Destinations

  • Africa Amini: an Authentic Alternative to a Maasai Boma

    Vika
    August 7, 2023

    The Maasai Boma villages of northern Tanzania are popular tourist attractions. While the idea of visiting one of these settlements may appear intriguing, there is an alternative that allows you to immerse yourself in the essence of Africa while respecting the local communities and supporting sustainable tourism.

    In this post, we will look at the reasons why Africa Amini Life should be your top choice for an unforgettable Maasai adventure.

    Check out our article on why you should reconsider a visit to a Maasai Boma.

    Africa Amini Life's Maasai lodge offers an authentic and ethical cultural experience in the Maasai heartlands.

    Africa Amini Life: an ethical and authentic alternative

    Ethical tourism and sustainable practices

    Africa Amini, located in the heart of Tanzania, embodies the principles of ethical tourism and sustainable practices. Unlike visiting a Maasai Boma settlement, where the intrusion of tourists can disrupt the traditional way of life, Africa Amini Life provides a balanced and respectful encounter with the local culture. The lodge actively collaborates with nearby Maasai communities, ensuring that their traditions are upheld while generating economic opportunities that benefit the entire community.

    Authentic cultural exchange

    At Africa Amini, you have the opportunity to engage in authentic cultural exchanges with the Maasai people. Through organized activities, such as guided village walks and interactive workshops, you can learn about their way of life, traditions, and customs directly from the Maasai themselves. This immersive experience fosters genuine connections, enabling you to gain a deeper understanding of their rich heritage.

    The Maasai experience

    Africa Amini Lodge offers a unique blend of comfortable accommodations and the untamed beauty of the African wilderness. The lodge features earth houses in a replicated Maasai village, each powered by solar energy and with European-standard amenities. With breathtaking views of the Maasai Steppe, Mount Meru, the sacred Mount Mukuru, and the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro, the lodge really embraces the surrounding natural environment. Unwind and immerse yourself in the tranquil atmosphere surrounded by wildlife.

    Engage in meaningful community projects

    By choosing Africa Amini Life, you actively contribute to various community projects focused on education, healthcare, and social support. These initiatives are dedicated to improving the lives of the Maasai people and the surrounding communities. Through your stay, you become a part of the positive impact, supporting sustainable development and empowering local people.

    Wildlife safaris and nature experiences

    Africa Amini also serves as a gateway to unforgettable wildlife safaris and nature experiences. Located near the Arusha National Park, you can set out on guided tours to witness the diverse flora and fauna, including giraffes, zebras, elephants, and countless bird species. With the guidance of experienced and knowledgeable local guides, you will create cherished memories as you explore the natural wonders of Tanzania.

    Shadows Of Africa recommends

    If you are interested in an authentic Maasai experience, our safari experts at Shadows Of Africa recommend a stay at Africa Amini Life. Based on our extensive experience and the reviews from our clients, the best option for your adventure into the Maasai culture is a stay at Africa Amini.

    When it comes to experiencing the true spirit of Africa, Africa Amini Life stands out as an exceptional choice for travelers seeking an ethical and authentic encounter with the Maasai culture. By embracing sustainable tourism practices, engaging in cultural exchanges, and supporting community projects, you become a responsible traveler, leaving a positive impact on the local communities and environment.

    Masai Image

  • Why You Should Reconsider Visiting a Maasai Boma

    Vika
    August 7, 2023

    In recent years, the allure of Maasai culture has attracted a lot of tourism to Boma settlements, leading to an increase in visitors seeking to experience firsthand the unique traditions and lifestyle of the Maasai people.

    However, we see that for a lot of travelers, this is not the experience they hoped for. Are you thinking of adding a Boma visit to your Tanzania travel itinerary? Have a read through below and decide for yourself if it is the right experience for you.

    A Maasai Boma is a traditional settlement inhabited by the Maasai people, an indigenous ethnic group primarily found in Tanzania & Kenya. The Maasai are known for their rich cultural heritage, distinctive attire, and pastoral way of life centered around herding livestock. A typical Maasai Boma consists of several small huts, or kraals, constructed from mud, sticks, and cow dung, forming a protective enclosure for their families and livestock.


    While the idea of visiting a Maasai Boma settlement in Africa may initially seem captivating, it is crucial to consider the experience and what your expectations are. Although the allure of experiencing an authentic African culture firsthand may be tempting, it is essential to approach these encounters with a realistic sense of what this type of experience offers.

    In this post, we will look at the reasons why you should carefully consider visiting a Maasai Boma settlement, and look at an enjoyable, ethical and authentic alternative for your African adventure.

    The negatives of a Maasai Boma visit:

    Exploitative/staged tourism practices

    In some cases, visiting a Maasai Boma settlement can perpetuate exploitative tourism practices. Tourist interactions may become commercialized, with staged performances and inauthentic experiences designed solely for visitor entertainment. This commodification of culture can reduce their rich heritage to spectacle and contribute to a distorted representation of their traditions. At the same time, the experience is often disappointing for the traveler.

    A typical Maasai Boma visit takes anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour. Many Bomas are staged for tourism reception and are not actually inhabited. A tip and/or purchase of materials made by the Maasai women is expected/heavily encouraged on one of these visits.

    A limited glimpse into a fascinating culture

    While visiting a Maasai Boma settlement can provide a small glimpse into the fascinating culture of the Maasai people, it is important to recognize that this experience may not offer a fully immersive understanding of their way of life. Due to time constraints and the transient nature of tourism, interactions with the Maasai community in a Boma setting can often be superficial and limited.

    If you have a deep interest in experiencing the authentic essence of the Maasai culture and forming genuine connections, a more comprehensive and meaningful alternative can be found in the Africa Amini Life Lodge.

    africa amini life masai lodge

    The positives of Maasai Boma visit:

    Accessibility on a safari itinerary

    The location of the boma’s are adapted to the most popular safari trails. With limited disruption to your program you can have a quick taste of Maasai culture. Depending on the time you have to spend on safari, this could be a good option to add a Maasai experience to your trip.

