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Close Earrings in Brass, Ebony & Leather<br />

Closure Collection<br />

@amidoshishah<br />

www.amidoshishah.com<br />






Iam hopeless when it comes to packing. I always<br />

forget to bring the most basic of things. A toothbrush.<br />

The other part in a pair of socks. Body lotion. My<br />

phone charger. I even rocked up to an airport once<br />

having forgotten to bring my passport. When it came<br />

to packing for Mt Kenya, therefore, I packed light,<br />

and to an onlooker, I might as well have been heading to the<br />

gym.<br />

Brian (photographer) and Peter (videographer) came to<br />

pick me up from my apartment block on the morning of the<br />

trip, and when I walked out in converse and a small duffel<br />

bag (which was mostly filled with my photography gear), they<br />

looked at me in bewilderment. Compared to me, they were so<br />

bundled-up that Peter was in fact wearing wellies.<br />

“Are you sure you’re not just being dramatic?” I asked<br />

pointing to his boots, and shortly after, seeing all the bags<br />

they had stuffed into the back of the car.<br />

“You do realize that we’ll be going up to 3,500m above<br />

sea level, right?” they asked in near perfect unison, as though<br />

they had rehearsed their lines before I came downstairs. And<br />

so, after having some sense talked into me, I rushed back to<br />

the house and packed every piece of warm clothing I had in<br />

my closet.<br />

Wellies, though, were another matter altogether. In fact,<br />

I don’t think I have ever owned a pair. A stop in Thika town<br />

had me running around in search of a pair ‘just to be on<br />

the safe side’, and at Bata, I got lucky. Later on during the<br />

trip, while trudging almost knee-deep through a swamp at<br />

Ragati Conservancy immediately after crossing a river for the<br />

umpteenth time, the boys were unabashedly quick to remind<br />

me how much they had practically saved my life.<br />

As you do your own packing, don’t forget your mittens,<br />

scarves, fleece jackets, torches and cooler boxes as you come<br />

up to the mountains with us. We set off to the eastern and<br />

southern slopes of Mt Kenya, go caving at Mt Elgon, kayak<br />

down the Nile and take part in an array of outdoor activities<br />

which you’re welcome to try. Most of all, remember to go<br />

back and pack your gumboots!<br />

wattaonthego<br />

Wendy Watta<br />








<strong>Nomad</strong>MagazineAfrica @<strong>Nomad</strong>MagAfrica @<strong>Nomad</strong>MagazineAfrica<br />






In this issue<br />

12. TOP SHOTS<br />

This month’s featured photographers<br />

capture a waterfall in Tanzania, and a<br />

mother cheetah with grown cubs in the<br />

Mara.<br />

17. WHATS ON<br />

From the Nyege Nyege festival in Jinja<br />

to Paint the Run and a mountain biking<br />

challenge, find a roundup of must-attend<br />

events this season.<br />

18. NEWS<br />

The Lamu coal project gets brought to<br />

a halt, Great Plains Mara Nyika is set<br />

to open this August and Hell's Gate<br />

national park inspires the new Lion king<br />

film.<br />


A skydiver, hiker, adventure biker and a<br />

scuba diver share what draws them to<br />

the great outdoors.<br />


Music publicist & journalist Anyiko<br />

Owoko gives us a peek inside her travel<br />

bag.<br />

28<br />


32<br />

52<br />

22<br />



With his dad being a mountaineer,<br />

growing up, Mt Kenya was always a key<br />

fixture in Joseph Muriithi’s life. Today,<br />

having climbed it 90 times in five years,<br />

he recounts what makes this place so<br />

special.<br />


With no electricity for the weekend and<br />

miles of beautiful landscape to wander,<br />

Wendy Watta discovers the joy of fly<br />

fishing, hiking and a cozy cabin at Ragati<br />

Conservancy.<br />


The <strong>Nomad</strong> team’s highly anticipated<br />

drive up to the scenic Lake Ellis at 3,500m<br />

up Mt Kenya doesn’t exactly kick off as<br />

planned.<br />


Mt Elgon may get far less visitors than its<br />

more popular counterparts in Kenya and<br />

Uganda, but its charm is certainly not lost<br />

on Martyn Pollock.<br />


Whitewater kayaking is one of those<br />

experiences that seems to be on<br />

everyone’s bucket list but it’s one of the<br />

more difficult adventure sports to actually<br />

get out and try. For kayaking guide Robbie<br />

Mingay, it’s just another day in Jinja.<br />


Sophie Ibbotson writes about Rhinos<br />

Without Borders, a project which aims to<br />

move 100 rhinos from poaching hotspots<br />

in South Africa to new safe homelands in<br />

Botswana’s Okavango Delta.<br />



When people travel, it’s easy to engage<br />

in what may seem to be great ‘photo op’<br />

moments without thinking of the real life<br />

consequences. Conversations around<br />

sustainable travel have therefore never<br />

been more vital.<br />


Samantha Du Toit’s children listen wideeyed<br />

to an ancient African folktale about<br />

the largest of land animals being afraid of<br />

a tiny honey bee, and how this is presently<br />

being used to help farmers protect their<br />

crops.<br />

46<br />



Floating between Mozambique and<br />

Madagascar lies the Comoros, the<br />

romantically named Islands of the Moon.<br />

Maurice Schutgens paints a perfect picture<br />

with five activities that should be on your<br />

bucket list.<br />

56. LAGOS WOES<br />

A series of catastrophes lead to Karanja<br />

Nzisa almost being stuck at an airport in<br />

Nigeria in this month’s Last Word column.<br />




EA Classification 2017 by TRA<br />

“I Do! Forever”<br />



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Mombasa | Tel: +254-780745837 /+254 707745837<br />

Email: info@silverpalmkilifi.co.ke | www.silverpalmkilifi.co.ke




Adventures in Jinja, Page 44<br />

Usually I'm out on the river, either for work<br />

or for fun. After a big day of paddling, my<br />

favourite spot to refuel in Jinja is either Moti<br />

Mahal's for Indian cuisine or a local bar for<br />

fried pork and cold beers with friends.<br />


Globetrotters, Page 22<br />

The cold season reminds me of a road trip to<br />

Nanyuki. I can vividly recall how warming<br />

the hot chocolate at Barney's Restaurant<br />

was. Looking forward to another sumptuous<br />

breakfast there on my next trip north! Trout<br />

Tree nestled along the Buruget River is also a<br />

great go-to.<br />


Lagos Woes, Page 56<br />

Largely due to its proximity to my office, Le<br />

Grenier à Pain has become a favourite haunt<br />

of mine. Though not a big coffee person,<br />

I relish their macchiato, especially when<br />

accompanied by the poulet curry sandwich<br />

which feels a lot like home.<br />



Let’s talk about conservation; let’s have a<br />

conversation about it. This is what we did<br />

with the team at the Oloolua Community<br />

Forest Association (CFA) who are passionate<br />

about creating awareness regarding<br />

Nairobi’s green space.<br />

Oloolua Forest, as CFA reveals, is an<br />

important wildlife refuge and biodiversity<br />

hotspot. Considered a lung for Nairobi,<br />

it covers 618 hectares and is home to a<br />

significant acreage of indigenous trees. The<br />

forest is part of the larger Ngong Forest<br />

block which also comprises Ngong Hills<br />

and Kibiko Forest. It provides a habitat to a<br />

variety of wildlife (including small antelopes<br />

and other mammals such as hyena and the<br />

occasional leopard).<br />

Like most forests, Oloolua is under<br />

threat from human activities. Quarrying,<br />

encroachment as well as development<br />

of major roads and the SGR through the<br />

heart of the forest put it at the brink of<br />

deforestation. This has sparked the need to<br />

have the forest fenced in a bid to prevent<br />

further fragmentation and loss of green<br />

space.<br />

Statistics reveal that we are losing 5,000<br />

hectares of forest cover per year in Kenya.<br />

This translates to an economic loss of over<br />

USD 90 million.<br />

The CFA has taken up the initiative<br />

to protect and conserve the remaining<br />

Oloolua Forest by fencing it in two phases.<br />

This initiative is informed by the successful<br />

example of the Karura Forest Environmental<br />

Management Plan. They plan to involve all<br />

surrounding communities including Gataka,<br />

Embulbul, Karen and Olkeri. Employing<br />

forest scouts will provide livelihoods for<br />

members of this community. Moreover,<br />

it aligns the forest’s interests with theirs<br />

through a sense of ownership. A great deal<br />

of training will be done to ensure sufficient<br />

empowerment in safeguarding the forest.<br />

If you haven’t visited the Oloolua Nature<br />

Trail, here are some unique features about<br />

the forest:<br />

• 33-foot Maumau cave<br />

• Picnic sites<br />

• Bicycle riding trails<br />

• Waterfalls<br />

• Walking trails also suitable for pets<br />

• Hiking and running trails for nature<br />

lovers and fitness enthusiasts<br />

As CFA strives to create a green, safe,<br />

versatile and recreational space for Nairobi,<br />

we hope that you are also playing a role<br />

in ensuring the sustainability of our green<br />

spaces for future generations. You can<br />

support them via www.gofundme.com/<br />

oloolua.<br />

For more information, contact:<br />

olooluaforest@gmail.com<br />



Instagram: @kaelophotography<br />

This shot was taken late afternoon in<br />

the Maasai Mara. I was following a<br />

mother cheetah with her grown cubs.<br />

Cheetahs like climbing to higher look-out<br />

points to be able to scan the area for<br />

potential prey or predators. When I saw<br />

the dead tree, I knew this would be a<br />

perfect opportunity as the group would<br />

be tempted to climb it, and with the sun<br />

setting in the background, they did. My<br />

settings were ISO 200, F/ 6.3 and a<br />

shutter speed of 1/8000 using a Canon<br />

1DX Mark II with a 500mm lens.<br />






@that_tanzanianguy<br />

I took this shot of Malamba Falls about<br />

15km from Tukuyu town in Tanzania, at<br />

around 1:00pm on an overcast day. I used<br />

a Canon 5D Mark IV with a 50mm lens<br />

using the settings: ISO 100, F/3.5 and<br />

shutter speed of 1/400 sec.<br />

Tip: shoot the same subject at different times<br />

of the day. How the light hits it at different<br />

times will greatly affect the final image.<br />




The Art of Culinary Excellence x<br />


Whether its lavish breakfasts and classical dinner dishes that have been reimagined with contemporary influences<br />

in the Manor Kitchen, sharing plates in the Craven Lounge or gourmet pub-style fare enjoyed in the cosy indoor<br />

environment of the Taphuis or on the outdoor terrace, at Lanzerac our superb cuisine - boasting the very best<br />

locally sourced, seasonal and sustainable ingredients - will take our diners on an exciting culinary journey.<br />




