The manga hills is found in both Nyamira and Kisii county whereby Nyamira county takes the top of the cliff while Kisii takes the lower case.

This hill is associated by the Abagusii community and they call it the Emanga ridge. Standing on this hill, one can see beautiful landscapes of the southern parts of Kisii up to the lake region.

The Manga hills as several historical facts and for someone who loves history wouldn’t want to miss out knowing the Abagusii beliefs. The hill has an endless hole called Engoro ya manga which is believed to have connected to the great Lake Victoria.

It is believed that during the migrations, the Abagusii people first settled in this hill before they moved to other parts of Kisii. This hill is full of caves and massive rocks that served to the people as places of shelter and and they could spot the enemy during attacks.

Manga hills served as the first court and during the colonial era, the first court was called Ritongo and was useful in settling disputes and negotiating dowry prices.

This hill is considered sacred/holy place and it has procedures to follow for all who want to see it. One has to tie a bundle of green grass then collect some pieces of firewood which are thrown into the hole so that ancestors allow the access. It is also here that community elders come to offer sacrifices and offerings to their ancestors when faced with disasters such as drought, famine and floods.

It is believed that when the region becomes very hot and dry, the ridge will burn itself and then there will be heavy rains. It  is believed that at night the residents, see fire burning bushes but when they visit the place the following day, they won’t see any damage caused by the mysterious fire.

 

nzambani rock

 

Ever thought of changing your gender to the opposite one? Then make a trip to Nzambani Rock in Kitui.

Locally known as ‘Ivia ya Nzambani’, it is a stone outcrop standing approximately 183m above the ground. The rock is situated about 8km from Kitui town along the rough Kitui-Mutitu road.

Tales surrounding the rock have since become a source of curiosity, attracting many tourists.

It is believed that anyone who goes around the rock seven times changes into a member of the opposite sex. This tale has been passed from one generation to another, but it is clear that no one has ever tried to go round the rock seven times. There are many other tales as to how the rock came into being.

The rock is undoubtedly one of the country’s largest stone outcrops.

How did it come to existence?

“There was nothing here. It was a forest where people came to graze and look for firewood, but one day, three girls came looking for firewood, and one of the girls found a round stone, which she picked and hid in her chest so she could take it to her grandparents to use for pounding tobacco.”

The girls were dressed in animal skin, as there were no clothes. After some time, the girl realized it was growing big and heavy, and she had to stop collecting firewood. When the rest of the girls came, they found that their friend had turned into a rock apart from the head.

Her name was Nzambaa. She told her friends what happened and requested they help her, but they were not able as it was already getting dark and there were wild animals. The girls went to Nzambaa’s home and narrated to her parent, who went together with them and also tried to save the daughter, but it was impossible. Elders met and sacrificed a black sheep, which also failed to recover her.

The next day, they came back and found she had completely turned to rock. That is how Nzambani came to existence. The place has been used as a sacrificial place, especially when it was not raining.

The question that runs through everyone’s mind is: Has anyone ever changed their gender after going round seven times?

“One day, a boy said he wanted to be a woman as he felt women were treated better than men. When he approached the elders, he was told to go round the rock seven times very early in the morning. He did that all alone and by evening he had turned into a woman.”

Residents claim the stone is growing due to its shining allure and the undeniable fact that despite the trees around continue to grow throughout the years, they never surpass the rock’s height.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rusinga Islnad

Rusinga island is found south-west of Kenya in Lake Victoria and is located in Homabay county. The island is linked to the main land by a causeway which invites you to the beautiful island with a view of the lake. The island is home to the Abasuba community also known as Suba.

Rusinga island is known for the discovery of the first fossils of the proconsul, an early ape and they were found by the explores Mary and Louis Leakey.

Rusinga island has different attractions which one wouldn’t want to miss out. This island gives a perfect mid-safari break and gets you to enjoy the coastal feeling for its clean sand beaches, onshore winds, get to swim against the tides, boating activities and enjoy the sunrise and sunset views. Rusinga is a home for wildlife which are found different parks example Ruma national park which is a home for the endangered roan antelope and the blue shallow which are rare intra-african migrant, El-molo crocodile park and the Ndere island national park. Rusinga island is home for 400 bird species.

