Takwa ruins named tourist attraction site

Takwa ruins located on Manda Island in Lamu Archipelago has been elevated to a tourist attraction site status.

The Swahili settlement which was popular in the sixteen and seventeen centuries before it was abandoned stands as one of the premier attractions in Lamu with cultural and natural heritage.

Takwa Ruins

Takwa Ruins

According to National Museum of Kenya, Takwa is of great significance to the Lamu culture because of its rich historical links to the community as well as the well-preserved remains.

The inauguration took place on January 18 2015 during the climax of the Maulid festivals that was held last week and was attended by Lamu County Governor Issa Timammy.

Following the announcement, the site has been marked with signage and interpretation panel to make it easier for visitors to navigate.

The Principal Curator Lamu museums and World Heritage Site Mr Galgalo Rashid said the project was funded by The Thune Foundation in collaboration with National Museum.


On your next trip to Lamu, book your stay on SleepOut.com

The Stone Carriers by Sophie Walbeoffe

The Still Clock of Lamu to be held in Nairobi from January 25th

The Still Clock of Lamu will be held from Sunday January 25th 2015 to February 25th 2015 at the  One Off Gallery on #16 Rosslyn Lone Tree near Village Market in Nairobi.

Hope of teh Great Island by Peter Elungat

Hope of the Great Island by Peter Elungat

The event, set to run from 11am to 5pm was conceptualised during the  ‘Lamu in curfew residency’, a branchild of Herbert Menzer who approached One Off last year to recommend five artists to stay in Lamu for two meals a day and all logistics taken care of for almost a month in November 2014 as they venture wholly into art.

The Stone Carriers by Sophie Walbeoffe

The Stone Carriers by Sophie Walbeoffe

The Still Clock of Lamu showcases some of the works of the residency including two of German artists Joachim Sauter remarkable wooden ‘Stone Carrier’ sculptures, Sophie Walbeoffe’s watercolour works on paper along with an installation of miniature oil paitings as wll as Timothy Brooke’s sketches that he produced during that time. Other artists set to showcase their work include Peter Ngugi and Peter Elungat.


The month of November is significant in this case as it is the month that the Kenyan government imposed a curfew in the town of Lamu following cases of insecurity in the town. The curfew was lifted in January to allow for the Maulid Festival 2015.

Lamu main streets by Sophie Walbeoffe

Lamu main streets by Sophie Walbeoffe

Visit oneoffafrica.com for more information.


Book your stay in Lamu on SleepOut.com.

We Are Africa 2015 to be held in Cape Town, South Africa

The 2015 edition of We Are Africa will be held from May 4th to 7th in Cape Town, South Africa.

The travel trade exhibition organised by Beyond Luxury Media Ltd brings together African and Indian Ocean travel brands providing a platform for them to showcase their products and services to some of the world’s finest travel trade buyers directly in charge of sourcing products from Africa.


The 2014 edition saw the birth of a new movement and the formation of a travel Tribe dedicated to shaping the future of high-end travel to Africa.

The event will include one day of conference and workshops, 3 full days of appointments, 51 appointments of 20 minutes per company (21% more than 2014), two evening parties and one award ceremony for all delegates.

It will also encompass 3 networking lunches on site at Cape Town Stadium, 270 hosted buyers from 45 countries, 250 luxury exhibitors, 25 international travel trade Press and one grand Pan-African pre-tour programme. Visit weareafricatravel.com for details.

Book your accommodation in Cape Town ahead of the event on SleepOut.com.

Cecil Rhodes Grave in Matopo

Zimbabwe Named in Top 52 Places to Go in 2014

Zimbabwe has been named among Top 52 places to visit by The New York Times.

The country, which has been dogged by political instability for decades, has several attraction sites including the Victoria Falls, the Zambezi River, UNESCO Heritage sites like the granite rocks of the Matobo and the colonial era charm of cities like Harare and Bulawayo.



Zimbabwe also boasts abundant game including hippos and lions in parks such as Hwange National Park and Mana Pools National Park.

The country has in the last year put in place measures to recover a struggling tourism industry including launching a single tourist visa together with Zambia to lure visitors to Victoria Falls which lies along the border of the two countries. This effort was further boosted by the launch of $50 flights from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to Harare, Zimbabwe in August of last year.

An international terminal set to open at Victoria Falls in July this year should help Zimbabwe improve its reputation as it aims to return to being known as one of the top tourist destinations on the continent. This recovery will of course depend on the southern African country’s ability to maintain political and economic stability in the years to come.

Other destinations in Africa featured on the New York Times list include TanzaniaDurban – South Africa and Rabat – Morocco.