WHAT’S ON<br />


Located on the banks of the Nile in Jinja, Nyege<br />

Nyege is more than a festival; it’s a real East<br />

African gathering that brings some of the most<br />

exciting new acts from the region together with<br />

exciting musicians from all over the continent<br />

and beyond (this year especially from Asia,<br />

South America and the US). Nyege Nyege is<br />

now considered the most important four-day<br />

international music festival in East Africa for both<br />

its one-of-a-kind curation and its unique East<br />

African party vibe. This year’s event takes place<br />

from 5th-8th September. For more information and<br />

tickets, visit www.nyegenyege.com<br />

PHOTOGRAPH: Make It Kenya Photo / Stuart Price<br />


This is a one day mountain bike event<br />

hosted by Mt. Kenya Epik. The challenge,<br />

which covers approximately 60km, will<br />

take place on July 27 at KALRO, Muguga.<br />

Teams are made up of two people and<br />

categories accommodate men, women,<br />

mixed teams and juniors. The route takes<br />

participants through undulating hills set in<br />

agricultural land and forest areas offering<br />

a challenging combination of technical and<br />

endurance riding. Entry and registration<br />

cost is Ksh 1,500 for adults and Ksh 1,000<br />

for kids www.mtkenyaepik.co.ke.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH: Courtesy Paint The Run<br />


The third edition of Paint The Run is finally here.<br />

Set to take place at the Ngong Forest Sanctuary<br />

on Saturday July 20th from 11am, get ready for<br />

their most fun run yet. There will be an exciting<br />

obstacle run, a glow festival and much more.<br />

Last year’s theme was well-being, with the aim<br />

of encouraging mental and physical health using<br />

fun activities. Get your advance tickets for Ksh<br />

1500 for one and a Ksh 3500 for a group of<br />

four via www.cloud9xp.com<br />


NEWS<br />


A momentous win for Lamu and environmentalists as tribunal halts<br />

plans to construct the country’s first ever coal-powered plant near<br />

the coastal town of Lamu, a Unesco World Heritage Site. The license<br />

previously granted to Amu Power, the developer of the controversial<br />

Lamu Coal Plant, has been cancelled. The National Environment<br />

Tribunal (NET) ruled that the National Environment Management<br />

Authority (Nema) issued the environmental impact assessment license<br />

to Amu Power without following the law. The Ksh 200 billion project<br />

was Kenya’s first coal-fired power plant. The tribunal faulted the<br />

project for omitting engineering plans and details of the plant from<br />

public participation. Moreover, the project was not consistent with<br />

the Climate Change Act.<br />



The Great Plains Conservation will be adding to its collection<br />

another luxurious glamping property in the Mara, after Mara Plains.<br />

Set in the Mara Naibosho Conservancy, it is set to open its doors<br />

to the public in early August. The camp is set in a valley, straddling<br />

a small stream. The light-coloured canvas tents are designed to sit<br />

under the canopy of umbrella thorn trees while still offering guests<br />

views out over the bush. Walkways from tents to the main area evoke<br />

the feeling of a treehouse under canvas, and the camp’s ethic and<br />

inspiration is one of exploration and adventure.<br />



The London premiere of the new Lion King Movie saw Magical<br />

Kenya’s logo being displayed on the film’s back-drop banner. Kenya<br />

sponsored the movie premiere and the partnership between Walt<br />

Disney and the Kenya Tourism Board is meant to generate huge<br />

visibility for the country as a destination.<br />

Hells Gate National Park inspired the Lion King Film as it is<br />

considered the home of the Pride Rock. The dramatic and scenic<br />

landscapes, abundance of wildlife, rock climbing and cycling make<br />

the park a favourite for many. The 2019 Lion King remake premieres<br />

on 19th July 2019.<br />



The Kenya Forest Service has allocated 776 acres within the<br />

Mt Kenya Forest ecosystem for conservation of the endangered<br />

mountain bongo. The land will be used for expansion of the current<br />

bongo sanctuary and also will be fenced and paddocked to allow<br />

for breeding. The mountain bongo is a chestnut-red forest-dwelling<br />

antelope with 12-14 white stripes traversing its shoulders, flanks<br />

and hindquarters. The country’s population is 77 out of 96 total<br />

in the world and is under the custody of Mount Kenya Wildlife<br />

Conservancy in Laikipia. Their population has been shrinking<br />

considerably due to human activities like poaching and logging, as<br />

well as diseases and loss of habitat.<br />


Nestled in the foothills of Mt Kenya, award-winning accommodation 40 minutes from Nanyuki, endless opportunities to relax, reconnect with nature and the special people<br />

in your life. Now offering half-day horse riding safaris into the neighbouring 36,000 acre, privately-owned wildlife conservancy.<br />

Proud to be #1 of 21 on TripAdvisor, B&Bs/Inns of Laikipa County<br />

For rates contact us at welcome@olepangifarm.com | We also offer resident rates | www.olepangifarm.com<br />

