Posts filed under ‘Wildlife’

Travel: 72 Hours in Tanzania at Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge and Lake Duluti Serena Hotel

Located over 400 kilometers from Nairobi by road, Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge is between five to six hours’ drive from Nairobi. The amount of time you will spend on the road will depend on a few factors such as; the time spent on the Namanga border crossing, this is the Kenya–Tanzania border point, the vehicle you are using to ply from Nairobi to Lake Manyara and the traffic along the Nairobi-Arusha road.

Getting there – Different Options
If you intend to use public means, there are a number of options to choose from, but the shuttles which operate between Nairobi and Arusha are the safest bet of getting you to Arusha. These shuttles can be accessed on Monrovia Street, opposite Jevanjee Gardens and for our trip we used Riverside Car Hire and Shuttle Services.

Most of these shuttles leave Nairobi at 8 am in the morning or 2 pm in the afternoon. It might be a little difficult to get a public service vehicle past 2 pm because on the Tanzania side, they do not allow PSV’s to operate at night.

The other option to get you to Lake Manyara would be through air, for this you would have to connect via Kilimanjaro International airport from either Wilson, through charter flights, and/or Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Once you are in Kilimanjaro you can either connect by road or through a connection charter flight. Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge has an airstrip which operates only during the day time.

If this is your first time in Tanzania, you will need to have a yellow fever certificate and your travel documents, either a passport or temporary permit for Kenyan’s. No visas are required for Kenyans to enter Tanzania.

Welcome to Tanzania | Photo by Njathika

Welcome to Tanzania | Photo by Njathika

Once you cross the border, it will take you almost one and a half hours to reach Arusha town. Arusha is a diplomatic hub since it hosts the secretariat of the East African Community and as such there are a number of nice places to visit. However, in our case we had a scheduled entourage to Lake Manyara, which is 124 KM’s from Arusha City.

The journey to Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge by road is quite fascinating, this is because you get to see, feel and experience the different landscapes. The road is quite impressive and as such, if you have some time, this mode is highly recommended.

Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge, Mto wa Mbu, Tanzania

Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge | Photo by Njathika

Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge | Photo by Njathika

Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge is located on the edge of a towering terracotta escarpment which gives it, spectacular if not, panoramic views over the glittering alkaline waters of Lake Manyara.

Entry into the reception area | Photo by Njathika

Entry into the reception area | Photo by Njathika

The Lodge is grouped around a central ‘vanishing horizon’ pool, this highly unusual lodge features a simple timbered reception area, built in traditional African style, which is accessed via a bridge over a small stream. Beyond reception, lies the central dining room, bar and veranda, below which lies the pool. Perched on the very edge of the cliffs, with stunning views of Lake Manyara National Park is the pool bar and observation point. Dotted around the grounds, all with views over the lake, are a series of circular two-storey ‘rondavels’, which house the rooms.

Designed, by PTA – Peter Thomas Associates, to reflect the brilliance of Lake Manyara’s unique birdlife, the architectural motif melds swooping avian curves with the gentle concentric patterns of traditional Maasai ‘Bomas’ , while the vibrantly coloured wall frescoes depict the colourful intricacy of bird migratory patterns.

Dining, Bar and Hospitality areas have these interesting chandeliers | Photo by   Njathika

Dining, Bar and Hospitality areas have these interesting chandeliers | Photo by Njathika

Activities and Cultural Interaction
Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge offers a unique blend of safari opportunities, peace and tranquillity, wildlife discovery, and ornithological richness. There is an unprecedented range of high-adventure sports, which include mountain biking – arranged/indicated in advance, archery and high altitude nature walks, while cultural activities include tours of the neighbouring villages and dance displays by the local Iraqw and sukuma people.

There is also a dance troupe that comes to the lodge every day in the evening to entertain guests from 6 – 7.30 pm

a) Guided Nature Walks / Bird Watching

Yotham explaining something during the nature walk | Photo by Njathika

Yotham explaining something during the nature walk | Photo by Njathika

If you love nature, then a nature walk with Yotham – the resident naturalist should be something on your cards if you are visiting Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge. These walks normally take place early in the morning from 9.30 am after breakfast and usually take two hours. During this nature walk, you will see unique flora and fauna found in that part of the world and Yotham will keep you engaged by asking you questions before sharing the facts. You will learn the history of the rift valley among other things.

Airstrip at the edge of the escarpment | Photo by Njathika

Airstrip at the edge of the escarpment | Photo by Njathika

The nature walk transverses around the Lodge and you will be able to see the airstrip, the escarpment and the lake from the edge of the escarpment.
Birds along the stretch of the nature walk. | Photo by Njathika

Birds along the stretch of the nature walk. | Photo by Njathika

b) Viewing the Lake / animals from the Swimming Pool Lounge
The swimming pool is the central and unique feature of the Safari Lodge and from the lounge pool you can view the landscape below, where you can view the Lake using the string binoculars available at the lounge area.