Book your stay in Zimbabwe on SleepOut.com.

Eco tower Sky Bed in Watamu

Kitengela’s Glass Beach Houses in Watamu, Kenya

Nairobi’s Kitengela Glass Studio is now offering a unique coastal holiday with their very own Kitengela-styled Beach House and Eco Tower (with sky bed).

eco tower watamu 4

A pleasant alternative to the generic resorts and hotels nearby, the Eco Tower is a one of a kind invention that even includes a “sky bed” that rolls out from the top floor so that guests can literally SleepOut under the stars.

The location in Watamu offers a great jumping off point for activities such as snorkeling, fishing, a mangrove walk or boat ride, a turtle sanctuary visit, dolphin watching or visiting the Gede Ruins, a half-millenium old kingdom. Sokoke Forest for nature lovers also has spectacular butterflies, small elephants, owls and much more.

eco tower top floor

The Manager, Innocent, can procure any sea food to your liking at market price which they will prepare using local recipes and spices.



Eco Tower – Sleeps 8+ (from $97)

The Eco Tower is a unique cottage with it’s own “Sky Bed” that rolls out from the top floor so guests can literally SleepOut under the stars. The open-air tower draws in a fresh ocean breeze and includes hanging beds and padded benches built into the wall for easy lounging.

eco tower sky bed

Sky bed at Eco Tower

The ground floor has a small fish pond and a shop filled with Kitengela Glass items for purchase. The first floor “Tree Room” also has a hanging double bed. The second floor “Yellow Room” has a hanging bed, nice view, private bath and shower. Finally, the top floor is breezy with a sky bed and loft for kids, as well as a bath and shower.


Doum Palm House – Sleeps 6 (from $97)

Doum Palm 6

The Beach House has 2 traditional double bedrooms with a shared bathroom, a lounge bed, and offers a large upstairs bedroom with a beautiful glass mosaic-decorated balcony and additional large bathroom downstairs. Books, magazines and plants adorn the premises which includes an outdoor gazebo with a hammock.

Book your accommodation at Watamu Private Cottages on SleepOut.com.

Kenya Tourist Board launches campaign to attract Indian tourists

Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) has launched a campaign to attract tourists from India by assuring them that Kenya is a safe tourist destination.



Speaking to Indian stakeholders in New Delhi, KTB Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa said that the Kenyan government has taken keen measures to ensure the country is safe.

Ndegwa said that Kenya is a favourable tourist destination with breathtaking scenery, wildlife, exquisite cuisine, great culture and hospitable people and various places to visit including Laikipia, Coast, Maasai Mara and Amboseli.

More than 42,910 Indian tourists visited Kenya in the first nine months of 104 with the KTB maintaining that Indian is the biggest market in Asia for Kenya and fifth largest source market in Kenya globally.

Ndegwa further noted that a number of key global events including World PR Forum 2015, World Skal Congress 2015, the World Conference in PR in emerging Economies and the UN World Trade Organisation will be held in Kenya.

Book your stay in Kenya on SleepOut.com.

Kitengela Glass House

People Who Live in Glass Houses

Kitengela, the Nairobi-based art studio, is now offering a series of cottages unlike any you’ve ever seen. The floors, walls, tables and even bathrooms are made of thousands of pieces of colored glass and hand-crafted glass light fixtures and decorations abound.

pool house4

Kitengela Glass Art & Eco Cottages offers five cottages south of Nairobi directly alongside the tree-topped edge of Nairobi National Park. There you’ll encounter monkeys, hyrax, different species of birds, butterflies and other wildlife. Throughout the grounds you’ll find dogs, geese, ducks, parrots, an old vulture, a young Crane — even pigs, camels and sheep that the German owner, Nani Croze, raises with much affection.

A beautiful, glass mosaic-adorned swimming pool overlooks the forest. Visitors can spend their day relaxing, walking around the rural landscape with views of downtown Nairobi or visiting the glass gift shops and glass-blowing studio to watch Kitengela’s team of glass artists in residence at their craft.

masai house1

Kitengela Cottages’ property is often used by Nairobi companies and organisations for team building activities, (and shortly will even host a Kenyan Miss Tourism contest). An adventurous footbridge leads across the gorge to Silole Sanctuary adjacent to the Park. The cottages offer a truly wonderful escape for both locals and travelers as it’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.

Enjoy rich organic produce, fresh fruits, free-range meats from animals raised on-site, fresh milk and homemade butter on sour dough bread.

If eco tourism is your thing, look no further: Kitengela Cottages use solar and wind power when available and compost everything imaginable. All of the glass used by the artists and in the homes is recycled from used bottles and broken windows before being turned into beautiful table ware, furnishings, windows, doors and artwork.


