Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Nyumba Ya Mashaza Dimora Di Corallo


Nyumba Ya Mashaza exceeded my expectations in so many ways. My travel buddy and I stayed at the property when it was new on and there were no reviews to at least guide us on what to expect but oh well life is about taking risks.The main reason we decided to risk is because at that time it was one of the cheapest deals we could get in Watamu and it was low season as well. 

We paid 5000 ksh (50$) per night for a double room which was inclusive of breakfast. Considering the fact that we ended up being the only guests thus we had the entire villa to ourselves for sure it was  good deal. The host is not in Kenya most of the times but she works hand in hand with the manager who is a Kenyan and stays around the villa in case you need any assistance. 

Our only issue was that the villa is located in Jacaranda which is quite a distance from Watamu. Hence , you need to be prepared for a bumpy ride but that should not discourage you. To be honest the place is very beautiful that you will even forget about the journey.What I loved the most is the fact that the villa has a private beach access which makes everything fall into place.

You can access Nyumba Ya Mashaza by taking a taxi from Gedi or a tuktuk/motorbike this is on the off chance you end up using public transport. If you are using private mans you will proceed from Gedi to Watamu and from there you can use google maps or ask the locals for directions.

Accommodation and rates 
The villa has spacious double rooms which can act as a single rooms as well and all of them have a private bathroom. There is a shared kitchen and the host can organize to get you a chef if you do not want to cook for yourself. A shared lounge overlooking the lush garden is also available and the set up is very relaxing. The prices are always subject to availability and the season click here for bookings.
Nyumba Ya Mashaza has a shared pool that other villas at Nyumba Ya Baharini Village Residence use such as Alawi Boutique Hotel . Which I think is a plus and because the beach is nearby the pool never gets crowded since there are various beach activities that one can take part in. The villa also has a lush garden that one can opt to relax and unwind .

Well that is it for Nyumba Ya Mashaza click here for more details.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

An Overview of Rwanda


Rwanda is one of the countries that I have wanted to visit from 2015 but every time I made plans something always had to come up . However , in 2018 it was mandatory like I did not have an option thanks to my good friend Stella who motivated me and we ended up being travel buddies. If you have not been to Rwanda yet I will advice you to add it on your bucket list. There is a lot to learn plus the country is very beautiful.

We are all aware of what happened in Rwanda in 1994 and I must agree that the country has done a lot to where it is right now.  Kigali which is the capital city of Rwanda reminded me of Morocco due to the organization of palm trees all over. Then it hit me that both Morocco and Rwanda had bilateral relations with the French.

Requirements of getting to Rwanda 
Rwanda has the visa on arrival policy. However , for East African nationalities we do not require a visa to go to Rwanda. All you need is your passport or a national identification card and your yellow fever card. I traveled by bus but I guess it is not a hustle as well if you opt to travel by flight. As of now Rwanda Air  flies from Nairobi to Kigali. If you want to travel by bus then I will highly recommend you travel using Modern Coast.

Rwandan Patriotic Front Headquarters

Katuna border
At the border you will notice the difference between Uganda and Rwanda. The Rwandan police officers uniform is black from head to toe whereas for Ugandans the officers are dressed in white uniforms. The officers will then ask you to show them your passport or identification card and from there you will move towards the immigration office. Depending on what time you reach at the border there is always a queue but it moves pretty fast.

What to expect at the border :
  • Do not take photos at the immigration point or the border because it is forbidden.
  • All your luggage's will be checked due to the plastic ban in Rwanda. Since we also have the ban in Kenya it is not a big deal.
  • There is a public toilet at the border and you can pay in Kenya shillings , Uganda shillings or Rwanda franc.
  • You can opt to change your money at the border but you really need to be careful. Be updated on the currency so that you are not conned.
  • Be careful with your luggage so as to avoid a mix up with other peoples luggage especially when travelling using public transport.

The capital city of Rwanda is Kigali and it exceeded my expectations. I am sure that you have heard that Rwanda is the cleanest country in Africa . Well you should go there and judge for yourself if you have not been to Rwanda everything looked so organized and in order. There are motorbikes almost everywhere but they are so organized that all the motorists have the same reflectors which is red in color as well as the helmets and it is a norm for every  passenger to wear a helmet.

For the entire one week that I spent in Kigali traffic was not that bad like in other countries. It was bearable and the security is also very tight both during the day and at night as well. Thus Rwanda is also one of the safe countries in Africa. I even asked a Rwandan friend of mine if people get mugged in the streets and his response was that the crime rate is very low.