What’s a visit without learning about the culture of the host community? Historians get to learn about the great Politian Tom Mboya where his grave is in a beautiful mausoleum and William X Schenmans grave who was a best friend to Tom Mboya and believed to be a best friend to Kenya.  Learn about the Abasuba festivals that occurs yearly on the Thursday and Friday before Christmas. Get to enjoy the traditional cuisines of the Suba people- delicious tilapia fish and the Nile Pearch fresh from the lake, participate in traditional sports and dance.

Rusinga island has sister inlands which are Mfangano island which is famous for the ancient rock-art and the Takawiri island which is coast away from the coastal region and the bird island which is home to the migrant birds over 300 birds.

 

Beaded Products at Maasai Market in Nairobi

Souvenir shopping is one of the true joys of traveling. It’s part of the fun of exploring a new place, and finding that perfect gem to remind you of a cherished city or experience. Here are some picks of Nairobi’s top specialty and souvenir shops.

Utamaduni Crafts Centre

Utamaduni is a Swahili word which means cultural heritage. Created by British Anthropologist, Richard Leakey, Utamaduni is a collection of local artisans who have come together in one place to sell their items. Utamaduni crafts center is a converted Kikuyu house containing about 18 arts and crafts shops. The unique selection of shops has a vast collection of items for sale. The craft center is a treasure trove of African crafts, antiques and art, with friendly staff to assist and help pack or ship if needed. The shops include those selling:

  • antique jewelry
  • Khangas, Kikoys and clothing made from both
  • beaded plates, glasses, coaster, jewelry, wall hanging
  • Kiondos (Kenyan baskets)
  • leather bags & belts
  • Kisii Soapstone
  • African book & map shop
  • local foodstuff
  • wooden bowls and figurines
  • kids clothing, toys and books

Maasai Market

The Maasai Market is a cutting-edge show of an indigenous people’s culture and way of life. The Maasai market, like most places in Africa, is a very vivacious space and can be a bit overwhelming for newbies. Kenyans are very entrepreneurial and the artisans, who come from a variety of communities, naturally want your business. Expect to be called and coaxed with promises of the ‘best price’ or ‘best quality’

For the ultimate breath of culture and color, the Masai Market gives you the opportunity to buy authentic African art, handcrafted beaded jewelry and clothing as souvenirs, gifts and even decorating material you could use for your home back in your country. At very affordable prices, you can purchase as many products as possible and at the same time promote local handicraft businesses.

Here you can buy:

  • Maasai Sandals
  • Maasai market Jewelry ranging from brass to beads, and you can find some really cool stuff
  • Kenyan bracelets beaded in the Kenyan national colors, which locals also wear
  • Maasai Shukas
  • Kiondos (Kenyan baskets) and bags
  • Artwork & Carvings

Nairobi City Market

souvenir shopping in Nairobi City Market

City Market is a shrouded market situated in the Central Business District. This spot is a most loved both with local people and tourists. Here, you will find everything you need – fresh fruit, vegetables and verdure, beautiful flowers, newspapers, clothes, accessories, and fascinating local handicraft such as pretty Masai jewelry, woodcarving, national musical instruments, colored wraps, a warrior mask or an animal-inspired mask and bright fabrics. And all this at bargain prices.

Zanzibar Curio Shop

This hidden gem offers a great choice of local crafts. Carvings made from soapstone, or what the locals call Kisii stone, are available in a number of forms and designs, from vases and decorative art to dishes and other practical items you can use around the house. You can also shop for wickers, soapstone figurines, local semi-precious stones, hand-made beads.

Batik Heritage Store

This fascinating art gallery has an impressive array of colorful batiks, many of which are available to buy. The eye-catching designs are made by applying wax and dyes to the textile. Originally, batiks were only used to decorate clothing but can now be found on wall hangings, paintings and even throws. Traditional Kenyan batiks often have tribal designs and pictures of animals or the countryside. Batiks are made using different techniques, including stencils, etching and brush painting. The more intricate the design, the more you can expect to pay for it.

Biashara Street

Biashara Street means business street in Swahili. The street is the home of Nairobi textiles a hodge podge of fabric stores, and baby wear shops located in the centre of town, in the Central Business District. Here you can shop for brightly patterned kanga cloth, colorfully striped kikoys and bold wax fabrics of Western Africa.

