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Panari-0132

Hotel Review:The Panari Resort Nyahururu

When you mention a daycation,weekend getaway or a holiday in Nyahururu Kenya, the obvious suggestion that usually pops up is ;The panari Resort Nyahururu. I recently returned from a weekend getaway from the resort and have not been able to keep quiet about it. My social media pages have been awash with stories from Panari and I am not about to stop.

The Panari Resort elegantly sits on a twenty acre piece of land against a backdrop of the scenic Thomsons Falls  that waters the surrounding Marmanet Forest as it makes its way effortlessly down stream as Ewaso Ng’iro river.

The Thomsons falls that forms the scenic backdrop of the Panari Resort.
The Thomsons falls that forms the scenic backdrop of the Panari Resort.

Checking In:

There is an aura of class, peace and tranquility as you drive into the resort. The security detail at the entrance gives a clear confirmation of  guaranteed security during the stay.

Entry.
Entry.

On arrival, you are received by the resort’s manager who cordially welcomes you to the establishment as the porter takes care of your luggage that will be taken to your room as soon as you are cleared.

I got there at around lunch time and was directed straight to the restaurant for lunch.

Dining
Dining.

The dining experience was exactly what I imagined and more. The dining room was exquisite with white walls adorned with expensive wall hangings,big windows, sliding doors, black polished tables with cream and dark brown seats that had bits of gold undertones. On one side of the room was an ancient statue made from Plaster of Paris and delicately placed on top of the fireplace.

The tables were set with snow white table cloths, polished silverware that could pass for mirrors and matching table mats. At every corner of the dining room stood attentive waiters and waitresses.

Finally the sumptuous buffet meal was cleverly displayed with the sole intention of spiking one’s appetite. Bliss.

 

Dining table.
Dining table.

 

Interior decor
Interior decor.
Wall Hanging
Wall Hanging.

The Dining Experience.

Chicken and Vegetable soup for the starter.
Chicken and Vegetable soup for the starter.
Red Snapper, Chicken, and carbs for the main dish... Haha I know.. I was hungry stop looking at the size of the portion.
Red Snapper, Chicken, and carbs for the main dish… Haha I know.. I was hungry stop looking at the size of the portion.

When it comes to the dessert, one is definitely spoilt for choice! So much to choose from.

Dessert
Dessert.
Had to settle for something..
Had to settle for something…

Accommodation:

Transport to the room was by these clean,colorful and classy buggy cars. They are available on request. The signage to the different areas  of the resort has been properly done and hence no unnecessary confusion considering the size of the resort and the identical buildings.

colourful buggy cars.
Colorful buggy cars.

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Proper signage.
Proper signage.

A welcome note neatly placed on the hardwood table from the manager of the resort was one of the highlights of my experience.Every guest wants to feel welcomed,taken care of and assured of a comfortable stay…Well done Panari.

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As the warmth of the welcome note sipped through my system slowly, something else caught my eye.The room. It had a queen size bed,with white covers and lemon lime pillow sets, a huge floral wall painting with a corresponding colour scheme,an African themed bedside lamp, roof to floor window with drapery curtains that complemented the bed and wall colours. It had a polished wooden floor, furniture made from Mahogany wood (haha I guess) and a beautiful modern fireplace. On top of the table was an electric kettle, bottled water and an assortment of beverages for a quick fix.

The room
The room.
Hardwood Furniture and a fireplace.
Hardwood furniture, polished wooden floor and a warm fireplace.
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Thou shall not be thirsty in the hotel room.

 

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Modern hair drier.

 

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Sliding doors that lead to a panoramic view of the Marmanet forest.
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Details….

I love wall hangings. There were two high quality canvas painting  carefully and thoughtfully placed on the wall facing the sliding door. Products of fine art. Art that takes you back into time.

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The room is self contained and  has a modern bathroom that is well stocked with towels and toiletries.

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Clean tap and sink.

 

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High quality Shampoo and shower gel.
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The H tap actually gives instant hot water…no stories…
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Abundant supply of white, fresh fluffy towels.

There was yet another surprise that awaited me when I opened the sliding door that led to the balcony. The panoramic view of Marmanet forest,The gushing water from Thomson’s falls as it furiously made it way down the gorge and the wide angled clear horizon.

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The chirruping of birds and the gentle breeze in the valley added flare to the already perfect picture that nature had painted.

The front porch of the room paved way to the other side of the hotel giving a sense of direction and bearing in case one felt lost.

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One view of the resort from the room.

 

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Views from the front porch.

Fun things to do:

In case you are wondering what else there is to do in the resort then wonder no more. The resort houses a fully equipped gym, a heated indoor swimming pool that is right opposite a small bar, Eucalyptus Spa and Salon, aerobics and yoga studio. There is a trained instructor on site just in case you need assistance

Swimming Pool
Swimming Pool.
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Poolside restaurant.

 

Aerobic Studio
Aerobic Studio.

 

The lemon water at the gym entrance.
The lemon water at the entrance to the gym.

 

Gym
Fully equipped gym.
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Eucalyptus Salon.
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The Spa.

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As you walk away from the utility complex, there is a site to behold. Manicured lawns, no stray grass, an artificial water fall, lovely benches,swinging seats, fresh air and a few ornamental canons.

Manicured lawns.
Manicured lawns.
Swinging seats fro relaxation. Ideal for reading.
Swinging seats for relaxation. Ideal for reading.
Waterfall.
Waterfall.
Do not step on grass :-)
Do not step on grass 🙂
Benches.
Benches,aren’t they cute?
More benches.
Then more benches.
Ornamental canons.
Ornamental canons.
more buggy vans...
More buggy vans…
Kid's play area.
The well equipped kid’s play area.