OlePangi.indd 1 02/04/2019 14:26<br />



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THRILL<br />


A sky diver, hiker, adventure<br />

rider and a scuba diver share<br />

what draws them to the<br />

outdoors.<br />



@talisalanoe<br />

You are an Olympian, what does that entail?<br />

As an Olympian, swimming becomes more<br />

of a lifestyle than a sport. I moved away<br />

from home at a young age to attend a sports<br />

boarding school. This was characterised by<br />

long training hours, numerous competitions<br />

around the world and many sacrifices.<br />

However, looking back, I wouldn’t change<br />

a thing. The journey to the Olympics taught<br />

me so many lessons and helped shape the<br />

person I am today.<br />

How did you get into skydiving?<br />

I believe in living life to the fullest and as<br />

such, skydiving was on my bucket list. After<br />

my first (and only) tandem skydive, I didn’t<br />

get much fulfilment. I therefore decided to<br />

take the AFF course and get my license. I<br />

wanted to see the world from a different<br />

perspective and have the freedom to fly.<br />

Since then, I have completely fallen in love<br />

with this sport, and it reminds me that you<br />

are capable of doing anything you set your<br />

mind to. Getting my license was one of the<br />

best decisions I’ve ever made.<br />



@adventureriders254<br />

What’s been your most memorable ride thus<br />

far?<br />

I went to Addis Ababa with friends, and<br />

it took us three days. From searching for<br />

fuel in unexpected places to celebrating<br />

the Ethiopian New Year upon arrival, this<br />

is one of my favourite adventures to date.<br />

Immersing myself in the country’s rich culture<br />

was one of my highlights. The traditional<br />

food, coffee and hospitality will have me<br />

returning. Another memorable ride was<br />

to Garissa, Lamu and thereafter Malindi.<br />

We however had to park the bikes at a<br />

local’s home for two days then take a<br />

boat to Manda Island and Shela. Feeling<br />

the breeze came as a relief after a long,<br />

adventurous ride.<br />

What satisfaction do you get in being<br />

outdoors, especially with your bike?<br />

The experience is priceless. There is so<br />

much satisfaction when the sun hits your<br />

face in the morning, when relaxing to a<br />

magical sunset or being soothed by the<br />

sound of a river and chirping birds. Getting<br />

around by bike will definitely take you<br />

farther and deeper within a short time while<br />

being in contact with all the elements of<br />

nature. The sense of self-sufficiency and<br />

independence is unmatched. All you need<br />

is a great playlist to listen to inside your<br />

helmet and you’re set.<br />


Aside from Skydiving, what other adrenaline<br />

driven activities have you immersed yourself<br />

in?<br />

I love anything that makes me feel alive.<br />

I free dive and rock climb. I also love to<br />

wakeboard, kite surf and scuba dive.<br />

Sometimes I fear I will give my mother a<br />

heart attack because I am always either<br />

jumping out of planes or high edges, or<br />

swimming with big fish!<br />

What do you love about the outdoors?<br />

The fresh air, and the feeling of being such<br />

a small thing amidst this vast and incredible<br />

world. I don’t like being confined within four<br />

walls. When I immerse myself in nature, the<br />

sky or even under water, I feel grounded,<br />

humbled and so inspired.<br />


What’s your dream trip?<br />

To travel the world on my motorcycle. I<br />

believe life is short and riding to as many<br />

destinations as possible makes every second<br />

count. Meeting new people, capturing<br />

moments, happily accepting surprises on the<br />

road and enjoying every kilometer of the<br />

journey- this to me is the true adventure.<br />

Would you trade your bike for a car?<br />

No...any person who owns a car should<br />

make an effort to learn how to ride a<br />

motorcycle. The thrill is riveting.<br />



@wind_obsession<br />

What draws you to the ocean?<br />

My love for the ocean dates back to my<br />

childhood...it may sound corny but my first<br />

memory is that of the ocean. It gives me a<br />

sense of freedom and I am inspired by its<br />

colours, especially during sunrise and sunset.<br />

The variety of marine life is beyond beautiful.<br />

I have equally met amazing people in my life<br />

because of getting myself out there.<br />

How did you get to be a diving and<br />

windsurfing instructor?<br />

I was five when I first went diving with my<br />

father who used to be an instructor. My<br />

love for the sport had me enrolling for<br />

PADI (Professional Association of Diving<br />

Instructors) and from there, I became<br />

certified. As for surfing, I would go to the<br />

beach, rent a cracked board for Ksh 40 or<br />

simply find a plank of wood and try balance<br />

whilst pretending to be surfing. After a great<br />

deal of practice and learning, I am now a<br />

windsurfing instructor. I now also advocate<br />

for marine life and coral reef conservation as<br />

well as plastic free oceans.<br />

What have been some of your best or even<br />

scary moments under water?<br />

I remember swimming with two giant<br />

whale sharks, which was an unbelievable<br />

experience. It’s always pleasant<br />

encountering a pod of dolphins during<br />

dives and joining them for a swim. Another<br />

best moment was seeing a shark while<br />

undergoing my PADI training. The excitement<br />

was comparative to seeing a lion while on<br />

safari. Scary moments are when my student<br />

divers get too excited upon seeing something<br />

interesting and they tend to swim away to<br />

explore. This is always a risk and I can only<br />

hope I am fast enough to stop them.<br />



@just.mimie<br />

How did you get into hiking?<br />

I started off in January 2016 after making<br />

the ceremonial New Year’s resolutions.<br />

I had decided to indulge in two new<br />

activities that would challenge me: hiking<br />

and riding motorcycles. One day I signed<br />

up for a hike up Mt Longonot. I got rained<br />

on and was soaking wet from my head<br />

to my shoes, but I actually enjoyed that. I<br />

knew it was something I would continue<br />

doing whenever I got the chance.<br />

What do you love most about hiking?<br />

Being in the mountains is a great break<br />

from the chaotic city life that I live. Aside<br />

from reconnecting with myself, I have<br />

met amazing people and most of my<br />

valuable friendships have been made in<br />

the mountains. Hiking has been a constant<br />

reminder that nothing good comes easy.<br />

The hike may be treacherous but once<br />

at the summit, you see the beauty of the<br />

universe beneath you and say to yourself it<br />

that it was all worth it.<br />

What draws you to the outdoors?<br />

It’s the best way to spend time alone or<br />

with friends. The solitude gives you time to<br />

think about life, get new ideas and reduce<br />

stress levels while keeping fit. Once in a<br />

while, it’s good to actually stop and smell<br />

the flowers...talk about free aromatherapy!<br />

Creating great memories and bonding<br />

with friends is something I have come to<br />

value about being outdoors.<br />

Any advice to readers who want to take<br />

it up?<br />

Hiking starts with your mental state; if<br />

you perceive it, then summiting is as easy<br />

as ABC. All you need is a good pair of<br />

hiking shoes and a good attitude. Every<br />

mountain has its own experience and it<br />

always brings out something new about<br />

ourselves.<br />



AGE OF THE<br />



When people travel, it’s easy to engage in what may<br />

seem to be great ‘photo op’ moments without thinking of<br />

the real life consequences on things like the environment.<br />

Conversations around sustainable travel have therefore<br />

never been more vital, writes Wanjiku Kinuthia.<br />

Many were appalled<br />

when Kim Kardashian<br />

recently shared a<br />

throwback photograph<br />

of herself posing next<br />

to an elephant, with<br />

a rider straddling it,<br />

in Indonesia. Kardashian insisted that the<br />

elephant was photographed in a ‘sanctuary’,<br />

but many were quick to point out that<br />

elephant sanctuaries do not share in some of<br />

the practices visible in the photograph. All<br />

over the world, when people travel, it’s easy<br />

to engage in what may seem to be great<br />

‘photo op’ moments without thinking of the<br />

real life consequences.<br />

I'm certainly not an expert in sustainability<br />

models across tourism industries, however<br />

I have learned lessons from working on a<br />

conservation landscape for over seven years<br />

where sustainable practices are key, and<br />

interactions with highly conscious travellers<br />

and friends have ignited conversations over<br />

many sundowners as to how we can all see<br />

the world and not ruin it while at it.<br />


One of my dearest friends, Abagi, is a<br />

vegetarian. When I first found out about<br />

this, I automatically thought that it was<br />

for the benefit of animal welfare. But she<br />

said, "Ciku, I fly too much for work. I'm a<br />

vegetarian to minimise my negative impacts<br />

on this world." This brief conversation ignited<br />

my thinking around how we travel, what<br />

we do during these trips, how we can take<br />

ownership of our impacts and try to do<br />

better.<br />

According to a study published by<br />

Nature Climate Change in 2018, the carbon<br />

footprint of global tourism is four times<br />

more than previously estimated, accounting<br />

for about 8% of global greenhouse gas<br />

emissions. Transport, shopping and food<br />

are significant contributors. While travelling,<br />

how often do you consider, alongside cost<br />

and convenience, the most sustainable<br />

form of transportation to get to your<br />

destination? In many cases, aeroplane<br />

travel is unavoidable. But with regional and<br />

in-country travel, choosing a train, bus or<br />

car over an aeroplane is a better option.<br />

According to a study on green travel by the<br />

Union of Concerned Scientists, this can mean<br />

55% to 75% fewer emissions than flying.<br />



I often joke, working in conservation in<br />

Kenya, that most tourism properties are<br />

quick to declare how their models promote<br />

development and livelihoods in local<br />

communities. Usually, there are claims of<br />

sustainable practices, but the reality on<br />

the ground is different. Greenwashing, as<br />

it is called, is the practice of making an<br />

unsubstantiated or misleading claim about<br />

the environmental benefits.<br />

Another dear friend, Kasmira, only travels<br />

to places where she can effectively research<br />

and substantiate their green practices and<br />

social impact. "I usually choose to stay<br />

on properties that are locally owned or<br />

managed. Popular tourism sites become<br />

less impactful for the country and residents<br />

because they become commercialised and<br />

focus less on an authentic product. This<br />

means that they offer little or no real benefit<br />

to local people."<br />

One of the quickest ways we check<br />

for this is to look at the management of<br />


a property, and then ask ourselves, if we<br />

stay here for a few days, who does it truly<br />

benefit? Does it benefit endangered species<br />

or forests and ecosystems? Does it improve<br />

livelihoods with direct and clear benefits to<br />

people? Do they have practical and visible<br />

sustainable practices?<br />


Incorporate activities that involve supporting<br />

the ecosystem. If you wish to run a marathon,<br />

run it on Lewa where funds raised directly<br />

support conservation and development<br />

work across Kenya. While in Watamu, visit<br />

the Local Ocean Trust, volunteer for beach<br />

clean up activities and learn more about<br />

the marine environment. Every two years<br />

in January, make a point to visit northern<br />

Kenya, go glamping and become a citizen<br />

scientist by photographing and collecting<br />

data on the endangered Grevy’s zebra.<br />

Around the world, find similar activities<br />

that not only enrich your experiences but<br />

also contribute to creating an improved<br />

environment.<br />


We all know the negative effects of single<br />

use plastic. But beyond plastic, there are<br />

other products that we use in our day-to-day<br />

lives, and mostly while travelling, that are<br />

harmful to the environment. Two examples<br />

are sunscreen and fast fashion. I only<br />

discovered recently from The London Chatter,<br />

a Kenyan lifestyle blogger based in London,<br />

that there’s more to think about than just<br />

SPF when it comes to responsibly choosing<br />

your go-to sunscreen. Most have an active<br />

ingredient, Oxybenzone, that can be toxic<br />

to ocean life by damaging coral reefs.<br />

According to some reports, between 6,000<br />

and 14,000 tonnes of sunscreen end up in<br />

reef areas each year.<br />

The fashion industry is also one of the<br />

major polluting industries in the world. To<br />

