Nomad issue #24

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DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE

ISSUE 24| NOV/DEC | FREE COPY

HOLIDAY

SEASON

FEATURING SOME EXCITING PLACES TO VISIT THIS HOLIDAY

FRESH EYES

ON NAIVASHA

ADVENTURE IN

JINJA, UGANDA

BIRTH OF THE

WALKING SAFARI


Breathtaking

Views

and Signature

Kenyan

hospitality


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EDITOR’S NOTE

I

WHAT

DO YOU MEAN MY FLIGHT IS CANCELLED?

had spent two leisurely nights at one of those secluded

and untouched islands in the Lamu archipelago, and

by the time my boyfriend and I had checked out on

the final day, we were running late to the airport. As

usual. With barely 20 minutes left to boarding time,

we rocked up to Manda Airport panting, dripping in

sweat and certain that we must have lost some vital piece of

luggage along the way. It was at this point that we found out,

and only from other stranded passengers milling about, that

our Silverstone flight to Nairobi had been cancelled without as

much as an email alert.

for Malindi at 6:00 am, and it will be super cheap if we can

get you two to join us.”

I couldn’t help but admire this solid pitch. In fact, years

earlier, my broke solo traveling self would have happily

jumped at the chance (one day I will write about how

accepting such offers landed me in a bed-bug ridden mattress

in a foreign country). Having done that road trip several years

ago, you couldn’t pay me enough to do that today. I have

become way too spoilt by the simple pleasures of comfortable

travel.

That had been the last flight of the day and even the airport

was to close soon. Our next course of action was to browse

around on AirBnB to find possible accommodation, which for

two people terrible at making such decisions, must have been

a comical conversation for any eavesdropper. We couldn’t

even decide whether to go to Shella or the Old Town.

As though having spotted potential prey, a group of

European backpackers approached us. You could tell that they

had been roughing it on the road for a while from the holes

in their t-shirts, worn shoes and heavy backpacks slung on the

front like some heavy eight-month pregnancy.

“You know, there are no flights out of Lamu tomorrow

either,” started their spokesperson after a few pleasantries

were exchanged. “We’ve found a matatu that can leave Lamu

“There’s this house that you can join us in...it’s in Manda

and has a verandah which you can sleep in for crazy cheap,”

continued the spokesperson.

My boyfriend and I exchanged knowing glances.

Ultimately, we ended up booking the entire ‘penthouse’ space

of a lovely seafront hotel at Ksh 3,500 per person. This was

our idea of slamming it, because you could never tell if you

should drink the fresh juices, and the towels had that worn

been-around-the-block look about them as though they had

been carried into a war zone by some trooper before making

its way to Lamu via Toi Market.

Interesting how even our travel needs evolve over time. As

you gear up for the upcoming season, we’d be keen to hear

what you’re looking for from your end-of-year holiday...

ON THE COVER

EMARA- SERENI

PHOTOGRAPHED

BY BRIAN SIAMBI

Wendy Watta

@WattaOnTheGo

NOMAD ISSUE 24 · NOV/DEC 2019 · PUBLISHED BY WEBSIMBA LIMITED, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

MANAGING DIRECTOR MIKUL SHAH EDITOR WENDY WATTA DESIGN BRIAN SIAMBI, JOHN NJOROGE SALES VANESSA WANJIKU DIGITAL FAITH KANJA

CONTRIBUTORS JOANNE NDIRANGU, FAITH KANJA, MAURICE SCHUTGENS, SOPHIE IBBOTSON, KATY FENTRESS

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS BRIAN SIAMBI, ALASTAIR BOYD, TIME + TIDE, FAHAD FUAD

MARKETING & OPERATIONS DANIEL MUTHIANI

SALES ENQUIRIES CALL NOMAD 0711 22 22 22 EMAIL EDITOR@NOMADMAGAZINE.CO

NomadMagazineAfrica @NomadMagAfrica @NomadMagazineAfrica

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019 3


4 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019 5


CONTENTS

25

FRESH EYES ON NAIVASHA

From flower farms and paragliding

to scenic drives and incredible

restaurants, Naivasha resident Joanne

Ndirangu gives recommendations of

things to do away from the typical

Naivasha experience.

20

In this issue

18

12. TOP SHOTS

This month’s featured photographer took

around five weeks and two trips to capture

a shot of a black leopard at Loisaba

conservancy.

15. NEWS

Salty’s Kitesurf Village opens in Kilifi,

Mama Ngina Waterfront Park is

redeveloped and Kenya Airways partners

up with Safarilink.

17. WHATS ON

From the Magical Kenya Ladies Golf Open

to the East African Safari Classic Rally,

find a roundup of must-attend events this

season.

48. WHAT I PACK FOR MY TRAVELS

Kenyan-Japanese co-owner of the Endo²

brand, Yvonne Endo, gives us a peek

inside her travel bag.

FEATURES

30. PLACES TO STAY IN NAIVASHA

Find a variety of incredible properties to

consider on your next visit to Naivasha.

38. THE BIRTH OF THE WALKING SAFARI

Norman Carr, regarded as the pioneer

of walking safaris, found paradise in

South Luangwa and thanks to his lifelong

conservation efforts, this Eden is still here

for us to enjoy.

40. ROADTRIP

Faith Kanja sets off on an action-packed

seven day road trip with the Kenya

Tourism Board, covering places such as

Karura Forest, Limuru, Aberdares National

Park and Diani.

32

REGULARS

18. GLOBETROTTERS

We sat down with Tanzania’s most

traveled social media influencer and

photographer, Fahad Fuad, and asked him

all your travel questions on Tanzania.

20. JINJA: CALLING ALL THRILL SEEKERS

Said to be the very source of the Nile,

Jinja in Uganda has incredible views and

world-class rapids, and promises a world

of adventure for the keen thrill seeker.

42. DISPATCH: A HIDDEN GEM

IN MALAWI

Located in the Upper Shire Valley,

Liwonde National Park is undoubtedly

Malawi’s most spectacular wildlife viewing

destination. Maurice Schutgens returns to

the park after 12 years to experience it.

6 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


CONTRIBUTORS

WHICH PLACE IN THE WORLD FEELS MOST LIKE HOME RIGHT NOW?

SOPHIE IBBOTSON

The birth of the walking safari

My first visit to Uzbekistan blew me away.

I’d driven across Eastern Europe, Russia

and Kazakhstan, and found myself in

Samarkand: the heart of the Silk Road.

I stood in the Registan in Samarkand

completely in awe of the dazzlingly tiled

madrassas around me. The city’s Timurid

monuments are a UNESCO World Heritage

Site, and the artistry of the medieval artisans

is remarkable, even now.

FAITH KANJA

Roadtrip

So far, no holiday has matched my one

week trip to the northern frontier six

years ago. I visited Marsabit, Kargi and

Loiyangalani. At the time, the roads were not

good but this added to the fun. Interacting

with the El Molo community, camping

under the stars and sometimes riding in the

backseat of a dusty Land Cruiser on off road

terrain are moments I will always cherish.

JOANNE NDIRANGU

Fresh eyes on Naivasha

I always remember the first time I visited

Nanyuki. I was staying with a friend and

she came up with an exciting itinerary for

me. Of all the places we went to, I will never

forget Trout Tree Restaurant. We had lunch

in a lovely tree house overlooking the ponds

where they farm their own trout. I try to visit

Nanyuki every year since, if I can.

GIVEAWAY!

It’s really easy to enter our

competition to win some Nomad

goodies worth Ksh 5,000. All you

need to do is tell us your favourite

trip of 2019 inspired by our

magazine, in as many or few words

as you wish.

Send us an email with the subject

line “My Favourite Trip” to editor@

nomadmagazine.co by midnight

EAT December 10, 2019, to stand a

chance to win!

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019 7


8 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


TOP SHOTS

Alastair Boyd

@alastair_boyd

Through old friends at Loisaba, I was

told where there had been frequent

sightings of the black leopard, and I

decided to focus on one area. I found

what I thought would be the kind of trail

it would be using. It took around five

weeks and two trips until I got the shot.

I used a Nikon D800 with a Nikkor

14-24mm f/2.8G lens. My settings

were ISO 320 at 24mm, f5.6 and

1/60. I also had a Cognisys Scout Trail

Monitoring System with 2 X speed light

SB900 and a Peli Protector Case.