After a stroll around the resort, I ended my evening at the Silk Oak bar. This is where style meets class. Enough space at the counter, leather lounge seats and a sufficiently stocked bar!

Silk Oak Bar.
Silk Oak Bar.
Hanging wine glasses.
Hanging wine glasses.
Spacious round table and seats.
Spacious round table and seats.
Thirsty merchant making his way to the bar.
Thirsty merchant making his way to the bar.
More space.
More space.

It is true what the say when you are having a great time…Time flies.

It was a memorable stay at Panari Resort Nyahururu and will definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

For more information about the resort, visit their website here.

Or drop them an email on…reservations@panariresort.com

With Love…

Bonnita-sig

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Voyager Beach Resort-Nyali

‘Jolly Evenin’ ladies ‘n gentlemen.Me moniker be cap’n Ndeithi ‘n I gunna be th’ cap’n ‘o ye ship. Me shipmates ‘n I gunna be at ye service to ensure ye heartly enjoy ye cruise. In case ‘o any questions, queries or assistance, kindly come to th’ quayside ‘n get help from th’ foul blaggart on call…’

This was the opening speech of Captain Ndeithi to the passengers aboard the Good Ship Voyage!

Well…I guess this is the closest I have been to a cruise ship. Technically, it is a cruise ship the only difference is that it  is permanently stationed on land.

Voyager Beach Resort is an old fashioned ship themed luxury hotel at the Kenyan Coast,located ten kilometers from Mombasa town in Nyali. I spent a weekend in this unique resort and the only recommendation I have is; pack your bags already!

This Resort is a popular destination for Kenyans and foreigners alike, so bookings should be done in advance. On the weekend I was there, the resort was a buzz of activities. All rooms were fully booked. Roads and flights were all leading to Voyager.  I had accompanied Team Twende Mara; a team of bloggers and photographers that was selected by the Kenya Tourism Board to take over its entire social media channels. Apart from us, there was Capital FM (Kenya)  that turned twenty and flew all of its staff over for the weekend, the crew and fans of celebrated musicians; Nigeria’s Wizkid and America’s Chris Brown and then the other guests who were just either on holiday or business.

Arrival:

As earlier mentioned, everyone was headed to Voyager that weekend. All flights were fully booked and the only option left was to travel by bus which I grudgingly agreed to. We got to Mombasa late at night and found a driver from the resort waiting for us at the bus terminal. (To facilitate transfers, share your ETA and respective pick up point with the hotel early enough). On arrival, we received a cordial welcome from the captain of the ‘ship’, who quickly gave instructions to his shipmates and in no time we were well fed and already headed to our rooms.

The room.
The room.

The Resort and Stay.

One thing I like about the Kenyan coast is the spectacular sunrise and sunset. My room was situated right opposite the sea front overlooking an infinity pool. The sound of sea waves crushing against coral reefs,the gentle whistle of the wind as it blows kisses to the graceful palm trees, who then sashay shyly from side to side, to the golden streaks of the early morning sun rays usually make for my alarm when I’m down at the coast.

View from my room.
View from my room.
Waves crushing on reefs..
Waves crushing on reefs…
Waiting for the sun to rise
Waiting for the sun to rise on a cloudy morning.
Good things happen to those who wait... haha for the sunrise.Photo credit:Wathanga photos
Good things happen to those who wait… haha for the sunrise.                                                                   Photo credit:Wathanga photos 
Sea Front Rooms
Sea Front Rooms
Seafront Rooms
Seafront Rooms

Breakfast is served at the main restaurant from 0700 hrs to 1000 hrs. Room service is also available on request. Meals are served buffet style.

There are three accommodation packages one can choose from; bed and breakfast, half board and an all-inclusive package. With an all inclusive package, there is an advantage of complimentary services and discounts,I had an all inclusive package and would encourage anyone to go for it. It affords one a-drink-all-you-can selected local alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages, snacks served from 1000 hrs to 1800 hrs at the Kaskazi Bar, meals at Smugglers’ Cove (the seafood restaurant) at discounted rates and finally Italian cuisine at the Minestrone Restaurant.

There are four food outlets at Voyager; Mashua, Smugglers Cove, Minestrone and Kaskazi Snack Bar. Mashua is the main food outlet for all passengers on board.

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Breakfast at Mashua with team Twende Mara.

Smugglers Cove, the sea food restaurant.

 

Kaskazi Bar
Kaskazi Bar.

Voyager is one of the destinations I have been to that has almost everything under one roof. There really is no need of looking for amenities or ‘fun things to do’ on a lazy day.

There are three swimming pools to begin with…

The Sports pool is best for energetic swimmers or fitness lovers.

The sports pool. Best for energetic swimmers.
The sports pool.

The fun pool is the entertainment pool, perfect for water sports like volleyball,polo, amongst others. It also has water slides.

The fun pool. This is the entertainment pool, perfect for water sports like volleyball,polo, it has water slides.
The fun pool.
Aerial View of the fun pool
Aerial View of the fun pool.

Then finally my favorite, the relax pool! This is specifically designed for peace and quite. If you have that book you have been reading for months…then this is the one place to finish it.

The infinity pool.
The infinity pool.                                                                                                                                                                       Photo credit:Wathanga photos

After a nice swim, a snack from Kaskazi bar then a lazy walk down to the beach is always a good idea.

Sea front of the hotel.
Sea front of the hotel.

 

An afternoon walk along the beach...
An afternoon walk along the beach…

When on vacation, relaxation should be top of the list on the to do things. At a roof top right opposite the Indian ocean and behind the sports swimming pool sits the cozy Swahili Lounge. It is ideal for an afternoon siesta. The Swahili seats, swinging beds and panoramic view of the ocean made it my favorite hangout area in the entire hotel. Nothing beats the chilled voyager’s cocktail in the afternoon and a backdrop of the ocean breeze.

