Kenyans and the Sacred Land: cultural, social and economic issues.
Itinerary June 9 – 21, 2013
Sacred Forest Kenya
9 June: NAIROBI
On arrival at Kenyatta International Airport Nairobi, following a day flight from Europe, you will be met by representatives of Westminster Safaris Africa and Professor Celia Nyamweru, long-time resident of Kenya who has been doing research on natural sacred sites for nearly 20 years. We will be transferred to Nairobi Tented Camp, the only camp that is permitted within the confines of Nairobi National Park. Night under canvas in luxury tents, fully furnished with comfortable beds & their own bathrooms with flush toilets.
Overnight, dinner & breakfast, Nairobi Tented Camp.
10 June: NAIROBI
We will enjoy a relaxed breakfast looking out over the natural forest that surrounds Nairobi Tented Camp. Later in the morning we will have a lecture on Kenya’s culture and history from a distinguished Kenyan scholar. After lunch in camp we will travel through the Nairobi National Park and out through the city to the Nairobi Museum, the headquarters of the National Museums of Kenya and the repository of many of the fossils of early man and his ancestors. The museum also contains cultural artifacts of many of Kenya’s more than 40 ethnic groups. The website for the National Museum of Kenya. After our return to Nairobi National Park we will have a short evening game drive before supper at Nairobi Tented Camp.
Overnight, dinner & breakfast, Nairobi Tented Camp.
11 June: NAIROBI
Following an early morning game drive, we will have breakfast at Nairobi Tented Camp and then head a short distance out of the National Park and down the road to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, where ground-breaking work has been done to successfully rear orphaned elephants & rhino and return them to life in the wild.
From the DSWT we will head for lunch to Utumaduni, a craft center in an outer suburb of Nairobi, where you will also have the chance to buy a wide range of handicrafts from several little shops (Please note that lunch is not included in the tour cost and is to be settled by the group on the day).
After lunch we will visit a very different part of Nairobi, the Kibera informal settlement. Our destination is the Red Rose elementary school supported by the Children of Kibera charitable foundation;
We will visit the school, and have a chance to chat with pupils and teachers. A representative of the school will join us for supper at Nairobi Tented Camp and talk about the work of the school and the challenges facing young people growing up in Kibera.
Overnight, dinner and breakfast, Nairobi Tented Camp.
Muranga-Othaya Sacred Shrine
12 June: MURANG’A AND OTHAYA
After an early breakfast, we will travel northeast through the densely populated highland areas of central Kenya, the homeland of the Kikuyu people. Our first stop will be at Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga, the most important sacred site of the Kikuyu and the place that God (Ngai) is said to have given as their home to Gikuyu and Mumbi (ancestors of the Kikuyu people).
After a tour of the site and a discussion of the challenges facing its conservation and development, we will drive on a little further for lunch at the Kiereini Catholic Mission. Lunch, catered by the people at the mission, will introduce us to healthy Kikuyu food. After lunch we will have a tour of the school and a talk about the history of Christianity in this part of Kenya from one of the priests at the mission, as well as a chance to discuss how traditional and introduced belief systems co-exist in people’s lives in Kenya.
We drive on through the fertile highland areas where tea is the main commercial crop to spend the night at the Outspan Hotel. Situated in Nyeri in a serene setting that provides a wholesome experience of business, leisure and adventure. Outspan is, set in a well-tended tropical garden and rolling lawns with views of Mount Kenya. Lord Baden Powell, founder of the Scouting movement spent the last three years of his life here in a cottage called Paxtu which is still preserved to date. To “Outspan” means to “unharness”. This was the place where the traveler would unharness his/her weary oxen on their travels to the north. The hotel was built in 1927 by Major Eric Sherbrook Walker. Outspan is also the base hotel for Treetops also world renowned for hosting the British royal family and other dignitaries.
Overnight, dinner and breakfast Outspan Hotel.
13 June: OTHAYA AND NANYUKI
After a good old sumptuous English Breakfast at the Outspan we will drive through Othaya to Karima Hill, a sacred site of four Kikuyu clans. We will be met by members of the local community who have been responsible for protecting this area of natural forest surrounded by densely populated and intensively cultivated farmlands.
After our visit to the site and conversations with the local people, we continue northwards along the western slope of Mount Kenya to a small Art Centre called Lily Pond Art Centre. Here we will enjoy a lovely healthy lunch out on the deck at the Art Centre, right on the equator. The Centre gives local artists the opportunity to exhibit their work, there is an open studio which allows you to watch artists at work as well as view all the modern African Art that they create. The centre acts as a springboard for many young Kenyan artists, so they welcome guests to come and soak up the atmosphere of this serene and special place, and gain inspiration from the contemporary canvas art from some of Africa’s best artists. As well as art there is a great gift shop with other handcrafted African gifts for purchase.
