Kenya News
Wednesday, 19 July 2017 16:33

Serena News Highlights

East Africa's migration is on the move, you can now ride horses with rhinos at Ol Pejeta, there's a fantastic new special offer for Mivumo Villa in the Selous and there have been major refurbs at Nairobi Serena, Dar es Salaam Serena and at the Polana Mar in Maputo.  Serena Mountain Lodge in Kenya also has a fantastic new kids club.  Check out the full stories and more on this link.
Published in News
The journey towards direct flights between Kenya and the US has reached the homestretch with the government opening up Jomo Kenyatta International airport for a final safety audit. Kenyans seeking to travel to the US for leisure and businessmen will, however, have to wait longer for exact flight dates, which are hinged on a scheduled audit of the airport’s compliance by American aviation authorities.

Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) has set July as its deadline for meeting all the conditions set by the US government for approval of direct flights between Nairobi and Washington. The authority will next month write a letter to Federal Aviation Administration requesting for a comprehensive review of the country’s preparation to handle the flights.

“We only have one or two items remaining known as critical elements and on these, we are on the last one, which our officers are currently working on,” said KCAA director-general Gilbert Kibe. He said the airport has achieved a 90 per cent level of compliance on a long process that had numerous considerations including technical aspects, safety and security.

“There are challenges in complying because the standards expected are extremely high. It is the state of Kenya that will be given the category one status,” said Kibe. In two previous audits conducted in 2013 and 2014, Kenya scored 66 per cent and 78 per cent respectively.

Security concerns at JKIA have been a key hindrance to concluding the process. Upon meeting satisfactory levels of compliance, FAA will fly its audit team to award Kenya an International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) audit that would grant the airport the much-coveted category one status.

KCAA expressed confidence it will clinch the category one certification before year end but remained non-committal on real commencement date for direct flights between the two nations. “We are going to invite them (FAA) in July to do their final comprehensive review.

We should have completed final stages before we get an audit date on when they will come. From there, we will be at their mercy as far as the actual date will be,” said Kibe. The US wanted Kenya to separate passenger arrivals from departure terminals, clearance of flight paths and fencing off of the airport to boost security.

The tourism sector is set to be a major beneficiary of the developments with increased confidence on level of recovery and easing of insecurity in the country. “We have a lot of interest in direct Delta flights to Kenya but a lot of bureaucracy still hampers the process. The Civil Aviation Bill still needs some amendments,” said Tourism Cabinet secretary Najib Balala.

Source: Mediamax

Published in News
Monday, 20 June 2016 10:42

Kenya tourism to get $40 million boost

The Kenyan Government has earmarked more than $40 million for tourism promotion in a bid to revive the industry.

Earlier this month, Kenya’s National Treasury Minister, Henry Rotich, said the Government had allocated over $40 million for the financial year 2016/2017 to be spent on marketing the East African country to woo more international tourists.

Rotich added that tourism had declined as a result of travel advisories that were issued by the US, UK, France and Australia following terror attacks that occurred in the country in 2014.

To help the sector recover, the Minister said the Government had committed the $40 million-plus for promotion plus incentives. “The tourism sector is on a recovery path, owing to security improvement that resulted in the lifting of travel advisories by our key source markets,” Rotich said.

He confirmed that the Government would continue to improve the country’s security for the safety of locals and visitors for them to enjoy their holidays.

Last month, Kenyan Tourism Minister, Najib Balala, had assured tourism players that the Government would allocate a substantial amount of funds for marketing in international markets. Balala said a bulk of the funds would be spent on key markets such as the UK, US, Italy, France and Spain as well as emerging markets of Eastern Europe and Asia.

Tourism players welcomed the Government’s allocation of over $40 million, saying it would boost marketing campaigns in overseas markets.

Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers Coast Executive Officer, Sam Ikwaye, said the funding would be a great support to the Government and the private sector’s efforts to revive the industry. Over the years, he added, the Kenya Tourism Board used to be allocated only $5 million for marketing, adding that the extra funding would help intensify the agency’s campaigns.

Ikwaye called on the Ministry of Tourism and KTB to target markets that favour Kenya to help the country to attract more international holidaymakers. 

Published in News
Kenya Airways will change its schedule on the flights between London and Nairobi from March 27, 2016.

From the start of the summer schedule in March, flights will depart Nairobi in the morning to arrive in London in the afternoon on the same day and depart from London for Nairobi the same evening with next day arrival in the morning in Nairobi.

The change is part of Kenya Airways drive for a more passenger convenient service and offers customers a wider choice of connection options to and from Europe into Africa.

