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We embark on a 13 hours journey to North Horr from Nairobi, a 726 km journey to the North of Kenya.  North Horr is located in Marsabit Country, a 5 hours journey that has one experience first-hand how life is in the North through the towns of Maikona, Kalacha and finally North Horr.  The topography all rusted, raw and yet beautiful that entails volcanic rocks, the Chalbi desert, water oasis where camels and goats, as well as humans, get their water from.  One is in awe as the topography unfolds.

We arrive late evening having missed several wedding rituals. All we got to experience was the actual wedding day.  We are told this has been a 12 months courtship for the couple and a four-day affair that culminates to the wedding and a further four days for the bride and the groom to stay indoors.  Where traditional rituals will be performed finalizing the end of the wedding ceremony and marking the beginning of the couple living together. (Marriage).

Our host Sarah of Chalbi Dessert Extreme is at hand to ensure we are well taken care of and hands us over to one of the elderly uncles who will explain everything we need to know about the Gabbra people and their traditional wedding ceremonies ritual and significance.  Weddings take place twice a year in April and September, after the sighting of the moon.

Wedding Day

Like all other weddings across Kenya, the wedding day is packed with activities.  The bride is downed with make-up, henna art as well as her bridesmaids.  Before she can wear her wedding gown ready for the church ceremony she has to herd her father’s camel’s back home one last time.   This means that she is finally leaving her parents’ home.  Meanwhile, the groom’s family is getting ready to bring in the dowry of three camels, a moila camel packed with gifts.  There are also gifts to the bride’s family that include milk, tobacco and coffee beans. Women are at hand to receive the gifts.  There is also a bull that will be slaughtered, for the wedding feast.

Prayers are chanted by the communities’ religious elders and the bull is finally slaughtered at the bride’s mother entrance to her house.

This means that they –the bride and the groom family are now in-laws. Meanwhile, the bride is getting ready to go church as they are Christians (Catholics) a short distance from their home.  The ceremony takes about 2 hours and we are back for the rest of the traditional ceremonies lined up for the festivity.

Reception

We return back home ready for the remaining day’s events.  Like all other reception ceremonies in Kenya, food is at the centre of the ceremony. Food and refreshments are served.

Dance and Jubilation characterizes the wedding reception

Dance and jubilation fill in the homestead.  Being the wedding season there are several weddings across the area.  Jubilations can be heard from several homesteads; the atmosphere seems to birthed tunes of dance, music, celebration and happiness.

 

Groom rituals

The Shaving of the Groom: The groom is clean shaved meaning he is born again into family life/ marriage life.  The shaving means that he is no longer a bachelor. He is there dressed in Gabrra traditional attire that includes a while shuka, a white turban and is handed a walking stick.

The Groom shaving ceremony by his father

He then leaves the homestead to pick a special tree that will be part of his new bride’s house. While all this is going on, the bride is having a good time and partying, characterized by dance and receiving gifts from her guest.

Dressed in a white turban

On another side of the homestead, women are busy demolishing the mother’s Manyatta /house. Half the materials will be used to build her daughters new house.  A mock is done, and the mock house is built for the bride.

The returning of the groom marks the beginning of building the mock house for the newlyweds.  He picks and marks the circumference and the position of the new house and draws a semi-circle.  Women follow suits by placing the building materials while adding more as gifts. A cleansing ceremony is done using camel milk.  The groom’s father pours camel milk from the outside while the mother pours milk from the inside. This ceremony is accompanied by reciting of prayers and blessings to the newlyweds by the elders. Brothers and in-laws also pour milk from the outside and inside of the semi-circle.

The groom now sits outside of his now to be home, and a fire is kindled using a special tree picked along the river banks.  A sign that the groom and bride have lit their first fire that should be a lasting one. A section of the women some carrying babies as a sign to appease the Gods for fertility to the newlyweds, start building the newlyweds house while the others go to rebuild the mothers’ house as they had already demolished it.  This activity goes on till way past sunset into the night.

The rest of the wedding guests are having a good time with dance and a live band.  As night falls, dance, jubilations, and lots of partying take place as the night falls.   There is plenty of food and drink that include local delicacies, drinks, as well as alcohol.

The groom is now also having a good time with his peers who chant the night through as he awaits his bride to be brought to him at the early morning hours of the following day.  He must not fall asleep, and he must not go into the newly built house until his in-laws hand over to him his new wife.

