Why a stay at Collingham Gardens, Karen is a Must Do

Collingham Gardens is a boutique hotel nestled in the suburban neighbourhood of Karen in the outskirts of Kenya’s capital Nairobi.

The hotel offers exclusivity, serenity and safety – be it for a leisurely afternoon at lunch, or a long stay with the aim of getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

collingham-gardens-residence

Beside the glimpses of the beauty and flashes of opulence highlighted in Kenyan musician’s Prezzo’s latest video “My Gal” featuring Vera Sidika, there is more that Collingham has to offer (although the lush surroundings and opulence make it perfect for just that!)

It is this curiosity that prompted Rachel Muthoni and I to pack our bags and braved the winding Karen roads with 24 hours worth of pampering in mind. After getting lost five or six times, we finally pulled up to the rather unassuming gate – not quite sure what to expect.

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Definitely not structures that looked more like houses than a hotel! Warm, welcoming, it felt like we had stumbled into an exclusive residential gated estate. Check in was quick and easy – we received a welcome drink once we had checked into our room, and invited to explore the grounds.

Lavishly designed, each room had its own personality. The style was similar, but the colours (royal purples and creams, deep greens and blues) made us feel like kids in a candy shop.

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The grounds at Collingham Gardens are immaculately manicured – cranes and bunnies adding to the carefree feel that its owners were clearly striving for. And that’s the essential aspect of it: we never quite felt that we were staying at a hotel – the staff was a small group, and the service felt extremely personal. We were on a first name basis with a couple of them, after just a few hours.

Accommodation rates at Collingham are varied, depending with the room-type. Either way, you will genuinely feel you’ve got your money’s worth. It is a haunt for the elite, but regular families come through on Sundays to eat at their restaurant, or get their fill of the swimming pool.

The first class guest service, pristine gardens, turquoise pool and idyllic scenery make Collingham just the place to visit whenever you wish to get “out of the world” for a while.

Adapted from Della Mbaya

Book your accommodation at Collingham Gardens on SleepOut.com.

Unbelievable two-month offer at Turtle Bay Beach Club

Turtle Bay has announced a special offer that runs throughout the months of July and August 2014.

The offer will see 2 children between 0-9 years get free accommodation while those between 10-15 years will pay Ksh3,800. Adults will pay Ksh7,000 per person sharing per night for an all inclusive accommodation.

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The offer, which runs till August 31st 2014 is inclusive of accommodation and meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks from 12- 6pm, 4pm pan cakes, 11pm midnights snacks) buffet style. It also includes Pizza garden (pizzas, pasta for lunch or dinner time), all drinks (domestic alcoholics or no alcoholic drinks up to 12:30 midnight).

Turtle Bay also has a supervised kids club (4-12 years) that will keep your children occupied as you enjoy your holiday. Spend your time snorkeling in the National Marine Park situated in front of the hotel or other watersport activities.

Book your accommodation at Turtle Bay Beach Club  on SleepOut.com.

[featurephoto/kenyatalii.com]

Kenya’s Ngong Hills voted most romantic site in the world

Ngong Hills in Nairobi, Kenya is the most romantic movie site in the world according to an international travel site Travelzoo.

Ngong Hills from Oloika Cottage

View of Ngong Hills from Oloika Cottage

To make the spot, Ngong Hills saw off competition from Paris, New York, Rome and Ireland among other countries that have in the past taken up the position. It will be remembered that Ngong Hills was featured in the movie Out of Africa that was based on Karen Blixen’s book by the same title. The movie went ahead to win 28 film awards including several Oscar Awards.

View of Ngong Hills from Ol Talet Cottage

View of Ngong Hills from Ol Talet Cottage

SleepOut has several accommodations in and around Ngong Hills including Ol Talet Cottage, Oloika Cottage, Oloolua Resort, Shimei House and PEC Guest House.

Click here to book your accommodation in Ngong Hills on SleepOut.com.

 

About NOMAD from SleepOut.com

Travel just like life should be inspiring, amusing, down-to-earth and diverse. NOMAD brings together original travel pieces by SleepOut.com guests and writers from around the globe written expressly for the NOMAD in you.

Heathrow Airport VIP Lounge, London. [photo/jetairways.com]

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to have special terminal for the super-rich

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) will have a special terminal with lounges for the super-rich if plans by the Kenya Airport Authority (KAA) go through.

