include some panoramic hiking or horse-riding trails amid Kenya’s glorious Afro-Alpine highlands, or the chance to catch some trout from the waters of Lakes Rutundu or Alice. In true romantic style, you can then cook your trout in the time-honoured manner by wrapping it in a parcel of damp mountain grass, and putting it on the log fire.

© Rutundu log cabins www.rutundu.com

WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017 55


portfolio

Rutundu is also one of the few places in the world where your romantic seclusion is unlikely to be disturbed by anything other than the local elephants, buffalo, leopards and hyena. Or by the odd tapping on the window panes by the plentiful malachite sunbirds, because there’s no electricity, no phone signal... and the only way to get to your cabin is by horseback or by hiking 15km up a mountainside. So there’s no excuse for NOT asking the big question. Is there? If you’d like to find out more www.rutundu.com

2. Maasai wedding High on colour and hot on culture, a Maasai wedding ceremony can be arranged in any of Kenya’s iconic wilderness escapes. And it can feature anything from a traditional blessing by the local chief to a guard of honour of Maasai warriors. You might also like to consider appearing in a traditional Maasai costume, or perhaps just a hand-beaded traditional wedding-collar or tiara. As for music, a choir of Maasai maidens is hard to beat, especially when accompanied by leaping warriors.

3. Billionaire’s mansion Fancy getting married in a billionaire’s mansion? Then head off to Ol Pejeta House, once the ranch of businessman, Adnan Kashoggi. Set in its own private game conservancy, this stunning mansion can be hired in its entirety complete with personal chefs, two swimming pools and a panoramic wedding site that has already seen the knot tied around some of Kenya’s most fashionable wrists. There’s also a private honeymoon cottage, and the nearby Sweetwaters Tented Camp to accommodate a few hundred of your closest friends. www.serenahotels.com

4. A wild wedding For the ultimate in safari weddings, head for one of the best kept secret wedding destinations in East Africa – Nairobi National Park. Just fifteen minutes from the city centre it promises rolling savannah, lions, rhinos, its own mini migration and a collection of idyllic picnic sites that can also double as wedding venues. For a truly green wedding, serve gourmet picnic food in hampers and use the resident trees as your wedding bower.

5. Out of Africa Karen Blixen’s story, Out of Africa, still resonates. And her home still stands at the foot of the Ngong Hills, right next door to the Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, which offers both superlative catering and charming accommodation. Alternatively, do as Karen did, and head up the Ngong Hills, which offer a unique panorama: Nairobi on one side and miles and miles of Africa on the other.

Main photo: Designer: Joan Ogake Mosomi of Ogake Bridal Model: Winnie Achieng Agutu Location: Voyager Beach Resort Photographer: Barbara K. Minishi (www.barbarakminishi.com)

56 WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017


© Serena Hotels

© Fairmont Hotels

WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017 57


snapped

The

best of the

Kenyan buys

Naturally GORGEOUS Recently modelled by Kenyan Oscar winner, Lupita Nyongo, and featured above at the prestigious 2017 New York Fashion Week, Kenyan designer, Deepa Dosaja’s collection is all about natural fabrics and inspiration from nature. For more information: www.deepadosaja.com

Pick up

a HAT

For the ultimate in safari style, pick up an iconic safari slouch hat with a twist. Handmade in Kenya by Drop of a Hat, a percentage of the purchase price of each hat goes towards wildlife conservation. For more information: www.dropofahat.me

58 WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017

There’s more than one way of going wild in Kenya. In your safari downtime, you can also snap up some savagely stylish take-home trophies such as those featured on these pages. What’s more you can shop at your lodge, your hotel, or stake out some of Nairobi’s latest shopping malls (all of which have dedicated cultural craft markets).


snapped

Chateau Great Rift Valley

Who says we don’t make wine in Kenya? At Leleshwa Wines, Naivasha, deep in the Great Rift Valley, they’ve been making them for 20 years and now turn out 80,000 bottles a year from their own vineyards. Choose from Leleshwa Rosé, Merlot Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc or a rich and beguiling Sweet Red. For more information: www.leleshwa.com

The

feel good factor

Wear this jewellery and you’ll look good, feel good and do good. Handmade in Kenya, the Eclastic range transforms plastic refuse collected by teams of volunteers into unique pieces. And as an eco-plus, a percentage of sales goes towards adopting orphaned baby elephants. For further information: www.eclastic.org

Bellissimo Elisabetta Capolino, creator of “Le Collane di Betta”, is by profession an architect and demonstrates the disciplined formality of her training in the practical wearability of her necklaces which are at once both elegant and structured.

