Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Counter terrorism training held for Hemingways Nairobi staff

In a bid to take security training to a higher level, Hemingways Nairobi team members were taken through a vigorous training on counter terrorism. The training conducted by senior officials from the National Counter Terrorism Centre, focused on security checks for both vehicles and luggage, items that should be of concern if sited and how to handle a potential terrorism crisis.

JKIA fire update

Both local and international airlines fully resumed as of 11th August 2013 with the airport handling 19,919 passengers on that day. JKIA handles an average of 16000 passengers in a day; 67 international arrivals and 70 international departures operated in a day. All international airlines operating from JKIA have resumed operations with SN Brussels having been the last to resume operations. Swiss Airlines which was previously landing once a week has resumed it’s twice a week schedule.

All arriving international passengers are being cleared at fully operational tents which are also hosting essential services like port health, immigration, baggage collection area, customs and screening machines. Exit of passengers is via unit 3arrivals.

Much to the appreciation of the public, the president of Kenya opened up the presidential pavilion to be used by the in-coming passengers as well.

Safety of passengers has not been compromised by this event. Passenger screening areas are functional for ease of transfer of passengers. All other security checks in the airport are in place as usual. Enhanced signage in key areas is in place to assist passengers locate the various areas

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

‘Premium’ Black Angus Beef now at Hemingways

All our Beef is now ‘Premium’ Morendat crossbred Black Angus Beef, they are a cross breed of 3 steers  50% Angus, 25% Boran and 25% Simmental “making the quality of Beef the best you will find in Kenya” 180 days fed on corn ‘Exclusively for Hemingways’ dry aged for 21 days and hand cut in house every day in the ‘Old Butcher Style’

“We use the whole steer at Hemingways” utilizing seam-butchery techniques on the under used Primals  so we are able to create our very own and unique “Hemingways Specialty Steak Range” these steak cuts have very different characteristics, enhanced flavor and texture “You will not find these cuts anywhere else in Nairobi”

Brasserie Reservations
+254 (0) 718 529 070 

Saturday, 3 August 2013

The Spa

Whether you are male or female, the Spa at Hemingways Nairobi offers a collection of unique treatments designed to destress and revitalise both the mind and body.

Our Spa invites you to discover the Anne Semonin made-to-measure facial  and body treatment collection  created for clientele seeking efficiency and absolute high quality service.

Immerse yourself in the luxurious Hemingways Spa, rediscover your senses and emerge relaxed, recharged and glowing.

We are open from 9am to 8pm, 7days a week.

Because each individual is unique, Anne Semonin allows your Therapist to personalize your facials by blending synergy of essential oils and trace elements to suit your skin moment needs. These bespoke treatments will not only revitalize your skin but energize and balance your body and spirit providing total relaxation.

Our range of body treatments includes:
- Aromatic intensive and mineral rich body wraps designed to detox and rebalance your body. 
Exfoliating rituals using black sand and sea salt and will leave your skin feeling hydrated and silky smooth.
- A selection of traditional massage techniques ( Indian head massage, Reflexology and Body Massage) offering holistic therapy for the body mind and spirit.  

We have an exclusive selection of Hemingways Spa packages that will take you into a world where time is left outside the door and you journey through our face and body therapies: Pure indulgence “tailor made to suit you”.

NB: All our Facial and Body treatments begin with a hot towel foot cleanse and “Initial Touch Ritual” and we encourage you to spend half an hour in our relaxation areas post treament with a herbal tea and some fruit.

 For that final polished look: Manicure, Pedicures, threading, Waxing, Blowdries Eyelash and Eyebrow treatments are also on our menu.


Our gym instructor offers one hour of personal training (which includes a post workout assisted stretch) by appointment only.

The Bar

Hemingways Nairobi’s bar, aptly called The Bar, is open! A fantastic addition to the Food and Beverage on offer at this amazing property this is bound to be a huge draw. Open to Diners and Hotel Residents, Monday to Friday from 4:30pm and 12 noon on Saturday and Sunday  The Bar has a host of beverages sure to please. 

There is a great selection to choose from ranging from local and international beers to the wine cellar with over 50 bins from across the globe, a great selection of over 80 spirits including very fine Cognacs, a beautiful selection of Single Malt Whiskies and even a boutique Rum.

In addition there is a cocktail list of 25 cocktails featuring classic cocktails such as Ernest Hemingways’ favourite the Daiquiri aka Papa Doble to contemporaries such as the Mango Chilli Mojito and of course the ever popular Champagne Cocktails.

