Nomad issue #26

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DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE

ISSUE 26| FEB/MAR 2020 | FREE COPY

WEEKEND

AWAY

AMAZING GETAWAYS THIS SEASON

LOVE

ISLAND

ETHIOPIAN

FEAST

SAO TOME

AND PRINCIPE


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. Ride a horse, take a walk, milk a cow, indulge in a massage, venture out

to nearby Lolldaigas, Ol Pejeta, Ngare Ndare or the favourite by far: “Do Nothing.”

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

2 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE

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EDITOR’S NOTE

A

ROMANTIC

WORK TRIPS ARE A THING, RIGHT?

s a travel writer, I get to stay at stunning and

often romantic locations that come with candle-lit

dinners set up right on the beach complete with

exquisite wine, and to experience it with me is

often our photographer, Brian. We have spent

evenings in a conservancy around a bonfire

watching the sun go down behind the Kilimanjaro, and

while the experience is always memorable, we are both in

consensus that it would be even better enjoyed with people

we’re dating. Traveling for work is a privilege, especially

the kind of work that we do, but it would still never beat trips

taken with a partner.

Still, being on a six-week vacation with my boyfriend at the

end of last year was an interesting experience. With work,

sometimes you’re on a set itinerary. Game drive at 6:00am.

Interview with the conservation manager at 8:00am. Breakfast

at 9:00am. Walking around the property’s greenhouse at

10:00am. Chat to the community leader shortly after. When

it’s clear that it’s a vacation, however, everything is up in the

air. During a stopover at The Cliff in Lake Nakuru National

Park, for instance, they offered to come and raise the flaps of

our tent early in the morning so we could catch the sunrise.

My boyfriend wanted to sleep in, but since I’m so used to

being on the go when I travel, I wanted to see the sun rise

over the lake. How else would I describe it if I were to later

write about it? I of course won that one, and he thanked

me for it, but there have been instances where I’ve needed

reminders to slow down.

Traveling with him vs for work also has its advantages, such

as offering a fresh perspective when I might be starting to get

a little jaded. Case in point, I was fast asleep one time during

a game drive while he was losing his mind about seeing a

pair of rhinos up close. Thing is, I’ve been on so many game

drives for work that I’m no longer as excited about certain

animals as I used to be, but being reminded about how sweet

you have it can be just the jolt you need.

Whether you’re traveling for work or with your partner this

February, we wish you a lovely trip! Meanwhile, come with

us across Africa to Senegal, Ethiopia, Lamu and Sao Tome &

Principe...

ON THE COVER

ELEWANA LODO

SPRINGS LODGE,

LAIKIPIA

Wendy Watta

@WattaOnTheGo

NOMAD ISSUE 26 · FEB/MAR 2020· PUBLISHED BY WEBSIMBA LIMITED, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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

CONTRIBUTORS MAURICE SCHUTGENS, AMI DOSHI SHAH, JOE WAHOME, SAMANTHA DU TOIT, BRIAN KIMEU, NORA MUSA

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS BRIAN SIAMBI, STEPHANIE KING'ORI, PRANAV CHADHA, HARDIK THANKI

MARKETING & OPERATIONS DANIEL MUTHIANI, JANE NAITORE

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

NomadMagazineAfrica @NomadMagAfrica @NomadMagazineAfrica

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2020 7


CONTENTS

February/March 2020

38

34

24

In this issue

28

10. TOP SHOTS

This month’s featured photographers

witness a clan of hyenas hunting down

a wildebeest then eating it alive before

being interrupted by a lion, and more.

16. NEWS

Turkish Airlines announces free stopover

accommodation in Istanbul, Jambojet

kicks off direct flights to Kigali, and other

updates.

17. WHATS ON

Events you should be planning to attend

this coming month, such as the Lamu Yoga

Festival.

9. BOOK REVIEW

We feature “From Scratch: A Memoir of

Love, Sicily, and Finding Home” by Tembi

Locke.

FEATURES

24. LOVE ISLAND

The Cabanas in Lamu is the kind of

secluded paradise that ignites the

romance without much effort, leaving

lovers under its spell.

40. AN ETHIOPIAN FEAST

Wendy Watta signs up for an immersive

Ethiopian food tour in Addis Ababa.

38. SENEGAL: NO LONGER UNDER THE

RADAR

Nora Musa brushes up on her French then

spends two weeks in Senegal, kicking off

her trip in Dakar where she checks out

beaches, cafes, markets, neighbourhoods,

art and more.

REGULARS

18. NOTES FROM THE BUSH

As we settle into the New Year, Samantha

du Toit wonders why we like to think of it

as ‘new’. Out in the bush, from the zebras

on the plains to the hyenas whooping near

their tent, today is just another day.

20. GLOBETROTTERS

We talk to stylish traveler Silvia Njoki

about traveling with her six year old

daughter and how exploring different

cultures has shaped her world view.

22. KENYAN TRAVELER

With his eyes set on summiting Big Daddy

as well as experiencing the Deadvlei

and Soussvlei, Brian Kimeu traverses the

Namib Desert in breathtaking Namibia.

34. SPOTLIGHT

A family drives down to Lodo Springs,

Elewana’s latest addition to the wildliferich

Loisaba Conservancy in Laikipia.

36. MAURICE SCHUTGENS VISITS YET

ANOTHER country in Africa, this time,

the twin-island state of São Tomé and

Príncipe, and finds out why you should go.

42. GREAT HOTELS

Come with us to Impala Ecolodge in

Kisumu.

8 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


CONTRIBUTORS

WHICH DESTINATION HAVE THEY FOUND THEMSELVES RETURNING TO THIS PAST YEAR?

STEPHANIE KINGORI

Topshots, Page 12

The Majlis Resort in Lamu. It has luxurious,

stylish furniture and unique features with

beautiful swahili architecture all round. The

interior décor is well thought out and offers

a serene environment to ensure you are

relaxed as you enjoy your vacation. The pool

has a spectacular view of the ocean that

allows you to marvel at God’s beauty while

reading a book and sipping some

wine.

We discovered this month’s book

recommendations via Reese Witherspoon’s

book club. Every month, Reese picks one

book she loves with a woman at the center

of the story and shares it with her book club.

If one of your goals this year is to read more

books but you’re wondering where to start,

her recommendations thus far are worth

checking out to see what stands out to you.

One favourite so far, a recommendation from

BRIAN KIMEU

Kenyan Traveler, Page 22

If home is where the heart is, my heart

belongs to two lovers. When I think of home,

my mind wanders through the labyrinthine

streets of Lamu town and my skin tingles at

the thought of the sun on my skin, basking

at Shela beach. There’s nothing that would

warm my heart more than to share the place

that I love the most with the person that I love

the most.

“FROM SCRATCH”

By Tembi Locke

early last year, is “From Scratch: A Memoir

of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home” by Tembi

Locke.

The synopsis reads, “It was love at first

sight when Tembi met professional chef,

Saro, on a street in Florence. There was

just one problem: Saro’s traditional Sicilian

family did not approve of him marrying

a black American woman, an actress no

less. However, the couple, heartbroken but

undeterred, forges on. They build a happy

life in Los Angeles, with fulfilling careers,

deep friendships and the love of their lives: a

baby girl they adopt at birth. Eventually, they

reconcile with Saro’s family just as he faces a

formidable cancer that will consume all their

dreams.