TIP: Always have patience and a sense

of humour!

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019 9


TOP SHOTS

10 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


FAHAD FUAD

Instagram: @fahad_fuad

I shot this at Serengeti National Park.

Balloons in Tanzania typically take off

in the morning between 6:00am to

9:00am. I used a Nikon D810 with

a 70 to 20mm lens. My settings were

1/400, F6.0, ISO 320.

TIP: Wake up early for that sunrise

golden hour. Always try different

perspectives and take more than one

shot to get the perfect picture.

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019 11


NEWS

KENYA AIRWAYS AND

SAFARILINK PARTNERSHIP

Kenya Airways has signed an agreement

with Safarilink to provide passengers with

connectivity to different tourist destinations

in Kenya and Tanzania. These include

eleven airstrips in Maasai Mara and direct

flights to Amboseli, Diani, Kapese, Kitale,

Lewa, Loisaba, Migori, Samburu, Lamu,

Zanzibar, Ukunda, Vipingo, Kilimanjaro,

Tsavo West, Nanyuki and Lodwar. The

codeshare agreement aims to bring more

global travellers to Kenya Airways as well

as enabling customers from international

destinations to book their full safari

experience directly via KQ holidays.

The packages will conveniently connect

travellers from JKIA to Wilson Airport

and eventually to their respective safari

destinations.

MAMA NGINA WATERFRONT PARK REDEVELOPED

The Mama Ngina Waterfront Park is a 26-acre waterfront space

recently redeveloped into a modern public recreational area with

several added amenities. It has become the first public landscaped

waterfront and starts from the Likoni Ferry Crossing in the south

to the Mombasa Golf Club in the north. These two points act as

both entry and exit points into the park and are marked by huge

monumental gates. As part of the renovations, the waterfront now

features a natural amphitheatre, a cultural centre, 2.1km long

promenade and a space for food vendors. The amphitheatre has a

seating capacity of 3,000 people. The Kilindini Cultural Center has

exhibition halls and screening rooms where visitors can watch films

and listen to audio to learn more about the history of Mombasa.

Being open 24-hours a day, the park is well lit with strategically

placed security lighting, a police post and public toilets.

SALTY’S KITESURF VILLAGE OPENS IN KILIFI

Salty’s Kitesurf Village is a sustainably and ethically-run

establishment on Bofa beach in Kilifi. With beautiful tropical

waters, calm lagoons and great waves out on the reef, this Kitesurf

center, beach bar and restaurant is perfect for kite surfers and

caters to numerous styles of the sport while offering affordable

accommodation options for all, starting at Ksh 3,500. With

barely any marketing, a soft-opening where about 30 guests were

expected drew almost 150 residents and tourists, and the laid-back

beachfront bar, one of the handful in Kilifi, is already being hailed

as an it-spot in the town. Permaculture is done at the premises

and they grow most of their food which chef Jack then whips into

healthy and delicious platters which are also making the menu here

the talk of the town.www.saltyskitesurf.com

12 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019 13


T H E

MSAMBWENI

EXPERIENCE

U S E C O D E : K T B / E A / U G 1 9

USD 340 USD 160 FULL BOARD

VALID UNTIL 20TH DECEMBER 2019

PER PERSON

PER NIGHT ON

www.mbh.co.ke info@mbh.co.ke +254 729 403 697


EVENTS

MAGICAL KENYA LADIES OPEN

The Magical Kenya Ladies Golf Open will take place from 5th to

8th December 2019 on Vipingo Ridge’s Baobab Course - the only

(UK) PGA accredited golf course on the continent. Not only will this

event mark the very first time professional lady golfers will have

played competitively in the region but it will also be the final event

of the 2019 season. The 72-hole stroke play competition will prove

a significant milestone in the history of the sport in Kenya and work

to motivate the next generation of female golfers throughout the

country. VIP ticket holders will receive world-class benefits including

a first class rooftop experience, priority view over the golf course,

a welcome present, premium food and drinks and more. tickets

available at ticketsasa.com

Image courtesy www.grandnairobirace.co.ke

2019 EAST AFRICAN SAFARI CLASSIC RALLY

The 9th edition of the East African Safari Classic Rally

will take place from November 27th to December 6th.

The rally is widely acknowledged as the world’s toughest

historic motorsport event. It offers competitors an incredible

opportunity to enjoy the epic landscapes of East Africa as

they journey between exceptionally challenging stages,

some of which can be over 150km long. The nine-day

competition will start from Mombasa before its spreads

its wings across Kenya and Tanzania regions. This year’s

rally is set to cover more than 4,500km, showcasing the

picturesque beauty of the East African landscape with

vehicles racing through world-famous game parks with

overnight stops at the region’s finest lodges and hotels.

www.eastafricansafarirally.com

2020 TROPIC AIR 10TO4 MOUNTAIN BIKE CHALLENGE

The 2020 Tropic Air 10to4 Mountain Bike Challenge will take

place on 14th-16th February 2020, starting at an altitude of

10,000ft on the slopes of Mt Kenya and ending on the savannahs

of Borana Conservancy at 4,000ft. This annual event provides a

unique opportunity for cyclists of all ages and abilities to take on

the challenge of the 2nd highest mountain in Africa. Having started

in 2002 as a very small mountain biking event with just a handful

of riders, it has grown to over 350 competitors from across the

globe, raising over US$80,000. With courses for all abilities, this

annual event provides a unique opportunity for people to enjoy Mt

Kenya and its surrounding beautiful wildlife conservancies, whilst

raising critical funds for Mount Kenya Trust’s community projects and

mountain conservation. Register on www.10to4.org

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019 15


16 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


BONGO

TRAVELER

We sat down with Tanzania’s most traveled social media

influencer and photographer, Fahad Fuad, and asked him all

your travel questions on Tanzania. By Wendy Watta

Instagram: @fahad_fuad

18 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


GLOBETROTTERS

What makes Tanzania an ideal holiday spot?

The country is so diverse in its people,

landscape and biodiversity. One day you

can be in the mountains then be at the

beach the next day. We have Zanzibar

and Pemba islands, then coastal cities like

Bagamoyo, Dar es Salaam, Kilwa and

Mtwara. Tanzania also has an array of

national parks and epic waterfalls. There is

just so much to see and do!

Where do Tanzanians typically go for the

holidays at the end of the year?

People like to go upcountry. If you go to

Moshi right now, there is no traffic jam. In

Tanzania, you can be stuck in traffic for

hours and it gets really congested. Moshi

is the land of Mt Kilimanjaro and has a

lot of waterfalls such as Marangu, Kilasia

and Materuni formed by water from the

top of the mountain. While home to see

their relatives, people from that region, for

instance, could do so much more. You will

also find Chemka Hot Springs there, a place

that is also quite popular with people coming

from Nairobi. It’s very scenic, there are tiny

little fish that can give you a ‘fish pedicure’,

and it’s a great place for swinging or diving.

Contrary to the name, the water is actually

more tepid that hot.

So what’s there to do in Moshi for someone

who’s new to Tanzania?

Check out the culture. You can start with the

Mangiameli remains in Old Moshi- he was

one of the strongest chiefs in Kilimanjaro

and an avid freedom fighter who met an

untimely death, and a monument still stands

to remember him. Try machalari which is a

mixture of bananas and meat. The people

here have a variety of ways of making

bananas using recipes and techniques

passed down through generations and

that would be hard to replicate elsewhere.

You can actually get a guide to go to the

waterfalls or Chemka Hot Springs, try

machalari and if you love beer, sample

the local brew which is also made from

bananas. You can do a day tour up

Kilimanjaro from the Marangu gate to

Mandara hut at 2700m above sea level- it’s

a hike of about 8km which would take 5

hours. There is a crater lake called Chala

which borders kenya, and here, you can do

a family picnic.

What would you recommend to do in

Zanzibar for families?

It has such a variety of food, and there is

always a festival in full swing. The food

market at Forodhani which now has a

lot of kid games and competitions during

festival season is a key spot. Check out

Jozani National park for a trek which years

ago had wildlife but now has red colobus

monkeys which are only found here...kids

would enjoy that. The Butterfly Center is a

must-see. Swim with turtles at the aquarium

in Nungwi, or just feed them. Feed the huge

tortoises at Prison Island, which also has

a lot of history, and is a great place for

snorkelling. Go on a spice farm tour. Boot

the popular Safari Blue whereby you leave

in the morning, go to a sandbank, snorkel,

have lunch and relax along the beach.

