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January 2, 2016

Safari Trails Newsletter December 2015


Rich in history and culture and blessed with exquisite natural beauty, the Lamu archipelago, located on the Indian Ocean along the northern coast of Kenya is a magical place of long white sandy beaches, rolling sand dunes dotted with palms and acacia tortillis trees; turquoise seas, bounteous marine life and tranquil back waters; lush mangrove forests, river estuaries, deep forests and yellow grassy plains which hold some of Africa’s last truly wild game and bird life. The islands are dotted with fishing villages and ancient towns, including Lamu Old Town, the oldest continuously inhabited Swahili settlement on the East African coast and a UNESCO world heritage site. Visitors can step back in time – warmly welcomed by smiling faces into a culture that flows in peaceful harmony with the ocean and the seasonal monsoon winds. Lamu is renowned for its many festivals – The Lamu Cultural Festival is a celebration of both the past and the future, and the beliefs and traditions that are the heart and soul of the Lamu community. Most visitors to the island fall in love with this relaxed and peaceful lifestyle, and visiting during the Lamu Cultural Festival is a chance to experience Lamu life at its most exuberant and joyous. Each year, Lamu comes to life during the annual Lamu Cultural Festival. Several competitions and races are staged during this week long festival. These events are designed to encourage local skills or practices that are central to Lamu life. This year, the 15th Lamu Cultural Festival was held from November 26th to 29th.
More than 20,000 attended the festival to see or participate in the numerous activities on offer including donkey and dhow races, swimming competition, henna painting, traditional dances and playing bao board game. Bao is probably the oldest known game in human history, with archaeological evidence suggesting that the game has been played throughout Africa and the Middle East for thousands of years.
DID YOU KNOW? Lamu has the highest concentration of Buffalo in East Africa!


Victoria Falls presents a spectacular sight of awe-inspiring beauty and grandeur on the Zambezi River, forming the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It was described by the Kololo tribe living in the area in the 1800’s as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ – ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. In more modern terms. Victoria Falls is known as the greatest curtain of falling water in the world and is also one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
Safari Trails recently concluded a very successful Familiarization trip to Victoria Falls with agents from South East Asia.

Elewana is about to open a new luxury camp in the Loisaba Conservancy on the site of the old Loisaba Lodge. Scheduled to open in March of next year, the new Loisaba Tented Camp will include
4 stylish and extremely spacious double rooms, 1 deluxe tented suite and 2 family tents, each made up of 2 double en-suite tents with shared verandas. An exclusive family residence will offer 3 en-suite rooms, a shared private lounge, dining tent and private pool.
In addition to a bar and restaurant, the camp will have an infinity swimming pool with spectacular views across the Laikipia Plains to Mount Kenya.
The recently refurbished Loisaba Star Beds have also joined the Elewana Collection. The upgraded Star Beds – with their incredible views of the night sky above Kenya – now consist of four accommodation platforms including one family Sky Bed. Among the upgrades introduced last June are running water, around-the-clock electricity and a new dining area with a magnificent stargazing platform.

The new 56,000 acre Loisaba Conservancy, owned by the Loisaba Community Trust is a sanctuary for over 700 resident and non-resident elephants. It provides a critical corridor for the elephants to migrate from Laikipia during the dry season to Samburu in the wet season thereby helping to maintain one of the longest elephant migrations recorded in Africa.


The return of Najib Balala to the Tourism ministry has been widely celebrated by industry players following last month’s Cabinet reshuffle. Balala was arguably the most successful tourism minister Kenya ever had, serving between 2008 to 2012, and under his leadership, the industry reached new record revenue and arrival levels. Kenya Coast Tourism Association chairman Mohamed Hersi said Balala’s return to the ministry looks certain to boost the sector’s fortunes, especially now when it is going through tough times. Kenya’s visitor numbers dropped by 25 per cent in the first five months of the year with those from Britain-the country’s biggest tourism market-having fallen by an even steeper 35 per cent coupled with other factors such as travel advisories and terrorism scares. “We thank the President for listening to our pleas to give us a stand-alone ministry, handing it over to Balala-a man who we wanted and one who understands the industry and doesn’t need introduction to any one on matters to do with tourism. It also means that our recovery is going to be made much easier,” said Hersi, adding that Balala’s experience makes him an ideal nominee to steer the sector’s recovery.

Radisson Blu has announced its latest opening in Nairobi – a sophisticated retreat in Upper Hill, the upcoming business district within the commercial capital of East Africa.
“The hotel is a modern salute to Radisson Blu’s design heritage and innovative spirit, and Kenya’s vibrant culture. Our global travellers can continue to expect the very best of Radisson Blu stylish, sophisticated and iconic experience in Kenya’s capital city,” said Marc Descrozaille, Area Vice President Sub-Saharan Africa for The Rezidor Hotel Group.
Guests staying at the hotel have a choice of three contemporary room designs from the sleek Urban Room style to the New York Mansion or the Naturally Cool themes with views out over the Nairobi city skyline or the Nairobi National Park. Its 271 guest rooms include 13 suites and a Presidential Suite with access to the Business Class Lounge.
As a premier business hotel, the Radisson Blu Hotel, Nairobi Upper Hill offers one of the best-equipped and largest conference facilities in Kenya. Easy access to the airport and an Upper Hill address make the location especially ideal for corporate gatherings of all sizes.

Spirit of the Masai Mara opened in January 2015 and is situated in a secluded valley in the 35000 hectare Siana Conservancy area bordering the Masai Mara National Reserve.
What sets Spirit of the Masai Mara apart from other properties in the area is its construction. In a sea of traditional luxury tented camps, Spirit of the Masai Mara fills a void by being one of the few solid structure luxury lodges, being constructed in a way that is considerate to the environment but built on a permanent basiS
The 10 luxury air-conditioned suites comprise of double/twin bedroom, large separate lounge, bathroom with tub and walk in shower. Every suite has floor to ceiling glass windows, offering a stunning view into the valley and the Masai Mara National Reserve.
Never miss a wildlife sighting! Their private waterhole and saltlick allows guests to view the stunning variety of African wildlife from the comfort of their air conditioned suites.
Recent wildlife sightings in front of the lodge include large herds of elephants, zebras, lions, buffalo, giraffe and porcupine – which can even be seen through their night vision cameras, directly transmitting the captured images to a screen in the bar and lounge area!
The main central dining and bar area overlooks the waterhole and is complemented by an elevated viewing deck which also houses a celestial telescope for star gazing. The lodge has a heated infinity pool for those chilly days built around the main sun terrace, easily accessed from the main lodge complex and suites.
Apart from game drives within the Conservancy or the Masai Mara National Reserve, other activities one can indulge in are walking safaris, bird viewing and hot air ballooning.
The lodge is easily accessible from Nairobi by daily flights to Masai Mara with Air Kenya or Safari Link.
Here are some festive facts to get you in the mood for Christmas…
US scientists calculated that Santa would have to visit 822 homes a second to deliver all the world’s presents on Christmas Eve, travelling at 650 miles a second.
Hanging stockings out comes from the Dutch custom of leaving shoes packed with food for St Nicholas’s donkeys. He would leave small gifts in return.

James Pierpont’s 1857 song Jingle Bells was first called One Horse Open Sleigh and was written for Thanksgiving.

Santa has different names around the world – Kriss Kringle in Germany, Le Befana in Italy, Pere Noel in France and Deushka Moroz (Grandfather Frost) in Russia.
Some people believe that Boxing Day gets its name from all the money collected in church alms-boxes for the poor.

Category: Blog

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