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Kisumu County as I Experienced it and fell in love..

#TwendeWestern

LUXURY TRAVEL IN EAST AFRICA

A journey that took us a few hours from Kakamega  landed us  in Kisumu city, Kenya’s third largest city and the main urban center in Western Kenya, Kisumu has a lot to offer the to business and leisure traveler. In recent years, Kisumu has transformed from a provincial town to an attractive investment destination.

IMG_4715.JPG The green patch is the View of lake victoria from Acacia Premier Hotel in Kisumu

As the East-African member countries are working more and more closely together, Kisumu is ideally located to play a significant role in this collaboration. Its location on the shores of Lake Victoria and its proximity to tourist attractions such as Kakamega Forest, Ndere Island and Ruma National Park, make it an increasingly popular base from which to explore Western Kenya- The main reason we were here.

We arrived to Kisumu city by road if you were following us you must have…

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“The Shimba On The Hills” ; 7 counties and 2 countries

For the 2nd time again it was here! There comes a time when you give back to the society and not just by words but actions just to say “Thank You” to the society.

Have you ever found a passion to do something and you mark it out in your calendar as days pass into weeks that turn to months then the month of December comes knocking making your mind get to know that going beyond your limits is not a choice but your sacrificial lamb!

My brother and fellow “fake Asian” has given me a new meaning to the way on how i conclude my years thanks to the now annual Charity event dubbed “C2C” that is an acronym of “City to Coast” an event that I have home to identify with and take it up as a way of marking my end of year. It all begun when my brother took his favourite toy for an adventure from the City of Nairobi to the historical Coastal town of Mombasa passing through beautiful countryside of this beautiful country from one county to the other and days later he found himself at the gate of Child Of Mercy Orphanage Centre.

The stories he heard from the children at the orphanage and the managers touched him so much and he looked for a better way to put a smile on the little angels he met and spent time with and what better way than getting friends to sacrifice their time, comfort, strong muscles, Money and take up their toys just to stretch a little bit to get from the Comfortably made environment in the City and head out to recreate the memories all the way to the Coast of Kenya.

For a second time we were ready and now with a group of 10 sacrificial soldiers who were willingly ready to set aside time, work and also comfort. The names included:

  1. Rakesh Okuku (the leader of it all and a brother)

2. Geoffrey (the marshal)

3. George Simei (the fast and furious guy)

4. George (our team doctor and “wa mastretches”

5. Gikonyo (the never giving up champion when his bike refuse, he opted to jogging)

6. Ken (The ever silent guy)

7. Raymond (The leader of the “Team Ferrari”)

8. Rechol (the commander Team never give up)

9. Victor (The dreadlocked speed marchant)

10. Nyawira ( Her excellency who doesn’t recognize the word “IMPOSSIBLE”)

11. Luqman (the man that little minusspeeddefines him)

12 The supportive team on MV Tom and Jerry included Captain Alladin and the ever green Suzuki Maruti Captain Leornard.

The day came and no point of return was in offer !!!! 700 plus kilometers had to be covered and The City was defined on this day as our starting point and the Coast was now our real Finish Point. I thought that it being my second time to head to Mombasa by a bike (not pikipiki, but Baiskeli) that I would not have any fear or a shiver in my bones never did I Know that still I would get scared. To my surprise i got a shiver when i saw there were additional of days from the traditional 4 and above all more adventures as we were to get through another country as we adventured to our final destination of Coast of town.

Just like the last cycle for charity (which was my first ever longest cycling adventure dubbed Capital To Coast Charity Ride ) in the morning I got those butterflies in the stomach and mental games of “impossibility” and blindness of my “comfort zones” took control of me as the journey was no longer like the first time where we only did 4 days on our bikes but had risen to almost a week is sweating and tired muscles. But on seeing there were new ladies and they had heard of our first adventure an year ago, they had some respect for our daring spirit to cycle from the City of Nairobi to Mombasa. The presence of new members gave me morale to even show off my energy and encourage the new adventure members how it is done.