 

Located in Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy in Samburu County, northern Kenya, Reteti is the first indigenous owned and run elephant sanctuary.

Reteti was established in 2016 to help these young orphaned elephants – a representation of the local Samburu communities standing up united for wildlife, in recognition of their cultural and economic value.

The Reteti Elephant Sanctuary is a unique project bringing communities together through a shared respect and concern for wildlife. It lies within a 975,000-acre swath of thorny scrubland in Namunyak Wildlife Conservation Trust – part of the ancestral homeland of the Samburu people. Namunyak is supported and advised by the Northern Rangelands Trust, a local organization that works with 33 community conservancies to boost security, sustainable development, and wildlife conservation.

The Naumunyak wildlife conservation includes the Turkana, Rendille, Borana, and Somali, as well as the Samburu – ethnic groups that have fought to the death over the land and its resources. Now they’re working together to strengthen their communities and protect the elephant population.

In spite of the fact that elephant poaching, has fallen significantly in the conservancies around Reteti, elephant calves are still sometimes orphaned or abandoned due to poaching, falling into wells, drought (potentially causing mothers to stop lactating), human-wildlife conflict and natural mortality. Around five to ten calves are saved in northern Kenya every year, from a populace of more than 8,000. Within the sanctuary, young animals are treated and cared for by the dedicated keeper team, recruited from the local communities. A mobile elephant rescue unit, with exceptionally trained staff, returns lost calves directly to their family whenever it can, and also works with surrounding communities to raise awareness and mitigate human/wildlife conflict.

This oasis where orphans grow up, learning to be wild so that one day they can rejoin their herds, is as much about the people as it is about elephants. Reteti is also empowering Samburu women to be the first-ever women elephant keepers in all of Africa. At first, the community didn’t think there was a place for women in the workplace. Now, the success of these women elephant keepers is unlocking new possibilities and setting a powerful example for girls hoping to pursue their dreams. It’s also changing how the community relates to elephants. Schoolchildren who have never seen an elephant before or who were afraid of elephants visit Reteti and experience these elephants up close. They then realize they can grow up to be a veterinarian or an elephant keeper.

Feeding elephants at Reteti

Visiting hours are between 8.30 a.m. and10 a.m. and between 11.30 a.m. and 1p.m. It is important that you arrive promptly at 8.30 a.m. or 11.30 a.m. for the full experience. Visiting the Sanctuary is not only an incredible addition to your safari but one of the best ways to safeguard the wildlife in the area, as well as supporting the local community dedicated to protecting them. Guests get an exclusive opportunity to witness feeding and playtime at the Sanctuary, as well as an in-depth look behind the scenes.

Unarguably a famous safari destination in Africa, Nairobi, Kenya is a fascinating city to visit which boasts of an enchanting tourism scene and a rich cultural heritage. It is famous for being the only city with a national park within it, in the world. Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, is a multicultural city full of expatriates from across Africa and the rest of the world.

Nairobi’s culinary scene has been on an upward trajectory in recent years, with most cuisines represented by its ever-growing roster of restaurants, cafés, and bars. This bustling city has a diverse restaurant culture. Nairobi’s best dining experiences range from roadside food stalls to five-star fine dining establishments. Don’t miss local specialties such as Nyama Choma (grilled goat meat), Mahindi choma (roasted corn), Mutura (African blood sausage) and Ugali just to mention a few. Whatever you’re craving, you’ll find it in Nairobi.

Here is our pick of the city’s top restaurants and eateries to fulfill your taste buds:

Nyama Mama

Nyama Mama Nairobi

Adorned with colorful Kenyan fabrics and hand-painted murals, Nyama Mama is an unpretentious, fun, modern day African roadside diner. Nyama Mama has three outlets: on Capital centre, Mombasa Road, Village market, Limuru road and the other in Delta towers, Westlands. All serve classic local dishes, including chapati wraps and ugali chips, flame-grilled meats, and stew pots (think goat curry, or chicken in cassava and coconut). International options like burgers and quesadillas are on offer, and vegetarians are well-catered for, too. The inspiration for Nairobi’s Nyama Mama phenomenon comes from Mama herself, a one-time exclusive Safari lodge chef in East & West Africa who left the safari circuit to open up a modern take on a traditional roadside dinner.

