Sunday, October 24, 2010

Kitui Nzambani Rock

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Kitui Nzambani Rock
The Nzambani rock is quite a popular scenic attraction in Kitui District. Kitui is a rural town in Kenya, located 130 kilometers east of Nairobi and 75 kilometers east of Machakos. People from this area of Kenya (Akamba) people speak Kamba language- Kikamba.
What makes this rock unique is the story behind it that has been passed along from one generation to another. The overnight "noises" and "imaginary women and children overnight activities" are some of the stories behind this Rock. The 60ft tall rock is located about 15 Miles from Kitui town and in a clear weather day, it can be seen as far as 50 Miles away.

From the Kitui Medical College, you will head east to Chuluni. On the way you pass through the town of Wikilili with several small stores and some good places to catch a quick bite to eat cheap and with exceptionally friendly service. Once you're in Chuluni, follow the road to Nzambani rock, where, you should be able to see the conspicuous landmark. From the road – a wide, dirt single track heading into the bush. Carry some pocket money because you have to pay to climb the boulder, but do not worry, it's not much. Visitors to the rock can use a ladder that runs up to the top. From there one can get a great view of Kitui town. This site is located on private property and permission may need to be sought for in advance.

The concrete and steel supports are loose and decaying, and the entire structure sways in the wind, so take care. Once on top, you can wander freely, soaking in the panoramic views across the district. To the west you look towards the hills of Machakos, and to the east is the South Kitui National Reserve. This is Ukambani at its best, scattered with small villages and chiefs' camps. The boulder isn't a must-see, perhaps, but it makes for an unforgettable little back roads adventure.

Interesting Myth.

Local Kamba legend has it that if one goes round the rock seven times; they would have their gender changed! Stories go of men and women who changed to the opposite sex after doing this. It is not possible to authenticate these claims however the origin of this rock is told by two interesting stories:
Folklore has it that a white missionary from the Church Mission Society in England was cornered by Kamba warriors who did not want him talking about Christ. They went round and round the Nzambani rock looking for him to try and kill him. He prayed and then God said, if you are to die, at least wear your religious vestments. The missionary put on his vestments and waited for death. When the warriors caught up with him, he looked like he had turned into a woman because of his clothing (According to them, the missionaries had transformed into woman) - they did not kill him. So folklore goes that if you round Nzambani rock seven times, you will change gender!
Another story is told of a beautiful Kamba maiden, Nzambani, who together with two other girls, went to fetch firewood. While doing so, she saw a beautiful round stone that was good for grinding tobacco snuff for her grandfather. Nzambani took the stone and hid it from the other two.
After they were done collecting firewood, Nzambani tried to remove the stone so she could carry it in a better way but the stone could not be removed. She then cried for help. The other girls rushed back to the village to call Nzambani's parents who came to her rescue but in vain. In frustration, they left her and coming the following day, she had become a rock. Locals say that the rock continues to grow to-date.

Click here to read about Lord Egerton's castle. Lord Egerton hang notices on trees warning that any women trespassing the grounds risked being shot. Men visiting the baron were asked to leave their women eight kilometers away. He employed 16 servants, all male and rarely entertained visitors though the castle had many guest rooms. He banned his male workers from ever bringing their wives to the servant quarters or keeping chicken and dogs.Read more...
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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Nakuru Kenya

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Nakuru, the provincial capital of Kenya's Rift Valley and currently the fourth largest urban centre in the country, lies about 1850 m above sea level
The history of Nakuru can be traced to the prehistoric period due to the archeological discoveries located about 8 km from the Central Business District at the Hyrax hill reserve. Nakuru is Kenya's 3rd largest residency. However, the modern town, as with many others in Kenya, derives its name from the Maasai speaking people of Kenya. Nakuru was established by the British as part of the White highlands during the colonial era and it has continued growing into a cosmopolitan town. It received township status in 1904 and became municipality in 1952.
The history of Kenya as a country is closely intertwined with that of Nakuru as a town and a district. The first and second presidents of Kenya maintained their semi-official residents within the town, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, and within the district, Mzee Daniel arap Moi. The town was for a long time been the hotbed of Kenyan politics and it was home to a variety of colorful politicians including the late Kariuki Chotara, Kihika Kimani and the late Mirugi Kariuki. Nakuru is a sister city of East Orange. New Jersey.
Tourism is an important economic activity in Nakuru. The town, and the region, is endowed with vast resources that make tourism a key income source. Nakuru is home to Lake Nakuru, one of the Rift valley soda lakes, which forms part of the Lake Nakuru National Park. The park is famous for the vast numbers of flamingoes that can be seen foraging in the shallow lake. The park also has many wild animals that can be seen during a safari. Apart from the animals numerous other sites of interest are accessible from Nakuru. These include Menengai crater, a dormant volcano. Small fumaroles and steam vents can regularly be observed within the forested caldera from above. The second largest surviving volcanic crater in the world, it plunges 483 m down from the rim and the summit is accessible by foot or vehicle 8 km from the main road to Nyahururu. The wood-covered crater ground is a nature reserve.
Although Lake Bogoria and Lake Baringo are in Baringo District, they are easily accessible from Nakuru. These are major tourist attraction sites too.
The Rift valley sports club lies in the centre of the town. A number of sporting activities are hosted at this club and popular among them is cricket. The local Indian community can be found at cricket fixtures throughout the year. The town hosts an annual rugby festival dubbed "The Great Rift 10-a-side" which features teams from across the East Africa region.
Hydrax Hill Prehistoric Site, discovered by the Leakey’s in 1926, is considered a major Neolithic and Iron age site. The adjoining museum features finds from various nearby excavations. 