Briefing for day 1 was done and it sounded more like a walk over because we were to cycle from Nairobi to Machakos a distance of 66Kilometres which was more favourable compared to last year that we had to sweat over 100 kilometres. Few photos and last smiles we took them to mark the start of our dare to go across many beautiful counties and scenery for a week.


All was set and off we were in a group becoming show stoppers as we rubbed our bike tires against the mighty Mombasa road, once in a while we got cheers as we passed people. Rumbled along Mombasa road down to the great land of Machakos county where we were celebrating for it being a short journey on our very first day with more fun as we set up our camp at the Machakos People and that marked the end of our First day journey to Mombasa.

Next day we woke up before the full sunrise came up through the hills of Kiima Kimwe. Breakfast was served and a short briefing was given before we roared out on the tarmac with our destination set as Kathonzweni in Wote county that was meant to be about 92km. It all begun as an easy ride but later into the 30km all turned to the field of boys and men, uphills begun to stretch our muscles and bursting our lungs as we engaged the gears to the top but got rewarded with very amazing Downhills covered with the most breath taking views i have seen in all my travel within Machakos and Wote.

By the time the sun was on its readiness to set we were checking into Kathonzweni. As usual the nights on such long rides are made up of jokes and tells of personal experience during the day while few advices being thrown from one person to the other. As the night got on so did the number of awake cyclists as each one was overcome by sleep and surrendered to bed.

Our third day on the road came so cold as we enjoyed our breakfast getting ready for our great adventure awaiting. Simple usual morning bike checks and a pump here to there. Every was set and we got a relief news for the morning. We got to be informed that we would enjoy a morning bus ride to our starting point which was Emali town in readiness for the panoramic road to Loitoktok boarder town. As though it was a break from a hard work, everyone took a nap and slept off during our ride to Emali town.

On arrival at Emali town, bikes were brought down and we got ready for the Panoramic highway to the boarder town of Loitoktok. With briefing from the team leader, we were off with our target being about 105Km away hidden by the shadows of Africa’s roof top: Mt. Kilimanjaro. It was a great ride as we had less traffic on the road most of it was ours and bikes. Joy it was that after sweating and fun we finally had made it to Loitoktok all safe and sound besides the anti gravity downhills that were more of illuminations of dreams. This was a short night i think because of us getting too tired.

With the night coming to an end, our excitement hit us so high for this was an achievement having cycled through amazing destinations in amazing Kenya and this morning we were crossing over into Tanzania from Loitoktok targeting to mark the end of the day through the other crossing point boarder post on the other side of Africa’s roof the beautiful Mt. Kilimamnjaro.

We went through the immigration procedures then jumped on our two wheeled machines becoming an admiration of the Tanzanian people from Loitoktok, Marangu down the Kilimanjaro all the way to Holili town just past the windy road by the beautiful Lake Chala.

It is always proud for us to see how much we can do when we go beyond our comfort zones, Imagine one day cycling from one boarder post to another! At Holili we crossed over after a second immigration process in a day and headed out to the land of Elephants; the amazing and beautiful Lake Jipe.

The morning at our camp was amazing as we got to be welcomed by amazing Elephants that came to our campsite, and they also escorted us out as we roared and shifted our gears targeting to make it through the vast Tsavo West national park,

yes, we cycled across the Tsavo west national park on the newly constructed Taveta – Voi road, which led us through the towns of Maktau and the silent Wundanyi breaking us by stretching our muscles was the silent climbs of Taveta hills but after a long struggle we made it to the amazing town of Voi.

This night was filled with more joy and excitement since we could imagine the Indian ocean and the white sandy beaches since we were almost to the end of the cycling adventure to even meeting the little angels of Child of mercy orphanage centre whom since 2015 we have been supporting by sacrificing our comfort, energy to even time to make a change in the lives of the children at the orphanage.