In an official communication, KAA has invited interests from private investors who would like to set up and operate the new terminal which is aimed at positioning JKIA as the premier aviation and commercial hub in the region. Interested investor should however have experience in running similar facilities around the world and handling diplomatic protocol to bid for the project.

Qatar Airways' Premier Lounge at Heathrow Airport. [photo/arabianindustry.com]

Qatar Airways’ Premier Lounge at Heathrow Airport. [photo/arabianindustry.com]

Currently Jomo Kenyatta International Airport has a VIP and Presidential Lounges that can only handle a limited capacity and the new development will go a long way in helping the airport expand its capacity to accommodate government dignitaries and affluent visitors most of whom will be jetting in on private jets.

Visitors using the terminal will have access to private lounges to relax or hold meeting and be served with their food of choice as their immigration documents are processed.

Al Dhabi Lounge at AbuDhabi International Airport. [photo/mid-east.info]

Al Dhabi Lounge at AbuDhabi International Airport. [photo/mid-east.info]

The airport is also looking for investors to set up an industrial park, a shopping mall, a hotel and a medical facility at the airport with close to 2.25 hectare set aside for this project. The mall is set to house restaurants, business centre and departmental stores for beauty products, healthcare goods, electronics and laboratory equipment.

So far the construction of Terminal 1 at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is being finalised and will have a capacity of 2.5 million passengers annually once it begins operation by the end of the year. The airport is also developing Terminal 3, dubbed the Greenfield project that will handle up to 20 million passengers annually once complete.

Model of  JKIA's Greenfield terminal. [photo/archidatum.com]

Model of JKIA’s Greenfield terminal. [photo/archidatum.com]

The new terminal project will ape similar investments in Abu Dhabi where visitors are charged at least Sh48,000 for arrival and departure and Sh84,000 for transit at its VIP terminal. London Heathrow Airport, which also has a private terminal, charges at least Sh224,950 for VIP services covering one to six travellers.

Book your accommodation in Nairobi, Kenya on SleepOut.com.

[photo/wikimedia.org]

7 must-visit attraction sites in Zambia

Located in Southern Africa, bordering Tanzania to the north-east, Democratic Republic of Congo to the north, Malawi to the east and Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Botswana to the south, Zambia stands as one of the most attractive countries in as far as attraction sites are concerned.

From the renown Victoria Falls to Zambezi River, the Devil’s Pool on Livingstone Island, a host of Museum and national parks, there is barely enough time to sample all that Zambia has to offer. Highlighted below are just some of the must-visit attraction sites in Zambia, according to SleepOut.com.

 

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls, also known as Mosi-oa-Tunya which translating to The Smoke That Thunders is located on the Zambezi River at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.

[photo/trekearth.com]

[photo/trekearth.com]

Though it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls is described as the largest based on its width of 1,708 metres and height of 108 metres. The entire volume of the Zambezi River pours through the First Gorge which is 110 meter-wide exit for a distance of about 150 meters before entering a zigzagging series of gorges.

 

Zambezi River

The Zambezi is the forth longest river in Africa and the largest river flowing into the Indian Ocean from Africa.

The river, which has a basin of 1,390,000 square kilometres, rises from Zambia and flows through eastern Angola along the eastern border of Namibia and the northern border of Botswana along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe to Mozambique and into the Ocean. The most notable feature on Zambezi is Victoria Falls though it also has Chavuma Falls at the border between Zambia and Angola and Ngonye Falls near Sioma in Western Zambia.

 

 Livingstone Island

[photo/kimmxjayne.wordpress.com]

[photo/kimmxjayne.wordpress.com]

Livingstone Island stands at the top of Victoria Falls, and stands a historical spot as it is where David Livingstone first saw The Falls. To get to the island, you will take a short boat ride from the Royal Livingstone to the island where you will walk across the top of The Falls and even swim in a natural rock pool right on the edge also known as the devil’s pool.

 

South Luangwa National Park

Located in eastern Zambia, South Luangwa National Park has been described as on one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world.

[photo/audleytravel.com]

[photo/audleytravel.com]

The park, founded in 1938 as a game reserve before becoming a national park in 1972, covers 9,050km² and is home to the largest population of Thornicroft’s Giraffe and herds of elephants and buffalo with several crocodiles and hippo inhabiting the Luangwa River.