make better choices, buy less. Buy second<br />

hand (yay to mtumba!), swap clothes with<br />

your friends and buy good quality items<br />

that last longer. Buy clothes from sustainable<br />

brands while being aware of ‘fake’<br />

sustainable ones. While at your destination,<br />

wear clothes and accessories made using<br />

locally sourced, sustainable materials to<br />

promote industries and boost income for the<br />

people.<br />



Sustainable travel needs allies, now more<br />

than ever. Behaviour change is key and we<br />

all have the power to influence our friends<br />

and family. Travel influencers and travel<br />

platforms have already established platforms<br />

to impart sustainability messages. It’s cool to<br />

care.<br />

Do you have a story you would like<br />

featured in this column? Email a detailed<br />

pitch to editor@nomadmagazine.co<br />





Cornflakes forgotten, Samantha Du Toit’s children listen<br />

wide-eyed to an ancient African folktale about the largest of<br />

land animals being afraid of a tiny honey bee, and how this is<br />

presently being used to help farmers protect their crops.<br />

The elephant and the bee. It<br />

sounds like the start of one<br />

of Aesop’s fables; a story of<br />

the largest of land animals<br />

being afraid of a tiny honey<br />

bee. Instead it is an ancient<br />

African folktale, and it turns<br />

out to be true. The children listened wideeyed<br />

over breakfast one morning to the story<br />

of how elephants all over Africa hate even<br />

the sound of buzzing bees, turning tail and<br />

fleeing from the noise. Cornflakes forgotten,<br />

they listened to Lucy King, who works with<br />

‘Save the Elephants’, explain how she had<br />

taken the folktale, tried and tested it, and<br />

then turned it into a means to help farmers<br />

protect their crops from raiding elephants.<br />

‘So, the farmers get a fence made of bee<br />

hives which stops elephants coming in. They<br />

then get honey to sell and the bees may in<br />

turn help pollinate more of their crops. This<br />

sounds like a good idea all round!’ Seyia,<br />

our daughter, concludes.<br />

Elephants have returned to this area after<br />

perhaps a couple of decades of absence.<br />

Where once simply to see their tracks was<br />

exciting, they are now a very common<br />

feature of the landscape. Maasai people of<br />

my age tell me that all their children have<br />

seen elephants now and know what they<br />

are, where as when they were children<br />

themselves elephants were merely mentioned<br />

in stories of the past. This, from a wildlife<br />

conservation perspective, is a source of<br />

pride for the local communities who believe<br />

that elephants feel this is a safe place to be.<br />

But there is a cost too. Elephants have found<br />

their way to the local farming area, and can<br />

devastate a farmer’s crop in mere minutes.<br />

And regularly do so.<br />

Fast forward a few months; the children<br />

and I joined the team from Save the<br />

Elephants, together with the local farmers<br />

and other community members, to build<br />

some beehive fences for three farmers up<br />

in the fields. The children got straight in,<br />

helping to dig holes, hold up bee hives<br />

(empty as yet), clip wire and of course have<br />

sweet, milky tea during the break. At the end<br />

of the day, we all feasted on fresh goat stew<br />

provided by the farmer as gratitude for the<br />

team effort.<br />

The sun was setting behind the<br />

escarpment by the time we were driving into<br />

camp, the children tired, dirty and ready for<br />

bed. They looked up sleepily as we passed<br />

a herd of six bull elephants making their<br />

way out of the thickets and into the plains for<br />

the night. We whispered to the elephants as<br />

we went by that they were welcome to stay<br />

here on the plains and away from the farms,<br />

while we all hoped the bee hives would fill<br />

quickly with bees, so as to dissuade these<br />

majestic animals from eating where they<br />

were not welcome. I remembered the saying<br />

‘one man’s pain is another man’s pleasure’<br />

which applied so well to this story. It made<br />

me realise more clearly than ever that if<br />

conservation is to succeed, we must do all<br />

that we can to turn more peoples’ pain into<br />

pleasure.<br />

Samantha du Toit is a wildlife<br />

conservationist, working with SORALO, a<br />

Maasai land trust. She lives with her<br />

husband, Johann, and their two children at<br />

Shompole Wilderness, a tented camp in the<br />

Shompole Conservancy.<br />


air charter flights<br />

east africa<br />

info@tropicairkenya.com | www.tropicairkenya.com<br />




With his dad being a mountaineer, growing up, Mt Kenya was always<br />

a key fixture in Joseph Muriithi’s life. Today, having climbed it 90<br />

times in a span of five years, the 24 year old certified guide recounts<br />

what makes this place so special.<br />





Long before my arrival, my father<br />

was busy climbing mountains for<br />

a living. My fascination started<br />

pretty early. I remember walking to<br />

primary school and each morning,<br />

the glorious ice-capped peak of<br />

Mt Kenya would stare back in all<br />

her majesty. Back then, the slopes<br />

of Mt Kenya were a complete snowfield,<br />

the white glare ever present from January<br />

to December. Whenever my dad was away<br />

on expeditions, I would look up to the peaks<br />

and hope to see him. I swear if I squinted<br />

really hard, I could spot him.<br />


During my gap year after high school, I<br />

asked my dad to take me up the mountain<br />

for the first time, and he agreed. I had no<br />

clue what I was getting myself into and was<br />

mentally and physically unprepared, but this<br />

experience changed my life. We spent a<br />

total of four days climbing and descending<br />

the Sirimon route. Everyday I carried a 5kg<br />

daypack and each time, my lungs, legs and<br />

virtually every muscle in my body cried out<br />

for help.<br />

“Dad, how far do we have left to the next<br />

camp?” I asked, panting heavily from the<br />

heavy exercise.<br />

“We have three more hours to go,” he<br />

responded, grinning. “We are done with<br />

the hardest part of the day,” he added<br />

reassuringly.<br />

Spoiler alert: we were not done with<br />

the hardest part of the day. Getting to base<br />

camp Shipton’s at 4,200m above sea<br />

level was so challenging that I started reevaluating<br />

my existence as a human being<br />

or why I had even asked to do this. What<br />

I didn’t realize during the self-reflection,<br />

however, was that this was the mountain<br />

asserting its authority and challenging my<br />

mental endurance.<br />

The summit, Point Lenana (4,985m) was<br />

normally attempted at 3:00am, and my dad<br />

and his clients were to do it the following<br />

morning.<br />

“Are you ready to go? Do you think you’ll<br />

wake up tomorrow and attempt Lenana?” He<br />

asked me over dinner.<br />

“Yes, of course. How hard can it possibly<br />

be?”I responded.<br />

Early morning came, we had some tea,<br />

pointed our flashlights in the guide’s (my<br />

father’s) direction and trekked towards the<br />

top of the world. This goes on record as the<br />

toughest three hours of my life. In the eerie<br />

silence of the mountains, even breathing<br />

becomes so loud. I started re-evaluating<br />

my life choices and cursing myself for<br />

even agreeing to all of this. Still, I trudged<br />

onwards and upwards.<br />

After three solid hours of traipsing in total<br />

darkness, our group finally reached the Via<br />

Ferrata (metal stairs to the summit). Upon<br />

climbing these stairs and actually standing<br />

on the summit, I was suddenly flooded with<br />

emotions. It felt like a veil had been lifted<br />

and for split-second, I forgot about all the<br />

tough trek to get here. Then an orange sun<br />

rose in the distance and tears of joy rolled<br />

down my cheeks. A landscape that had been<br />

engulfed in darkness came to life, and it<br />

was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.<br />

There was also an overwhelming sense of<br />

accomplishment which I am still unable to<br />

articulate.<br />

Right there, on that summit, I promised<br />

myself I would return, and I did, over again<br />

for four and a half years now.<br />


As I gradually racked up the number of hikes,<br />

I got interested in guiding. Dad had all the<br />

tools I needed for that. At home, I read his<br />

collection of books about the animals and<br />

birds of East Africa, studied plants, animal<br />

behaviour and the mountain ecosystem and<br />

finally passed my assessment test to become<br />

a Mount Kenya Guide. With this knowledge<br />

came the privilege and opportunity to share<br />

the experience with travelers from all over the<br />

globe. My favorite overall is climbing via the<br />

Chogoria Route and camping by Lakes Ellis<br />

and Michaelson.<br />

The greatest honour as a guide is<br />

witnessing visitors shed tears of joy after<br />

reaching the summit while uttering words like,<br />

“Thank you so much Joe. Thank you so much<br />

for showing us your beautiful mountain”.<br />

Experiencing that feeling of accomplishment<br />

after pushing through all that the mountain<br />

threw at them, just like I did on that first<br />

climb, and seeing that grand sun take to the<br />

skies in all its glory.<br />


In the early 2000s and prior, the mountain<br />

was always decked in permanent ice with<br />

snow falling every year. Statistics indicate<br />

that snow fell up to the 3,000m altitude<br />

zone. This is seconded by my colleagues<br />

who have been climbing the mountain for<br />

more than 20 years<br />

This is now a thing of the past. If there’s<br />

snowfall, it can only occur at altitudes of<br />

4,500m and higher. Even if it falls, it melts<br />

as fast as it hits the rocks. Weather patterns<br />

have changed drastically. Glaciers, once<br />

commonplace, are no more. 16 glaciers<br />

were recorded to rule over the slopes of the<br />

mountain, and the first to diminish was the<br />

Krapf Glacier in 1926.<br />

There are six glaciers left and the biggest<br />

of them are the Lewis Glacier, Darwin<br />

Glacier and the Diamond Couloir. All these<br />

are however shrinking at an alarming rate<br />

due to climate change. Rivers that once were<br />

shall dry up. Communities depending on this<br />

water will suffer and be forced to relocate.<br />

Dry seasons are already becoming longer<br />

while the wet seasons get shorter and more<br />

destructive. The dry spells echo tough times<br />

for wild animals that call the mountain home.<br />

It’s not all doom and gloom however.<br />



My favorite overall<br />

is climbing via the<br />

Chogoria Route<br />

and camping by<br />

Lakes Ellis and<br />

Michaelson.<br />

Organizations like Mount Kenya Trust and<br />

Rhino Ark play a crucial role in ensuring that<br />

the locals are well educated on the important<br />

issues to be addressed regarding Mt Kenya<br />

as well as what we can do to remedy this.<br />


Nature is beautiful and magnificent, but<br />

it can also be ruthless and unforgiving.<br />

Approach it with respect and finesse.<br />

Kenya is a breathtaking country and its<br />

natural resources must be protected.<br />

Mount Kenya has some of the biggest<br />

buffalos in Africa.<br />

Wild animals will show you respect as<br />

long as you respect them first by sticking to<br />

your guide’s instructions and not diverting<br />

from footpaths.<br />

Always bring extra warm gear. Mount<br />

Kenya may be at the equator but the nights<br />

are bitterly cold.<br />

When ascending to higher altitudes, tone<br />

down the pace to a slow-and-steady in order<br />

to acclimatize.<br />

Always stay hydrated.<br />

Altitude sickness can be very dangerous.<br />

If you experience the signs and symptoms,<br />

DON’T hike to higher altitudes. Rest on<br />

the same elevation. If symptoms get worse,<br />

descend immediately to a lower elevation.<br />



Old Moses Camp (3,300m)<br />

Shipton’s Camp (4,200m)<br />


Meru Mount Kenya Bandas (2,900m)<br />

Rutundu Log <strong>Cabin</strong>s (3,100m)<br />

The Road Head (3,300m) – campsite<br />

Lake Ellis (3,470m) – campsite<br />

Lake Michelson (4,000m) – campsite<br />

Mintos Hut (4,200m)<br />

Naromoru Route:<br />

Met Station (3,000m)<br />

Mackinder’s Camp (4,300m)<br />

The list could go on, but to sum it up,<br />

climbing Mount Kenya 90 times in a span<br />

of five years has shaped me into the man<br />

I hoped I’d become. When I thought I<br />

was punishing myself by carrying heavy<br />

backpacks, I was being taught perseverance.<br />

When I thought my body couldn’t take it<br />

anymore, it taught me endurance. When<br />

I thought the wilderness and nature were<br />

dangerous and I didn’t belong there, I<br />

realized that they are as much a part of me<br />

as I am of them. Carrying my camera with<br />

me always, it is my hope to inspire more<br />

adventurers people from all over the world<br />

to have the Mount Kenya experience. And<br />

