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.
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.
The Lake is a Unesco World Heritage site after it was listed as a wetland of importance in 2011.
While at this magnificent location, one can enjoy an array of activities that include and not limited to:-
Host Bonfire Events along the Lake Shore
Ideal for Family Events as well as team-building activities for groups and corporate organisations.
Sirville Elementaita Lodge is quite ideal for team building as well as family events.
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.
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!
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
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 celebrating, The 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Tug of War: The competition of the strongest is showcased on this event that attracts both men and women.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
The four-day festival that celebrates the birth of Prophet Mohammed that includes music as well as religious recitals.
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.
We embark on a 13 hours journey to North Horr from Nairobi, a 726 km journey to the North of Kenya. My guide for this tour; wangechi is at hand to mentally prepare me for an epic Northern Kenya experience. Our journey is fun, full of travel stories and before we know it we are at our final destination. We arrive late evening having travelled many hours to our destination.
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 Desert 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.
The 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.
We return 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 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.
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.
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.
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 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 at nightfall. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 the Lentore Lodge located at the foot of Nguruman escarpment.
There are several exciting activities while at Lake Magadi that will make your visit memorable.
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.
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
The trip was curated by Stejos Tours and Travel
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 a 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.