Later that afternoon we will head to the banks of the Burguret River overlooking private woodlands to our accommodation for the night at Colobus Cottages. The wooden cottages are nestled in a forest valley offering secluded home comfort in a tranquil and pretty setting. Wake up to the sound of the running river, parrots, monkeys and the abundant chirping of the resident birdlife.
The restaurant overlooks the river and offers simple but tasty dishes catering to all tastes and preferences, dinner & breakfast the following day will be taken here.
Overnight, dinner & breakfast Colobus Cottages.
14 June: NANYUKI TO MERU
Following a relaxed breakfast at Colobus Cottages we will take the road around the northern slopes of Mount Kenya and to the eastern slopes of the mountain and the highly fertile county of Meru. Here we will be received by our homestay hosts and hostesses, families who have hosted US university students for several years. We will spend the night in their comfortable rural homes and enjoy home cooked Kenyan food while learning about their lives, in which they often combine farming with professions such as school teachers, medicine and local government. Be ready to be woken early in the morning by the crowing of roosters and the lowing of cows!
Overnight and all meals, Meru rural homestay.
Gitune Sacred Forest
15 June: MERU
Today we will visit the Giitune Sacred Forest, a site that has been preserved by the Meru people. Giitune is a shrine for two Meru clans, whose oral histories tell of a blood brotherhood pact made there. Its main function is as a prayer forest. The forest was designated a National Monument in 2003 and is currently being preserved through the efforts of several agencies, including the National Museums of Kenya and a local group, the Giitune Environment Conservation Group. We will meet with group representatives and learn about their goals of promoting Giitune as an educational and eco-tourism center. We will return to our rural homes for our second night in Meru.
Overnight and all meals, Meru Rural homestay.
16 June: MERU TO TSAVO
After a very early breakfast we will be on the road, first southwards towards Nairobi and then southeast across the plateau lands whose elevation decreases gradually on the 300-mile journey towards Mombasa. This will be a very long drive if we were to do it all in one day so we break our journey more or less half way between Nairobi & Mombasa at Mtito Andei. At Mtito we will take you into the Tsavo West National Park where we will overnight at the Serena Hotels Kilaguni Lodge.
Tsavo West made famous by the “man-eaters of Tsavo” is a savannah ecosystem comprises of open grasslands, scrublands, and Acacia woodlands, belts of riverine vegetation and rocky ridges. Major wildlife found in the area include: elephant, rhino, Hippos, lions, cheetah, leopards, buffalos as well as diverse plant and bird species. Tsavo is vast covering 7,065 sqkm with temperatures ranging from 20 – 30*C, we will do our best to find you as much game as we can in the limited time we have in the park.
Kilaguni Lodge is about 30 minutes inside the park and is superbly situated in the lee of Mount Kilimanjaro and sheltered by the volcanic splendor of the Chyulu Hills. This classic stone-built lodge overlooks its own water hole, which is visited daily by elephants, buffalos and a wide variety of plains game. One of the first lodges ever to be built in a national park, the lodge is cool, tranquil and hushed for optimum game viewing.
All the spacious ensuite rooms have their own verandas, some overlooking the waterhole, some the Chyulu Hills, which are one of the world’s youngest volcanic ranges.
While in Tsavo and if time permits we will try to arrange a trip to Mzima Springs, a set of crystal-clear ponds, fed by the melt waters of Mount Kilimanjaro, in which the many hippos can be viewed from a submerged chamber
Overnight, dinner & breakfast Kilaguni Lodge, Tsavo.
17 June: TSAVO TO DIANI
After breakfast we will try to visit Mzima Springs then continue through Tsavo West on a small game drive back to the main Mombasa road on our journey to the Kenya coast and south to the Ukunda/Diani area, the site of some of Kenya’s most intensive tourist development and at the same time the place where local communities have struggled to preserve the sacred forests known as kaya forests.
We will arrive at Diani in the late afternoon; we will carry a packed lunch with us in the car and stop en-route (this ill give us time to do game drives in the morning & possibly visit the springs)
Once at the coast we will have a relaxed afternoon by the numerous swimming pools at our hotel or you can go for a stroll down the stunning Diani beach. It’s up to you. In the evening we will have a short presentation about the conservation activities being carried out in this county and in particular the attempts to support the conservation of natural sacred sites through carefully controlled tourism.
