By Nicholas Kioko
The first thing which I noted last June, when I visited the dusty Voi town, is the number of lodges and guest houses.
As I took a walk along Voi – Nairobi road from Voi Bus Stop, I was amazed by the number of buildings which advertised for accommodation. Maghonyi and Comfort guest houses stood conspicuously among them. Driven by stubborn curiosity, I enquired from the room keeper at Comfort.
“Voi is blessed, it`s a transit of visitors from Nairobi, Taveta and Mombasa.” The brown short man smiled. “We also receive visitors who come to see wildlife and geographical features at Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks.” He said as he handed me the key for room 8.
Voi is about two hundred and fifty kilometers from Mombasa Island. This closeness to the major port city of Kenya gives Mombasa visitor a resting place as they term goods to Nairobi and neighboring landlocked countries – Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. These visitors add life to Voi town and as residents leave Voi town for their homes, visitors take over.
As Kenya moves towards economic development, Voi plays an unforgettable role and it will continue to be seen as a town which is grows on the visitor’s cash.
*Notes on the writer:
- Category: Tourism
- Last Updated on Thursday, 11 April 2013 14:58
by Anthony Kinyua Charles.
Allow me to take you through the bio-data of Nakuru; a town located 160km North West of Nairobi-ninety minutes drive from Nairobi. Its the fourth largest urban centre in Kenya after Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu. It’s situated at an altitude of 1859m above sea level at the bottom part of the Great Rift Valley whose formation gave rise to a unique natural structure. This modern town, as with many others in Kenya, derives its name from the Maasai speaking people of Kenya. The name Nakuru comes from a Maasai word ‘Nakurro’ which means ‘dusty place’.
Nakuru is a hub for national and international faces. However the town's population is predominantly African. People from different regions of the country have added a unique flavor to the town: they have made Nakuru a vibrant social and political town. As per 1999 Kenya Population Census, Nakuru had the third largest urban population in Kenya.
Nakuru owns scenic peripheral towns - Lanet lie ten kilometers towards Gilgil. It is a residential town and home to an army base. Njoro beckons from twenty kilometers, along the Eldoret-Kitale highway. It is agricultural town, established in 1934 and houses Egerton University.
Njoro supplies the world with coffee, wheat, barley, maize, and beans hence makes Nakuru Africa’s fastest growing town and the fourth in the World.
Visitors recognize Njoro because of its cleanliness and freshness. The air engulfing this town is clean and pure to the meaning of it. One is bound to find beautiful trees and less traffic than in Nairobi.
Nakuru is home to L. Nakuru, one of the Rift Valley soda lakes, which forms part of the L. Nakuru National Park. The park has large numbers of flamingos that can be seen foraging in the shallow lake. The park also has many wild animals that can be seen during a safari. Apart from the animals, numerous other sites of interest are accessible from Nakuru. These include Menengai Crater; a dormant volcano. The second largest surviving volcanic crater in the world, it plunges 483 m down from the rim and the summit is accessible by foot or vehicle 8 km from the main road to Nyahururu. The wood-covered crater ground is a nature reserve.
Nakuru is a water buck conservation county. The best place to catch a glimpse of the nearly tamed herds is the L. Nakuru National Park, recently renamed ‘The Birdwatchers Paradise’.
Waterbucks at L. Nakuru mingle freely without knowing that they share neighborhoods with the few remaining world’s white rhinoceros, who loves as a protective mother. Lions, duikers, Thompson's gazelles, Rothschild’s giraffes, buffaloes, leopards, giraffes, baboons and zebras trespass Nakuru’s jungle at will. Flamingoes are a major tourist attraction in the environs of Nakuru and they like bathing at feed the hot springs of the L. Bogoria. Although L. Bogoria and L. Baringo are in Baringo District, they are easily accessible from Nakuru. These are major tourist attraction sites too.
The Rift Valley Sports Club lies in the centre of the town. A number of sporting activities are hosted at this club and popular among them is cricket.
Nakuru is also an important educational center. Apart from Egerton University, it holds Kabarak University and other middle level colleges led by Rift Valley Institute of Technology and Kenya Industrial Training Institute (KITI).
Downtown Nakuru is composed of only several streets all lined up symmetrically and stretching for only a couple of blocks. In this small area, a visitor can have his fill of what an African town offers. There is one block devoted wholly to souvenir salesmen all selling a wide array of wonderfully crafted carvings and trinkets.
