Kenya

Fort Jesus

Fort Jesus is an interesting place to spend a day exploring the gun turrets, battlements and houses within the walls. There is an excellent Museum and trained guides available.

Today the majestic Fort Jesus is a National Monument, standing high over the Mombasa harbor.

Spectacular Sound and Light Show
For those who want to learn more about the struggle for Fort Jesus, the Fort plays host to a spectacular sound and light show 3 nights each week. Visitors are welcomed into the Fort by guards in flowing robes brandishing flaming torches.

They are led to a specially designed and choreographed show that uses lights, sound effects and costumed actors to bring to life the long and turbulent history of the Fort.

At the end of the show, a candlelit dinner is served in the open courtyard of the Fort, under the stars.

This wonderfully atmospheric night out is the perfect way to end the day, and learn more about the history of Mombasa.

The sound and light show can be combined with a sunset dhow cruise on Mombasa harbour.

Giraffe Center – Nairobi

The AFEW (African Fund for Endangered Wildlife) Giraffe Centre is located in Langata, just outside Nairobi.

The centre has been ostensibly set up as a breeding centre for the endangered Rothschild giraffe, but now operates conservation/education programs for Kenyan school children.

There is good information on giraffes available here, and an elevated feeding platform where visitors meet the resident giraffes face to face.

Hand feeding giraffes is an education in itself. You will see, close at hand, how they use their long, prehensile tongues to remove leaves from prickly acacia branches.

The AFEW centre is also home to Giraffe Manor, a beautifully maintained colonial home, now an exclusive guesthouse.

The centre’s giraffe population wander freely through the lush gardens, and pay an occasional visit to the house itself, often pushing their heads through the French Windows to inspect the breakfast table.

Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage

The Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage is located near Nairobi National Park. This orphanage for Elephant Calves and Rhinos from all over Kenya was founded and still managed by Daphne Sheldrick, the widow of one of Kenya’s best known Game Wardens David Sheldrick.

David Sheldrick was at the centre of the 1970’s Ivory poaching wars in Tsavo National Park.

Today, the Sheldrick orphanage is a focal point for Elephant Conservation.

Elephant calves orphanned by poaching are brought here from all over the country. They receive extremely specialized treatment here, and literally receive personal care 24 hours a day from highly dedicated staff who become surrogate mothers to the calves.

Eventually the calves are moved to Tsavo, where they are carefully reintroduced into wild herds.

The centre is open to the public each morning (11am-12pm)

At this time the calves are being exercised and bathed and visitors are free to watch. This is a good centre for general information on Elephants and their Conservation.

Gedi Ruins, Malindi

Gedi is one of Kenya’s great unknown treasures, a wonderful lost city lying in the depths of the great Arabuko Sokoke forest. It is also a place of great mystery, an archaeological puzzle that continues to engender debate among historians.

To this day, despite extensive research and exploration, nobody is really sure what happened to the town of Gedi and its peoples. This once great civilization was a powerful and complex Swahili settlement with a population of over 2500, built during the 13th century. The ruins of Gedi include many houses, mansions, mosques and elaborate tombs and cemeteries.

Despite the size and complexity of this large (at least 45 acre) settlement, it is never mentioned in any historic writings or local recorded history.

The nearby Portuguese settlement at Malindi seems to have had no contact with, or even known of the existence of Gedi.

The town has all the appearances of a trading outpost, yet its position, deep in a forest and away from the sea makes it an unlikely trading centre. What was Gedi trading, and with whom?

But the greatest of all of Gedi’s mysteries was its sudden and inexplicable desertion in the 17th century.

The entire town was suddenly abandoned by all of its residents, leaving it to ruination in the forest. There are no signs of battle, plague, disturbance or any cause for this sudden desertion.

One current theory is that the town was threatened by the approach of the Galla, an inland tribe known to be outwardly hostile at that time, and that the townspeople fled ahead of their arrival.

Yet once again, local recorded history fails to mention any such large scale evacuation at this time. No written account of either the rise or sudden fall of Gedi was ever made.

The ghostly ruins of Gedi lay within the forest that has overgrown and consumed the town. They had become a part of local folklore, regarded as a sinister lair of malevolent spirits, until archaeologists began to uncover the site in the 20th century. It was gazetted in 1948.

Today there is an excellent museum and well trained guides on hand to take visitors through the ruins.

Gedi remains a mysterious and atmospheric place to visit. The pillars and stone walls, ruined mosques and tombs now lie among stands of trees. The stone floors are thick with leaves, and giant shrews scuttle through the deserted houses while birds and butterflies drift through the air.

Wandering through Gedi is an ideal way to spend a morning or afternoon, lost among the secrets of the past