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Apr 25, 2015

Safari Trails Newsletter April 2015

AN OASIS IN THE WILDERNESS – SARARA CAMP
In the northern frontier of Kenya lies the Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy, an area of 850,000 acres of pristine wilderness in the Mathews Range. The Savannah plains and lush mountain slopes are home to elephant, leopard, reticulated giraffe, wild dog and kudu in ever increasing numbers.

On the edge of an escarpment in the heart of the conservancy sits the beautiful Sarara Camp. Sarara has six luxury tents, each positioned to maximize the stunning views of the Mathews Range of mountains and the animal watering hole.
Preserving the romance of the tented camp, these tents are spacious with high ceilings, plenty of cupboard space, electric lighting and 24 hour hot and cold running water. There is an outdoor bathroom offering a superb view of the hills from the shower in addition to an indoor toilet and sink at the back of the tent for midnight visits. Each tent has its own private terrace with table and chairs and morning coffee and tea are brought to you so that you can wake up gazing out over the mountains.
The newest addition to Sarara is the Star Camp, which is only accessible by foot and is a two and a half hour journey through the forest from camp. The Star Camp is accessible by foot and by bush pony. Camels carry all the equipment, led by their Samburu keepers so guests can enjoy the unique flora and fauna, including the rare Colobus and De Brazza monkeys, wild dogs and prehistoric Cycad palms. On arrival at the Star Camp guests are greeted by stunning views over North Kenya which can be enjoyed from a natural rock pool, fed by a clear mountain spring. After dinner around the camp fire, guests spend the night under the stars from the comfort of their own mosquito net tents. Amenities include hot bucket showers and long drop loos.The complete exclusivity of the Star Camp means that guests can fully immerse themselves in the absolute peace and serenity of this remarkable wilderness.

Sarara has established itself as one of the ‘hot spots’ for quality leopard viewing in Africa and equally, for close-up sightings of the normally extremely shy lesser kudu antelope. Elephant, buffalo, giraffe, gerenuk, impala, African wild dogs and warthogs are now regularly seen on our game drives and bush walks and are very much on the increase in numbers. Unusual sightings include caracal, aardvark, honey badger, striped hyena, aardwolf, civet cat, African wild cat, greater kudu, grevy zebra and cheetah.
Days at Sarara can be as busy or as relaxing as you wish and there are numerous ways to enjoy this vast wilderness and the wildlife and people who inhabit it. Day and night game drives, mountain walks, fly camping, camel rides and exhilarating slides into natural rock pools are all done in the company of expert guides who each bring their own individual character to enrich your experience. The community is also a vibrant part of Sarara and visits to villages, schools and markets allow an insight into local life. Guests can also be invited to see the very private and unique ‘singing wells’, an ancient Samburu tradition. Further afield helicopter rides into the Mathews and beyond to Lake Turkana can be arranged, and closer to home there is the option of a massage in the privacy of your own tent.
JAMBO JET NOW FLIES TO DIANI, LAMU & MALINDI

Low cost carrier Jambojet launched flights to Lamu, Malindi and Diani from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on 28th March 2015. The airline took delivery of their first Bombardier Q400NextGen aircraft, when it arrived at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on 26th March 2015 to serve these new destinations in time for the Easter long weekend rush, especially for domestic passengers. Jambojet fares from Nairobi to Lamu start at Sh5,950 ($65), Nairobi to Malindi Sh4,950 ($55), Nairobi to Ukunda Sh4,950 ($55) one way including taxes. The airline also operates short flights connecting Lamu and Malindi at Sh2,950 ($33). Jambojet, a subsidiary of Kenya Airways, sells tickets from as low as Sh2,950 one way and also flies to Mombasa, Nairobi, Eldoret and Kisumu. Since its launch in April 1 last year, the airline which has flown about 500,000 customers, relies heavily on online ticket sales through its portal Jambojet.com.