to those who can’t physically make it to the<br />

mountain, I pray that my images take them<br />

along my journey into the Mountain of God.<br />

Joseph Muriithi (@andreyjosephs) works<br />

as a guide for his dad’s company, Polemark<br />

Tours (www.polemarktours.com).<br />


A CABIN,<br />



With no electricity for the weekend and miles of beautiful<br />

landscape to wander, Wendy Watta discovers the joy of fly<br />

fishing, hiking and a cozy cabin at Ragati Conservancy.<br />





Ithought I had developed some<br />

semblance of pain resistance to<br />

the stinging nettle, but as my hand<br />

brushes against yet another low leaf<br />

along the trail we have been hiking<br />

through, I instantly feel the intensity<br />

and wince in spite of myself. Ever<br />

resourceful, our lead guide Jimmy reaches<br />

above his head with a machete and cuts off<br />

the leaf of a plant from the stem. He rubs<br />

the juice over the already swelling area and<br />

almost instantly, the pain ebbs. Just in time,<br />

as I can now focus on admiring the bomb<br />

crater we have just walked up to; a gaping<br />

hole in the ground that was once used to test<br />

bombs in the 1982 coup d'état.<br />

Shortly after, we come across the Ragati<br />

River which snakes across the trail with its<br />

numerous tributaries, and have to cross it, yet<br />

again. The measured journey across begins.<br />

I gingerly feel my way around the ground for<br />

solid footing before making each next step.<br />

A miscalculation however has me sliding<br />

over a moss-covered stone, and the ice cold<br />

water rushes inside my wellies with gusto.<br />

Once across, there is no time to pour it out,<br />

however, as we now have to walk across a<br />

muddy swamp, boots sinking calf-deep with<br />

every step. As I am next in line after Jimmy,<br />

I am careful to step exactly where he has<br />

trudged before me.<br />

Set on the southern slopes of Mt. Kenya,<br />

the Afro montane forest here is breathtaking.<br />

Tall, narrow trees tower high above the<br />

ground with branches meeting at the top<br />

to create a canopy which keeps the harsh<br />

sunlight at bay. The area is said to be<br />

teeming with wildlife ranging from buffalos<br />

to elephants, leopards, the mountain bongo<br />

and an array of birdlife. While there are no<br />

face-to-face encounters during our hike, the<br />

signs are there. The closest shave is a buffalo<br />

which the guides spot somewhere in the<br />

distance, and given its strong olfactory sense,<br />

we have to divert off the track to ensure our<br />

smell doesn’t waft back to it.<br />

There is an old carcass of an antelope<br />

that must have been left up the tree by a<br />

leopard several days ago. Fresh elephant<br />

dung indicates that they would have passed<br />

through this path not more than two days<br />

ago. My favourite, however, is the cluster<br />

of feathers - of a Haurtlaub’s Turaco - which<br />

we find lying right next to the river. This bird<br />

whose beautiful plumage has all the colours<br />

of the Kenyan flag, and would therefore be<br />

an excellent national mascot. One of the<br />

guides lines these feathers along his hat<br />

resulting in a beautiful design worthy only of<br />

an avant-garde issue of Vogue magazine.<br />

An all-white monkey playfully flits through<br />

the higher branches with two colobus hot on<br />

its tail. We stare on for a while, and even<br />

the guides admit that this is the first time they<br />

have seen it.<br />

Peter’s (videographer) timer beeps. It has<br />

been five hours since we started walking<br />

from the cabin. I am feeling the burn. So<br />

much so, in fact, that when we have to<br />

climb yet another fallen tree trunk, I have<br />

to manually haul my left leg over with my<br />

hands. Our mecca, however, is a bit of an<br />

anticlimax today. There is thick vegetation<br />

but it is the dark cloud cover that blocks the<br />

mountain’s peak in the distance. We are here<br />

for all of five minutes, and then it is time to<br />

circle back.<br />


When we arrive here late at night, we have<br />

to pack our car a little way from the cabin<br />

after which a few staff members come to<br />

help us carry all our luggage inside. A fire is<br />

crackling in the grate which makes it easier to<br />

acclimatize. Light is by way of solar powered<br />

lamps set around the space, but thankfully,<br />

the water in the shower is hot. There are four<br />

double rooms, a spacious living and dining<br />

room, an enviable fully-equipped kitchen with a<br />

gas cooker where I whip up the day’s supper,<br />

and a massive front porch. It is however pitch<br />

black outside, so I am unable to get a true<br />

sense for the surroundings.<br />

I am woken up by the sunlight washing into<br />

my room through the large windows, some<br />

birds are chirping right outside and I can hear<br />

the water rushing in a large waterfall which<br />

I was told is nearby. Like an excited kid at<br />

Christmas, I rush outside to check out where<br />

we are, and spotting the scenic glade upon<br />

which the house sits, my breath is taken away.<br />

A wooden pathway from the balcony leads<br />

to a bridge under which the river streams,<br />

and Ndongoro Log <strong>Cabin</strong> is by all accounts a<br />

beautiful spot.<br />

Fishing is a key activity here, and Jimmy tells<br />

me that Ragati River was initially stocked with<br />

rainbow trout in the 1920s. In the time since<br />

then, they have gained a unique red colour,<br />

and this is now a go-to spot for fly fishing<br />

enthusiasts. Armed with all the required tackle,<br />

we walk down to the base of the waterfall<br />

where, after a few pointers from Jimmy, I am off<br />

casting my line like a seasoned pro.<br />

With no entertainment and the rest of the<br />

day to just relax, by evening, the cabin fever<br />

has set in, and I am hallucinating that I’m highfiving<br />

Forrest Gump. Accommodation starts at<br />

Ksh 11,500 per person per night, with children<br />

under seven going for free. This includes the<br />

conservancy fees, fishing licence, guides,<br />

fishing equipment, guided walks, staff fee and<br />

firewood.<br />



TIPS<br />

• There is no electricity but solar lamps are<br />

available. Pack torches and bring a cooler box.<br />

Bring a book and some board games to while<br />

away the time as well.<br />

• If you intend to go hiking, pack wellies. Trousers<br />

and long sleeved shirts/jackets will also serve<br />

you better than shorts and T-shirts- the nettles are<br />

fearsome!<br />

• This is a self-catering spot so bring all of your<br />

own food to last the duration of your stay. You<br />

can do all of your own cooking, but there are<br />

two cooks that can help as needed.<br />




An anticipated drive to the scenic Lake Ellis at 3,500m up Mt Kenya<br />

doesn’t exactly start out as planned, writes Wendy Watta<br />





Growing up you are warned not<br />

to trust strangers, but no one<br />

ever thinks to warn you about<br />

a guide trying to keep you<br />

motivated to keep climbing a<br />

mountain. I think their ploy is to<br />

get you so far up that there is<br />

just no turning back.<br />

“Lake Ellis is just around the next bend,”<br />

he says, yet again. When we get to the<br />

said bend, however, it’s like the lake packed<br />

her bags and stealthily left in the dead of<br />

the night like a slighted girlfriend. Ever so<br />

near, yet so far. I am panting heavily, which<br />

arguably has less to do with my physical<br />

fitness and more with me struggling to adjust<br />

to the altitude. Heck, I remember turning in<br />

my bed the previous night, and at about only<br />

3,000m above sea level, that slight activity<br />

had me wheezing like I had just competed in<br />

some 100m dash at the Olympics.<br />

In my defence, too, I had just walked for<br />

six hours the previous day, and when I woke<br />

up this morning, a hike was certainly not on<br />

the itinerary. Matter of fact, the plan had<br />

been to drive our Land Rover Defender up<br />

the scenic Chogoria Route on the eastern<br />

side of Mt Kenya, all the way to Lake Ellis.<br />

In hopes of catching the sunrise, we had<br />

gotten up at 5:00am and bundled into the<br />

car ready to make the 7km stretch which<br />

would ideally have taken us 30 minutes,<br />

but even with some forewarning, we had<br />

underestimated the state of the road.<br />

It is that last bit of very rocky and<br />

relatively steep ascent up to the lake that<br />

gets us, and now, the Land Rover is left<br />

somewhere along this treacherous trail, and<br />

I trudge on as though I weigh 400 pounds.<br />

It is rainy season, too, so mercifully it hadn’t<br />

poured as there is just no way the car<br />

would have even made it through that first<br />

kilometre.<br />

My hands are blocks of ice and I feel<br />

as though if I were to knock them on a<br />

rock, they might shatter all over the place<br />

into a myriad of bloody fragments. At this<br />

altitude, I am eyeball to eyeball with the<br />

clouds, and the rising sun plays peekaboo<br />

from behind a rocky outcrop. Despite my<br />

struggle, the scenery makes the climb all the<br />

more worthwhile. The lush green is emerging<br />

yet again from the charred remnants of the<br />

fire that swept through the mountains only<br />

recently. Reading about it is one thing, but<br />

seeing the destruction it caused first hand<br />

is a different matter altogether, and I am<br />

appalled at the loss of indigenous flora.<br />

About 30 minutes later, I walk up to an<br />

elevated viewpoint from which I spot the<br />

lake shimmering from its base down below,<br />

and a little above my eye line, all three<br />

jugged peaks of Mt Kenya are visible. Rocky<br />

escarpments and green vegetation frame the<br />

setting. The pain of the climb is forgotten,<br />

and with renewed energy, I run down to<br />

the lake and touch its waters. Lake Ellis is a<br />

beaut.<br />

We spot some happy campers who as it<br />

turns out, have been here for two days. One,<br />

Mathew, an avid sportfishing enthusiast,<br />

is trying to snag some trout but has so far<br />

been unlucky all morning. His friends are<br />

whipping up breakfast, and I’m reminded<br />

that we left our picnic back in the car as<br />

the package was too heavy to haul up. I do<br />

not even like tea, but when we’re offered a<br />

cuppa, I happily oblige.<br />

The rest of the morning is spent marvelling<br />

at the lake and taking photos and videos<br />

of the scenery, after which our new friends<br />

generously drive us back to the car and<br />

help us manoeuvre it out of the rut. When<br />

we learn that there is a 100ft high waterfall<br />

called Nithi around, we decide that it won’t<br />

hurt to make a short detour.<br />


MERU MT KENYA BANDAS Commonly known<br />

as Chogoria Bandas, this spot is run by the Kenya<br />

Wildlife Service. We were unable to make a booking<br />

beforehand as the staff are hard to reach given the<br />

network situation, but we easily found some rooms on<br />

arrival. The cabins are all painted black with a coat<br />

of green around the shutters, and accommodation is<br />

Ksh 1,500 per person. The rooms are basic with three<br />

dorm-style beds inside, and we also had to pay Ksh<br />

600 extra for the gas cooker.<br />

There is no electricity, but paraffin lamps are offered<br />

and I get my electronics charged at the Chogoria gate<br />

which is actually a walking distance away (I however<br />

get strict warning not to walk there alone at night as<br />

this is still the wilderness). Utensils can be offered on<br />

request at no extra cost, and there is a small shop with<br />

limited goods such as beer. It’s a lovely spot to stay<br />

particularly as there aren’t many options around, but<br />

expect only the very basic of necessities and service.<br />


TIPS<br />

• KWS don’t accept cash at the gate. Luckily, they told<br />

us exactly where to stand to get network and we were<br />

therefore able to pay with MPESA, otherwise, we would<br />

have had to drive back down to be able to complete<br />

the transaction.<br />

• It is ridiculously cold. Carry warm clothing, including<br />

gloves and a beanie. Jeans, as it turns out, don't have<br />

good heat retention- I learnt that the hard way.<br />

• If you love fishing, carry a rod as Lake Ellis is a haven<br />

for rainbow trout.<br />

• Camping is available, so plan accordingly. You will<br />

have to be self-sufficient and carry everything you need<br />

including firewood.<br />

• The drive up to Lake Ellis requires nothing short of a<br />

4X4. You can however also walk there and we were<br />

told that this would take about 2 hours, but to me that<br />

seems only plausible if you’re actually sprinting.<br />

• Carry water bottles; single use plastics are banned in<br />

Kenya’s national parks and game reserves.<br />




During Martyn Pollock’s three-day climb up Mt Elgon to see Kitum Cave and<br />

summit Koitobos Peak, he only meets one other tourist-and-guide combo.<br />

It may get far less visitors than its more popular counterparts in Kenya and<br />