The bride, on the other hand, spends her last moments with her mother and aunties who are advising her of what it takes to a wife.  This is the most emotional time for the bride’s family, the separation of a daughter is heavy to the home. At 4 am the bride is escorted by women to her newly built home.  On arrival, a milk container is placed at the entrance of the newlyweds’ home and the groom jumps over the milk with the wife the following suit.  We are told they have to stay here for 4 days after which they can now get out which means that their marriage has finally begun.

Kenyatalii’s verdict

Northern Kenya is one of the most magical but largely unexplored areas of Kenya.  A cultural tour will have you indulge mingle and learn about the several pastoralist communities that live here all with diverse cultures.

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Volcanic rocks, Acacia trees plus a steep descend, we navigate our way to the southern end of Kenya’s rift valley escapement. Our final destination is Lake Magadi. This is the last lake in the southern part of Kenya’s Rift Valley. A solid and dry lake that has shades of pink and white colour. It is home to the salt and baking soda Tata Chemicals manufacturing plant that dates back to 1911.

Our drive to Magadi one hundred and twenty kilometres (120km) from the capital city of Nairobi taking us through the towns of Ongata Rongai, Kiserian, through Kona Baridi, and past the Olorgasalie prehistoric site. The gently sloping hills on the left, volcanic rocks along an almost lonely stretch of the tarmac and acacia shrubs all seemed to be preparing us for a day of fun and adventure.

This was my second excursion to the renown Lake Magadi. The last time, the road was in a pathetic state. This time the road is much better, except for a few rough patches along the road. There seems to be quite some traffic with several settlements along the way as well as economic activities in the town of Oletepesi.

We arrive at Lake Magadi by mid-morning. It’s important to arrive early as the weather temperatures can be as high as 35-40 degrees, which would hinder your day’s activities. After a short debrief by Benjamin our guide, we check into the clubhouse ready for a drive to the hot spring or spa as they call it here.

An ideal day trip for children too! With our guide @Steve Mato of Stejos Safari. 

Lake Magadi is home to lots of birds such as flamingoes, Pelican, the yellow-billed storks and small waders that cohabit among the few wildlife which include giraffes and Zebras that can be spotted from a distance. The lake is surrounded Mount Shompole and Sambu hills that border Kenya and Tanzania. They also double up as the border points between Kajiado and Narok counties.

There is a small clubhouse that serves as the restaurant where one can orders meals and drinks as well as enjoy a swim at the clubs swimming pools. Thus making it an ideal weekend getaway for kid too.

Accommodation
Being a day trip, we did not stay the night. However, the clubhouse has several club annexe accommodation, a tented camp that is a few meters away from the clubhouse. There are also lake view cottages that right at the shores of the Lake. Early booking is encouraged as accommodation is limited. One can also choose to stay at the luxurious Shompole Wilderness camp located at the shores of river Ewaso Nyiro or at the Lentore Lodge located at the foot of Nguruman escarpment.

The activities
There are several exciting activities while at Lake Magadi that will make your visit memorable.

Photo credit: Stejos Tours and Travel

Swim at the Natural Hot springs
The Natural spring the main attraction for a majority of visitors to Lake Magadi. The spring’s water is believed to have medicinal value to the skin curing ailments such as skin rashes, pimples and acne, dry skin conditions and also helps in strengthening the bones in the body.

Bird Watching
Flamingoes will welcome you as your drive towards the hot spring make several stops for a picture or two as well bird watching. Enjoy a quiet drink as you watch the various bird species at the lake.

Get lost in the vast pink lake scenery
The Lake is surrounded by extremely beautiful sceneries, why not get lost in your thought while watching is a picturesque location.

Swimming at the clubhouse

Take a deep in the pool and cool off from the day’s heat.  Magadi can be scorching hot!

Kenyatalii’s Verdict: Lake Magadi is an ideal weekend getaway not too far from the city.  It’s ideal for children too.  Next time you are looking for an adventurous yet not too busy getaway, why not choose Lake Magadi.  It’s less than three hours away!

