Lake Elementatita

Magical memories are created, that’s the sole reason we embarked on a one hour thirty minutes’ drive from Nairobi to arrive at the Sirville Lake Elementaita Lodge located along the Nakuru-Nairobi Highway. Our arrival marks the beginning of our magical stay in this part of Kenya’s Rift valley.  The quiet tranquillity at the lodge is ideal for weekend getaways. The lake is a bird’s haven ideal for birding.

Sirville Lodge Lake Elementaita
The Lodge is a  birds haven. Photo Credit

We take a nature walk along the beautiful shallow lakes in the magical rift valley unearthing local history.  The lake derives her name from the Maasai word mtaita, meaning a place of darkness. The lake is surrounded by more than 400 species of birds with the flamingos and the pelicans being the main species.

Lake Elementaita
Photography along the lakeshore

The Lake is a Unesco World Heritage site after it was listed as a wetland of importance in 2011.

Lake Elementaita
Flamingoes are a beauty to watch while at the facility!  

 

Things to do while at Sirville Elementaita Lodge

While at this magnificent location, one can enjoy an array of activities that include and not limited to:-

Quad biking

Lake Elementaita
Quad Biking along the Lake Shores

Host Bonfire Events along the Lake Shore

Campfire events at Lake Elementatita

Ideal for Family Events as well as team-building activities for groups and corporate organisations.

Lake Elementaita
We enjoyed a Zumba Dance fitness team building activity

Sirville Elementaita Lodge is quite ideal for team building as well as family events.

Lake Elementaita
The swimming pool facing the lake is an ideal hang out location!

Kenyatalii’s Verdict: The next time you are looking for an ideal getaway not so far from the city, then Sirville Lake Elementaita Lodge is your ideal location.

Our Interview with Ms Maggie Kago of Kago Holidays who are based in Mombasa gives us an insight on how her entrepreneurship journey began and what we should expect from Kago Holidays as well some travel hacks for anyone wanting to travel on a budget in 2020.

Who is Kago Holidays and what do Kago Holidays do?

We are a travel agency based in Mombasa that strives to create memories and footprints in the coastal Holiday circuit.  It was inspired after an internship in the region leading to the birth of agency in 2018.

What inspired you to start the business? (To do what you do)?

I must say my love for adventure and travel, in general, inspired me to set up the business.  Self-catering holiday options were still picking up in 2018; hence I saw the need to fill in the gap for budget travellers as well as those looking for a different preference of holidaying at the coast.  My day to day job entails scouting for favourable self-catering facilities across the Coastal region and selling them to my clients. 

One of the many Villas that Kago Holidays book for your holiday

What are some of your favourite destinations in Kenya and Africa?

Being a travel agent in the Coast region makes this one of my top destinations in Kenya.  Lamu tops the list closely followed by Diani due to their vast pristine sandy beaches and premium self-catering facilities. 

What’s in your bucket list in 2020?

In Kenya, I would love to visit the western circuit topped by Kisumu. Tour Central Kenya particularly tour Sagana for some water rafting. The North of Kenya too; is in my bucket list that includes Marsabit; I need to tour the north, and perhaps even visit Chalbi Dessert. 

Kago Holidays

What’s on your destination dream in Africa in 2020?  I would love to go to Uganda: The view of the Nile is calling! Seychelles, Mauritius, South Africa, Egypt, and Ghans are my desired Africa destination.

What don’t people know about you? That Kago Holidays is run and founded by a lady.  I have gotten used to being referred to as Mr Kago! Kago is my surname hence the name.

Kago Holidays is run by A lady!!!!

What hacks would you tell our readers about budget travel?

Travelling is not expensive, only with:

  1. The Right planning and by this I mean, know where you want to visit.
  2. Do your research or ask us questions and we will be ready to guide you.
  3. Start saving early.  If you want to travel during the peak seasons, start paying as early as July or August.  Also, take advantage of early bird bookings offers.
  4. Travel during the low season.  Rates are relatively low compared to peak season.
  5. Be flexible and travel in a group.  Solo travels can tend to slightly more expensive.

 What should we expect from Kago Holidays in 2020?

We plan to start booking self-catering facilities in Zanzibar as well as Dar-es-Salam, Tanzania while similarly expanding our portfolio here in Kenya. 

Away from the white paradise beaches is a rich cultural history that surrounds today’s Malindi. Located in Kilifi country, it’s one of Kenya, coastal towns that date back to the 10th century. 