Swahili Lounge
Swahili Lounge.

 

Swinging beds
Swinging beds at Swahili Lounge.
Cocktails at the Swahili Lounge
Cocktails at the Swahili Lounge.

Other drinks of choice can also be ordered from the Light House Sports Bar.

Light House Sports Bar
Light House Sports Bar.

Lunch is served from 1230 hrs to 1430 hrs. It is important to observe the preferred dress code at the restaurant during meals. It’s so tempting to go to the main restaurant with swimwear but it’s not allowed. All other forms of casual wear are however allowed during the day. Mashua serves a variety of cuisines in buffet style.Each day has it’s own theme and during my stay, I experienced the African theme. The various themes are taken quite seriously. From how the tables are set with African table mats and lessos, to African cuisines and entertainment by an African music band.

This Maasai-man sculptured from a water melon caught my eye.

African themed meals.

Information on entertainment and activities around the resort are always on notice boards. In case you miss the notice boards, the same info can be given at the reception…or better known as the quayside in Pirates English.

Notice board with Entertainment info.
Notice board with entertainment info.

It is almost impossible to get bored at Voyager, just spot someone in a bright yellow tee written A-Team, ask about the fun activity of the day. They are a friendly lot. I joined them for volleyball in the fun swimming pool and as expected it was simply fun-filled! There are many games to choose from…The choice is all yours.

Animation Deck
Animation Deck.

 

Checkers!
Checkers!
Pool!
Pool!

Kids are also well taken care of at Voyager. The adventurers’ Club located besides the animation deck has all it needs to keep the babies busy. This ranges from games like snakes and ladders, books, and toys all the way to the  to sleeping area.

Adventurers' & Young Rangers Club
Adventurers’ & Young Rangers Club

Toys for the kids.

Colourful painting to keep them busy...

Sleeping beds.
Sleeping beds.

If you are not an adrenaline junkie, then treat yourself to a deserved relaxing massage. The massage room has a beautiful view of the ocean which complements the relax mode.

There are five bars at the resort; Harbour Bar-open twenty four hours, Look Out Bar,Kaskazi Bar and the Light House Sports bar  which all close at midnight then Divers’ Bar that closes earliest, at 1800 hrs.

I liked the Look Out Bar a lot.I guess the name has a lot to do with its location. From the bar, there is a watchtower kind of view and you get to see most parts of the resort from a corner.

Breath taking view from the Look out bar.
Breath taking view from the Look Out Bar.

Don’t the cocktails taste way better with this view?…

Cocktail at the Look Out Bar
I think the cocktails tasted better from this side of the resort.

In the late afternoon, I recommend a good read. The Treasure-Trove Boutique houses one of the best bookstores I have been to. Magazines, fiction, non-fiction, biographies, self-help books, poetry, Africana and host of many other genres. In Neil Gaiman’s words, “What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.”

Boutique
The boutique that houses the bookstore.
Entrance to the Bookstore
Entrance to the Bookstore.
One corner of books.
One corner of books.

As the sun crawls into its nest and ushers in a blissful night…the smooth baritone of the lead vocalist of the Jambo Africa Band singing to the famous ‘Hakuna matata’ song, sophisticated laughs and low toned conversations thickens the air, followed by civilized cheers and claps at the end of every electrifying performance. Some of the cabin crew members could be  spotted here and there picking orders as the dining area filled up with passengers on board. Everyone dresses up for dinner.

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Jambo Africa Band performing.                                                                                                                           Photo credit: Life in Mombasa

The band will then give a powerful performance with a maintained tempo leaving the passengers begging for more. I remember being so consumed in their music to a point of having a minor heartbreak when the said they were done for the night at 2300 hrs.

It was hard to believe I was checking out the next morning.

Well if you are like me and saying goodbye to a Fantastic Voyage becomes a problem, worry not. There is an option to request for a late check out and schedule your departure for later in the evening then get to spend a full day in the ‘ship’!

A big shout out to Uber Kenya for sponsoring Team Twende Mara to the Chris brown’s/Wizkid’s Concert and facilitation of our movement to and from Mombasa Golf Club.

I hope you get to visit Voyager Beach Resort and have a taste of relaxation in a ‘ship’!

 

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Romain Angelo Mari

Meet our travelpreneur of the month-Romain Angelo Mari

This month on Bonita on Safari the spotlight is on Romain Angelo Mari.

Romain is a French Travelpreneur and a globe trotter. He co-owns Distant Relatives Eco lodge and Back Packers Kilifi with Thomas Atkinson. You have probably read the post I wrote about this little paradise. If not, kindly check it out here.

Apart from being a businessman and traveler, Romain is a scientist and has Masters Degree in Marine Biology/Ecology and Natural Resource Management. His speciality is in ecotourism,responsible tourism,permaculture,Eco friendly building ,marine environmental consulting and community/conservation project management.(When you go to Distant Relatives, you will definitely see all of these in practice!)

I spoke to Romain about his business, travels,goals and so much more…Enjoy the interview.

1.Out of the 196 countries in the world why Kenya?

Hmm you know what, the more people ask, the less I know what to reply! When travelling down from Ethiopia to Cape Town with friends, we loved the people in Kilifi. We loved the emerald waters, the traditional boats, the beach life, the great fishing and fishermen’s love for reggae! I also felt very free there and everyday was a new and awesome adventure. It just felt like a healthy place to be and Kilifi really needed a place for travelers to stopover. To be honest, also, I wanted some kind of headquarters in the world. And I am not very proud of France, the growing racist conservative right wing, I don’t really feel at home there. I am increasingly ashamed in fact of how many shallow-minded people come from these “developed” countries. So Kenya ticked a lot of boxes basically!

