We have a new feature in our blog that will cover never seen photos of places I have have visited! These photos are meant to highlight key attractions in the different destinations and inspire you to visit while giving you an idea of the top attractions and things to do!
To start us off, spotlight will be on Lake Bogoria in Baringo County.
Well there you have it.
I hope these are enough photos to inspire you to visit Lake Bogoria.
My name is Prexidis, I live in Lubao. Lubao is about six Kilometers from Kakamega town. My little town is famed for being the largest auction market for dogs and cats in Eastern and Central Africa. I don’t like talking much about myself but following an experience I recently had, allow me this once to tell you a story.
My Fiancé’s name is Wanjala. We went to school together at Muhonje Secondary School years back.He was two years ahead of me. He was a sharp guy and soon after finishing his O level education, he was admitted to Kaimosi Teachers Training College.I can’t wait for the day I will be called bibi ya mwalimu.
Last weekend Wanjala was in the village. What I like most about his visits is his love for travel and creativity in finding areas that we can spend time alone as we discuss intricate details of our future together. He is a wanderer. He also likes taking photos with ‘our’ mobile phone. Our Samsung Galaxy Pocket. This phone changed our status in the village. He promised to give me that phone in December when he buys himself a Tecno phone.
Our date was on Saturday. Venue, Kakamega Forest. I have never been to Kakamega Forest.But from what Wanjala told me, it is the only tropical rain forest in Kenya and is said to be Kenya’s last remnant of the ancient Guineo-Congolian rainforest that once spanned Africa.To add on it,it is home to about 380 species of trees,330 species of birds, about 27 species of snakes and 7 species of primates,more than 400 species of butterflies and several species of mammals.. Wanjala will make a brilliant teacher!
I woke up early that Saturday Morning. I was told that it was the best time to see lots of birds. The sun was unusually hot that morning and Matendechere my bodaboda guy took so long. We had agreed to meet up at exactly 8:00 am. Wanjala was not going to be amused.
I decided to just walk to the main road, hoping to catch another rider coming from the south. Arimis and red clay soil don’t go so well, normally I’d wait for Matendechere but on this occasion, it was impossible,I had to get there quick.
Lady luck shone on me and in an hour I was right at the gate of Kakamega Forest National Reserve. Wanjala wasn’t so impressed. But he was happy to see me.
He paid Ksh.600 park entry fee for both of us.
It was unbelievable that I hadn’t visited the forest despite being a local. We were assigned one guide whose expansive knowledge in plant and tree species amazed me. We never saw any birds though, just heard them chirping in the woods.I guess it was too late to bird watch.
Beautiful flora and fauna, cheeky black and white colobus monkeys, fresh air, breathtaking views and a general good feel in the air.
This was the first time Wanjala held my hands in ‘public.’ The feeling was magical.
Our first stop was the Udo’s Bandas. This is where their bandas and campsite were located. The accommodation had traditional huts and modern units.The bandas cost Ksh. 3000 per night while the traditional huts cost Ksh. 1000 per night.There was also another option of coming with your own tent and camp for Ksh. 500.
The next stop was Mukangu trails, along which were tens of labeled trees. We soon approached the oldest tree in the forest. I had never seen such a tall tree before. This was where our great great great grandparents use to pray to their ancestors and offer sacrifices.
From there we did a steep hike to the view point of Buyangu Hill! The hike was exhausting but the view at the top was worth every drop of sweat. Wanjala promised to buy me a piece of land at the end of the forest. The furthest end where the horizon met the hills. The future looked so bright. He promised to bring me to Kakamega forest, why would I doubt that he will buy me that piece of land…
We were told that this is also the best location to catch the most breathtaking Sunset!
The walk downhill wasn’t as tiresome as the way up. The narrow terrain opened up to the other part of the forest. It was picturesque.
There was a further ten kilometers to be covered to get to the small but lovely Isiukhu fall. I was getting thirsty and tired at this point. But the guide promised that a walk to Isiukhu will be the end of the trip. I couldn’t wait to see the water fall.Luckily,Wanjala had carried water in his backpack. It saved the day.
After about an hour or so, we could hear the sound of water gushing and falling hard on rocks beneath. I kept wondering how the sight was.
Well, I wasn’t disappointed when we got there.
Kakamega Forest has so much to offer.
Despite the exhaustion,this was one trip I wish I took earlier. I can’t thank Wanjala enough for making it happen. We spent quality time together, learnt new stuff and looking forward to spending more time together in this lovely County of ours. He even promised to take me to Lake Bogoria. I only read about it in GHC back in Primary school and sincerely I can’t wait.
If you have not been to Kakamega forest before, make a point to go. You will love It!
What if I tell you that you can go to the coast for three days and spend about Ksh 10,000 on transport, food, accommodation and still have some loose change to keep while at the same time having a lifetime experience?
Yes…then move closer and allow me to fill you in on this hole and corner deal. As we always say here at Bonita on Safari, it’s about traveling as often as you can on a budget and enjoying yourself to the fullest.
Transport to and fro is very affordable and comfortable.
A comfortable ride to Mombasa will cost you approximately Ksh. 3,200 for a round trip. There are many bus companies that ply the Nairobi-Coast region, but I have to admit I’ve had an exceptional experience with Dreamline buses. I recommend you book a return ticket to avoid disappointments on your way back.
2. Cheap and healthy dishes.
A proper meal in Kilifi County will cost you on average between Ksh 200-250 in the many eateries that serve delicious hygienic meals. Breakfast will not cost you more than Ksh 50 this will constitute of Chai ya tangawizi, yummy mahamri and some coconut mbaazi on the side, for instance.