The décor is intimate yet upmarket with a feel of the private gent’s club; a host of leather Chesterfield sofas on fine Italian marble in front of the fireplace all under the eye of the master barmen tending to your needs at the mirrored backdrop bar. As if that wasn’t enough one can sit back and relax on the bar terrace and take in the views of the Ngong Hills while savouring that Single Malt and a cigar.

‘Premium’ Black Angus Beef now at Hemingways

All our Beef is now ‘Premium’ Morendat crossbred Black Angus Beef, they are a cross breed of 3 steers  50% Angus, 25% Boran and 25% Simmental “making the quality of Beef the best you will find in Kenya” 180 days fed on corn ‘Exclusively for Hemingways’ dry aged for 21 days and hand cut in house every day in the ‘Old Butcher Style’

“We use the whole steer at Hemingways” utilizing seam-butchery techniques on the under used Primals  so we are able to create our very own and unique “Hemingways Specialty Steak Range” these steak cuts have very different characteristics, enhanced flavor and texture “You will not find these cuts anywhere else in Nairobi”

Friday, 26 July 2013

Kenya Airways tops Heathrow’s punctuality rankings

Kenya Airways had the most punctual flights that flew into and out of London Heathrow International Airport in the United Kingdom during the month of June 2013, latest statistics from the facility have indicated.The airline emerged top in the ranking of punctuality of flights. All Kenya Airways’ flights departing from the airport were 100% punctual, while 83 per cent of those arriving were on time.

This is the best rank that the airline has attained over the last 12 months. The closest it has come to this during this period is the second position.Kenya Airways’ Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Dr Titus Naikuni welcomed the achievement, stating that “At Kenya Airways, we are committed to ensuring that we deliver a world class experience to our guests while also that all their flights depart and arrive on time,” Dr. Naikuni added.

Overall, 71 per cent of arrivals by all airlines into London Heathrow International Airport were on time while 75 per cent of the departures were punctual.The other African airlines in the Heathrow International Airport’s punctuality rankings include South African Airways at the 19thposition, Air Mauritius at 59th, Egypt Air at 67th, Ethiopian Airlines at 72nd, Air Algerie at 77th, Tunisair at 79thand Libyan Airlines at 80th.

On a daily basis, London Heathrow International Airport handles an average of 1,288 flights and 191,200 passengers. About 80 airlines fly into and out of the facility.

Kenya Airways flies seven times  a week (one flight daily) between its hub at JIKIA in Nairobi and London’s Heathrow International Airport.

August is the ‘Big W’ month for the Hemingways Collection

Ol Seki from the sky

In the Masai Mara, Hemingways Ol Seki Camp is watching the Wildebeest migration.  Literally hundreds of thousands of wildebeest are migrating across the Mara river into Kenya; spreading out over the plains and serving as lunch for the lions, cheetahs, hyenas and leopards that have been waiting all year for this dining bonanza.  

The herds gather at the edge of the river; looking at the chocolate brown water with suspicion.  Quite rightly too, the Mara river has some of the biggest crocodiles you’ll ever see.  With the predators massed in the water; and the pressure of numbers building up behind, eventually one brave wildebeest takes the leap and then a mad rush ensues as hundreds of animals swim and scramble across the river. 

 With steep banks, rough rocky river beds and thousands of animals, the crossings do get chaotic; great swirling dust clouds take shape in the air above as the herds arrive on the edge and the lowing sound of ‘uhhnngg’, ‘uhhnng’, ‘uhhnng’, mobs your ears as the wildebeest ‘talk’ to each other. 

 Those that did not make it across the waters are now providing food for umpteen vultures and marabou storks and anything left on the water’s edge becomes crocodile dinner. 

Whales Ahoy! in Watamu

Hemingways Watamu has its Whale Watching in full swing; with 20 – 25 humpbacks being seen almost every day at the moment.  The best viewing is of course in a boat, out at sea, following these incredible, utterly gigantic mammals as they swim up from the southern ocean feeding grounds to the warmer waters of the tropics for breeding. 

These wonderful animals can reach up to 12metres in length and weigh up to 40 tonnes. This dwarfs pretty much any other animal you’ll see in Africa, it would take 5 elephants to get upto this size!  They are curious,  and pop up to look at the boats and the people on board; and are therefore amazingly co-operative for photo taking!  Fin waving, breaching and rolling on the surface are all common behaviours and utterly amazing to watch.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Ol Seki Hemingways Mara fam trip

It was an awesome experience last weekend when the Hemingways team left on a familiarization trip for Hemingways Ol Seki Mara Camp. Departure was supposed to be at 7 am on Saturday morning but thanks to African timing it was not until 8 am that the last team member (name withheld) arrived and the 2 Landcruiser' s set off from town. It was a wet chilly morning with overhead clouds hanging ominously over the slick road. 