For more information: http://www.lakemagadiadventures.com

Trip was curated by Stejos Tours and Travel 

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The excitement of taking an overland tour for the first time could not keep me calm. You see, growing up I often saw tourists in overland touring Nairobi, I wished I could experience that kind of travelling, thus when the opportunity arose I packed my bags ready for this experience. The trip curated by Cheetah Revolution Safaris, to Malindi was going to cover 684 kilometres to arrive the coastal town of Malindi after a nine-hour long and tiring drive. This was my first time to travel via an overland truck and ever since, have had several other overland safaris to the Maasai Mara, a day tour to the Nairobi National park among others.
Overland safaris are popular in Kenya and across Africa. There are several overland tours that often start from the South all the way to Kenya and vice versa. Locally the idea of overland tours has quite taken root and several travel companies plan joining or group tours across Kenya in overland trucks. They are budget-friendly and allows one to travel with a small group, experience different people, different cultures, as well as different professionals making these kinds of tours exciting and adventurous.

Photo Credit: http://travelwitheliud.com

Our trip to Malindi was slow as we travelled during the rainy season, that notwithstanding, we arrived Mombasa City at around 6 am just in time to capture the Sunrise. A brief stopover and we were ready for our last leg of the tour to Malindi. We arrived Malindi shortly after 11:00 am and checked in to our stay for the weekend; The Karibuni Villas and Hotel that is located in Mamburi, and fourteen kilometres from Malindi town. The sight of a clear beach was quite welcoming and relaxing after a long trip. It was all worth it after all! 

We highlight several tips you need to know before taking that overland tour!

Be clear on what the Tour package Covers and does not cover
This is the rule of every trip you may plan to take. Don’t just hop into any overland tour. Find out beforehand what it entails. Does the cost include park fees and all activities listed? Our tour of Malindi entailed going to the Malindi Marine Park, surprisingly part of the team did not expect to pay an extra cost for that since they assumed the trip entailed excursion too! To avoid such disappointing situations, ensure you are clear on what you are paying for.

Be Comfortable
Comfort is paramount. Most overland tours are quite long distance and most of your time will be spent travelling from one location to another. Being comfortable should be one of your goals. Carry a neck pillow you will need it to drift away into slumberland as you travel. If the trip entails camping, then ensure you have a good sleeping bag. Depending on the locations you are travelling to, carry a Maasai blanket, it will come in handy in the evenings as well as during cold weather and also doubles up as your cover-up blanket during the day.

Photo Credit:https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/essential-accessories-africa-overland/

Window View
Overland trucks have huge windows. Make use of them especially during your game drives. Most seats if not all have a window view allowing one an opportunity to see it, breathe it and feel it; that was my experience to the Nairobi National park. Sighting of wildlife on a sunny afternoon game drive may prof to be a doubting task but not when on an overland truck. We were at an added advantage of sighting lions as they lounged under acacia trees and rhinos who appeared to be in an afternoon meet up probably discussing the hot weather, thanks to the window view seat.

Carry Some Patience
Long road trips can be physically draining making one quite edgy. Practising some patience will be required of you especially when the planned itinerary is not going according to plan. Remember you are travelling with different people who have different personality and likes. Being one that likes things done in an orderly manner, the Malindi trip taught me that without patience you may find yourself ruining an otherwise good adventure.

Photo Credit: http://enjoyafricaexpeditions.co.ke

Be a Team Player
Have you experienced any of Kenya’s enchanting parks, and just when you are enjoying your game drive, your vehicle gets a tyre bust or gets stuck in the mud? What would you do? Well, be part of the team and participate in the resume mission. After all, this is your transport, more like your home, why not participate in all activities that the crew may request? Being a team player will add to the adventure, it may be scarily at first but once all is well, it will create memories that will be with you for a long time to come. Having been stuck in the mud at The Maasai Mara during an evening game drive is one of my overland terrifying experiences. I was scared a lion would be hiding in vast savannah and that it would attack. But once we were off the mud, and got to watch the cloud of semi-darkness covering Mara’s savannah, is an experience that has been embedded in my mind for several years.

Stuck in the Mud.
Photo Credit: http://www.travelwitheliud.com

Kenyatalii’s verdict: Overland tours and safaris are your ultimate budget travel idea for Kenya. Experience the world running by across the various destinations and live the moment while on that well-deserved overland safari.

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Are you still waiting for the company of your friends and loved ones in order to start travelling? Often lots of people keep postponing the idea of travelling due to lack of company. Don’t’ get me wrong, having company is good for anyone. However, sometimes you need to take some alone time and travel solo. Because if you do not go to some of those places that you have been postponing to visit, you may never get to go there, considering how life and priorities keep changing with time.

