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Friday, 02 May 2014 11:44

Kenya & Tanzania

Written by  Lisa Loverro

Africa-Kenya
Kenya

Along Kenya’s Indian Ocean coastline the temperatures are warm and humid, a sharp contrast to the cooler temperatures you’ll find in its bustling capital city of Nairobi. But it’s this coastline that plays host to a number of destinations not often associated with your typical trip to Kenya (if there is such a thing as a typical trip!)

A surprising escape to the island of Lamu will win bragging rights for your clients among their friends who mainly visit Kenya for Safari. Lamu is easily reachable from the country’s main airports of Nairobi, Mombasa and Malindi. All flights land on Manda Island, just across the channel from Lamu.

Lamu Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been influenced by many different ethnic groups over the years, from Portuguese to the Omanis, and is an important center for Islamic and Swahili cultures. There are plenty of resorts readily available on Lamu so be sure to suggest a few days here to experience it’s full eclectic mix of food, cultures and scenery. Peponi Hotel, located on Shela Beach on Lamu, (www.peponi-lamu.com) overlooks the Lamu Channel along an 8-mile stretch of beach. Charming and private, the hotel is perfect for a romantic retreat. The rooms are each individually decorated in bright, breezy decor, and fine dining is to be had in the romantic restaurant on its premises.

Suggest they spend some time on the island of Manda, part of the Lamu archipelago, on which these flights land. Here lies the Takwa ruins which once were part of an ancient Swahili town that prospered between the 15th and 17th centuries. While your clients will only need an overnight on Manda to explore the island, they should check into the Majlis Resort (www.themajlisresorts.com), one of the most luxurious accommodations on the island.

Heading over to Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, shared with Uganda and Tanzania, you’ll find Mfangano Island. This hilly island is lush, void of tourism, and a sanctuary of peace and tranquility. The island has many fishing villages, but primarily it’s the perfect spot to unwind after safari. There’s sailing and fishing on the beautiful lake, and while there are only a few places to stay on the island, Mfangano Island Camp (www.governorscamp.com) is by far the most luxurious. www.magicalkenya.com

Tanzania
Tanzania is committed to expanding its tourism efforts and the country’s Natural Resources and Tourism Minister, Lazaro Nyalandu, recently stated that “the immediate focus in tourism is to ensure that affluent tourists from all over the world come to visit Tanzania in order to boost the foreign earnings, in which the tourism industry generated $1.88 billion in the year 2013.”

While Tanzania is known as the home of the most accessible mountain to summit in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro, which attracts many tourists, there are many secluded spots also perfect for tourists, but not overcrowded. Have your clients fly to Mafia Island. Often overshadowed by Zanzibar, Mafia Island is perfect for those wanting to get away from the path of everyday tourists. It’s a tiny slice of an island easily accessible from Dar es Salaam with two flights a day, taking roughly 30 minutes. Diving and snorkeling are ideal here where a protected marine preserve offers some of the best diving around, with sea turtles and stingrays trolling these waters almost year-round. There are a few dozen accommodations here; some basic and others, like the Ras Mbisi Lodge (www.rasmbisimafia.co.tz), offer a bit more of a barefoot luxury vibe. All their luxury cabins are made from indigenous coconut wood, blending into the abundant coconut groves on the island. Mafia Island will definitely take them off the beaten path for a few nights of unexpected adventure. www.tanzaniatouristboard.com

Airline News
Kenya Airways’ first Boeing 787 Dreamliner, christened The Great Rift Valley, landed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport this past April. It’s the first of six 787s which Kenya Airways has ordered as part of its modernization program.

President Kenyatta said the delivery of the Dreamliner paves way for Kenya Airways to further deepen trade connections with the world, especially through long haul flights. “I have no doubt; this will result in the growth of trade, tourism and other forms of interaction with the rest of the world,” he added. He said the growth of Kenya Airways is important for tourism as it facilitates the increase projected in international tourist numbers. The 787 Dreamliner is scheduled to initially begin flying regionally within Africa before beginning long-haul service to Paris in early June.
www.kenya-airways.com

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