You can try hundreds of beach activities.

Hotels like Hotel Verde have become

popular because they have dedicated

acres of land to fun activities such as jet

skiing, waterbiking, navigating an inflatable

obstacle course, kayaking, thrill seeker

tubing and much more.

Why do you recommend Lushoto for

adventure seekers?

It’s on the highlands and is therefore very

mountainous and scenic with an array

of waterfalls. Hike to Magamba Nature

Reserve- it’s a strenuous one so come

prepared.

Go to Maweni Farms for serenity...it’s a huge

farm in the middle of a small forest with an

. old German house which has now been

transformed into a hotel. Hike up to Soni

Waterfalls at whose base you can swim,

dive or fish. Magoroto is very popular now.

It’s great for friends and couples. For kids, it’s

quite a hike and there aren't a lot of activities

up there. There is no network so you really

connect with nature. There are decks where

you can camp next to the lake, and when

you unzip your tent in the morning, the view

is spectacular. You can also go horse riding

here. If you’re in Mombasa, you can cross

through the Tanga border to experience it.

Break down some of your go-to national

parks

Tanzania has so many parks spread across

the whole country. Udzungwa Mountain

National Park in Morogoro is ideal for hikers

and has incredible sunsets. You can hike

up, camp and descend the next day. Sanje

Waterfall is very big and really beautiful.

From Dar, go to Mikumi or Saadani National

Park in Bagamoyo, or even Selous Game

Reserve. From Arusha, Moshi or Kilimanjaro

you can go to Tarangire, Manyara,

Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. From

the lake zone in Mwanza you can also go

to Serengeti. We have a new a new one

called Chato which is even easier to access

from the lakeside. In Mbeya/Iringa, go

Ruaha National Park for wildlife. Mkomazi

Park is great for people from Tanga and

Kilimajaro. Any Tanzanian can view some

wildlife during the holiday season without

necessarily having to cross the country. There

is also Arusha National Park.

What’s one hidden gem you wish more

people would explore?

In southern Tanzania there is a place called

Mbeya, the land of hidden treasures, as I

like to call it. It has a crater lake shaped like

Africa called Ngozi, and getting there is

quite a hike. Matema Beach which is in Lake

Nyasa borders Malawi and here you can

get a sunrise and sunset at the same time...

it’s very beautiful. Kaporogo waterfalls, some

of the biggest in the country, are located

here. Kitulo National Park, referred to as the

heavens garden, is a floral park so imagine

just how breathtaking that is.

What’s your favourite thing to do in Arusha?

There is a meat market called Kwa Mrombo

where people specifically go for different

styles of choma. Arusha has the park,

Mt Meru and Lake Duluti. It’s like a small

Nairobi, which is why Nairobians like to go

there to party.

Fahad runs a travel agency which you can

find on instagram as @unziptanzania

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019 19


JINJA:

CALLING ALL

THRILL SEEKERS

Said to be the very source of the Nile (the

longest river in Africa and arguably the

world), Jinja has incredible views and

world-class rapids, and promises a world of

adventure for the keen thrill seeker. I find it

appealing because food, outdoor activities,

transport and entertainment are relatively

cheap here, writes Wendy Watta.

Photography: Wendy Watta

20 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


KENYAN TRAVELER

Quad biking with All Terrain Adventures

My guide Henry helps me gear up in tan

overalls, goggles, a scarf and helmet. Riding

a quad bike is very easy to master and

hard to forget, and after a short practise

session, we set off for Kyabirwa village. In

the dry season, Jinja is very dusty; the kind

of red soil that desperately clings to the skin

long after you have taken a shower. In the

light afternoon breeze, it curls and curls,

patiently, waiting to attack. Henry goes first

and I am hot on his trail, along what was

once Bujagali Falls. When the Ugandan

government dammed the river in 2011 for

a hydroelectric project, six rapids were

buried under a giant reservoir, and the loss

is palpable. Now the Nile silently snakes

along the periphery of the village, between

a sprawling mass of trees and shrubs, its

beauty domineering.

We charge almost full-throttle towards

simple mud or brick homes, some

unintentionally quirky given the pop of

bright paint on the windows and the bold

graffiti etched into the mud walls. Bare

doorways are covered only by thin brightly

coloured curtains billowing gently in the

breeze. At first, it is hard to imagine that a

place as charming as this would be without

inhabitants, but as we roll on, I spot them

lounging in the shade outside their houses

seeking respite from the mid-afternoon heat.

The kids run to the roads in numbers to wave

and say hello. We also come across goats,

those stubborn animals that when we meet

along the road, it is us that have to move out

of the way.

As I switch gears to charge uphill through

a road lined with surprisingly green farms,

it is thrilling to feel that power underneath

my hands. We get to a secluded river bank

where some villagers are bathing, washing

clothes, swimming, fetching water in yellow

jerrycans or tending to their fishing nets, all

within about five feet of each other. This is

not only an exciting activity, it is also a great

way to gain insight into the daily life of the

locals. Book with: www.atadventures.com

Whitewater rafting with Adrift Uganda

As far as names go, it doesn’t get more

intimidating than a class five rapid called

‘The Washing Machine’, but Jinja has up

to grade six rapids for seasoned pros.

As beginners, after we are taken through

some safety instructions followed by a brief

practical session out in the water, some of

my apprehension gives way to excitement

which continues to build as the seven people

in our bright blue raft start to paddle in a

near-perfect synchrony. Shortly after, we

come to our very first raging class three

rapid, or the scene of the crime, as I now like

to call it.

It is called ‘Bubugo’, and when I find

out that this translates to ‘condolences’,

my apprehension returns. There is no time

to second guess things, however, as the

majority of the group quickly vote that

we navigate it from its very centre which

increases our chances of flipping over by

about 90%. With feigned gusto, we paddle

right for Bubugo. Before I am hurled out of

the raft, it feels like I’m tumbling over the

edge of the earth, an untetherdness that’s

as unsettling as it is thrilling. The white

water rages at me but my life jacket pushes

me up to the surface, and as I splutter for

air, I realise that I am trapped under the

raft. Remembering the practical session, I

manoeuvre my way from underneath and

swim to the safety boat which had been

following our raft all along.

It is only later while we are tucking

into delicious sandwiches on calm water,

bumping fists and hooting into the air as

the adrenaline kicks in, that I realise I would

probably do it all over again. Book with:

www.adrift.ug

We charge almost

full-throttle towards

simple mud or

brick homes, some

unintentionally quirky

given the pop of bright

paint on the windows

and the bold graffiti

etched into the mud

walls

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019 21


Where to stay

Lemala Wildwaters Lodge- Nestled in a

rainforest and surrounded by rapids, right

in the middle of the Nile. High end.

The Haven - Serene, with stunning

views. Cottages are mid-range,

but consider the lazy camping

accommodation for even cheaper rates.

Nile Porch- Has semi-permanent tents

raised on cliffs overlooking the Nile.

Accommodation available for different

budgets.

Nile Explorers River Lodge- Has

affordable camps, dorms and rooms.

Always lively. Great for meeting other

adventurers from around the world.

Where to Eat and Drink

Black Lantern- Striking view, serene,

popular for their pork ribs, excellent

mojitos, has a pool.

Moti Mahal’s- Try the Tahil, a delicious

spicy curry with unlimited naan, daal and

rice. Good spot for vegetarians as well.

Jinja Sailing Club- Set along Lake

Victoria and can be a good base for boat

cruises. Good Indian and continental

food. Try the “kuku in a basket”.

Kayaking with Kayak the Nile

It is day three and I have kayaking on my

mind. From solo to tandem, and whitewater

kayaking which would see one go down a

rapid like Bubugo which I faced on day one,

the limit just depends on how adventurous

you are. I settle for a one-hour session gently

paddling out on the calm, flat water while

checking out the birdlife. My guide and

I both get on solo sit-on-top kayaks after

which he shows me a few basics like how

to hold the paddle and move in different

directions, then we set off.