There are numerous typologies of housing in the town- flats/high rise type, mansionettes, bungalows, semi-detached, terrace housing, row housing and informal housing.
For your comfort when visiting this beautiful country side town , Nakuru is home to a number of very clean , designed and well structured hotels and lodges. You won’t go wrong by choosing a hotel from this list-Kungste, Chester, Waterbuck, Merica and Malewa Wildlife Lodge . You can camp at Kigio Wildlife or Lake Elementaita Serena Camp.
One of Kenya’s proverbs says, “a person who doesn’t visit others thinks that it is only his mother who prepares the most sumptuous meals.”
Start preparing for a visit to Nakuru.
NOTES ON THE WRITER
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Conservation at Haller Park
Modern Zoologists of Haller Park and ancient Greek heroes, share a common denominator- guts. The heroes faced mighty gods and dragons and triumphed. Likewise, Haller Park’s attendants face giant Nile crocodiles and emerge from the pods unscathed.
Hard to believe? Okay, imagine the Ministry of Wildlife has requested you to control the population of crocodiles in the nearest Zoo. Where would you start from? If you are like me, and chances are that we resemble, you would arm yourself with an AK-47, smile all the way to the pod, support an elbow with the wire mesh which surrounds the pod, aim, fire and watch hundreds of dead crocodiles bodies’ floating on water. But, alas! Who’d be behind, policemen with handcuffs. You would spend the rest of your life in a maximum security prison.
You can avoid the jail by asking for advice from any zoologist at Haller Park. They have simple, logical and courageous ways of controlling population explosion of crocodiles.
“Get two friends; let one carry a heap of sand and the other pieces of meat.” A smilling zoologist would part you at the back. ‘Locate the female crocodile which is guarding the hatchery and instruct the ‘meat-man’ to start throwing the pieces of meat away from the hatchery. All Crocodiles, apart from the female, whose is warming the eye will swim to the other side to have a bite. Tell the ‘sand-man’ to strike the eyes of the watchful crocodile with handfuls of sand. The mother-to-be will abandon the eggs (about eighty of them) and emerge its eyes in water to dissolve the dust. Meanwhile, scale over the perimeter fence, pack the eggs in a bag and leave the pod immediately.
“Where will I take the eggs?” You will ask, wiping drops of sweat on your face with the back of your hand.
“Handover that basket to me,” he’d say. “We will hatch them artificially. We are more interested with male crocodiles so we will hatch many eggs at 310 C and over. We need three females, so we’ll expose three eggs at a temperature of below thirty one degrees centigrade. We’ll give extra eggs to Mamba Village a hotel which is licensed to breed and market crocodile products. It’s in Nyali, three kilometers from here.”
To control the rapid increase of crocodiles, you don’t need condoms or vasectomy but brevity and skills.
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The Shimba Hills National Reserveis a small National Park in the Coast Province of Kenya, 33 km from Mombasa and 15 km from the coast. The reserve is an area of coastal rainforest, woodland and grassland.
Its a home to rare plants including some endangered species of cycad and orchids, and also a nationally important site for birds and butterflies.
The hills have view points that offer splendid views of the hilly and forested countryside, the Indian ocean and Chale island to the East, and the Tsavo plains and Taita hills to the West.
Shimba hills is also home to African Elephants, Buffaloes, Giraffes, Leopard (distinct) and spotted Hyena.
Visiting the park is a great opportunity to discover the dry red-soil of inland Kenya by doing a real safari and observing African elephants while being near the coast and still enjoying the freshness of the coastal breeze.
There are a variety of tourist attraction site at Shimba Hills e.g the Sheldrick Falls
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SOUTHERN PALMS BEACH HOTEL
Southern Palms Beach Club is at the northern end of Diani Beach and has 180 rooms in three stories.
There is a large pool, sports and conference facilities and nightly entertainment.
The Rooms have Swahili style decor and balconies facing the sea. They also have air conditioning and an extra Lamu-style divan will add to the Swahili theme.
SHIMONI REEF HOTEL
Shimoni Reef Hotel lies on the tip of Pemba Channel, part of a large bay making up the Shimoni archipelago and is very oriented towards ocean sports and island discovering.It is made up of 47 open plan cottages, all with ocean view and private verandas. The rooms are 2 levels and can accommodate 4 persons. A seawater swimming pool made up of multi levels is ideal for kids and diving tuition. Fresh seafood and other exotic delicacies are served in the open-air terrace restaurant.