From Scratch chronicles three summers

Tembi spends in Sicily with her daughter,

Zoela, as she begins to piece together a life

without her husband in his tiny hometown

hamlet of farmers. Where once Tembi was

estranged from Saro’s family and his origins,

MAURICE SCHUTGENS

Dispatch, Page 36

For me it's all about disappearing far off the

beaten track with my girlfriend, to a place as

far away from humanity and all reminders

of civilization. Surely there is nothing more

romantic than finding yourself somewhere

in the African wilderness, looking up at the

stars listening to the sounds of bush. Cliche?

Maybe - but nobody can deny that it's a

winning formula!

Book Review

now she finds solace and nourishment—

literally and spiritually—at her mother in

law’s table. In the Sicilian countryside, she

discovers the healing gifts of simple fresh

food, the embrace of a close knit community,

and timeless traditions and wisdom that

light a path forward. All along the way

she reflects on her and Saro’s incredible

romance—an indelible love story that leaps

off the pages.

In Sicily, it is said that every story begins

with a marriage or a death—in Tembi Locke’s

case, it is both. Her story is about loss, but

it’s really about love found. Her story is

about travel, but it’s really about finding a

home. It is about food, but it’s really about

chasing flavor as an act of remembrance.

From Scratch is for anyone who has dared to

reach for big love, fought for what mattered

most, and needed a powerful reminder that

life is…delicious.”

To get a copy, look it up on Amazon,

Audible and Indiebound.

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2020 9


10 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


TOP SHOTS

HARDIK THANKI

@hardikblitz

Even a king needs to relax after a good

meal. I took this photo of the lion after

he had eaten his lunch one afternoon

in the animal orphanage at the Nairobi

National Park.

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2020 2019 11


STEPHANIE KING'ORI

@explore_withsteph

During a road trip, we came across the

expansive yellow canola fields in Kisima.

This image was taken at around 5:00pm

using a Nikon D610 camera with a

Nikkor 70-300mm lens and a custom

made cineflat profile.

TIP: Always create a colour palette for

your images and aim for the golden hours;

either sunrise or sunset.


ESPRESS’

YOUR LOVE

+254 67 586 3000

dormanscoffee

dormanscoffee

Celebrating 70 years of great coffee [1950-2020]

Dormans Coffee


TOP SHOTS

14 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


PRANAV CHADHA

@P_CHADHA

On our last morning game drive in Maasai

Mara, a clan of hyenas brought down a

wildebeest and started eating it while it

was still alive. Minutes later, a sub-adult

male lion came in and took over the

kill, only to find that the hyenas left very

little meat. I used a Nikon D3300 with

a Nikkor 200-500 mm lens at 500mm,

f/5.6, 1/1600s and ISO 800.

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2020 15


NEWS & EVENTS

TURKISH AIRLINES ANNOUNCES FREE STOP OVER

ACCOMMODATION

Turkish Airlines is offering its passengers flying to

Africa, Asia, the Far East and the Middle East a free

stopover in Istanbul if they are traveling from the

United Kingdom. Those with round-trip tickets will be

given free accommodation to stay in Turkey’s largest

city. They just have to send an application to their

country’s Turkish Airlines e-mail address at least 72

hours before the first flight.

Economy class passengers can enjoy a single night

stay in a four-star hotel while those in business class

can stay in a five-star-room for two nights. While

there, they can take the chance to discover the rich

culture, history and cuisine that Istanbul has to offer.

AZURE HOTEL UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT

PrideInn group of hotels has with immediate effect taken up

Azure hotel, located in Nairobi Lantana Rd, on a revenue-sharing

management contract with a possibility of fully acquiring it within

the course of this year. This new management contract will see the

two investors use profits to strengthen the operational efficiency of

the PrideInn Azure hotel in line with world-class best practices that

suit the local market. The PrideInn Group of hotels is also looking to

expand and grow its footprints in Kenya and Africa at large using

this new model of revenue sharing management contracts.

JAMBOJET KICKS OFF DIRECT FLIGHTS TO KIGALI

Regional low-cost carrier Jambojet made its inaugural flight to Kigali,

officially becoming the first low-cost carrier in Kenya to fly the route.

The airline will be flying once daily from its hub at Jomo Kenyatta

International Airport to Kigali International Airport. This comes

after Jambojet recently expanded its fleet with two brand new De

Havilland Dash 8 - 400. The airline is charging promotional rates of

Ksh 11,240 for one way on the Kigali Route.

EMIRATES INTRODUCES LIMITED OFFERS FOR KENYAN TRAVELLERS

Emirates offered jet-setters in Kenya special 2020 roundtrip global

fares to enable them to plan early for their next adventures. For

a limited time, jet-setters looked forward to great deals to key

destinations in Emirates’ global network with special Business Class

and Economy Class fares. Return fares started at less than $484

(Kshs 48,884) and were available until January 21st 2020, and will

be valid for travel until November 30th 2020. With the vibrant and

dynamic city of Dubai as its hub, Emirates provides travellers with

direct connections to more than 159 destinations in 85 countries

and territories. For more information, visit www.emirates.com/ke, or

visit the Kenyan Emirates office located at 9 West Building, Ring Rd

Parklands, Nairobi or your travel agent.

16 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


2020 TROPIC AIR 10TO4

MOUNTAIN BIKE CHALLENGE

The 2020 Tropic Air 10to4 will take place

on 14th-16th February 2020, starting at

an altitude of 10,000ft on the slopes of

Mount Kenya and ending on the savannahs

of Borana Conservancy at 4,000ft.

Having started in 2002 as a very small

mountain biking event, with just a handful

of riders, this event 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 Mount

Kenya and its beautiful surrounding wildlife

conservancies, whilst raising critical funds for

Mount Kenya Trust’s community projects and

mountain conservation. www.10to4.org

LAMU YOGA FESTIVAL

The seventh annual Lamu Yoga Festival will be held from

4th to 8th March 2020. The festival offers five days of

yoga with over 25 teachers, 150 yoga classes, meditations

and workshops. Festival activities will be centered in the

charming village of Shela, but will encompass Manda Island

and Lamu Old Town, so the whole area will be abuzz. A

variety of yoga classes and meditations for all levels will be

offered at 12 unique venues and studios. You can also get a

taste of Swahili culture by joining the planned Swahili dinner,

sunset dhow sail and a final bonfire. www.lamuyoga.org

KENYA KITE FESTIVAL

This is a family event that allows adults

to relive their childhood and kids to learn

something new and exciting through kite

flying at a picnic style event with live music.

The event will be taking place on Sunday

15th March, at the Nairobi Polo Club

between 11:00am and 6:00pm. Activities

will include kiting competitions and an

interactive kiddy corner. Food, drinks and

kites will be available for sale throughout

the day. Please bring a kanga or blanket to

sit on.www.ticketsasa.com

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2020 17


NOTES FROM THE BUSH

AND SO

IT BEGINS…

As we settle into the New Year, Samantha du Toit

wonders why we like to think of it as ‘new’. Out in

the bush, from the zebras on the plains to the hyenas

whooping near the tents, today is just another day.

The time has come to reset

the calendar, make some

resolutions for the next year

and take stock of 2019. It

seems we call it a ‘new’ year,

but this time, as we sipped tea

and watched the sunrise over

the unusually green, grassy

plains behind camp, I found

myself wondering why we like

to think of it as ‘new’. What is ‘new’ and how

does it apply to the things that surround us?

To much of the immediate world around

us, from the zebras on the plains to the

hyenas whooping near our tent, and the

Egyptian Goose who has recently appointed

himself our early morning wake-up call,

today is just another day. Yes, it might be a

warmer day or a cooler day, or a day where

food is plentiful, or indeed a day when it is

not, but ultimately it is just another day. And

to some things, like the thousands of different

types of caterpillars which have appeared

as a result of the rains, their lifetime is not

even close to a year, and a single day is a

significant portion of their lives.