Just like Morocco the public transport system has been managed in a way that every citizen has to debit money into their transport card and that serves as the transport fare depending on the route and charges. Hence , if you are a tourist and you do not have any Rwandan friend then it is better to move around using a taxi or the motorbikes. The drivers drive on the left as compared to Kenya where we drive on the right.

One thing that I loved about the country was the food. It was very affordable hence, if you are on a bed and breakfast basis you do not need to be worried or stressed on buying food from the hotel that you are staying if you are on a budget. They're  many restaurants in town which basically charge 300 Kenya shillings 3($) for a buffet and trust you me the food is a lot .

I got the chance to stay at the Mirror Hotel and I can totally recommend it because it is was very close to most of the social amenities. Thanks to foreign and local investors, you can get to stay in a budget or luxury hotel and there are various hotels that you can get to choose from As a way of furthering development the Rwanda Development Board is open to investors where you can register your business and get a license in 24 hours. Thus if your interested in investing in Rwanda click here .

Places to visit 
Rwanda is a very beautiful country surrounded by many hills and I will totally go back soon. Below are places you should visit :

Kigali Genocide Memorial 
Inema Art Center 
Nyamata Church 
National Museum of Rwanda
Kigali Art Center
Akagera National Park
Gorilla trekking

Well that is it for Rwanda , as citizens of various states we have the responsibility to love each other despite ethnicity , race , ideologies and political class.  The same way your life is sacred is the same way your neighbor's life is important as well . Love peace and unity should be everyone core values. Asides from the tourism sector travelling to Rwanda impacted me in various ways and changed my perception especially when it comes to politics.
Uzagerageze gusura Rwanda! 

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

The Camp David


When I was planning to go to the Camp David I truly didn't expect to encounter an exceptionally intense Safari feeling. Well I absolutely do not regret encountering the memories that will remain in me until the end of time. Getting to the hotel is quite a distance but soon enough an easier route will be constructed.

Nonetheless, I will still opt to use the longer route as it gave me the feeling that I was truly headed out to a far place despite the fact that I was only one hour away from Nairobi County. When you get to the hotel I guarantee you that you will absolutely be astounded with the nice view of the Kenya Wildlife Service, the peaceful environment and the nature that encompasses the hotel.

I was exceptionally satisfied that I even forgot about the distance. I couldn't envision that such a hidden gem existed inside the Kenya Wildlife Service. The best part about the hotel is that after you check in, you can be able to see so many animals at a distance from the park and the hotel likewise has binoculars that individuals can use.
The Camp David is situated in Tuala, which is in kajiado County. You can get to the hotel by using the Magadi Road that takes you to Ongata Rongai. At that point branch at Maasai Lodge Bus Station, and use the road that takes you to Africa Nazarene University.

Once you pass the University and you reach Tuala town you can ask around for directions but the Camp David management is additionally exceptionally prepared to guide you or come where you are and direct you to the hotel. But once you go there for the first time, the directions automatically stick on your mind.
  • The camp is accessible by both private and public means. You can opt to take a taxi at the Maasai Lodge Bus Station.
  • One hour drive from The CBD.

As I was unwinding at the restaurant, simply loosening up from the journey. I was very amazed since from the restaurant it has a very good view of the Nairobi National Park. In the event that you go when it is sunny and the weather is really nice you will truly appreciate it.

I opted to sit on the high seats and not the couch so that I could simply get a clear perspective and view of everything since the hotel is on a raised land. I was also very pleased with how moderate the menu was. You can eat as much as you want and you won't get worried about finishing all your cash.
The Camp David accepts walk-ins and the restaurant has an a la carte menu which is very affordable.

  • Buffets can also be organized that is if you want and there is also a butchery specifically for nyama choma.
  • 24 hour bar.

After relaxing for a while I was directed to go have a glimpse of the cottages. To be straightforward this is my favorite part of Camp David. The cottages are a bit secluded and I like it that way since we all want to unwind and relax in a peaceful place. I prefer not to be bothered with noise from the bar or individuals having a good time at the eatery.

When I was showed the cottages I was more than awed, the African theme in every one of the cottages and interior design gave me the inclination that I was on a genuine safari in the middle of Nairobi National Park.

The bathrooms in the cottages were additionally more than anything I had envisioned. I can guarantee you on the off chance that you need to unwind and you would prefer not to go somewhere far then you better consider taking a weekend gateway at the Camp David.