Mwirigi looking into the binoculars at the pool lounge. | Photo by Njathika

Mwirigi looking into the binoculars at the pool lounge. | Photo by Njathika

The pool also attracts a wide range of birds, which come to quench their thirst there and as such if you are a bird watcher, this is a unique place to view birds from.
Sunrise from the pool area. | Photo by Njathika

Sunrise from the pool area. | Photo by Njathika

c) Visit to the Lake Manyara National Park
A visit to Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge would not be complete without a visit to Lake Manyara National Park. The Park is synonymous with tree climbing lions, something that the lions adapted to due to the terrain over time. However, apart from the tree climbing lions there are other animals to view as well from a manmade viewing point, the hippo pool.

Birds at the Hippo Pool inside Lake Manyara National Park. | Photo by Njathika

Birds at the Hippo Pool inside Lake Manyara National Park. | Photo by Njathika

d) Visit to Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire National Park
Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge sits on the northern tourist corridor and one of the top destinations by tourists from across the world is usually the Ngorongoro Crater. This is primarily because it has been listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

If you visit Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge, and wish to visit Ngororo crater, a day trip can be organised for you by Mustafa – the Lodge Manager and his team, and Tarangire National Park.

Mustafa the Lodge Manager Lake Manyara Safari Lodge. | Photo by Njathika

Mustafa the Lodge Manager Lake Manyara Safari Lodge. | Photo by Njathika

Lake Duluti Serena Hotel, Arusha

On our way back to Kenya, we passed by Lake Duluti Serena Hotel for Lunch. The Hotel is 20 kilometers from Arusha and 60 kilometers from Kilimanjaro International Airport.
Lake Duluti | Photo by Njathika

Lake Duluti | Photo by Njathika

The Hotel currently stands in what used to be coffee plantation and very impressive landscaping with a magnificent view of Lake Duluti which can be viewed from the main hotel and cottage-styled rooms.
Cottages overlooking Lake Duluti. | Photo by NJathika

Cottages overlooking Lake Duluti. | Photo by NJathika

If you are flying into Arusha through Kilimanjaro International airport, this is a perfect destination to cool off as you wait to transact business in Arusha and/or if you are on a layover.

The main attractions/activities one can indulge in, while at the hotel include; walking, mountain biking, canoeing on the lake, and trips to the nearby Arusha and Mount Meru national parks.

The Details
1. Information on the issuance of temporary pass, for those without passports to travel to Tanzania, from the directorate of immigration’s, Kenya.
2. Location of shuttles to Arusha, on Monrovia Street opposite Jevanjee Gardens.
3. Download Tanzania Road and Air Packages.

Disclosure: This trip was facilitated by TPS Serena Kenya and Tanzania

November 15, 2015 at 6:12 pm Leave a comment

Weekend Getaways: Shoulder Season, Oct. 1 – Dec. 22 2014 @ Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp

Serena Hotels Lake Elmenteita Camp | Photo by Njathika

Serena Hotel’s Lake Elmenteita Camp | Photo by Njathika

Shoulder Season Dates: October 1 – December 22, 2014
Venue: Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp
E.A Residents Rates*: Double KES 31,000, Single KES 19,000 and Suite KES 46,000
Day and night game drives to Soysambu conservancy are available at KES 4500 and KES 6700 respectively.
For reservation and or for more info:, +254 20 2842000

Rates include: Full board accommodation, Soysambu conservancy fees, mineral water and all soft drinks with meals

Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp is an exclusive and up market camp. Evocatively styled to echo Syosambu’s rich history, the camp combines the magnificent accessories of a bygone era with unadulterated luxury and an enticing range of activities. Idyllically set among golden barked acacias with breath taking views across the sapphire blue lake to a backdrop of ancient volcanoes, it is an easy 2 hours’ drive from Nairobi.

A game drive through the conservancy is one of the must do things while at the camp. Some of the wild animals that are found in the conservancy are zebras, buffaloes, black rhinos, giraffes, cheetahs. Leopards and tree climbing lions have been spotted most recently at the conservancy.

It is also advised you carry a pair of binoculars so that you can be able to spot different bird species that are found in and around the camp.


October 7, 2014 at 8:32 am Leave a comment

Walk with Rangers, Jun. 12-18 2014 @ Kenya-Tanzania


The Walk With Rangers from Arusha to Nairobi will take place in June from the 12th to the 18th. Participants can choose to do either the 8- day Tanzania trek or the 7- day kenya leg, or the combined 15- day trek.

The aim is to have as many people as possible interact with rangers and really get a feel of what we endure on a daily basis.

We close for registrations for the trek on 26th may.

The walk is completely not for profit and the costings will only cover the walk’s expenses, we encourage anyone who can raise funds for the projects indicated in the e-flyer to get in touch with us for fundraising forms and letters.

For more detailed information read the e-flyer and check the Walk with rangers’ website

May 5, 2014 at 4:11 pm 1 comment

Walk: Ivory Belongs to Elephants, Jun. 29 2013 @ Uhuru Park and Uhuru Gardens

ivory walk

Wildlife conservation activist Jim Nyamu, who has walked 1500km to raise awareness on the plight of the elephant, is expected to finally arrive in Nairobi on Friday (June 28, 2013).

