Travel Myths That Are Wrong

1. Travel is expensive

This for long has been the reason why many people don’t travel. It has been assumed and told for decades that travel is expensive however this is not true. The secret that not many share is that:- You need to save for your travel, plan ahead before your travel and then use public transport it saves alot.

2. Travel is not safe

Traveling is very safe if you take your time to Observe the surroundings, If you fear for security then join group travels, if you are dating like some of us just trust your guts and go, and always know that what the media says about a given place may not be so accurate for example if you hear that Samburu is full of bandits it’s not the whole of samburu you may be surprised that bandits are 200km from the Samburu you want to visit.

3. Don’t eat street food

Here the rule is very simple for all travellers, “if it doesn’t look good don’t eat it”. Personally when I am travelling and I need to eat street food I eat at the place with long ques or “kibanda” with many people rather than the one with few people eating there

4. You shouldn’t travel solo

This is not true, for long I have know that travel is about courage supported by little money. Solo travel is my best because it doesn’t give me limitation as I do things as by my plans and my wish. Solo travel is also my best because it gives me a chance to discover myself. Through solo travel I get to know my weakness and above my strength as everything I am doing it as by myself. Lastly solo traveling will always get you to meet like minded people.

5. Travel isn’t safe for women

For now the emerging numbers of female travellers has gone up compared to the male travellers. It is safe for anyone to travel even if you are a female. As you travel all you need to do is be friendly and people will become your friends who will end up being your guides and show you places worth a visit or places that are safe for you. Before you travel also you need to ask for tips and experiences from others in order to be prepared. Then finally, try so hard to even speak a work of the local destination you are planning to visit they will always appreciate your effort and you will be safe on your journey. Some of female travellers doing great in traveling include the following Marion of Scrapbook Journeys , Rheen Ruby of Backpacking east africa , LG Shiks of Village girl adventures , Wangechi Gitahi travels , Bonita on safari among other ladies who are traveling all over the country and region of east Africa.

5. Travel is not easy

This is not true because it all needs early planning unless you are random person as I am. But you need to plan early enough before your journey starts as it will help you plan your schedule and you will be knowing where, when and what to do as by your plans. Also as you travel to avoid fatigue always set aside some time for breaks during your travel to avoid getting tired and also to give your self sometime to rest.

How cheap is Traveling?

Looks like the year is on a free gear! The way days are rushing and months are running out of days looks like 2021 has had enough of us and wants us to have a rest after we have got enough skills on how to survive and celebrate after 10 months.

Been traveling on short getaways withing my residence town of Nairobi and out of the city but not as much as before the COVID-19 due to restrictions or new requirements demanded on travellers.

However, whenever I talk about travelling or when I do write about my travel experience, one question always arises which today I will try to answer in the shortest and easiest way I can. The question everyone always asks me is “……..is traveling really cheap as you always write and showcase in your pictures and blogs?”

Yes indeed, as I will be sharing some of the tactics I use that enable me to enjoy my travel and makes me say Travel is cheap. Here are my 5 travel tips that makes my travel cheap:

1. Research about Destination to visit:

Random travel is great and I do them once in a while but it has never been so random for me as I would have done a research about the destination may be months before my travel and added the destination into my long list then out of nowhere a friend tells me of his/her plans to visit same destination only then would I jump into the idea after sharing our prior research that include Places to visit, the security status, where to stay at and so much. So before you pack those bags, do enough research about your destination and you will enjoy your visit and avoid the “surprise character” involved with no prior planning

2. Travel in the Off-season

This has always been my best secret behind my many travel adventures. Just like it is known we got the High season and low season in traveling. What you may not have known is that a hotel charging so highly in the high seasons could be very affordable in the low season. Personally destinations like the Mara to the Coastal beach holidays I always ensure I am visiting them during the low season, I do everything the opposite for example when everyone is rushing in booking their December holidays in Mombasa, you will find me rushing to western Kenya and other destinations that are on their low seasons and my pockets is always at peace since it’s less cheaper compared to goin for a holiday to the coast which I would go there after schools are opened back and holidays are over.

3. Cheap doesn’t mean you are poor

Many travellers say traveling is expensive because they believe that if they travel cheap, stay in cheap hostels or guest houses, eat cheap they will look poor…..

Personally when I am travelling I will be looking for the cheapest prices in almost everything for example I got tired of paying for rooms that are expensive so I opted to investing in camping equipments.