When I hear of Nakuru, I think of the breathtaking sight of flamingoes, joined into a massive flock in thousands, fringe the shores of this soda lake. A pulsing pink swathe of life that carpeting the water.
The lake has become world famous for these birds, who visit the lake to feed on algae that forms on the lake bed. They move back and forth, feeding and occasionally and spectacularly taking to flight, filling the sky over the lake with colour.
The lake is extremely variable in size- changing from 5 up to 30 sq kms in area.
Nakuru National Park is within the lake and an important sanctuary for Rhino. You can find both Black and White Rhino here, and are often seen resting under acacias by the Lake shore.

The park abounds with game. There are huge herds of waterbuck, zebra, buffalo, the endangered Rothschild Giraffe and more.
This is one of your best chances of seeing Leopard in Kenya, and there are several large prides of Lion.
Exploring beyond the lake is always rewarding and there are forests, cliffs, waterfalls and more to be found here.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Classic World Ventures: Mombasa Kenya

Classic World Ventures: Mombasa Kenya: " Classic World Ventures Mombasa is the second-largest city in Kenya and on..."

Mombasa Kenya

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Mombasa is the second-largest city in Kenya and one of Africa’s major tourist destinations, with some of the best beaches in the world. Located on Kenya’s Eastern coastline bordering the Indian Ocean. It has a major port and an international airport. The city also serves as the center of the coastal tourism industry. The original Arabic name is منبعثة Manbasa;] in Swahili it is called Kisiwa Cha Mvita (or Mvita for short), which means "Island of War", due to the many changes in its ownership. Check out our Coastal tours and beach vacation package
Attraction include; Old Town and Fort Jesus. North of Mombasa Island is Nyali, Kenyatta, Bamburi, and Shanzu beaches. South of the town, there are Shelly, Tiwi, and Diani beaches. Several luxury hotels exist on these beaches, while most of cheaper beach hotels are located farther away from the town.
Bombolulu Workshops
The Bombolulu workshops are located along the north coast of Mombasa. Founded in 1969, Bombolulu Workshops is a Project of the Association for the Physically Disabled in Kenya (APDK). It is a major tourist attraction which consists of a Cultural Centre with 8 traditional homesteads. The Centre also runs a traditional Restaurant and entertains guests with traditional dances throughout the day. The Centre is run by the “Association for the physically disabled” and employs 150-disabled craftsmen/women who produce jewelry, hand printed textiles, wood carvings and leather crafts. The products are sold in a large showroom and exported to 20 countries. Bombolulu Workshops have grown to be one of the biggest rehabilitation centers in Kenya and has built a reputation as one of Kenyans most reliable exporters.
Old Town
“Old Town” is the part of Mombasa Lamu that is reminiscent of the days when the Arabs exerted a heavy influence on the town and its culture, and especially in the architecture and language (Kiswahili has a lot of phrases derived from various Arabic dialects) Lamu is a place like no other, a peaceful tropical island where life is lived at its own relaxed rhythm, but a place whose history is as mysterious and fascinating as the winding streets of its medieval stone town. The island itself is a beautiful place of rolling dunes and endless beaches, where tiny villages nestle among coconut and mango plantations and lateen sailed dhows ply the waters. There are no vehicles on this island, and the donkey and the dhow remain the dominant form of transport. The people of Lamu are great believers in tradition and custom, and this is a strong society built on a respect for the past. For the traveler, Lamu is a hypnotically exotic experience, made even more enjoyable by the relaxed and welcoming attitudes of the locals
Old town is well known for its ancient buildings, extravagant art designs and curio shops that sell antique and popular Kenyan souvenirs. Old Town is best seen when explored by foot with an experienced guide, as the streets are too narrow to accommodate a large number of vehicles. The town’s inhabitants are mostly of Arab origin whose forefathers once roamed the same streets of the town. Fort Jesus is located just a few steps away from where the town “starts”, thus a complete tour of the fort and the “Old Town” can be done in a single day.