SAFARI BEACH HOTEL
Safari Beach Hotel provides a unique blend of International hospitality in an African atmosphere of village style living set amongst tropical gardens 35 km south of Mombasa and at the edge of Kenya’s famous Diani Beach, with its brilliant white sands overlooking the warm blue-green Indian Ocean.
The hotel comprises of several villages of double-storeyed, thatched rondavels. All these have four beautifully furnished air-conditioned bedrooms with two 4ft beds, bathroom and a separate shower. Some also have connecting rooms for the convenience of families.
The Hotel has two swimming pools, floodlit tennis courts, squash courts, a gymnasium, and massage parlour. In the evenings, live shows include traditional dances and live band music. There is also a shopping arcade and a disco club.
Pinewood Village is situated 40kms south of Mombasa on the stretch of deserted white sand.
The village consists of 20 villas each with two or three bedrooms, three bath/shower rooms, kitchen, dining/living area plus a private veranda.
There is a chef allocated for each villa to prepare breakfast and dinner to order.
Various activities including tennis, squash, table tennis, windsurfing, fishing, pedaloes and diving are available for hotel residents.
NEPTUNE PARADISE VILLAGE
There are 259 fully air-conditioned standard and superior rooms organized into cottages each with private balcony.
Facilities include 4 swimming pools, tennis court, putting greens, bowling lawns, and beauty parlours
Located 32 km South of Mombasa’s mainland, the paradise village boasts 25 acres of landscaped gardens, which stretch down to one of the most spectacular beaches in East Africa.
For sports and entertainment there are 4 fresh water pools, tennis courts, putting greens, bowling lawns, hairdressing and massage parlours. Scuba diving, wind surfing, snorkelling, jet skiing and deep-sea fishing are available on the beach while there is an18-hole golf course nearby.
KASKAZI BEACH HOTEL
Kaskazi Beach Hotel prides itself with being an internationally recognized property for its excellence in service and reputation. The hotel is located on lush tropical grounds filled with colorful botanical and tall coconut trees. 191 air-conditioned standard rooms all with sea view from the balcony or terrace and ensuite with shower or bathtub, Interconnecting rooms for family holidays and optional addition of a third bed or baby cot, Mini-bars and safes available .
JADINI BEACH HOTEL
Most of the 160 air-conditioned rooms are situated in the hotels three-storey building and a few are in garden cottages.
All have adjoining bathrooms, balcony or terrace, and are equipped with telephone, individually controlled music and radio, and mini bar. Some larger rooms have no balconies.
DIANI SEA RESORT
The Diani Sea Resort offers 170 comfortable double and family rooms, all with balcony, in the four star plus category.
The rooms are equipped with air-condition, satellite TV, telephone, hairdryer and have a large bathroom with shower cabinet, bidet and a separate toilet.
All rooms are facing the beautiful tropical garden with the large, free-form swimming pool, towards the sea.
DIANI SEA LODGE
Diani Sea Lodge offers 130 large, comfortable, and single and double family bungalow rooms, all with terrace, which are arranged in the beautiful tropical garden plus a cottage with 10 rooms directly facing the sea.
The lodge is an all-inclusive, three star resort with the ambition to becoming a four star hotel.
ALFAJIRI CLIFF VILLA DELUXE
Located in Diani on the South coast, Alfajiri Cliff Villa are built in airy Caribbean style and overlook the Indian Ocean built at an elevated position ensuring privacy with stunning views of the surroundings.
The theme is large glass windows, ivory Danish floors, wooden beams, Lamu doors, complimented by an impressive collection of artifacts from all over Africa and the Far East.
Most of the furniture is made on the property and some is exported. The gardens are meticulously maintained and include many palms from the villa's nursery. A stretch swimming pool sits on the edge of a small cliff merging into the sea and the horizon.
CHALE PARADISE ISLAND
The small romantic island situated 10km south of Diani, is a nature reserve with white sandy beach, tropical rainforest, a wealth of bird life, and sulphur springs.
It is mostly furnished with African/Arabic antiques with a total of 55 rooms. 35 tented bungalows, 16 apartments, 2 penthouses, and 2 executive villas. The bungalows and apartments have combined living and bedroom, shower, and a toilet, with private sea facing terrace.
The main restaurant serves buffet and also offers a'la Carte meals. Two other restaurants serve international cuisine and freshly caught seafood. The Japanese restaurant serves 'live' prepared food. .