Kenya, East Africa 2022

Blog, Destinations, Kenya, Travel

I have wanted to come to Africa for many years, but my travels have taken me frequently to South Asia. So, when I had clear opportunity to visit Kenya in East Africa, proverbial wild horses could not have stopped me.

Having been a frequent visitor to the Indian subcontinent, there was something familiar with the climate, vegetation, roadside stalls and shops and just the feel of the country. However, culturally, Africa is very different from India. Of course these differences only served to heighten my enjoyment of my new environment, if only for the sake of variety.

Wildebeest Eco Camp, Nairobi

Kenya is without doubt a beautiful country, and one week in, I was really loving it. Staying with a family initially in Oyugis, we had met plenty of locals which is a fantastic way to begin to understand a nation and its culture. And culture of course is everything – the way a nation feels, thinks, reacts, behaves and basically does life is all part and parcel of what we call culture.

For me, travel has always been about the people you meet and not just the places you visit. Having said that, Kenya is massively replete with adventures and amazing places to see. Whether you love the coast, want to visit mountains, go on safari, explore a tea plantation, Kenya will keep producing the goods, again and again.

Tea slopes around Kericho

And without doubt, I will be returning to Kenya. I mean, why wouldn’t you? Admittedly, there were some security concerns with the current elections going on, and a potential terrorism threat mainly in the North East from Al Shabaab (a result of the Kenyan military intervention in Somalia), but the draw of East Africa is simply magnetic. So yes, I will definitely be coming back, and what is more, I would encourage you to do the same. Just be careful and vigilant, but more than anything, enjoy it…

Me and Rachel in Western Kenya

Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge, Kenya

Blog, Destinations, Food, Kenya, Travel

Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge is situated on the eastern shores of fabulous Lake Nakuru. And as such, it is perfectly positioned to provide you with the experience of a lifetime, which is exactly what we enjoyed.

Terrace Bar at Sarova

Location, location, location – Sarova has it all. Every morning, we were treated to panoramic views of the Lake, watching pelicans lazily flapping their way across the water and hearing the distinctive calls of the African Fish Eagles amongst the trees below.

Lake Nakuru

We had our own local guy for the Game Drives, and on the 2 separate safaris, we were treated to sightings of Rhino, Hippopotamus, Zebras, Impalas, Lions, Giraffes, an Ostrich, Eland, Waterbuck, Thompson’s Gazelle, Warthog and many others. The birdlife, including the sheer mass of Lesser (and some Greater) Flamingos congregating at the Southern end of the lake, is also rich and varied, so bring a pair of binoculars with you.

In addition to an amazing location, Sarova also has a highly efficient, friendly and helpful complement of staff who are very proactive, and seem to anticipate your every need and want. Always in attendance, but without being overbearing, I feel they have stuck a perfect balance which is most refreshing.

Staying for 5 nights, we soon got to know many of the lovely people that work there. Angela, Alex and Fred in particular, really looked after us, and made us feel very welcome indeed. It seemed like nothing we requested was too much trouble and they most definitely enhanced our stay. Poolside, we met Morgan and Marie who were great fun and again, added value to our experience at Sarova.

Another important part of the Lion Hill experience is the outstanding food on offer. The variety of roasted and pan fried meat and fish available every night was simply mouthwatering. Alongside this, there were local dishes of stewed goat with a good selection of vegetables plus a range of Indian dishes with chapattis. East Africa has a significant Indian influence, hence the infiltration of the menu with Asian flavours.

During our stay, we met Jayne the General Manager, and Damaris who is Head Chef. Both outstanding ladies doing a fantastic job in the aftermath of COVID, and thankfully, visitors are now beginning to return to Kenya. East Africa really needs our tourist dollars, pounds and euros! Before we left, I was able to chat to Moses, the head of security, and I was impressed with the level of care Sarova take in this important area.

If you want an unforgettable experience right in the heart of one of Kenya’s National Parks, then I urge you to come and stay at Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge. There is much more I could write, but I hope this has given you a taste of what’s out there for you to enjoy.

Kenya: Kendu Bay & Homa Bay

Blog, Destinations, Kenya, Travel

So our host decided to drive us around Homa Bay County and show us his home turf. We went straight to Kendu Bay where the bright sunlight was reminiscent of a previous holiday in the Bahamas. Simply outstanding. Fresh fish, diverse birdlife and a gorgeous Kenyan blue sky, which was guaranteed to sweep away the winter and possibly, COVID blues. We sat in a cafe by the lake shore and drank bitter lemon, mango juice and and beer.

Fresh fish just caught at Kendu Bay

Actually, the birdlife really is amazing. In a few short minutes, I had spotted Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Great White Egret, Pied Kingfisher, Hamerkop, Cormorants and others. If that lot doesn’t get your ornithological juices running, nothing will.

Some of the local birdlife nearby

In terms of birding, the whole of the Kenya trip was pretty much like that; one awe inspiring sight after another. Leaving Kendu Bay, we travelled a short distance to Simbi Lake where I witnessed a great wash of pink gathered at one end of the shoreline, iridescent in the bright African sunshine. It was my very first flock of Lesser Flamingos, and what a beautiful sight it was too.

Lesser Flamingos at Simbi Lake

Moving on, we eventually arrived at Homa Bay situated at the bottom end of the Winam Gulf, that feeds into Lake Victoria. This time, the birdwatching went up several more notches as the avian world blended seamlessly with the human one.

Marabou Storks at Homa Bay

Two words: Marabou Storks. These large, and to be completely honest, somewhat ugly birds were everywhere. On the roofs of houses, on the shoreline, in the sky above us. In fact, they are so big, it felt like a scene out of Jurassic World when the beleaguered tourists were being dive-bombed by pterodactyls.

I don’t think Homa Bay is really a tourist town, from what I could see anyway. Down near the shoreline, it was just full of fishermen, birds (waiting for titbits from the fishermen no doubt), locals selling fish cooked and uncooked, and families enjoying the breezy sunshine down near the water. The whole place had a busy, but relaxed and laid back feel.

A basket of tiny fish!

It may well be off the beaten track and not an obvious tourist destination, but I really recommend a visit to this remote part of Western Kenya – you won’t be disappointed!