Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy: An Introduction

The first place we stayed was at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. The fact that I was traveling with someone who used to work here was quite fortunate; I got the benefit of enjoying it as a tourist, as well as having someone who knew the place inside and out! He could rattle off statistics about Lewa for me, and ensured that I was well informed before I arrived. I'll do my best to provide a synopsis about Lewa (with some help from my friend Wikipedia!).

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is located in northern Kenya. Formed from a former Cattle ranch in 1995, it covers over 62,000 acres (250 km2).

The Conservancy is home to a wide variety of wildlife including the rare and endangered black rhino,Grevy's zebra, and marshbuck. It also includes the big five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and African buffalo). Lewa holds over 12% of Kenya’s black rhino population and the largest single population of Grevy’s zebras in the world (approximately 350 individuals).

The Conservancy is also home to the Northern Rangelands Trust, an innovative partnership with a number of communities to the north who have given their land for the preservation of wildlife. Lewa has its own education program that helps develop schools and students.

The forces behind this organization have been instrumental in developing highly effective conservation efforts throughout Kenya. If you're interested in learning more about Lewa Wildlife Conservancy or Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), please visit any of the links below.

Aero Club of East Africa

After a quick 7 hours to Amsterdam and 8 hours to Nairobi I arrived late at night into Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, Kenya. A driver took me to my accommodation for the night, Aero Club of East Africa, located in Wilson Airport.

Safe, clean, nearby, and inexpensive, this hotel/motel was recommended as a place to stay for the very short term. Wilson Airport generally serves domestic flights throughout Kenya, so staying there can ensure that you mingle with pilots, local travellers, and light airplane enthusiasts. Ryan was arriving the next morning and we were immediately going up north, so I didn't need anything too fancy for the night.

The room costs me around CAD$70 for the night, and the food in the bar was simple and affordable.
Bar/Restaurant area

A single room for the night

Adventures in Kenya

I am thrilled to be able to go on another adventure! This time, I'll be with my man friend (Ryan) in Kenya. Over the course of just less than a month, we hope to explore as much of the country as possible and see what it has to offer. From safari to city to deep sea fishing, I'll be able to write about what to do, what to see, and how to get there.

Here is a very professionally drawn tentative map of where we plan to go.

Let the adventure begin!

Our Itinerary through Kenya

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ubud Guest House Recommendation: Keprabon Guest House

When we arrived late afternoon in Ubud, Indonesia out of the taxi coming straight from the airport, we didn't know what to expect. We didn't have any hostels booked, and we didn't even know where to tell the taxi driver to let us out. As we passed monkey forest, we started to see tourists and decided to get out. The taxi driver didn't speak English and was trying to tell us something. We figured out later he was trying to tell us we were NOT at the centre of town yet, and we should have kept going. Ahh well, a little walking never hurt anyone.

What we woke up to each morning!
As we made our way into central Ubud, we began to inquire with hostels along the main drag to figure out where we could stay. The sun was starting to set, and we kept being turned away from hostels and guest houses, it seemed that every guest house was all booked up.  I was starting to grasp the very real possibility that we might not have a place to stay overnight in this place.

Finally, when I was starting to get panicky, we stumbled upon a little family-run guest house down an alleyway. In the dark, we made our way into the property and inquired with the family. Success! They had 4 rooms to rent, 3 of which were already occupied. We got the last one in the nick of time! It was nighttime, so we couldn't appreciate the beauty of this off-the-beaten-trail guest house. We woke up the next morning to a rooster cock-a-doodle-dooing on the roof across from our room. The owner of the hostel made us a simple breakfast of bread, fresh fruit, and coffee. The bathroom was recently renovated (though no hot water) and the beds were large and clean. As we sat on our balcony soaking in the morning sun, we overlooked a fountain and lush gardens in the small plot of property below. It was a little piece of paradise.
Bottom Line: Simply Amazing!

Rating (out of 5)
Price : (we paid 350IDR per night = CAD$6.50)
Staff Friendliness:
Fun Meter:

Keprabon Guest House
Jl. Kajeng, Gg. Sunari No. 14A, Ubud 80571 Bali- Indonesia
Mobile: +62 81 337 08 8000
Phone: +62 361 970 566

Bangkok Hostel Recommendation: New Siam Guest House 2

In another swing through Bangkok I finally struck gold with accommodation: near Khao San Road, nice hotel, swimming pool, and air conditioning! I forget why we decided to stay here and not somewhere cheap, but it was a welcome sight. The bed was comfortable and freshly laundered, the shower was clean, and it was less than 5 minutes from Khao San Road, and 2 minutes from the water bus station.

Bottom Line: The hostel you go to when you want to spend a little extra to feel fancy

Rating (out of 5)
Price :
Staff Friendliness:
Fun Meter:

New Siam Guest House 2
50 Trok Rong Phai, Phra A-Thit Road, Chanasongkram,
Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Tel: (66)0-2282-2795, 0-2629-0101

Bangkok Hostel Recommendation: Star Dome Inn

Entrance to Star Dome Inn

For those of you who thrive in the bustle and hustle of booze, parties, street vendors, ladyboys, and hordes of of other tourists looking to have just as much fun as you, head down to Khao San Road.

Star Dome Inn (website is located in the heart of Khao San Road backpackers district. It's a very basic hotel that has front desk staff 24/7, an internet cafe in the open air entrance, and an affordable menu for breakfast. It offers safe, basic, affordable rooms in the middle of the party. Downsides include noise and the not-so-clean feeling when you hang out in your room for too long.

Bottom Line: A place to keep your stuff. Who needs sleep anyways?
Star Dome Inn, Khao San Road, Bangkok

Rating (out of 5)
Price :★(cheap!)
Staff Friendliness:
Fun Meter:

Star Dome Inn
104/1 Soi Rambuttri, Jakaphong Rd.
Pranakorn, BKK 10200 Thailand
Tel: 02-6291136