It has saved my the cost for accomodation, the cost of meals as I cook for myself and finally saved on my travel expenses, nowadays I allocate myself have the cost I used to spend in accomodation, so if you want to enjoy travel remember “cheap doesn’t mean poor”

5. Pack in backpack/hand luggage (pack small)

Something many travellers fail to do is packing small. How do I pack small or lightly? Please don’t laugh but it works for me and this is how I do it

(a) I don’t pack more than one sweater or jacket one is always enough for me

(b) I pack not more than 5 tshirts since I wear and wash them so develop the wash and wear culture

(c) I never pack more light or white clothes they catch dirt so easily park more dark clothes that show no or catch less dirt

(d) I don’t over pack, am always have only the essentials and less things with me, I pack even in a small backpack and I will away for weeks

4. Use public service Vehicles

Why would you hire a car to travel yet it would save you so much if you used a PSV? I have travel far and wide using public service Vehicles which I found it cheaper and cost saving as it cuts expenses by a half. It’s also in this PSVs that you will be told by a local of a waterfall, or you will learn of the history or even get yourself a local guide to show you around the destination. At times even the drivers of this vehicle are the ones who end up telling me more about the destination am visiting also they show you many hidden Gems that even the online friend called google has never heard of. So just pop into that bus, mini van, or even those market

All in all, don’t fear to travel as it being expensive is a myth that needs many fear to break away from. Hope to see more people back in travelling spirit with the easing of Travel.

#ChinkuTravels

KICC;- 48 years of identity

Today 48 years ago on 11th September 1973 Nairobi was gifted an iconic tower that for now 48 years has been the identity of Nairobi from the postal stamps, postcards and even first time visitors to the city.

KICC ( Kenyatta International Convention Centre) has stood and seen time and history get shaped from it’s centre point and towering unique beauty. Since it’s official opening in 1973 it has played host to many events from it’s first international event : The World bank Conference to many others.

It’s construction was in 3 phases that included the main tower, a podium and the plenary that makes it an amazing architectural feature mixed by mixed history behind it’s design. The most confusing is that of recent when David Mutiso an architect who was among other who were involved in it’s construction said the idea of the design came from the shape of the “donkeys penis” however after reading and research further I got to find out that Norwegian architect Karl Henrik Nøstvik who was the main architect was inspired by the tulip flower where by the circular conference hall represent a budding tulip flower to represent “un independ Kenya” while the main tower represent the full bloomed tulip flower meaning an independent and free Kenya”

The Sh80 million and 28-storey building stood as tallest structure in Nairobi and Kenya up until 2000 upon the construction of Kenya’s economic tower known as Times Tower building just imagine it stood as an iconic tall building in Kenya for 27 years

Today the building is an attraction to many visitors as it’s one of the few places that can grant you a 360° view of the city and it’s surrounding from the Helipad open to the public for visit but at a cost. One of my favourite thing about this tower is that on a lucky day you can have a view of Mt. Kenya and Mt. Kilimanjaro but on a very clear sky above all the view is one to love which also shows the layout of the city from the industrial area to the beautiful Ngong hills that once got to be named as one of the most romantic place in Kenya.

Some few days back the helipad had been closed from the public but just few hours back it has been officially open back for visitors to enjoy the beautiful views of our evolving and towering city. It remains as one of my favourite destination among the many in Nairobi.

When visiting Nairobi just pay a visit to this iconic building and enjoy the views and architectural beauty. Charges are as follows

Citizens Ksh 200, Residents Ksh 200, Foreigners Ksh 400

Or you can Join Nairobi On Foot on their Nairobi city walk tours that are now known as #TheCityWeAssume

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Life lessons With Covid19

I read somewhere this statement and during this pandemic of Corona, I have seen them turn to reality. “..The one who notice the storm in your eyes, the silence in your voice and the heaviness in your heart Those are the ones  you need to let in.. “

Halo everyone, the silence has been so loud and my time on the road has been way below my average. Before Covid travel used to define where the sunset would meet us or where we shall enjoy the Sunrise. However, since Covid broke the news, traveling has been so limited and strict where we became so mindful of the destination and preparedness one

However, I am on the other side of the coin where am glad there has been too many lessons we have learnt with the arrival of the pandemic and also we got to appreciate so much that we took for granted. Biggest lessons is that many have got to know who their true friends are after going months without work, we got to see true friends check on each other and above all we got to appreciate life.

It has been an year plus and we have now kind of adapted living with covid, we have adopted the purchasing of hand sanitisers, wearing of masks to limited handshakes and above all personal hygiene has been improving day in day out.

If you got friends who checked on you just remember those are your true friends and worth to keep. If someone came to offer a shoulder to lean on after job loss, and other down moments that’s a heaven sent and we need to appreciate them as they are our new heroes and we keep on checking on each other.

