Happy New Year! 2016 could not have come any sooner and with it, all the promise a new year holds. Travel is no different, and the New Year brings with it the promise of being able to visit and see all those places you wanted to, but couldn’t. The tourism industry in Kenya is slowly adapting with more of our properties realizing the value of the resident market and re-adjusting their camp/lodge/hotel to cater to that market. Kenya is blessed with vast diversity across culture, climate, and geography giving our tourism sector a diverse product, however you must be willing to tap into your sense of adventure and experience different aspects, cultures and discover new parts of Kenya.
When a property invests in activities you can do during your stay, it leaves you feeling more satisfied and engaged with your surroundings. Whether it is a bush walk, tour of the camp, climbing a nearby mountain, helicopter safari… new experiences tend to be inspiring.
Some of the properties to look out for in 2016, which have addressed the Kenyan market by offering affordable rates and tend to go that bit further in your experience whilst there are:
Elephant Bedroom, Samburu National Reserve
Elephant Bedroom is a beautiful camp located on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River in the Samburu National Reserve. The tents are raised on stilts over-looking the river, which when in full flow has the calming sound of waves crashing onto a beach. Samburu is a hot part of Kenya and the midday heat can feel unbearable at times; cooling off in the plunge pool (on the tent verandas) whilst watching Elephants cool off in the river puts life back into your afternoon and is rejuvenating before embarking on an evening game drive.
The camp is not fenced which allows for some very intimate interactions with Elephants, though there are rangers to ensure they do not get too close. The camp has a beautiful game viewing platform, perfect for a sundowner, lazing around or an evening nightcap. The Samburu people have an interesting culture and there are some women’s villages located near the Reserve gate. Visits to the villages can be arranged where you can interact with, learn about and make contributions to the communities.
Medina Palms, Watamu
Located in Watamu, Medina Palms is a breathe of fresh air along the Kenyan Coast. It’s not a typical beach resort or hotel. Located on the beach, Medina Palms is a combination of Swahili styled beach villas, apartments and town houses accompanied by restaurants, a spa and watersports center. You have the option to be fully self-catered, having a chef in house or using the restaurants, which accompanied by attentive staff gives your stay at Medina peace of mind.
With direct flights into from Nairobi to Malindi on Jambo Jet, getting to Watamu is only a short transfer from there. There is plenty to do in Wamatu that you can organize through Medina or do some exploring for yourself. Along with the watersports center and spa at Medina, visiting the Watamu marine park is like snorkeling in an aquarium and highly recommended or visit the Gede Ruins to learn about the coast and so much more about the area.
Sentinel Camp, Masai Mara
Sentinel Camp is a breath-taking eco-camp that has you intimately surrounded by the African bush throughout your stay. Without the sound of generators to disrupt the sounds of nature that engulf you, you will be completely at peace. Accompanied by the classic safari theme of the camp are knowledgeable staffs that are always on call throughout your stay and are also on hand to offer various activities in and around the camp.
Along with game drives, with the assistance of the Sentinel Camp Manager bush walks and talks are also on offer, as well as pre-arranged hiking trips in and around the various conservancies and hills in The Mara.
Amboseli Bush Camp, Amboseli
Located on the same 5,000-acre private conservation area as Satao Elerai, Amboseli Bush Camp is just outside but bordering the Amboseli National Park. The camp consists of 3 double tents, a kitchen and large comfortable common area that looks north across the plains with Kilimanjaro behind you to the south. The camp is self-catering, however there are 3 staff on hand to assist with anything including operating the pizza oven, a real treat in the bush. Located just 3 hours from Nairobi Amboseli Bush Camp is a great getaway with a lot to do in the area. Visit Amboseli National Park for game drives or visit Mzima Springs in Tsavo West National Park (and so much more) should time allow you.
In 2016 the cheat sheet lies with you and your sense of adventure, however when considering your travel this year, ensure visit the location/region/city/town you are in, as opposed to visiting for the property. Try and engage with the activities, the culture, the community, and the wellness… With so much information at your fingertips, do some research about your destination and take your time on your travels. Really indulge and experience the destinations you visit, no matter where it may be.
We are blessed with a diverse country and you don’t need to look much further when you plan your next holiday, trip, getaway… All the best for 2016.
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