Pool House (from $109)

Pool House at Kitengela Glass Cottages

The Pool House includes three open bedrooms with four beds that sleep seven.  As the largest of the Nairobi cottages, this spacious pool house fills with sunlight in nearly every crevice and has an open terrace overlooking the pool.


Cat House and Annexe (from $49)

o (15)

The Cat House and Annex have two bedrooms and include three beds that sleep six. Named for the felines that previously took full run of the place, the cat house includes a fun loft bed, two downstairs bedrooms and a kitchen/dining room while the annexe has a little garden/tea terrace.


Masai Cottage (from $49)

The Masai Cottage has two bedrooms with three beds that can sleep four.

masai house4

Built using traditional Masai construction, the Masai Cottage offers a cool downstairs bedroom with a large bed and a sunny upstairs with two twin beds. A small kitchen and mini fridge are available for guests’ use and the small glass balcony overlooks the treetops of Nairobi National Park.


Lengai’s Basement Flat (from $73)

o (14)

Lengai’s Basement Flat has one bedroom with one bed that sleeps two. The cottage is adjacent to Pool House and has easy access to the pool.


Glass House (from $85)

The Glass House has two bedrooms with three beds that sleep four.

glass house 3

The sunny upstairs bedroom has two small beds and walls made of glass and includes a small balcony. The much-decorated downstairs bedroom includes a private bathroom made of green glass bottles.

Book your accommodation at the Kitengela Glass Art & Eco Cottages on SleepOut.com.



Fastjet Tanzania flies millionth passenger

Fastjet Tanzania flew its millionth passenger in December 2014, according to figures released by London Stock Exchange.

The company, listed at the London Stock Exchange market under Fastjet PLC, also witnessed 20 per cent increase in passengers during that month, for the first time since its launch, leading to a 106 per cent increase in revenue compared to December 2013.



Last year, the company made progress in its bid to launch in Kenya under the name fastjet Kenya and submitted its Air Service License application to the Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA).

The airline also reduced flight costs from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to Harare, Zimbabwe to $50 as it aims to expand its customer-base as it increased its operations to Kampala Uganda and

According to Fastjet PLC Interim Chairman and CEO Ed Winte, the recent developments and entry into profitability is a great achievement and a huge milestone to becoming a Pan-African low-cost airline.

Book your stay in Tanzania on SleepOut.com

Hotels in Kenya to be rated, Kandie says

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie has announced that all hotels in Kenya will be rated from February 2015.


Speaking in Kisumu over the weekend, Kandie said the move is aimed at boosting hotels’ marketability making them competitive in the international market.

“Most hotels are yet to be registered and this raises doubts about the quality and standards of their services,” she said.

The Tourism Regulatory Authority will be tasked with the responsibility for rating the hotels with the process set to start in Western Kenyan including Migori, Siaya, Nyamira, Homabay, Kisii and Kisumu by pre-classifying hotels where hotel owners and service providers will undergo five-day training on what is expected.


According to Kandie, the rating will make it easy to market hotels even as the government tries to promote the unexploited tourism circuits in the country.

Kandie also called on the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers to ensure all hotels that expect to be rated have WiFi connection even as ICT cabinet secretary promised to lay more fibre optic cables ion counties.

Find accommodations in Kenya on SleepOut.com.


Ukunda Airstrip set for expansion

Ukunda Airstrip is set to undergo expansion and renovation in order to handle bigger aircrafts and improve efficiency.

According to transport and infrastructure cabinet secretary Michael Kamau, the plan to expand the airport was reached following consultations between local leadership, community, Kwale County government, education authorities of the nearby school and the Kenya Airports Authority.

“Expansion of Ukunda Airstrip is part of the government’s effort to unlock the economic potential of our counties to facilitate seamless connectivity to the rest of the country and worldwide,” said Kamau.



Kamau stated that the expansion will boost the airstrip’s capacity to handle larger commercial aircraft adding that the government is also working on construction of Dongo Kundu bypass to provide an alternative link to the area.

“We are going to set aside funds for upgrading the Ukunda airstrip but the county government has to support this initiative by providing requisite land,” he said.

The school located within the land earmarked for expansion will be moved to a five acre that was bought at Ksh15 million, according to Kenya Airports Authority Managing Director Lucy Mbugua.

“There are plans to expand the airport even further but that would require more land, which we are in communications with county government to provide,” she said.

The expansion will include setting up terminal building, upgrading the runway and fencing the airstrip.

Book your stay in Ukunda, Diani Beach on SleepOut.com.

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