Contrary to popular belief, Makueni County in Eastern Kenya is not a desert,neither is it an expansive flat land with thorny bushes with drying crops and hunger stricken animals.
Allow me to introduce to you the Makueni County I went to last weekend for a hike. As the rest of the country wallowed in the continuing drought with visible repercussions, there was a different narrative from this side of the republic.
Rehabilitated land, irrigation schemes, gabions and mixed farming was heavily evident. Fertile slopes that would have otherwise been left to all sorts of erosion had been put to profitable agricultural use. This might not be the script in entire county but it holds water for the areas I passed through.
From the lessons learnt after Mt.Longonot hike, I was much wiser on this one and wanted to make it as comfortable as possible. This meant proper gear, more water, more fruits and energy bars!
The estimated time of departure was 5:30 am EAT. According to the info sheet circulated earlier, it was clearly put that anyone arriving late was to be left behind. Well, I did not want to that person. So despite the insomnia and the three hour sleep, I was right on time.
The first stop was Makongo in Makueni. It has a nice view point of the green hilly country side with hanging clouds,busy ants and a snaking tarmac road that made lazy turns between hills.
About an hour or so away was Nzui shopping center.This was the second stop. The tour bus we were traveling in couldn’t go further into the rough terrain,therefore we had to seek alternative means of transport to Matuluni shopping center where the hike was scheduled to start.
The two options we had were motorbikes or Toyota Probox. I had heard so many funny stories about Probox such as its supernatural ability to carry twenty people yet it has a capacity five,its imaginary turbo engine etc. Let’s just say after that ride, I understood why it has a ‘comfortable’ capacity of fifteen and twenty if you stretch it!
After about fifteen minutes, we were at Mituluni. All ready to start the hike. The weather was conducive for the day considering it had rained the previous day.
Nzaui hills is under Kenya Forestry and being a virgin trail, we were assigned two guides, one at the front and the other behind us just in case we got lost.
The terrain was moderate, no steep slopes and has the best landscape views.
A round hike was about 20km and it took approximately six hours.
The best aspect of the hike was the shade provided by the forest canopy.
About six kilometers into the forest, the gentle slope came to an end and a steep slope with undefined paths led to the first summit. That was the toughest part of the hike because the bushes were almost the same height as the tallest of us and one had to find their way through the thicket.
On approaching the first summit, you are presented with a view that instantly erases any memory that might be left of the tough ascent,the panting and sweating.
Summit two which was steeper was about thirty two minutes away. The bush gets thicker, the legs heavier and eyes narrows as one tries to make their way through.
As it is always true with hiking, the epitome is getting to the summit.
Nzaui hills proudly stands in the heart of Makueni County and can easily pass as a watch tower. From above, rivers, ox bow lakes,farms, shopping centers and homesteads can be seen as miniature structures.
The summit is a huge rock and has a perpendicular slope.
After enjoying the view at the top, the guide took us to a gentler slope during the descent and within a few hours were were back at the starting point in the shopping center!
The descent was scenic and picturesque. There were lots of soft wood trees and dried branches,millipedes and birds.
This month on the traveler, I spoke to Dion Van Aardt. Dion is an avid traveler with stunning travel pictures that ignites the wanderlust bug in all of us. He shared his travel experiences, how it all started and his travel goals.
Who is Dion?
I am a thirty six year old Kenyan,but was born in Zimbabwe. My family fled from Europe in the 1700’s for Southern Africa in search of a better life and we are all still here!
What inspired you to start traveling?
My family has always been quite nomadic and in fact my great grandparents came to settle in Eldoret,Kenya during the great trek from South Africa.It took them 3 years to get here. So I think it is in my blood to always have an itchy foot!
Again,my parents used to take us on lots of camping trips and mountain hiking adventures in Zimbabwe and encouraged us to make life exciting.
Are you a solo traveler?
I prefer to travel with a few friends because it is more fun.Moreover, it helps with cost sharing making the trip cheaper!
Do you travel full time or part time?
I travel part time
Are you a photographer as well? You have nice travel photos in your social media pages!
I started taking photos the time Kenya suffered security issues both in Lamu and Nairobi – my intention was to shift focus from the problem at hand and just showcase Kenya as the stunning place it is.Then three years ago I decided to take up photography as a hobby.I have since practiced taking photos.As of last year I had already taken slightly more than 38,000 photos. From those, I always get a few nice ones that I use on my social media pages. I am getting better at it and I hope one day I will call myself a photographer. As at now, it is a hobby because I still have so much to learn.