Kenya-STYLED textiles If you’ve fallen in love with the ‘safari-lodge-look’, you might like to take home some hand-printed textiles. Designed by Simply Sandara, these 100% Kenyan cotton prints capture the essence of the savannah. For more information: www.simplysandara.com

It was her travels in Africa however, that inspired Elisabetta to create a jewellery line that went beyond decoration and into the mystique of seduction and symbolism. Each item in the collection is made by skilled African craftsmen using eco-materials and wherever possible, Elisabetta works with women’s cooperatives and under-privileged workers. “Le Collane di Betta” have been widely recognised and held numerous exhibitions across Africa and Europe, as well as being featured in runway events from London and Milan to Nairobi. www.facebook.com/LeCollaneDiBetta

Maasai

‘must have’ It’s the ultimate Maasai fashion statement, a scarlet cloak or shuka. Head for the Shuka Duka in Nairobi, however, and you can pick up a shuka that’s a picnic blanket, a fleece, a safari chair … or even a hot water bottle. For further information: www.facebook.com/shuka.duka

WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017 59


kenya brief

Need to know For full information on Kenya visit www.magicalkenya.com

Climate

Entry

The coast is always hot with an average daytime temperature of 27-31 degrees centigrade whilst the average daytime temperature in Nairobi is 21-26 degrees centigrade. Temperatures elsewhere depend on altitude. July and August mark the Kenyan winter. Typically, January-February is dry, March-May is wet, June-September is dry, OctoberDecember is wet.

To enter Kenya, a valid passport, not expiring for at least six months, is required as well as a valid entry visa (obtainable on arrival for a fee of US$50 or online via evisa.go.ke)

Time GMT +3 all year-round. Kenya maintains an almost constant 12 hours of daylight, sun-up and sun-down being at around 6.30 and 18.45 daily, and varying only by 30 minutes during the year.

National Parks and Reserves Kenya has 56 national parks and reserves covering 44,359 sq km.

Health Currency Kenya shilling. ATMs are available countrywide with 24-hour access. All major international cards are accepted.

Language English (official), Kiswahili (national), multiple ethnic languages (Bantu, Cushitic and Nilotic language groups).

Electricity 220-240 volts, with standard 13-amp square three-pin plugs.

Telephone International telephone code +254.

A number of vaccinations are recommended (check with your doctor in advance). A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required ONLY if you are arriving from an infected country. Malaria is endemic in tropical Africa and protection against it is necessary.

Travelling to Kenya Numerous international carriers serve Kenya, and Nairobi is the hub of the East African region. Kenya has two international airports: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is half an hour’s drive from Nairobi’s city centre, and Mombasa’s Moi International Airport is even closer to the town centre. Taxis are readily available at both airports (officially regulated tariffs should be displayed).

Internal air travel Frequent flights (both scheduled and charter) operate from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport and from Mombasa and Malindi to the main towns and national parks.

Fort Jesus, Mombasa

Historical sites Kenya has over 400 historical sites ranging from paleolithic remains, 14th century slave trading settlements, Islamic ruins and the 16th century Portuguese Fort Jesus.

Fauna There are 80 major animal species and around 1,137 species of birds. Spotting over 100 bird species in a day is not uncommon. © Safarilink

60 WHY I LOVE KENYA July-August 2017


The Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) is the umbrella body representing the interests of the tourism industry’s private sector. Its mission is to provide a single voice for the industry, to enhance standards, and to engage with Government on issues affecting its members. In recent years, KTF has taken an active role in destination marketing and was the driving force behind the Why I Love Kenya campaign. The KTF member associations are: Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC); Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO); Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA); Kenya Association of Air Operators (KAAO); Ecotourism Kenya (EK); Kenya Coast Tourism Association (KCTA) and the Pubs, Entertainment and Restaurants Association of Kenya (PERAK). For more information visit: www.ktf.co.ke

The Kenya Tourism Federation gratefully acknowledges the support of our Gold Sponsor, Swahili Beach


Why I Love Kenya Issue 2 - July/Aug 2017  

Selling Kenya to the world!

Why I Love Kenya Issue 2 - July/Aug 2017  

Selling Kenya to the world!

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