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The Marsabit Lake Turkana Festival is one of those “must attend” festivals in Kenya. The festival has been held annually in Loiyangalani since 2008 and it brings together the 14 communities found within the county who are dominantly pastoral and have preserved their culture. You will interact with communities like the Turkana, Samburu , Borana, Gabbra , Rendile , El Molo , Somali, Burji ,Konso, Sakuye ,Waata, Garee, Wayu, and Dassanatch, the last 5 I learnt of their existence at the festival.These communities are stereotyped to be enemies due to the many incidences of banditry in the region, but here , they were all, eating , drinking, singing and dancing together.  The air in Loiyangalani was charged, super charged. The excitement of the people was almost tangible and equally contagious. The locals were expectant of the “fruits” the festival would bring the town whilst I was expectant of what I…

Isiolo We arrived in Isiolo from Meru after a near mis-hap and after discovering that the two towns were only about 53km apart. Isiolo is mainly inhabited by the Borana community and since I know little about the community, I thought it would be a great, mind opening experience. The area also has a high Muslim community who are dominantly conservative, thus, I would advise one to dress modestly. Upon arrival, we were met with challenge upon challenge. One, the ladies seemed averse to talking to strangers which means we had near nil interaction with them. Two, we had been advised not to engage the men as it is culturally inappropriate.  After several attempts, we gave up, clearly, we wouldn’t have the cultural integration experience we had hoped for. Three, when we asked the other locals for suggestions on places of interest in Isiolo, they all seemed to have no…

Meru is located about 271km from Nairobi and its main income earner is farming. The main language spoken here is “Meru” and the people here are  thus referred to as “Ameru”. Our trip here was filled with highs and lows and  the following activities: 1. Sampling  local delicacies I sampled some of the loacl traditional dishes like pumpkin soup, mukimu and chicken which I greatly enjoyed. The “Mukimu” was made from maize and peas boiled together, then boiled potatoes are added and then mashed together. This was accompanied by “kienyeji”  chicken which means traditional chicken and was very tasty. Party: We sampled the party scene in Meru town and were greatly suprised at how vibrant it was. The establishment we visited was packed, the music great and the overall mood awesome. 2.  Head to Mukulu  Our visit to Meru was hit by several bottle necks. As we travelled there, we…

This is a must attend festival that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Mombasa in itself is one of those places I can’t get enough of. Once, twice, numerous times is never enough.Everything from the amazing beaches, to the beauty that is the Indian Ocean, to the diverse cultures that live there, to the well preserved historical places like Fort Jesus, the list is endless. When I heard about the cultural event, and knowing how I am really attracted to cultures, I bent backwards to ensure that I got to attend it. I am very glad I did as I got to experience the below. A) Borana Culture I hardly knew much about the Borana community before this, so  seeing them exposing their culture was outstanding. They out did themselves in showcasing various elements of their culture from their food, clothing, music and dance among others. They are also pastoralists by…

 What inspired my first, solo, backpacking expedition in Kenya you may wonder? Well, curiosity and a moment of insanity may be to blame I believe. Most people who know or have heard of Northern Kenya have the perception that the area is dry, undeveloped and is a security threat to all due to the numerous insecurity cases ranging from cattle rustling to deadly inter community/clan clashes. One may thus wonder, why, of all places , I chose this area. Well, it is only after one of my foreign readers queried on the safety of solo, female backpackers travelling in Kenya that it hit me, I didn’t actually know, as I had never traveled solo in Kenya. My conscience wouldn’t be clear if I responded with a generic response as all my articles and information are about my actual, personal experiences. My brain thus conjured this amazing albeit insane plan that…

All I had ever heard about Northern Kenya was negative. Community clashes, banditry, drought, poverty, among others. Thus as I ventured off, this is all I was prepared to see and experience. I was however greatly impressed with the beauty that is Northern Kenya and thus will share both the good and the bad, everything has two sides like a coin, right? 1. Friendly People The people I met on this venture were very friendly. Yes, at first most were skeptic of this “stranger”, but with time, most became my friends and others felt like family. They are very warm, smiling seems like a part of them and they will go out of their way to make one feel welcome. 2: Rich Culture This region is over flowing with culture. The communities here have managed to shrug off being consumed by the foreign culture opting to appreciate their vibrant culture.…

 Loiyangalani, home of Lake Turkana was to be my last stop on my backpacking solo, overland, via public means, from Nairobi to Northern Kenya expedition. I thus approached it from Baragoi via hitch hiking a lorry/truck. This was not my preferred mode of transport but after having stayed in Baragoi for about five days and discovering that there are no public vehicles from there to Loiyangalani, this was my only option. When we heard that a truck/lorry heading there had stopped over in the town, I hurriedly went to talk to the driver and plead my case. He eventually agreed albeit one condition, I would have to sit atop the railings of the truck/lorry as its front and back compartment were full with luggage. I did not hesitate, if this is how it would have to happen, then that is how we would travel. I however did it with my heart…

Everyone I asked about how to get to Lake Turkana from Suguta Marmar had the same response, “Nani huenda huko” which is swahili for, “who goes there?” I thus opted to proceeed to Maralal town hoping to get help there seeing as it is a big town. After several failed attempts, we found a lady who was honest enough to tell us why no one was helping our pursuit.  She spoke to us like a worried mother and said, ” Wasichana wenye huenda huko ni wasichana wanaenda na wanaume wazungu ama wazee”   which translates to,” the girls who travel there are those who are travelling with male foreigners or old men.” (Ouch). However, I think just seeing the look in our eyes, the backpacks on our backs and the lack of foreign or old men around us, seemed to settle her and she informed us that we would need…

Suguta Marmar and Maralal towns are found in Samburu County, which is located in the Northern region of Kenya and is dominantly occupied by the  Samburu tribe/community. My decision to delve into this region which doesn’t fall into the usual “tourist” areas especially for backpackers, was guided both by the urge to solve a mystery as well as satisfy my adventurous spirit. One of my foreign readers had queried on the safety of solo, female backpackers travelling in Kenya and it hit me, I didn’t actually know, as I had never traveled solo in Kenya. My conscience wouldn’t be clear if I responded with a generic response as all my articles and information are about my actual, personal experiences. My brain thus conjured this amazing albeit insane plan that I should attempt to backpack via public means, solo, overland from Nairobi to Lake Turkana in Loiyangalani. I figured, if I…

Nyeri is located in Central Kenya which is in the highlands. It is thus generally cool all year round which provides good weather for farming of both livestock and crops. Coffee and tea are a common cash crop in the area even in small farms. The grade from this area is regarded highly as generally, the quality and grade of tea and coffee from Kenya is world renown. It is also home to the second highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kenya as well as the Aberdares National Park.  It is dominated by the Agikuyu tribe who are famous for their love of farming and business expertise. Below are some activities I would highly recommend to make you “cool” in Nyeri. 1.Visit the tea  farms The tea farms normally look like lush green grass from a distance and it is only when one gets close, that you see the tea leaves.…

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