Destination: Kenya

Interview with Henry Rollins: Punk Rock World Traveler

Jim Benning asks the musician about his new book of photographs and how travel has humbled him

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David Brooks on Travel and the Haimish Line

The New York Times columnist recently took his family on safari to Kenya and Tanzania. They stayed in simple camps where they got to know people and more luxurious camps where they did not.

The more elegant camps felt colder. At one, each family had its own dinner table, so we didn’t get to know the other guests. The tents were spread farther apart. We also didn’t get to know the staff, who served us mostly as waiters, the way they would at a nice hotel.

I know only one word to describe what the simpler camps had and the more luxurious camps lacked: haimish. It’s a Yiddish word that suggests warmth, domesticity and unpretentious conviviality.

It occurred to me that when we moved from a simple camp to a more luxurious camp, we crossed an invisible Haimish Line. The simpler camps had it, the more comfortable ones did not.

Brooks goes on to extrapolate larger lessons about how we live. It’s a well-worn theme in travel—see Rick Steves and a thousand other sources. But the message never gets old, undoubtedly because most advertising continues to insist we’ll be happier if we just spend more money.

Rapping About Travel in Kenya, Mzungu-Style

Afar magazine sent filmmaker Jorma Taccone to Kenya, where he co-wrote a travel-related song with a Nairobi rapper named Rabbit and shot a video. Considering its mzungu origins, it’s not half bad.

Slum Tourism: ‘It’s Not Worth It’

The New York Times has an op-ed from a former resident of Kibera, an area of Nairobi that’s become a popular destination for slum tourists. Here’s writer Kennedy Odede:

I was 16 when I first saw a slum tour. I was outside my 100-square-foot house washing dishes, looking at the utensils with longing because I hadn’t eaten in two days. Suddenly a white woman was taking my picture. I felt like a tiger in a cage. Before I could say anything, she had moved on.

We’ve talked slum tourism on World Hum before: Columnist Eric Weiner asked whether it can ever be done right while Rob Verger reported from a favela tour in Rio de Janeiro. (Via @nobauerm and @robverger)

World Travel Watch: Dress Code in Vatican City, Taxi Kidnappings in Nicaragua and More

Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

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The Mad Matatus of Kenya

The Mad Matatus of Kenya Photo by Carl Hoffman

In an excerpt from "The Lunatic Express," Carl Hoffman spends a sweaty, noisy, desperate 24 hours in Nairobi

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Shrinking Planet Headline of the Day: ‘Facebook Swahili Version Launched’

Facebook is now available in roughly 50 languages, and Swahili was the second African language to get its own version of the social networking site, the BBC reports.

Kenyan Eco-Tourism Camp Draws on the ‘Obama Magic’

Kenyan Eco-Tourism Camp Draws on the ‘Obama Magic’ Photo by ale_i via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by ale_i via Flickr (Creative Commons)

In 2006, then-Senator Barack Obama stayed in a room at Basecamp Explorer, which is set on 40 acres at the edge of the Masai Mara National Game Reserve. Now that he’s President Obama, the room where he stayed is already popular with visitors, camp general manager Annette Bulman told Business Daily Africa.

The so-called “Obama room” is spare, with a bed, two African stools and a table with a framed photo of Obama and some Basecamp employees. Its wooden porch has a hammock and overlooks the Talek River. Basecamp Explorer is already one of the top eco-tourism facilities in Kenya. Could the “Obama room” also make it one of the most popular in Africa?

Morning Links: Japan’s ‘Ambassadors of Cute,’ Obama’s Position on Travel and More

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Morning Links: Americans Behaving Badly, Disappointing Attractions and More

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Morning Links: A New Way to See the Prado, Cuban Tourism and More

El Tres De Mayo by Goya El Tres De Mayo by Goya (via Wikipedia)
The Prado’s El Tres De Mayo by Goya (via Wikipedia)

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How to Prevent a Monkey Attack

monkey REUTERS

Jason Daley explains how to avoid getting bitten, slapped or shoved by an ornery primate.

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Kenya to Obama Tourists: Bring it on!

The Financial Times reports on plans in Nairobi and elsewhere in Kenya to welcome travelers interested in “the Obama experience.” My favorite part of the story: East African Breweries brews a beer called Senator. So, says one bartender, “People now say ‘I want an Obama’ when asking for Senator.”

A Tourist With a Shovel and a Hoe

Kenya workers Photo by Daniela Petrova.

When she arrived in Kenya to volunteer with the Maasai, Daniela Petrova looked down her nose at tourists there to have a good time. But was her own motivation much different?

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Violence, Tourism and Hemingway in Kenya

In the Globe and Mail, Stephanie Nolen offers alternative safari destinations for travelers scared off by the recent post-election violence in Kenya. For those of us not currently planning a wildlife-peeping trip to Africa, though, the most interesting part of the story is Nolen’s scene-setting introduction: from the normally hustling (and now abandoned) Exchange, a Nairobi bar once haunted by Hemingway himself. She writes:

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Tags: Africa, Kenya