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Bush and Beach destination

Wet season does not have to spell doom for holidays. Here is the lighter side

By DERRICK VIKIRU

It is Easter people! Put on your happy face and break into a happy dance because you know what, it’s the long, rocking weekend. January to March has been a roller-coaster, time passes so quickly that we don’t even notice. It seems like Christmas was just the other day. But as time rolls away we live for this incredible time of the year. Lots of chocolate, lots of family time, lots of fun! And most of us are on the verge of a mini-holiday. I know everyone’s itching to get their Easter holiday started, but whether you’re taking a vacation or celebrating your holiday in church, this period got to count for something. Easter is the most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church, celebrating the resurrection of Christ. The meaning of Easter, for millions of Christians in Kenya, is honouring and recognising Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead. As such many will spend time with other congregants to remember and give thanks for the resurrection of Christ. However, many too will be soaked in the preparation of last-minute travel deals; and why not consider travelling locally to East Africa’s awesome destinations?

We know that this region is in the southern hemisphere and thus rainy season starts in April. Our tropical coast is wet and thundery, the southern Serengeti and Ngorongoro area will be wet with drizzling rain. I know there’s nothing as worse as bad weather put a damper on your holiday, but April is still a wonderful month to travel to East Africa’s destinations. We just came from our December to February hot peak season, with everyone broiling in the sun and gazing out to sea, game drives filled with dust and high heat causing wildlife to hide in the thickets. I am sure we could use some little rain to wash up the air and give you clear vision for picturesque backdrops on your photos. Those in the know understand they could use some wet climate with less dusty game drives, so they vacation in April, my favourite month. 

Key thing to focus on is to brace for the rains; get an all-wheel drive car if you’re going for a game drive and be sure to take the correct gear along to protect yourself and your equipment from the rains. However, unless there are torrential downpours for days on end, an afternoon or overnight shower will not inhibit your safari. In fact, everything will be beautifully green with field flowers appearing something we rarely see in the dry season. Just the perfect season for a fly-in safari if you want to see lush landscapes and spindly-legged new-borns for wildebeests, gazelles, zebras name them. Most international travellers also attest that it’s not all doom to vacation in Kenya in April. “After the rain has passed, you are left with an almost Bambi-like awakening, with birds chirping away, the warm sunshine appearing from behind the dark clouds, which drift away and beautiful green savannahs,” a seasoned tourist and guest writer on Original Travel blog is quoted. During this period, animal parks are less congested, and hotels give ridiculously low rates for boarding and food. 

A pull quote from Natural World Safaris gives the perfect advice for visiting one of Kenya’s favourite destinations, the Mara. ‘Driving round the Masaai Mara can be challenging during this season due to the wet conditions affecting the soil. However, this can make the whole experience more adventurous, if that is the type of experience you are looking for. Kenya expert Paul of Natural World Safaris thinks this can sometimes be the ‘most fun and it is definitely a good way of avoiding crowds’. After a wild safari, there is nothing better than relaxing on the beach as the temperatures on the coast are still warm, you can head to Kenya’s coast at this time for some beach relaxation.’ The writer on Original Travel blog, a UK based blog, who was earlier quoted, hails Kenya as a destination of choice in April and s/he should definitely convince you to tour your own country during this month. The blog reads “Kenya never disappoints in re-energising the soul (as cheesy as that may sound), even during the so-called rainy season. So, believe me when I say that April really is the best time to go to Kenya. You can take advantage of green season rates, fewer tourists, dramatic back landscapes, fantastic birding – and it’s always fun getting caught up in a real Africa rain shower.”

Finally, the onus is on you to ensure that you take necessary measures to have a comfortable and enjoyable vacation. A responsible tourist will respect human rights, preserve the natural environment and be open to other cultures and traditions when travelling. 

Derrick Vikiru is the sub-editor Management Magazine. Email: dvikiru@kim.ac.ke

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