When discussing this with the children

it gave me the opportunity to explore what

a year really is, and why it is the length

it is. Delving into the world of our solar

system for the first time since leaving school,

it was fun to share with the children the

story of our planet earth in relation to the

stars and planets they see in the sky every

night. At the moment, Venus shines brightly

down on us from the west as we sit by the

evening campfire. Their eyes grew wide with

amazement at the idea that our earth and

other planets orbit the sun, and how some

very clever humans a long time ago worked

out that it is possible to calculate the length

of these cycles, and that is how we have

arrived at the length of our year.

Despite all of this though, I have found

myself thinking about what is ‘new’ and

looking at the months ahead with fresh eyes.

To appreciate the cyclical nature of things

is reassuring, and to be able to press pause

every now and again to re-assess things is

refreshing. So what is new? Well, there is

new life everywhere thanks to the incredible

amount of rain we have experienced over

the past few months. Grass species not seen

in years have sprouted, and caterpillars in

shapes, colours and sizes that I have never

seen before are munching away on all the

bushes. We also invented a new solution to

our internet struggles – a phone ‘hotspot’ in

a plastic bottle which we hoist up the thorn

tree next to our office tent much like hoisting

a flag. It works surprisingly well for a lowtech

solution. And perhaps this will form

some of the resolutions for this year. Keep

everything as simple as possible, and keep

remembering that every day is a new day

but at the same time, it is just another day.

Samantha du Toit is a wildlife

conservationist, working with SORALO, a

Maasai land trust. She lives with her

husband, Johann, and their two children at

Shompole Wilderness, a tented camp in the

Shompole Conservancy.

18 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


GLOBETROTTERS

THE STYLISH

TRAVELER

Silvia Njoki is a Stylist and Digital Content

Creator. She talks to Joe Wahome about

traveling with her six year old daughter and

how exploring different cultures has shaped her

world view.

20 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


What inspires you to travel?

I have always been fascinated by differences in culture, food, religion,

languages and even physical attributes. As a young girl in primary school, I

would exchange photos and letters with pen-pals across the world; it was my

way to get a glimpse into their life and vice versa. Curiosity inspires me to travel.

How do you manage to travel regularly with your daughter who’s still in school?

It may seem like a lot because we share a lot of pictures, but our travels

together are always during her school holidays. We have a lot of fun exploring

together. She has picked up things like photography and has started to be more

adventurous with the food she eats, much like myself. She is very open to new

experiences.

What are some of your favourite places that you’ve been to?

Jamaica is relaxed, soulful and rich in culture and I love the music there. Bali

is absolutely breathtaking; the beaches, forests, rivers and the people are kind

and welcoming, not to forget that it has the most amazing vegan and vegetarian

restaurants I've ever tried. As a fashion lover, London has the best shopping

experience from thrift stores to high end designer brands and the nightlife is also

great. These three are my favorite places. I am yet to go to a country that offers

me a combination of all three, but this may change as there are a few countries

still on my bucket list.

Which destinations, then, are currently on your bucket list?

Australia, Egypt and Ethiopia, but also a few Latin American countries like

Mexico and Cuba.

How do you choose where you travel?

This may be inspired by pictures I see, stories I come across or meeting people

from a country in my day to day life and being inspired by accounts of their

homeland. Sometimes my travels are driven by a work related event, and once

I’m in that destination, I will grab the opportunity to travel in my free time.

What's your favorite thing to do in a new

town?

I am not too keen on hunting for the top

tourist attraction but prefer to meet with

the locals and get to know their daily life. I

therefore love to spend time in markets and

restaurants that serve local food. I definitely

want to experience the nightlife and clubbing

scene but also like to listen to the local music

at other more modest venues.

How has travel impacted you?

Travel has made me a lot more outgoing,

broadened my mind and made me more

accepting of people's differences. Solo

travel has on the other hand pushed me to

great limits and made me more aware of my

strengths.

How do you prepare for a trip?

Once I choose a destination, I do

some online research and come up

with an itinerary based on reviews and

recommendations by other travellers. If

possible, I even try to contact one or two

people there to have someone to hang

out with from the start to show me the

local spots. Since one of my primary aims

of traveling is to generate photo content

for social media, I also search for local

photographers to team up with.

What are some things you love to do in

Kenya?

My most memorable experiences are always

when I go back to my village where aspects

of my culture and traditions are still strong.

Times are changing fast and it is always

refreshing for me to go back home and be

reminded of our traditional values.

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2020 21


DANCING

IN THE DUNES

With his eyes set on summiting Big Daddy

as well as experiencing the Deadvlei and

Soussvlei, Brian Kimeu traverses the Namib

Desert in breathtaking Namibia.

PHOTOGRAPHS: BRIAN KIMEU

22 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


KENYAN TRAVELER

The ride from Namibia’s

capital, Windhoek,

to the coastal city of

Swakopmund is simply

breathtaking. The

landscape has hues

ranging from a dark rich

red to a deep earthy

brown, and the most

spectacular rock formations rise in the

distance as if beckoning you to explore.

I wanted to climb every single one. One

hour away from Walvis Bay, the sun

set, hanging low in the sky. Picture the

scene; a mountain straight ahead and

to my right, a big orange sphere at eye

level, the sky awash with a beautiful

blend of purple, red and orange as we

drove deeper into the evening fog.

Swakopmund is a little sleepy town

bursting with colour, full of adorable

little cafes and watering holes at every

corner. I got there at 10:00am, my

phone at less than 10% with no idea

where my bed and breakfast was. In

hindsight, I really was trying to get lost.

If it wasn’t for the kindness of the taxi

driver who not only offered to help me

find my accommodation but also took

me on a little detour into the township,

“Mission Dune” would’ve been but a

dream.

Having spent two nights in

Swakopmund, we set out into the desert

with a pit stop at Walvis Bay to view the

flamingos that call home a stretch of beach

here, their pink plumage contrasting sharply

with the dull tones of the Atlantic Ocean

blanketed in a heavy fog.

It took us two days to get to the dunes.

The drive there can only be summarized as

landscapes that ask you to simultaneously

experience them while also curating them

for the world to see, often leaving you in

a state of confusion as you drive through

the vastness of the desert. With the Namib

Naukluft Mountains looming not too far in

the distance, you would be remiss to try and

catch even a sliver of sleep.

The Naukluft

Mountains stretched

before me and

the Namib Desert

challenged the

horizon as far as my

bespectacled eyes

could see.

Finally, D Day (Dune Day) was upon

us and we had to be up early because we

had a two hour drive to the entrance of the

Namib Naukluft Park. When you go on

vacation, getting up early isn’t the kind of

thing you want to hear, especially if early in

this instance is 4:00am, but I was eager to

take in the views atop Big Daddy.

Dune 45, Big Daddy and the Soussvlei

and Deadvlei are all within driving distance

of each other, with the park providing 4x4’s

to ferry you from the pickup point to any of

these attractions. The park opens at 6:00am

and we had to be among the first to get

there to avoid the long queues for the few

4x4’s available. On the drive to the park

entrance, the moon languidly sashayed

away behind the Namib Naukluft to my left

taking the night’s cold with it.

Shortly after, we were at the bottom of

Big Daddy. Found between Soussvlei and

Deadvlei and at a height of 325m, this was

bound to be a challenge to climb especially

seeing as I straddle that fit/unfit line, but

“Mission Dune” was not for the weak.