Kenya Airways will continue to operate an evening flight departing at 18.25 (new time) from Terminal 4 – London –Heathrow (LHR) to arrive into Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Nairobi at 05.00. The early arrival in Nairobi will give passengers smooth same day connections to onward destinations across Africa, and a convenient early morning arrival for guests ending their journey in Nairobi.  The return flight will operate as a daylight service to London, and will depart JKIA at 09.15 to arrive into LHR at 16.15.

To compliment this new improved schedule, passengers departing Nairobi also have the choice of two evening departures via Paris or Amsterdam to connect into London or regional UK points connecting via the hubs of Kenya Airways partner Air France/KLM.

All KQ flights will be operated with the new B787 Dreamliners and feature our award winning business class cabin and service.

Current timings – until March 26th(Local times)

Nairobi – London, KQ 102
Departure Nairobi: 23:35
Arrival London:       06:30


London-Nairobi, KQ 101
Departure London: 19.00
Arrival Nairobi:       06:35

New timings – From March 27th:(Local times)

Nairobi – London, KQ 100
Departure Nairobi: 09:15
Arrival London:       16:15


London-Nairobi, KQ 101
Departure London: 18:25
Arrival Nairobi:       05:00

Published in News
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 17:05

Good news for Kenya's Masai Mara Lions

After the sad incident that occured in the Masai Mara just over a week ago, where 3 lions were poisoned to death, we're pleased to be bringing more positive news regarding probably the most famous lions in the world.

Stars of many BBC-TV documentaries, The Marsh Pride, are resident in the national reserve, and yesterday they introduced the two youngest members of their family to an adoring public. Two three-week old cubs emerged from the undergrowth as water levels were briefly high due to unseasonal rainfall levels. Their mother was keen to move the little cubs to higher ground and increased safety, which meant that they came out into the open for the very first time, to the delight of Dominic, a local Masai guide and just a handful of fortunate clients. Kamili's Tim and Mandy Henshall were delighted to be amongst them, whilst staying at nearby Sentinel Camp (a delightful 4+ star 6-room seasonal tented camp hidden within the forest on the banks of the Mara River, deep within Marsh Pride territory).

The Marsh Pride swells to upto 40 lions from time to time, so whilst the loss of 3 of their members was a major loss, the pride remains dominant and thriving in one of Africa’s premier wildlife destinations.

As Tim said “The Marsh Pride is known and loved the world over. These gorgeous little additions – who we’ve cheekily christened Kamili and Kamageo – are the latest stars to join the pride. Let’s hope we can all work to ensure their safety to bring joy to the many people drawn to this amazing destination”.

For more information on Sentinel Mara Camp, or any of Kamili's other outstanding Mara properties  - Losokwan, Basecamp Masai Mara, Wilderness Camp and Eagle View, please contact or call 01664 823750

Published in News
Following the hugely popular 10-part BBC2 series – This Wild Life – the UK public is keen to experience Saba Douglas-Hamilton’s delightful family-run property in Samburu, Elephant Watch Camp. It is now being marketed to the UK travel trade by Kamili.

Wildlife film-maker and conservationist, Saba Douglas-Hamilton and Tim Henshall (MD of Kamili) met in London, ahead of her hugely successful lecture at the Royal Geographical Society in early October. She'd newly arrived from the States, having been at an elephant summit in Jackson Hole.

Brief introductions and small talk over, as soon as they began discussing the camp and her entire family's commitment to conservation, Saba truly came to life. It was clear she is both passionate and dynamic... leaving Tim trying to imagine just how inspiring she would be when she wasn't suffering jet lag!

Saba was keen to emphasise that Elephant Watch Camp expands ‘eco-tourism’ by engaging at a deeper level with the wildlife and landscape to offer 'conservation tourism’.

“We feel it's part of our mission to ensure that guests leave with an increased understanding and commitment towards conserving Kenya's wildlife and engaging with the local people in a meaningful way.”

Conservation tourism takes “eco” a step further.  The idea is both to do no harm and to give something back. Saba describes the camp’s elephant encounters as akin to swimming with wild dolphins. It’s impossible not to fall in love! Conservation becomes central to the experience, because inevitably you protect the things you love. Simply by visiting national parks you help to conserve the animals. But at Elephant Watch you engage in conservation at a much deeper level, and also have a truly memorable safari experience!

Elephant Watch Camp is a "bohemian chic " tented camp with just 6 guest rooms. Saba took over management in 2014, but she emphasizes that it's very much a family enterprise - her mother, Oria,  constructed the camp 14 years ago and is still the creative force behind it.  The family’s love of nature is evident in the way each room is built under its own tree, blending in with the environment. Elephants often pass through, and in the morning you’re woken by a chorus of songbirds.  It has the feeling of home, especially as Saba, husband Frank Pope (who works for Save the Elephants) and their children all live there, along with a host of Samburu warriors from the local community.