Inti – A Nikkei Experience

Located on the 21st Floor, One Africa Place, next to Delta Towers, Waiyaki Way, INTI is the first Nikkei restaurant in Africa.

The INTI experience centers around the finest Nikkei cuisine. The restaurant celebrates the marriage of Japanese & Peruvian fare in a unique contemporary urban environment in the heart of Nairobi.

Nikkei cuisine was born in 1889 when Japanese farmers moved to Peru to work in sugar cane fields. Lacking many of their traditional ingredients, they began using Japanese cooking techniques with Peruvian ingredients they could find locally. This gave birth to an inspiring and unique cuisine known as Nikkei.

Amidst INTI’s contemporary urban décor, feast on Japanese classics like sashimi, sushi, and robata, all prepared with uniquely Peruvian ingredients and served with artistic flair on coal black plates. Playful takes on the Peruvian pisco sour and chilcano cocktails take center stage on the drink’s menu, with a supporting cast of imported wines from all over the world.

Mawimbi Sea Food Restaurant

v & Cafe is a fine dining restaurant located on the corner of Harry Thuku Road and Kijabe Street, Nairobi.

With a modern interior aesthetic designed to simulate a tropical vacation, every moment and feeling is curated to guarantee total relaxation. Mawimbi sea food restaurant is famous for its fresh and inventive seafood and the quality of its cuisine. With a Crudo Bar for fans of raw dishes like oysters and ceviche, this fine dining restaurant also offers up tempura lobster and panko king prawns, seafood tagliolini, and salmon Thai curry.

Honey and Dough

Honey and Dough is situated in the One Africa building (same as INTI) with far-reaching views across the city. Honey & Dough provides a modern gourmet café experience with delicious healthy, multi-cuisine food. The menu is extensive with Indian, Asian, Italian, Mexican and western influences, there is plenty on offer for vegetarians and some vegan dishes.

Mercado Mexican Kitchen and Bar

Mercado has won a huge number of awards for both its cocktails and its food. With a curated menu helmed by gourmet experts from Mexico, who use home-grown and organic ingredients to revive ancient cooking techniques with a lively modern twist, Mercado is undoubtedly one of the best Mexican restaurants in Africa. The menu includes all the classics, ceviche, little taco cones filled with veggies, tostadas, quesadillas, burritos, mole, tacos and fajitas. The ingredients are local and Mercado switches up some of the classic Mexican dishes with crunchy veggies, and shrimp: think tortilla cones filled with aubergine and corn, tacos pilled high with mushrooms, chilli and cheese, and tamales stuffed with Mayan chicken. It’s located in Kenrail Towers, Terrace (T) Floor, South Wing, next to 9 West Building, Westlands, Nairobi.

 

Fogo Gaucho

Fogo Gaucho is an authentic Brazilian Steakhouse that offers the most delectable selection of charcoal grilled meats that go along with a full buffet to choose from all for a set price per person, all you can eat. This concept in Brazil is referred to as Rodizio.

The full buffet offers different cuts of meat ranging from chicken and beef, to crocodile meat. The meat is accompanied by over 20 different salads, sides, and desserts, all of which are yours to enjoy for an affordable set price.

There are two branches to choose from: One in Viking House, Westlands and the other in Galana Plaza, Kilimani.

Carnivore

Located in the Langata suburb of Nairobi, Kenya, the Carnivore Restaurant is a meat-lovers paradise. Serving Kenya’s famous Nyama Choma (barbecued meat), it has twice held the honor of being named “one of the best restaurants in the world”. It is must stop on your African safari.

The Carnivore has been an icon for tourists, expats and locals for decades. At the entrance is a huge barbecue pit laden with real swords of beef, pork, lamb, chicken and farmed game meats such as crocodile and ostrich. It’s a memorable night out.

Carnivore’s specialty is meat, and features an all-you-can-eat meat buffet. The all you can eat meat buffet is called The Beast of a Feast. This includes four courses: soup, salad, meats, and dessert. The barbecued meats are the main attraction. Served are various cuts of beef, chicken, pork, and lamb as well as farm-raised ostrich and crocodile. One can choose instead to order off a menu with dishes such as chicken pot pie, beef and pork ribs, burgers, and sandwiches.