Kilifi
Kilifi
  1. How did you settle on the name Distant Relatives, any meaning behind the name?

Haha! Well Distant Relatives is of course a nod to Nas & Damien Marley. The words “Distant Relatives” struck us with Tom (the other half of Distant Relatives) one night in Cape Town as the most appropriate definition of how a traveler wants to feel when he heads off into the world. You don’t want to feel like a foreign tourist, you want to feel welcome, you want to be part of the family – whatever your age, colour, religion, nationality – we’re all distant relatives! I love the name more than ever!

Distant Relatives
Distant Relatives.
  1. Kenya has been hit hard with major security concerns. How has that affected your business?

True… 2012 was an unfortunate time to launch a new tourism business. It’s been sad for Kenya and for Kenyans. So many have lost their jobs on the coast, so many hotels have shut down and this all had further giant ripple effects on the rest of the economy. We were not spared. But to be honest, we can’t complain, we struggled a lot for sure, but not as much as others. We managed to keep all our employees and we are still in operation so could have been much worse.

Most security problems in Kenya seem to be a straight symptom of corruption, a much bigger problem. I am quite sure that reducing corruption would be most central to tackling security problems. I cannot even start to imagine a solution though seeing the scale of the monster in Kenya though… it’s very scary… but I find it a most interesting topic.

  1. You have practically traveled the whole world, Tell us a bit about that.

I have actually nearly not visited Asia, South America, Middle East, West Africa … there is still so much to see! I was born in the Alps in France and grew up in Paris mainly. Then I lived in the US with my family near Philadelphia for 3 years and moved back to France. Then I moved to Townsville in Australia as an aquarium diver and finished my Bachelor in Brisbane for 2 years after which I did a Masters in Tasmania. I then moved to Galway in Ireland and with Tom, my partner at Distant Relatives in Kilifi, and few other friends, we traveled from Ethiopia to Cape Town for a year overland. Then I lived and worked in Cape Town for while before coming to Kilifi.

Otherwise, I have travelled in Spain, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Belize, UK, Canada, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Mauritius, Uganda, Ethiopia, Malawi, Germany, Mozambique, Namibia, New Zealand, Réunion, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Zimbabwe, most islands of Caribbean, French Polynesia, New Caledonia and just came back from Norway and Portugal.

The highlights? Uganda, Kenya, Corsica (French Island in the Mediterranean), New Zealand and Norway I would say!

Travel and adventures
Travel and adventures
  1. Tell us about the most bizarre travel incident you’ve ever experienced.

Hmmm… There’s a few… Perhaps this time when we were sleeping on the floor with friends on a street by the sea in Croatia waiting for a morning bus, when I woke up with my girlfriend to the sound of a waterfall right by my head. Turned out to be one of my best friends sleep walking who’d decided to urinate on our pile of backpacks! He went back to sleep as if nothing had happened. Haha, just couldn’t believe it really! We woke him up and he wouldn’t believe us either! Haha it was indeed … bizarre!

  1. Does your frequent travels help improve your business? If yes…tell us how.

Oh for sure… I need the perspective. It’s like oxygen to me, I die slowly otherwise. I need this fresh inspiration and this magical feeling of culture clash. I feel alive and thinking finally again, comparing two different worlds, meeting these radically different people, they fascinate me! Sometimes it’s a bit scary when you realize how many options and lifestyles there are out there in the world. But it allows me to better understand people. I come back full of fresh energy, lucidity and new ideas. Lucidity is very important to me, it makes life so much easier and pleasant for everyone.

 

  1. Does running Distant Relatives as an Eco lodge minimize your operational costs?

Hmm… I have wondered this. To some extent I am sure that yes it does, as we spend less water and hopefully less power than an equivalent hotel our size. We also up cycle and recycle everything we can. But we mainly have the same costs (salaries, taxes, purchases, maintenance, etc). To some extent also, as much as we can, everything is either home-made, eco-friendly and/or on a budget – and such things often require a lot of maintenance and that becomes expensive over time. But I am happy that we never gave up to less Eco-friendly solutions!

Eco friendly bathroom.
Eco friendly bathroom.
Rooms build from locally available materials.
Rooms built from locally available materials.

 

  1. Do you have plans to go for adventures in other counties within the country?

Sure! I am very keen to head back to the Mt Kenya region – hiking along the mountain rivers, lakes, and forests. Otherwise also very keen to go back further explore Kiwayu Archipelago and further up North towards Somalia. I have never been to Lake Turkana otherwise and hope to go there soon with Iolaus (http://www.iolaus.biz/), some awesome Kenyan fishing guides I can only most highly recommend!

  1. What is your favourite local meal?

Beef fry, chapati & mchicha? Or mandazi with mnazi maharagwe? Oh no! Grilled “Giriama Kwesa” (octopus) rolled around a stick above the fire! Kabisa!

  1. Does your business give you a feeling that you are constantly on holiday?

Hah! That’s what people think! Those who know me well know it’s really quite the opposite. I find it hard to feel on holiday at work… It’s a bit annoying but I imagine it’s every caring business owner’s problem!

  1. What projects are you currently working on?

All kinds really, an endless list! Right now we are planning all the details of our big event Kilifi New Year (https://www.facebook.com/events/504864269719570/). I am also working closely with Barefoot Solutions (http://www.barefootsoulutions.com/) on our soon upcoming Permaculture Design Course from 17th to 29th October (https://www.facebook.com/events/293687144314591/). Otherwise nothing very exciting – searching for a new silent generator, hiring new staff, learning how to use InDesign, trying to get through mountains of emails, plenty of marketing and new partnerships, accounting… It really feels like there is no end!