I love Instagram because I have learnt a lot from other people, while having a platform to showcase the photos of the different places I have been to.
How old were you when you went for your first solo international travel?
I was nineteen. I went to the UK to work and become rich and famous. However,I ended up living in a tent in Henley on Thames waiting on tables for 6 months!I moved around UK working and living in all sorts of places from the lake district to Suffolk where I worked as a tractor driver.
How many countries have you been to
What is the longest time you’ve been away from home during travel?
Three months – I had traveled to the USA.
How do you finance your travels?
When I was younger I did odd jobs in the UK to save money to go away over the weekends.Then I moved to Kenya where I ran Kizingo;a small lodge on Lamu island. When it closed because of the rains for 3 months, I spent all the money I had saved from the trade on the island to go abroad.Now I am older and I prefer traveling around Kenya and Zimbabwe because we have so much to see and do so close to home.
What is your favorite extreme sport?
I love Rock climbing!
What has been your lowest moment during travel?
I had driven from Harare to Johannesburg when my car got stolen with all my luggage and passport in it!
What do you like most about travel?
I love getting a tiny taste of what it feels to belong to another place that is not familiar to me. I also like tough hikes and adventures that takes one off the beaten track and from the comfort zone. Such experiences makes that glass of wine and hot shower feel so much better when you get home!
Which of the countries you have visited so far that in your opinion has the warmest people?
I am a biased man so I will say Kenya and Zimbabwe but other than these places,I have to say the other friendly place I have ever been to is the USA. It is the best country as far as I am concerned for solo travelers. People invite you to stay in their homes after just meeting you.
Are you luxury or budget traveler?
Would you consider yourself a tourist or a traveler?
I like to think of myself as a traveler but when I start taking pictures I probably look very much like an annoying tourist!
What is in your bucket list?
I really want to climb the Ruwenzoris, explore the Mathews mountains in Northern Kenya and see the Gorillas in Congo. I would also like to Visit and hike in Northern Greece.
Can you share with us some of your travelutions for this coming year?
I plan to hike the Ruwenzori’s, do a walk from Mount Ololokwe to the Mathews mountains, then Cherang’any Hills and visit Eldoret where my granddad and my parents were all born. I am also keeping an open mind for other adventures. Any suggestions are always welcome!
Best travel moments in the past year?
I did a wonderful five day hike in the Eastern highlands of Zimbabwe called the Turaco Trail. I enjoyed hiking to the top of the Mount Ololokwe recently well as.My latest Trip was a visit to Isaqbini in Garissa County to find the Hirola Antelope!
Best life lessons you’ve picked from travel?
Try to always keep an open mind and everywhere has something to offer even if it is just to provoke you to think differently. Adventure is a mindset.
You don’t need to travel to the other end of the world to have a great adventure.
If you are not traveling what else do you do?
I have to sadly work!I run Kizingo lodge in Lamu part time and as a project manager in Ruiru.
Have you checked out Dion’s photos on Instagram? If not, check here.
Do you any questions you’d like Dion to answer about travel? Hit him up on the comment section below.
Who else do you want to talk about their travels, let me know on the comments section as well!
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Dining Experience.
When it comes to the dessert, one is definitely spoilt for choice! So much to choose from.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The room is self contained and has a modern bathroom that is well stocked with towels and toiletries.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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…firstname.lastname@example.org
‘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.
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 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.
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.
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 fun pool is the entertainment pool, perfect for water sports like volleyball,polo, amongst others. It also has water slides.
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.
After a nice swim, a snack from Kaskazi bar then a lazy walk down to the beach is always a good idea.
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.
Other drinks of choice can also be ordered from the 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Don’t the cocktails taste way better with this view?…
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.”
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.
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 went to Stanley’s Haven earlier in the year with my production team and it was all shooting and work.(See the post here).
I promised myself that I would go back there with my friends. They needed to see this little paradise. There was this particular family house with a capacity of eight and from the onset, I knew this was perfect for us and just like that …we had a weekend plan!
We spent one night at Stanley’s.
Unlimited access to the swimming pool for residents.
A DJ on request(The speakers provided was something else!)
Barbeque grill on request too.
Full Breakfast the next morning
Here are pictures of our stay.