The hotel we are staying in Diani is one of the newest and most luxurious on the coast, it is called Swahili Beach. This unique hotel offers a harmonious blend of the architectural inﬂuences from the East African coast, Arabia, India, and Zanzibar that have fused over millennia to create the vibrant Swahili culture. Offering an air of sophistication unseen on the Kenya coast, Swahili Beach has been designed with state-of-the-art technologies to ensure minimum short & long term ecological impact, while delivering unparalleled comfort to its guests. In line with efforts to cut the carbon footprint of the resort, the lush tropical greenery, which is synonymous with the Kenyan Coast, has been maintained, and supplemented with exotic and indigenous trees, shrubs and tropical palms.
Overnight, dinner and breakfast Swahili Beach.
Sacred Hut at Kaya Kinondo
18 June: DIANI – KAYA KINONDO
After breakfast we travel a short distance down the road from the intensively developed tourist resorts to the indigenous forest of the sacred site, Kaya Kinondo.
We will be received by members of the local conservation group and walk through parts of the forest. After that we move on to one of the nearby villages inhabited by the community who are conserving Kaya Kinondo. We will visit the village school and a traditional healer/herbalist, as well as being entertained by a dance group made up of the local women. Return to our hotel for a late lunch (not included in the rate) and transfer northwards by road to Mombasa, Kenya’s second town and main port. Our night will be spent at Whitesands Beach Hotel in Bamburi, one of Mombasa towns’ northern city beaches.
Overnight, dinner and breakfast Whitesands, Mombasa.
19 June: MOMBASA
We will have breakfast at our hotel, followed by a discussion with one of the people responsible for supporting the conservation of the kaya forests throughout the Kenya coast. This person will accompany us to Rabai, a village which is not only the site of the first Christian mission in Kenya (dating back to the 1840s), but also the place where there are several kaya forests, protected by a very active group of ‘kaya elders’. We will visit the church built in the 1840s and also have a tour of Kaya Mudzimuvya, where a limited amount of ecotourism is permitted. After our kaya tour we will be entertained to a lunch cooked by a local women’s group.
After the day’s excursion to Rabai we will return to the hotel where you can relax, get a spa treatment if you wish, go for a swim or an evening stroll down the beach.
Overnight, dinner and breakfast Whitesands, Mombasa.
20 June: MOMBASA
After breakfast at the hotel, you will have the option of having a relaxed morning at the pool/beach or of traveling into Mombasa town for some shopping. Lunch can be taken at the hotel or in town and in the afternoon there is the option of a visit to Fort Jesus a 17th century Portuguese fort, now a museum and a guided tour through the Old Town of Mombasa. For those who go into town you will have to come back to the hotel to freshen up and get ready for a special dinner we have arranged for your last night at the coast. For dinner we have a magical experience on the Tamarind Dhow, a rebuilt traditional boat that sails gently up Tudor Creek past the old town of Mombasa, Fort Jesus, under the “new” Nyali Bridge that connects the Island to the mainland as we enjoy freshly cooked seafood, sip a “dawa” or other cocktails and enjoy a great evening on the water (vegetarian options for dinner are available). After dinner we will head back to Whitesands for a good nights sleep
Overnight, breakfast Whitesands, Mombasa
21 June: MOMBASA – NAIROBI
After a relaxed breakfast and a last dip in the hotel pool, we will proceed to the Mombasa Airport for a short flight to Nairobi. At Nairobi Airport we can transfer direct to the international departure areas for our return flights late on the same night.
Fly out from Nairobi International Airport, p.m.
***NB: The safari can ONLY operate with a minimum of 2 guests.
- Min of 2 people in SINGLE ROOMS on the Safari: USD$ 6,659pp
- (Third Person in a single USD$ 6016pp)
- 2 People on the Safari Sharing Twin Room: USD$ 6,375pp
- (Third Person in a single USD$ 6016pp)
- 4 People on the Safari Sharing Twin Rooms: USD$ 4,054pp
- 6 People on the Safari Sharing Twin Rooms: USD$ 3,281pp
- 8 People on the Safari Sharing Twin Rooms: USD$ 2,894pp
***If there are already 4-6 people sharing twin rooms booked on the safari & an additional guest would like a Single Occupancy room: USD$ 3,565pp
**** An additional $150 ($100 students) tax-deductible contribution (per person) is to be paid separately to Sacred Sites International at 1442A Walnut St. #330, Berkeley CA 94709.
The above rates are based on a minimum of 6 people traveling. Reduction in the number of people below 6 will result in an increase in the quoted rate per person.
Please refer to Westminster Safaris Africa’s website for full Terms and Conditions Contract as well as our Preparing for Your Safari document for more information. (also see attached Terms & Conditions).
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