Solo travelling is quite deliberating as one is in total freedom to do what he or she wants to do. It can be the best opportunity to test if you really need a travel partner or not. It builds one’s confidence. Once you accomplish one trip, there will be no turning back, you will be hooked into the art of solo travelling.

We highlight the various gains of solo travelling

Freedom

You are the king and queen of your time. You do not have to share it with anyone. You decide what to do with it (time), when to rest, where to go, what to eat and much more. Travelling alone allows one the opportunity to reflect more than when travelling in a group. Long tough trip activities like hiking may be emotionally draining, travelling solo allows one a chance to only deal with his/her mood, not multiple people with different thoughts, different ideas and moods.

Depending on Myself and God

Being alone teaches one how to solely depend on themselves. Since you are all alone, during your trip you quickly learn that it’s only you and your God. It’s not that you will not ask around for ideas while travelling but the decisions you make are strictly dependent on yourself. Travelling solo has taught me to make tough decisions on what to do if to go on an excursion; if to take a tour or just to chill and enjoy my own space. Some days will turn out to have loads of fun, while others will depend on your own will power to accomplish your desired travel goal. All in all solo travelling need not be boring.

Helps me get out of my Comfort Zone
I must admit to this, trying new things, and conquering my fear is one of my biggest challenges. Like when I had to go water rafting, it took me a whole year to actually go through my fear of water! It took taking a trip alone and with strangers, to actually get out my comfort zone. It was quite therapeutic to see myself enjoy this adventure. I would not have achieved this goal if I went for this trip with my family or friends. Being one of Kenya’s adrenaline adventures, most people would rather pass off such activities. Why not try a solo trip and see yourself getting out of your comfort zone as I did!

Touring the Cultural Heritage Centre in Arusha

Embrace Spontaneity


I am one that loves some order and routine. But once in a while spontaneity is allowed. It’s part of the adventure. Since travelling alone will allow you to meet new people, a spirit of spontaneity should be embraced. It allows you an opportunity to get out of your set itinerary and discover what you would have otherwise missed out. Spontaneity will allow you an opportunity to learn more about yourself while attracting unforgettable experiences which you would not experience if you were travelling in a group.

Travel Friendships
You will meet people along your way who will impact you in different ways. Some people are known to have met lifetime friends during their solo travels, while others meet the love of their lives while on a solo trip.

Photo credit: JK Photography

Kenyatalii’s Verdict
Pick a destination, pack up your bag and go enjoy your solo experience!

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As a travel writer, you are bound to read other people’s work.  It’s what keeps me inspired.  There are quite a growing number of female travel bloggers in Kenya as well as across the continent.  It’s great to see women are travelling more compared to yesteryear’s where only a handful travelled.  Travel has definitely become earlier over the years due to the digital age.

Join me in celebrating all women and particularly my list of female travel bloggers who will inspire you to pack up your bags and explore enchanting destinations.

Safari 254

Owned by Rachel who is a three-time Kenyan travel blog award winner, safari254 is quite an inspiration.  She describes herself as one who like most Kenyans took for granted the country in which she was born. Things however changed when she moved away for studies abroad. Each visit home, she sought out a different place and fell in love with the; Kenya she was discovering. The photographer is top notch and the blog has lived true to its slogan Travel, Learn and be inspired!

 

Rupi Mangat

Hers is a travel writers career that spans back twenty years.  I have been reading her articles for the longest I guess we go way back to my high school days and still do to date.  Rupi is your Saturday Nation writer that takes you through Kenya in the eyes of a wildlife conservationist.  The fact that she had been travel writing for this long is in itself an inspiration to keep doing what we do-travel writing.  Her blog: Rupitheafricantrotter.wordpress.com has content from way back the year 2000; quite a long time.

 

KemzyKemzy

Kemzy makes my Monday’s as she narrates about her weekend travels.  Her adventures are up on her blog weekly and are interesting to read and dream away to the various destinations she gets to visits.  She is a foodie and a travel blogger who seeks to share affordable food and travel.  She describes her blog as where the fun begins. Check it out and tell me what your thoughts are on the comment section below.