Stanley’s was kind enough to let us extend our stay to about 4:30pm. This was possible because we took lunch served from their restaurant and there were no guests checking in that Sunday afternoon.
From us at Bonita on Safari we say asante for your hospitality and we will come back again.
Cost of Family house: Ksh 20,000.00 a night. This fee includes:bed and breakfast and unlimited access to the swimming pool. It can house eight people.
A cottage costs Ksh.5000.00 a night.
Double rooms costs Ksh.4000.00 a night.
Meals: You can choose between self catering or order your meals from the restaurant at an extra cost.
*Please note that the prices I have quoted were as per my the last visit.It is important to call the Hotel and find out whether there are changes before you travel.
Tag your friends along to Stanley’s Haven, you will thank me later.
Diani in south coast Kenya is one of my favorite coastal destinations in East Africa. The long strip of white sandy beaches, clear blue sky, chilled weather, turquoise waters with small patches of sea weed here and there, the sound of sea waves crushing against the shore, not forgetting the humidity that gives a sauna feel makes the haven irresistible.
In Diani, everything is stylish and elegant. Five star hotels, perfect infrastructure, stylish villas, international cuisines prepared by renowned chefs and world class water sports only to mention a few.
Standing majestically in the midst of all this magic is the chilled Swahili styled Golini Resort comprising of two cottages sitting on a two acre piece of land. The compound boasts of pedicured lawns, trimmed hedges, scented flowers, mature trees and a swimming pool. The resort is nothing short of beautiful.
Just as a home should be,warm clean and welcoming, the resort is all that and more. Graveled driveway, chlorophyllated grass, colourful flowers and an aura of comfort and calm.
The general plan has the master en suite, living room, well fitted kitchen, and a guest washroom on the ground floor.
A personal chef is available on request. This makes for a perfect opportunity to sample coastal dishes and to maximize on that vacation feel when away from home.
Located between the Master bedroom and the living room is a stylish spiral staircase that leads to the other rooms upstairs.
The rooms upstairs are nothing short of amazing, discreet and spacious. The snow white walls, huge bathroom and walk-in closet, large windows and a panoramic view of the compound make the rooms upstairs standout. This kind of set up is ideal for families with kids or a small group of friends touring South Coast.
The other bedroom that has a single bed.
Bathroom and Closet…
The other fabulous feature of this house that is impossible to ignore are the windows. Wide louvered windows run from wall to wall ensuring natural light and fresh air in the house effortlessly.
The front porch of the house opens up to a beautiful garden of flowers, trees and a pavement that leads to the swimming pool. Hanging delicately from the ceiling in the veranda is a unique hand crafted African lampshades that emphasizes the existing sense of panache.
The best part of Golini Resort is the fact that it located exactly two minutes from the sea front of Galu beach.What more could one be looking for in a coastal holiday destination?
Golini Resort is available for both long and short stays. The property is also on sale.(If interested drop me an email at email@example.com for more details ).
During my recent trip to the coast for my birthday, I had a unique opportunity to meet Laura. How we started off was simple, we were cooking up a storm with our new friends J and Ferdinand. Ferdinand was so curious about the octopus meal that everyone was so excited about. Ugali was also in the menu.Across the swimming pool at Distant Relatives rumours quickly spread that we were preparing octopus meal and ugali. Soon after our guest list swelled. Part of the guests was one Laura. As we got to know each other and shared our travel experiences, one of my friends called out my name to ask what amount of water was enough for our Ugali…Quickly Laura picked the name and asked with a lot of excitation, “Is this Bonita? Bonita on Safari?” She went ahead to say how she found the blog useful especially a blog post I wrote about Kilifi and Distant Relatives, as they say, the rest is history…
We caught up again during her stop over in Nairobi with her boyfriend Juan as they headed to Nyahururu and here is how our interview went as she got to tell me more about herself and her travel experiences across the globe.
Me: Who is Laura?
Laura Lazzarino (31) is an Argentinian travel writer and the free spirit behind www.losviajesdenena.com; a personal travel blog which has been active online since the year 2008. My adventures across 50 countries has inspired a new generation of independent travelers. I am also a National Geographic Viajes Magazine contributor and author of two travel books, including the best-selling Caminos Invisibles. Right now I am crossing Africa overland, from Cairo to Cape Town, looking for new stories to be featured in my next book.
Is this your first time in Kenya?