Two hours, more stops than I care to

admit and a lot of heaving later, I was

on top of the world. Deadvlei, white and

blinding, spread below me. The Naukluft

Mountains stretched before me and the

Namib Desert challenged the horizon as far

as my bespectacled eyes could see. “Mission

Dune” was complete leaving me with a sense

of yearning for this beautiful country that

pushed me past my physical limits.

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2020 23


LOVE

The

ISLAND

Cabanas at Kizingoni Beach in Lamu: this

is the kind of secluded paradise that ignites the

romance without much effort, and as long as you’re

with a partner, you’re instantly put under a spell,

writes Wendy Watta

24 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


WEEKEND AWAY

My boyfriend and I have

been on a trip across

the north coast, booking

stays at boutique

romantic beachfront

owner-run properties

where our days are

spent going on romantic

sunset cruises, sipping

good wine and going

on long walks along pristine beaches

(and somehow still managing to have the

occasional argument). We save the best

for last; The Cabanas at Kizingoni Beach

in Lamu. This property was actually my

suggestion, having visited it previously in

2016 and vowing to one day return with a

partner.

Arriving at the all-too familiar Manda

Airport, a prearranged speedboat with a

friendly captain picks us up from the jetty

and pretty soon we’re darting across the sea

past mangrove forests towards the southern

end of the Lamu archipelago. Set a little far

from the airport (we wanted somewhere

secluded where the only other people we

would bump into would either be staff or a

fisherman passing through), it takes us about

35 minutes to get there. “Is that it?” he asks

eagerly as we approach Matondoni, then

Kipungani. “When you see it, believe me,

you will know it,” I respond.

Everything falls into place as we advance

upon a golden stretch of beach where staff

members dressed in breezy white shirts are

smiling and waving at us. Kizingoni beach

looks like a dream, and to be back here with

somebody it’s like straight out of one of those

romantic novels I spent afternoons poring

over under my desk during boring history

classes in high school. Perhaps due to the

fact that I always had my head buried in

books about faraway places as a teenager,

I’ve always wanted to be marooned on an

island, Robinson Crusoe style - albeit with all

the haute style and luxuries of a chic room

with clean linen - and this would be just the

place to live out those fantasies. As our bags

are carried to our room, we are ushered

to the bar area for a refreshing welcome

drink and an orientation of the property. The

bar looks different from what I remember

with swing sets serving as bar stools and a

comfortable lounge on one end.

Perched on a sand dune and nestled

amidst trees right on the beach with

unobstructed views of the sea, walking

up our two-storey villa, one of eight in the

property, is like going up a tree house.

Rightly so because given the elevated

position of our room, we might as well be

staying in one. The rustic structure, too,

blends with the environment as the high roof

is palm thatched and the walls are made

from woven mats. Wooden accents are also

everywhere, from the Swahili-style balcony

chairs to the large intricately carved mirror

above a bed so large it could fit an entire

family. Lying on this bed during high tide,

you can see the water shimmering under

the sun right in front of your balcony. There

is also a loo with an absolutely incredible

view and one could be content to just gaze

at the landscape from there, but alas, there’s

an even better spot downstairs where two

hammocks, set side by side, bring you eye

to eye with the ocean. Bare feet, messy hair,

swimsuits and cocktails at hand, we spend a

bit of time bonding and enjoying the breeze

from here.

It takes a certain kind of romantic to

run a place like this, and should you meet

Shawn and Anna, it will all fall into place.

These two, much like my partner and I, come

from opposite ends of the world - Shawn is

from Hawaii while Anna is from Kenya. The

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2020 25


WEEKEND AWAY

pair met in Hawaii at a kitesurfing event

and it was love at first sight, quite literally,

as Shawn saved Anna from a serious kite

tangle out at sea. By the time they both got

safely back to shore, they were besotted,

and have been together ever since. Anna

says that all their friends and family raised

their eyebrows as they lived and worked

on opposite sides of the globe, but the two

made the long distance work, spending

all their savings to travel to see each other

whenever they could. Finally, last year,

they decided to put down roots in Lamu,

one of their favourite places, to nurture the

healthy, happy lifestyle that they wanted to

start together. Anna is a health coach and

advanced yoga and meditation teacher

(which they provide at The Cabanas), while

Shawn has been a professional kitesurfer

since he was 12, and has competed around

the world. He retired from competing when

he moved to Lamu as he finally found his

perfect kitesurf playground at The Cabanas

after a worldwide search, a real testament to

the conditions here. He has set up a bespoke

kitesurf school and now the couple gets to

enjoy the sport that brought them together

most days of the year.

We prefer to take our breakfasts at the

Top Deck, which is exactly what the name

suggests, taking turns tucking into breakfast

and swimming the length of the infinity pool

which offers views of the ‘jungle’, cabanas

and sea. This is the kind of spot which

ignites the romance without much effort,

and as long as you’re with a partner, you’re

instantly put under a spell. You will look like

quite the sappy pair taking turns between

marveling at the scenery and getting lost

in each other’s eyes. For lunch and dinner,

chef Njole Zuma is adept at various cuisines

ranging from Italian to continental and

African. He also whips up fantastic vegan

and vegetarian dishes using some of his

favourite ingredients such as seeds, cumin,

coriander, fennel, fenugreek and cardamom.

I love his use of coconuts to elevate the

dishes, accompanied by fried potatoes so

good that it would be a crime to resist- at

least that’s what I tell myself. Succeeding

at working ourselves into a food coma, we

have no choice but to stroll down to the

beach for a massage that sends us right to

sleep. Such a tough life. As if to balance

things out, our plans for a seafood beach

bbq are put off thanks to a bout of rain.

The Cabanas at Kizingoni Beach lend

themselves to a do-nothing-but-relax-andget-pampered

romantic escape. The staff

are ever at your beck and call. The place is

also so secluded that when we set off along

the shoreline for a walk, we only have sand

crabs and birds for company. The villas, too,

are so spread apart that even if there are

other guests, you and your partner will likely

feel like you’re alone on the island. Love

is celebrated here, and Shawn and Anna

love to host proposals, anniversaries and

just couples wanting to escape the rat race

and reconnect with each other. You are very

welcome to relax into the healthy happy nest

that they have created in this corner of Lamu.

www.thecabanaslamu.com

26 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


I’ve always wanted to be

marooned on an island,

Robinson Crusoe style,

albeit with all the haute

style and luxuries of a

chic room with clean linen,

and this would be just the

place to live out those

fantasies

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2020 27


WEEKEND

AWAY

PHOTOGRAPH: BRIAN SIAMBI

28 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


MEDINA PALMS

Watamu

With its distinct North African and Mediterranean flair

which followed through to the dishes served, this hotel

became a fast favourite. We checked into a chic allwhite

apartment-style villa with two ensuite rooms, a

kitchen, private lounge and balcony overlooking the

pool, an upstairs living room complete with a rooftop

plunge pool on the terrace. Families and honeymooners

lazed away the day by the main pool which stretched

across the length of the hotel, culminating in an infinity

pool overlooking the sea. Choose from 50 units ranging

from cozy one-bedroom apartments to palatial fivebedroom

villas. Meals can be enjoyed at Amandina

Restaurant, or under the moon by the pool, beach or

garden. There’s a fitness centre as well as the rooftop,

open-air Sakina Ocean spa offering full-body massages

using rose quartz crystals, shea and water jets, as well

as a range of deep facials. www.medinapalms.com

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2020 29


WEEKEND AWAY

CHUI LODGE

Lake Naivasha

The Zwager family originally built Chui

as guest accommodation for Oserian

flower farm, naming it after the area’s

healthy leopard population. There are

eight, well-spaced luxurious cottages each

with its own veranda and views of the Rift

Valley escarpment and the Sanctuary. The

bedrooms have magnificent four poster king

size olive wood beds, roaring log fires, ensuite

bathrooms and unique décor. On site

is a large swimming pool overlooking the

waterhole, and four course candle-lit dinners

under the stars are highly recommended.

www.oserengoniwildlife.com

KOBE SUITE RESORT

Watamu

The exclusive collection of suites here are designed

with both an Italian elegance and authentic Swahili

flair. Garden View suites are tucked in the luscious

gardens and overlook the main swimming pool of

the property, while the highly-sought after sea topclass

suites are sea facing. There are two swimming

pools and a popular bar and restaurant which also

face the sea and a wellness spa to help you relax.