Uganda, but this mountain’s charm is certainly not lost on the writer.<br />




Gusii lands disappear<br />

behind me and with the<br />

Nandi Hills of Kisumu in<br />

sight, my Nissan Note<br />

powers up through the Rift<br />

Valley towards Kitale. She<br />

doesn’t complain until the<br />

last 20km of murram road<br />

where bottoming out becomes a constant<br />

affair on every pot hole, bump and rock.<br />

But, rental cars can go anywhere. They have<br />

special powers of driver indifference that you<br />

do not get with a regular vehicle.<br />

Mount Elgon, like most other large<br />

mountains in East Africa, is an extinct<br />

volcano, formed over 20 million years ago<br />

as the earth spewed molten rock over an<br />

area 80km in diameter. Straddling both<br />

Uganda and Kenya you have the option<br />

of several approaches to reach the many<br />

summits. I’ve chosen Kitale on the Kenyan<br />

side to start my journey.<br />

My guide David is late. Despite having<br />

phoned me the night before insisting I arrive<br />

by 7:30am, he rocks up at 8:40am with no<br />

explanation. After the standard formalities<br />

we are on our way walking through thick<br />

ancient forest with an abundance of zebras,<br />

bushbucks, waterbucks, dik-diks, baboons<br />

and colobus monkeys. At this stage it is<br />

more of a safari than a mountain climb<br />

and I begin to see the charm that sets this<br />

mountain apart from other climbs in the<br />

region.<br />

The mountain massif is particularly famous<br />

for its abundance of large caves, and Kitum<br />

Cave is the biggest on the Kenyan side<br />

stretching over 160m into the mountainside. I<br />

always forget how much I dislike caving, until<br />

someone takes me caving. Especially when<br />

it is prefixed with “follow me” and I think we<br />

are going a further 10ft into the cave to see<br />

something interesting, when in actual fact,<br />

what follows is a 20 minute subterranean<br />

cave tour in complete darkness with nothing<br />

but David’s phone to light the way. He<br />

points the light towards the cave ceiling and<br />

thousands of bats descend, rushing past our<br />

faces but never touching. Claustrophobia<br />

aside, the caves are an amazing spectacle:<br />

the entrance is like a huge opera house and<br />

there is clear evidence that tourists like me<br />

are only one of many visitors. As well as<br />

most of the antelope species on the mountain<br />

and some of the cats, an unlikely group of<br />

visitors are the elephants who come here to<br />

scrape and lick the salt off the cave walls<br />

in the hours of complete darkness, using<br />

nothing but smell and intuition to guide them<br />

into the depths.<br />

A note of caution: post trip I learned that<br />

Mt Elgon and specifically the bats that live<br />

in the mountain’s many caves are associated<br />

with a strain of the Ebola virus. There have<br />

been no confirmed deaths due to cave visits<br />

since the 1980s, but as a precaution the<br />

WHO suggests avoiding the bat colonies,<br />

and if you do need to get close, to wear<br />

gloves and a face mask. Sadly you won’t get<br />

such advice or guidance from your guide or<br />

even from the park authorities, so best to be<br />

prepared.<br />

Situated far from the main tourist<br />

attractions of both Kenya and Uganda,<br />

Mount Elgon gets far fewer visitors than<br />

Mount Kenya, the Aberdares or even the<br />

Rwenzori. During my climb, it seemed<br />

practically deserted. I only met one other<br />

tourist and guide combo in the three-day trip.<br />

There are the same lobelias as well as thick<br />

forest and bamboo sections that you find in<br />

other African highlands, but what struck me<br />

most were the fields of lavender that cover<br />

the mountainside giving an omnipresent<br />

sweet floral aroma.<br />

David convinces me to skip out a day<br />

of the trip by going straight from the gate<br />

to camp two. It makes for a more intense<br />

climb, but also means we will not be too idle<br />

at each stop. This is good as the campsites<br />

are basic: a cleared area and a rock circle<br />

for a fire and that’s about it. Don’t expect<br />

huts with bunk beds and three course meals<br />

being served to you after a hard day’s<br />

walk. Pretty quickly we are in a rhythm and<br />

any guide/client relationship is out of the<br />

window. I build the tent while he builds the<br />

fire, he gets more wood while I cook and so<br />

on. With huge downpours of rain coming<br />

daily, working together is the only way we<br />

can ensure we get everything done before<br />

the inevitable soaking. I really should stop<br />

climbing during the long rains, but I rarely<br />

get to choose when I am free.<br />

Lunch time on day two we reach the<br />

summit of Koitobos peak. From the campsite<br />

it is a really quite pleasant 6km walk with<br />

several other peaks in view throughout. The<br />

last 200m is a scramble through a rupture in<br />

the solid Basalt column. From the summit the<br />

full extent of the massive caldera is visible,<br />

one of the largest in Africa with several<br />

distinct peaks on both sides of the border.<br />

Koitobos is the third highest overall and<br />

second highest in Kenya, but for me this is<br />

largely immaterial. There is no triumphant<br />

moment of conquest, of man vs mountain.<br />

It is a cliché to say, but the joy is in the<br />

journey. Losing yourself in the isolation of<br />

the natural world where nothing matters<br />

except staying dry and staying hydrated. All<br />

of life’s normal worries and responsibilities<br />

melt away into insignificance. This is the true<br />

beauty of climbing.<br />




Sophie Ibbotson writes<br />

about Rhinos Without<br />

Borders, a project which<br />

aims to move 100 rhinos<br />

from poaching hotspots in<br />

South Africa to new safe<br />

homelands in Botswana’s<br />

Okavango Delta.<br />





Akudu blocked the path to<br />

my tent. I looked across the<br />

channel from my deck at a<br />

giraffe sauntering by. And<br />

when I drove out in the late<br />

afternoon, the heat of the<br />

sun still burning, I envied<br />

the shaggy maned lion chilling out in the<br />

shade beneath a tree. The Gomoti Plains, a<br />

private concession to the east of the Moremi<br />

Game Reserve in Botswana’s Okavango<br />

Delta, is remote and challenging to reach,<br />

but in the absence of many humans, the<br />

wildlife populations thrive.<br />

What I had not expected to find, even<br />

here in this southern African Eden, was<br />

a rhino. It was a species I previously<br />

associated only with zoos, or occasionally<br />

staring out at me forlornly from the pages<br />

of National Geographic beside an article<br />

talking about their imminent extinction. Rare<br />

and precious, it hadn’t even occurred to me<br />

that I might drive out one evening and be<br />

confronted with a fully grown white rhino.<br />

But there he was, munching away on the<br />

grass, completely ignoring my presence. I<br />

struggled to stifle my shrieks of excitement<br />

and was grinning from ear to ear watching<br />

his every move, entranced.<br />

The world’s rhino numbers have been<br />

decimated in the past 100 years. It is<br />

estimated that a rhino is killed every eight<br />

hours, and that South Africa alone has lost<br />

7,130 rhinos since 2008. More rhinos are<br />

lost to poaching than are born, and most<br />

countries lack the resources to fight back<br />

against the illegal trade in rhino horn which<br />

drives the killing.<br />

Botswana, however, offers a beacon<br />

of light for rhinos and other big game: it<br />

has more elephants than any other country<br />

in the world, for example. Though recent<br />

changes in hunting laws may be a cause<br />

for concern, as a rule, Botswana has a<br />

no tolerance approach to poaching. In<br />

the national reserves, anyone carrying a<br />

gun is a legitimate target for the wildlife<br />

rangers. This, combined with the low human<br />

population density, the proper resourcing of<br />

wildlife rangers (supported where necessary<br />

by troops) and constant monitoring of big<br />

game has ensured that Botswana is arguably<br />

the safest place on the planet to be a rhino<br />

right now.<br />

This is all well and good if you happen<br />

to be a rhino born in Botswana, but what<br />

about rhinos living elsewhere? It is not as<br />

though they know to walk across a continent<br />

to this safe haven, or would be able to do<br />

so unharmed. Thankfully, Rhinos Without<br />

Borders is managing the logistics on the<br />

rhinos’ behalf, and in doing so might well<br />

save the species from oblivion.<br />

Rhinos Without Borders - a joint project<br />

between &Beyond and Great Plains<br />

Conservation - aims to move 100 rhinos from<br />

poaching hotspots in South Africa to new,<br />

safe homelands in Botswana’s Okavango<br />

Delta. Some 77 rhinos have already<br />

made the journey and it was one of these<br />

fortunate emigres that I met during my stay<br />

at Gomoti Plains Camp.<br />

Translocating a rhino is no mean feat.<br />

You cannot simply put it into the back of<br />

a van and drive it along the road. (And<br />

remember: there are a hundred rhinos to<br />

move!). Every rhino had to be tranquilised<br />

and airlifted to safety, with a heavily armed<br />

guard to protect them whilst in transit. Flying<br />

reduced the journey time and risk of ambush<br />

while cutting down the amount of stress the<br />

rhinos had to endure so that they were more<br />

likely to settle in well when they arrived.<br />

As you can imagine, flying a rhino<br />

anywhere doesn’t come cheap. Rhinos<br />

Without Borders estimate that it costs<br />

$45,000 to relocate each rhino and to<br />

secure it in Botswana, requiring a total<br />

budget of $4.5 million. Such funds couldn’t<br />

be raised overnight, and the translocation<br />

process also took time to refine. In the first<br />

three years, 37 rhinos steadily made the<br />

move and then the pace accelerated and<br />

40 more were translocated in a three week<br />

period in 2018.<br />

The work can’t stop once rhinos arrive<br />

in Botswana. They need time to acclimatise<br />

to their new surroundings, find out where<br />

to graze and recover from the shock and<br />

stress of the journey. Rhinos Without Borders<br />

commissioned purpose built steel bomas for<br />

their charges so that they could be closely<br />

monitored and then released once vets and<br />

conservationists were happy the animals<br />

were in good condition. Every rhino has a<br />

specially designed telemetry device so it<br />

can be tracked for research and security<br />

purposes; even in Botswana, no one is<br />

taking any chances.<br />

Rhinos Without Borders have released<br />

the rhinos at multiple locations across<br />

Botswana, in both national parks and<br />

private game concessions. The chosen<br />

locations were kept secret during the move,<br />

but once released, the rhinos were free to<br />

roam.<br />

A few days after my initial rhino sighting<br />

at Gomoti Plains, I was treated to an<br />

encounter with a mother rhino and her<br />

calf heading down to the river bank at Rra<br />

Dinare. Unlike the elephants, which stick<br />

together in huge herds, the rhinos seem to<br />

be much less sociable creatures. If these<br />

pair did have a guard (which many of the<br />

rhinos understandably do), he was well<br />

hidden, camouflaged amongst the bushes<br />

and grasses. It felt as though it was just me,<br />

the guide and two of the most precious,<br />

spectacular mammals on earth.<br />

Sophie Ibbotson is the author of five<br />

Bradt Travel Guides, including the first<br />

guidebook to South Sudan. She travelled<br />

to Botswana with wildlife and wilderness<br />

specialists Africa Exclusive.<br />





Whitewater kayaking is one of those<br />

experiences that seems to be on everyone’s<br />

bucket list but it’s one of the more difficult<br />

adventure sports to actually get out and try.<br />

For kayaking guide Robbie Mingay, it’s just<br />

another day in Jinja, Uganda.<br />

Ifirst travelled to Uganda for what was supposed to<br />

be six weeks of kayaking the Nile’s famous rapids.<br />

Little did I know that six weeks would soon stretch<br />

to three months, then to a year, and on to another.<br />

It’s not an uncommon story; kayakers from all over<br />

the world have travelled to Uganda and many have<br />

stayed for far longer than they ever could have<br />

anticipated. One of the reasons I have stayed this long is<br />