On this final day we were woken up by the loud roars of lions that many thought they had invaded our campsite only for them to learn that a lion roar is so strong and can be heard over a long distance. After having a heavy breakfast for the day was not going to be easy for us as we were close to the coast so we expected change in the climate and even the altitude would play games on us. Our start of point was the growing town of Samburu (not the semi arid area of Samburu nation reserve but a town along Mombasa road after Mawungu town or the Mai mahiu and Salgaa of Mombasa road).

it was going to be a torturous 97km off road ride through small town centres like Kwa Mkamba through Kinango passing the Elephant home of Mwaluganje and we begun to have a division of friends on bikes to friendly bikes as the climb through Shimba hills was a no “Laughing matter” which for the first time I never ever saw a smile on any of my fellow cyclists.

Many wanted to give up, but when they begun to see new pedestrians on the road as they crossed from one side to the other (for your information the pedestrians were elephants) to a point they got warnings like (…..mtasubiri kidogo kuna ndovu hapo mbele!!” ( …..you have to wait since there elephants on the road) but lucky enough we got shielded from the elephants and made it to the tarmac in Kwale town a short of 37km to our overnight camp.

As soon as everyone saw the tarmac, they all turned to speed merchants making the distance between kwale and Diani (about 37k) look so short which I don’t even know why, may because we had finally made it to the coast.

We got to the Diani campsite and cottages only for it to get so exciting when one of us said it was his first time in his life to set foot in the Kenyan coast, amazingly for him he made all the way on his bicycle and cycling from Nairobi to Mombasa above all the beautiful white sandy beach of Diani.

It was so amazing for our archivement, both personally and as a team since we had made it all the way from Nairobi to the Kenyan coast.

We rested and enjoyed our comfortable night since we knew it marked the end of our time riding our bikes.

the next day we enjoyed our morning with a swim and walking along the beautiful white sandy beach of Diani until the hours of lunch.

We later drove off to Likoni making our grand entrance at the Child Of Mercy Children Orphanage and got an amazing warm welcome that made us forget all the tiresome uphills and the torturous distances we covered just to get here.

why did I have to write such a long blog telling of such an amazing adventure? Many may be asking, but its never about my friends and I riding our bikes enjoying the beautiful destinations that we made to, I have writing about this because it is our way of sacrificing our time and comfort just to make a change to orphans at the Child of Mercy Orphanage Centre, its been now 2 years of creating impact and changing the lives of the little angels at the orphanage, and we are not stopping but we want to see their lives change to even having them living a better life.

This year we are on it again, being on the road from Nairobi to Mombasa raising funds for the children at the Child Of Mercy Children Orphanage and your support will be highly appreciated as we sacrifice comfort to our time just to make a change in a child’s life.

Someone once said “You have not lived until when you do something for someone who can never repay you”. For any support you wish to give to this initiative details are providing below in the poster, God bless you all and lets keep enjoying adventures

Your support will be of great honour to this great cause in case you need to offer any other support you can get in touch with the lead adventurer

Rakesh Okuku +254717681649

You can contribute any amount from 100 to what you can

Go to Mpesa
Select Lipa na Mpesa
Then Paybill
Enter Business No – 261092
Account No – CHINKUTRAVELS
Followed by Amount, PIN and confirm transaction

Now to the next #ChinkuTravels adventures as i look for more #HiddenKenyanGems

A great Traveler on his Backpacking adventures

Best Kenyan Travel Blogs and Travelers Since I started writing about my backpacking trips and experiences, I have had many questions related to the travels. Some of the aspiring travelers ask about how I afford to travel, why I travel, how I manage to travel solo, where I have traveled to and a few other…

via My Top 10 Kenyan Travelers and Travel Blogs — Kenyan Backpacker

Machakos Spontaneity

I was having the hardest part of all my writing which was to look for where to start my story on how my birthday was and I never had words.

But the Spontaneity character and experience on my birthday gave me ideas on how to share my experience on what I call my most ”Rugged Birthday” I have ever had in my life. I have been on random and unplanned trips before but when my friends

#TravelWithEliud and

Pamfilas Moige

Who called me for my birthday day out I never expected it to turn out as the best unplanned adventure that would now top my list.

I wanted to inquire where they had planned for us to travel to or even what we were to expect for the day but since I have come to love surprises I just agreed on their plan with no question for i still believe in what Zach Anner said “…….Spontaneity is what travel is all about….”

We started our day by boarding public service vehicle to Machakos and started our day near Machakos University in search of fun and making my great day memorable. We started of with a short hike (it looked short not until later) with short stop as we admired the amazing views from every point we took a break to rest or sip some water.

The target was set and we were set to hike up the Kiima Kimwe hill. The hike looked so simple not until when the scorching sun decided to humble us down.

The higher we got the more beautiful the views became. This went on until when we got to Iluvya primary school when i was prompt to ask our guide the usual question when you are tired, “……..kwani hatufiki mwisho???..””” (Aren’t we finishing this hike?) Only for me to get a reply “Sio mbali, tunaenda pale kwa ile centre!!!”” (Not far, we are just headed for that town centre…) It almost broke me down looking how far we were yet to go

Slowly and silently i fell behind walking in denial and also cursing on how my birthday was turning to. But as nature is a blessing to anyone who loves to be outdoor i begun to love the wonderful views of terrace farming which i have seen on the hilly farmlands of Muranga and other places.

Then out of no where we were transversing through people’s farm and they were looking at us in amazement (may be they wondered where the Chinese looking fellow was going with three Kenyans and yet there was no any major road construction in their area)

At last we made it to the rocky dry Ikiwe River that looked so beautiful since its banks are all covered in a rock stretched river bed with patches of water collected in some section of this dried river. Step by step we made to Kivandini Market where we were all over looking for a shop to get water or even something to re – energize our now tired selves. A cold soda came in handy and it felt so relieving drenching our thirst as we enjoyed the views of where we had come from.

The break took long as now we had made it to the main Machakos – Kitui road and it felt like the day had come to an end not until when our guide stood up and requested us to go on since it was not our last destination but just the first break of the day.

Shocked but in silence I followed the rest as they crossed the road and off into a bush trail that was headed up another hill! The only hope we had in us was that our final destination was so beautiful and we might have not seen it before. Slowly we took our steps and that’s when I learnt that our guide is a frequent visitor on this trails he was leading us through since he is an assessor in the Presidential Award scheme so knowledgeable of this Kambaland and his name is Abbass Mabia.

The sun now was showing off with its strength and soaring temperature making us slow down our walking pace till we found ourselves at the gates of Kitulu Secondary which we had earlier been told that it was the point to show us how close we were to our final destination.

Indeed as promised, the views started to be beautiful with the main road down the hill curving itself like a river and it resembles the Kerio Valley views only that at this point you are blessed with a panoramic views of the fertile land of the former Eastern province. We were finally at our targeted final destination known as Rockface, just like the name says, this place is on top of hill all covered by a rock just above the busy Kaseve Market.

The panoramic views were so beautiful that we ended up sitting down to ponder and admire the beautiful artistic works of nature. As we sat there, I couldn’t believe I was to go down this beautiful place and call it a day.

Being my birthday I never saw it being the end of it, I wanted for this day!!!! Jokingly I just said, “….this place looks so perfect for camping, how I wish we can spend a night here!!!!!” Only to be amazed when everyone was in agreement with the idea, nut the challenge was that we never had any plan to camp from morning to that very point……………….

Joy came to us when our guide said he owns some tents and lives so close to Kaseve town!!!! The outdoor spirit in us hit high points and we came up with the idea of doing some shopping as our friend rushed home to pick his camping equipment.

A simple idea turned out to be a reality. we set down to Kaseve town for shopping and when we were ready to go back to our campsite, we got more luck as one Mr Muli, an old man who got interested to our idea of spending a night on a hill offered us some “sufuria”, water and firewood making us feel like his own children with his wonderful stories that made us feel like we knew him for decades.

By now it was about 8:00 Pm when we begun our journey to our campsite, my brother Eliud was with 20 litres f water in a jerrycan, our guide with his bag of camping equipment and firewood, my sister was with some luggage while the chief of camping idea was carrying all the shopping with some bags.

All dark and silent we made to our campsite. Set up a make shift kitchen, and supper got on the fire, while Mr. Abbass and I set up our shelter for the night which became so challenging as tent poles to our big tent had broken calling upon our survival tactics to ensure shelter could be available, then later dinner was served.

When time for bed came, I made a short personal prayer “Dear God, make us see the morning……Amen” God answered my prayers with some rain blessings that was an alarm as one of us got floods on his side forcing him to change position but the night went on so well but cold.

When the morning came, joy was all over us for having survived a night on a rock and my great friend Pamfilas Moige proved to me that indeed not all girls are made of sugar and spice plus all the nice things but there is a number of ladies made up of adventures and true outdoor junkies.

Whenever everyone came out if the tent that we slept in, there was the cerebration look on their faces filled with amazement on how we made it to the next morning. Made our breakfast before going down our campsite to go bid our “good bye” to our new father who was so surprised of how daring we were to leave our comfortable homes in Nairobi just to sleep atop a rock and be joyful for doing it.

Our guide welcomed us to his place to refresh on a cold shower that came in handy with the soaring temperature of Kamba land then later we left for Machakos People’s park. This park is a marvel to its visitor including me who is a frequent visitor and i still agree that Machakos is the “Place to be” so green and beautiful.

That marked my birthday and a wonderful random getaway all without a plan but so memorable. It is still my prayer that more people can realise that travel is very cheap and you don’t need to spend all your savings so that you travel,

camping is what i always advocate for when you want to travel at an affordable budget and if you have no car to yourself don’t worry most of the public service vehicle ply to almost every corner of Kenya or your place of residence. (Dont forget to share your adventure with friends and others)

Hope to see more of #HiddenKenyanGems and learn or even discover more of this beautiful Kenya that is indeed #MagicalKenya keep traveling hope for the next #ChinkuTravels adventure

