THE TOWN AND THE CULTURE
Approximately six hours drive by bus from Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, and you arrive at a town with a contrasting character as compared to the former. At the foot of the Sagala hills lies a town that feels almost too peaceful. One can definitely feel the difference immediately you alight in Voi town. It has a laid back character that proves refreshing especially after you come from a bustling city like Nairobi. The air feels fresher, the people nicer, the temperature warmer but more humid a place. Its proximity to the coastal town, Mombasa, has greatly influenced the culture of the place. A coastal accent in the Swahili language spoken in this part of the country with Swahili cuisine involving foods such as the tasty and spicy biryani, mahamri incorporated in the main dishes of the restaurants around the place. With distinct fruits such as dates and different types of nuts such as cashew nuts and almonds that are plenty in the town hint its closeness to Mombasa. Swahili people well known for their “no hurry” policy cultivated by Swahili proverbs such as “haraka haraka haina baraka” translated to mean “hurry hurry has no blessings”, give the town a slow feel. The people stroll from place to place with no hurry giving the town an ambience of relaxation making it a great place to take a vacation in.Read more about the town
I was lucky to have spent my nights in the beautiful Maghonyi Hotel in Voi Town. The rooms are clean equipped with hot and cold water showers, some with balconies overlooking the town, with exquisite services from the polite staff and well-prepared meals. Most importantly, it is an affordable well-serviced hotel.
WHERE TO VISIT
The main place to visit in Voi is the Tsavo Park considered to be one of the largest parks in Africa. Divided into east and west, the eastern side can be accessed through the Manyani gate in Voi. I got the privilege of accessing the Tsavo East National Park which offers numerous attractions to view and enjoy. Such places are:
A few kilometres into the park, one comes across the Lugard Falls, a series of water rapids that constitute the Galana River. The water offers a sense of refreshment from the hot semi-arid climate of Voi, with a certain white noise feel created by the gushing noise of water as it hits the rocks and winds blowing. Rumour has it that the noise created by the falls scares away the crocodiles which then move to the lower, less noisy parts of the falls. The feeling is sensational and one feels like you want to spend more time around this particular place. One has to be warned though about getting too close to the falls as it has proven to be dangerous since one can be blown into the falls by the strong winds. The naturally occurring rocks have been carved to certain organic shapes due to the persistence of water against the rock. Can’t help but marvel at this wonder of how something so soft like water could win a battle over something so hard, rock, due to its persistence.
But the wonder that beats all is the naturally occurring granite rock that surrounds the falls. Granite is an expensive rock used mainly in the building and construction industry and after it gets refined in the factories, it forms beautifully patterned refined tiles. Due to the constant weathering of the granite rock by water, the granite occurs in different colours that have a certain shiny look as observed against the light from the sun.
2. MUDANDA ROCK
This naturally occurring inselberg of hard rock located farther inwards into the park attracts tourists to the Tsavo. It offers wonderful great outward views to the plains of the Tsavo East below. Sitting on this high-leveled rock, one can see the elephants coming to drink water from the dam formed below this rock, the zebras chasing each other, the giraffes playing with each other’s long necks and their beautiful stature; if giraffes were human beings, they would definitely be models, pride of lions farther away acting like young men with rage fighting each other trying to prove who is more powerful…manhood…
The view is like a captivating music video with one large panoramic screen that has so much to look at and enjoy. With the winds blowing at a high speed on the top of Mudanda rock, the feeling is refreshing and all one needs is a snack and the movie is right in front of you. With my description, I still don’t believe I do it much justice. Such places can only be appreciated by visiting them. One has to experience the feel in such a place.
3. VOI SAFARI LODGE
Beautifully designed place incorporating traditional architecture ideas in both the exterior and interior design that offers a great place to rest, dine, relax and enjoy while in Voi. The seats have been cushioned using textiles that are patterned with animal patterns such as zebra stripes, cheetah prints, leopard prints among other animals found in the Tsavo. What better way to design an interior in Africa? It gives a sense of belonging to the people in Voi making them appreciative of their surrounding.
The hilly terrain has been considered in the design with the higher parts consisting of the lodging, dining and drinking facilities with the lower parts consisting of caves that offer views to the wildlife, specifically the elephants that camp there to quench their thirst. The lodge offers swimming pool facilities that allows one to leisurely enjoy themselves in the semi-arid climate and feel refreshed. One can enjoy a glass of Hennessy on the patio while overlooking the elephants with a great savanna plain below. It almost looks like a picture in the Travel Africa Magazine showcasing refined photos of this magnificent lodge.