 

Kafue National Park

This is the largest park in Zambia and the second largest in Africa covering an area of about 22,400km². The park, established in 1924 after the British colonial government moved the traditional owners of the area, has gained massive prominence over the years and is now home to over 55 different animal species.

 

Kawaka National Park

Every October, the world’s largest migration of giant fruit bats takes place at Kasanka National Park in Northern Province of Zambia. Be part of the excitement as approximately 8 million bats swarm harmlessly above you in a beautifully orchestrated dance.

[photo/Will Burrard-Lucas/Barcroft]

[photo/Will Burrard-Lucas/Barcroft]

 

Copperbelt Museum

Copperbelt Museum was established in 1962 by a steering committee of civic and mine leaders with the goal of establishing and a gallery of natural history with emphasis on ecology, geology, mining and local history.

[photo/tripadvisor.co.uk]

[photo/tripadvisor.co.uk]

The Copperbelt Museum showcases the best of local industry with billboards located downstairs to display Zambia’s ministry history, gemstones and the processing of coppers. Upstairs there are artifacts used in witchcraft, personal ornaments, smoking and snuffing paraphernalia and musical instruments such as talking drums.

 

You can now book your accommodation in Zambia on SleepOut.com.

[featurephoto/therestlessraconteur.blogspot.com/]

11 SleepOuts in Zanzibar that will cost you less than $99 a night

The Zanzibar archipelago is well known for its turquoise ocean waters and white sandy beaches. The culture, fun and sun that define this East African topical paradise make it hard to compare with anywhere else in the world. I mean with pristine beaches, cultural activities and world-class watersports to keep you occupied during your holiday, Zanzibar is a truly one of a kind destination.

Unknown to many however is that not all accommodation in Zanzibar has to cost you an arm and a leg. Find below 11 SleepOut.com accommodation that will cost you less than $99 a night.

Prices below are valid as of July 2014 and are subject to change.

 

La Madrugada Beach Hotel, Jambiani – $95

La Madrugada Beach Hotel is located in a picturesque setting at the South-end coast of Zanzibar in Makunduchi, an amazing coral village marked by pristine sandy beaches.

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The 37-room beach hotel has 2 swimming pools in the centre facing the Indian Ocean opening up to an amazing view of the surroundings. Enjoy free wireless internet connection as you sip a cold drink at the pool bar, take a walk into bustling Stone Town or engage in nature walks in the Jozania Forest National Park.

Book your accommodation at La Madrugada Beach Hotel from $95 per night for two people. Click here to book now.

 

Hiliki House, Stone Town – $80

Hiliki house is a one-storey historic Swahili house with six bedrooms, a living room and a small bar. The house’s outlook matches its location within the coastal Island of Zanzibar as it employs native Swahili designs in its architectural setting. Hiliki House is furnished with rustic coastal carvings, locally made furniture and picturesque wall hangings that speak of Zanzibar’s Swahili culture.

living-room

The house is located a few metres from Statehouse Peace Memorial Museum and the Palace Museum and the history-rich Stone Town.

Spend your weekend with a loved one or a friend at Hiliki House from $80 per night. Click here to book now.

 

Warere Town House, Stone Town – $75

Warere House is one of the oldest hotels in Stone Town. The house was recently renovated to add glamour to its already appealing look while still retaining its historical significance.

The inside has an appealing decor with several antiques splashed here and there to compliment the general feel. You can relax on the balcony and enjoy the ocean breeze in the evening as you watch the water adapt an orange hue from the setting sun.

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Accommodation at Warere Town House starts from $75 for two people, with the option of expanding to 3. Click here to book now.

 

Zenji Hotel, Stone Town – $85

Zenji Hotel is located within walking distance to the Zanzibar harbour. The hotel, owned by a Dutch couple, integrates the best of both worlds, blending Zanzibari cultural design with a western touch.

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The rooms have rustic beds to keep touch with ancient Swahili works with a calm ambience to ensure maximum comfort.

You can book a room for two at Zenji Hotel from $85 per night. Click here to book now.

 

Mazsons Hotel , Stone Town – $90

Mazsons Hotel promises excellent and pocket-friendly accommodation in Zanzibar. The hotel has standard double rooms with air conditioning, Satellite TV, mini fridge and telephone while the bathrooms are fitted with hair dryers.

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The hotel has a well-manicured garden as it offers the visitor the feel of a quiet suburban atmosphere within the town. The hotel has room service, laundry service and babysitting service among others alongside airport shuttles and tour guides. For guests on self drive there is safe parking around the hotel.

