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Carrie Bell, Product Manager for Goway Africa, chatted with Naazneen Parkar about her recent trip to Kenya. Naazneen is one of Goway’s Africa Experts and had the opportunity to visit Kenya on a FAM trip hosted by New African Territories.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about Kenya?
That Kenya is not safe. Being one of the world’s safari capitals, Kenya is one of the best options for an African safari experience. Kenyans are extremely friendly and this hospitality is felt from the moment you are welcomed by our team on the ground, to the moments you are driving through the Kenyan countryside embraced by waving children to the ever-willing hospitality at the camps/lodges to ensure you have a memorable trip throughout your time in magical Kenya.
What was your favourite hotel/lodge and why?
During my FAM, I had the opportunity to stay at some really unique properties. There were several key highlights, which included an overnight authentic safari experience in one of Africa’s biggest cities. This is unique to Kenya, as you can arrive directly into the capital and then head on a game drive in Nairobi National Park within minutes.
The key highlight though was staying in Mathews Forest, Kitich Camp. If you are looking for something that is really off the beaten path, this is the destination for you. To get there, you need to take a chartered flight and then drive approximately two hours to the camp. The camp itself is nestled in between this beautiful lush green forest located right on the banks of a river. The serenity of the trees and coolness of the location within the mountain range make it the most ideal hidden gem for some much needed rejuvenation. The tented camp is extremely comfortable with an outdoor shower and the key amenities within each room. The food and staff were amongst the best I have ever experienced, not to mention the activities such as breathtaking sundowner experiences and bush walks.
It works perfectly as a break from a very safari oriented itinerary when you are looking for some time to disconnect from the modern world.
What was your favourite unique stay/experience?
My most unique stay was Sabuk Lodge located in Laikipia. Sabuk Lodge is located on the top of a cliff on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River. The sounds of the river throughout your day and night provide the most calming natural spa you will ever experience.
The open plan of the rooms really makes you feel like you are immersed in the most unique and authentic of African experiences. The camp also offers fly camping, camel safaris, and much more, adding to the uniqueness of the experience.
As a Goway Africa destination specialist, was there anything that surprised you?
Even though we spent eight days on safari, every single day was so unique, from the guides to the food to the game viewing and the overall landscapes. I was also surprised by the diversity of Kenya, in which every day was magical and unique, from being on the foothills of Kilimanjaro (Amboseli) to the desert-like experience in Sabuk Lodge (Laikipia) to the lush forest of Kitich Camp (Mathews Forest) to the absolute safari savanna paradise of Masai Mara.
What area would you recommend if clients wanted to extend into another country?
Are there any tips about travelling to Kenya that agents might share with their clients to make their trip even more enjoyable?
I really find Amboseli a must-see. It is the only park with such great views of Kilimanjaro. This iconic backdrop to the safari experience just makes it so worthwhile. The icing on the cake is going after it has rained, when the lakes have filled up, flamingos come to feed, and the mountain is glowing with pride. The picturesque experience of greenery, pinkness of the flamingos, and majesty of the mountain are just images of Africa that will forever stay in your heart.
Do you have a favourite local dish?
All of them, but Kenyans love their barbeque, so try and ask for a nice nyama choma (barbequed meat) during your next stay.
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