    Shadows Of Africa recommends: Africa Amini Life, an enjoyable, ethical and authentic alternative

    If you are interested in an authentic Maasai experience, our safari experts at Shadows Of Africa recommend a stay at Africa Amini Life Lodge. Based on our extensive experience and the reviews from our clients, the best option for your adventure into the Maasai culture is a stay at Africa Amini.

    Africa Amini Life’s Maasai lodge offers an authentic and ethical cultural experience in the Maasai heartlands. It offers many things that a standard Maasai Boma visit does not.

    Check out our article on why you should choose a stay at Africa Amini for your Maasai adventure. Africa Amini Life Lodge is an ethical and authentic alternative to a Maasai Boma.

  • Tanzania Yellow Fever Requirements

    Vika
    August 1, 2023

    Are you planning a trip to Tanzania and wondering about the yellow fever vaccination requirements? You'll be glad to know that the majority of travelers do not require the yellow fever vaccine for their journey to this breathtaking destination.

    Tanzania is considered a low-risk country for yellow fever, making it safe to travel without the need for this vaccination.

    In this article, we will look at the specifics of Tanzania’s yellow fever vaccination requirements, explain what yellow fever is, and offer guidance on receiving the vaccine, to ensure you have a safe and worry-free journey to Tanzania.

    Do I need a yellow fever vaccination for Tanzania?

    The vast majority of travelers do not require the yellow fever vaccine to travel to Tanzania. Tanzania has been classified as posing a low risk of yellow fever by the World Health Organization.

    If you are from a country with no risk of yellow fever, you won't need the yellow fever vaccine as part of your essential travel vaccinations. Travelers coming directly from Europe or the United States do not need to meet any yellow fever vaccine requirements, and do not need the yellow fever vaccine to enter Tanzania.

    What is yellow fever?

    Yellow fever is a viral disease primarily transmitted through the bites of infected female mosquitoes. The illness is characterized by flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and nausea. In some cases, the disease can progress to a severe and even life-threatening form.

    Tanzania is safe from yellow fever, but it is endemic in other parts of Africa and poses a public health concern in those areas. Vaccination is the most effective preventive measure against the virus, and it plays a crucial role in controlling outbreaks and protecting vulnerable populations.

    Tanzania yellow fever requirements

    You will only need to provide proof of yellow fever vaccination upon arrival to Tanzania if you are traveling from a country with a risk of the virus. As of 2023, neither Europe nor the United States is included in this high-risk list. Please refer to the full list of Yellow Fever high-risk countries.

    An important note, however: if you are transiting through one of the yellow fever high-risk countries for a period of 12 hours or more, you will be required to receive the yellow fever vaccination to enter Tanzania.

    In these cases, we strongly advise you to consult your doctor and check Tanzania's vaccination requirements with a healthcare professional before your travel.

    Receiving the yellow fever vaccination for travel

    The yellow fever vaccine is typically administered as a single dose, which provides long-lasting immunity against the disease, and should be administered at least 10 days before your trip to ensure sufficient protection.

    The vaccine should be administered by a qualified healthcare professional in an authorized vaccination center, and you must obtain proof of vaccination from your doctor or health professional in order to travel in high-risk areas.

    If your doctor advises against the vaccine due to underlying health issues or other medical factors, you can still travel with an official letter from your doctor. Presenting this letter to the immigration officer upon arrival will waive the vaccination requirement, allowing your trip to proceed as planned.

    For more detailed information about yellow fever vaccination requirements when traveling in Africa, please contact your local healthcare professional.

    Interested in more information about health and safari? Have a look at our blog: What vaccinations do I need for Africa?

    Shadows of Africa makes every effort to ensure the information above is correct at the time of publishing: but please note updates may occur. So although we provide you with information on the Yellow Fever entry requirements, this is provided as a guideline only. Shadows of Africa will not be liable if any information regarding the entry requirements provided by us is incorrect. Kindly ensure you check the latest requirements before departure applicable to your unique circumstances.

  • What to Pack for Your African Safari

    Vika
    July 21, 2023

    The ultimate guide to packing for an African safari adventure!

    Are you ready to embark on an African safari? It is an exhilarating experience filled with breathtaking landscapes, diverse wildlife, and captivating cultures.

    However, to properly enjoy the experience, you need to be prepared. What you pack will make all the difference on your safari. Pack wisely and be prepared for the unique conditions you may encounter.

    Protect yourself: In the African wilderness, there are unique risks and dangers, but with the right preparation, you can easily minimize these risks and they won’t ruin your experience.

    Pack only what is necessary: Traveling through the African wilderness can be challenging, so make sure you’re not carrying a big bag with excess weight and your luggage won’t become a burden.

    Enjoy your safari: Ultimately, all the preparations you make are to ensure you have a good time (which is the main aim of this article!) 😄

    Included in this guide is some information about luggage, a comprehensive packing list, including clothing, footwear, accessories, health & safety, and other miscellaneous items to take with you, as well as some general tips to consider when you’re preparing for your trip.

    Disclaimer: Your packing needs may vary depending on the specific location, season, and activities planned for your African safari. We advise you to research the destination thoroughly and consult with your tour operator or safari lodge for any specific packing requirements.

    Luggage for an African safari

    The size and type of your luggage is more important than you may realize when embarking on a safari trip. Having the appropriate luggage can really make your trip more comfortable.

    Make sure you know the specific luggage restrictions for each of your flights. While international flights may offer generous baggage allowances, smaller aircraft that connect you to remote safari destinations often impose strict limitations on weight and size.

    The permitted weight allocation may vary slightly depending on your destination, but typically falls between 15 and 20 kg (33 and 44 lb) per person. This usually does not include camera equipment, handbags, and additional carry-on items. And yes, they do sometimes check, so it's wise to pack as lightly as possible for a seamless and stress-free journey. If you really can’t choose what to bring - you can book additional luggage beforehand via your safari expert - or pay the extra fee directly to the airline at the airport. Prices vary per airline and route - but generally are between $2 and $5 per additional kilo.