It’s a great base from which to explore the marine

pack and enjoy an array of family-friendly activities

around town. www.kobesuiteresort.com.

ENTIM SIDAI,

Nairobi

This is a serene wellness sanctuary in the heart

of Karen, with a clear view of Ngong Hills.

Accommodation ranges from a junior suite to a

honeymoon suite and luxury villas. One of the

attractions here is the spa which is surrounded by a

wonderful natural forest and lush greenery, with a

skylight to view the birds as they fly past. Some of

their packages this month include a romantic picnic

for two at Ksh 8,600, and couple’s massage plus

dinner for two at Ksh 19,500. www.entimsidai.com

30 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


WEEKEND AWAY

OLEPANGI FARM

Timau

It has five cottages including the impressive

Round House with a bedroom on its upper

floor and an outdoor bathtub. The farm does

all of its own water harvesting and rooms are

solar powered. Each morning, step out onto

the wooden floorboards on the front porch of

your cottage to take in the sheer beauty of the

Lolldaigas. Food is organically grown in their

own garden. The decor was curated over the

years by the owners on their travels, and a

favourite spot is the grass thatched Party House

where bohemian maximalism is at play. Horse

riding is available. Resident rates from Ksh

13,500 on full board. www.olepangifarm.com

DIAMONDS DREAM OF AFRICA

Malindi

Thanks to their all inclusive formula, you will be able to

enjoy your holiday being pampered by the professional

staff at their luxury beachfront property. Here, the

enchanting force of nature blends with the exotic Indo-

Arabic architecture accented by Balinese armchairs to

create a hypnotic charm. Reach out via their website for

their exclusive Month of Love package which includes

a 30 minute couple’s massage, one day use of the

thalassotherapy salt water pools, room service breakfast,

romantic room set up during turn down a romantic dinner

under the stars and more.

www.dreamofafrica.diamondsresorts.com

SASAAB LODGE

Samburu

It is a place of rich natural diversity with an astounding

number of animals including the ‘Samburu Special Five’.

The architecture of Sasaab follows strong Moroccan

design principles, in which African heat is of primary

consideration. Each of the nine rooms is over 100m²

with an enormous open-air bathroom and private

plunge pool. From the veranda, guests can take in the

remarkable views across the Laikipia Plateau toward the

jagged peak of Mount Kenya. Its position on the river

naturally facilitates watching the herds of elephants that

come to bathe. www.thesafaricollection.com

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2020 31


IF I HAD TO

PICK A SCHOOL,

I WOULD

SEND THEM TO

PEMBROKE


www.pembrokehouse.sc.ke


@pembroke_house_school

What do an international rugby player and an emotional intelligence strategist have

in common? The answer is that they both went to Pembroke House School, a small

boarding preparatory school in the Rift Valley, Kenya.

Toby Francombe and Nandi Kegode are two alumni of the 90 year old school, both

from very different backgrounds and with very different jobs and aspirations.

“I don’t think I would be the person I am today, if it weren’t for Pembroke”, Nandi

waxed lyrical about her time at school. Nandi is an emotional intelligence and cultural

strategy consultant with her own business, Hisia Intel Solutions. “By the time I left, I was

more adventurous, with a strong identity of self and a can-do attitude, which made me

more resilient [during the tougher times of her teens and early adulthood]”. Pembroke

allows children to be children – to run around in the mud, make dens, climb trees and

appreciate the natural beauty of the Kenyan countryside – but [it] also helps to give

them confidence and character; don’t ever underestimate what kids can do”, Nandi

said. “We were taught manners and we are able to talk to anyone, of any class or

creed. International schools appreciated that; Pembrokians were renowned for being

reliable team members”.

“Pembrokians have such a strong bond – the Pembroke Spirit – and race or colour has

no place in that. I have had people come up to me recently to say “hi”, who were

five years old when I was in the upper school, asking “Do you remember me?”. The

friendships that you make when you are there are still friendships now- and you pick

up exactly where you left off, no matter how much time has passed… My favourite

memories were in the dorms, sharing tuck, talking after lights out and on the sports field,

with hours dedicated to sports”.

Toby Francombe is an international rugby player and was selected to play the position

of hooker in the 2019 Kenyan Rugby Union team. He is now in Scotland, playing for the

Boroughmuir Bears in Edinburgh. Toby went to board at Pembroke aged six, because

his father went there but also because they lived near the Maasai Mara and there were

no schools in the area. When asked about Pembroke’s strengths, Toby said, “Pembroke

was a caring school – when I first arrived, I was shy and hadn’t really spent time with

lots of other kids. The older kids really looked after the younger ones… The other thing

that I think also helped me was the manners Pembroke taught us – I am grateful for that

as this training has stood me in good stead and gave me the confidence to meet new

people and travel to new places. The opportunities to play sport were also phenomenal

and my passion for rugby was spurred on by the dedication of the coaches there”.

Toby also spoke warmly about the friendships he had made at Pembroke. “Boarding

made for much stronger friendships because we spent every minute of every day

together. There was so much time after school for us to play and do sport and get to

know each other. Everyone looked after everyone else and we had a special bond that

we still have today”.

Tel: 0708 143 600, Email: registrar@pembrokehouse.sc.ke


Elewana

LOISABA

LODO

SPRINGS

A family drives down to Lodo Springs,

Elewana’s latest addition to the wildlife-rich

Loisaba Conservancy in Laikipia.

TEXT AMI DOSHI SHAH

Road-tripping in Kenya can be exhilarating but

also occasionally grueling. Our recent family

expedition to Elewana’s new addition to Loisaba

Conservancy in Laikipia was a perfect example.

With Nairobi behind us, what followed was

three and a half hours of barrelling through

eaten, potholed tarmac and mucky murram,

coupled with momentary stops waiting for herds

of nonchalant cattle and rambunctious goats

to cross the road. Then, an hour and a half of going around in

circles in the conservancy having followed the wrong Google

Map pin. All this, during some of the heaviest rains Kenya

has encountered in decades. Needless to say, by the time we

reached Lodo Springs, tempers were frayed.

We were warmly welcomed by the camp manager who must

have thought we were nuts for deciding to drive, and ushered

down into the property that sits perched atop an escarpment

with breathtaking views of the plains leading to Mt Kenya. Due

34 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


WEEKEND AWAY

can often be found in places of worship.

Nature is the focus.

Loisaba is known to be part of one of

East Africa’s largest elephant corridors and

our game drives in Elewana’s open Land

Rovers accompanied by a dedicated guide

clearly demonstrated that. The elephants

were shy and not used to human contact. On

close approach to a herd of 10 tuskers, the

matriarch flapped her ears and pretended

to charge as an act of warning, protecting

the young calves that were under her care.

It was a heart thumping insight into the

intelligence of these vulnerable creatures.