3. Readily available and extremely affordable transport in form of Tuk Tuks.
If there is one thing I miss about the coast in general is tuk tuk rides! It has a capacity of three passengers and charges Ksh. 100 within the town center and Ksh 150 outside the town center. For convenience, if you move around a lot, outside the town center you can have one tuk tuk driver’s number for easy pick and drop services.
4. Affordable Accommodation
Kilifi County boasts of so many tourists hotels. While on a budget, I strongly recommend Distant Relative Eco-lodge and backpackers. Accommodation here starts from Ksh 1,250 a night. They have very nice dorms,tents, and bandas. You can also come with your own tent and pay only Ksh. 500 a night!
5. You can check out Kilifi Creek
When you come from Nairobi, the closest you come to a water body is Nairobi river, then why not visit Kilifi and enjoy this peaceful, beautiful scenic view of Kilifi Creek.
6. Enjoy an evening Sail
An evening sail on a boat will take about two to three hours into the sea. You can carry your book, camera or drinks and sail your worries away as you enjoy the scene and appreciate the marvels of nature.
7. Visit Watamu
Watamu Marine National Park is about an hour and a half drive from Kilifi. This is where you get to swim with the dolphins and beautiful colorful fishes,snorkel, wind surf, sunbathe, water ski or just enjoy the cool ocean breeze. If you do not like swimming, a nice glass bottomed boat ride will definitely awe you.
8. Enjoy the street food culture
The streets of Kilifi are dotted with street food vendors. One thing I particularly liked about them is the level of hygiene even as they prepare their delicacies by the road side in the open air. When you visit Kilifi, make sure you try out deep fried cassava and ‘viazi karai’ served with tamarind sauce otherwise known as ‘ukwaju’.
9. Learn about the Agiriama people and culture.
Nothing gives so much pleasure as traveling to a new place and learning a thing or two about the inhabitants of the area.I was in luck to visit a neighboring village. Had my new friend Mozda plait my hair at only Ksh. 80.00. She told me about their cultural practices and beliefs, and even invited me to spend a weekend with them…he he he I guess that means no paying for accommodation the next time I go to Kilifi…:-)
10. The breath taking Kilifi sunset
Last but not least…This by far is the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen. The calmness, cool breeze, golden sky,orange sun, gliding birds, and sounds of laughter from friends just sums up a perfect evening in Kilifi.
Stanley’s Haven; a holiday resort tucked neatly on the leafy suburbs of Murang’a County in an area called Mukuyu, is about one-and-a-half-hour drive from Nairobi, the Capital City of Kenya.
As you enter Stanley’s Haven, it is difficult not to notice the picture perfect lavish green gardens, perfectly manicured lawns, brightly coloured flowers, delightful fragrances emanating from exotic trees and bushes and the serenading minstrels of the male weaver birds as they try to attract mates who are busy repairing their nests that hang delicately from the tree branches.
In the early in the morning, dew on the trees form tiny drops of water as the golden sun rays seductively caresses the leafy branches of the trees which then majestically roll on the blades of the leaves and dance gracefully at the tip of the leaf before dropping on the ground below. What a sight to behold.
The general service at Stanley’s Haven is impeccable, right from the gate man who warmly welcomes you upon arrival, to the main reception then the restaurant all the way to the room service.
As the old adage goes, ‘there is no love that is sincere as the love for food’ the restaurant at Stanley’s Haven is big on delicious African dishes together an assortment of any kind of meals you might like. The meals are prepared on order. Peter the chef is a maestro.
Yummy food prepared by the chef
The restaurant area is adequately spaced, elegantly furnished and dotted with eclectic wall paintings that imbue emotions of travel and adventure. On the background, the sweet ballad of soft jazzy music endlessly serenades you giving you a sense of abundant relief.
Directly opposite the restaurant is the swimming pool. Nothing beats a cool dip in the evening after a long tiresome day of driving and sightseeing. At night, the pool is lit from under the water with special LED lights that create a glittering impression as the water is swayed side by side by the gentle breeze caused by the wind. The supply of big clean and fluffy towels is equally delightful.
If you have kids, the more you should have a weekend getaway at the Stanley’s Haven, a well thought out play site fully fitted with all kinds of playing equipment is present in the premises dubbed the kids’ corner.
Make sure to check it out during your visit. The management quipped to me that they are putting up a hammock and an adult swing very soon. SHHHH! It’s a secret!
They also have a modern conference room that is spacious and fully equipped with stationary, sound system, projectors, proper lighting and white board. A definite perfect choice for strategy, committee or family meetings.
Finally, to the icing on the Cake-Accommodation! One immediately gets spoilt for choice. It is difficult to decide under which roof you’d want to sleep. The rooms are spotlessly clean, brilliant comfy beds, peacefully quiet, well packaged products like shower gels, shampoo and body lotion in the bathrooms, large plasma TV, free Wi-Fi and cable TV and an ever ready staff on standby to help with room service. I could go on and on but let’s sum it all up and say it’s an experience you want to have for yourself.
There is a four bed roomed bungalow on self catering basis, but you can request for a chef, self contained spacious cottages, single and double rooms. With all this, there is always enough room for you and many more of your friends and family.
Stanley’s Haven comes in highly recommended to anyone who wants to experience luxury and relaxation at the country side for about just an hour self drive from the hustle and bustle of city life. Go give it a try and thank me later!