We’re hopping over the Indian Ocean today, and are so happy to welcome Tracey from Overland Travel Adventures (OTA) to the Polka Dot Travel Lounge. Based in Kenya, Tracey and her partner Francis started their own business running tours in East Africa including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda, offering trips where you can experience the local culture, stay in villages, and engage with community development organisations as well as view the amazing wildlife and spectacular natural scenery in this amazing region.
Tracey shares her hot tips and favourite locations with us today!
What is your favourite region?
Mount Kenya and the Laikipia Plateau are Kenya’s untapped wilderness. The scenery is beautiful as Mt Kenya juts dramatically into the clouds. In five days one can hike to the peak and back, but it’s just as good to view it from below. The Laikipia Plateau is covered in private conservancies providing huge swathes of land for wildlife to roam safely. These conservancies are not as well-known as Kenya’s main national parks, so you can enjoy the isolation, and the animals are much more comfortable by not having large numbers of vehicles chasing them. Accommodation in this region is also special, with plenty of private ranch houses and unique eco-lodges. The access can be challenging, with most guests flying into many of the conservancies. Because of this, you do not have to battle the crowds to have a really fantastic experience.
Top Resort Recommendation?
Diani Beach, south of Mombasa, has many resorts all along the crisp white beach. Water sports such as diving, snorkelling and kite surfing are available at most of the resorts and they all have swimming pools to lounge by with a cheeky cocktail. Galu Beach Resort offers private villas where you can hire your own cook to prepare meals during your stay.
Suggestions for great honeymoon activities?
Whether on honeymoon or not, coming to Kenya and not experiencing one of the country’s 65 national parks/reserves would be a tragedy, not to mention very difficult! The Maasai Mara is Kenya’s premier wildlife destination with the highest density of big cats in the world. There are many exclusive camps and lodges inside the park to make a perfect safari honeymoon.
But don’t neglect some of the lesser known parks as well. Samburu National Reserve in northern Kenya has a much different environment to the southern parks as well as some different species of animals only found there. Ol Pejeta Conservancy, in the Laikipia region, has a chimpanzee sanctuary, the only one in Kenya.
Lake Baringo is a paradise for bird-watchers and an early morning cruise is a beautifully serene start to the day. In the middle of the lake is an island on which there is a comfortable, little-visited lodge. This is definitely an “off the beaten track” experience.
Sunset cruises on the coast are the epitome of honeymoon experiences and Kenya does not disappoint in this regard. Traditional wooden sailing boats known as dhows ply the length of the Kenyan coast, used for both fishing and tourism. A glass of wine on a sailboat watching the sun set is the perfect way to end the day. Tamarind Restaurant in Mombasa is located on a boat as well if you want the full dining experience at sea.
The ideal location for a proposal?
The magic of Kenya is that anything can be orchestrated anywhere with surprisingly little notice. And the choices are endless:
- By the Mara River, site of the famous Wildebeest Migration
- The viewing platform in Kakamega Forest, Kenya’s last remaining patch of equatorial rainforest
- One of the islands off Kenya’s coast
- Maji Moto Eco-Camp, amongst the traditional life of a Maasai village
Best kept secret honeymoon location?
Shela Beach on Lamu Island is one of Kenya’s best-kept secrets and there is a lovely secluded resort perfect for a private beach honeymoon. Lamu lies a few hundred kilometres north of Mombasa, but it’s best to fly as the road is rather rough. Setting foot on the island is a step back in time. Traditional Swahili life continues as it has for hundreds of years. Initially established as a trading port for Portuguese and Arabs in past centuries, the architecture is a marvel and with no cars allowed on the island, walking in the town is a dream. While women sell fruits and other produce in the central square, men mend their fishing boats and nets by the shore. Shela is only a few kilometres north of the town, making it an easy walk to experience the Swahili culture of Lamu, but still having a secluded haven to relax and enjoy your honeymoon.
Alternatively, on the other side of the country is Lake Victoria with Mfangano Island. Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and crosses three countries: Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Mfangano Island is accessed via Kisumu, the capital of western Kenya. Given the popularity of the ocean coast and the game parks, Lake Victoria is often skipped over on most tourists’ itineraries, making the islands a perfect secret getaway
We have loved travelling the plains of Africa with Tracey today, and if you want more information on Overland Travel Adventures, or the ideal places to visit on your honeymoon, head to their website!