Permaculture Design Course
Permaculture Design Course.
  1. Are you a bathroom singer?

Haha! I am bathroom beatboxer! Honestly, the world’s much better off without me singing!

  1. What do you do when you are not running your business?

Often it’s sailing, but ideally? I try to go into the wild. To find the deep pure wild… with whom harmony feels like the ultimate fulfillment. I have only found it once, in northern Finland, 300km above the arctic circle, on a hike for a week with a friend… pure magic!

Sailing...
Sailing…
  1. How many pages does your passport have? How many times have you renewed it?

Not as many as you think! I had one page left on my last one before it expired. Recently I have actually become really good at losing passports which keeps them nice and stamp-free!

  1. Toughest business decision you’ve ever made.

I can’t remember any decision tougher than another… Maybe they’re all a bit tough? Signing the sales agreement for the property in 2012 was like signing-up for a monumental debt as well as being officially anchored and tied to Kilifi – that was scary. Thanks to George Gasston for the daily bear hugs I needed to be reassured!

  1. What are you reading now?

Haha – I am reading an awesome book “Mes Bateaux et Moi”… Actually quite sad to be finishing it tonight. It’s the autobiography of Eric Tabarly, a French sailor whom I have always admired, I have known his boats since I was a kid – he revolutionized the world of sailing between 1960 and 1998 when he sadly fell overboard in the Irish Sea and drowned. That guy never gave up, always pushed his limits beyond the imaginable, he had so much hope in the boats he designed, built and sailed, in his team and the new sailing techniques he was developing. He never had any money because his decisions and inventions were too radical, too revolutionary. But he beat every sailor of every nation at all the competitions he joined – solo around the world, transatlantics, you name it. He beat the best and the richest passing the finish line once 10 days before the second boat in the race. What he invented/ developed singlehandedly were some of the most central elements of modern sailing. He even built a trimaran that would lift itself above the water on foils, the “Hydroptere”, the world’s fastest sailing boat – it can sail faster than 100km/h… imagine! I love these stories of people that remind you to always believe in your dreams, never give up, and give it 200% of your energy! Don’t let anything discourage you. Forward!

'Mes Bateaux et Moi'
‘Mes Bateaux et Moi’     (Image courtesy:Internet)
  1. What is the worst client experience you’ve ever had?

Racist people? And violent people? But violent people are usually drunk and dumb. Racist people are just disgusting… I have a deep hatred for racism. Luckily we have only had two incidents in 5 years but that’s the worst for me.

  1. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Good question… I’m not too sure exactly yet. I’d love to show people a bit of light on how backwards everything is in our world. From environmental issues to social acceptance. It feels like people are going blinder everyday. They’re all such basic simple things and they do have very simple solutions. I’d love to do something that goes far beyond running a business. Distant Relatives does go beyond that but I would love to be part of something a bit more meaningful, let’s see! I definitely want to live somewhere wild, with awesome people, and believe in our craziest dreams, however naïve or impossible!

 

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Awesome people

 

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Awesome people.
  1. Favourite part of your current job?

Sitting in the garden after work, after the first rains, watch the plants take off, breathe and grow! Otherwise, in the lounge or garden, I love seeing the magic happen, when everyone mixes, gets along, people who didn’t know each other one hour ago – like distant relatives meeting for the first time! That’s always a real pleasure!

Distant Relatives
Distant Relatives.

 

Distant Relatives.
Distant Relatives.

 

  1. Who is the best in the world at what you do?

Woohoo! This is a great question! It’s a very easy one too. Her name is Kim Whitaker. She initially founded 33 South Backpackers (http://33southbackpackers.com/) and recently very successfully founded a mighty new project: a series of “All-Star Hotels” across Southern and Eastern Africa with 4 other clever and creative young entrepreneurs. Once in Cape Town (http://onceincapetown.co.za/) opened in 2013 and Once in Johannesburg (http://onceinjoburg.co.za) is opening November 15th this year. She won the Entrepreneur of the Year in South Africa in 2015! But beyond the awards and successes, she has this rare and rather unique blend of lucidity, creativity, boundless energy and simple logic that never quite ceases to amaze me! She’s a queen!

 

 

Well…There you have it! Don’t you feel like stopping over at Distant Relatives to say hi to this great guy!

Here are some beautiful pictures of Distant relatives and Romain…

Distant Relatives by the night.
Distant Relatives by night.

 

The inside of one of the bandas.
The inside of one of the bandas.

 

Gift shop.
Gift shop.

 

Oh you should taste the food from Distant Relatives!
Oh you should taste the every chef’s delight from Distant Relatives!

 

We are all Distant Relatives.
We are all Distant Relatives …aren’t we?

 

Romain the minister!
Romain the Minister!

 

I know who will officiate my wedding :-)
I know who will officiate my wedding 🙂

 

Check out Distant Relatives facebook for the biggest New year celebrations! you can't possibly miss out on that.
Check out Distant Relatives Facebook page for more details on  the biggest New year celebrations! You can’t possibly miss out on that.
Creek love!
Creek love!

NB: All photos used belong to Romain Mari.

 

With love…

Bonnita-logo-revised-350px

 

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Olkaria Geothermal Spa-Naivasha

Location: Floor of the Great Rift Valley inside Hells gate National Park.

Distance from Nairobi: About one and a half hours drive from Nairobi.(Approximately 120Km)

Accomodation: No

Restaurant: Yes

Public transport:No

Tour guide: Necessary for first timers.

Main attraction: The natural hot water spa.

Other attractions/Activities: Game viewing, camping,bird watching,sight seeing, cycling,hiking and rock climbing.