The scenery surrounding the Nile River,

especially taken in from the water, gets me

every time. It is spectacular, and it is not

long before we start spotting an array of

freshwater birds like the cormorant, grey

crowned crane, various herons and egrets,

and my favourite: kingfishers. My guide

points them all out, and the conversation

naturally turns to conservation, as he tells

me about some of the efforts being made to

involve the local community in beekeeping

as a business, as opposed to cutting and

selling riverine trees which are vital for the

ecosystem here. He even tells me about two

friends who followed the Nile from its source

in Jinja to Egypt on a four-month kayak and

rafting trip. Book with

www.kayakthenile.com

Cycling with Bikeventures Uganda

There are many routes and options to

consider, but cycling to Mabira Forest

just outside Jinja, then heading to the

surrounding tea estate, sounds most

appealing. Indigenous trees stand on long

lean trunks, branches converging at the

top to provide a much needed umbrella,

without which the climb would be much

more arduous. Rolling along the rainforest,

we spot barefoot kids balancing heavy

bundles of firewood on their heads, and I

learn that while the surrounding community is

not allowed to cut trees, they can pick fallen

branches.

While the first kilometre is laid back,

thereafter it is anything but. The route has

steep climbs and fast descents, all queued

up in quick succession, and it feels like

a challenge-and-reward cycle that any

enthusiast would revel in. 7km later and the

thick foliage gives way to a well-manicured

tea estate which stretches into the gentle

hillside as far as the eye can see. It is also

dotted with tea pickers who are dexterously

plucking the delicate leaves by hand (or

using handmade devices) then throwing them

over their shoulders into large sisal baskets

on their backs.

Bikeventures is a social enterprise for

CooP-Uganda. All profits are allocated to

three social projects that improve access to

income generation (Bike4Work), education

(Bike4School) and healthcare (Bike4Care) by

providing bicycles to social entrepreneurs,

students, teachers and health care workers.

As we cycle past their homes, the smell of

brewing tea wafts towards me, disappearing

over my shoulder almost as quickly as it hit.

I am reminded just how hungry I am, and

when we get back to the main road after

covering 16km in 2.5 hours, it is time for a

classic Ugandan snack. To some, a rolex

might be a beloved luxury watch, but here,

it is a spanish-style omelette placed inside

a chapati which is then rolled to create the

most delicious thing I tasted in Uganda.

SUP Hammock with Nile SUP

I decide to wind down with something

relaxing. A friend and I get on SUPs and

after pottering about the river for all of 30

minutes, decide to hire a SUP Hammock

instead. It is a thing of wonder; three SUPs

rigged together with two hammocks tied

to either end. We get comfortable, and a

guide on a kayak gently pulls us along. Time

spools out. I barely even lift my head to look

at the otters swimming past. The sun starts

to set. Our gin and tonics are instinctively

topped up. If ever an activity deserved to be

called blissful, it would be this.

www.nilesup.com

22 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


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

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

Proud to be #1 of 22 on TripAdvisor, B&Bs/Inns of Laikipa County

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

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019 23


COUNTRY

CHRISTMAS

And... Three things are guaranteed

at Enashipai:

Family • Food • Fun

Talk to us today on +254 51 2130000

or email sales@enashipai.com

24 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


FEATURE

FRESH EYES

ON NAIVASHA

From flower farms and paragliding to scenic drives and

incredible restaurants, Naivasha resident Joanne Ndirangu

gives recommendations of things to do away from the typical

Naivasha experience.

PHOTOGRAPHS: BRIAN SIAMBI

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019 25


FEATURE

Ihave lived in Naivasha for over six years now and I’m still

always discovering hidden gems. For a town one and a half

hours away from Nairobi by road, Naivasha is never short

of tourists, but Kenyans are notorious for frequenting the

same old spots when there is just so much more to this place.

It is the ideal town to drive to for a weekend getaway that

doesn’t break the bank and still does the trick.

Whether you are a solo traveler, avid bird-lover, group

looking to party or a parent with kids, there is so much more

to see here than you likely know. With only two days to spare, I took

the Nomad team around to share some of my favourite jaunts with

them.

Flower farm visits

Kenya is one of the two major flower exporters in Africa, and

Naivasha’s altitude and proximity to a large body of water makes it

the perfect town for horticulture. Of all the flower farms in Naivasha,

my favorite one is DeRuiters in Oserian. They are breeders and do

a lot of experiments with various breeds of roses, and the results are

stunning. They have a designated showroom where visitors can view

the flowers on display and get to learn more about their processes.

When we got there, we were given white coats to wear and had to

sanitise our hands before our guide, Abraham, could take us around

the hot showroom.

There are rows upon rows of brightly coloured roses with the most

creative names, and should one catch your fancy, you’re welcome

to buy. In this section, the roses on display have been grafted for a

mixed-colour effect. Some are heavily scented and therefore have a

shorter vase life in comparison to the flowers that have the scent bred

out of them and can then last upwards of two weeks in a vase. Here

is where potential investors choose a rose they would like to grow for

commercial purposes and then purchase it.

We then proceeded to a bigger greenhouse where the purchased

roses are now grown in high production to meet the clients’

demands. They are finally moved to the cold room where the cut

flowers are stored for up to eight hours in a 4 degrees celsius room

to stop the growing process. They are then cut and packaged ready

for shipment to European markets. Kenya’s biggest markets are

Amsterdam and the UK, and for that reason, most of these farms

observe these countries’ calendars to mark their high holidays.

Note: DeRuiters charges Ksh 1,000 per car as entry fees.

Scenic drives

I have driven around Lake Naivasha on two separate occasions and

yet I’m still always keen to seek out this experience with every return.

The fresh air and serenity of the drive makes it great for relaxing, the

perfect way to wind down after a stressful work week. The properties

lined along this route are beautifully maintained and some have

been left untouched over the years so you feel like you are driving

into the past. Another scenic drive to consider is through Olkaria

Power Station. You will pay a park fee of Ksh 400 for citizens.

During our visit, we drove up for over 20km through the gorges and

power installations, and the vistas were breathtaking. The road ends

at the top of a view-point that offers the most incredible panoramic

views of the Mau hills.

Sundowners and night drives

Imagine sitting by a fire in an open field with buffaloes grazing a

few feet away from you. You are sipping your chardonnay as you

watch the sun set. Now imagine experiencing this with that special

someone or a group of friends you made on your solo trip. As the

darkness sets in, it’s now time to find the night time wonders when all

the nocturnal animals are just starting to rouse. I played ‘spotter’ on

my most recent night drive and saw the ever elusive bush baby, long

tailed fox (...or mongoose. They all look the same in the dark to the

untrained eye), wild hare and a golden orb spider. I tried looking

for the aardvark but I wasn’t so lucky. I can’t even begin to describe

what a treat that was. Somewhere between the sunset and watching

a baby hippo come out of water to feed, I was at peace with the

world. If you are not a night person but enjoy early mornings, plan

for a morning drive before the hyenas are back in their holes and out

for the day.

Fun fact: Dik-diks mate for life and are always in pairs. Whenever

you spot one on your drive, look for the partner close by. If you see a

lone dik-dik, chances are their partner just died and they will die too,

of a broken heart

For philanthropic travelers

What if I told you that you could have the relaxing weekend you

deserve and still give back? Elsamere and Mundui House are

two places that let you do just that. Elsamere is part of the Elsa

Conservation Trust that was left behind by Joy and George Adamson

who spent their lives dedicated to the conservation of wild animals.

For history buffs, you can spend the night in Joy Adamson’s bedroom

26 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


FEATURE

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019 27


WHERE TO EAT

Sawela Lodge’s all glass restaurant.

You can enjoy your meal indoors with

sweeping views of their lush, green gardens

dotted with yellow fever acacia trees.

Ranch House Bistro where you can have

raspberry fresh juice with berries grown in their

own garden. Their helpings are massive and

the warthogs grazing nearby will pay you no

mind. Take your time as you watch fishermen

offload their haul on the shores of Lake Oloiden.

Afterwards, you can stop by La Pieve and pick

up some roses and sunflowers that come in daily

from DeRuiters.

Matteo’s: For authentic Italian feast, you

can never go wrong with this restaurant. It is

situated close enough to an array of familyfriendly

activities, and their menu is kid friendly

too. There is a nice spot in the middle of the

restaurant where you can buy any of the

ingredients you would like to have added to your

selected dish.

