Breaking Travel News will be on hand at World Travel Awards celebrates its Africa Gala Ceremony in Kenya on October 16th, with hundreds of industry leading figures expected to attend.
Here we bring readers up to date with exactly what has been happening in this rapidly growing tourism hotspot.
First off the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has announced the Mount Kenya-Lewa Wildlife conservancy will be added as an extension to Mount Kenya Natural Park which was designated a World Heritage site in 1997.
Lewa and Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve were inscribed as an extension to the Mount Kenya World Heritage site in June following Kenya’s proposal to expand the boundary to include the cultural and traditional values of Mount Kenya.
This expansion will enhance the protection of the property as a world heritage site and improve the conservation status of the mountain.
In aviation, British Airways has launched an additional flight between Nairobi and London, which began May 12th.
The new flight departs London at 20:00 on Sunday evenings and land at 04:55 the following morning.
The return service will leave Nairobi at 22:45 on Monday evenings and arrive in London at 08:25 the next morning.
The extra flight will increase capacity on the route by 266 seats a week.
Kenya is a growing economy and the additional flight has been scheduled as an overnight service so that customers, particularly those travelling on business, can make the most of their time in Kenya.
By the end of this month the airline currently serves 18 routes in 15 African countries.
From June 2nd Kenya Airways has also met tourist’s demands by increasing the frequency of flights to the city of Eldoret from 11 to 14 weekly flights.
On Mondays, Tuesdays and Sundays the additional flights will depart from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, playing an important role in opening up the North Rift region to tourism.
Eldoret is located in the Rift Valley region which offers stunning views and a collection of tourist attraction sites and resorts.
The route is served by Embraer E170 aircrafts with the flight lasting approximately an hour.
Mombasa Air Safari, the longest serving airline operating on the Mombasa-Amboseli-Mara route, has also now announced the launch of its Nairobi Wilson-Mara schedule service.
The airline will operate two daily departures from Nairobi Wilson Airport, the morning service departing at 10:00 and the afternoon service at 15:00.
The Kenya Tourism Board has introduced a ‘Magical Kenya’ Android app allowing tourists to discover the beauty and excitement of Kenya at the touch of a button.
The app invites users to explore Kenya’s tourism products through a detailed travel guide helping to prepare visitors for their trip and providing general information and tips on the destination.
The Magical Kenya Android app provides recommendations on where to go, what to see and enables users to connect with local business, hotels and restaurants and also offers them the opportunity to create a fun souvenir video which can be shared with friends on Facebook.
New Hotels in Kenya
Kenya’s portfolio of luxury hotels has continued to increase with more five-star brands opening properties in the country this year.
New Nairobi openings include Hemingways Nairobi and Kempinski Hotels’ new luxury Villa Rosa Hotel.
In the Maasai Mara, Virgin Limited Edition Collection is now welcoming guests to Sir Richard Branson’s Mahali Mzuri safari camp and the Enkeri Mara, which is being launched by Middle Eastern brand Emaar Hospitality Group, will open at the end of this year giving visitors to Kenya plenty to look forward to.
The latest addition to the Hemingways Collection officially opened in April 2013.
A member of the Small Luxury Hotels, Hemingways Nairobi is a new luxury boutique hotel situated in the peaceful suburb of Karen.
The hotel is a graceful plantation-style building with 45 enchanting suites, each overlooking the Ngong Hills.
Hemingways Nairobi is the only hotel in Kenya that offers personalised butler service setting a new benchmark to the hotel industry.
The hotel’s main public building opens onto large, airy terraces on both the ground and first floors with stunning views towards the Ngong Hills.
The orientation of the buildings is set overlooking the rolling lawns with the Ngong Hills in the distance.
The hotel also features a wellness centre, swimming pool, gym and spa.
Located on the border of the Olare Motorogi Conservancy in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Mara Toto, has revisited the past by taking a ‘back to classics’ design approach inspired by Africa’s original explorers.
The magical and romantic era can be embraced within five spacious canvas tents all fitted with en-suite bathrooms where enjoying a piping hot shower can be accompanied by a chorus of hippos lounging close by.
The camp is hidden within a cluster of ebony trees on the banks of the Ntiakitak River protected where their local wildlife wanders the riverbanks.
Mara Toto is an exciting adventure camp that also offers a stylish experience.
Activities at the camp include early morning hot air ballooning across the Maasai Mara Reserve and visiting local schools and community projects.
For further information see the website.
Kenyan Safari Camp
The newest addition to Kenya’s vast safari camp offering was eagerly anticipated with Sir Richard Branson’s Mahali Mzuri opening its doors in June 2013.
‘Mahali Mzuri’, which means ‘beautiful place’ in Swahili, is a luxury tented safari camp in the Maasai Mara ecosystem in western Kenya.
Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice reportedly visited the luxury resort in November 2012 ahead of its opening this year.
The Virgin Limited Edition collection property offers a unique African safari experience featuring 12 luxury tented suites with spacious bedroom and deck with stunning views.
For more information take a look here.
Kempinski Hotels has partnered with the Simba Corporation and is constructing what is to become one of the country’s most luxurious properties, the Villa Rosa Hotel on Chiromo Road, Nairobi.
Kempinski already has a beautiful tented camp, Olare Camp in a Maasai Mara private conservancy so the Nairobi hotel will be its second property in Kenya.
The five-star hotel is due to open in August this year.
Adil Popat, chief executive, Simba Corporation, assured the tourism industry that the new venture will be the hotel of choice for both local and international tourists.
“Our initial idea was to build a four-star brand and run this hotel ourselves. Very quickly our aspirations changed and we realised that Nairobi needed a top quality hotel, since no new five-star hotels have been constructed here for many years,” he said.
The anticipated Villa Rosa five-star hotel will have 200 rooms with six business suites, a presidential and a super presidential suite, four executive suites, and a swimming pool among other state of the art features.
For more information visit the Kempinski website.
The Address, Maasai Mara
The Emaar Hospitality Group is set to open a new property near to the Maasai Mara at the end of 2013.
The Enkeri Mara by the Address Maasai Mara will have easy access from Olurruk Mara Airstrip and guests can enjoy stunning views over the reserve from luxury safari tents.
The resort will feature an array of restaurants and a wellness spa that uses traditional Mara herbs and concoctions.
Emaar Hospitality Group properties include the fashionable Address Residence in Dubai.
For more information, please visit Emaar.
World Travel Awards
Last but not lease, preparations are now well underway for the arrival of the World Travel Awards in mid-October.
Kenya Tourism Board won the bid to host this annual WTA Africa Gala Ceremony last year, with the award nominations recognising excellence in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry.
Kenya as a host destination comes hot on the heels of its recognition as Africa’s Leading Tourist Board by the World Travel Awards in December last year.
More information on the event here.