Charges: There are two charges:One is for accessing the National park as follows: Citizens;Ksh 350 for adults and Ksh250 children,Residents Ksh 700 adults and Ksh350 for children,USD 30 for adults and USD 20 for non residents.The other charge is for accessing the swimming pool area. Which is about Ksh 400.00*( please confirm with them on this).

Olkaria geothermal hot spa is a unique destination for a days trip to Hells Gate National Park or Naivasha.The facility is owned by Kenya Electricity Generating Company and is located inside the Hells gate National Park.

It is called a geothermal hot spa because of the hot water(hot steam that cools in the collecting pipes) that is collected from the various wells within the plant and emptied into the pool.The temperature of the main pool ranges between 30-40 degrees centigrade.

There is an apparent smell hydrogen sulphide gas(the smell from rotten eggs) in the pool area mainly assosiated with sulphide gas emitted during the drilling process that combines the hydrogen in the atmosphere . This however should not be  a deal breaker (hahaha because fresh air is in abundance too!)

The pool.

The hot water spa.
The pool
A closer look …

Other Pools…

Other pools, but of higher temperatures.(Not open for swimming)
Other pools, but of higher temperatures.This is where water collects and cools before it drains in the larger pool.(Not open for swimming).

 

The pool is big enough to accomodate people in their hundreds :-)
The pool is big enough to accomodate people in their hundreds 🙂

 

The restaurant.
The restaurant.

If swimming and water isn’t really your thing then no worries… you might as well take a nap and  enjoy the warm humid air from the hot steam that is vaguely in the atmosphere.

Chill and nap.
Chill and nap.

Recommendation:

The management should have a cleaner on standby or constantly ensure that the changing room and shower’s floor is dried after use to avoid minor accidents caused by slippery/wet floor.

Also, a few minor repairs like fixing the towel holders would be great.

Overall verdict: Nice place to unwind. A must-visit destination when you visit Naivasha town or Hell’s gate National Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Things you should know about the wildebeest before you head down to Maasai Mara.

One  of the greatest wildlife spectacles of the world is under way. This is the annual migration of the wildebeest from Tanzania’s Serengeti to Kenya’s Maasai Mara as they cross Mara river.

But what exactly do you know about this phenomenal animals called the wildebeest or gnus(pronounced as ‘news’) or Nyumbu in Swahili?

Here are quick facts about the wildebeest.

  • They are in the family of antelopes. (Shocked huh?)
Wildebeest
Wildebeest
  • They can live to up to twenty years.
  • Their mating period is seasonal and usually timed so that the young ones are born close to the beginning of the rainy season when pasture is in plenty.
  • During this period an average of half a million calves are born. ( Half a million!)
  • Their gestation period is about eight months.
  • When a calf is born it is able to stand and run within five to fifteen minutes of birth.
  • The young calf starts to eat grass at about 10 days but continues to suckle up to about 5 months.
  • Within a few days a young calf can run as fast as the adults in the herd.
  • Young males are driven away from the herd when the next calf is born while the females stay on.
  • They are grazers and can not do without water for more than a few days.
  • They have a migratory cycle each year in the Mara-Serengeti Ecosystem covering up to around 2000km. This is dubbed as the great wildebeest migration.The great wildebeest migration.
  • A single herd of wildebeest can have up to about one million of them.
  • During the great migration about two million wildebeest cross the Mara river.
  • These animals are a reliable source of food to the predators of the Mara-Serengeti Ecosystem.
  • Predators follow the wildebeest as they move. Their main target being the young and weak.
  • Other territorial predators like lions will only attack the wildebeest when they cross their territory.
  • Wildebeest are active both day and night!
  • They are also generally noisy.
Yo.. whatchu looking at?
Yo.. whatchu looking at?

What more do you know about wildebeest? Have you already gone to see the migration? Share with us your experience.

With Love,

Bonita!

PS:The photos used in this post belong to their respective owners.

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Quick guide on how to spend a one day holiday in Elementaita and Naivasha.

Who said you have to wait for your annual leave to go for a holiday?

Once in a while, it is good to get away. In case you have been wondering how you can spend your one day leave from work or an off day then wonder no more.

Location: Elementaita

Distance from Nairobi: 2 hour drive

Destination: Oasis Eco Camp

Requirements: Warm clothing and food(self catering)

Type of Accommodation: Tented camps and family houses

Bonfire: Yes

Oasis Eco camp lies at the shores of Lake Elementaita. It is your perfect place for weekend getaways, family and friends reunions, relaxation and bird watching.

Follow these simple steps then thank me later.

Check in.

A
Checking in, this is how the tents look like from inside.

Fix dinner.

The cooking banda is located a few meters from the tents.

Dinner
Dinner.

Light a bonfire to warm yourself as you prepare to sleep …This could be the perfect time to grab your drink, play some games as you bond with friends.

C
Bonfire.

Wake up in the morning to a clear calm lake, the sound of chirping birds and chattering monkeys.

calm lake
Calm lake
F
Early birds…
E
More birds
G
Wading ducks…

Enjoy sunrise and connect with nature as you wait for breakfast.

D
Easy Morning…

Have breakfast in the bush

Nothing beats this breakfast.
Nothing beats this breakfast.

Go for a walk and make new friends.

New Friends
New Friends.

Go to and explore Naivasha town.

Explore Naivasha town
Explore Naivasha town.

 

Take photos inside a shopping mall :-)
Take photos inside a shopping mall 🙂

Go to Lake Naivasha.

Lake Naivasha
Lake Naivasha

Have lunch by the lake

L

Drive back to the camp and check out!

Check out
Check out.

Let me know how this works out for you!

With Love…

Bonita.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hotel Review: Sleeping Warrior Lodge.