Kinangop Advenchaaaaa

“Where is home?” This is a question that has so many answers to it. Some say home is where you live, others say home is where you have built on the land that you have purchased or inherited………… For me “Home” is where you go, feel comfortable and welcomed. For it doesn’t matter how many people i know, provided it feels comfortable and so welcoming. I got an invitation by a friend to join them as they escorted one of theirs as he headed back to his village that is found at the foot of the Aberdares Ranges along the famous “Happy Valley” that was once a paradise for the white settlers in Kenya during the pre – independence era. The only reason for me to accept the invitation even with no second thought was that we were meant to cycle all the way across the dense forest of the Aberdares Ranges that is known of the Huge African Elephants that roam the forest. Someone once told me, “the world is shaped by two things:- stories told and the memories they leave behind.” For me this experience has got me to appreciate so much, because the time my friends and i spent on our way to our final destination was priceless which is the main reason why i write my travel adventures just to tell my stories sharing the memories. We met in town (having cycled with an extra bag on my back including my camel back that was packed with water and snacks to energize myself as the cycling day ahead was not a walk in the park. The ride went in smoothly as our tyres roared against the mighty Thika Road headed out of the city, it felt like we were in paradise as we grind down the mighty highway smiling while others tried to see how fast they could go. With our pit stop made at Bubbles along the Gatundu road few kilometers from The mighty Thika were we got the opportunity to re – energize with us feeding well on mandazi, chapati to even a cup (some had cups of tea) From this fill up point things started to play wild!!!! The road started to have sharp descents and surprising up hills where the signal was well received with the message of the day delivered to our muscles. Joy only came when we found small kiosks selling sugarcanes or pineapples and nobody was daring to pass them without stopping to enjoy a bite and taste the pineapples or sugarcanes (for me it was a relief since cycling up hills has remain my biggest cycling weakness, please that’s my secret don’t tell it to my team) some people took the advantage to stretch on the ground and relax The cycling on this route is not a “JOKE” (i had to write the word “joke” in capital letters to insist on my point) I was getting to some point where i was in conversation with my bike as the tyres roared i enjoyed the cool breeze blowing on my face then when things turned ugly on notorious up hills i returned the favour and sung sweet melodies to my bike to sooth it to carry me up the climbs. No soon had we got to the forest than things turned ugly with downhills making up of only 1% of the roads, the only energy that got to help my push and not giving up was the sound of elephants as they broke branches of the green trees by the road side which was helpful because i got re – energized automatically as i ran away in fear of being charged after by a wild African elephant (it played a major role of getting me to our final destination even if darkness made a friend of mine and I find an alternative to the final destination) We made it to Kinagop and the home of our dear friend who we had come to see off to his village and got the warmest welcome i have so far received in 2017 . It felt so much like we were truly at home when you get people to call you “…..watoto wangu” (my children) and get to have a new home far from Home. Warm tea and delicious food was served to give us energy that we had burnt down on our ride during the day. Our joy came to our hearts when we heard that in the bone biting coldness of this foothill of Aberdares ranges there was hot water and many warm blankets for our night in our new home. The best part of every overnight cycling is when you are resting sharing the personal experience of the day, laughing and giving advice to each other on how to improve or turn to a better cyclist. This is also a time that you realise that cyclists are not just good o two wheels but they have got hidden talents as jokers to comedians and even the greatest story tellers you can ever know meet. On the next day it was another return journey back to the busy hustle of the mighty city of Nairobi as we were to cycle all the way back to our homes in the city. After a well packed breakfast, we set off with our homes as our set final destination some few kilometres away from where we were (yes very few about 120km away) Off we were enjoying smooth ride on almost an empty road being a Sunday and we took a stomach filling pitstop at Njabini town to refill our stomach in an early lunch break. How i miss that sweet pure milk tea and genuine “mandanzis” that were totally packed not like the air pumped ones that we enjoy in Nairobi. After enjoying our early lunch we set off and joined the main Nakuru – Nairobi highway This shall remain in memory as the coldest ride or section for my 2017 cycling so far . it suddenly became so so so so so so so cold (how many “so” did i mention?) Some friends decided to become “Ninjas” as a way to reduce the cold from biting our eyes leaving out our legs that were enjoying the it being in cycling shorts Our joy was that we bundled ourselves into a line to pace each other along the highway and enjoying speeding down passing people stuck in the traffic which at times made me feel like waving at them as i pass by them looking at us as we disappeared before their eyes We made it back home safe and sound and now contemplating if i should also invite cyclist to my village and they should also enjoy a beautiful countryside ride!!! Above is the team at our lunch stop at “Lebanon Butchery and Hotel” in Njambini town, we are cyclists but above all i can say we are a big happy family who love spending time together exploring this beautiful Kenya on two wheel as we burn fats as others burn fuel in their cars. #ChinkuTravels

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Why we think a visit to East Africa Rock city is not complete without a stay at Waghill lodge and spa.

LUXURY TRAVEL IN EAST AFRICA

One of those moments your fingers ache to type… Unlike many other times, I am on a roof top restaurant in Mwanza town the R00ck city as the locals like calling it. Rock city is Tanzania’s second largest town. The geographical features around this town are quite interesting and breathtaking at the same time. For a moment I almost forgot my immigration woes earlier after a journey of 650km from Nairobi to Mwanza, the border Immigration officer in Isebania Border made me feel like I was in an interrogation room and to some point I just told Him to give me back my papers and go back to Nairobi; talk of catching feelings hehe! The most annoying thing is, he had already stamped them…and it took the intervention of modern coast management for him to let me go, But now I am brighter, no matter what you are going to…

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