After a long drive, you can make one final

stop at Enashipai’s Coffee Lounge for their boozy

coffees (don’t drink and drive, though) for an

afternoon buzz that will make the traffic back to

the city bearable. A personal recommendation

would be the Amarula coffee. Thank me later.

and all the proceeds will go back into the trust

which seeks to sustain education in their surrounding

community. If you are only in Naivasha for the day,

you can do the museum tour and visit the Birds of

Prey Sanctuary and leave having done your part for

the community.

For a more secluded and tranquil stay, I’d highly recommend

Mundui house. Richard and Hellen, the two managers will make you

feel decadently spoilt and cared for. They will come out to answer

any questions you may have on the history of the property and

to offer their infallible advice on where to look for certain elusive

animals.

I had the grandest time at their cottage; there was so much

to experience. I went bird watching on the ‘secret lake’ with

Mohammed, their resident guide. The waters were so still and calm,

a haven for numerous birds. Then breakfast was served on the

shores of the lake affording breathtaking views of the Mau Hills. In

addition to the seasonal-fresh-fruit-and-prosecco-breakfast, Purity, the

chef came to take my order and proceed to prepare a phenomenal

omelet as I watched. After the hearty meal, we proceeded to their

Animal Rights Reserve Unit (ARR) where they protect and rehabilitate

orphaned animals.

Hellen explained to us that the income they get from staying

guests goes back to protect and treat animals ensnared by poachers

and afflicted by fellow prey. Their efforts are very necessary to

the preservation of wildlife in Naivasha and its environs and they

make animals feel safe, so much so that they walk around grazing

comfortably among humans. Imagine waking up to a huge giraffe

strolling casually outside your door. It is because they know no harm

will come to them. Being a private unit, the funding needed is more

urgent and necessary to ensure our future children will find these

animals alive and well.

28 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


FEATURE

DO NOT MISS:

Have bespoke pieces made to your exact

liking at Elementaita Weavers. Choose the

colours you want on your rugs, placemats

and other woven pieces and watch as they

make them on their huge looms. Collectible

tchotchkes are also available for sale.

For adrenaline junkies, paragliding is

just the fix. Jump from Mt. Margaret near

Ubuntu Kenya and soar over Mt. Longonot

and Lake Naivasha. You can carry your

own equipment or hire from the trainer. This

activity is also wheelchair friendly.

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019 29


PLACES TO

STAY

PHOTOGRAPHS: BRIAN SIAMBI, RESPECTIVE PROPERTIES

WHERE WE STAYED: MUNDUI HOUSE

Built in 1926, this property has seen

numerous visitors including Winston Churchill

and Ernest Hemingway. “We take our

conservation very seriously,” says our host

Helen Hartley. “It’s all privately funded by

a Polish family who set up an organisation

called ARR (Animal Rights Reserved) who

are involved in things like wildlife rescue and

protection with people calling in from as far

as Mt Elgon”. When you stay at the house, it

helps to know that your money goes towards

supporting a good cause. The property has

four doubles and one family room, and two

extra doubles can be availed on request.

www.munduihouse.com

LUCITA FARM GUEST HOUSE

The decor is rustic country chic, and if you

love art, Lucita farm is a haven! There are

three properties on the farm; two (3 and

4 bedroom) guesthouses great for families

and a stable suite perfect for couples. The

guesthouses are spacious, complete with

fully equipped kitchens. The stable suite is

all white with quirky decor and if you look

out the window, you are likely to spot a

waterbuck milling about the foliage. There

are also two horses and dogs on the farm.

The cottages are available for booking on

AirBnb.

30 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


FEATURE

WHERE WE STAYED: AJABU HOUSE

Ajabu house is located on the Gilgil and Malewa delta of lake Naivasha on Loldia

Farm which has been in the JD Hopcraft family for over 100 years. Initially, it was built

by Wildfred Hopcraft in the early 1930’s, and added to as his family grew with his

wife. There is a master bedroom which is large, spacious and en-suite with an antique

bath offering stunning views across to Lake Naivasha. The bird room is perfect for

children with bunk beds and one queen bed; its birds-on-the-wall fixtures are unique

and create a certain je ne sais quoi. Siriane guest house, nestled among the fig trees,

was initially constructed by Italian Prisoners of War during the mid1930’s and has two

spacious rooms, each with en-suite bathrooms, with incredible views. The muse guest

house was the backbone of the house (offices, stables etc) until 2014 when it was

converted to accommodation with three bedrooms. www.ajabuhouse.com

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019 31


THE MANOR HOUSE & DODO'S TOWER

This colonial tudor-style house sits on the

exclusive Hippo Point conservancy along

with the wooden 120 foot Dodo’s tower.

The Manor House was derelict before

being purchased by its current owners

about 30 years ago, and they have since

transformed it into the cozy home it is today

while retaining much of its Elizabethan

charm. Some of the living spaces have been

renovated, with stables being turned into

two-storey one bedroom pads and a granary

now serving as a main lounge. The decor is

European and African, mixing contemporary

art with locally made quirky pieces

www.hippopointkenya.com

CHUI LODGE

It was designed and created by June Zwager; her vision was

brought to life with help from the local community and her team

of skilled craftsmen. The Lodge is built from simple bush stone,

acacia, olive and Leleshwa wood all sustainably sourced from

within the sanctuary. There are eight spacious ensuite cottages,

each with its own veranda and striking views. The bedrooms

have magnificent four poster beds, roaring log fires and unique

décor, making the rooms completely different from one another.

A large swimming pool on the property overlooks the waterhole

and wildlife sanctuary beyond.

www.oserengoniwildlife.com

ENASHIPAI RESORT & SPA

A bit closer to Nairobi is Enashipai, meaning

place of happiness. This sprawling retreat on

the shores of Lake Naivasha is a great base

for exploring the lake, but also for relaxation.

Various kinds of rooms such as the afro-chic

fountain executive rooms with their signature

Maasai necklace headboards are available.

At the spa, the signature treatment involves a

mud wrap, a waterfall treatment followed by

a calabash instrument massage. If you bring

the kids, there’s a playroom with staff to

watch them, giving you the opportunity to nip

away for that massage. www.enashipai.com

32 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


FEATURE

ELSAMERE LODGE

The story of the raising of an orphan lion

cub by Joy and George Adamson in the

1950s and her subsequent release into the

African bush is one of the great conservation

stories of all time. Once a holiday home

and later to be a retirement home for the

Adamsons, Elsamere remains a unique

destination in Naivasha. Delicious meals are

served here and the traditional style high

teas remain some of the best in Kenya. At

Elsamere, history connects with the future

as conservation is their main objective. The

lodge has 10 double rooms, all ensuite, with

private verandahs facing the lake.

www.elsamere.com

KIBOKO LUXURY CAMP

This boutique camp on the shores of Lake Naivasha has only

eight spacious luxury tents set in green serene surroundings.

Guests can expect five-course gourmet meals from the restaurant

as prepared by talented chefs, best enjoyed while taking in

the rich scenery. Relax and get pampered at the Eseriani Spa

which offers full body, face and foot massages, aromatherapy,

body scrubs and wraps, and so much more. Excursions around

Naivasha can easily be arranged based on your interests from

the camp’s convenient location.

www.sunafricahotels.com

GREAT RIFT VALLEY LODGE

The Lodge is built on the Eburru, a mountain

that the Maasai call Ol Donyo Opurru,

meaning mountain of smoke. It sits at about

7,000 feet from which elevation it enjoys

magnificent views to the west and east. The

vistas stretch from Lake Naivasha to the

jagged volcanic crater of Mount Longonot

and, beyond, the sloping shoulders of the

Aberdare Mountains. There are 21 twin and

nine double rooms, all with private balconies

overlooking the spectacular expanse of the

Rift Valley. The rooms are located in spacious

two- and three-storey blocks, furnished with

large four-poster beds, handmade wooden

furniture and modern en suite bathrooms.