Me:How does Kenya compare to your country? What are some of the similarities, and obvious differences?
L:Well…some landscapes remind me a lot of Argentina, but only for a moment. When a colorful bird or a giraffe appears in the picture, then I know I’m not home! Nature is overwhelming here, people and their traditions are different too. But I think we have something in common; we are friendly and we love visitors.
Me:How do you decide on the places you visit when you go to foreign countries?
L:We read a lot. We investigate, surf the web for hidden spots, plan an itinerary. But we are flexible too and always open to last-minute changes, or recommendations on the spot.
Me:How many countries have you visited so far?
L:Fifty, including Antarctica.
Me:How long have you been travelling for?
L:I started travelling eight years ago, but it was not full time. In 2010, I decided to make my passion my lifestyle. I’ve been traveling and writing ever since.
Me:How do you afford your travels?
L:Mostly, by selling my books online. In 2013, I self-published “Caminos Invisibles” a book about our 36,000Km hitch-hiking trip through South America. After that, I published a Hitch-Hiking Guide to a Spanish publishing house and other projects. Also through collaborations with travel magazines like Revista Viajes de National Geographic.
Me:What inspires your travels?
L:Cultural differences,their challenges and new scenarios, I like how every travel changes me and the lessons I pick on the road.
Me:Did you plan to travel the world and write about it or it just happened by chance?
L:I never really planned it, but I would be lying if I said I have never dreamt about it. I just did not think it was possible, at least for me…a simple girl from the countryside, with no contacts, no influences and no experience. It was not easy at first. I had to knock on so many doors, to learn a lot and work for free. But it was totally worthy it! I would have missed a lot if I never gave it (and myself) a chance!
Me:What are some of the highlights in your travels?
L:Before visiting Africa, sailing to Antarctica was one of the most intense experiences I have ever had. Now I have to say that watching free wildlife in Kenya and Tanzania is also something I will never forget. Hitchhiking in Iceland, getting lost in small Colombian villages in the Coffee Axis and looking for my great grandfather’s town in southern Italy would complete the list.
Me:Do you have any life lessons picked along the way?
L:One of the first times I hitch-hiked in Argentina, I met a truck driver who, after carefully listening to my story (I had just given up my job to start traveling and was so full of doubts) told me: “Never regret what you have chosen for your life”.
Me:Do you ever get homesick?
L:Who doesn’t? But tech has shortened distances, right?
Me:What is the longest you have stayed without going home to your family?
L:Fifteen (15) months. It was too much. Not only because of my family, but also for myself. I learnt that after one year of traveling, I lose interest. I get tired and I get to appreciate more a good kitchen and a hot home shower than a new adventure, landscape or story. This is when I go home to get the travel excitement back.
Me:Have you ever been in a situation abroad when you feel like your life is in danger? If yes, how did you overcome?
L:Not really, but I got robbed in Venezuela and was harassed in Egypt. It was not nice, of course, but I always keep in mind that those are random situations which can even occur back home and that if I leave, then I will always have a bitter memory that might be unfair judgement to the people of that country. So I taught myself to get over it by taking time off,chilling out, not thinking about it and then go for that adventure again.
Me:What are some of the challenges you’ve gone through as a foreigner abroad?
L:I think that interacting with cultures where women take up most responsibilities in the society is always a shock. I can’t help but wonder why I, on the other side have so many opportunities and choices yet they don’t…if we were to be the same.The other Challenge is learning how not to judge,especially when you are confident with your principles.However, I think it is good practice.What we consider “normal” is just a convention. I have learnt to appreciate what I have more and also to question some statements that I have always considered to be true.
Me:What is in your bucket list?
L:I have a bucket list of over 50 items! Just to name some: Fly in a hot air balloon, participate in a flash move dance, camp in Lake Turkana, visit Christmas Island and live in Colombia for a season.
Me:What are some of the things you’ve checked out of your bucket list?
L:Cutting my hair drastically (I even wrote a post about it, it was so empowering) and paragliding (so exciting)!
Me:Do you miss normal life?
L:Not at all. This is the best I could do with my life, the best decision I have ever made. I don’t regret it, not even in the bad moments of traveling, not even for a single minute.
Me:Airbnb or couch surfing?
L:Both. I like balance. Please add camping to the list too!
Distance from Nairobi: About one and a half hours drive from Nairobi.(Approximately 120Km)
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).
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!)
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.
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.