Sleeping warrior lodge is  a beautiful, discrete, lodge in Elementaita of Nakuru County inside Soysambu Conservancy  and is owned by the Delamere Family.

It will take you approximately an hour or slightly less to get to the lodge off the Nakuru Nairobi highway from a place called Kikopey, which is roughly 30km to Nakuru town.

The route to the lodge is a long, dusty meandering road. If you are not keen, chances of getting lost along the way are very high thanks to the not so good signage to the lodge. Also, a 4 x 4 wheel drive will be the most ideal to access the place. However, when you get to the lodge you quickly forget the bumpy ride uphill, thanks to the breathtaking view of the floor of the great rift valley.

terrain
Part of the rough terrain as seen from the lodge

My Verdict.

1.The Staff

Friendly. My favorite being the swimming pool attendant. You can tell he wasn’t trying so hard to impress clients. He is a natural. The owner of the establishment is very hands on too, interacting with the clients here and there, welcoming them and finding out if they are enjoying their stay.

Verdict: 7/10

2.Food

The fact that we were not asked what we would like to eat was a deal breaker for me. However the explanation given was that we checked in late (4:00 pm) so we had to eat what the chef had prepared.

The three course meal was OK, nothing extra ordinary to write home apart from the soup that I thoroughly enjoyed, then waiters who were very attentive and within reach during meal time.

The dining area was clean, candle lit, and the tables were set appropriately. The fire place on a cold night made it more cozy,warm and homely.

Dining area.
Dining area.

Verdict: 5/10 for food.

7/10 for the attentive waiters.

3.Cottages

The cottages were definitely up to my expectations. Spacious, clean, warm, well thought of interior decor, matching color scheme, comfy rags and throws, wide windows, strategic  location to enjoy a panoramic view of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Elementaita from far, the sleeping warrior dormant volcano,and a magical sunset.

The cottage
One of the cottages.

 

Inside the cottage.
Inside the cottage.

 

Sleeping warrior
Sleeping Warrior as viewed from the cottage.
Sunset
Sunset… from the cottages patio.

 

view outside the cottage
The beautiful raised patio.

 

Other cottages
Other cottages

The only thing that I felt was a let down was the bathtub and lack of appropriate toiletries.. A modern ceramic tub with lavender(my favorite) scented shower gels,shampoos and soap would have given the cottage story a happy ending.

Verdict: 7.5/10

Last but not least…

4.The infinity Swimming pool.

If you ask me the one reason that would make me want to go back to sleeping warrior…then that will be the swimming pool. It might not be as big as it appears in the photos, nor warm (at the time I was swimming, however, I am told they usually heat it up on request)  but the feeling you get of swimming on top of the world can not be compared to anything else at all. Every other thing stands right beneath you!

I can’t possibly put a number to that amazing feeling you get when up there. It is priceless.

Verdict: 8/10 purely because of the location ,shape of the pool and the priceless feeling derived from the swimming experience.

swimming pool
See what I am saying?

 

The Swimming pool
The Swimming pool.

Recommendations:

The food could be better followed by an option to choose what you would like to eat, a warmer pool would be best,proper sign posts for directions  to the lodge would make the ride to the lodge even better for first timers.

Overall verdict: 7.5/10.

Do I recommend Sleeping warrior? Oh yes.

Rates:  A total of Ksh 10,000 per person sharing (USD 100) full board.

I encourage you to: Call and know the prevailing rates because the receptionist told me it goes to Ksh 15,000 per person sharing a night on full board sometimes.

Other Attractions…

You can visit Lake Elementaita which is visible from the lodge, go for a game drive in the surrounding R0ysambu Conservancy or Lake Nakuru National park or visit Nakuru town.

On your way out of the lodge, you will see a variety of wild animals. I heard the guides say they saw a pack of eight lions that evening. So if wildlife is your thing… be sure to visit the place!

So,have you been to sleeping warrior before? Please share your experience in the comment section below with other readers to help them plan their safari better!

Till the next post…it’s a wrap!

Naughty Zebras

With Love…Bonita.

 

 

 

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10 reasons why you should be heading to Distant Relatives Ecolodge and Backpackers,Kilifi, on your next trip.

“Travel while you’re young and able. Don’t worry about the money, just make it work. Experience is far more valuable than money will ever be” These are the famous words of David Wolfe.

Distant Relatives is home away from home. I spent one of my holidays there and I can strongly recommend it to anyone looking for  a place to visit in Kilifi.

Here are my ten reasons why you should be on your way there already!

1. Accommodation

They have a wide array of accommodation to choose from depending on your budget. My favorite of course being the tent.It has a capacity of two. They will charge you slightly over a thousand shillings per person sharing for a night.

2. Environmentally Friendly.

The Cape Town Declaration of 2002 defines responsible tourism as making better places for people to live in and better places to visit.It pushes for tour operators and other stake holders to take action and make tourism more sustainable.Distant relatives has by all means walked and talked the gospel of the responsible tourism. So if you are keen on environmental conservation then you will have a field day there because almost everything is recycled. From the tumblers used at the bar, to the manure used at the farm.

It is also the only place in the world that you can find Viceroy old liqueur  growing on trees! lol

Viceroy growing on a tree...well you wish..
Viceroy growing on a tree…you wish..

Just on your way to the farm, is a common shower inside a tiny bamboo forest. You can occasionally see tiny frogs and other harmless reptiles as you enjoy your showers under the bamboo canopy. The water is then recycled for farm use!

3. Meet the world.

Visitors at the Eco Lodge come from all corners of the world as observed.Listen to music from different countries, have a good laugh and learn from the different cultures represented here. All you need is a rapport with people you are genuinely interested in learning from.