www.heritage-eastafrica.com

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019 33


LAKE NAIVASHA SOPA RESORT

With their traditional and conscientious

care for the environment, Sopa carefully

positioned all the buildings on the property

so as not to chop down any of the numerous

trees on site. As a result, they had to come

up with a radically innovative design for

the main public area building which now

snakes its way between the trees with long

and graceful curves. This is why the two

swimming pools and areas like the spa,

tennis court, two conference halls and stables

are so widely set apart. The lodge has 84

rooms, two being wheelchair accessible

rooms. www.sopalodges.com

NAIVASHA KONGONI LODGE

Located 27km from the turn-off to Moi South Lake Road is

Naivasha Kongoni Lodge, crafted from simple bush stone,

local acacia, Leleshwa and olive wood with a beautiful

thatched Makuti roof. The lodge whose name is Swahili for

hartebeest overlooks Lake Oloiden and Lake Naivasha, only

a few minutes away from Hell’s Gate National Park. It has

three executive/honeymoon cottages and 26 well-spaced

and beautifully furnished deluxe rooms. Each executive room

has an indoor and outdoor Jacuzzi and a luxurious corner

shower. A swimming pool is available, and sundowners can

be arranged in their rondavel. www.privatecollection.co.ke

OLERAI HOUSE

Nature was left to take charge of this

former cattle farm in 2001, and today, the

farmhouse is shrouded in bougainvillea and

the scent of wildflowers fills the air. Bright,

individually-decorated rooms are furnished

with expansive beds and crisp linens, and

the ensuite bathrooms are stocked with

organic soaps and lotions to soothe your

skin. The chefs produce unforgettable meals

with organically-grown or pasture-raised

ingredients picked fresh from the garden

each day. The farmhouse drawing room is

comfortably arranged around a crackling

log fire where you can sip chilled wine, relax

and warm up.

www.elephantwatchportfolio.com

34 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


36 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE

SWAHILI

DREAMSCAPES


POTTED HISTORY

Katy Fentress sets out

to find out more about

Swahili culture and its

rich history by heading to

Tanzania and visiting the

ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani,

once the epicentre of

the vibrant East African

coastal trade.

PHOTOGRAPHS KATY FENTRESS

I

t’s low tide as Hassan, the

boatman, manoeuvres our taxi

dhow up onto the shallows. The

Portuguese fort that I had been

photographing as we approached

the island dominates the small

beach in an otherwise unassuming

harbour. I wade through the ankle-deep

water and up some steps to the outskirts of a

village. A plaque painted with a Tanzanian

flag indicates there is a foundational school

some hundred metres to our left.

We wander over to the fort and stand

underneath what looks like a giant version

of an intricately carved Lamu door. The mid

morning glare stings my eyes as I squint up

from underneath the brim of my straw hat

to study the fine floral lattice work which

frames the looming entrance. Jamila, our

guide, is explaining that the Gereza Fort was

erected after the Portuguese seized control

of the Swahili coastal trade routes and is

one of the last in a series of great forts and

palaces built on the island of Kilwa Kisiwani,

at one point the most powerful city-state in

the whole of East Africa.

Located directly opposite the town of

Kilwa Masoko, 300km to the south of Dar

es Salaam, Kilwa Kisiwani is one of two

islands that were the epicentre of a once

bustling cosmopolitan trading hub. Kilwa

Kisiwani and its neighbouring Songo Mnara,

are today quiet places, inhabited by small

communities, which survive on fishing and

subsistence farming. During the Middle

Ages, however, this vibrant Swahili city-state

came to dominate commerce up and down

the East African coast, due to a favourable

geographical positioning at the intersection

of trade routes of gold and ivory from

Zimbabwe, beads and textiles from India,

ceramics from China and Persia and slaves

captured as far as Lake Malawi.

Jamila narrates how the fort is the symbol

of two successive colonisations of the Swahili

coast, once an interconnecting network of

urban trading centres which were inhabited

as early as the first century CE. The first

colonisers were the Portuguese around 1500

and then the Omanis, who in the late 1600s

liberated the sultans and their cities from the

European invaders, only to then take on the

mantle of occupying rulers themselves.

A few hundred metres from the fort we

see ruins peppered to either side of us.

Jamila points out a small cemetery, some

merchant houses and the “Malindi mosque”.

I later learn that the city state of Malindi was

one of Kilwa’s great rivals during the 1400s.

With every step, we feel ourselves going

back in time.

“Here you can see the Great Mosque that

was built with coral blocks by the Shirazi

sultans one thousand years ago,” Jamila

tells us. The mosque, with its sixteen domes,

seems like something out of an Indiana

Jones movie. Jamila waits patiently as I

clamber around to try to get a good shot of

a towering ficus which has long outgrown

its host, its gnarl of roots threaten to tear the

walls of the ancient building apart.

Here you can see the Great

Mosque that was built with

coral blocks by the Shirazi

sultans one thousand

years ago,” Jamila tells

us. The mosque, with

its sixteen domes, seems

like something out of an

Indiana Jones movie.

Inside the mosque, the morning light

pours sideways through the colonnades,

the bulbous domes and tear drop arches

stand sensuously in the saturated light.

Close by the Omani palace, relatively new

in the grand scheme of the island, is an

ode to space and luxurious living. I stand

in the middle of what would have been the

palace’s huge garden, bird song fills the air.

We press on, there’s one more site to visit.

Built in the early 1300s the Husuni

Kubwa was once a sprawling palace replete

with spacious courtyards for merchants to

ply their wares, a public hearing hall for

audiences with the sultan and in the private

quarters, a hexagonal swimming pool that

looked out onto the sea. I walk around in the

unforgiving midday heat with just enough

energy to marvel at the thick coral walls,

at the remains of large domes and sunken

rooms where I can imagine angry men

shaking their fists at each other has they

discuss the matters of the day. Exhausted,

after covering almost three kilometres

walking around ruins, we make our way

down a long flight of stairs to the mangroves

and then through to the expecting boat.

Kilwa Basics

Situated in one of Tanzania’s less frequented

areas, Kilwa and Songo Mnara aren’t

exactly the cheapest holiday destinations,

unless you are keen to take the Mashallah

bus or are self-driving. The trip takes about

five hours depending on how bad traffic

leaving Dar es Salaam is.

We stayed at the delightful Kilwa Dreams

Beach Resort where the owner Gladys and

her staff made us feel instantly at home and

treated us to some excellent seafood. The

bandas were painted red and decorated

with images of sea life, while on the inside

they were simple, clean, lit with lights

powered by solar panels on the roof, with

nice seating areas, well maintained mosquito

nets and hot water coming from a solar

heater outside. For those used to Kenyan

prices it felt a bit on the expensive side but

this is probably due to the low levels of

tourism in the area which means it is costly

to keep hospitality facilities running all year

round.

Our friends in Dar es Salaam also

recommended checking out the Slow

Leopard, a recently opened lodge on the

Jimbiza beach which seems popular with the

backpacking crowd.

Visits to Songo Mnara and Kilwa Kisiwani

should ideally take place over two days.

Songo Mnara is 12 kilometres from the

mainland so remember to bring a book as

the internet reception dies a few kilometres

out. Kilwa Kisiwani is just a fifteen minute

boat ride from the harbour at Kilwa Masoko

and should definitely be the second of the

two places you visit. The Kilwa Information

Centre, situated at the main market in Kilwa

Masoko, is your go to place for arranging

for a guide and paying the entrance fees at

the antiquities office down the road. All in

all we ended up paying 70$ for the Kilwa

trip and $140 for the Songo Mnara trip (for

two people) which seemed steep but was

confirmed by the Lonely Planet as being the

correct amount.

For more information on organising a trip

you can call the Kilwa Information Office on

+255715463029 or visit their website www.

kilwatourism.com

Bandas at Kilwa Dreams cost $90 a night,

can accomodate up to three people and

can be reserved through their website www.

kilwadreams.com or by phoning Gladys, the

owner, on +255 784 585 330

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019 37


THE BIRTH OF THE

WALKING

SAFARI

Norman Carr, regarded as the pioneer of walking

safaris, found paradise in South Luangwa and thanks

to his lifelong conservation efforts, this Eden is still

here for us to enjoy. By Sophie Ibbotson

Photos:Courtesy Time+Tide

38 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


CONSERVATION

N

orman Carr is quite

possibly the most influential

conservationist of the

20th century. It is thanks

to him that tourists’

primary interest in Africa

has shifted from hunting

to game watching, and that we have

national parks and other protected reserves

across Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe in

which wildlife can thrive. The pioneer of

the walking safari and the first person to

open a safari company in Zambia, Carr

also understood the importance of local

community empowerment and employment in

ensuring conservation projects’ sustainability.