We were in the able hands of Albert Irungu an experienced driver and guide whose prowess was just about to get tested to the fullest on the way ahead. Soft reggae music was playing on the speakers setting the mood for an exciting road trip with the team chatting about happily. The slick road forced us to drive at a slow pace up Waiyaki Way with the huge 4x4 tyres spraying water on either side of the road. On reaching Limuru the wetness gave way to cold as we started ascending the highlands as the rain gave way to the mist.

We reached the Mai Mahiu junction on Naivasha road and turned left towards Mai Mahiu town. Here we started the steep winding descent on the escarpment that gave us a magnificent view of the Rift valley and Mt. Longonot. I could not help but wallow in the dazzling view quietly thinking to myself what a beautiful country Kenya is. I had a sudden upsurge of rekindled patriotism that made me feel proud to be part of this majestic scenery. 

View from the escarpment

We had a brief stopover at the view point where we found a dozen tour vans full of excited tourists who were busy snapping shots and bargaining with the curio sellers for the array of artworks and sculptures that were on display. Here we had the chance for that welcome bathroom relief for those of us who had ingested substantial amounts of liquids on the way, alcoholic content withheld. After numerous photos and chit chats with the team members from the other van and the occasional wink and 'habari yako' from the eager tourists. 

Trust me never to leave an opportunity to combine beautiful scenery with a beautiful people in one picture.

We all bundled into our respective vans and proceeded with the descent down the escarpment.We reached Mai Mahiu town at the foot of the escarpment, a rusty town dotted by trucks parked by the roadside or next to bars. On enquiry i was led to understand that trucks usually take a break here either before or after the gruelling climb up the escarpment so the tired crew can get a welcome drink from the  numerous bars or the occasional massage from the eager town folk to ease their tension.

We turned left and took the Narok road and the hustle and bustle of the town gave way to rolling plains dotted with acacia trees where we could see an occasional manyatta and cattle in the distance. This scenery remained unchanged for a while until we approached Narok town where we saw large tracts of farmland with grasslike sprouts which Albert informed us was newly grown wheat. We reached the outskirts of Narok and once again the indulgence in liquids was taking its toll and we, or must i say I, was relieved to be informed by Albert to make a phone call to the other van and inform them that we would be making a stop over at a curio market just before the National Cereals and Produce Board.

Me and 4 and a half colleagues... Yes, we have an unborn on board. Awesome!
We made a phone call to Jeff Mukolwe, the Hemingways Ol Seki Mara Camp manager to enquire on the state of the road. He informed us that it had rained but the roads were passable, he asked us to buy streaky bacon from Narok town to supplement the camps supply. After the relief, we set off towards Narok town so we could get the bacon. I offered to join Morris Mulu the accountant to go buy the supplies so i could stretch and have a view of Narok town and Margie Gitau the Express Travel Group sales and marketing manager decided to join us. We asked around for directions to the supermarket and unfortunately we could not get streaky bacon from any of the supermarkets, the closest we came was beef bacon which was not at par with the camp chefs standards. I bought soft drinks that some team members had requested then we set off from Narok town for the final 80 km or so.

The tarmac gave way to a bumpy murram road a few kilometres from Narok and we started seeing dirty and muddy oncoming tour vans which signalled muddy terrain ahead. The scenery changed drastically and we could see wildebeestes and small herds of Zebra and antelopes announcing the proximity to the Mara. This went on for a while until we got a phonecall from Jeff informing us that the  Talek river had burst its banks and had submerged the bridge to Naboisho conservancy so we would have to wait it out at Nkoilale market until the water went down. We arrived at the bridge and sure enough the bridge had been submerged. 

We backtracked to Nkoilale to wait it out. The most convenient place we could sit and wait was a bar, before you get judgemental i will have you know that the market has very few hotels which are small and the only spacious place we could fit all 14 of us was that bar. Meat was ordered and guys settled in and drinks were ordered to individual preference. Many tour vans passed by as they were headed to the Maasai Mara National Park and back. I happened to make friends with some of the locals and engaged them in dialogue so i could learn the most about the local community and area in general. 

One striking feature i noticed about the center was the Maasai women, gracefully tall, adorned with colourful beads, drinking the men under the table and still walk out without a stagger while the men were left blabbering unable to swat a fly. When the meat was ready we heartily partook the juicy mutton which surprisingly tasted like beef. We shared with the other patrons of the joint and were met with another surprise, all of them declined to wash their hands but instead rubbed the fat onto their arms and legs. 

At this time, an Ol Seki guide called Patrick had managed to cross the bridge with his Landcruiser. He informed us that the waters had gone down and we could now cross.