This is one of the tours that will have you understand about the coastal people’s way of life while appreciating their history too! 

At a cost of one hundred Kenya shillings, (Kshs. 100) this is what I experienced!

Historical Tour in Malindi

Vasco Da Gama Pillar

It is believed to be one of the oldest European monument in Africa. Located at the seafront, the pillar that’s today a monument was built in 1498 by the Portuguese; Vasco Da Gama a great explorer who had sailed across the Indian Ocean to India. 

The House of Columns

Historical tours of Malindi
The House Columns

Believed to have gotten its name from the building’s architecture, the house of columns was the first hospital in the town of Malindi. It later became the fisheries department office. Today, at the ground floor of the building, is the exhibition of the Coelacanth a fish that was thought to be extinct only to be caught in Malindi. The upper floor holds a library. 

The Coelacanth
A rare Fish species that was thought to be extinct only to be caught in Malindi.

The Portuguese Chapel

This was the first Catholic Church in East and Central Africa and was built by the Portuguese. It was built in the 15th century within a thick forest as the town was habituated by the Arabs who were Muslims.

Inside the Chapel

Within the Church compound, there is a small cemetery where a few foreigners were buried that included St. Francis Xavier’s two sailors and the first Malindi District Commissioner.     

Malindi Museum

This two-storey building is home to the Miji Kenda’s history and traditions. It was built by the British and was used as the office of the district commissioner during the colonial era and later transformed into today’s museum. A tour will have you learn more of the coastal culture and beliefs as well as the various influences from the Arabs that are present today.

On the top floor -Malindi Museum
A display of World Heritage Sites in Kenya

On the top floor veranda is a display of the world heritage sites across Kenya. 

Prince Henry the Navigator Monument

Outside the Malindi Museum is the monument that was erected in honour of Prince Henry the Navigator as a memorial to mark 500 years since his death in 1460.

Prince Henry the Navigators Monument

Mekatilili wa Menza Monument

A few meters past the Malindi Museum is the Mekatilili wa Meza monument. She is the fiery heroine who led the Giriama community in a rebellion against British colonial rule in 1913-1918.

 Historical Tours in Malindi
A statue of Mekatilili wa Menza

Kenyatalii’s Verdict

A historical tour is a cheap way to explore the city of Malindi.  It’s quite informative and makes one appreciate and understand the people’s culture, their way of life, as well as the history of the town.

Have you been to Malindi town? Have you explored the town rich historic heritage? If not plan to next time you visit this magical coastal town. 

 

 

No matter where in the world you are – Christmas is the perfect occasion to spend some quality time with loved ones; whilst feasting to your heart’s content!

With each country around the world celebrating through their own festive traditions; each also has their very own seasonal dishes too…

Christmas in Kenya,
Photo Credit

 

Ocean Florida partnered up with bloggers from all over the world to share some of the most traditional meals, treats and seasonal drinks served around the globe during the festive period.

https://www.ocean-florida.co.uk/christmas-around-the-world/

Kenyatalii.com was happy to be part of this campaign to share how we celebrate Christmas in Kenya!

It’s been an exciting 2019 Christmas season for TECNO Mobile. The #tecnotakemehome campaign made Christmas memorable to the telecom’s consumers. A total of over fifty consumers walked away with Christmas gifts courtesy of the telecom’s Christmas campaign that was dubbed ‘TECNO TAKE ME HOME’

#Tecnotakemehome

The hyped #TECNOTakeMeHome digital campaign achieved an impressive 27 Million social media impressions and drove a record-breaking 2 Million+ engagements across the different social media channels.

This exciting campaign saw customers walk away with 30 brand new motorcycles with an addition of 500 receiving complimentary bus tickets to various upcountry destinations. The response to the campaign has been phenomenal and this had seen TECNO Mobile extend the promotion further to 25th January. 

More Than 4 Ways to Take You Home This Christmas Season-Join #TecnoTakesMeHomewithBuupass campaign
More Than 4 Ways to Take You Home This Christmas Season-Join #TecnoTakesMeHomewithBuupass campaign

The #TECNOTakeMeHome campaign made a debut in 2016 and it has seen more than 5000 TECNO customers receive bus ticket’s, various destination within Kenya. In 2019, TECNO took an extra never-seen-before step and awarded one lucky customer with a brand new car worth Ksh. 1,000,000 through a Facebook lottery.  