Keep safe and let’s enjoy the new forms of adventures in masks as we keep social distance, to washing and sanitizing our hands and we shall be able to end this pandemic as normal travel is getting back

1st half of 2021

The silence has been so loud! Yes I have been so silent and posted nor written any blog for a long time sorry for the silence and not sharing any of my Travel Stories as by my blog driven goal.

Some day ago I was watching the America Got Talent show and one of the contestants called “Nightbirdie said these words before Judge Simon Cowell gave her a golden buzzer “You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy”

The words took me on a journey of thoughts of how times have changed since COVID19 broke down people’s careers, took away others and turned life around. But those words from NightBirdie made me realize that indeed we don’t really have to wait for the good times to be happy but always find an opportunity to shine your smile and make others happy

Here is the 1st half of the year and so far so good. Can’t wait to end it well above all live a happy life no matter the hardship that life challenges bring along.

Hyena Caves and the other beauty of Kangundo

They say it’s the place to be, Machakos county indeed. What does the name Machakos mean when you hear of it? It was adopted from the Akamba seer who was known as Masaku, he welcomed the British in Kambaland in 1887, when the area was established as the first administrative centre for the new British East Africa colony (so let’s call it first capital City) with a fort built by Mr Fredrick Jackson of Imperial British East Africa Company but later demolished in 1921 with only two invaluable pillars which mark the site found at Machakos Police Station)

Felt like an introduction to a history class sorry for that but I just wanted you to have memories of that history class back in school. Anyway, I had planned my visit with an aom of setting foot on some hidden Gems in this location and my first was the amazing Komarock Catholic shrine. The main reason for my visit was the 70 feet tall concrete statue  of Mary holding her son Jesus as he was brought down from the cross. It’s a nice place for meditation and religious visit as there is a well define trail for the “way of the cross”

Later on I set foot into Kangundo town as I searched for another amazing destination called Kanzalu hill a place I heard that it was famous for paragliders.

This is more like the view point of Mt Oldonyo Sambuk it is more like a replica of Amboseli National park and Mt Kilimanjaro as at the top of the rock crop you are blessed with a beautiful view of Yatta Plateau below your feet

and at the far horizon Mt Kilimambogo or known as Oldonyo Sambuk stands boldly with a spot view of Masinga dam to the furthest corner.

It’s a great place for photography and a short hike also a picnic site as you take in the beauty of nature

Later my last destination which I never really knew not heard of until the boda boda riders requested to take me there which I agreed due to its curios name, ‘Maima Ma Mbiti’ and my adventure spirit boiled more when it was translated to “Hyena Caves” that was enough to make me add more zeros to the initial cost of bodaboda ride

Crawling in the caves underground that run for many metres is just an amazing experience it felt as though I was in chyulu hills or the Shetani lava caves but was glad I got to visit and explore this region of machakos above all Kangundo area which I was surprised there is a great number of nice hotels like Nguluni Savana lodge where a swim was necessary and a meal to fill my stomach.

There is so much to be explored in our amazing country beyond the traditional destinations all it needs it time sacrifice and willingness to go beyond the known. Happy new week and to the next adventure #ChinkuTravels

Natural wonder in Kirinyaga county

Aristotle once said “….in all things of nature there is something of the marvelous…….” This words came true on my visit and exploration of Kirinyaga county and I was amazed to an agreement that indeed Kenya has not been fully explored!!!

Some days ago I was on the road as usual after the #HiddenKenyanGems that have been of my concentration. Just less than 2 hours I was on a diet road with many residents of my destination not even minding my presence only to discover they had got used to my cousins who are constructing a water dam in this area I had set foot (for once I felt at home and less a stranger)

It had been long and strange to me when I had of a place called “Ndaraca ya Ngai” (God’s bridge ) and that’s the main reason I was here. This is a place that is full of marvel and wonders!

It is a natural bride and as locals say, it is only God who could have built it. When you walk under the bridge you get amazing by the beautiful rock carvings under and the calmness of the river crossing on its way to the Indian ocean. It is said one is required not disturb this beauty and natural phenomenon as it may bring bad luck and mystery when you pluck the small rocks or stones. The place becomes great when you find resident boys diving in the bone chilling cold waters and they swim by the flow of the mighty river.

Later on in my visit I headed out to the most beautiful waterfall I have seen in this region! Thiba falls. Yes if you remember our Primary school Geography we were taught of Two rivers called Nyamindi and Thiba that drain all the way to the Indian ocean as they form the mighty Tana River (hope I have recalled my GHC days Asante Sana Mr Njogu)

Do you love enjoying a picnic or meditation? At the foot of this waterfall is a nice spot to chill, lay out your picnic mat and enjoy your moments away from the busy life of the city.