 

Wangeci Gitahi Travel

Wangeci a marketer by profession and a traveller by passion is a solo traveller that has travelled to about 20 countries and counting, and over 200 towns.  All as a means to learn about different cultures, landscapes and people.  She seeks to break stereotypes, inspire others to travel and to promote World Peace and Love. Visiting her blog you will learn lots about her travels around Kenya and Africa but also Asia.  From enjoying the landscapes of Turkana in Kenya to interacting with the Japanese culture to the Taj Mahal, Wangeci has it all laid in her blog.  I particularly followed her trip to Northern Kenya in Turkana, and to say the least I plan to tour the north more.

Bonita on Safari

Bonita is an adventurer, traveller, travel writer and hobbyist photographer. This 2018 winner of the Kenya blog Awards, will show you hidden gems, review hotels and destinations in Kenya.

I meet her during the Rusinga cultural festival in 2018. The way she indulged with the culture and rocked a dance move with the dancers at the event is a sure displace on how passionate she is of culture, and travel in general.

Tembea na Mo

Maureen’s most recent trip to Lamu, made me want to leave my day job and travel to Lamu again. Mo’s world on social media brought back my most memorable visit to this Unesco World Heritage city.  Tembea na Mo is another of Kenya’s travel blogger that travels to explore, learn, have fun and tell her story while at it.  Her travels span from Nairobi, Lamu, Mwanza in Tanzania, to Ethiopia and Morocco among other destinations.

Wild-Roamers

Clalffin or Clal as she refers to herself wishes to wake up and see the sunrise in a new place every day.  That how she describes herself on her blog.  A read through her blog, one is hooked through the various captivating stories on backing in Kenya, travelling solo, sights and sounds from Kisumu to chasing waterfalls in Kenya. The life of travel demands sacrifice remains very true to a majority of us who travel not just for fun but to share and inspire others to explore.

Diary of A Mzungu –Uganda

Across the border in Uganda is the Diary of a Muzungu.  This blog is everything Uganda, from hidden gems, the food, and the culture to just being a Muzungu in a foreign land.  Charlotte or ‘Nagawa’ as she describes herself on her blog is quite an avid traveller across East Africa.  She encourages her readers to join her on a tour of Uganda on foot, by train, plane, boda-boda, bus or even a dugout canoe now that should get you packing for a tour of Uganda.

 

Rayhab Gachango -Potentash  

Although this is a lifestyle blog.  Her Travel category will definitely inspire one to explore Kenya.  Rayhab Gachango is quite an experienced writer and the lifestyle category winner in the 2018 lifestyle category under the Kenya blog awards.

EvejWanderluster 

Eve is currently in the car hire business and at the same time travel blogging.  She is constantly scouting for the best affordable packages allowing her to travel within her budget.  Her trip to Kisumu in January was quite an inspiration to tour the Kit-Mikayi.

Torik Diaries

Tori Karambu’s blog is not only a travel blog but one that covers other topical issues.  She has a theme for each day that includes women, food, kids, lifestyle and men. Her article on ten tips on how to travel to Mombasa on a budget offers young and first-time travellers practical travel tips.  The blog is a year old, and judging by the content this far, it’s one to look out for as it keeps growing.  Tomorrow will definitely be better.

Emily Nderitu

Finally, this list would not be complete if I did not honour myself.  Building a brand: kenyatalii.com has not been an easy ride.  Every week, day month and years that pass as we keep striving to be the best that we can be in the travel blogging and travel content creation space, is in itself an inspiration to us to keep doing what we love and creating a lasting brand. Budget travel remains true to us six years later.

There are many other female bloggers and writers across Kenya and in Africa too, we honour each one them as they continue to do what they love.   Who is your favourite female travel writer or blogger? Let us know and we shall be sure to seek some inspiration from them.

Read more about the international women Day here

Happy International Women Day!

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Hi there? Are you a solo traveller and planning for an adventure? Do you know what the essential gears for adventure travelling are? A good percentage of solo travellers know what’s essential for any given travel. Not knowing what to pack for any destination can be not only stressful but can also be devastating to the traveller and may end up ruining an otherwise good vacation.

Outdoor gears are a must to consider. Pack the essentials smartly, avoid getting emotional as you may find yourself stocking up everything; though that can be quite tempting. Keep it light and smart. Keep the luggage manageable, remember if you are backpacking, your back does not need to carry too much heavyweight as it may cause some health issues, and be quite a bog down during your trip.

We highlight an ideal outdoor gear essential list for adventure travel to enable you to enjoy your travel and trip:

Stuff Storage Packs
We begin with the travelling bag. When you start to stock your things, firstly, you need the right backpack or a duffel bag.