TECNO Mobile has continually run #TECNOTakeMeHome campaign ever since its debut. The company commits to having the #TECNOTakeMeHome campaign every Christmas holiday.

 

A road trip with a group of friends and family is always welcome. There are plenty of activities that can keep everyone engaged. Entertainment on the road trip should not just be limited to stories or deathly silence while staring out the window wondering when you will ever arrive at the destination. 

Photo Credit

One activity that breaks the ice is singing which can be incorporate in-car karaoke where everyone sings for as long and as loud as they want. However, we understand that not everyone likes to belt out a tune or for those that are not music buffs listen to their tone-deaf fellow road trippers. What then you ask can one do on a road trip while strapped on the seat? Card games! They are fun, witty, downright hilarious and sometimes outrageous. 

Question-based card games are easy to play and are a great way to bond throughout the journey. They allow knowing a little bit about everyone without the awkwardness of outrightly asking a personal question. According to @playpengames, never have I ever, and the voting game are among their favourites. Never have I ever can be played will enjoying a drink too, however, can be tailored to suit a road trip. It’s all dependent on your friends’ preference. Never have I ever is essentially a party card game that’s a conversation started and quite entertaining. It can be incorporated while travelling in a group. If played while driving, it’s recommended that the driver does not drink and drive! 

A fun alternative to avoid drinking is to tell the group a funny made-up story or a joke. The voting game is an awesome game that allows the players to find out how well they know their friends by voting for the person best described by the card. A great alternative to the voting game is drunk, stoned or stupid which follows a similar theme. 

Family road trips should not be left out of the fun. Apples to apples is a great game where players find a red card that best describes a green card. It is a game that is bound to test description. Quite an interesting game that is family-friendly that can also be played by kids play too!

Card Games make road trips worthwhile!

Card games make road trips a whole load of fun and help friends and family bond like never before. When travelling in a group that are conversation starters creating lasting bonds that can last a long time.   

The next time you are on a road trip, incorporate some games, while on your holiday, enjoy a game night and continue the fun. 

What your favorite road trip game?  

Rusinga Festival celebrates its 8th edition in Rusinga Island, 19th and 20th December. The festival offers two days of music, fashion, film, food, artistry, literature, sports and conversations that take you back in time into the wealth of the Suba culture.

Rusinga Festival celebrates its 8th edition in Rusinga Island, 19th and 20th December. The festival offers two days of music, fashion, film, food, artistry, literature, sports and conversations that take you back in time into the wealth of the Suba Culture.
Dancers in a past event

The festival is a cultural answer to the question, “Can a people die?” As a result of assimilation and intermarriage with the Luo, the Suba culture has been under pressure and the language is now listed in UNESCO’s Red Book of Endangered Languages (2003). 

Much has changed since 2012 when Rusinga Festival first opened their doors, but the founding principle remains the same – bridging the gap between cultures that is necessary for peace, stability and development. Eight years later, Rusinga Festival has grown tremendously to become a trademark in the Kenyan cultural festivals scene. Rusinga Festival prides itself as the biggest cultural event in Western Kenya. Each December, the Island welcomes thousands of attendees from across the country and beyond for the cultural festival. Our 2018 experience was one that left us in awe and with a yearning for a return trip to this magical island. Read all about it here! 

The 2019 edition is tailored along the theme “The Island Remembers” – which gives us a reason to reminisce, celebrate, re-imagine and connect Rusinga Island to the world through art, culture and literature. 

Rusinga Festival celebrates its 8th edition in Rusinga Island, 19th and 20th December. The festival offers two days of music, fashion, film, food, artistry, literature, sports and conversations that take you back in time into the wealth of the Suba Culture.
Boat Competitions: Some of the activities during the Festival Photo credit

2019 being a momentous year, The Island Remembers will commemorate the fifty years that have passed since the death of the island’s greatest son – Tom Mboya – through an assassin’s bullet. Tom Mboya remains one of the most prominent personalities in Kenyan history. The Island Remembers will reflect on the 50 years since his tragic death, the historic reaction to his death, his life & struggles, the family he left behind and the continued impact of his legacy.

In celebratingThe Island Remembers, the festival will also explore and showcase the theme in many creative and cultural forms, while at the same time celebrating the African narrative. It will be interesting to see how the theme will play out in conversations on tourism, culture, identity, art, theatre, film, fashion, entrepreneurship, leadership, environment, disability, technology, women and youth empowerment, health, gender and so on throughout the festival. 