The heartland of Carr’s work was the

Luangwa Valley in Zambia, which is where

I want to transport you -- at least in your

mind -- today. The Luangwa River and its

tributaries meander at the tail end of the

Great African Rift Valley and their life giving

waters support more than 60 different kinds

of mammals and 400 species of birds. The

river teems with crocodiles and hippos;

herds of Cape buffaloes and elephants

trundle through the bush; and amongst the

treetops you will frequently see the heads of

Thornicroft’s giraffes snacking on the leaves.

Norman Carr Safaris -- now incorporated

into Time+Tide -- has five properties in South

Luangwa, each one of which has a light

footprint in the valley. Time+Tide Nsolo

is one of the oldest camps in the region,

a place of barefoot luxury besides the

seasonal Luwi River. The dry riverbed is a

thoroughfare for the local lion pride and

there is also a wild dog den nearby, so from

the night time howling to the first sighting of

tracks on your morning walk, the anticipation

of an up close predator viewing builds. A

game drive is always a thrill, but it is during

a walking safari that the hairs on the back of

your neck will really stand up on end.

In this part of South Luangwa, you are

quite literally walking in Norman Carr’s

footsteps, often along trails that he forged.

He trained his guides to notice and care

about the tiniest details and to understand

the symbiotic relationships between all

creatures great and small. When you walk,

you have the time -- and are close enough to

the ground -- to see new shoots sprouting, the

way that insects scurry across the dirt, and to

stop and sniff dung to see if it is fresh. That’s

a sure fire sign that the animal who made

it has recently passed by. Your eagle eyed

guide will spot and point out the smallest

paw prints in the sandy soil, and when there

are tracks in the mud, he can tell with great

precision when they were laid.

I adore walking out in the morning,

when the vegetation scented air is still cool

and fresh. I listen out for the chattering and

chirruping of the birds, keeping my eyes

peeled for the flashes of colour as they dart

from one tree to the next. With no sound

or vibration from a vehicle engine to alarm

them, it is possible to get much closer to the

birds than I would on a game drive. And

this gives the guides the chance to show off

their knowledge, identifying not only iconic

species such as the southern carmine bee

eater and my favourite, the lilac breasted

roller, but also rarer species like the pretty

African pitta, Allen’s gallinule, and the

always well camouflaged moustached grass

warbler.

A walking safari can deliver an unrivalled

adrenaline kick at any moment, too. I

still remember the time that I was happily

plodding through the bush when my guide

suddenly gave the sign to stop, be quiet, and

get down. I froze. What was up ahead? I

had no idea, and without this intervention

would undoubtedly have trundled

unsuspectingly into danger.

The threat, on this occasion, was a

fully grown elephant bull. He was eating

his breakfast placidly enough, and hadn’t

noticed us, but regardless of that I watched

wide eyed. I could hear my heartbeat

banging in my ears, knew my breath had

quickened, and felt the tingle of terror

mingled with exhilarating excitement running

down my spine. There was nowhere I

could run, and nothing between me and

the elephant. That’s what makes a walking

safari so unforgettable: it’s the chance of an

encounter such as this.

By the time I get back to Time+Tide

Nsolo after a walk, I’m inevitably tired with

exertion and the over stimulation of my

senses. Breakfast is a welcome reward, and

if I’ve been out separately from other guests,

we’ll relive the highlights of our respective

mornings, regaling each other with accounts

of our most memorable sightings. There’s

no WiFi or mobile signal here, and that’s a

blessing in our hectic, overconnected world.

I can sit out on the deck for hours at a time,

undisturbed and watching giraffes wander

by. Now and then there’s an elephant mother

and her calf, the latter playing without a

care in the world. Norman Carr found

paradise in South Luangwa and thanks to his

lifelong conservation efforts, this Eden is still

here for us to enjoy.

Sophie Ibbotson is the author of five Bradt

Travel Guides, including the first guidebook

to South Sudan. She travelled to Zambia

with wildlife and wilderness specialists Africa

Exclusive.

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019 39


40 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


ROAD TRIP

ROAD TRIP

Faith Kanja sets off on an

action-packed seven day

road trip with the Kenya

Tourism Board, covering

places such as Karura Forest,

Limuru, Aberdares National

Park and Diani.

PHOTOGRAPHS FAITH KANJA

Our seven day trip

organized by the

Kenya Tourism Board

encompassed a circuit

around parts of Central

Kenya and South Coast.

We were in to discover

some of Kenya’s hidden

treasures that make for good weekend

escapes. All set with two 4x4 touring

cruisers, we were ready to explore the

country.

We had begun the day’s activities by

taking up the famous Heritage Tour offered

by the Sarova Stanley Hotel. Throughout

the tour, I felt as though in a museum of

sorts, taken back in time through the rich,

authentic history of Nairobi’s first luxurious

hotel. Did you know that the hotel’s Thorn

Tree Cafe traces its roots to one of Nairobi’s

first makeshift post offices? The “Tree Mail”

was a centrally placed acacia tree that

allowed travellers to pin mail onto its trunk!

Sarova Stanley is a historical charm and

definitely has a story to tell.

The adventure kicked off at Karura

Forest, which is one of the largest urban

gazetted forests in the world. It is a

very convenient recreational facility for

individuals and families to take up trail

biking, running, walking and dog-walking

within the marked nature trails. There are

also scenic waterfalls and caves to see,

open fields to enjoy some ball games, a

tennis court as well as picnic sites. Visitors

can also spot a few animals within the forest

such as monkeys, bush bucks, bush pigs,

various bird species, some reptiles among

others.

After spending our first night at

Brackenhurst, I was excited about our

second day. I was hoping to escape the mist

but the rain and cold persisted. However,

being an adrenaline junkie, the activities

lined up for the day had me excited. The

Forest in Kereita is a superb outdoors

facility offering a myriad of activities such

as ziplining, mountain biking, archery,

horse riding, paint-balling, foot-golfing and

camping. Few skids and falls during the trail

biking added to the fun.

We were in for a long drive from Limuru

to the Aberdare Country Club in Nyeri

where we spent our second night. The

country club is set within its own wildlife

sanctuary and as such it was delightful to

spot baboons, antelopes and peacocks while

heading to the dining area for breakfast.

The lush gardens and cozy cottages set on

a hill made it an ideal country getaway

destination. The beauty of the property was

very evident as one overlooked the Aberdare

Ranges to the west and Mount Kenya to the

east. I wished to have spent more time there

but we had an early day planned out.

Majority of the trip was characterized by

rain and it was therefore not surprising to be

met by a fallen tree only a few kilometres

into the Aberdare National Park. A few

animals did not shy away from crossing

into our driveway but I felt intimidated by

the massive size of the buffaloes. Huge

canopies, forested gorges and massive open

moorlands are characteristic of this park,

making it an ideal location for mountain

scenery photographers. As we drove up

the hilly terrain, it was interesting to spot

different types of vegetation that kept

varying with the altitude.

I was mostly drawn by the intriguing

waterfalls situated inside the Aberdares. We

visited the Chania Waterfall, Magura Falls

and Queen’s cave. The majestic falls have

a way of making one feel like a miniature

being. For a moment I lost myself in the

calming sounds of the falling water. The

Karuru Falls are the largest and most popular

falls inside the Aberdares but we were not

fortunate to visit them on that day.

Having spent a full day at the park, it

was time to hit the road again and head

to Nanyuki. We checked into Maiyan

Villas where we would spend the next two

nights. I was eager to catch a glimpse of

the mountain upon waking up but it was too

cloudy. Even while heading towards Timau

for our day’s excursion, we were still not

lucky to spot Mt. Kenya. Nonetheless, my

mind was set on exploring the Ngare Ndare

Forest. The Forest is set between the Borana

and Lewa conservancies and it was therefore

intriguing to see a number of fallen trees

thanks to the elephants. Ngare Ndare is

popular for its azure pools that form beneath

its three main waterfalls. People can plunge

into one of the pools and enjoy a nice swim.