because I’ve been fortunate enough to work as a whitewater<br />

kayaking guide for Kayak the Nile based in Jinja, Uganda. It’s<br />

a wonderful place to teach others how to do what I love, and<br />

the reasons I enjoy working here are the same ones that make<br />

it a wonderful place to learn to kayak.<br />

As a beginner, your first river can make a huge difference<br />

in how much you enjoy yourself. This is what makes Uganda’s<br />

White Nile so special. It has the unbeatable combination of<br />

being deep and warm, with great rapids. Because kayaking<br />

is such a niche sport, most of my clients are usually first timers.<br />

The introduction classes are always a favourite to teach. To<br />

take your own knowledge and pass it on to someone else is<br />

both challenging and rewarding. Everyone learns in different<br />

ways; some people like to hear instructions while others need<br />

to see something to understand, and this makes every lesson<br />

different.<br />

And so we get out on the water and paddle down the<br />

river giving them a chance to see a side of Uganda that<br />

they usually haven’t experienced before. We pass fishermen<br />

carefully tending to their traps and casting their nets, villagers<br />

doing their washing on the river banks and beautiful areas of<br />

dense indigenous vegetation which are home to countless bird<br />

species. As we glide down the Nile, it’s usually not uncommon<br />

to hear the familiar, laugh-like call of a pair of fish eagles<br />

perched high up in the tree-tops.<br />

When we approach the first rapid of the day, the first thing<br />

you notice is the sound. Initially, it’s faint, a barely perceptible<br />

white noise somewhere in the distance, but as you draw<br />

closer, it begins to amplify. Every paddle stroke propels you<br />

closer to the source of that sound and it is in this moment that<br />

one of my favourite parts of the day occurs. We approach our<br />

first rapid called ‘Jaws’, and that faint white noise begins to<br />

creep into the forefront of guest’s consciousness as they realize<br />

what that sound actually is.<br />

How people react to that realization is a great part of my<br />

day. You can see them mentally shift gears depending on<br />

how they feel about the approaching challenge. For some,<br />

the excitement overrides their nervousness and it’s full-steam<br />

ahead. Others shift to neutral; more questions are asked, more<br />

hypothetical scenarios are talked through and, eventually, we<br />

go. Some switch to reverse but it’s only temporary as in the<br />

end, the draw of the rapid is too much to resist. People crave<br />

unique experiences and running a rapid in a kayak on the<br />

Nile is as thrilling as it gets.<br />

As for the rapids themselves – they are big, with large<br />

powerful waves, swirling currents and fast-moving water.<br />

Despite that, they are remarkably safe and many are not too<br />

difficult to navigate. With the skills we teach on someone’s<br />

first ever day kayaking, many beginners make it down some<br />

of the rapids without capsizing. Those that do capsize end up<br />

swimming down the rapid which, in the Nile’s warm water,<br />

can be just as fun as paddling them.<br />

Whitewater kayaking is one of those experiences that<br />

seems to be on everyone’s bucket list but it’s one of the more<br />

difficult adventure sports to actually get out and try. Travellers<br />

visiting Jinja should be excited by the wonderful opportunity<br />

they have to try whitewater kayaking on such an incredible<br />

river.<br />

For more information on kayaking the Nile River in Jinja,<br />

check out kayakthenile.com<br />


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NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019 45<br />

oo Camp.indd 1 16/07/2019 16:2


COMOROS:<br />

AFRICA’S<br />



Floating between<br />

Mozambique and<br />

Madagascar lie a number of<br />

volcanic islands, tropical in<br />

climate, unspoiled in nature<br />

and positively wild: this is<br />

Comoros, the romantically<br />

named Islands of the Moon.<br />

Maurice Schutgens paints a<br />

perfect picture with these<br />

five activities that should be<br />

on your bucket list:<br />


Set in the shadow of Mount Karthala, with<br />

a name that roughly translates to “in the<br />

heart of the fire”, Moroni is the capital city<br />

of Comoros, home to an eclectic mix of<br />

Arabic, French and Swahili cultures. Moroni<br />

is loud, somewhat gritty and possibly ever<br />

so slightly chaotic. My overloaded taxi,<br />

blaring the latest hip-hop tracks, drops<br />

me off at the famous Volo Volo Market at<br />

the heart of the city. From the get-go it’s a<br />

sensory overload. I’m offered ripe produce<br />

from the flanks of Mount Karthala, freshly<br />

caught tunas and tasteful local fabrics worn<br />

by Chiromani – Comorian women. Vanilla<br />

aromas hang heavy in the air. I head for the<br />

serenity of the medina awash with intricate<br />

Arabic architecture and beautifully carved<br />

Zanzibar doors, a fading reminder of former<br />

glory. I wind my way aimlessly through the<br />

deserted maze of narrow streets striking up<br />

conversations with local Comorians about<br />

everything and nothing. Finally I move along,<br />

heading for Moroni’s most iconic landmark<br />

in the harbour: the Ancienne Mosquee du<br />

Vendredi (Friday Mosque) dating back to<br />

1427. As the sun sets, I people watch, my<br />

legs swinging over the embankment. It’s a<br />

mesmerizing place.<br />


Mount Karthala looms large over the<br />

southern half of Grand Comore, its imposing<br />

presence a constant reminder of the fury that<br />

bubbles just below the surface. The crater<br />

rim, located at just under 2,400m, appears<br />

permanently lost in the equatorial clouds.<br />

Karthala is one of the most active volcanoes<br />

on earth and the opportunity to look down<br />

into its crater irresistible! I leave my hotel at<br />

3:00am In the cool of the night. As the sun<br />

crests the horizon the landscape changes,<br />

we leave the equatorial forest behind and<br />

head up into a wild tundra like landscape<br />

characterized by stunted trees, giant heather<br />

plants and remnants of ancient lava flows.<br />

Upwards we go, sweating profusely though<br />

it's only 6:00am. Three hours later we crawl<br />

onto the crater rim. I am absolutely battered<br />

but the pain is temporarily forgotten for the<br />

views are breathtaking. Ahead of us lies the<br />

colossal moonscape of Karthala’s caldera.<br />

We descend into it and cross the soft grey<br />

fields of ash till we stand on the rim of the<br />

new crater.<br />




Mohéli Marine Park, established in 2001 as<br />

the first National Park of Comoros, is home<br />

to some of the healthiest coral still thriving<br />

in the Indian Ocean. Its location directly<br />

in the path of the warm and nutrient rich<br />

Mozambique channel, means that the islands<br />

are teeming with marine life from humpback<br />

whales and dugongs to giant manta<br />

rays. Through a powerful deluge, my taxi<br />

circumnavigates the island to the diminutive<br />

and laid-back village of Nioumachoua,<br />

home to Laka Lodge – an oasis of calm and<br />

the gateway to the islands of Mohéli Marine<br />

Park. Richard – the resident Slovakian Dive<br />

Master, takes me to his favourite diving<br />

spots. We start with a 15-minute traverse<br />

over to Leprosy Island (yes you read that<br />

right). The water is startlingly clear as we<br />

watch the rays of sunlight pierce far into<br />

the depths. We strap on our tanks, take a<br />

healthy breath and roll back dropping down<br />

quickly to coral outcrops beneath, teeming<br />

with a staggering variety of fish. The hours<br />

spent underwater are over in a flash.<br />



On Mohéli Island lies an isolated fishing<br />

village by the name of Itsamia. It is here<br />

that Green sea turtles have found a safe<br />

refuge to come and nest year-round. Up<br />

until about 20 years ago sea turtles were<br />

commonly killed for meat and the population<br />

was in serious decline. The villagers put a<br />

stop to this and their conservation work has<br />

yielded dramatic results. Today more than<br />

a million turtles hatch on Itsamia’s beaches<br />

every year, transforming it into the second<br />

largest nesting site for the species in the<br />

Indian Ocean. Late at night we head out<br />

on a nocturnal patrol with one of the local<br />

eco-guards. Under a billions of stars we<br />

head to the village’s main beach looking<br />

for the tell-tale drag markings - It doesn’t<br />

take long before we spot one. We watch<br />

her lay her clutch of eggs then slowly return<br />

to the depths of the ocean. It is a humbling<br />

experience to share with her.<br />



Grand Comore, known locally as Ngazidja,<br />

is the largest island of the archipelago with<br />

many sights worth seeing. I hire a barely<br />

roadworthy vehicle and head south, out of<br />

Moroni soon coming upon the village of<br />

Iconi, home to the impressive 16th century<br />

ruins of the Palais de Kaviridjeo where the<br />

mighty Sultan of Bambao once ruled and<br />

where Malagasy pirates plied their trade.<br />

I continue my journey further south passing<br />

Sangani, a small village partly destroyed by<br />

one of Karthala’s mighty eruptions in recent<br />

times. The north of Grand Comore is a barren<br />

expanse of stark beauty and jagged rocks.<br />

I head towards the town of Mitsamiouli,<br />

where Maloudja, a stunning palm tree lined<br />

beach awaits. I ditch my car and walk along<br />

several secluded bays that lead to the Trou<br />

de Phrophete (Prophets Hole) where Prophet<br />

Mohammed is rumored to have sought refuge<br />

from pirates. The water is crystal clear – perfect<br />

for a swim. I push on to Lac Sal, a stunning little<br />

coastal crater of deep green water, the locals<br />

claim it is bottomless. The walk along its rim is<br />

as hair-raising as it is spectacular.<br />




Inspired by a fusion of African, Indian & Arabian architecture,<br />

this exquisite 5 bedroom beachfront villa in Diani Beach makes the ideal holiday retreat.<br />

Available on an exclusive basis, the 5 acre property comes with a chef, waiter and 7 additional staff<br />

so you and your family can relax in the privacy of this palatial home.<br />


Ahana Villa ahanavilla@gmail.com, Ukunda, Coast, Coast, Kenya Phone: +254 798059990 Email: ahanavilla@gmail.com<br />



CITY<br />

HOTELS<br />

ISSUE<br />

Email for special rates.<br />

vanessa@nomadmagazineafrica.com<br />



Tan Moshi<br />

Ksh15,900<br />

Anyiko Owoko is a Music Publicist, Journalist and<br />

travel enthusiast. She just got back from Lagos<br />

then went to Diani Beach shortly after. These<br />

were her travel essentials on those trips.<br />

Instagram: @anyikowoko<br />


I get the smallest bottle which usually lasts about two weeks. It works<br />

as both a cleanser and make-up remover so I get to save space while<br />

packing. I also don’t have to wash my face again after using it.<br />


Small but powerful. I’ve been using this when getting ready in the morning<br />

or preparing for bed in the evening. When people come to hang out on<br />

the balcony of my room for drinks, for instance, we can just play some<br />

music and have a good time.<br />


I might need to record myself at an event or might be interviewing a<br />

celebrity and so this always comes in handy for my work.<br />


I have a collection of earrings, chockers, rings and bracelets. They are<br />

gold and made of brass, and I love that they are bold. In Lagos, for<br />

instance, people kept asking who I was wearing so that’s always a good<br />

ice breaker in a social gathering. I sometimes pair them with my Maasai<br />

jewellery.<br />


It comes in my favourite colour. It’s also very stylish and I actually wore it<br />

like a top, with pants and a jacket. I recently saw Victoria Kimani wear it<br />

like that as well and immediately identified it.<br />


It is stylish, made from cowhide, is very spacious and even has a<br />

compartment for my laptop, and this is also an authentic Kenyan brand.<br />

What’s not to love?<br />


I carry two phones so one will still have my Kenyan sim while the other<br />

will carry a local line in a new country. This is to ensure I’m online<br />

always, can take enough photos and videos of the trip and gather all the<br />

content I need on the road. Chances are I might never do that activity<br />

ever again and the last thing I want is to be offline for prolonged periods<br />

of time.<br />


NAIROBI: The Hub, Junction, Sarit Centre, Village Market, Yaya Centre, Westgate<br />