Photo credit

The market is full of wide variety of travel packs from high range to low so choose according to your pocket but never compromise with quality as it’s the travel pack that stores your essentials and keep them secure. You can also carry a money belt for easy cash access. To avoid messing up your backpack, have an internal stuff organizer.

Documents and Money
Once you have picked an ideal travelling bag, arrange all your travelling documents that include your passport, visa, flight tickets, photographs, cash or currency, and photo identity proof. Pack each of them carefully without over-sighting any important travel document. You do not want to find yourself in trouble with authorities in a foreign land. Try to keep one photocopy of each document. Make a separate pouch for the document storage and place it in your travel pack securely. You can also pick a neck pouch for passport storage while travelling.

Clothing
While choosing clothes for an adventure trip, be smart, not emotional. Consider the climatic conditions where you are going for the trip and how long, then decide your clothes and footwear.

Photo Credit

If your trip includes a hiking tour you need hiking boots to protect your feet. For biking in a cold region, you need a jacket that keeps you warm and dry, and cycling shoes to offer a grip on the pedals. So it all depends on the type, time and place where you are heading for the adventure.

Personal stuff
Personal items are a must as they keep one comfortable. Stock up on some personal stuff like toothbrush, lip balm, lotion, cosmetics, medications, first-aid kit and sunglasses.

Additional Travelling Gear
These additional travelling gears are not a must. However, they will make your trip memorable. In this day and age of social media and digital travellers, these gears have become synonymous with travel as not additional but rather a must-have.

Photo credit

They include a good camera to capture those well-deserved memories, music player with headphones to keep your going when the solo trip may be lonely, good reads, and binoculars of choice that are ideal for game drives. Make sure you choose wisely according to your requirement.

Finally, once you have all your outdoor essentials for that well deserved solo adventure travel get out and enjoy your trip. Remember to bring back memories of your solo trip!

Author Bio: Tonya Carrolls

Tonya Carroll is a freelance writer and an adventure blogger. She is fun loving and ambitious female who loves to go on outdoor adventures and sharing her – experiences through honest blog posts. She has done hiking, biking, fishing and many such adventures around the world and aims to inspire fellow adventurers to get the best experience

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Whether travelling is something you do once a year or you plan getaways as frequently as you can manage, it’s important to know about all of the options for accommodations. Less-frequently travelled tourists typically return to the familiarity of hotel chains while seasoned travellers are turning to apartment-hotels.

Every savvy traveller should know about apartment-hotels. It’s a fusion of a stunning apartment and a hotel mixed into one perfect accommodation. You get the convenience of a hotel stays combined with the comfort of a fully-equipped apartment. An apartment hotel, which is sometimes referred to as a serviced apartment, is a fully-furnished, often upscale, affordable home away from home.

Aparthotels are already quite popular in Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates. They can be found in prolific cities like Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Brussels, and Dubai.

Why Groups Will Love Aparthotels

Aparthotels are the best accommodations for group travellers for several reasons. Whether travelling for business, pleasure or as a family unit, an apartment-hotel offers more space and more amenities, all while at a lower cost than a traditional hotel can offer. The special hybrid between a fully-furnished live-in ready apartment and a hotel experience means that group travellers can get much more from their stay.

Full access to an entire home means more comfort and more space to relax, socialize, and enjoy. The whole group can stay together without having to book single units in a hotel, so collectively, the group will spend significantly less on the space while still enjoying everything the accommodation provides.

No matter the type of group or the reason for travelling, groups who decide to check in to an apartment hotel will be pleasantly surprised at the comfort and convenience that far exceeds traditional accommodation.

Here is a list of possibilities and how an aparthotel can be the answer for group travel accommodations.

For Business Travelers

Groups of colleagues or individuals who travel for business will find that an apartment-hotel is much more appealing than a hotel. An apartment-hotel is perfect for rest and relaxation as well as work. Many aparthotel accommodations have plenty of space for meetings and conferences, which is a major convenience for business travellers.

Full kitchens are an additional benefit and serve as an alternative to going out to eat for each meal while on business. Home cooking in a fully equipped kitchen, free Wi-Fi, cosy workspaces, and laundry facilities make business trips a seamless way to stay.

For Families

When travelling with children, aparthotels are an absolute must. Most notably, families with children will find satisfaction in staying in a home with all of the usual comforts on hand. Multiple bedroom apartments make it easy for everyone to have private space, and children and parents can enjoy their separate rooms.

