“Once you have travelled, the voyage never ends but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” – Pat Conroy
Let’s be real for a second, there is only one thing a majority of Kenyans think about when they hear the sweet, melodic words: long weekend. We go booze, road trips, sleeping in, binging on movies, more booze and family time. Okay, maybe that’s more than ‘only one thing’! You get the general idea though, right? It is all about relaxation and doing the things we like doing the most for three whole days until we have to reluctantly get back to work on day number four.
Of long weekends and Madaraka Day celebrations
On the 1st of June, every year since 1963, Kenyans have celebrated the day the country attained internal self-governance from the British colonialists. Our constitution now (Article 8) recognizes three national days that country celebrates:
- Madaraka Day (June 1st)
- Mashujaa Day (October 20)
- Jamhuri Day (December 12)
While we are very excited about the other two, it is this June 1st holiday that has us brimming with baited anticipation.
Why? Because it is just around the corner and it is on a FRIDAY! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, another long weekend is thankfully upon us yet again. Whatever shall we do with all that free time?
Here are some suggestions that should take your Madaraka Day celebrations to a whole new level and expand your scope of long weekend enjoyment itinerary.
Tips on what to do with your long Madaraka Day weekend
Now, if you are thinking: ‘I don’t want to make a big deal of these Madaraka Day celebrations. I just want to sit back, relax and maybe hang out with the family or meet a few friends for coffee”, we totally understand you. In fact, here is a list of some of the best coffee shops you could try out.
However, if you are like most of us and want to go all out: hangover, fatigue and Monday blues be damned, then you have definitely come to the right place. Let’s start you off with some excellent suggestions that will blow your mind and leave you wishing and praying for the other national holidays to come around already!
Fly down to Reunion Island
When it comes to islands, Kenya and indeed Africa, are abundantly blessed in that front. East of Madagascar, there is a little-known piece of heaven called Réunion Island. It is a French Department somewhere out there in the middle of the Indian Ocean and it is a melting pot of unadulterated fun. Think:
- Coral reefs
- Gorgeous, semi-deserted beaches
- Rainforested interior
- A beautiful people and even better lodges
The most iconic landmark in this island is active volcano: Piton de la Fournaise. It sits pretty within this paradise with its very climbable 2,632m (8,635 ft.) and unbelievably rolling views of the scenic island beneath it.
You can easily book your flight right now and spend the remaining two weeks thinking about all the fun things you will do when you get down there:
- Mountain climbing
- Lounging by the beach
- Learning some French
- Trying out the local delicacies
The list is endless. However, if you are thinking you don’t want to spend hours flying to and from your destination, then let’s look at options that are much closer to home.
Go camping at Mike’s Camp, Kiwayu beach
How about camping out as you listen to the waves of the Indian Ocean break against the beach just beneath your feet? Sounds good, no? Down in Lamu, there is a camp called Mike’s Camp that specializes in giving their visitors the ultimate combo of island life and freestyle camping. The establishment is absolutely breathtaking (of course, this is accentuated by the fact that they are on an island). You could:
- Go fishing in the Indian Ocean
- Go bird watching on kayaks on the creek
- Get a glimpse of some cheetahs, antelope, hippos and buffaloes at the Kiunga Marine Reserve
- Swim with some dolphins
- Go speed boating on the vast Indian Ocean
- Take scenic flights with Air Lamu
Of course, you can do some drinking, eating, partying and getting to know like-minded people who just want to have fun!
Get serenaded by the Ewaso Nyiro River at Sabuk Lodge
Imagine being perched on the edge of the Laikipia Plateau thus being able to overlook the Ewaso Nyiro River and the rolling plains of Laikipia as they head out towards Mt. Kenya. Imagine the kind of sunsets (or sunrises if you are one of those crazy people who wake up early when on holiday) you will get?
The Laikipia Plateau is massive. It stretches from the foothills of the Aberdares going all the way across the open plains of the Northern Frontier and Sabuk Lodge gives you a chance to see all this and more. Beautifully secluded, Sabuk Lodge (Sabuk means Buffalo) is a scenic, serene and quite frankly surreal establishment in the midst of this Northern wilderness.
The easiest way to get here is by air from Wilson Airport to Loisaba Airstrip or you could just take a 6-hour road trip to the location.
Go wild at the ‘House in the Wild’, Maasai Mara
Yeah…there was no escaping this at all! It seems as if the Maasai Mara features in pretty much everything you can do in Kenya. With good reason, it’s a stunning place.
Perfect for group bookings, The ‘House in the Wild‘ is within the iconic Enonkishu Conservancy in the Mara. From a swimming pool, a swinging bed by the river and the Maasai Mara as your own private backyard, the House in the Wild will give you a chance to just unplug and be who you are right out there in the middle of this ‘Wi-Fi connected’ wilderness.
Lock your doors and throw away the keys
You could also always just stay at home and watch movies. You know you do not have to take a trip to unplug. Maybe you feel like June 1st is too close for you to plan anything worthwhile. How about sitting back and watching a bunch of movies that will stoke your wanderlust flames then?
Whether you choose to travel to exotic places or simply stay in the city and have some much needed alone time this Madaraka Day, you can always count on us to have you covered. These options are not only far-flung, some of them are so hidden that you might actually be the only visitor when you get there! Check out some exciting alternatives as you try to come up with the most exciting things to do with your long Madaraka Day weekend.