Fort Jesus
Fort Jesus is Mombasa’s most popular tourist attraction. The fort, located along the coastline near the Old Town, is a monumental piece of architecture that was built in the 16th century by the Portuguese. The fort has a museum that displays various artifacts from the era where Mombasa served as a transit point for the slave trade and commodities, and which enjoyed regular visits by seafarers and the like. Its interior comprises of torture rooms and prison cells where slaves were kept in captivity before being traded. Weapons such as canons, which were used to defend the fort from invading foreigners as well as rioting locals, can be seen both inside and outside of the fort. The fort opens its gates for viewing in the morning and closes at dusk.
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Gedi Ruins
On the North coast of Mombasa towards the town of Malindi lays one the most historic ruins found in Mombasa, called the Gedi Ruins. Gedi was a small town built entirely from rocks and stones, which was inhabited by a few thousand Swahili people and ruled by a very rich Sultan. These ruins date back from the 15th century, and through careful preservation most of the original foundations can still be seen today. A well-informed and educated guide gives a tour of the ruins. The ruins are designated as a National Museum by law, and their preservation are a direct reflection of the commitment of the Government to uphold the country’s cultural and historical background.

Mombasa Tusks
The Mombasa “Tusks” are symbolic representations of entrance into the heart of the town. The tusks were built to commemorate the visit of Queen Elizabeth to the town in 1952, as they lay directly on the path from the port to the town. Ivory was considered to be an exquisite commodity during the time, and in essence the tusks were meant to embrace the Queen and the British Empire into the town and within its social structure. Coincidentally the tusks also spell the letter “M” for Mombasa.
South of Mombasa.

The coastline south of Mombasa is a tropical paradise of palm fringed white sand beaches, where the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean meet beautiful coral reefs. The protective reefs have created ideal beaches with calm, inviting waters.
Days are filled with sunshine and nights are balmy and warm with gentle sea breezes. The offshore reefs are alive with coral, myriad fish, sea turtles and dolphins.

Both outer and inner reef walls offer world class diving with spectacular coral gardens and drop offs. At Kisite-Mpunguti, a Marine Reserve has been established around beautiful Wasini Island, an ideal day trip for divers and snorkelers.

The beaches are bordered by lush green coastal rain forests with prolific bird life and variety of wildlife including baboons, rare Columbus monkeys and even leopard. The south coast also has many smaller quiet getaways such as Tiwi Beach, ideal for travelers looking for a low key break. Inland, the fertile hinterland of Kwale District consists of small villages inhabited by the Wakamba, Digo and Duruma tribes. Further south, the small fishing village of Shimoni is home to a series of deep mysterious coastal caves that stretch from the sea to deep into the jungles.

Historically, these caves were long used as a refuge for Dhow Sailors, Arab slavers and explorers. Shimoni is also an excellent base for big game fishing in the waters of the Pemba Channel.
Whether you are looking for a base to actively explore this fascinating region, or just somewhere to unwind and find peace, Kenya’s south coast has everything you could wish for.

Malindi and Watamu
The small town of Malindi is at the centre of a strip of idyllic tropical beaches offering the visitor a range of world class resorts and quiet relaxing hideaways. Further south, the sleepy village of Watamu is fronted by wide white beaches. At Watamu a Marine National Park has been established, an ideal day trip for divers and snorkelers alike.
Northwest of Malindi is the spectacular Marafa Depression, locally known as Nyari and popularly known as Hell's Kitchen. An extensive series of sandstone gorges and sheer gullies. The thick jungles of the Arabuko Sokoke Forest reserve hide a world of wonders. In this forest you will find rare endemic birds, mammals, visiting herds of Elephant and the secret lost town of Gedi, a deserted trading Swahili town hidden deep in the forests, whose winding passages and crumbling walls tell of a long and mysterious past. Walk through the Forest, explore the mangroves by boat, dive on the reef or try your hand at big game fishing. At the North coast you have all these choices and more, with the space and freedom to relax, unwind, and soak up the atmosphere.

North of Mombasa
The coastline North of Mombasa is a world of enthralling history and natural beauty. The coast is lined with pristine palm fringed beaches, and the calm inviting waters of the Indian Ocean.
The beaches are broken by the wide mouth of Kilifi Creek, whose azure waters are a popular port of call on the international yachting circuit. The beaches of Nyali, Vipingo, Kikambala and Shanzu are home to a wide range of World Class resorts with fine cuisine and services.
The peaceful beach havens of Mtwapa and Takaungu offer an ideal escape from the outside world, with endless deserted beaches.
The offshore reefs are alive with coral, myriad fish, sea turtles and dolphins. Both outer and inner reef walls offer world class diving with spectacular coral gardens and drop offs, and Kenya's best wreck diving on the MV Dania.
Tana River Delta
On the remote shores of Kenya’s far Northern coast, the mighty waters of the Tana River meet the sea in a massive River Delta. This isolated region is a truly unique location, where the great inland wilderness of the North meets the beauty of the coast.
The Tana delta is a place of spectacular panoramic views, encompassing a scrub land teeming with game and birds and the endless rolling sands of deserted beaches. Here you can experience the best of both worlds, spending the morning exploring a river filled with hippo and crocodile by canoe, and swimming in the blue waters of the Indian Ocean in the afternoon. This is the perfect destination for those looking for a safari with a difference.