Shrouded in several layers of shuka

blankets, after sunset we tailed a lone lioness

for 30 minutes culminating in an unsuccessful

hunt of a skittish impala. Other wild game

that the conservancy protects, including

leopards, cheetahs and rare wild dogs, were

much more elusive, hidden in swathes of

towering bushland.

into dishes like freshly baked focaccia with a

soy dipping sauce or a warm and delicately

spiced mushroom laksa soup and vegetable

dumplings. In addition to the gourmet meals,

they also had a separate kids menu and

much to our amusement, chips and spaghetti

were also mainstay during mealtimes for our

fussy younger son. Breakfast and lunch were

an outdoor affair, overlooking an infinity

pool and the plains of Loisaba where a

solitary elephant could be seen in the valley

drinking from the Lodo Spring, a natural

water source that attracts nearby wildlife

and the namesake for the luxury property.

As our time came to an end, the

‘adventure’ that awaited in our journey back

home was at the back of all our minds. We

did however take comfort in two things. First,

that we had experienced the beauty and

majesty of this pocket of Kenya in the most

sublime way as a family. Second, that when

we came back to Lodo Springs...we’d take a

flight!

Dinners were in the cosy main dining

room over candlelight and wine, digging

to its elevation, a consistent breeze carried

the sounds of whistling thorn acacias and

weaver birds. After eight hours in a car with

two kids, finally, silence.

Elewana’s Loisaba Lodo Springs officially

opened in mid-2019 being the third of their

properties (others are Loisaba Tented Camp

and Loisaba Star Beds) in this 57,000 acre

conservancy and ranch. Unlike the other two

hospitality offerings though, this property

was a new build and a massive undertaking

creatively led by architects and spatial

designers Chris Payne (of White Elephant

Trading Co.) and Jan Allen. The focal point

for each of the eight stone-clad bedrooms

is the limitless and unobstructed sight of the

archetypal African plains with a high tented

ceiling evoking the same sense of awe that

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2020 35


SÃO TOMÉ AND PRÍNCIPE:

LIFE IN THE

CHOCOLATE

ISLANDS

Located deep in the Gulf of Guinea, the twin-island

state of São Tomé and Príncipe (STP) is a jurassic

paradise where the portuguese speaking locals

greet you with a disarming smile and a léve léve

(easygoing) attitude to life. Forged in isolation, today

STP has emerged from its dark history to tell a story.

Maurice Schutgens finds out why you should go.

PHOTOGRAPHS MAURICE SCHUTGENS

Find a secluded beach. Get

down on one knee. Pop the

question. Job done. You’ll

thank me later.

36 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


DISPATCH

Chocolate

In order to understand STP, one has to

understand chocolate (and eating the

chocolate is only part of it). In 1822 the

cocoa bean made its way from Brazil to

the impenetrable shores of STP and thus

the Chocolate Islands were born. In 1913

these isolated African islands became the

world's largest producer of cocoa, supplying

Hershey’s and Cadbury. Fast forward to

present day and while STP has long handed

over its chocolate crown to Ivory Coast, the

island is experiencing a resurgence of sorts

and locals claim that the best quality beans

still come from this tiny volcanic spec in the

Atlantic. Thankfully one can still taste the

deliciously complex and intense flavours

of cocoa that have been perfected by

individuals like Claudio Corallo (an Italian

agronomist who has been celebrated as

the creator of chocolate without bitterness).

Following the journey from the spectacular

cocoa plantations on Príncipe (Roça Terreiro

Velho) to its transformation into a neatly

packaged chocolate bar is a right of

passage on STP. And yes - it's good!

Exploring roças

The roças (plantations) of STP were once

a network of beating hearts, structures

of aristocratic splendour, opulence and

ingenious engineering built on the back of

imported slave labour from Angola, Congo

and further afield. Today the roças are

crumbling facades, but a fading reminder

of former glory and pain, that have been

left to the island to be reclaimed and

forgotten. Some, but not all. Most have been

inhabited by local families, carving out a

simple existence away from the modernity

of life. Visiting the roças is an opportunity

to immerse yourself into the very fabric of

the island and hearing the stories of how

each roça once fit into the history of STP is

as fascinating as it is thought-provoking and

disturbing. Roça Agua Izé, formerly one of

the islands main plantations is a must-see,

as are the well known roças of Sundy and

Belo Monte on Príncipe but it is the less

known roças that lie far off the beaten track

on unmarked overgrown roads like Roça

Ubu Buda and Roça Boa Entrada that are

hauntingly authentic reminders of the past.

Beaches, Rum and Turtles

Ironically it was a Bacardi Rum Commercial,

filmed in 1991 on Príncipe’s now famous

Banana Beach, that briefly put STP on the

map… though it was soon to be forgotten

again. There are few places on the islands

that can be described as crowded, for this

tiny archipelago receives less than 30,000

visitors a year, but Banana Beach with its

sweeping white sand beaches with lapping

azure waters is one of the places that

can get ‘busy’. As the saying goes, “three

families is a crowd”. Further afield there

are many more isolated, photogenic and

unexplored beaches on the islands that

offer seclusion and pure wilderness such as

Praia Boi and Praia Macaco. Some however

offer even more. Praia Jalé, located on the

southernmost tip of São Tomé island, is a

wild coast with golden sands, overhanging

palm trees and large crashing waves

that only truly comes alive at night during

November and March. Under a waning

moon tens of sea turtles heave themselves

up onto the soft sands to nest, making STP

one of West Africa’s most critical habitats for

five species of sea turtles. During our night

on Praia Jalé a large female green sea turtle

dug her nest directly next to our tent. We

watched in silence as she tried to secure a

future for her species.

Hiking Pico Cão Grande

As the low hanging clouds slowly parted

in the far south of São Tomé island, a prehistoric

dark volcanic tower slowly came into

focus, looming large on the horizon, drawing

us near. Erupting from the Jurassic landscape

of giant ferns below, this was Pico Cão

Grande, a phonolite (ancient magma) tube.

This was the Lost World. From the charmingly

sleepy town of São João dos Angolares

we headed for the nearby grounds of

Agripalma (a palm oil concession) and drove

through its maze of muddy rutted roads until

our little suzuki could go no further. We

abandoned our car and started walking

towards our goal until we encountered

Miguel, a plantation worker who knew the

way (or so he claimed). Within one hour we

were hopelessly lost, slipping and sliding

through a bamboo jungle, no path in sight.

Eventually we navigated our way back to the

spire and stood at its base gazing up at its

treacherous sheer cliffs overhead. Without

maps.me we would probably still be lost

somewhere in the forest!

Chasing Waterfalls

Parque Natural Obô de São Tomé,

established in 2006, straddles parts on

both islands of STP and as a result of its

incredible abundance of endemic species, is

recognised as an ecological jewel of global

significance. While catching a fleeting

glimpse of the Congo Grey Parrot (Psittacus

erithacus) with its strikingly red plumage

through the thick canopy was exhilarating

we were on the hunt for something more

stationary...waterfalls! And STP was bursting

at the seams with them. While some are

located right along the road (Cascata São

Nicolau), others require a little more effort.

Cascata Nazaré, hidden away beyond the

village of Ponta Figo (just outside Neves), is

one of them. After recruiting our nine year

old guide, who demanded half payment

in local dobras and half in, would you

believe it, chocolate, we hiked up through a

stunning patch of tropical forest littered with

cocoa plants gone wild and random moss

covered bridges. An hour long hike gave

way to ancient Portuguese built aqueducts

that pitched us into complete darkness only

to emerge at the most spectacular waterfall

on the island. Screaming into the thundering

spray we knew we had found happiness.

The Ultimate Proposal

Find a secluded beach. Get down on one

knee. Pop the question. Job done. You’ll

thank me later.