Rusinga Festival celebrates its 8th edition in Rusinga Island, 19th and 20th December. The festival offers two days of music, fashion, film, food, artistry, literature, sports and conversations that take you back in time into the wealth of the Suba Culture.
Magical Sunsets -Rusinga Island

This festive season plan to tour Rusinga Island and get to enjoy and indulge in the Rusinga Cultural festival ambience that’s rich with the Suba culture in addition to stunning serenades of nature with every sunset and sunrise over Africa’s largest freshwater lake.

The Rusinga Cultural Festival is one of Kenya’s must-attend cultural events where the Abasuba culture is showcased over a two-day experience.  Often, it takes place the last Thursday and Friday before the Christmas break.  This year 2018, the event took place on the 20th and 21st of December.

Cultural Dances at Rusinga Festival

My inaugural trip to The Rusinga Cultural Festival was marked by lots of uncertainties, to say the least.  Being the high season, getting flights out of Nairobi was quite a doubting task, and even when I got one, as fate would have it, I missed my early morning Safari Link flight to Kisumu. The flight departed Nairobi at exactly 7:10 am, while I was somewhere in between T-Mall and Wilson airport along Langata Road.  Talk of poor planning on my part. Well, travelling teaches one a thing or two and no safari is ever alike.  Disappointed, and determined, I choose to scout for another flight, with no much luck. Ohh, you should have seen me!! Finally, after several stops on the various airlines, I got one for the following day. Marking the beginning of my tour to the land of the Abasuba people.

We touch down Kisumu city popularly known as Dala by the locals and immediately embarked on a two-hour journey to Rusinga by Road via Ahero the land of rice plantations, Kendu Bay, Homabay and finally to Mbita town where we cross the mega bridge to Rusinga Island.  The drive to Rusinga is one of a good and smooth road network, picturesque landscapes of several hills on the left and Lake Victoria on the right.

 

Boat Races

I arrive Rusinga at noon, just in time for the boat races, songs and dances along the road leading to the Lake where the competition is scheduled to take place.  One can feel the excitement in the air.  Quite an interesting way to be ushered into this spectacular island. The boat races are open to both men and women and the community are at hand to cheer their favourite team.  Everyone is strategically positioned to cheer and experience this year’s races.  Each team is determined to win and when the race is over the Suba warriors entertain us with more song and dance.

There are various activities during the two-day event, that include not only boat races and cultural dances but also fashion, art display, local delicacies too are showcased as well as corporate organizations both public and private that sponsor the event.  There is also a children’s reading tent.    Once the boat races are over, we dance our way back to the events grounds for an afternoon of entertainment.

At the grounds, several cultural groups are preparing to entertain and showcase the Suba culture in this year’s festival.  There are all kinds of cultural songs and dances.  One cannot miss out the meticulously detailed costumes that each group wears.  It’s a way to showcase art and creativity among the dance groups.   This took me back to my high school days where cultural dances were showcased during the music festival.  It’s nostalgic to watch each outdo each other is their performances.

Reading Tent
Children enjoy the leisure of Reading

Reading for Leisure: Children too had their space in this event.  There is a reading tent sponsored by the Goethe Institut (German Cultural Centre) where children are encouraged to read during their free time.  Wangari The Storyteller was at hand to read several stories to the children.  Rather a lovely way to occupy the kids as the rest of the folks were engrossed in the Suba community and culture.

Wrestling competition: This activity is only for entertainment.  Strong men from the community display their prowess on who’s the toughest of them all.

 

Wresting for fun

Tug of War: The competition of the strongest is showcased on this event that attracts both men and women.

The tag of war, who’s the strongest of them all!!!     Photo Credit: Anthony Muwasu

Traditional Dishes: No cultural event would be complete without showcasing a people’s way of life with regards to their delicacies.  Fish is one of Suba’s main foods, there are displays of cultural foods ranging from Ugali made from ground millet flour, porridge, various kinds of vegetables, arrow roots, and sweet potatoes all prepared using the indigenous cooking methods in making Abasuba food.

Traditionally  prepared Suba delicacies  showcased

Sunsets and Sunrises that are incredible: At dawn, the dawn chorus is what usher you into a new day, making Rusinga Island, a place of never-ending beauty. The incredible rays of the orange sun as it sets and rises are one of the many reasons I shall be returning to this island for the festival.  You too should bookmark this event as a must-attend.

