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Sasaab, one of the lodges we represent, in the Laikipia area of Kenya is showcased in an article this week in the New York Times Magazine about high-style hotels that have managed to stay under the normal tourist radar.

What happens to these places once they get this sort of publicity - do they suddenly get 'on the tourist' radar?  yes and no.  What you can guarantee is that while more people will now know how to find Sasaab, it won't suddenly become full of tacky tourists, abusing the beauty and silence of the African Wilderness.

Sasaab Lodge is one of the most stylish and luxurious game lodges in Northern Kenya.  

Overlooking the Ewaso Nyiro river in the heart of Sambur land, the lodge is comprised of nine individually detached rooms with huge thatched roofs and canvas sides with sensational views down the river and over the bush and beyond. 

Sasaab only sleeps 18 people so even when it is fully booked, if you were staying there you would never feel suffocated by tourists.  Infact, something like Sasaab would only ever appeal to the discerning travelling.  To some its' utter remoteness would be a concern, to others it would be paradise.  The wild African animals strolling around the countryside and the canvas walled chalets that guests sleep in, would send cold shivers down the spines of the more nervous travellers whilst to those seeking something different it would do more than just appeal to their adventurous nature.

So don't fret that this is now 'on the tourist' radar.  You can rest assured that this sort of publicity won't damage the essence of this beautiful place.

 

 


Prince William has finally, after eight years of dating, asked Kate Middleton to marry him.  It was a luxury safari in the Lewa Conservancy (http://www.lewa.org/) in Kenya that worked its magic with the Prince after apparently carrying the engagement ring around in his backpack for 3 weeks.  The ring is the engagement ring of his mother, the late Princess Diana.

In front of the world's press, he said: 'It is very special to me. It was my way to make sure my mother did not miss out on today and the excitement that we are going to spend the rest of our lives together.'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1330215/Prince-William-gives-Kate-Middleton-Dianas-engagement-ring.html#ixzz15eOsl8es

Her marriage to William will be the biggest royal event since the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana in 1981. It is hoped the ceremony will give a huge boost to the UK and it's economy. Bookies have made August 13th the early favourite for the wedding date and it is likely to take place at Westminster Abbey. It is claimed personnel at the Abbey have already been contacted about a royal wedding in the second week of August, although St Paul's and Windsor Castle are other potential venues. The Queen and the Queen Mother were both married in the Abbey but it also carries painful memories of William's mother's funeral in 1997.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1330215/Prince-William-gives-Kate-Middleton-Dianas-engagement-ring.html#ixzz15ePF0DI8

Prince William has traveled to Kenya many times, he spent part of his gap year before going to university in Kenya and Tanzania. In 2003, he told the BBC he was studying KiSwahili. One of the first holidays the young couple took together was a safari in Lewa Downs. And just this past May, William traveled to Kenya to celebrate a friend's birthday.  Lewa Conservancy is part owned by the Craig family who the Prince is very close to.  He also dated Jecca Craig when he was younger and recently attended her brother's wedding out in Kenya instead of attending his own cousin's wedding back in the UK.

http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/entertainment/prince-william-snubs-royal-wedding-for-ex-girlfriends-kenyan-bash_10049401.html


Shacks

Shacks in Khayelitsha township, where Anni Dewani was killed.

Following the murder, this week, of a British bride in South Africa's Cape Town, some people (mainly those who have never been to Africa) are crying out in fear of the country and also the continent."This is why you should avoid the whole continent, it is absolutely necessary to do so" states one reader of the Daily Mail.

It's a tragic story of two people in love on their honeymoon who chose to venture into the townships around Cape Town, late at night, to experience the 'real' South Africa.

The lesson here is not to avoid the country or the continent but to be savvy travellers. Read and listen to advice about any country you are going to. Act accordingly. There are places in London or any main city in the UK that you shouldn't go to - especially to experience the 'real London'. The townships of Cape Town are a hot house of poverty, boredom, lack of sanity and health, over crowding and personal troubles. This all leads to resentment and if you are to see it as a source of 'interest' or 'education' then you are placing yourself right in the middle of a situation that will ignite. These people are not animals zoo, for us to observe. They are struggling with a life that is harder than you and I can imagine.

However, don't brand all South Africans or all Africans the same. It's not a reflection of the people who live there or the country as a whole. This terrible incident was a place of being in the wrong place and the wrong time.

One of the main reasons that Only Spectacular, our travel company, specialises in Kenya is that in our opinion, Kenya has a softness to it compared to South Africa. To us it feels calmer, more genuine and less exploited that it's sister countries.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1330541/Man-charged-Anni-Dewani-hijacking-murder-South-Africa-township.html#comments


Is China the new Bob Geldof?

Posted by: Only Spectacular

Tagged in: Current Events

For years the West have been providing aid to Africa. The country itself suffers greatly from natural disasters (drought, famine, disease) and corruption leading to abject poverty and desperate situations where the local people can find no way out.Individual wealthy people, charities, corporations and governments all hand over a huge amount of money and resources sometimes with little impact to the ongoing problems.

This report here from the BBC shows how the Chinese government is now starting to provide aid on a large scale. This huge ship has arrived in Mombassa port with over 400 doctors and nurses from China offering free medical help. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11560193

Of course this is a great PR story for the Chinese government and will do wonders for their reputation amongst the Kenyan people. However, one can't help but wonder, what happens to those local people once the ship has left the port? Has the Chinese government considered any further support for the suffering? Let's hope this is not just a case of 'Sticking Plaster' Charity where they put a bandage over the wound and hope it goes away.


http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/sub-saharan-africa/kenya1

The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office website (www.fco.gov.uk) gives advice to travellers thinking of going to Kenya on holiday. When I first started reading this, I wondered if I was really reading about Kenya. Was this the country I was so familiar with... one that they 'advise against all but essential travel to some areas of Kenya.'? Why they are more damning of Kenya compared to something like South Africa? South Africa's localised wealth, sugar coats the exact same problems that Kenya has, in my opinion.

The web page reads like a disaster report from a wild and menacing land. It talks of terrorism attacks on a hotel, kidnapping at Kenya's border with Somalia, sailing hostages on the Indian Ocean, aid workers being kidnapped, muggings and murders of British residents.

If I didn't know Kenya, a report such as this would put me off entirely. But how UNFAIR - this report is clearly written to travellers with no experience and no sense. It pulls out examples of such extreme cases of terror that you would think such things happen everyday. I can see why they have to dumb it down and safeguard themselves but at the same time, surely there is a middle ground, a way to explain that this country is not wild and dangerous if you respect it's culture, understand the people and behave in a way that is suitable for a country with widespread poverty.

If you choose to travel around the country on your own with no knowledge of the areas you are visiting, flashing your wealth around, making a scene, abusing the traditions of the people and the people themselves, wandering around at night, drunk or disrespectful, then you will become a target. But only in the same way as if you wandered into the back streets of New York or the poorer suburbs of London.

However, if you choose to travel with a reputable safari company, one that will explain how you should travel and behave...where you should and shouldn't go and arrange your travel in between your destinations, then you shouldn't expect any problems. Don't let the increased security that you see in the country (guards at your safari lodges with shotguns) put you off. Guns such as these are usually just to frighten off a nosey elephant. Kenya is a land of extremes but most of them unbelievably wonderful.

If you are a sensible and adventurous traveller, the words of UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office website will not put you off. You will read though the lines and see that they are telling you not to be stupid in a country where life is so different from the West. You will travel with your eyes open, lapping up and absorbing the magic of this wonderful country.

Us living quiet happily in Kenya, as we did for two years.