    The choice of luggage is equally important as the weight considerations. Hard-shell cases are generally not recommended for safari travel, as soft-shell bags are typically required for transportation on smaller aircraft.

    Also important to realize is the size limit of the safari car. Hard-case luggage is harder to pack and takes up more space. Especially when traveling with a group of 4 to 6 people per car, this means it will not be possible to fit in 6 hard case suitcases - where 6 duffel bags will fit without any worry. A last thing to be mindful of is that there is a lot of moving from location to location on a typical safari - so your hard-case suitcase will very likely run into some dents and scratches along the way.

    Certain activities, such as gorilla trekking, may require a sturdy and waterproof backpack. For most safaris, a lightweight, soft-sided duffel bag is the preferred option. If you have a lot of things to pack, some opt to leave the wheeled luggage at home, as the added weight of the luggage can get in the way when every kilogram counts.

    Packing list for an African safari

    Create your own list from this guide and check off items as you pack them!

    1. Clothing
      1. Lightweight, neutral-colored clothing: Pack breathable, lightweight fabrics like cotton or linen to stay comfortable in the African heat. Opt for neutral colors such as khaki, tan, or olive green to blend in with the environment and minimize disturbances to wildlife.
      2. Long-sleeved shirts and trousers: Protect yourself from the sun, insects, and thorny vegetation by packing lightweight, long-sleeved clothes. They also offer an additional layer of protection in the cooler mornings and evenings.
      3. Sweater or jacket: Although the days may be hot, nights and early mornings can be chilly, particularly in certain regions. Pack a warm sweater or jacket to keep you comfortable in these cooler periods.
      4. Swimwear: Some safari lodges and camps offer swimming pools or water-based activities. Don't forget to pack your swimwear for a refreshing dip or some relaxation at the lodge.
    2. Footwear
      1. Sturdy, closed-toe walking shoes: Invest in comfortable, closed-toe shoes with good traction for walking safaris and game drives. Choose footwear that provides support and protection against uneven terrain and potential encounters with thorns or insects.
      2. Lightweight sandals or flip-flops: Pack a pair of comfortable, lightweight sandals or flip-flops for relaxing at the lodge or camp after a day of exploration.
      3. Socks: Bring a few pairs of moisture-wicking socks to keep your feet comfortable and protected inside your shoes.
    3. Accessories

      1. Wide-brimmed hat or cap: Shield yourself from the sun's rays during game drives and walks by wearing a wide-brimmed hat or a cap with a neck flap.
      2. Sunglasses: Protect your eyes from the intense sunlight and glare, giving you clear vision during your safari adventures.
      3. Bandana or scarf: A versatile accessory that can be used to protect your face from dust, cover your head, or serve as an impromptu accessory.
      4. Binoculars: Enhance your wildlife viewing experience by bringing a good pair of binoculars. They allow you to observe animals and birds in greater detail, even at a distance.
      5. Camera equipment: Capture the thrilling moments and breathtaking landscapes with a high-quality camera. Don’t forget your additional lenses, spare batteries, memory cards, or whatever else you need for your camera.
      6. Power bank: Safaris often take you into remote areas with limited access to electricity. Carry a reliable power bank to ensure your important electronic devices stay charged.
      7. Waterproof backpack or daypack: Choose a waterproof backpack or daypack with sufficient space to carry your essentials such as water, sunscreen, camera gear, and personal items.
    4. Health and Safety
      1. Insect repellent: Protect yourself from mosquitoes and other biting insects by packing a high-quality repellent containing a high percentage of DEET. Apply it generously to exposed skin and clothing.
      2. Malaria prophylaxis: Consult with a healthcare professional or travel clinic to determine if malaria medication is recommended for the specific regions and time of year you'll be visiting.
      3. Sunscreen: Carry a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF to shield your skin from the intense African sun. Apply it generously and frequently, especially on exposed areas.
      4. First aid kit: Prepare a basic first aid kit with essentials such as band-aids, antiseptic cream, pain relievers, antihistamines, and any necessary prescription medications.
      5. Hand sanitizer: Maintain good hygiene standards, especially during game drives and in remote areas where handwashing facilities may be limited.
    5. Miscellaneous
      1. Travel documents: Carry a valid passport with at least six months' validity, any required visas, your travel insurance documents, and any necessary permits or vaccination certificates (check the up-to-date requirements online or with a healthcare professional). Keep both digital and physical copies of these documents.
      2. Travel adapters: Ensure you have the appropriate power adapters for the country you're visiting to charge your devices. Some African countries may have different plug types and voltages.
      3. Cash and cards: Bring a mix of local currency and internationally accepted credit/debit cards for convenience. ATMs may not be readily available in some remote safari destinations.
      4. Travel guidebooks/maps: Stay informed and learn about the regions you'll be visiting. Pack guidebooks, maps, or download relevant travel apps to navigate and enhance your safari experience.

    Preparing for an African safari - general tips

    Here are some general tips and useful information to consider when preparing for your African safari adventure:

    • Research your destination: Africa is a vast continent with diverse ecosystems and wildlife. Research the specific country or countries you'll be visiting, including the climate, terrain, wildlife species, and any unique requirements or considerations.
    • Be mindful of luggage restrictions: Some safari camps and lodges have weight restrictions for luggage due to limited space on small planes or vehicles. Check with your tour operator or accommodation providers regarding luggage restrictions and guidelines.
    • Pack light: It's essential to pack efficiently and keep your luggage to a minimum. Opt for versatile clothing items that can be layered and mixed and matched. Choose lightweight and quick-drying fabrics to facilitate easy washing and drying.
    • Don’t bring unnecessary plastic: Some African countries have totally banned plastic bags and won’t allow you to bring them into the country. Be a responsible traveler and support efforts to reduce pollution by leaving plastic bags at home.
    • Plan for different weather conditions: African weather can be unpredictable. While the days might be hot, nights and early mornings can be chilly. Pack clothing for both warm and cooler temperatures, and don't forget a waterproof layer in case of rain.
    • Respect wildlife and follow safety guidelines: Remember while on safari that you are in the animals' territory. Always listen to your guide's instructions, maintain a safe distance from wildlife, and avoid any disruptive behavior that may stress or endanger the animals.
    • Prepare for dust and sun: Safaris often involve driving on dirt roads, which can kick up a lot of dust. Bring a scarf or bandana to cover your face and protect yourself from dust and potential allergies. Apply sunscreen regularly, wear a hat, and use sunglasses to shield yourself from the strong African sun.
    • Stay hydrated and drink safe water: Carry a reusable water bottle and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, especially in hot climates. Inquire about the safety of tap water at your accommodation and use bottled or treated water if necessary.
    • Respect local customs and traditions: Learn about the local customs, traditions, and etiquette of the country or communities you'll be visiting. Respect the local culture, be open-minded, and embrace the opportunity to learn from and interact with local people.
    • Dress appropriately: Respect the local culture and dress modestly, especially when visiting communities or cultural sites outside of safari areas. Be mindful of packing clothing that covers your shoulders and knees.
    • Follow health and vaccination recommendations: Consult with a healthcare professional or travel clinic well in advance to ensure you are up to date on necessary vaccinations and receive any recommended medications, such as malaria prophylaxis, and make sure to take proof of vaccinations with you!
    • Engage in responsible tourism: Choose tour operators and accommodations that prioritize sustainability, conservation efforts, and responsible wildlife viewing practices. Minimize your impact on the environment by following guidelines, avoiding littering, and supporting local communities.
    • Have travel insurance: It's crucial to have comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellation, and any safari-specific activities you'll be participating in. Ensure your policy covers the countries you'll be visiting and the activities you'll be undertaking.

    Are you prepared for your African safari?

    Preparing for an African safari requires careful consideration and planning. Follow the tips and guidelines in this guide, and have an incredible, stress-free safari experience.

    Remember to research your destination thoroughly, understand the luggage restrictions for your flights, and pack only what is necessary. Protect yourself from the unique risks of the African wilderness, pay attention to clothing and footwear choices, and take useful and practical accessories. Prioritize your health and safety.

    Make a packing checklist for yourself and make sure you have everything you need!

    We at Shadows Of Africa want you to have the best possible experience when you’re out on the trail with us. Reach out to us to book your African safari, and we'll make sure you’re prepared before we head out together on our adventure!

    Remember, each safari experience is unique, so adapt these tips and guidelines to suit your specific destination and itinerary. Embrace the adventure, immerse yourself in the beauty of Africa, and create memories that will last a lifetime!

  • Nairobi City Guide - The Vibrant Heart Of Kenya

    Vika
    July 20, 2023

    Nairobi: a captivating blend of modernity and rich cultural heritage in a bustling metropolis. Come and explore the urban charm and untamed wilderness of Kenya’s fascinating capital city.

    From the moment you set foot in Nairobi, prepare to be enveloped in a sensory feast. This city is a testament to contrasts, where sleek modern skyscrapers stand tall against the backdrop of sweeping savannah plains, and bustling markets pulse with the vibrant rhythms of Kenyan culture. Nairobi's deep-rooted history, spanning from colonial times to the present, beckons you to explore its cultural landmarks, including museums that showcase the diverse heritage of Kenya.


    Kenya, located in East Africa, is a captivating country known for its diverse landscapes, rich wildlife, and vibrant culture. From the iconic savannahs of Maasai Mara to the cultural tapestry of its ethnic groups, Kenya draws in adventurers and nature lovers from around the globe.

    Beyond its urban facade, Nairobi's proximity to remarkable natural attractions, such as Nairobi National Park and the nearby Rift Valley, allows you to embark on unforgettable encounters with majestic wildlife. Whether you seek bustling markets, tantalizing cuisine, vibrant nightlife, or thrilling day trips, Nairobi has something to captivate the heart of every traveler.


    This guide will look at Nairobi’s trendy restaurants and bars, unique accommodations, and interesting things to do and see when you’re in the city.

    Join us on a journey as we unveil the vibrant soul of Nairobi, where the essence of Africa and the spirit of adventure intertwine, immersing you in an experience of a lifetime.

    Eat and Drink in Nairobi

    • The Talisman
      Nestled in Nairobi's Karen suburb, The Talisman is a delightful gem that enchants with its charming garden ambiance. Their diverse menu caters to a range of tastes, featuring locally sourced ingredients and global flavors. Indulge in grilled meats, seafood, and a variety of vegetarian options, all prepared to perfection.
    • Sushi Mitsuki
      Bringing the authentic flavors of Japan to the heart of Kenya. Sushi Mitsuki features a menu of sushi rolls, sashimi, and other traditional dishes (as well as some innovative creations), all meticulously prepared with fresh, high-quality ingredients. This restaurant is a must-visit for sushi enthusiasts and lovers of Japanese cuisine.
    • Peppertree
      The charming Peppertree's menu showcases a range of delectable dishes, from gourmet burgers and steaks to vegetarian options and tantalizing desserts, inspired by diverse international cuisines. The restaurant is committed to using fresh, high-quality ingredients, which is clear in every bite.
    • Beit é Selam
      Beit é Selam showcases the vibrant Ethiopian cuisine in the heart of the city. Their menu features traditional Ethiopian dishes, including injera (a sourdough flatbread), flavorful stews, and a variety of vegetarian options. With rich aromas, bold spices, and friendly service, Beit é Selam brings the essence of Ethiopian hospitality to the heart of Kenya.
    • Hero Restaurant
      Located in the heart of the city, this restaurant offers a sophisticated combination of global flavors with local inspiration. Hero's menu features a creative fusion of dishes, crafted with the finest ingredients and presented with flair. From fresh seafood and prime cuts of meat to innovative vegetarian options, the restaurant caters for everyone.
    • Cultiva Kenya
      Known for their creative and innovative dishes, Cultiva takes pride in using fresh ingredients sourced from their own local farm to create unique flavor combinations. The restaurant's menu showcases a fusion of global cuisines, including many vegan options, prepared with skill and artistry. Their menu rotates weekly with beautifully-plated dishes, enticing desserts, and inventive beverages.
    • Urban Eatery
      A vibrant dining experience in the heart of the city. Urban Eatery's menu showcases a fusion of global cuisines, featuring a diverse range of dishes crafted with locally sourced ingredients. From mouthwatering burgers and gourmet pizzas to flavorful salads and indulgent desserts, the restaurant caters to all tastes.

    Accommodations in Nairobi

    • Tribe Hotel
      Tribe Hotel is a luxurious sanctuary that combines contemporary elegance with authentic African charm. With its sleek architecture, stylish interiors, and exquisite attention to detail, the Tribe Hotel creates an atmosphere of refined comfort. Located in the affluent suburb of Gigiri, the hotel features spacious rooms and suites adorned with African-inspired decor, complemented by modern amenities and personalized service. Guests can enjoy the delectable cuisine at the on-site restaurants, unwind at the spa, or relax by the sparkling pool.
    • Giraffe Manor
      A truly unique retreat that offers an extraordinary wildlife experience right at your accommodation. Nestled in a leafy suburb of the city, Giraffe Manor is renowned for its resident Rothschild giraffes who freely roam the property. Guests have the opportunity to interact with these gentle giants up close, as the giraffes often poke their heads through the windows to greet visitors during breakfast and tea time. The manor itself is a charming colonial-style mansion, exuding elegance and old-world charm.
    • Palacina Residence and Suites
      A boutique hotel that offers a luxurious retreat in the heart of the city. With its elegant and contemporary design, Palacina Residence and Suites boasts spacious suites and apartments, meticulously designed to provide utmost comfort and privacy. Guests have access to a range of amenities, including a spa, fitness center, and a high-quality restaurant, for a refined and relaxing experience in Nairobi.

    What to do in Nairobi

    • Nairobi National Park
      Nairobi National Park is a unique gem, located just outside the city center. This remarkable wildlife sanctuary allows you to witness a range of African wildlife against a backdrop of the city’s skyscrapers. Spanning over 117 square kilometers, it is one of the few national parks in the world that exists within a capital city's limits, and is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including lions, giraffes, zebras, rhinos, and a variety of bird species.
    • Maasai Market
      For a taste of authentic Kenyan culture, head to the Maasai Market. This bustling open-air market pulsates with vibrant energy and offers a treasure trove of local crafts, traditional artifacts, clothing, and jewelry. Chat with local artisans, haggle for unique souvenirs, and embrace the vibrant colors and patterns of Maasai culture. The market is a haven for those seeking one-of-a-kind gifts and mementos.
    • Uhuru Park
      Find tranquility in the heart of Nairobi at Uhuru Park, a serene oasis that offers respite from the bustling cityscape. Spanning over 12.9 hectares, this iconic public park is a beloved recreational spot for locals and visitors alike. With its lush green lawns, tranquil lakes, and scenic walking trails, Uhuru Park is an ideal space for leisurely strolls, picnics, and outdoor activities. The park also boasts iconic landmarks such as the Freedom Corner, a significant historical site for political gatherings and speeches.
    • Shadows’ Choice: Nai Nami Street Tours
      Nai Nami Street Tours in Nairobi offer a unique experience, providing visitors with a glimpse into the city's vibrant street culture. Led by former street kids who have transformed their lives, these guided tours take you through the bustling streets of Nairobi, showcasing local markets, street art, historical landmarks, and hidden gems. Nai Nami's passionate guides share personal stories, insights, and local perspectives, offering a genuine and authentic encounter with the city's vibrant energy and diverse communities. It's an opportunity to not only explore Nairobi's urban landscape but also contribute to social impact initiatives that empower and uplift the lives of local youth.
    • Sheldrick Foundation
      Dedicated to the conservation and protection of elephants and other wildlife, The Sheldrick Foundation operates an orphanage that rescues and rehabilitates orphaned baby elephants, providing them with specialized care and support. Visitors can witness the incredible work done by the foundation through educational visits, learning about the conservation efforts and even participate in feeding and interacting with the adorable young elephants. The foundation plays a vital role in raising awareness about wildlife conservation and offers a heartwarming experience that highlights the importance of protecting these majestic creatures for future generations.

    Nairobi’s Culture

    • Nairobi National Museum
      The Nairobi National Museum is a treasure trove of Kenyan history, culture, and art. Explore its diverse exhibits with archaeological artifacts, ethnographic displays, traditional crafts, contemporary art collections, and more. The museum also features exhibits on the country's flora, fauna, and geological formations, as well as an impressive collection of fossils, including those of early hominids discovered in the region. Visitors can explore Kenya's diverse cultures, learn about its prehistoric past, and appreciate contemporary African art.
    • Bomas of Kenya
      The Bomas of Kenya is a cultural center located just outside Nairobi that offers a captivating glimpse into Kenya's rich heritage. This unique venue showcases traditional music, dance, art, and crafts from various ethnic groups across the country. Visitors can immerse themselves in the vibrant performances of tribal dances, witness intricate beadwork, and see the craftsmanship of traditional homesteads. The Bomas of Kenya also features a fascinating display of traditional artifacts and offers educational programs to promote cultural awareness. It serves as a vibrant hub where visitors can experience the diversity and traditions of Kenya's diverse communities, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking an authentic cultural experience.
    • Fairview Coffee Estate
      The Fairview Coffee Estate offers a unique and immersive coffee experience for both enthusiasts and curious visitors alike. The estate showcases a journey through the world of coffee production. Guests have the opportunity to explore the lush coffee plantations, learn about the cultivation process, and witness the meticulous art of coffee bean harvesting. The estate also features a charming café where visitors can enjoy freshly brewed coffee made from beans grown on-site.
    • GoDown Arts Centre
      The GoDown Arts Centre is a vibrant creative hub that fosters artistic expression and cultural exchange. Located in the Industrial Area, this dynamic space serves as a platform for artists from various disciplines, including visual arts, performing arts, music, and more. The GoDown Arts Centre hosts exhibitions, performances, workshops, and residencies, providing a nurturing environment for artists to showcase their talents and collaborate with fellow creatives. It is also home to several arts organizations, studios, and galleries, contributing to the thriving artistic community in Nairobi. A must-visit destination for anyone who wants to explore the arts scene of Nairobi.
    • Karen Blixen Museum
      Step into the world of the famous Danish author Karen Blixen, best known for her memoir "Out of Africa". The Karen Blixen Museum, located in a serene suburb of Nairobi, provides a glimpse into her life and the colonial era in Kenya. Explore the beautifully preserved farmhouse, stroll through the enchanting gardens, and learn about Blixen's extraordinary life and her connection to the country.

    There’s so much to do in Nairobi!

    …and this guide is only scratching the surface.

    Nairobi, the vibrant heart of Kenya, invites you to embark on a captivating journey where modernity and rich cultural heritage intertwine. Whether you're a nature enthusiast, a culinary explorer, or an art aficionado, Nairobi has an abundance of experiences to offer. Embrace the essence of Africa and indulge your spirit of adventure in this truly unique destination.

    Nairobi is a city that seamlessly blends its urban landscape with its cultural heritage, making it an enchanting destination where the essence of Africa and the spirit of adventure intertwine. Whether you're a nature lover, a food enthusiast, or an art aficionado, the city welcomes you to explore its vibrant soul and create unforgettable memories. Let Nairobi weave its spell and create unforgettable memories that will linger long after you've left.

  • Serengeti Safari Guide: Where To Stay

    Vika
    June 20, 2023

    The Serengeti National Park is an iconic destination in the north of Tanzania. It offers so many experiences for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers alike, from the heart of the park's vibrant ecosystem to its lesser-explored, but no less stunning, corners.

    Whether you're seeking a luxurious retreat or a budget-friendly getaway, we have created this guide to help you find the perfect accommodation to suit your preferences and budget.

    This guide is divided into four regions of the Serengeti: Central, North, Ndutu & South, and West. We will look at some of the best accommodations in each region of the Serengeti for all budgets.

    Central Serengeti

    Budget

    Kati Kati Tented Camp

    A comfortable and immersive safari experience in the heart of the wilderness, Kati Kati’s spacious tents with en suite amenities are located on ground level, and the central location makes it incredibly easy to explore the surrounding nature.

    Thorn Tree Camp

    Thorn Tree offers an immersive and authentic African camping experience with comfortable accommodations, delicious cuisine, and guided game drives. The camp features twelve spacious tents with en suite amenities, and is designed to have minimal impact on the environment.

    Tukaone Camp

    Tukaone is a private safari camp with stunning views of the Hembe Hills and endless plains. Their spacious tents with en suite amenities are designed to have minimal impact on the environment, and its location allows for easy access to the annual wildebeest migration.

    Midrange

    Kubu Kubu Tented Lodge

    Kubu Kubu offers modern and comfortable accommodations with stunning views of the surrounding wilderness. The lodge features spacious tents on raised wooden platforms with en suite amenities, as well as a swimming pool, a restaurant and a bar.

    Matawi Camp

    A unique safari experience in a secluded and picturesque setting among endless plains, Matawi features nine spacious tents with en suite amenities, whose unique safari-style designs perfectly complement the beauty of the surrounding nature.

    Luxury

    The Singing Grass Bush Camp

    The Singing Grass is an immersive wildlife retreat, located in a secluded and pristine setting. The camp features spacious tents with en suite amenities, which are each nestled in a private patch of the savannah, making for an intimate experience as you explore the natural and cultural wonders of the Serengeti.

    Meliá Lodge

    This modern and stylish lodge has stunning views of the Serengeti plains. Meliá features spacious rooms and suites with private balconies, a swimming pool, a spa, and multiple dining options.

    Nanyukie Lodge

    Nanyukie sits in a lush grassy savannah, offering eighteen elegant and spacious tent-style suites with private decks, a swimming pool, and a spa. The lodge also features a lounge and a bar, and boasts some incredible views of the surrounding nature.

    North Serengeti

    Budget

    Mara Kati Kati Tented Camp

    This camp offers comfortable and spacious tents on ground level, with en suite amenities and private porches. Mara Kati Kati is a mobile tent camp and is designed to have minimal impact on the environment.

    Midrange

    Karibu River Camp

    Karibu offers an authentic safari experience without sacrificing the warmth and comforts of home. The camp features ten spacious tents with en suite amenities, a swimming pool, a restaurant, and a bar, all with stunning views of the nearby Mara River.
    Luxury

    Mara Mara Tented Lodge

    This tented lodge boasts breathtaking views over the Mara River, designed and decorated in modern African style, which is “very welcoming but with a touch of luxury”. Mara Mara features twelve elegant spacious tents on raised wooden platforms with en suite amenities, lounges, a restaurant, a viewing deck and a swimming pool.

    Ndutu & South Serengeti

    Midrange

    Ndutu Safari Lodge

    Ndutu Safari Lodge features 34 traditional and authentic safari cottages with en suite amenities, a dining room, and a bar, all overlooking the stunning Lake Ndutu.

    Ndutu Kati Kati Tented Camp

    The camp features ten spacious tents on ground level with en suite amenities and private porches overlooking the savannah. Ndutu Kati Kati is a mobile tent camp designed to have minimal impact on the environment.

    Nyikani Migration Camp

    This seasonal camp offers ten spacious, comfortable and eco-friendly tents with en suite amenities, a dining tent, and a lounge. Nyikani is perfectly positioned to provide easy access to wildlife viewing during the Great Migration.

    Luxury

    Lemala Ndutu Tented Camp

    Lemala Ndutu is a seasonal safari camp offering twelve comfortable and spacious tents with en suite amenities and a dining area, positioning itself perfectly to provide easy access to wildlife viewing during the Great Migration.

    andBeyond Serengeti Under Canvas

    andBeyond’s Serengeti Under Canvas is a mobile safari camp offering an authentic safari experience in the heart of the wilderness. The camp features nine luxury tents with en suite amenities, a communal dining area, and makes it very easy for guests to explore the abundant wildlife and stunning landscapes of the surrounding area.

    Sanctuary Kusini Camp

    Sanctuary Kusini is located in a remote and unspoiled part of the park, offering breathtaking views of the plains and abundant wildlife. The camp features twelve spacious and comfortable tents with en suite amenities and a swimming pool.

    West Serengeti

    Midrange

    Grumeti Migration Camp

    Grumeti Camp is located in the Grumeti Reserve area of the Serengeti ecosystem. The camp offers comfortable tent accommodation and an authentic African bush experience with stunning views of the plains.

    Mbugani Migration Camp

    Mbugani offers an authentic safari experience with a range of amenities in their fifteen spacious tents, including en suite bathrooms, hot showers, and daily housekeeping services. The camp is set among the bushland and features a dining room and a fully-stocked bar.

    Luxury

    andBeyond Grumeti Serengeti River Lodge

    andBeyond’s Grumeti Serengeti River Lodge is situated on the banks of the Grumeti River with breathtaking views of the area. The lodge offers excellent game viewing opportunities, stylish accommodation, and exceptional service.

    Singita Sasakwa Lodge

    Singita Sasakwa is a luxurious retreat with a range of amenities and activities that showcase the area's wildlife and natural beauty. The lodge features elegant and comfortable cottages, as well as gourmet dining and a spa.

    For more information on accommodation, check out our comprehensive guide to Serengeti safari lodges and camps.

    Ready to go to the Serengeti?

    Need to know anything else? Get in touch with Shadows Of Africa and let’s plan your Serengeti safari today!

  • Beginner’s guide to a Serengeti safari

    Vika
    June 20, 2023

    The Serengeti National Park: Tanzania’s most iconic safari destination. The savannah plains stretching all the way to the horizon are home to Africa’s most famous animals, including all of the “Big 5”, and so much more!

    The area is world-famous for the legendary Great Migration, the world’s largest annual movement of grazing animals and predators, with more than 2 million animals migrating north through the park into the Maasai Mara.

    What to do

    Depending on the time of year you arrive, the Serengeti will offer something different. But there are always plenty of things to do and places to see!

    Here are some of the activities available year-round in the Serengeti:

    • Wildlife tours: The Serengeti is famous for its incredible game viewing opportunities. You can go on a guided wildlife tour to see lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, zebras, and many others, all living their lives together in this stunning landscape.
    • Hot air balloon safari: For a unique experience, you can take a hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti to see the wildlife from a different perspective. This is typically done early in the morning when the animals are most active.
    • Walking safaris: If you want to get even closer to the wildlife, you can go on a walking safari with an experienced guide. This is a great way to learn more about the animals and their habitats.
    • Maasai cultural tours: The Maasai people are an indigenous tribe that live in the Serengeti region. You can take a cultural tour to learn about their traditional way of life and see their villages.

    The Serengeti also boasts countless stunning landmarks throughout the park. Check out the unique rock formations at Moru Kopjes, the Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano, the dramatic Grumeti River, or the picturesque Seronera Valley.

    When to go

    The Serengeti puts on a spectacular show at all times of the year, so whenever you arrive, you will be greeted by something incredible.

    From December to July you will have the opportunity to see the best parts of the Great Migration, with the Calving Season taking place over January and February in the Ndutu region. The Serengeti leg of the migration concludes with the River Crossing, which happens from July to October.

    In April and May, the best wildlife viewing can be found in the Grumeti region, also known as the Western Corridor. This period is usually the rainy season in Tanzania, and you will find that prices are considerably lower.

    From June to September there are always a lot of animals out and about in all corners of the National Park, predators and prey alike, so it’s a great time to go for general wildlife viewing.

    The Great Migration is working its way through southern Kenya in October and November, so there are usually fewer visitors in these months. However, this presents a perfect opportunity to catch the large herds of elephants, giraffes, zebras, antelopes and packs of big cats, who all call the Serengeti their home year-round, without the crowds!

    It’s also important to note that some roads and sites may be inaccessible during the wet season, so certain activities and accommodations may be limited in case of heavy rainfall.

    Overall, the best time to visit the Serengeti depends on your interests and priorities. The dry season is typically considered the best time for wildlife viewing, while the wet season can offer more lush landscapes and fewer crowds. It's a good idea to research the specific activities you're interested in and the conditions during different times of the year to plan your trip accordingly.
    Wildebeest Migration

    How to get there

    The typical starting point for safari trips to the Serengeti is the city of Arusha. The nearby Kilimanjaro International Airport connects the city with many other parts of the world, making this the most convenient city for international travelers to begin their Serengeti journey.

    From Arusha, travelers can make their way north to the park either on the road or by plane.

    By road, the Serengeti is 225 kilometers (140 miles) from Arusha. Depending on which entry point you go to, the trip will take between 5.5-6.5 hours by car. This drive can be done in a safari land cruiser, a mini-bus, a private car, or a shared taxi.

    Flights between Arusha Airport and the Serengeti typically take between 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the destination airstrip. There are daily flights available with several local airlines.

    What animals can you find in Serengeti?

    The Serengeti is a wildlife haven with an impressive range of diverse and iconic African animals calling these lands home. Lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, wildebeests, hippos, rhinos, leopards, buffalos, hyenas, gazelles, warthogs, baboons, crocodiles, and so many more, all coexist in this diverse ecosystem.

    The park's vast plains host the majestic lions and the graceful elephants, while giraffes and zebras create a mesmerizing sight as they navigate the grasslands. From the lightning-fast cheetahs to the incredible wildebeest migration, where millions of herbivores journey across the plains, the Serengeti offers a captivating safari experience.

    Whether it's encountering the elusive leopard or observing the playful antics of baboons, each wildlife encounter in the Serengeti leaves a mark on visitors' hearts.

    Ready to go to the Serengeti?

    Need to know anything else? Get in touch with Shadows Of Africa and let’s plan your Serengeti safari today!

  • Food on safari: the taste of adventure!

    Vika
    March 3, 2023

    The African safari is usually associated with serene plains full of grazing herds, the thrill of majestic big cats hunting for a meal, and the breathtaking sights of Mount Kilimanjaro. With these kinds of settings to dine in, it's not often that you hear about the food on the traveler’s plate.

    That being said, there are plenty of culinary adventures to be found on your safari trail as well!

    Africa has an incredibly rich and diverse food culture. Let’s take a moment to look at what kind of culinary experiences you can expect in this part of the world.

    Eating on safari: what to expect

    You can absolutely expect to find familiar, globally-popular foods on your African safari. Safari lodges are used to catering to people from all over the world, and they know what people like to eat.

    Breakfast: Start your day well with omelets, cereals, toast, fruits, salads, or continental breakfast.

    Lunch: You are most likely going to be enjoying your lunch in the middle of your game drive, in some stunning natural location. This will usually be served picnic-style, and Shadows Of Africa takes these meals very seriously.

    Dinner: At dinnertime, you will typically be treated to a full three-course meal, taking advantage of local produce and the culinary talents of the lodge chefs. These menus will usually have a choice of 3 different starters, 3 different mains, and a selection of desserts. Usually, the menu will feature at least 1 meat-based and at least 1 vegetarian option.

    Nothing that catches your fancy? Don’t be shy to talk to your waiter - in most cases, the kitchen will be more than happy to create a dish to your liking.

    Drinks: Quench your thirst throughout the day with water, coffee, tea, wine, or beer. Filtered water will always be readily available when you travel with Shadows Of Africa. At your lodges, there will be drinks available as well, from sodas, to wine, to cocktails.

    Some lodges will offer buffet-style dining, with plenty of snacks and other tasty treats available all day, while others will offer restaurant-style dining with set menus.

    In more remote areas, you can expect simpler menus, but this doesn’t mean the chefs will put any less love in what they serve!

    You can definitely find familiar foods, but you can also enhance your African experience by venturing into the local cuisine.

    Delicious food in ‘the middle of nowhere’ 🍲

    In the more remote corners of game parks, being far away from food markets and grocery stores, the supply of food can be more complicated. Most lodges will work with local communities for supply of vegetables, dairy, and seasonal products, also supporting the local economy.

    Many chefs will serve familiar dishes with influences from local cuisine, with a little creativity, using what is available to feed travelers from all over the world what they want to eat.

    Special dietary requirements 🍲

    The most important thing to making sure your special dietary requirements are met is: communication.

    Make sure to let Shadows of Africa know about any dietary requirements in advance, before your trip. With a little extra preparation, we will make sure that your needs are met at every stage of your trip.

    We will also be able to check with lodges to make sure they can provide the meals you need.

    East Africa is very accustomed to plant-based diets. Many of the local meals are purely plant-based anyway.

    Hungry for safari? 🌱

    Honestly, Africa should be more famous for its food. The continent is host to countless destinations for food lovers, with some of the richest cuisines in the world, and every corner has a uniquely delicious gastronomic experience to offer.

    The perfect safari meal is a combination of a stunning location around you and beautiful food in front of you.

    Come taste the adventure with us!

  • What to pack for a gorilla trek

    Vika
    February 1, 2023

    The complete guide to packing for your gorilla trek to make sure you get the most out of this incredible experience.

    A gorilla trek is a uniquely special adventure. Trekking through the African rainforest, you will witness the fascinating life of gorillas in their natural habitat. 🦍

    However, to properly enjoy the experience, you need to be prepared. What you pack will make all the difference on your trek.

    Protect yourself: In the wilderness, there are many risks and dangers, but with the right preparation, you can easily minimize these risks and they won’t ruin your experience.

    Pack only what is necessary: Trekking through the jungle can be tiring, so make sure you’re not carrying excess weight and your pack won’t become a burden.

    Enjoy your trek: Ultimately, all the preparations you make are to ensure you have a good time (which is the main aim of this article!) 😄

    Here is a list of important items to pack for your next gorilla trek!

    Proper clothing
    👒

    Your choice in clothing goes a long way to making your trek safer and more comfortable.

    • Long trousers
    • Long-sleeved shirt
    • Warm, moisture-wicking clothes (if you expect cold weather)
    • Hiking boots: sturdy, waterproof, and worn-in
    • Thick socks
    • Gaiters to protect your feet from insects (alternatively, tuck your trousers into your socks on the trail)
    • Sturdy gardening gloves to protect your hands
    • Hooded rain jacket or poncho
    • Wide-brimmed hat for protection from the rain and sun
    • UV-filtering sunglasses

    Cover as much skin as possible and protect yourself from branches, thorns, insects, and anything else that could scratch you on the trail. Always aim to wear neutral-colored clothing (like light brown, green, or khaki) which is better at keeping insects away and will be less startling for local wildlife.

    It may seem obvious, but it is also important to consider how comfortable your clothes are. Remember, you will be in these clothes for long periods of time, doing strenuous activity. Make sure your clothing doesn’t make the trek uncomfortable!

    Take care of yourself ⛑️

    Apart from clothing, there are several other practical things you will need to consider to protect yourself from the elements.

    • Light pack: the lighter your pack, the more you will be able to carry in it!
    • High SPF sunscreen
    • Insect repellant
    • Personal medications
    • Water bottle
    • Snacks
    • First-aid kit
    • Trekking poles for balance on uneven ground
    • Personal documents: passport, vaccinations, insurance, emergency contact details

    Enhance the experience 📸

    When you have your trekking needs covered, then you can use the space you have left in your pack for optional extra gear that will allow you to get the most out of your trip.

    • Phone and/or camera
    • Chargers or batteries for your devices
    • Binoculars
    • Headlamp for better sight in darker areas

    Ready for your gorilla trek? 🦍

    It is important to do this right - you do not want anything to take away from an experience of a lifetime. Make a checklist for yourself and make sure you have everything you need.

    We at Shadows Of Africa want you to have the best possible experience when you’re out on the trail with us. Reach out to us to book your gorilla trek and we will make sure you’re prepared before we head out together on our adventure!

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