It is such destinations that give me more morale to keep on setting pace after the sun and the moon just to discover more of our beautiful country has got to offer as a destination, let’s keep exploring and if you know of beautiful hidden Kenyan Gems even back in your village just share it with me on my social media platforms as I am Called @ChinkuTravels

THE MOST DIFFICULT/ CHALLENGING DAY HIKE IN KENYA.. ELEPHANT HILL IN ABERDARES

Imagine a hill with the “elephant name”

GISH TRAVELS

A picturesque of elephant hill from a distance

Kenya is a haven of beautiful and amazing hills where hiking enthusiasts’ are always in the search of the next challenging hike.

Approaching Point Despair( desparando)

ELEPHANT HILL HIKE

Elephant hills is located in the beautiful Aberdares ranges with a number of ascend routes, however the most prominent and common is through Njabini Forest Gate 100kms from Nairobi.

Njabini forest station- Start point

Elephant Hill is considered the best prep mountain for anyone doing Mt Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro, as it has a combinations of challenges one will face in the 2 big hikes, The highest point being the (elephant Head point )at 3600MASL/ 12000FT ASL..

Elephant hill hike has proved to many hikers as a challenging hike, The first part from the Gate to the Main electricity fence is a combination of Easy to moderate, but the section from the fence…

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2days away and Found a lovely place

I got an invite by friends to join in a familiarization trip to Elementaita a destination that as by me is taking over from the Lovely and beautiful Naivasha.

On our way I found myself lost on “Professor Google” and landed on “Timeless Quotes About Love” and of the many this one made me Realize why Love has got a month dedicated to it alone, Valentine was the name given to celebrate LOVE “………..Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit. The best thing to hold onto in life is each other. It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams…… “

I sound like a man in love in this blog, am I? I don’t know what to say but all I say I feel much of self love. I am one person who believes Valentine’s day is not about those in love as couples but it’s a day to share Love with friends, relatives to everyone we love.

Anyway, am done with this love talk let’s get back to our roadtrip. On the Planned trip we were headed to one amazing destination an accomodation facility and it’s name is Zeituni Lodge one beautiful Hotel with amazing views of Lake Elementaita to the wildlife packed Soysambu

On our arrival, a holiday mood was set up, the rooms are one spacious set up with touch of perfection fit for you to forget the home far and makes you really feel at Home at this amazing place that delives it’s name from “olive” in Swahili and the Peace representation of an Olive is kept alive from the rooms, to the dinning area all the way to views as you dip into the pool.

What can one do while enjoying his or her stay at Zeituni Lodge? There is suprisingly so much as it’s just next door neighbour to Kariandusi Pre-historic site and Lake Elementaita a world heritage site, then it’s also got great hiking destinations all around it from the beautiful sculpted Sleeping warrior hill to the amazing Table mountains that has a rewarding hot spring.

Just as keeping to the Peaceful set up there is a bar and an amazing restaurant to a campsite that acts also as a team building ground. If you are looking for a place to share love with those you love I highly recommend Zeituni lodge and you will truly understand why the olive branch represents Peace which is what this Lodge gives it’s guests

As I end my Adventure on retuning to the city I found another amazing Love quote (may be this Valentine’s day I may share my love with someone I care, or very close to me) so the quote that I found is from Henry Miller and it says “…….The only thing we never get enough of is love; and the only thing we never give enough of is love….. ”

So share Love in this month and the whole year let Love define your day all year long

What’s next for Nairobi?

Was having dinner at Kenya Comfort Hotel within the Nairobi City Business District and a question came to mind which for a good time has bothered me.

One of the beautiful rooms at Kenya Comfort Hotel
Finishing dinner at Sokoni restaurant

The question is simples as “Is Nairobi worthy as an inbound destination rather than start and end of Visitors? “

At the KICC helipad

This is one thing that has not been fully explored. I believe the city itself can be a complete destination on its own just like what Naivasha, Samburu, Masai Mara and others. The city can have weekend or even a week long staycation for residents and visitors to the city.

View point at Uhuru park

Imagine we got a whole national park, a good number of wildlife reserves, great activities available in the city like bowling, Ice skating, to farms for coffee, tea and so much all at just reach in minutes but what have stakeholders done with this? Not enough to make Nairobi attractive as a destination but stuck the city as the start and end of every visitors instead of making it a worthy inbound destination.

Moments at National Museum

It’s my prayer as I put my hard work in my little effort to see the little I can do to see my view of the city change from a mere transit destination to more of an inbound destination where people can visit and experience what the city has under it’s sleeves

Railway museum

Enjoy your weekend and may your new month be filled with adventures

Quadbiking at 14falls lodge, Thika