UK magazine Restaurant named Carnivore one of the 50 best restaurants in the world in 2002 and 2003, when you could dine here on exotic game meats. Its legend seemed assured. In recent years, however, strict new hunting laws mean that zebra, hartebeest, kudu and the like are now off the menu, and you have to be content with camel, ostrich and crocodile in addition to more standard offerings.

There is also a signature cocktail called dawa. Dawa means medicine in Kiswahili but it tastes much better than any medicine. It is composed of a healthy shot of vodka, lime, sugar, and crushed ice.

 

From street food to fine dining, Nairobi’s food scene is outstanding – in both quality and variety.

You can also top up your experience over a cup of Gold Coffee at the Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel in Westlands, Nairobi.

Expertly made using Kenyan coffee beans and formed milk that is blended with 24-carat edible gold, the drink is served on a golden china set. Unlike anything you’ve ever tasted in Nairobi, this cappuccino will make you feel like a real royalty.

Served in a gold cup and adorned with Italian edible rose petals, this Gold Coffee is the epitome of luxury and an inspiration of wealth and health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nay Palad Bird Nest

Overlooking the African wilderness, the Nay Palad Bird Nest is a luxurious safari lodge, located in the wilds of Kenya – a raised suite that offers 360-degree views over the surrounding plains of Laikipia.

Built totally above ground, this unique retreat is part of the Segera Retreat, a 60,000-acre wildlife sanctuary in the Laikipia plains in Kenya. Nay Palad Bird Nest is a collaboration between Segera, Nay Palad and the architect Daniel Pouzet. It is two stories, constructed with interwoven natural tree branches and a viewing platform on top so guests can get 360-degree views of elephants and giraffes while they’re taking their morning coffee.

The nest is lit with lanterns and champagne and delicious food set out on the open-air top level of the nest. Inviting beds (either open-air or within the shelter of the first floor) are prepared with soft linens and hot water bottles, ready for the night ahead. From the comfort of the nest, guests will watch a sunset, feast on a picnic-style dinner and fall asleep under the starry sky. To wake up to the sounds of wild animals and a view as far the eye can see makes for a wonderful experience.

Inside the Nay Palad Bird Nest are all the modern amenities you’d want in a luxury hotel. The suite has one bathroom with solar-heated running water. Guests can either choose an indoor double bed on the lower floor or open-air accommodations on the second floor if they want to sleep under the stars. Both beds, of course, are dressed with deluxe linens and warmed with hot water bottles.

The Nay Palad Bird Nest is designed for a romantic night for two. The place is perfect for a couple, but it can be made to accommodate a small family, with children enjoying the adventure of sleeping out in the Nest while the parents cozy up in the bedroom.

The Nay Palad Bird Nest is ideal for a one night stay after a wildlife drive or a bush walk in the plains of Laikipia. In the morning elephants, giraffes and other animals can often be seen drinking at the nearby river from the nest.

 

nyama choma at carnivore

Located in the Langata suburb of Nairobi, Kenya, the Carnivore Restaurant is a meat-lovers paradise. Serving Kenya’s famous Nyama Choma (barbecued meat), it has twice held the honor of being named “one of the best restaurants in the world”. It is must stop on your African safari.

The Carnivore has been an icon for tourists, expats and locals for decades. At the entrance is a huge barbecue pit laden with real swords of beef, pork, lamb, chicken and farmed game meats such as crocodile and ostrich. It’s a memorable night out.

Carnivore’s specialty is meat, and features an all-you-can-eat meat buffet. The all you can eat meat buffet is called The Beast of a Feast. This includes four courses: soup, salad, meats, and dessert. The barbecued meats are the main attraction. Served are various cuts of beef, chicken, pork, and lamb as well as farm-raised ostrich and crocodile. One can choose instead to order off a menu with dishes such as chicken pot pie, beef and pork ribs, burgers, and sandwiches.