You can book a room for two people at Mazsons Hotel from $90 per night. Click here to book now.

 

Villa de Coco, Jambiani – $90

Located on Jambiani beach in Zanzibar, Villa de Coco stands as an epitome of beauty with a well maintained tropical garden and a clear view of the Indian Ocean.

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During your holiday at Villa de Coco, take time to engage in several activities including snorkeling, game fishing and excursions in Stone Town. You can also visit Jozani Chwaka National Park which is 22-minute drive from the hotel.

You can book your accommodation for two at Villa de Coco from $90 per night. Click here to book now.

 

Utupoa, Matemwe – $75

Utupoa, Swahili translation for “humanity is cool” lies opposite Mnemba on the dazzling Matemwe beach.

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The hotel has 3 en suite bedrooms that can accommodate a variety of guests. In all its glory, Utupoa provides just the perfect atmosphere for guests to let go and feel recharged. The hotel rooms have well positioned balconies providing a clear view of the Indian Ocean.

Book your accommodation for two at Utupoa from $75 per night and enjoy your holiday in its entirety. Click here to book now.

 

Al Minar Hotel, Stone Town – $90

Nestled in Zanzibar’s iconic Stone Town, within walking distance to the Old Fort and Forodhani Gardens, Al Minar Hotel is built in local swahili design to create an ideal environment for unwinding and exploring Stone Town.

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The hotel is appealing to holidaymakers on business or leisure as it is fitted with all the necessary facilities perfect for time away from the office, including internet connection and Satellite TV to keep you connected to the outside world.

You can book a stay for two at Al Minar from $90 per night. Click here to book now.

 

Tanzanite Beach Resort, Nungwi Beach – $75

Tanzanite Beach Resort is situated in the northern coast of Zanzibar along the Indian Ocean. The resort, named after the most precious stone of Tanzania, enjoys an oasis-like environment with clear views of the clear blue ocean waters and the pristine beach.

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Some of the activities available here include deep sea fishing, snorkeling, sailing and diving.

Accommodation at Tanzanite Beach Resort costs $75 per night for two guests. Click here to book now.

 

Safari Lodge Hotel, Stone Town – $83

The Safari Lodge is located a few metres from Zanzibar harbour and 5 minutes from the town.

Set up in an old traditional Zanzibar exterior, the lodge offers a range of accommodation from luxurious rooms to supreme rooms with traditional handcrafted furniture that portrays 18th Century Zanzibar craftsmanship.

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Spend your time at the beach or visit renowned historical sites in Zanzibar.

For $83 per night you will get a room for two people, that can accommodate up to 4. Click here to book now.

 

Promised Land Lodge, Kizimkazi – $75

Promised Land Lodge is a simple but exotic lodge located in the Zanzibar archipelago along the Indian Ocean.

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From its setup, it is evident that the lodge has embraced a true coastal approach in its design with makuti-thatched rooms surrounded by palm trees and well-manicured gardens.

The lodge stands on a 2-hectare tropical garden by the Indian Ocean making it an ideal place for bonding sessions with friends or family. Some of the fun activities available at Promised Land Lodge include playing volleyball, swimming with dolphins, boat riding, snorkeling, or just chilling on a hammock and enjoying the afternoon sun.

Book a room for 3 people at Promised Land Lodge from $75 per night. Click here to book now.

Find more accommodation in Zanzibar on SleepOut.com or have a look at this wish list of top budget places to stay in Zanzibar.

 

About NOMAD from SleepOut.com

Travel just like life should be inspiring, amusing, down-to-earth and diverse. NOMAD brings together original travel pieces by SleepOut.com guests and writers from around the globe written expressly for the NOMAD in you.

United States donates security kits to Kenya Airports Authority

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has donated equipment worth Ksh60 million to improve security in airports across Kenya.

jkia

The 20 Desktop Explosives Trace Detection units (ETDs) were handed over to the Kenya Airports Authority on Tuesday by Mr Isiah Parnell, the Chargé d’affaires of the US Embassy in Nairobi.

According to a statement from the embassy, the equipments, donated by Transport Security Administration (TSA), can test for traces of common conventional explosives that may be hidden on people and in luggage and carry-on bags.

The security administration, charged with providing security for passengers and freight transportation has also trained 57 Kenya Airports Authority employees from seven airports in Kenya on how to use the explosive-detection equipments.