In addition, there’s a 500 metre long canopy

walk. It however took a lot of convincing for

some to take up the scenic walk that’s set 40

feet above the ground.

We were treated to an impromptu

lunch at the Fairmont Mt Kenya Safari

Club. I must admit this was one of the most

beautiful properties I have been to. The

hotel is situated inside the Mt Kenya Wildlife

Conservancy which provides visitors with

access to animals inside the orphanage.

We woke up to our final Day at Maiyan

Villas. Checkout was at 10:00am giving us

enough time to walk around the property.

Each villa has a heated plunge pool and

jacuzzi and varying room suites. The resort

also has a number of ball game courts,

offers biking, boat rides as well as horse

rides. To properly wrap up the central circuit,

we were treated to the majestic views of the

Mountain over breakfast.

With all our heavy clothing packed

very far down our bags, we were set to

welcome the coastal leg of the trip. We took

a connecting charter flight from Mt Kenya

Airstrip to Wilson Airport before proceeding

to Ukunda Airstrip. Upon arrival, we checked

into the Swahili Beach Resort where we

would spend the final three nights.

The coastal circuit tour kicked off with a

visit to the Shimba Hills National Reserve,

which is Kenya’s home to the endangered

sable antelope which inhabits the wooded

savanna in East and Southern Africa.

There are few animals in the game reserve

hence the main attraction is the Sheldrick

Waterfall and Nature Trail. We had to trek

downhill for 2.5km in order to get there.

Our ranger guided us down a trail which

was dotted with mud, canopies, ants and a

river crossing. Part of the trip’s highlight was

removing our shoes to cross over (luckily no

crocodiles). The ground was very slippery

and I really hoped I would not slip into

the mud. Upon arriving at the waterfalls,

everyone dashed to the water like little

children.

We later headed to Shifoga (Shimba Hills

Forest Guides Association) Cultural Village

where we got to learn about the Mijikenda

Culture. There’s a lot of conservation being

done by the Forest Guides. We were taken

through the ‘Kaya’ model and got to also

witness an exorcism ritual take place. This

was a nice twist to our coastal adventure;

one without the beach.

Our scheduled visit to Wasini island

and the Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park was

cancelled due to bad weather. Despite it

raining all day, we had a superb time at

the Swahili Beach Resort. This wrapped up

our activity packed expedition around the

country. Wonderful memories were made

and beautiful gems were discovered. Kenya

is indeed a magical country. Get on the road

and get exploring!

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019 41


A HIDDEN GEM IN

MALAWI

Located in the Upper Shire Valley, Liwonde

National Park is undoubtedly Malawi’s most

spectacular wildlife viewing destination.

Originally established in 1973, Liwonde has

undergone a dramatic transformation in recent

years, one that has restored it to its former

glory. Maurice Schutgens returns to the park

after 12 years to experience it.

42 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


DISPATCH

T

he memories came flooding

back in a hurry. While it

may have been just over

a decade since I had last

laid eyes on Liwonde, I still

remembered the details well

enough. The bumpy road to

the park, the large mango trees scattered

in the neighbouring villages, the humidity

hanging heavy in the air. It was exhilarating.

From the jetty I gazed out over the dark

waters of the Shire River, the pièce de

résistance of Liwonde, beautifully lined

with countless towering borassus palms

and ancient baobabs. And then there were

the hippos, known as mvuu in the local

Chichewa language, put simply - they were

everywhere, grunting and groaning loudly

without apology. It put a smile on my face; it

was good to be back.

A herd of elephants waded into the

shallows as we crossed over to Mvuu Camp

(no rewards for guessing why), a rustic

style accommodation managed by Central

African Wilderness Safaris, situated on the

banks of the Shire River. The core dining

area, flanked between two ginormous

baobabs, offered sweeping views over the

floodplains teeming with life. Looking out

over this scene you would be forgiven for

thinking that this paradise had existed since

time immemorial, but Liwonde’s journey has

not been without trial and tribulation.

In 2015, when African Parks (a South

Africa based non-profit conservation

organisation) took over the management

of Liwonde, in partnership with Malawi’s

Department of National Parks and Wildlife

(DNPW), the 548km2 park was littered with

tens of thousands of wire snares and wildlife

populations had been decimated. Poaching

was rife and severe human-wildlife conflict

was a daily occurence. Liwonde was facing

an uncertain future. It is in this context that

Liwonde’s transformation must be viewed.

After overhauling the law enforcement

capacity and constructing a comprehensive

perimeter fence to regain control of the

park, African Parks set about restoring

Liwonde. While a small population of

critically endangered black rhinos have

lived in the park since the early 90s, it had

long ago lost all of its apex predators. This

was set to change. A small population of

cheetahs were reintroduced in May 2017, a

historic moment given that these cats were

last documented in Liwonde over a century

ago. Lions followed in August 2018. African

Parks’ investment and business approach to

conservation has seen a revival in tourism

numbers and bolstered revenue to what is

today a big-five destination.

While I was in Liwonde to attend a

conservation technology conference with

other like-minded organisations, I was keen

to get out and explore the park and maybe,

just maybe, catch a glimpse of the critically

endangered black rhinos. In the late

afternoon, after a long day of meetings, we

set out for a game drive heading away from

the lush riverine areas. The contrast couldn't

have been more clear. Penetrating deep into

the dry mopane woodland, occasionally

broken up by a baobab, we silently scanned

for wildlife. We spotted a lone young bull

elephant going through the motions of

dismantling a tree to the chagrin of the park

management, but it was the sight of the

rare sable antelope that caught our breath.

Their brown and orange flanks perfectly

camouflaging them in the surrounding

vegetation’s neutral palette. Suddenly

spooked, they sprinted across the road and

disappeared into the undergrowth.

Come nightfall, with us happily settled

in our chalets, the park once again came to

life. A sign on the way to the rooms wisely

informed us to ‘beware of the hippo’ who

certainly have the right of way. As we tried

to sleep they made their rounds grazing on

the lush grass in front of our accommodation,

none too quietly in their antics.

On our final evening in Liwonde we

headed out onto the Shire River for a boat

safari. Wildlife encounters are all but

guaranteed, the grassy floodplains providing

critical dry-season grazing. Hippos eyed us

suspiciously, only their eyes showing above

the water, as we glided by carefully while

crocodiles basked in the heat with toothy

grins. Spectacularly coloured malachite

kingfishers balanced delicately on reeds in

the shallows as fish eagles swooped low

in the warm afternoon breeze scanning for

prey. The sheer diversity of wildlife along the

river was astounding.

The African sky turned a soft shade of

lilac as the day drew to a close. With a

Malawi gin and tonic in hand we admired

the most perfect of sunsets as storm clouds

gathered far away on the horizon. I couldn't

help but think that Liwonde National Park is

one of Africa’s best kept secrets.

Hippos eyed us

suspiciously, only their

eyes showing above the

water as we glided by,

while crocodiles basked

in the heat with toothy

grins.

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2019 43


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44 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE

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WHAT I PACK

Yvonne Endo is co-owner of Endo², a brand

curated with her sister Patti to create a

collection of products featuring Patti’s art.

These are the travel essentials you are likely to

find in her bag this holiday season.

CHANEL COCO

MADEMOISELLE

PERFUME Easily my

favorite scent. I find

that a few spritzes go a

long way in keeping me

smelling great all day.

FENTY GLOSS BOMB IN “FENTY GLOW”

I used to love all things matte for my lips

until I tried this gloss - plumps my lips and

it’s also super moisturizing.

TOTE BAG FROM ENDO² – Tote bags really

come in handy - I can throw in all my

essentials, use it as a shopping bag or a

fashion statement piece and easily fold it

away when I’m not using it.

SAMSUNG S9+IN

“MIDNIGHT BLACK” - I use

my phone to take all my

pictures and videos and the

picture quality on this phone

is amazing. I especially

love capturing interiors and

architecture of places I am

visiting on holiday.

CANTU COCONUT CURLING

CREAM - My hair can get

pretty moody depending on

the weather and climate,

but this curling cream

keeps my curls moisturised

and manageable which is

important when you have the

volume of hair that I have.

SUNNIES FROM MANGO

They don’t just protect my

eyes, they are also a statement

fashion accessory and hide any

evidence of long nights.

48 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


50 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE

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