Steven Bond, works for a travel magazine called Destinations of the World News offering insightful news, features and videos for affluent travelers and big spenders.
My personal travel habits are a tad less luxe. At this point I’m equally comfortable with a royal suite and a slab of wagyu as I am with a beach hammock and a bowl of cereal, though I probably prefer the latter. I’m also (slowly) working on my video blog where I try to showcase interesting people and their passions.
Steven is one of Travel Junkie Diary’s favorite people and a strong supporter of TJD and well, we absolutely love him!
Here is his Diary in Kenya..
What is your favorite travel destination?
That’s a bit like asking me my favorite Game of Thrones character – it totally depends on the season. The place I’m most excited to return is Kenya.
My trip was an amalgam of adventure, wilderness and rough luxury in the shape of a two-week SUV road trip. I got to watch the landscape shift from Nairobi’s bustling backstreets to the lush foothills of Mount Kenya, and explore rugged coastline beyond Mombasa, spot some of the ‘big five’ and encounter the friendliest smiles imaginable along the way. It was completely invigorating.
Where did you stay?
We stumbled upon Manyatta Camp in Tsavo East National Park on our return leg. This was 2011, just a few months before I made the move to Dubai. I was borderline broke and on a serious budget, so had no idea what to expect. Within a few minutes of arriving I was peering from the camp’s restaurant down onto a watering hole where I watched a parade of elephants slurp up water while birds darted about overhead. How can any traditional hotel experience rival that?
What was it like?
The en suite tents were spacious enough. They were essentially thick canvas awnings over cemented foundations, with plenty of cushions and mozzy nets to keep things comfortable. Each tent had its own deck and outdoor pool facing into the park, complete with electric fencing. The amenities were modest but reasonable for a group on the move and there are certainly more comprehensive resorts designed for longer stays. It cost just $60 to spend the next day bolting around the park where, just after dawn, we saw a ‘cackle’ of hyenas chased two young and vastly outnumbered leopards up a tree. I took plenty of pictures but regretfully didn’t stick around long enough to discover their fate.
What did you do?
We only had one day to spare on safari as I was partnering with a charity, helping deliver a mobile eye clinic from the Kenyan coast across to Kampala, the Ugandan capital. Most days were spent behind the wheel of a fully laden SUV, but I wouldn’t have changed a thing. The long, rugged roads narrated the story of Kenya, from its Arabesque coastal architecture to its burgeoning cities and the seemingly forgotten hamlets, which were only discovered after a few wrong turns.
What did you take?
It made a lot of sense to leave the smartphone at home and pack a more durable (and affordable) retro Nokia. That meant it was down to the SLR for photography and a zoom lens was an absolute must for the safari experience. But most the important item? Mosquito spray. Add to that a decent sized fanny pack and you’re good to go.
What about the food?
Dinners varied en route but a couple nights in the coastal town of Malindi warranted a few stops for barbecued seafood – from net to plate within a few hours.
What else did you do?
I’d never seen my life flash before my eyes until I was surrounded by hippos in the middle of Lake Naivasha. It didn’t help that our speedboat propeller was tangled up in some fishing lines. I wouldn’t recommend it. I would, however, implore people to visit the Ruins of Gedi, the remains of a Swahili town near Malindi. There’s not much more I can convey then what’s on the Wiki, other than it’s an absolute must and a clear reminder that there’s even more to Kenya than safaris and smiles.