UK magazine Restaurant named Carnivore one of the 50 best restaurants in the world in 2002 and 2003, when you could dine here on exotic game meats. Its legend seemed assured. In recent years, however, strict new hunting laws mean that zebra, hartebeest, kudu and the like are now off the menu, and you have to be content with camel, ostrich and crocodile in addition to more standard offerings.

There is also a signature cocktail called dawa. Dawa means medicine in Kiswahili but it tastes much better than any medicine. It is composed of a healthy shot of vodka, lime, sugar, and crushed ice.

For those looking for a fun night, you can head to the adjoining nightclub called Simba Saloon where you put on your dancing shoes to the latest tunes – from contemporary African music to hip-hop, rock and jazz.

 

 

Kiambethu Tea Farm House

Just a short drive from the hustle and bustle of Nairobi, Kiambethu tea farm nestles itself at 7200 feet, high up in Limuru.

Located about thirty kilometers from Nairobi, Kiambethu has been the family home of one of the earliest tea growers in Kenya. The farm dates back to 1910 and the present house, set amidst colorful gardens, has been home to four generations.

The original home of AB McDonell, the first person to grow, make and sell tea commercially in Kenya, is open to the public, providing a tranquil insight into life, on a settler farm.

Kiambethu Tea Farm is one of Kenya’s oldest tea farms. It’s a family run business run by Marcus and Fiona Mitchell and it is possible to arrange a ‘tea luncheon’ with them. You can go, get a fabulous tour of the farm and learn the history of tea making in Kenya as well as of their farm and then get a home cooked meal.

You can also take a walk in the indigenous forest with the resident Kenyan guide who will identify the plants and explain how they are traditionally used. You will see the Colobus monkeys close up and wander in the gardens, which are home to a wide variety of birds. When you return to the house, you will enjoy a pre-lunch drink on the veranda with sweeping views across the tea fields to the Ngong Hills. Lunch is prepared with vegetables from the garden and desserts are topped with cream from the herd of Channel Island cows on the farm.

 

 

Gorilla in Uganda

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda is surreal and without a doubt one of the world’s greatest wildlife experiences. The thrill of a close encounter with the reclusive mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is unlike any other experience in Africa.

Uganda offers the best chance of viewing these delightful apes with the fact that it boasts two parks where they have been habituated for human visits; the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which harbor over half of the remaining world mountain gorillas.

Mountain Gorillas can only be found in the Virunga mountains in the DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda. Uganda holds 60% of the total mountain gorillas left in the world with about 400 of them residing in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Bwindi is the most popular place to trek the gorillas in Uganda. The Park is located in the Southwestern part of the country and is one of the most diverse national parks in East Africa.

Most trekking in Uganda takes place in Bwindi, where there are multiple starting points and several gorilla families to track. The time spent tracking gorillas depends and varies from half an hour to eight hours depending on the gorilla movements. This activity starts with a briefing at 8am at the park headquarters of any sector you are booked to track, and after the tracking, you set off to the forest with the guide of the rangers who guide you to the spots where the gorillas may be found. Visits are led by park rangers and groups of 8 are allowed to observe the gorillas for one hour, in silence and at a safe distance. You are allowed only one hour in the midst of these great apes so as not to distract their behavioral patterns.

It takes persistent effort to reach the gorillas. It requires navigating uphill and downhill through thick tangles of vines, thorns, and roots. The appropriately named Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is only accessible by foot. There are no paths, no signs, no directions—and more often than not, no clearings (which is why the park rangers carry machetes).

Bwindi also has L’hoest monkeys, dark cheeked mangabeys, and blue monkeys. In Kibale Forest National Park, chimpanzees capture everyone’s attention. Patas monkeys meander around Murchison Falls National Park. Queen Elizabeth National Park has blue monkeys and red-tailed monkeys (not to mention non-primates, like lions and elephants).

Uganda is a primate-lover’s paradise. In addition to mountain gorillas, Mgahinga is home to another endangered species: the golden monkey. These furry, comical monkeys live high up in bamboo forests. Tracking golden monkeys is very similar to tracking gorillas, but the trek itself is not quite as challenging.

Gorilla trekking in Uganda is a year-round activity and permits are issued every day. However, most people prefer to stay dry and travel during Uganda’s dry season which is May-September and January and February. Bright and sunny days are more prominent during these months and visitors are much less likely to experience those rains down in Africa.