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2020 37


SENEGAL

NO LONGER

UNDER THE

RADAR

38 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


ROAD TRIP

Nora Musa brushes up on her

French then spends two weeks

in Senegal, kicking off her trip

in Dakar where she checks

out beaches, cafes, markets,

neighbourhoods, art and more.

Dakar

As I arrived at Blaise Diagne airport, I felt

excited for the two weeks ahead.

For this trip, I was prepared for the fact that

not many people in Senegal speak English

and had therefore tried to brush up on my

very basic French. Fortunately, I found the

Senegalese to be really patient people, and

they appreciated the effort. I was staying in

Mermoz, a middle class residential area. As

we drove along the beautiful Dakar Corniche,

I realised that I was only staying ten minutes

away from it. The Corniche is where the

whole city seemingly converges for open air

circuit training, zumba classes, a run or walk

at sunset.

Breakfast and brunch

As someone who loves to linger over

breakfast and a nice cappuccino, I checked

out cafes and brunch spots online in this city

where new, trendy eateries are constantly

popping up. I headed for Lulu cafe, a

ten minute walk from my Airbnb, passing

older people dressed in brightly coloured

traditional dress. One thing I love about

Africa is the embracing of colour. At Lulu’s

I ordered the breakfast special, and the

food and decor had me sitting there for far

longer than originally planned. As the space

is divided into different sections, it’s also a

place where you could go and work. Other

great breakfast and brunch spots in the

Mamelle and Mermoz area include Melo

cafe and Simoni cafe. Downtown, there

are lots of options for breakfast such as La

Galette and Press Cafe.

Beaches

Being on the western tip of Africa, you won’t

struggle to find beaches in Senegal. The most

well known is Saly on the Petite Côte where

you’ll notice a large French and Belgian

presence, and Cap Skirring in the Southern

region of Casamance. Even in Dakar,

however, you’ll find some beaches, and

these were some of my first stops- places to

unwind and catch up on some reading before

heading into town. One option is Mamelle

beach, a ten minute taxi ride from where I

was staying. If you do a lot of solo travel, taxi

drivers can be a great way to source for local

recommendations, get tips for prices and

practise the local language. This ride was

no different - a fun exchange of elementary

French, Wolof, English and Arabic.

Mamelle beach is small but very

charming, backed by lovely little eateries

and places to get umbrellas or mats to lie on.

When I got there at about 10.30am, it was

just me and three young boys alternating

between playing football and jumping

into the water. As I was about to leave,

the people working in the cafes came and

introduced themselves; new friends made for

my next visit. In the mid to late afternoon,

this place gets busier with more tourists but is

still a nice respite from the city. If you want a

bigger beach, head to the lively Yoff about

30 minutes away and you can learn to surf

there too.

Almadies

This neighbourhood in the north of the city

is where some of the nicest sea-facing cafes,

hotels and night spots are. Some allow you

to go down and join the surfers or get your

feet wet. I met up with a friend at Chez Fatou

where we snacked, caught up and took

some pictures with the incredible sea view

behind us. I spent other sunsets and evenings

in Almadies at Sharkeys, Jet cafe among

others. Many of the places with sea-facing

terraces also had sun loungers so you can

still get work done or read a book while

sunbathing.

DAKAR HAS BECOME

such a creative hub that last year, a specialist artist

residency called Black Rock Senegal was set up to much

fanfare and an opening party that included creatives

from all over Africa, Europe and the US. Set up by

Kehinde Wiley, the artist who was commissioned to

paint a portrait of Barack Obama, it’s an exciting

addition to the local art scene. A browse through

Instagram will help you connect with many creatives

doing great things here.

Medina

I’d read online about the old part of the

city called Medina becoming a hub for

street art, so I reached out to a few local

creatives to accompany me on a walk

to make it a little more informative. One

of the first to respond was a talented

internationally accomplished photographer

and filmmaker called Abdoulaye. He met

me at Soumbédioune beach early in the

morning to watch the fishermen bringing in

their night’s haul, as others went out to sea

to replace them. We talked to them and took

photos of the colourful pirogue boats then

headed off into the Medina with a pit stop

for a street baguette and omelette. While

it is a residential area, many of the locals

have allowed the walls of their homes to be

painted with beautiful murals by local artists.

Islamic influence

Dakar is home to some beautiful mosques

and I decided to visit my favourite, Mosquee

De La Divinite. It’s set down from The

Corniche against the sea, and the dramatic

setting combined with its stunning green and

white colour is truly a feast for the eyes. I

was greeted by the guardian, Mohammed.

His uncle had founded the mosque and was

buried in front. Another delight? The mosque

was only open during prayer time but he

opened the green shutter windows to show

me the inside and told me that men had one

floor downstairs but the women had two

floors. This is something you’ll see across

Senegal, women are actively welcomed to

pray. Dakar may not have as many mosques

as say Cairo or Istanbul but at prayer time,

people will pray anywhere; while waiting to

be served in markets and when waiting for

taxis, if it is time, the prayer mats will come

out, then they continue with their business.

Markets

You cannot visit Dakar without visiting

a market or two. Located downtown,

Sanadaga is so big that taxis will ask you

which part you want to go to. Fabric?

Jewellery? What do you need to buy? I

was determined to get something made

for myself and therefore decided to find a

market insider. I was connected to Ibrahim,

a friendly tailor, salesman and market guide.

He greeted me wearing a bright yellow

thobe (bou-bou) and equally bright smile.

I scurried along behind him as he took me

up the steps of a building in a busy market

intersection, full of different rooms with

fabric. He left me to choose a design and

material I wanted, and this was followed

by a little price negotiation. Sewing is

usually done in a few hours but I returned

the following day to pick them up. Other

than Sandaga, HLM is good for markets,

while on a smaller scale Marche Artisanal

Samboudine is where you can get jewellery

and crafts.

Landmark

The African Renaissance statue is of a

man, woman and child facing the sea,

and is the tallest in Africa. Built in 2010

to commemorate independence, the long

flight of stairs leading up to this statue adds

to its drama and is a prime spot to take

photographs. It is always worth a visit even

just for the fabulous views over Dakar. It was

not without controversy when it was built

due to the cost, the short skirt the woman

is wearing and the fact that it overlooks

the mosque. However, people now seem

to have warmed to it, and whether or not

you visit, you’ll most definitely drive past it

at some point. I actually love the statue...

to me it represents strength, family and

independence.

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2020 39


AN

ETHIOPIAN

FEAST

Wendy Watta signs up for an immersive

Ethiopian food tour in Addis Ababa

40 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


ETHIOPIA

W

hen I arrive in

Addis Ababa

on January 7th,

I find that it is

Christmas and

the majority of

people are in

a festive mood, a stark contrast to Nairobi

where I left people reporting to work at the

start of a new year. I have just two days

to spare in this city before heading on the

historical northern route, hitting up spots

like Lalibela and the Danakil Depression.

To make the most of my time, I sign up for

a food tour with Go Addis Tours on my

first day, which promises an immersive

introduction to Ethiopian food; exploring

several restaurants for local food and drinks,

all while walking around town to get a feel

for the daily life here.

I meet Genet, a warm and personable

nursery school teacher-turned-guide that

the tour company pairs me up with, at

Esset Restaurant. Walking in there is grass

spread on a patch of ground at the entrance;

I noticed earlier that my taxi driver had

grass on the floor of his car as well. This is

apparently done during celebrations to wish

each other well. Ethiopian jazz plays softly

on the speakers and one wall is covered in

black and white paintings of the country’s

famous actors, musicians and journalists. At

the open kitchen, the staff are dexterously

pouring a four-day fermented teff flour

mixture onto a circular griddle to bake, to

make the staple dish, injera. This comes

served in a sharing platter accompanied

by shiro, a chickpea stew which quickly

becomes a favourite in my time exploring the

country.