The donation is set to help boost security in Kenyan airports as the country seeks to revitalize the tourism sector that has been recently affected by travel advisories from some western nations.

Book your accommodation in Kenya on SleepOut.com.

 

About NOMAD from SleepOut.com

Travel just like life should be inspiring, amusing, down-to-earth and diverse. NOMAD brings together original travel pieces by SleepOut.com guests and writers from around the globe written expressly for the NOMAD in you.

[fearurephoto/planespotters.net]

Kenya Airways introduces mobile check-in service

National carrier Kenya Airways has launched mobile check-in service in a bid to improve efficiency and reduce cost of service delivery.

According to Kenya Airways Managing Director Titus Naikuni, the mobile check-in service, which is only accessible on internet-enabled phones, will be available for all domestic flight from 30 hours to 90 minutes before departure.

Naikuni

The new mobile feature from the KQ mobile website will enable travellers to receive their boarding pass as an SMS to allow for mobile boarding. The mobile boarding pass can then be presented at the departure gate to board the flight hence ensuring a faster and more convenient way to check in and board.

In addition to mobile boarding, travellers using mobile check-in will access other services including customer selection, flight selection, seat selection, frequent flyer update, customer notifications and cancellation of check-in.

“The mobile Check-In service is part of our technology integration process that is geared at raising efficiency and reducing costs of service delivery. It allows customers to conveniently check in for their flights even before they get to the airport,” stated Naikuni.

The service is available for customers with an e-ticket and can only be used by passengers travelling without infants. Booking through the service is only possible for up to nine people.

You can now book your accommodation anywhere in Kenya on SleepOut.com.

[featuredphoto/newsday.co.zw]

Zimbabwe wins two international tourism awards

Zimbabwe has been announced winners of two international tourism awards by European Council on Tourism and Trade.

According to Tourism and Hospitality industry minister Walter Mzembi, the country has been awarded the world’s best tourism destination and favourite cultural destinations for 2014 adding that the country was selected for successfully organising the 20th session of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly last year.

[photo/newsday.co.zw]

[photo/newsday.co.zw]

“These awards are an endorsement of Zimbabwe’s tourism industry and the country would work hard to retain the accolades,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s outstanding historical and cultural heritage in the form of Great Zimbabwe Monument in Masvingo and its community-based tourism are some of the reasons for the merit.

Mzembi also stated that the country targets to increase tourist arrivals from Europe from the current 13 per cent to between 27 to 31 per cent.

Aerial view of Victoria Falls

Aerial view of Victoria Falls

Other countries that have previously won these accolades include Turkey in 2008, United Arab Emirates in 2009 and 2011, South Korea in 2010, Trinidad and Tobago in 2012 and Laos in 2013.

You can now book your accommodation in Zimbabwe on SleepOut.com.

Photo

Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie forms taskforce to revive Kenya’s tourism sector

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie has formed a taskforce to advise the government on how to reposition Kenya as a key tourist destination.

Phyllis Kandie. [photo/businessdailyafrica.com]

Phyllis Kandie. [photo/businessdailyafrica.com]

Among the duties that the committee is to undertake include mapping out the challenges affecting Kenya’s tourism sector and devising an immediate strategic plan to overcome those challenges. The team is also expected to come up with a strategy to position Kenya as a preferred sport, commercial, beach, educational, health and business conferencing destination.

Other duties include re-positioning tourism as a major contributor to the Gross Domestic Product and coming up with an action plan to mitigate future challenges.

lion

The committee will be chaired by Lucy Karume who will be deputised by Ibrahim Mohamed, Principal Secretary in the Department of Commerce and Tourism. Other members include Equity Bank Chief operating officer Julius Kipng’etich and Nairobi-based lawyers Donald Kopkorir and Cecil Miller.

The moves comes as the government seeks to revitalise the country’s tourism sector which has faced challenges in the past including cases of insecurity and travel advisories by a few western governments.

The team is expected to carry out consultant meetings with various stakeholders in the tourism sector and submit its report in three months.

Book your accommodation anywhere in Kenya on SleepOut.com.

About NOMAD from SleepOut.com

Travel just like life should be inspiring, amusing, down-to-earth and diverse. NOMAD brings together original travel pieces by SleepOut.com guests and writers from around the globe written expressly for the NOMAD in you.

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