Destination: Kenya

A Journey to Remote Kenya to Meet Granny Obama

Fascinating column Sunday from Nicholas D. Kristof, who visits a remote village in western Kenya to meet the elderly woman Barack Obama calls his grandmother. She’s illiterate and lives without electricity or running water. Among the wacky political highlights: “You might think that all Kenyans would be vigorously supporting Mr. Obama. But Kenya has been fractured along ethnic lines in the last two months, so now Mr. Obama draws frenzied support from the Luo ethnic group of his ancestors, while many members of the rival Kikuyu group fervently support Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

Tags: Africa, Kenya

U.S. Issues New Kenya Travel Alert

As post-election violence increases and the World Bank threatens to suspend projects, the U.S. State Department urged citizens Thursday to “strongly consider the risks of travel to Kenya at this time,” adding, “U.S. citizens should avoid all travel to the cities of Kisumu, Nakuru and Naivasha, and defer all non-essential travel to the remaining portions of Nyanza, Western, and Rift Valley provinces.”


Kenya: To Go or Not to Go?

That’s the question travelers are asking in light of the violence that has followed Kenya’s Dec. 27 presidential election.

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Tags: Africa, Kenya

Year Off to a Rocky Start for Travelers

As a result of post-election violence, visitors to Kenya are getting police escorts from Mombasa’s airport and facing fuel shortages in the Rift Valley. In southern Chile, 54 travelers were rescued in Conguillio National Park after the Llaima volcano erupted (a “violenta erupción,” declared El Mercurio). But it’s not all lava and chaos in travel news: Members of the Nuestros Ángeles de El Salvador marching band made it to southern California just in time for yesterday’s Rose Parade after their funding for flights fell through and they had to make a last-minute road trip—from Central America.


‘Elderly White Women’ Look to Kenya for Sex Tourism

Residents along the Kenyan coast “estimate that as many as one in five single women visiting from rich countries are in search of sex,” according to a Reuters story. The country is “just full of big young boys who like us older girls,” a pair of 50- and 60-something tourists from England tells correspondent Jeremy Clarke. By “big young boys,” the ladies seem to be referring to consenting 20-something men, which makes the arrangements legal. That doesn’t make it right, though.

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Tags: Africa, Kenya

From Fiji to Kenya, Travel Hot Spots Brace for Global Warming

A ski resort without snow. A scuba club whose coral reefs have succumbed to warmer and stormier seas. A water-guzzling golf resort in a desertifying area. Faced with global warming, the tourism industry must adapt to scenarios like these around the world or risk losing tourists, Elisabeth Rosenthal writes in The New York Times.

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Suffering and Smiling: Vanity Fair Does Africa

Africa is hot. Why? So we can save it? Frank Bures deconstructs the magazine's latest issue and what it says about Western views of the continent.

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Mombassa, Kenya

Coordinates: 4 3 S 39 40 E
Population: 847,626 (2007 est.)
Given that the country’s citizens frequently number among the top finishers at foot races the world over, it’s appropriate that this year’s World Cross Country Championships (the 35th annual) will be held in Kenya. Organizers passed over the nation’s more populous capital to host the athletes from 61 nations. Instead, they chose the smaller coastal city of Mombassa.

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Tags: Africa, Kenya

‘Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik’: Going Solo Through Africa

From south to north, Marie Javins journeyed alone across the continent. Frank Bures reviews her chronicle of the trip and finds the author a likable travel companion.

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Waiting for Snow in America

I know how it feels to be a 6-foot-tall blonde in Tokyo—or, from my first travels to the Middle East, to realize that showing a little kneecap can be tres risquÃ(c)—but I always find it more interesting to read about the culture shock foreigners experience here in America. For Somalian immigrants taking a recent crash course on American culture at a Kenyan refugee camp, one thing awaiting them in their new home proved particularly baffling: snow.

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Tahir Shah: Books that Inspire Wanderlust

The author of The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca and other tomes wrote about six books that inspire wanderlust in Sunday’s Book Post section of the Washington Post. Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific by Raft and Bruce Chatwin’s The Songlines made the cut, as did the No. 1 book in World Hum’s recent countdown of top travel books, Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger. Shah writes in his lead that he once met Thesiger in Kenya. It’s a great anecdote.

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No. 6: ‘North of South’ by Shiva Naipaul

To mark our five-year anniversary, we’re counting down the top 30 travel books of all time, adding a new title each day this month.
Published: 1978
Territory covered: Kenya and Tanzania

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Kenya vs. Tanzania: Trading Insults and Allegations for Tourist Dollars

The battle for visitors is getting ugly in East Africa. Officials in Kenya and Tanzania—two major safari destinations—have taken to unabashedly insulting one another’s tourist offerings in the press. “Tanzania is too boring,” a Kenyan official says. “Kenya is too dangerous,” replies a Tanzanian. And that’s just the beginning. One Tanzanian government official has accused Kenyans of making a threatening phone call that led to a travel advisory for Tanzania. A recent report in the Washington Post has all the sad details.