SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’S GUIDE TO KENYA
Date published: 15/05/2019
Date published: 15/05/2019
Kenya is one of the best holiday destinations in Africa. It is renowned for its wildlife safaris, white sandy beaches and its amazing people, diverse cultures and heritage.
If adventure is your thing, then a holiday in Kenya should be on your list. Sports Illustrated Swimsuit visited this amazing country in East Africa and explored some of its most popular destinations – Nairobi, Masai Mara and Watamu, on the Coast.
It’s likely your first arrival to Kenya will land you in Nairobi, the capital city. Famously named the ‘Green City in the Sun’ Nairobi is a regional hub for business and leisure travelers and subsequently hosts several 5 star hotels such as Hemingways Nairobi as well as some truly once in a lifetime experiences.
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world. It was born from one family’s love and passion for Kenya and its wilderness.
Take time to visit and spend a few hours in the company of young orphan-elephants, and learn about their incredible histories and the rescue efforts made to save them. You also have a chance to adopt one of the herd.
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is open daily from 11am and entry costs just $5 which is a direct donation to the Trust and their efforts to promote wildlife conservation.
From Nairobi, take a short (sometimes bumpy) flight to the Masai Mara, one of the most popular National Parks for a safari in Kenya and home to the Big 5 as well as countless other animal species. For a unique and private luxury safari experience, book your stay at the famous Ol Seki Hemingways Mara Camp. This luxury tented camp of only 8 rooms is strategically located in Naboisho Conservancy, which borders the Mara Reserve to the south east. Naboisho Conservancy limits the number of visitors in the private concession giving guests an amazingly private and intimate safari experience.
Wild animals abound in this thriving conservancy including the Big 5. Charge up your camera and focus your binoculars, as there is so much to see. Enjoy early morning or evening game drives while being guided by very knowledgeable safari guides from the camp. This also gives you a chance to capture spectacular sunrise and sunsets. During the game drives you will enjoy bush breakfasts, picnic lunches and magical Kenya sunsets while enjoying a traditional Kenyan sundowner.
Experience an adventurous walking safari through Naboisho Conservancy, while being guided by Ol Seki Hemingways Mara Maasai guides. Experiencing the bush on foot will give you a chance to marvel at the wilderness, learn about some of the traditional medicinal use of some plants and the tracks and scat of the animals that have passed by that day.
During your visit to the Masai Mara, ensure you experience the culture and traditions of the Maasai during a community visit. Ol Seki Hemingways Mara works closely with the local community and they take their guests to some local village homes for an introduction into the Maasai lifestyle. There are various beadwork and carvings for sale in the villages where you can get souvenirs. Don’t be afraid to bargain!
On to the next destination, Hemingways Watamu, a boutique beach resort with an iconic history on the Kenyan coast and a fantastic host to several fun packed days on the beach.
Watamu, which means ‘Home of the Sweet People’ in Swahili, is one of the best yet unexplored holiday destinations in Kenya. It is famous for its beautiful sandy beaches, turquoise blue waters of the Indian Ocean and its Marine Park, which is home to huge numbers of marine species. As well as the marine life, Watamu is also home to the Sokoke Forest where large herds of beautiful African elephants gather at sunset for a long, refreshing drink. Think of a visit to Watamu as a Blue Safari.
This is one of Watamu’s best-hidden treasures. Mida Creek is a reserve formed of extensive mangrove forests with shallow waters and large areas of mud flats. It is home to many local birds and is a stopover point for numerous migratory birds. The Creek is also a great spot to watch spectacular sunsets aboard a traditional dhow while sipping an ice-cold Dawa cocktail. Mida Creek is also home to the Crab Shack, a community run restaurant, which offers delicious fresh crab samosas. Enjoy guided canoe rides and be entertained by traditional Giriama dancers.
Take a journey through history by visiting the famous Ruins of Gede and learn the interesting culture and history of the Swahili people. This archeologist’s delight was one of the ancient Arabic towns that dotted the East African coastline. The ruins date from the 13th or early 14th century. The areas revealed include the Palace, Great Mosque, Pillar Tombs and several residential houses. The Gede Ruins are best visited during sunrise and sunset for the best experience.
Stand up Paddle Boarding (SUP) with a difference
Fast gaining popularity globally, SUP is among the best, natural ways above the water to view the marine life in the Marine Park. Watch sea turtles taking a breath, sharks and rays swimming in Turtle Bay and also entice the curious Watamu dolphins to join you.
For the more adventurous and energetic, learn to kite-surf, get your PADI, or head out to sea on Hemingways’ own deep-sea fishing boats to catch Marlin, Sailfish, Broadbill Swordfish and Short bill Spearfish.
This is but the tip of the iceberg of the many bucket list experiences that Kenya has to offer. With direct flights from NYC to Nairobi there really is no excuse not to visit.
Hemingways Collection (hemingways-collection.com) can arrange a Beach and Bush Package trip from $2,500 per person, based on two sharing. This 7 night / 8 day trip includes three nights at Ol Seki Hemingways Mara (full board including house drinks plus one shared vehicle with one full day in the park) and four nights at Hemingways Watamu in an Ocean View room (B&B basis).
A couples enjoys a safari holiday to Watamu, Masai Mara & Nairobi courtesy of Audley Travel and Hemingways Collection. Read about their experience at Hemingways Watamu, Ol Seki and Nairobi...