Alternatively, the shared spaces and lounge areas in the home make it easy to spend family time together too. The hotel service aspect that apartment-hotels provide means that any of the family’s needs can be met at any time of the day or night. Packing for a trip for many family members can be time-consuming and stressful but because amenities are provided, there is much less to pack for long stays.

For Friends

Friends can check in as a group and look forward to quality time together in the shared areas of the home. Communal spaces like kitchens and living rooms are perfect for cooking meals and hanging out together. Sharing an apartment hotel is super budget-friendly as well, offering some of the best prices in the industry due to the split costs.

While shared spaces are nice to have, so is a private bedroom. Many apartment hotels can easily accommodate a large group of friends very comfortably. Equipped with plenty of bedrooms and bathrooms, everyone will be able to enjoy a separate space of their own.

For Couples

For the couple that needs some time away, apartment-hotels are a no-brainer. A private, chic one-bedroom apartment in a big city is a perfect getaway. All amenities necessary are included, and the concierge is accessible if needed, so if a spontaneous decision to take a trip strikes it’s easy to pack light.

Couples travelling with other couples will be able to enjoy travelling together while being able to have a private room and bathroom too. Most apartment-hotels are located in cities, making it easy to explore the city’s walkable attractions straight from the aparthotel.

Read more at Domio.

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The Coastal town of Lamu is also referred to as the Island of Festival is one of Kenya’s must-visit locations. Right from Manda airport, an aura of coastal life and culture welcomes you to this Unesco Heritage city.  The Archipelago is a host to several islands that include Manda, Pate, Kiwayu and Lamu.

Festivals offer tourist an opportunity to indulge in the local Swahili people’s culture and history.  We highlight the festival held in Lamu.  It’s a chance to sample and enjoy some relaxation along the Kenyan Coast while learning about the people of Lamu.

New Year’s Day Dhow Race

Should the New Year find you in Lamu, then you are bound to experience the New Year’s Day dhow race.  The Island is unique in that dhows and donkeys are their main mode of transport hence a dhow race is only as prudent as the people appreciate them. It’s quite an existing way to welcome in the New Year.

Art and Music Weekend

The Art and Music weekend takes place in February.  It’s a weekend full of activities, with participants showcase their prowess in art.  There are all kinds of artistic arts on display from interesting hats made from recycled material picked from the Ocean to paintings, and carvings coupled by music and finally culminated to a dhow race. Enjoy a party at the diamond beach and at the Lamu square where the energy is electric with music that works for everybody both old and young.

The Festivals of Lamu Island

Food Festival

This is a festival full of pomp and colour that showcases Swahili foods.  There are all kinds of coastal foods dishes showcased as well as a cooking competition where women present their best dishes.  Sample street foods and snacks, attend a cooking class or just sample the various delicacies on offer.

Lamu Food Festival: Photo credit 

Lamu Yoga Festival

Are you a yoga enthusiast? Then this is your chance to visit Lamu.  Bring your mat, and enjoy yoga along the beach. The festival brings together all forms of yoga.

Photo credit: Nomad magazine

Lamu Cultural Festival

Held annually in November, The Lamu Cultural Festival brings together both local and international tourist as well as Corporate that are main sponsors of the four-day event that culminates with the famous dhow race.

Read more here on our experience at the festival in 2018.

Maulid Festival

The four-day festival that celebrates the birth of Prophet Mohammed that includes music as well as religious recitals.

Maulid Festival

Kenyatalii’s Verdict

For first-timers, attending any of the above festivals will have to experience the culture of Lamu in various form.  It introduces you to the islands of Lamu, her heritage and her people leaving you with a reason to return even after the festivals are over.  It also leaves you with a spirit of yearning to learn more about this specular Coastal town of Kenya.  Why not plan to attend and visit the island of festivals.

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Good shoes take you places, hiking up a mountain, walking along a sandy white beach to enjoying a city walk. Are you planning to go on a vacation? Then going shopping and choosing the right pair of shoes should be on your to-do list before taking that well deserved holiday. Carefully chosen shoes will make a world of difference on your vacation. Your feet are as unique as your personality so just any pair of shoes won’t do.

