Travel Trade Journal
Captivate the magical canvas of Kenya beyond Masai Mara
Your long-coveted family holiday is just a 6-hour hassle flight and an RT-PCR test away as Kenya is now welcoming Indian tourists’ sans quarantine but with heightened safety measures and COVID-19 protocols, to ensure the best of health and hygiene for both visitors and service providers.
Kenya is renowned amongst Indians as an iconic destination for adventurous safaris; while there is no doubt about that, there is also so much more in store beyond Masai Mara. It is a year-long destination with an array of attractions and activities ranging from wildlife to marine life, safaris to sundowners, historical sites to cityscapes and luxurious stays to local experiences.
While wildlife will continue to be Kenya’s signature offering, the destination has a gorgeous coastline with the cities of Mombasa and Watamu offering the true taste of its culture and varied cuisine. Magical Kenya Signature Experiences is one such product portfolio introduced by Kenya Tourism Board that enlists such marquee experiences in emerging regions that make Kenya truly majestic.
Mombasa: Deeply rooted in history, Mombasa is a fascinating destination that offers diverse attractions including marine life, world-class hotels and a friendly atmosphere. The year-round tropical climate makes it a great destination filled with activities for all ages. Mombasa is an island connected to the mainland by bridges and ferries and overlooks a wide harbor, where commercial shipping mingles with traditional sailing dhows. Historical sites like Fort Jesus, a historic Portuguese fort that stands watch over the harbor, and Old Town where the air is always heavy with the scent of spices, are some of the attractions that define Mombasa. Modern Mombasa is a city of great diversity, rich in the Swahili culture, where all are welcomed and quickly absorbed into the great coastal melting pot.
Nairobi: Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi has risen in a century from an uninhabited swampland to a thriving modern capital. It is now one of Africa’s largest, and most
interesting cities and one that never seems to sleep, but continues to grow. Despite Nairobi’s growth into a modern urban center, the iconic Nairobi National Park makes the city the undisputed safari capital of Africa and beyond. It remains the only national park in the world to be found within a capital city. The Park is home to large herds of Zebras, Wildebeests, Buffalos, Giraffes, Rhinos, Leopards and a large number of Lions all found here, living wild within 20 minutes from the central business district. The city’s multicultural, natural and historic features undoubtedly make it an amazing destination. The city has not lost its sense of the past, with an excellent museum and the historical home of Karen Blixen, author of “Out of Africa”, open to visitors.
Lamu: Lamu is a place like no other, a peaceful tropical island, with a magic of its own. Made up of a collection of idyllic islands at the northern end of Kenya’s coastline, the Lamu Archipelago is living history. A visit to Lamu promises nothing but an original, authentic coastal experience; there are four main islands: Lamu, Manda, Pate and Kiwayu. The Old Town’s narrow alleys, Arabic architecture, fort and mosques speak of age-old culture, while the surrounding beaches and reefs sparkle in the sunshine. Lamu Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. It is the oldest and bestpreserved Swahili settlement in East Africa. Lamu has been inhabited continuously for over 700 years and it has preserved its culture and traditions. There are no vehicles on the islands. Activities include dhow cruises, water sports, fishing and birdwatching. The main festivals include the Lamu Cultural Festival and the Islamic Festival of Maulidi.
Watamu: Watamu means ‘sweetness’ in Kiswahili. It is a small town approximately 20km south of Malindi and boasts of being among the best beaches in Africa. The name translates to “sweet people”. Enjoying a beautifully blinding white-sand beach and a soft breeze together makes it the perfect escape for water sports and marine ecology with activities for the whole family. Watamu makes an excellent base from which to explore the nearby Gede ruins, Arabuko Sokoke forest reserve and the mangrove-fringed waterways of Mida Creek. It’s a gorgeous slice of the coastline and one that includes its own marine national park, which is now part of a UN, recognised World Biosphere Reserve.
Mount Kenya: For climbers, there’s no experience quite like Mount Kenya. With towering spires, sheer cliff faces, jagged ridges and snow-capped peaks, Mount Kenya boasts the second-highest peak on the African continent. The diverse range of terrains and conditions makes Mount Kenya a haven for climbers, hikers and trekkers alike. Batian and Nelion, Mount Kenya’s main summits, can only be reached through a rigorous technical climb over rock and ice. Point Lenana, the mountain’s third-highest peak, is popular with trekkers who want the spectacular views without the rigors of an adventurous climb.