I tend to think if a good number of young people took time to travel and understand different cultures, perhaps half of the world problems caused by ignorance and in-exposure can been solved. As Mahatma Gandhi said…”Travel is the language of peace.”

friends and cultural exchange

4. Chill and enjoy your ‘you’ time.

If there is one thing I totally appreciated about distant relatives is the space and the interior decor. It is so natural, laid back and inviting. You can have a quick afternoon nap, read a book, lazy in a pod or just relax and enjoy the cool music in the background.

chill

chill lounge

5. Discover your talent or lack of.

It is one thing to know that you can not play the guitar, darts or even pool then, it is another thing to have it confirmed by trying and failing horribly…

At distant relatives, you are sure to spend your afternoon perfecting your skills in these and other games or just having a good time as you learn or compete with other travelers.

One of the ways of spending time while at the backpackers.

Try out foosball.
Try out Foosball.

6.Go on a fishing trip with local fishermen.

Red snapper caught during the fishing trip.
Red snapper caught during the fishing trip.

7.Swimming.

Isn’t that what everybody who visits the back packers does? Coast is generally hot, and naturally, the body will try to regulate it’s temperature back to normal. This leaves swimming as the most viable idea.

Swim, swim and swim.
Swimming!

8.Party inside the Musafir.

I am meant to understand there is a story behind Musafir the dhow… luckily during my stay at Distant Relatives,I was privileged to go to a party held in the Musafir deep inside the creek at night.. Ha ha ha talk of culture shock with all this foreign music and dancing styles! Were it not for Bob Nesta Marley’s Redemption song and get up,stand up, I would have completely floated. . but as I always say, we travel to learn and appreciate our differences.

Musafir!
Musafir!
Party!
Party!

9.Sunset!

Enjoy the best view of the magical sunset as sip you favorite drink!

Sunset
Sunset
Sunset
Sunset
Tusker!
Tusker!

10.Pizza Friday!

The delicious hand made pizza,that is well cooked in a wood-fired oven,boasts of its thin crust coupled with generous toppings making  Fridays at Distant Relatives a day worth looking forward to.

Pizza!
Pizza!
See the topping?
See the topping?

Other things to do…

Go to the beach.

Visit the beach any time of the day or night!

Beach!
Beach!

Last but not least…

Shop!

Shop at their boutique for unique African wear and a host of other stuff. If you want to buy your friends and family gifts, this is the perfect place to.

Gift shop!
Gift shop!

 

 

 

 

 

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I saw him, he saw me, we fell in Love and I am going back!

Have you ever fallen in love, so hard, so bad and so desperately?

I know you probably want to know if I have, and the answer is yes. I am in love. With a guy I met, just last weekend. He is rich, quiet and shy. Very little is known about my Mr.

He is surrounded by the big, popular and loud guys, but my man chooses to be quiet. I like it that way, I want him to maintain a low profile. Haha competition is real you know… and a girl must protect her own…

But wait a minute, I am already talking about him here, so I might as well just spill it…

This guy lives in Naivasha.

His name…(drum rolls)…. is ….(Faster drum rolls.)  Lake Oloiden. hahahaha! Gotcha!

Lake Oloiden is a small salt water lake in Naivasha just next to Lake Naivasha. My tour guide, a local, told me that a long time ago it was part of the larger L.Naivasha but a hill(s) grew in between and/or Lake Naivasha  ‘moved’ away… (I wish I could get a researched version of this theory. (If you have any valuable info about this lake, please share with us).

Lake Oloiden is along South lake Road, about 27Km from the start of the road. As you approach the lake, there is a small shopping center called Kongoni which is about 800m to the lake. The lake is on the right side of the road. ( see who tried to give directions there!)

If you love nature photography, water bodies, land forms, amazing landscapes, peace, quiet and tranquility then this is the place.

This lake is hidden and that is why very little is known about it. However, I can confidently say that never in my life have I ever had a mix of awe, thrill, fear and amusement in just under an hour.

  1. Awe.

As you drive in towards the lake, the road is a bit curved so you just don’t know what to expect. Then Alas! the curtains are drawn and you get to see the secret nature has been keeping from you. Bliss!

Lake Oloiden
Lake Oloiden.

2.Thrill.

The boat ride.It will cost you Ksh.2000 to rent a boat for about 30 minutes. The boat carries a maximum of 7 at a go. The thrill  about this ride is debunking of the myth that L.Oloiden is tiny.What you see with your eyes when standing on the shore is not what is actually experienced when you go for the boat ride! It is fairly big.

Nothing beats the feeling of seeing a tiny hill across the lake then only to move closer and discover it is actually huge.

Oloiden hills.
Oloiden hills.

3.Fear.

What would you do if you see a huge hippo a few meters from you, then at the blink of an eye it is not there. You quickly open your eyes and now it is just centimeters from you.You swallow hard and open your eyes wide while murmuring incomprehensibles…the next thing you know it has swam right beneath your tiny boat to the other side only to resurface with its mouth wide open!!! The questions that go through your mind suddenly are… where is the mother, father and siblings? How fast can I swim to the shore(Swim? to where?) Am I at peace with my maker? Jeez! It is scary. I wont talk about the confessions I heard from my pal Myra… (hilarious)

Scary hippo
Scary hippo

4. Amusement

birds3
Grooming time.

Peeping giraffes, ducking dik diks, grazing zebras, grooming birds, cheerful fishermen, croaking frogs,old cabin houses, rolling hills, green campsites and so much more… I could go on and on and on and on but no. I will stop at that.

Peeping Giraffe.
Peeping Giraffe.
Pelicans...
Love birds?

See why I fell in love and why I will go back again when the sun shines?

Lets meet at Oloiden.

 

 

 

 

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