Here are some tips to help you choose the right shoes while travelling

Start by picking and an ideal shoe store
There are lots of shops and boutiques that sell all types of shoes across Kenya. There are online and offline stores where one can get good shoes to fit your budget and your travel needs. Of paramount importance, ensure that the store is authentic especially when shopping online. One such store is the Tique a Bou a Kenyan online fashion retailer that focuses on unique customer service experience, always ensuring customers receive exactly what’s advertised while returns and exchanges are accepted with immediate refunds. All one has to do is pick out their ideal shoes online, place their order and then wait for their delivery at their doorstep the following day. The store delivers across Kenya, thus offering convenience.

Hiking boots: Photo credit: http://nymag.com

Boots: Choose ideal hiking boots. Waterproof boots are ideal for cold environments or areas where you may encounter rain. Once bought, it is advisable to wear your boots before your trip to ensure they are comfortable.

Photo Credit: https://ke.endasportswear.com

Running Shoes: Running shoes are ideal for your walking tours, hiking adventures pick a pair that’s easy to maintain. Ensure they can handle all kinds of weather and pick a neutral colour.

Flats: I always pack the foldable flats since they take so little packing space. Flats are ideal for going out. Pick a neutral colour to go with just about every outfit and for a different occasion. You can also pick for a moccasin.

Photo credit: https://featuremall.com

Sandals: Useful for that beach walk. A basic sandal with a rubber sole will be ideal for all your vacation since they can withstand all conditions from the beach to water activities and can also be used for walking tours too.

Walking Shoes: Your feet will swell as you walk. So pick a walking shoe that is about a size bigger, one size higher would be ideal. Consider the type of walking you will be doing. Boots are ideal for poorly maintained trails as well as hikes. However for walks on paved and well-maintained areas running shoes would be ideal. Ensure your shoes fit well, with room for toes otherwise any small amount of rubbing will produce blisters.

Photo Credit:https://www.dhgate.com

For the wide and narrow feet, ensure you have the right size, avoid settle for a standard width shoe. You will regret it. Remember the success of your vacation depends on having a comfortable pair of shoes. Create time to shop and find the best shoe that you can afford, it will be worth your time and money.

About Tique a Bou Clothing 

Tique a Bou opened its online platform in 2014, and after a brief hiatus in 2015/16 due to the passing of one of the directors fathers in Kenya, has re-launched and opened its doors to Kenyan consumers once again with the aim to help the nation ‘Look good, feel good, for less”

Over the years, Tique a Bou gained a reputation for high-quality products, impeccable customer service and snappy delivery times, all at very affordable prices. Tique a Bou is an honest, customer orientated brand and we need your help to convey our message. Check them out for some shopping experience! here

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In the vicinity of Kikuyu town lies an oval-shaped swamp; The Ondiri.  Our trip to this central Kenya town that is only 20 kilometres from Nairobi through several outskirt suburbs of the city lends us to quite a busy town.  From the bus park that is a beehive of activities, to the busy streets, it is evident that Kikuyu town contributes a substantial amount of income to its people.  The swamp is located one kilometre from the main town.

Undiri as the lake is referred to by the locals is a corrupted word from the word Old Lake as they Kikuyu’s could not pronounce the word Old Lake thus they called it O-ndi-ri.

The swamp is ideal for day trips.   We arrive at the Mount Pleasant Old Lake Inn, a small cosy hotel that is located at the front of the swamp late afternoon. The sight of the swamp below, the sun rays, reflecting from the greenhouse, and farms around the swamp is a lovely reflection of green vegetation. On the left, on a good day, one can see Ngong Hills and her towering wind power mills.  The hotel management has built stairs leading the swamp.  Our guide tells us of how farming and deforestation has affected the spongy swamp.

Old Lake Inn: Stairs leading to the Swamp

It is said that in the early years, the swamp was an open water lake.  However, due to lots of farming and the extensive deforestation, it has led to the swamp being covered by vegetation.

Green House farming around the Swamp

Stepping on the lake it feels springy.  The scenery around the lake gives one a feel of the countryside, coupled with indigenous trees, a view of Ngong hills in the East while enjoying refreshment the restaurant.

Sunsets are magical

One can also enjoy bird watching from the surrounding.

Taking in some breath fresh air breath!

Getting There: Turn off from the southern bypass into Kikuyu and turn right and drive about half a kilometre in before getting into a dusty road that leads you to the swamp.  We did get lost several times but got the help of a local, do not hesitate to ask if you feel lost the people are quite friendly.

Read all about Ondiri here

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