Kenya Travel Guide
We’d imagine that refreshing and upgrading a cabin creates plenty of trash, rubbish, and garbage. However, it looks like the leather seating surfaces used by Southwest Airlines will find a second life after their time up in the air is complete.
The airline details things over on their blog, but we figured we would share things with you as well. It’s pretty darn neat. It’s all part of the airline’s program called LUV Seat: Repurpose with Purpose, as they turn old stuff into better stuff—or what they call upcycling rather than recycling.
Mom and cub lounging in the savanna of the Masai Mara
The situation in Kenya has certainly not improved since our visit a few months ago in April, when we explored one of the world's top safari regions and feasted on game meat. At the time, we penned our thoughts on whether it's safe to visit Kenya, concluding that the safari regions were as removed from the threats in Nairobi and Mombasa as Upstate New York is from New York City.
Things have definitely not stabilized since, and, to be honest, it doesn't sound like the situation is under control or getting better by any stretch of the imagination. The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) has scrambled to ensure tourists that the attacks are not near or directed at at foreign facilities or tourist zones, but that reassurance has convinced few as many would-be visitors cancel their trips and tourism numbers continue to suffer. We can't blame those who cancel at this point, especially given this statement by the Somalia-based Al Shabab militant group that once again declared Kenya a "war zone" and warned foreigners that they were not safe:
Despite a past where everything and anything was up for grabs, not many game meats are still available to eat legally in Kenya. Considered "protected game," it is illegal to eat a majority of the exotic animals these days, including lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, impala, wildebeest, warthog, and elands, among others.
The Kenyan government banned sport hunting in 1977, but allowed limited hunting to cull animals and harvest game meat until 2003 when it was shut down completely because of the on-going poaching problem. In other words, it's become a numbers game in Africa.
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The savannas of the Masai Mara
Last week, this writer visited a few of the safari regions in Kenya, including the Masai Mara, Laikipia, and Nairobi National Park. As you will see in the descriptions below, all were unique in their own ways, each offering a different experience in terms of scenery and game. Nairobi National Park was impressive because of its proximity to the city, Laikipia provided a safari/cultural combo, and the Masai Mara flexed its muscles and showed why it is one of Africa’s premier safari destinations.
There are two types of safaris to be had in Kenya: One that occurs during the Great Migration, and one that does not.
The Great Migration starts in July and is one of nature’s greatest spectacles. Over a million wildebeests cross the plains and savannas of Eastern Africa, providing visitors with what would seem on the surface to be endless opportunities of interaction. But while it's true that animal activity in the region might be at its peak, it’s not necessarily true that you will get the most intimate interaction. The reality is that along with the abundance of animals comes thousands of tourists.
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Those who have been following the news are aware that Kenya has been the target of Somali terrorist groups and, obviously, the attacks have been incredibly heartbreaking. Considering we are covering so much of the good coming out of Kenya, this writer doesn't think it's fair to leave that elephant completely out of the conversation. Admittedly, before deciding to make the journey from my home in Denver, I too wondered if it was safe to visit Kenya.
On my trip it was confirmed that, in terms of taking a safari, the answer is absolutely yes it is safe. The risk of danger in the national reserve areas like the Masai Mara and Laikipia are no greater than encountering a problem in any of America's national parks. Like here in the States, terrorism in Kenya has thus far been limited to populated places like Nairobi and Mombasa.
You know that you go to Kenya to digest the wildlife and the culture, but what should you wash it down with? In this addition of Monday, Five Thirty, we check out the common cocktails you’ll want to try during your trip:
The word “dawa” means “medicine” in Swahili, and this combination of gin, honey, and lime will definitely do wonders for your spirits. Most of the honey sinks to the bottom, so be sure to stir as you go. With the honey and the lime juice hiding the bite of the gin, this is a cocktail that goes down easy and tends to sneak up on you, earning it a reputation as a healer of whatever ails you.
We have many tales to tell about our trek through the safari camps of Kenya, but what better way to start than to show you the final product right off the bat. A trip to the game reserves of Africa is, after all, all about the interaction and insight you get with one of the world's most dramatic ecosystems.
The photos below were all taken in the Masai Mara, Kenya's most infamous and iconic national reserve. This week, we'll highlight it in more detail and compare it to other regions throughout the country, giving you the rundown on how they differ in terms of landscape, culture, wildlife, and appeal. For now, enjoy these photos we took on our game drive last weekgetting up close and personal with lions, elephants, buffalo, and giraffeand look for more within the stories to come.
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This week, we've been hopping around Kenya, bouncing between safari camps and reserve regions to discover one of the most dramatic ecosystems in the world. We started in Nairobi, then circled through Laikipia, Masai Mara, and now the town of Watamu outside Mombasa. You can find Nairobi easily on the map above, and we've circled the three other areas to give you a sense of where our whereabouts.
Next week, we'll begin our coverage of the county, including how to get around, what to expect from the safari experiences and natural landscapes in the different regions, the food, culture and people, and some thoughts on the state of tourism in the country on a whole. Below, we provide a preview shot of the scenery.
Teens with a passion for sports and doing good can enjoy both on one of STRIVE's volunteer trips next summer.
Strive caters to student-athletes who want to grow and learn through travel. High school students work on volunteer projects within local communities, are exposed new customs and cultures, and participate in challenging daily athletic training exercises on all of STRIVE's trips.
Travel Tips / Africa Travel / Kenya Travel / Nairobi Travel / Great Migration / Animals / Susan Portnoy / Travel Photography / AirKenya / Safari Travel / What NOT To Do / → All Tags
Safaris are, by their nature, extremely photogenic. All those lush landscapes, the exotic wildlife, and skies that utterly captivate are begging to be captured on camera. Even better, photographic safaris go one step further by offering travelers experiences and locations specifically with photography in mind, and in many cases with professional instruction.
If you love photography, an African safari can be a life-changing experience, but to get the most out of your trip, here's Jaunted's guide for What Not To Do on an African Safari: The Top 5 Tourist Mistakes:
Travel Tips / Africa Travel / Kenya Travel / Nairobi Travel / Great Migration / Animals / Susan Portnoy / Travel Photography / AirKenya / Safari Travel / → All Tags
Every year between July and October, millions of wildebeests march from Tanzania into the Masai Mara National Reserve, chasing the rains and the green grass that follows in what is known as the Great Migration. Travelers have marveled over this natural wonder for years, and for people who love photography, a Great Migration photographic safari provides endless opportunities for mindblowing photos. We just returned from it ourselves, with a slew of new knowledge from our own photo wins and fails.
Whether you're heading out to the Great Migration or something closer to home, here's our 11 tips on how to prepare for the photo safari trip of a lifetime: