4 Myths That You Can Dispel and Travel Kenya Safely

You don’t need to be scared to go on safari. When CNN described Kenya in 2015 as “a hotbed of terrorism” it called attention to some crazy myths that must be prevailing to prevent travellers coming to Kenya. I want to address some of these myths to help put your mind at ease and feel confident to experience that bucket list safari you’ve always wanted. This won’t be a marketing spiel; I live in Kenya so I know the good, the bad and the ugly and will share all of it with you.

Myth 1: Kenya is full of terrorists
CNN’s description of Kenya was outlandish to say the least. Kenya suffered several terrorism incidents throughout 2013 and 2014, the most notable of which was the attack on the Westgate Shopping Centre. Most of the activities were much smaller scale however – grenades thrown into bus stations, churches and nightclubs. Two major attacks occurred in April 2015 at Garissa University and January 2019 at the DusitD2 complex. Al Shabaab, an Al Qaeda-affiliated group from Somalia, are reported to be the key offenders.

Unfortunately today, terrorism occurs everywhere and anywhere. In the last five years we have seen attacks in Paris, Sydney, Brussels and Istanbul. But travellers still flock to these places.

Fifty million people survive every day in Kenya, so your chances are pretty good that you will come out alive. Kenyans want peace as much as the next person. Moreover, the parts of Kenya you, as a traveller, would be frequenting are not terrorist targets – there have been no attacks on any national parks or game reserves to date. There is a terrorist risk near the Somali border and in parts of Nairobi.

The current travel advisory from the Australian government is that only some areas are dangerous, not the whole country. And the dangerous areas don’t hold much interest to the average safari-goer.

Myth 2: Nairobi is “Nai-robbery”
A decade ago carjacking, armed robbery, and mugging were relatively common in Nairobi, earning the city the nickname “Nai-robbery”. But one mayor did a lot of work with the street boys and nowadays Nairobi is just as safe (or risky) as any other big city in the world. Expatarrivals.com says that crime in Nairobi is “opportunistic, unsophisticated, comparable to other world capitals.” The crime rate has decreased each year since 2012 according to Standard Digital.

I have lived in Nairobi for five years now and I have never been physically attacked. One evening, my phone was snatched – but I was walking in the city centre in the evening alone talking on my phone; it was totally my fault. However, everyone who saw the thief chased him and I got my phone back! Nairobians themselves are tired of crime in their city, especially towards foreigners because they don’t want travellers to have a bad experience of Kenya

Myth 3: Corruption is rife and foreigners are targeted because they are thought to have more money
I cannot say that corruption is not rife. It is, but as a tourist you are unlikely to encounter it. If you book a full package safari, there will be little opportunity for police or any other official to ask you for a bribe. Tourists are rarely targeted. Foreigners are not an easy target because we tend to ask too many questions and don’t always understand what’s really happening. It’s not in our habit to slip some money in the door handle for the traffic policeman for example. Expatriates who participate in corruption means crime continues unpunished and Kenya’s development remains stymied. The phrase “When in Rome… ” should not apply to bribery and corruption.

President Kenyatta says the right things about cleaning up Kenya’s corruption, but it’s going to take a huge shift. However it’s certainly not a reason to avoid a Kenyan safari!

Myth 4: Tour operators are dishonest and you will lose your money if you pay in advance
Yes, there are some briefcase businesses, but in this age of the internet you can certainly do your own due diligence and avoid being scammed. There are plenty of review sites online and many allow you to contact reviewers directly to ask about their experience. Use Trip Advisor, do your research, check the prices.

The tourism industry has suffered greatly the past decade (due to the myths I’m writing about here!) and tour operators have been desperate just to make a sale. But if park fees are included in your package, check that the total price can cover those fees. For example, it is $80 for a 24-hour ticket to the Maasai Mara. So if you are booking a two-night safari to Maasai Mara for $200, you can do some simple maths and calculate that $160 is for park fees, leaving only $40 for transport, accommodation and food. Park fees are public information so you can do some rough calculations. If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is! Either your operator is paying bribes at the park gate, or your vehicle hasn’t been maintained, or your food will be substandard. Or you could get all three! Please, it does not help Kenya’s fight against corruption to encourage your tour operator to pay bribes at the gate so you can get into the park cheaply.

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6 Tips to Help You Choose a Good Motel

In this article, we are going to share with you a few tips that will make it easier for you to choose the right motel. You are going to read 6 tips to help you choose the best motel for your next trip. Read on to know more.

1. Consider your Needs and Wants

First of all, you need to find out what you want. Before looking for accommodations, you should put together a list of things that can make your stay more comfortable. Are you looking for a free breakfast, comfort, or intimacy?

Therefore it is important for you to consider the location, amenities, and price before you consider other factors while making a choice.

2. Consider the Amenities you Need

Ideally, the motel you are going to choose should have four amenities. Most people talk about these amenities on motel review sites like TripAdvisor. Those four amenities include breakfast, Wi-Fi, parking, and air conditioning.

Therefore, you may want to find out if your desired motel offers these amenities. This will help you avoid surprises when you enter the motel. You can check the reviews or make a call to the motel to find out.

3. Check the Website of the Motel

Don’t forget to check out the website of the motel. This is important if you want to find out important information such as amenities policies, renovations, and restaurants. If you have access to the internet, you can easily check out the website of the service provider.

4. Find out the Motel Location

Location is the most important thing when you are traveling. Ideally, the motel you are going to choose should be located near your destination city. Before you book a motel, make sure you check a map to know more about the exact location of the motel. Don’t forget to find out how long it will take you to visit popular attractions, shopping malls, and other points of interest from the motel.

In other words, your motel should not be far away from the city center, restaurants, and other major attractions.

5. Find out when the Motel was Renovated

Open, travelers prefer motels that offer a clean and innovative atmosphere. Before you book your desired motel, don’t forget to find out when the property was innovated last time.

If the motel has been renovated recently, you may expect a clean and well-maintained environment. After all, no one wants to see dirt and grime or peeling wallpaper in the rooms.

6. Focus on Guest Reviews

It is important to read guest reviews on reliable websites such as Google and TripAdvisor in order to find out what the previous guests have to a say about the services they received. What you need to do is choose a motel that is best as far as amenities, decor, and management is concerned.

Only consider those reviews that are left during the past one or two years. Reviews that are older than 5 years won’t give you a good idea of the reliability of the service provider.

Hopefully these tips will help you choose the best motel.

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Anantapur History & Sightseeing Places

There is a story behind every place and region. The same is true about Anantapur, which is the largest district in Andhra Pradesh state. You can find a lot of historic monuments in the region. Even today, it plays a great role in many ways. It’s popular for its silk trade. In this article, we are going to read more about sightseeing places in Anantapur. Read on to know more.

1. Penukonda

Ghangari is another name of Penukonda. This place has a lot of temples and around 365 of them are built in the name of Lord Hanuman. Actually, Penukonda is a fort built by Vira Virupanna. It’s around 70 kilometers from Anantapur and is quite popular for the stunning sculptures and architectural brilliance.

This fort is home to a lot of temples. Two of the most popular attractions of this fort are Babayya Darga and Gagan Mahal Palace. The former was built in 1575 AD and tells a lot about the lifestyle of King Krishna Devaraya.

2. Ravadurg Gooty Fort

In the 7th Century, Ravadurg Gooty Fort was built. It’s an ideal example of the amazing architecture of the past. In Andhra Pradesh, Gooty fort is on the list of oldest mountain forts. Built at an altitude of around 300m, it houses around 15 forts. Therefore, it’s known as the “King of Forts”.

Haider Ali conquered the fort. Later on, after the defeat of Tipu Sultan, it went into the custody of British. You can get a great view of the land below through a pavilion as well.

3. Thimmamma Marrimanu

Apart from other man made wonders, Anantapur is home to one of the greatest wonders of mother nature. And Thimmamma Marrimanu is one of them. This is the oldest banyan tree in South India. It is located around 100 kilometers from Anantapur and covers around 5 acres of land with its branches.

Actually, Thimmamma was a woman who offered her life to become sati after her husband passed away. Childless people believe that they will be blessed with a child after visiting this tree.

4. Dharmavaram

Dharmavaram is popular for silk and cotton sarees. It’s around 46km from Anantapur. And the good thing is that this place is visited by a lot of tourists from across the globe. Also silk sarees are exported to Germany, France and many other countries of the world. You can experience the architectural excellence of this place in Ramalingeswara Temple and Sri Lakshmi Chennakesava Swamy temple.

Actually, both of these temples feature amazingly carved pillars and sculptures. The pillars emit musical notes upon a strike.

5. Hemavathi

Hemavathi is important in history as an ancient place. In the 10th century, it was the Pallava Kings capital. In Andhra Pradesh, it’s one of the oldest forts.

In short, this was an introduction to the history of Anantapur and some of the most popular places that have a good deal of importance from sightseeing point of view. Hopefully, you have enjoyed reading this post. You can visit Anantapur if you want to.

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