Sunsets and sunrises
The magical sunrise and sunset; My reason to go back!

A fisherman’s paradise: Away from the festival as the night falls, fishermen from the villages are gearing up for a night of fishing.  They set up deep into the lake all night.  The view of the lights from the pressure lamps all mounted on the boats is one that makes the lake seem like a city of lights. I am in awe as I watch one boat after another preparing for a night of fishing.

Fishing is one of the core activities for locals in Rusinga

Getting there: There are several alternatives to arrive at Rusinga Island.  Several buses ply this route from Nairobi and Kisumu through Homabay.  There is an overnight Easy Coach bus that gets to Mbita town in the morning which is about 16 kilometres to Rusinga from the bus stop.  From Mbita one can take a motorbike commonly known as the boda boda to the Island.

Alternatively, one can opt for a budget flight to Kisumu, and then enjoy a road trip as I did to Rusinga, or take the ferry at Luanda Ko-tieno which is about an hour’s drive from Kisumu International airport.  The Ferry’s fare will cost you about Kshs. 60/- per person.  There is also the alternative of the water bus should you miss the ferry.

 

Accommodation: There are plenty of accommodations within the Island as well as at the mainland in Mbita. I stayed at the White Stone Beach Lodge which is right at the front of Lake Victoria.  A budget yet cosy and homely lodge.  With well-manicured lawns at the front of the property, making my stay memorable. It cost me Kshs. 5,500/- per night for bed and breakfast.  Quite affordable.  There is also the Rusinga Lodge not far off from my stay.

Read more here:https://kenyatalii.com/2018/12/07/the-rusinga-cultural-festival/

Kenyatalii’s verdict:  This is a must-attend festival.  The event is just before Christmas hence early planning is encouraged.  Rusinga is a bird’s haven, hence for the bird watching lovers, this is your ideal location while in Nyanza.  It’s also quite an ideal location for family holidays as well as holidaymakers looking for some calm beautiful attraction.   Once at the Island, forget the pool for a moment and soak into the Lake’s clean waters for that well-deserved swim.  Similarly get to experience the neighbouring islands of Mfangano and Takawiri as well as visit the Tom Mboya Mausoleum.

Taking everything into account the Rusinga Cultural Festival should be on your bucket list as we usher in 2019.

The holiday season is here with us once again! With Christmas and New Year celebrations right around the corner this year and for the fourth time, TECNO Mobile is breaking the rules by providing a way for you to escape the long queues at the bus station.

TECNO will be celebrating its customers. The company will be offering its customers an array of amazing gifts to finish the year happily through the #TECNOTakesMeHomewithBuupass campaign. The campaign runs from November 25th to December 23rd 2019.

How to Take Part? #TECNOTakemeHomewithBuupas

To take part in the campaign all you have to do is to Purchase a Tecno Camon 12 series smartphone. Customers will then have an opportunity to win a motorbike, or get 500 KES ticket coupon plus 250 KES worth of Airtime. By registering their mobile number, customers will also get admission to the Facebook live lottery that will take place on 20th December with an opportunity to win the grand prize a car worth 1 million. The campaign will cover more than two thousand Tecno consumer. A hundred consumers winning motorbikes. A further two thousand consumers will get subsidized cost of Kshs. 500 on their bus ticket as well as Ksh. 250 worth of airtime.

Further, TECNO will also find a hundred lucky passengers on fifty buses and refund ticket expense during the campaign.

With Consumer-centric Philosophy, Tecno is always interested in the consumers’ concern, not only product-wise but also services. The company strives to provide solutions that enable consumers to reach beyond the current limitations to better life experience.

Initiated in 2016, the #TECNOTakesMeHomewithBuupass campaign has helped over five thousand consumers. This year, the company has partnered with Buupass – a ticketing platform that enables people to book their bus ticket at the comfort of their homes. Buupass is a market place that provides ticketing solution seamlessly for buses flights and train at the palm of your hand.

To book a ticket dial Dial *877# from your Safaricom line or visit www.buupass.com.

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 tourists 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.

the festivals of lamu

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.

The Festivals of Lamu
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.

The Sights and Sounds of The Lamu Cultural Festival

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.

Festivals of Lamu
Maulid Festival

Kenyatalii’s Verdict

For first-timers, attending any of the above festivals will you experience the culture of Lamu in various forms.  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.