On Saturday (June 29, 2013) from 7am, Mr Nyamu, the CEO of Elephant Neighbors Center will start the final leg of the walk dubbed Ivory Belongs to Elephants from Karura Forest in Nairobi, through the city centre to Uhuru Gardens along Lang’ata Road where he will be received by dignitaries led by Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources, Prof Judi Wakhungu.

The procession from Uhuru Gardens will culminate in a final ceremony at the Kenya Wildlife Service Headquarters in Lang’ata.

Mr Nyamu and his team are later expected to undertake a ceremonial walk to the Ivory Burning Site in Nairobi National Park to pay tribute to poached elephants. The site was set up in remembrance of the iconic incineration of tonnes of ivory stockpile in 1989 by retired President Daniel Arap Moi.

In February this year, Mr Nyamu walked from Mombasa to Nairobi to create public awareness on poaching.

To reach more people in other parts of the country, Mr Nyamu recently began trekking from the Maasai Mara in Narok County. He has traversed through Maai Mahiu, Naivasha, Nakuru, Nyahururu, Nanyuki, Laikipia, Wamba, Archer’s Post in Samburu, Isiolo and Meru.

On Tuesday, (June 25, 2013), the First Lady Excellency Mrs. Margaret Kenyatta received Mr Nyamu in Nyeri accompanied by Prof Wakhungu, KWS Director, Mr William Kiprono and other officials.

Mr Nyamu is walking under the banner of Elephants for Kenya, a coalition comprising individuals and organisations, cutting across all sectors of society united against elephant poaching and sensitising the public on the importance of elephants to Kenya’s economy and people’s livelihoods.

The organisations involved include Elephant Voices, University of Nairobi, Elephant Neighbors Center, Maniago Safaris, African Eden, Youth for Conservation, Save the Elephants, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Friends of Nairobi National Park (FoNNaP) and Stand Up Shout Out.

Elephants for Kenya in conjunction with Kenya Wildlife Service would like to invite you to join the walk, and the event thereafter. Invited speakers include:

KWS Director William Kiprono
Nairobi Governor: Evans Kidero
Nairobi County Senator: Mike Mbuvi
CEO, Elephant Neighbors Center: Jim Nyamu

Please confirm if you would like to register to accompany Jim to the Ivory Burning Site by emailing
For logistics of entry into the park, please contact:
Paul Udoto KWS Corporate Communications Manager:

Twitter: @pauludoto

For further information, please contact:
Jim Nyamu: 0723-398190 (
RessonKantai: 0701-353356 (
Cyrus Gachanja: 0721-955202 (
JohnstoneMulary: 0729-110772 (
Kiki O’Connor: 0701-659807 (
Peter Moll: 0715-457690 (

June 28, 2013 at 9:12 am Leave a comment

Party: Strictly Underground, every Friday at Aqua

strickly underground

June 20, 2013 at 10:43 am Leave a comment

Malili Wildlife Rescue Effort, Feb. 4 2012 @ Malili

There is a fenced parcel of land past KONZA sign boarded ICT Malili. This huge plot of land was fenced for an upcoming government project. A recent game count yielded 814 animals in this section (hartebeest, wildebeet, zebra, ostrich etc). These animals are currently stuck in there without natural water but as of the most recent update we hope that water will be made available to the animals by today. The animals are unable to see the fence and as a result there have been fatalities due to the impact of them running into the fenceline.

The plan is to tie used plastic water bottles along the fenceline using sisal rope or cloth ties. Volunteers will tie blue and green plastic bottles along the fenceline about an inch apart. The reason for using plastic bottles is the effective reflection of moonlight which will assist wildlife to see the fenceline at night. (timing is flexible please see below under further logistics).

Volunteers are requested to collect as many plastic bottles as possible between now and saturday morning, you will need pieces of cloth to tie up the bottles, or some good strong rope to tie the bottles to the fenceline. Get the kids involved! begin making holes through the bottles to ease the process of tying them to the fence and string them through if possible.
Please wear comfortable shoes and clothing, a hat for the sun, sunblock if you need it, and any other personal effects. Please carry enough drinking water, and sandwiches or packed lunch.

CAMPING OPTION: For those who wish to make a weekend outdoor activity of this effort, Michael Mbithi has kindly offered a space on Lisa Ranch near Malili for campers, and has seventeen 2-man tents available for hire at 200/= per person. an additional 400/= will be charged if you would like firewood and water provisions. This is optional and those who want to tie a few bottles and leave, may do so.

1: Please contact Kenyans For Wildlife admin if you have a car and are willing to car pool, with specifics on how many extra passengers you can take
2: Public transport via matatus is a safe option, and costs 200/= . Matatus can be boarded from the Railway terminus
3: Deepak Sankreacha, a member of Kenyans For Wildlife has kindly offered his van at 800/= per person but this may change subject to booking, you may reach him on 0723108090 to confirm places and price.

Please organise for personal food and water, The timing is preferably early morning, but remains flexible and you can come in after work on Saturday afternoon as well.

When: February 4 2012
Where: Malili, 1 hour from Nairobi along Mombasa road (65 km)

Facebook page of the initiative

February 2, 2012 at 4:21 pm Leave a comment

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