Genet tells me the rules for eating from a

shared platter: use one hand, no licking and

no double-dipping. The waitresses, as polite

and pretty as Ethiopian women are said

Then there is tire siga,

which translates to raw

meat, and that’s exactly

what it is. Straight from

the butcher’s knife, the beef

is diced then served on a

plate, accompanied by a

spicy dip...

to be, go around passing complimentary

freshly-made defo dabo bread, their

Christmas gift to patrons.

After this meal, we take a leisurely stroll

to the next spot called Yeshi buna. Buna

is the Ethiopian word for coffee, which

according to legend, was discovered here

by a shepherd called Kaldi who after

noticing that his goat would become more

energetic after nibbling on the bright red

berries of a particular bush, decided to

try them for himself. Today, the beverage

is typically served black, in espresso-style

cups, with sugar on the side. Yeshi Buna

proudly displays its coffee set at one corner,

and the chairs all have hand carved images

that tell stories of some of the 80 tribes in

Ethiopia, such as a lady from the highlands

spinning cotton by hand. The space is

intimate, the chairs low, and the dish, when

it comes served in a colourful woven basket,

is delicious. We accompany this with a St

George beer which is light and easy to enjoy

even for a beer-averse person like me.

The walk to the final stop takes about

15 minutes which I spend taking in Bole,

considered the nicest part of Addis. Old

taxis and tuk tuks painted white and dark

blue line a cobblestoned street while the

women sashay along in their beautiful

handwoven and embroidered traditional

dresses. I marvel at the charming streetside

cafes and bars and say hello to some

people; by my experience, Ethiopians are

really warm and welcoming. Having worked

up enough appetite to eat again, we get

to Yilma, which Genet boldly declares the

best butchery in Addis. Its claims to fame is

that this is where Anthony Bourdain dined

when he visited the city. It’s a family business

started 50 years ago by the patriarch who

started off selling livestock from his own farm

before progressing into this meat-focused

eatery. Fresh delivery is done daily, and

since Orthodox Christians don't eat meat on

Wednesday and Friday, they remain closed

on those days.

The space is large with numerous tables,

two TVs and a live butchery from which

we order our meat. There are two go-to

dishes here. The tibs is fried up with a lot of

onions and is downright delicious; a typical

Kenyan’s dream. Then there is tire siga,

which translates to raw meat, and that’s

exactly what it is. Straight from the butcher’s

knife, the beef is diced then served on a

plate, accompanied by a spicy dip made

with red chill, awaze, mitmita and mustard. I

take a chunk, dip it into the condiment, then

take a bite. It is really soft and you do get

the sense that you’re chewing raw beef...

but maybe that’s just a psychological thing.

Given the number of spices used in the

condiment, it is really bold and flavourful,

but without it, I probably wouldn’t dare to

eat the raw meat.

Given that it is a holiday, we are unable

to get a place that does a coffee ceremony.

After a delightful time showing me around

Addis, introducing me to the food and

answering all my eager questions about

the culture, Genet and I part ways with

a promise to keep in touch. The night is

still young, so I swing by the oldest coffee

house in town, Tomoca, where the coffee

is still brewed in vintage coffee machines.

Thereafter, I am wired enough to go out

dancing...

Email: info@goaddistours.com

LANGUAGE BASICS

Selam: Hello

Ameseginalew: Thank you

NOMAD MAGAZINE 2020 41


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NOMAD MAGAZINE 2020 43


IMPALA

ECOLODGE

KISUMU PHOTOGRAPHS WENDY WATTA

44 DISCOVER EXPLORE EXPERIENCE


GREAT HOTELS

The water playfully laps

against the small, wooden

boat rhythmically rocking it

back and forth as if to the

lake’s very own sweet tune.

The sun splashes across

the sky in striking orange

hues as a fish eagle flutters across my

periphery. I am yanked out of my reverie by

the fisherman’s paddle incessantly tapping

against the wood, and as if in response,

a hippo’s head bobs out of the water and

starts inching towards us. I have seen

YouTube videos of hippos attacking boats,

and this canoe is certainly no speedboat;

should it lunge, we’d be done for. My fear is

quickly forgotten when we pass Hippo Point,

now predominantly a hang out center where

a crowd is gathered marvelling at the sunset.

As we inch towards Impala Ecolodge with its

wooden jetty illuminated by the soft orange

glow of lamps lined along its ramp, a place I

have only ever seen from a boat during lake

cruises like this, I can’t believe we’ll finally be

staying there tomorrow!

Kisumu Impala Sanctuary sits barely a

five minute drive from where I spent several

years of my primary school, and yet, in that

time, I recall visiting only once; the memories

are hazy. I like to consider Kisumu my

hometown, but the truth is, every time I return

(once this year, so far) I can’t help but feel

like a stranger. This city is fast developing.

Kisumu waits for no one. We pay our

entrance fees at the gate: Ksh 215 per day

for me, a Kenyan citizen, and $22 for my

companion, a non-resident. We walk...

yes, walk...past zebras and impalas which

are peacefully grazing in the surroundings,

unperturbed by our presence. The lodge sits

at the edge of the sanctuary and it takes a

five minute walk to get there.

There is a long, shaded, wooden ramp

elevated above the ground such that it feels

like you’re walking amidst trees and this

leads us from the reception down to our

tent. There are 12 double tents in total, each

named after luo numbers (ours, for instance,

is “aboro”, meaning “eight”). The structure

is semi-permanent with wooden floorboards

and canvas walls. A large cozy bed above

which hangs a mosquito net sits in the middle

of the main room. Behind it is a small living

area with two armchairs, a perfect nook

for entertaining should you happen to have

friends over. A walk-in closet and changing

area sits to the left, as do the bathrooms.

Right in front of the bed is a large sliding

glass door which reveals a balcony. Here,

there are comfortable wicker chairs to relax

in as you take in the stunning view; birds

flying past, the lake almost coming right up

to your doorstep. On this private balcony

we would spend our evenings drinking wine,

playing some RnB and slow dancing with

a spectacular setting sun as our backdrop.

The park closes at 6:00pm, but since we

were staying at the lodge, our curfew was

extended to 11:00pm, with strict warning

not to roam the grounds at night because the

hippos come out to the land at that time.

Impressive meals are served either in

the eco-friendly makuti-thatched restaurant

which stands next to a pool overlooking the

lake, or on a gazebo right above the water

such that it feels like you’re dining on the

deck of a boat. It is raised on stilts within

the lake but close to the shore. Here, you

can tuck into a three course lunch while

watching the fishermen standing on one

edge of their boats while using long poles

to steer themselves forward in the shallow

water. Lake Victoria unsurprisingly makes

Kisumu synonymous with fish, boat rides and

birdwatching. The locals have broken down

the art of preparing tilapia (because if you

watch how it is handled from the moment

a fisherman traps it in his net to the way a

chef meticulously plates it up for a patron,

then it really is an art) to two options: deep

or wet fried. The fish is traditionally served

with ugali, kachumbari and sukumawiki

or some other indigenous vegetables. Be

sure to order a plate at Impala Ecolodge’s

restaurant.

Our mornings were spent wandering

this serene park where impalas and zebras

are free roaming, but other animals such as

giraffes, an ostrich, two prides of lions which

are kept separately so they don’t fight for the

territory, monkeys, a buffalo, two warthogs,

leopards and more are caged with enough

space to roam.

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NOMAD MAGAZINE 2020 45


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