www.sandstormkenya.com<br />




Inspired by vintage British horsedrawn<br />

caravans of yesteryear,<br />

these huts in Nanyuki are<br />

certainly one of a kind.<br />




Finally, the <strong>Nomad</strong> team arrives in<br />

Nanyuki after a couple of days<br />

up in the mountains. To electricity<br />

and hot showers and KFC, which<br />

is actually our first stop in town.<br />

Nothing short of fast food will suffice! For supper<br />

later that evening, we swing by Little Barney’s at<br />

One Stop for some takeaway pizza before being<br />

shown to our cottages, Bramble and Oak, which<br />

are actually only a stone’s throw away.<br />

Similar in design, these stylish and quirky huts<br />

are traditional shepherd’s wagons that were used<br />

during lambing season in the UK from the 15th<br />

to the 20th century. Raised and with extended<br />

wooden front porches, they actually even have<br />

the standard wheels at the bottom and would<br />

therefore be mobile should they ever need to be<br />

moved. Nestled in a garden, an outdoor lounging<br />

area leads to the main door which opens to an<br />

intimate space with one double bed, a single bed<br />

and kitchen area where you’re more likely to easily<br />

whip up coffee with toast than cook a full meal for<br />

dinner. It includes a fridge, kettle, tea bags, instant<br />

coffee and enough glasses to invite a handful of<br />

friends over for a quick sundowner, possibly out on<br />

the verandah while taking in the views of Mt Kenya<br />

on a clear day.<br />

My hut could comfortably sleep three. The<br />

space looks bigger than it actually is thanks to<br />

the spotless all-white coat of paint within as well<br />

as the large glass windows and doors which<br />

let in maximum light. The eco-friendly toilet and<br />

bathrooms are private, solar-heated, set right<br />

outside the room and intentionally designed to<br />

create a rustic African “mabati chic” feel.<br />

Unique in the country thanks to being inspired<br />

by vintage British traveller horse-drawn caravans<br />

of yesteryear, Shepherd’s Hut is set opposite the<br />

Nanyuki airstrip and thanks to its location at One<br />

Stop Nanyuki, you can find an array of facilities<br />

and services ranging from a farm shop and hair<br />

salon to a vet’s office right within the premises.<br />

Accommodation starts at Ksh 5,000 per person.<br />

A safari tent with one king size bed and two<br />

singles is available, and if you have tents, you<br />

can camp here for only Ksh 500. A swimming<br />

pool is currently under construction, and there is<br />

also a wooden three-bedroomed house said to be<br />

over 100 years old that was recently transported<br />

to Nanyuki from its previous location in Nairobi.<br />

For its age, it is surprisingly still very intact, and<br />

is being restored exactly as it was with very little<br />

reinforcements, and it will likely be ready for<br />

bookings by the beginning of August. Once the<br />

decor is completed, likely in a similar simple,<br />

stylish, airy and tasteful manner as the huts, it will<br />

certainly be one of the most charming places to<br />

stay in town.<br />

www.onestopnanyuki.com<br />





A visit to Elewana Kifaru House is to plunge<br />

into the timeless tranquility of Africa. Located<br />

within the world-famous Lewa Conservancy,<br />

home to East Africa’s healthiest black and<br />

white rhino populations, this bijou property,<br />

appropriately takes its name from the Swahili<br />

word for rhino.<br />

A haven of luxury in the bush, you will<br />

immediately feel at home on arrival, warmly<br />

welcomed by the friendly and attentive staff.<br />

The comfortable sitting room with wellstocked<br />

bar and elegant dining area extend<br />

out to a large, comfortably furnished terrace.<br />

Here, you can enjoy a sunny breakfast al<br />

fresco and watch the busy goings-on at the<br />

waterhole below, or you can choose to relax<br />

by the picturesque infinity pool and enjoy the<br />

magnificent views over the distant plains.<br />

The property luxuriates in total exclusivity<br />

with five charming thatched cottages tucked<br />

away in an oasis of vibrant lawns filled with<br />

birdsong. All have well-appointed bedrooms<br />

with sumptuous four-poster beds and<br />

generous en-suite bathrooms.<br />

With an excellent library and log fires in<br />

the lounge and dining rooms, you can truly<br />

sink into delicious, cozy comfort during the<br />

cool evenings and luxuriate in the peace and<br />

serenity of the African night.<br />


Sprawling over the rolling plains north<br />

of Mt Kenya, Lewa is a prolific wildlife<br />

conservancy that is popular with celebrities,<br />

conservationists, writers and photographers.<br />

Lewa has in recent times found media<br />

attention with stories of a royal romance and<br />

the fairytale engagement that followed.<br />

Visitors to Lewa are privy to some of the<br />

most spectacular wildlife viewing that Kenya<br />

has to offer: lion, leopard and jackal thrive<br />

on the rich diversity of prey that inhabits the<br />

area. The Wildlife Conservancy is home to<br />

the largest concentration of Grevy’s zebra in<br />

the world, and its range of habitats attracts<br />

diverse birdlife and hosts over 130 black<br />

and white rhino.<br />

Featuring large tented bedrooms with<br />

verandahs and full en-suite bathrooms, the<br />



camp offers authentic comfort for its visitors;<br />

cozy log fires in the sitting room are perfect<br />

for relaxing after a day in the conservancy.<br />

This unique and exclusive retreat offers<br />

privileged access to 65,000 acres of private<br />

protected wilderness.<br />

Underpinning the glamorous magnetism<br />

of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is a serious<br />

mission: a pioneering and pragmatic<br />

approach to conservation, founded in the<br />

1970’s, that has developed into a thriving<br />

and globally recognised rhino conservation<br />

habitat.<br />

Profits and conservancy fees generated<br />

by the camp are reinvested directly into<br />

the conservation and community efforts of<br />

Elewana Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.<br />


Lewa covers 65,000 acres, a vast<br />

wilderness. It has dramatic views to the<br />

south of snow capped Mt. Kenya, and to the<br />

north down to the arid lands of Tassia and<br />

Il Ngwesi. It has many diverse habitats from<br />

pristine forest, fertile grasslands, extensive<br />

springs and acacia woodland.<br />

Registered as a rhino conservancy in<br />

1983, the conservancy is famous for its<br />

successful rhino and Grevy zebra breeding,<br />

two endangered species; Lewa is home to<br />

10% of Kenya’s rhino, and 20% of the worlds<br />

population of Grevy zebra. The whole<br />

conservancy is fenced, and the conservancy<br />

employs over 150 rangers. The conservancy<br />

does extensive outreach work into the<br />

surrounding communities with its Community<br />

Development Program, including healthcare,<br />

education, micro-finance, and water projects<br />

– in order to share with the community the<br />

benefits of wildlife.<br />

With over 70 recorded mammal species<br />

within the conservancy, for you, the wildlife<br />

experience is unrivalled.<br />

Elewana Collection manages Elewana Lewa<br />

Safari Camp and Elewana Kifaru House on<br />

behalf of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.<br />

www.elewanacollection.com<br />



LAGOS<br />

WOES<br />

By Karanja Nzisa<br />

A<br />

mongst my abundance of<br />

catastrophes at airports,<br />

one incident in Nigeria so<br />

shook me that I may have<br />

slipped into a temporary<br />

mania. Standing at<br />

an ATM machine that<br />

wouldn’t dispense any cash, I wept and<br />

cackled, then wept and cackled in repeat.<br />

I can’t say for sure how long this went on,<br />

but I remember pulling myself together when<br />

a stranger yanked at my elbow and said<br />

something I couldn’t comprehend.<br />

The day had begun without a single<br />

ominous sign. As a participant in a twoweek<br />

workshop, I attended all the scheduled<br />

sessions that Friday before tearing out of the<br />

facility and into an awaiting taxi bound for<br />

the ill-famed MMIA (Murtala Muhammed<br />

International Airport). See I had to leave<br />

Lagos mid-stay to attend to an urgent matter,<br />

and had bought a round trip ticket to fly<br />

home for the weekend and get back to Lagos<br />

on Sunday in less than 48 hours (oh the<br />

follies of hope).<br />

Off to the airport I went, feeling happy<br />

with myself as I had only hand luggage<br />

and just barely missed the traffic snarl<br />

up for which Lagos has earned a ghastly<br />

reputation. Cruising the Third Mainland<br />

Bridge that joins Lagos Island to the<br />

mainland, our jalopy jerked violently a few<br />

times before coming to a silent and rather<br />

final halt at about the same time my heart<br />

sunk to the bottom of my gut. After a half<br />

hour of waving down speeding motorists<br />

with the flashlight on my phone to avoid<br />

my imminent death while the driver fiddled<br />

with bolts and cables under the bonnet, the<br />

damned tin box sputtered back to life and<br />

we went on with our journey. We hadn’t<br />

gone far at all before arriving at the scene of<br />

a horrific accident and had to wait nearly an<br />

hour while the raging fire that had engulfed<br />

a luckless danfo bus was put out.<br />

When I arrived at MMIA, my flight hadn’t<br />

left. Rather, our aircraft hadn’t even arrived.<br />

Thanking whatever gods might have been<br />

working in my favour, I marched confidently<br />

to the check-in counter from whence the<br />

second part in the terrible drama that<br />

was my night unfolded. The airline official<br />

scrutinised my passport with a scowl, tapped<br />

her knobby fingers on her keyboard, looked<br />

at me sadly and said in that dulcet Nigerian<br />

lilt, “I’m sorry SAH your ticket isn’t in the<br />

system.” Snorting, I read her my booking<br />

reference number, told her she was speaking<br />

nonsense and requested that she check<br />

again. Five minutes and no ticket later, a<br />

queue of grumbling passengers was forming<br />

quickly behind me and I was grinding my<br />

teeth in exasperation.<br />

As it turns out, my travel agent had made<br />

a reservation which because of a technical<br />

glitch, never made it on the other side of<br />

the ticketing queue, which meant no ticket<br />

number had been issued, which also meant<br />

- as I discovered sitting in the airline Station<br />

Manager’s musty office- that I couldn’t get<br />

on the flight. The matronly manager made<br />

dozens of futile calls to Nairobi. Realising<br />

the window of opportunity was closing fast<br />

on me, she advised that I bring forward<br />

my original departure ticket and pay the<br />

negligible change fee. “Should be easy,”<br />

she said, guiding me to the Flying Blue<br />

office as that original ticket was an award<br />

ticket bought with my accrued flying miles<br />

and could only be modified there.<br />

I didn’t have enough cash so I happily<br />

handed my bankcard over. “Declined”.<br />

Second try. “Declined”. Substitute card.<br />

“Declined”. Mad dash to the ATM<br />

machine. “Please contact your bank”.<br />

Meltdown.<br />

I later discovered that I should have<br />

given official notice to my bank that I<br />

would be travelling to a country marked<br />

for ‘fraudulent activity’.<br />

Back in that dreary office, the darling<br />

lady offered her regrets and informed me<br />

it was way past closing time and there<br />

was nothing more she could do. Then she<br />

left and with her, all my fortitude. The gods<br />

were not asleep however, and my partner<br />

had made a call from Nairobi to the<br />

Flying Blue office in Amsterdam, pleaded<br />

my case and asked to make the payment<br />

over the phone, which they allowed.<br />

Zooming through the night skies<br />

towards Nairobi with the trace of dried<br />

tears on my face, I replayed the events of<br />

that evening in my head, took down some<br />

notes and made a promise to myself that<br />

one day I would write about my ordeal.<br />




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