PARTIAL RUNWAY CLOSURE OF JOMO KENYATTA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
The runway at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport will be partially closed from the 02nd of April 2015 for a period of one year. The closure will run from 12AM midnight to 6AM in the morning. The closure is to pave way for a major rehabilitation project which includes – resurfacing of the full runway, enhancing luminance and installation of runway center line lights, upgrade of runway capacity by construction of rapid exit taxiways. Airlines are advised to inform their passengers to travel to the airport four hours in advance, in view of the scheduled changes.

THE MAJLIS, LAMU – LUXURY PERSONIFIED!

Idyllic, luxurious, stylish, unique… The Majlis resort is a privately owned luxury beach hotel on Manda Island in the Lamu archipelago off Kenya’s Northern Coast. With a superb beachfront location and breathtaking views over the Ras Kitau bay and Shela village, it offers the perfect setting and the ideal location for barefoot luxury, informal pampering and excellent cuisine. The boutique hotel offers 25 exquisite deluxe rooms and suites divided into 3 beachfront villas. The rooms, all presented in timelessly elegant Lamu style, are very spacious and offer spectacular views of the beach, garden, swimming pools and the endless Indian Ocean. Air conditioning, highest-quality linen bedding, a roll-down netting, a generous en-suite bathroom, a private veranda, electric fans and a safe complete the luxurious accommodation. The Majlis restaurant will not fail to impress. Set on an open plan veranda with a panoramic view of the bay, it offers the finest cuisine. Additional state-of-the-art facilities include two bars, two swimming pools and an activity centre, which co-ordinates a wide variety of activities. The Majlis is a child-friendly hotel with children’s areas supervised by dedicated nannies, family-friendly room layouts and delicious kid-friendly meals. Children can also safely swim in the sea or in the pools with pool attendants on duty all day long.

CALLING ALL THRILL SEEKERS! INTRODUCING KITE SURFING AT THE MAJLIS, LAMU

Kite surfing is a wind powered surface water sport using a kite and a board to move across the water. Kite surfing harnesses the power of the wind through a large parachute type kite to propel a rider across the water on a small surfboard or a kite board (similar to a wakeboard).
Windsurfing & kite-surfing is possible on the seafront of the Majlis hotel in the Ras Kitau bay of Lamu. Their captains are available to set-up the equipment and will be on duty to help guests. They also offer windsurfing and kite-surfing lessons with a professional instructor.

PRESIDENT OBAMA TO VISIT KENYA!

President Barack Obama is making his first trip to his father’s native Kenya as president in July this year, the White House announced last month. Obama will travel to Kenya in July for bilateral meetings and the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit, an annual conference that connects entrepreneurs with business leaders, international organizations, and governments.
“His trip will build on the success of the August 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit and continue our efforts to work with countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya, to accelerate economic growth, strengthen democratic institutions, and improve security,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement. This will be the President’s fourth trip to Sub-Saharan Africa. His last trip was in December 2013 for the funeral of Nelson Mandela. He also traveled to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania during summer 2013 for a series of events on the United States’ commitment to African economic growth, democratic institutions and young leadership development. Obama famously traced his family’s roots in his 1995 memoir, “Dreams From My Father.” His father, Barack Obama, Sr., was born and raised in Kenya. He lived in the United States in the 1950s and 60s, and ultimately returned to his home country, where he died in a car accident in 1982.

LUPITA NYONG’O IN UGANDA SHOOTING FOR ‘QUEEN OF KATWE’

The Oscar winning star of ’12 Years a Slave’, Lupita Nyong’o, is presently in Uganda for the shoot of the Mira Nair directed film ‘Queen of Katwe’. She is set to play the lead role in the movie as African chess prodigee Phiona Mutesi’s mother. The film portrays the career of Phiona Mutesi, who grew up in the sprawling Katwe slums. Phiona’s story also inspired a book, also titled Queen of Katwe, which chronicles Mutesi’s rise from dire poverty to the World Chess Olympiad.

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