“We try to peel back the layers of meaning so that each day your understanding and appreciation of the wild world deepens, in a beautiful, authentic setting that is both superbly comfortable but also luxuriously simple.”

The camp provided the focal point for a much-acclaimed 10 part TV-series broadcast in September on primetime BBC2. We were both glad to agree that UK tour operators would thankfully see beyond the dramatisation of daily events at the camp. "We're not really that disorganised behind the scenes!" Saba laughed. But the series has brought valuable exposure to the camp and its conservation links, with a surge of enquiries coming in.

"The camp is my home and, yes, I'm the host... but it's a passion project of the entire family, each committed to delivering amazing experiences that enhance our understanding of Nature ”

For more information on the camp, contact or

Published in News
Wednesday, 09 September 2015 15:44

Serena leads by example

When times are tough – Serena Hotels leads by example and invests US$20 Million in East Africa’s tourism.  Read about what Serena has planned for some of its hotels in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania next year  – and check out their swish new landcruisers on
Published in News
Friday, 14 August 2015 13:47

Once In A Lifetime Opportunity!

Atua Enkop Africa are offering directors, product managers and senior sales staff a once in a lifetime migration experience. It is not often that operators can get a free stay in the Masai Mara during the world famous great migration. We all sell holidays to Kenya around the migration time but how often have we experienced it for ourselves?? Atua Enkop is taking advantage of a few days when their beautiful luxury camps are not full to invite select travel staff to experience the migration first hand.

Anyone interested please contact Tsessabe on to secure your space as they are limited.
Published in News
Kenya introduces MANDATORY online visa applications

Starting from 2nd July 2015, the government of Kenya will introduce electronic visa application.  Tourists wishing to visit Kenya need to apply as follows:

  1. Visit the electronic visa page at
  2. Select Register as a Visitor
    1. As part of this process, you will receive a confirmation email that you need to click on to verify and confirm your registration
    2. At this point, you will be asked to UPLOAD A DIGITAL PASSPORT PHOTO (Maximum size 500 px by 500 px)
  3. Once logged in, select Department of Immigration Services
  4. Select Submit Application
  5. Select Kenyan Visa
  6. Select the type of visa (visitor) and read the instructions carefully
  7. Complete the application form - please note that incomplete applications will be rejected however you will lose your processing fees
    1. You will need a scan of the main page of your passport (with your name, date of birth and other information)
    2. You will need to re-upload your passport photo
  8. Pay using your Visa card, MasterCard or other debit card
  9. Await your approval which will be sent to you by email.  This could take up to 7 days so give yourself plenty of time.
  10. Once you have received the email advising that your visa is approved, log back into your ecitizen account and download your visa. 
  11. Print a copy of your visa to present to the immigration officer at your point of entry into Kenya
Some things to remember:

  • The visa process takes up to one week and must be completed in advance
  • You will need a scan of your passport and passport photo
  • Approval and issuance of the visa does not guarantee entry into Kenya
  • Any form of business or employment on a visitor's visa is an offence 


As the introduction of this visa process was only this past week, there is a two month grace period whereby visas may still be purchased on arrival.  This grace period expires on 31 August 2015.

Effective 01 September 2015, you may be denied boarding of your flight to Kenya or denied entry to Kenya if you do not have your printed copy of your e-visa with you.

Please contact your ARP Travel Consultant should you have any questions.  

The new service goes live on 2nd July 2015.
Published in News

Tourvest East Africa has contracted Luxury Representation Collection of the United Kingdom as representatives for Vintage Africa, Sense of Africa Uganda and the Lemala Camps and Lodges to cover the United Kingdom and Ireland, with effect from 1 November. Effective the same date Ynot Concepts of Australia will provide representation services to the same Tourvest East Africa brands across Australia and New Zealand.

South African born Luxury Representation Collection owner Tesna Simonsen George has been working in the industry for over 16 years gaining experience from the various segments of the travel market before finding her true passion in the field of representation.

“Tesna is extremely passionate about Africa and through years of dedication and drive, alongside Kirstine Vercoe she has built up an excellent reputation in the UK and Ireland. Their combined experience and enthusiasm makes Luxury Representation Collection an ideal fit for Tourvest in East Africa,” said James Haigh, joint CEO and Sales and Marketing Director of Tourvest East Africa.

Rob Gurr, owner of Ynot Concepts comes from a strong sales and marketing background. Until recently he headed the South African Tourism trade marketing team in Australia. He implemented national marketing campaigns, business plans, developed and created relationships with key stakeholders and has an excellent understanding of the Australian and New Zealand markets.

“We are very excited to have Tesna, Kirstine and Rob on board as we continue to expand and we look forward to the value they will add to our sales and marketing effort,” he said.

Published in News
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