The best part about the cottages is the way sometimes buffaloes stroll around the compound, it is a minute loaded with blended feelings but that is the essence of going somewhere that is next to the National Park.

I opted to take a room that was charging 6,500 every night for a double on a bed and breakfast basis. Meaning on the off chance that you are on a budget you can take the double for 6500 and share the cost with a companion, which will result to 3,250 per person.
The Camp David has eight cottages in total and every one of them have their own distinctive interior design of an African touch. Each cottage has a verandah where you can opt to relax or have your meals at the room as opposed to heading off to the restaurant.

The Hotel also has a camping site where for now you can camp with your own gear. For more information about camping kindly click hereto get a quotation.

  • There is also a beautiful house that can accommodate two families and it goes for 20,000 per night.
  • Late check-out is allowed so long as you request in advance.

Below are the rates.
*Half Board=Breakfast + Dinner   
* Full Board=Breakfast+ Lunch + Dinner

Bed and Breakfast
Half Board
Full Board

Activities to do
The Camp David additionally has beautiful grounds that someone can hire for any private function and they do not charge for the grounds so long as the hotel caters for all the meals at the function. If you want to have a photo-shoot at the hotel click here to get a quotation .There are many activities that someone can do at the hotel, this includes;
  • Quad bikes for children which go for 200 per child, board games, fishing at the pond,bird watching and there is a TV Lounge as well.

All the bookings are done directly to the hotel .Hence, if you want to get in touch below are the contacts to the hotel.
0726 005160

That is it for the Camp David, I totally enjoyed myself and I will definitely go back. Make sure you check it out and for more information click here.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

An overview of Washington DC


Washington DC is the capital City of the United States of America and I got a chance to spend a few days in the beautiful city. There are three airports in DC and I was using the Washington Dulles International Airport which is more likely the furthest compared to the other two airports which are Baltimore Washington International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.Passing through the immigration was faster as compared to other times I have gotten the chance to travel abroad.Straight to the point the immigration officer asks you what exactly you are going to do in the country and when you will be leaving.

Documents that you should have at the immigration 

  • Passport
  • Declaration form that are handed over inside the plane.

I was not asked for the documents below but just to be on the safe side . It is better to have them to show that you are at least capable of taking care of yourself.

  • Hotel Booking
  • Return ticket
  • Cash in USD
  • Invitation letter , if you are attending a conference, workshop or any other programme.
  • Travel itinerary if necessary. (Tourist ) 
Airlines that travel to Washington DC from Nairobi 
Unfortunately there are no direct flights to Washington from Nairobi . Thus whichever airline you opt to use will have a stopover at its hub. Below are some of the airlines that fly to Washington.

  • Turkish Airlines
  • Emirates Airlines
  • Qatar Airways 
  • British Airways 
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • Lufthansa 
  • KLM
Kenya Airways and Royal Air Maroc do not fly to Washington Dulles Airport.They fly to John F. Kennedy International Airport and then you will have to take another connection flight to Dulles Airport.I got to use Ethiopian Airlines from Nairobi to Washington and I will only recommend it if you are on a very tight budget . Thus if you are looking for cheap deals then I would advice you to book a flight using Ethiopian Airlines mobile application or directly from their website. In addition the airline has city tours that range from 20$_25$ if you have a long layover. (Prices are subject to change

  • If you are flying with Ethiopian Airlines please be very cautious when it comes to checking in.  Even if you get to check in online be very punctual at least three hours prior your departure time.
  • Travel light if you can because from my experience my suitcase was damaged.
From Washington to Nairobi I got to fly with Qatar Airways and I can totally recommend it. The services offered both on board and at Hamad International Airport are simply amazing. The main hub of the airline which is in Qatar has really good restrooms in case you end up having a long layover. Women have their own quiet restroom same to men .

  • If you are flying with Qatar Airways choose a flight that has a short layover. This is because the airline will not be in a position to grant you free accommodation if there were other flights available that had a shorter layover.  (Especially flights from Doha to Nairobi )
Hamad International Airport, Qatar

Washington Dulles International Airport 
Dulles Airport is very far from Washington DC because it is in Virginia. Thus if you can travel light I would advice you to use the public transport which is cheaper as compared to a taxi. I was traveling solo during fall and since I traveled with two suitcases , I only had the option of taking a taxi. My plan was to take a shared Lyft which would cost me around 35$ but that did not work out. Simply because each passenger in the shared car  is only allowed to carry one suitcase. Therefore, I had to take the Washington DC taxis that are readily available at the airport. I paid 68$ but the price could have been higher if it was during rush hour or if there was traffic. Luckily it was on a Sunday morning.

Methods of transport at Dulles Airport 
  • Bus plus the metro-15$
  • Washington Taxi -65$-100$
  • Shared Uber or Lyft-35$-40$
  • Personal Uber or Lyft-50$-65$
Prices are subject to change.

If you are travelling solo then you need to know what suites you best.I stayed at an average hotel , hostel and a five star as well. This is because I wanted to explore all the options that would fit in my budget and the cheapest option is staying in a hostel. For this option i can highly recommend Hi International Hostel because I found the hostels to be very clean and well managed. According to me most of the four star and five star hotels are expensive due to the tax issues, I found the prices to be affordable without the taxes included. Another factor that you should consider is the fact that the hotels inside DC are expensive as compared to the ones in Virginia or Maryland. If you are travelling in a group set up airbnb is the best option for you.

I personally used but compared to the hotels in Kenya most of the hotels only had the double option when it came to the rooms. Single occupancy was not available thus if you are travelling solo you will have to pay the same price you would have paid if you had a partner or roommate. This only applies to the hotels for the hostels you can get rates for single occupancy.

Things to do
If you want to explore DC  then I will advise you to stay in a hotel or hostel that is located on 11th street to 13th street. This will enable you to visit the monuments without paying for transport since it is a walking distance. Below are some of the places that you should visit in DC.

  1. White House , if you get to travel during fall make sure you see the National Christmas Tree. (free)
  2. Lincoln Memorial Park.(free)
  3. China Town. (free)
  4. Washington Monument .(free)
  5. National Mall. (free)
  6. Smithsonian Institutional Offices. (free)
  7. National Museum of African American History and Culture.(free but you have to book online in advance.)

Well that is it for my overview of Washington DC. As always opinions expressed are my own!

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Kola Beach Resort


First and foremost Mambrui is a hidden gem that is situated between Malindi and Lamu. This is where Kola Beach Resort is located. Just from the photos that I saw on I knew for beyond any doubt that it was a pleasant resort. Kudos to the management my travel buddy and I were in Malindi at noon running some errands when one of the staff called me and asked me what time we were checking in. That was the first resort in North Coast that actually was concerned with my checking in. I at that point asked the staff what time we were intended to check in and he informed me that we could have checked in quite a while back even at 10:00am my travel buddy and I immediately boarded a tuk tuk and went straight to Kola Beach Resort.

Kola Beach Resort is situated in Mambrui which is not that far from Malindi Town. In the event that you are using public transport you can take a tuk tuk from Malindi and it will cost you on the minimum side 600 Kenya shillings (6$) and on the maximum side 800 ksh (8$). For more details on how to get to Malindi Click here . The resort also has a taxi which you can organize with the management to pick you up from the airport and take you to Mambrui at an additional cost.

When you get to Kola Beach Resort you will totally feel at home since the villas have that modern home touch. Each villa is divided into two stories where one family can occupy the whole villa or decide to take one floor as other guests occupy the other rooms on the upper floor. Both floors have a well spacious veranda and a kitchenette as well hence , if you opt to prepare meals as opposed from eating from the eatery then you are sorted. My travel buddy and I opted to just go with the resort meal plan which was totally worth it for the price.For bookings Click here .

The resort has a really nice outdoor restaurant and a bar which is directly in front of the beach. You can choose anything from the a le carte menu and the Gold 55 restaurant offers both local and international cuisines. Just like any other hotel  Kola Beach has the bed and breakfast option , half board , full board and all inclusive as well.

Kola Beach Resort is the perfect place to simply unwind and relax. The atmosphere is very chilled out and the pool area has that relaxing ambiance. Below are some of the activities that are offered at the resort.
  • Two large pools
  • Spa
  • Conference facilities
  • Quad bikes 
You can also decide to relax on the private beach or simply explore Mambrui and walk for like ten minutes to the golden beach as well as the sand dunes of Mambrui.

Mambrui has a special place in my heart and my stay at Kola Beach Resort was totally worth it. I will definitely go back and if you want to get a 10% discount on your booking Click here .

Many thanks to the management of Kola Beach Resort. My stay was self sponsored and as always, opinions expressed are my own.