We crossed the Talek river amid some protest form some of our female colleagues, they were apprehensive on the decision to cross the river as they doubted the strength of the bridge. When we crossed, the relief was apparent on their faces. We snaked our way through the dense bush towards the camp and were treated to a variety of wildlife. 

We reached the camp and everyone jumped out of the vans to experience the myth that was Ol Seki. We relaxed on the terrace enjoying the magnificent view with Hyraxes darting about and were joined by Jeff Mukolwe the camp manager, a witty individual who was immediately put to task by the team and was asked a myriad of questions.

Jeff took us round the camp for a show around, detailing every aspect of the camp. We were shown our rooms and were informed that we would be headed to a bush sundowner in a while. After unpacking and settling into our rooms we all bundled into the vans and headed for the sundowner site. A lone tree stood on the plain and i understood why it was chosen as a dinner spot as it was unique and offered a nice view. Drinks were served and we, or must i say I partook with zeal considering they were 'on the house' and the open bush meant there was no begging the driver for a stopover to relieve oneself, just a wary thought of encountering a lion while doing your thing and probably having to run leaving your pants behind.

It was evident that everyone was enjoying themselves and this trip was a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle of Nairobi and the office. Everyone was jovial and hearty, i couldnt help myself but wonder why companies dont conduct interviews to individuals under the influence of alcohol as this was the only time people were most honest. I actually got to know my colleagues better and discovered personalities which were concealed in the office. In the bush we were all equal, there were no bosses and there were remarks to the effect 'what happens in the mara, stays in the mara'.. unless it finds its way to this blog.

Two awesome bosses whom am having difficulties deciding who takes the favourite boss title

To be Continued......

Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Techniblock Billfish Challenge

There are few fish, that when attempting to catch, will offer you the full spectrum of emotions.
On any single specimen the hook up is one of surprise for most of us, followed by the elation that something is on the end of your line, as you come to grips with the tussle that ensues.
Of course the bigger the beast you’ve picked a fight with, the more trepidation sets in, as you consider what can actually go wrong!
If you throw the fact that you’re taking on the fastest fins in the ocean into the equation, which it must be said, is more than a little hacked off that it’s easy meal turned out to be your glistening hook, then your angst turns to justifiable fear of the possible outcome.
After the initial run and acrobatic jump and what can seem like an eternity, confidence is eventually restored as you convince yourself you have it all under control.
But complacency has no home in the world of fishing and the distance between a photo of another conquest and the fish you now see peeling line seems like a bridge too far…........................doubt and anguish are ugly bed fellows.
At some stage frustration eventually overwhelms, as after all, you have earned this fish and what right does this over rated sardine snatcher have to challenge your authority.
Realization that you are a little out of your literal depth sets in and that’s when respect is silently but irrevocably bestowed.
This is what anyone who has ever tried to catch a billfish on fly for the first time, experiences. If the angler happens to tag and release his fish then like any self-respecting manic-depressive, the euphoria returns.
But, if after an hour and forty-five minute marathon barney, the hook pops just as you’re about to tag it, well then even a tourettes sufferer would blush at the expletives bellowed. Spare a thought for my team mate Clive Garlick to whom this actually happened!
That he had caught a respectable 75lb sail fish the day before mattered not……our skipper, the renowned “Jackson” on the renowned boat “White Bear” was ambivalent to his wails of despair as he pointed out that it was the largest sail fish he’d seen at the back of the boat in his 18 years on the water!
We’ve all had salt scrubbed into our fishing wounds, especially at a Techniblock Billfish Challenge as these long distance sprinters are an unforgiving lot.
Steve Bridgeford had his hooks straightened on an IGFA 20lb test rig………..almost unheard of, but the last laugh was reserved for the finest angler I know. Jeremy Rochester caught his 1st Saily on fly four years previously, but he will be the first to admit that the fish had barely grown a bill……….. and ever since the billfish has proved his nemesis.
On this trip, his two hook ups were not to be rewarded….one tippet parted and again right at the death, his new imported, life time guarantee rod snapped at the butt…. right at the back of the boat!
Still, better than on my watch, when the fish gave scant regard for the fly put in it’s path.
Nailing a billfish on fly is on most anglers bucket list, but those who’ve spent some time trying will tell you that while the baitfish cause the game fish to chase and tease the thousands of birds in tow, getting that bill to breach and to the back of your boat can be quite frustrating.
Needless to say, you see far more fish than you get to cast at.
Fortunately, the North East ‘Kaskazi’ wind had started to blow heralding the arrival of these migrating pelagics, giving all the teams in the competition a crack at landing their prize.
7 Fly fishers caught their very first sailfish on fly in this years tournament, with Shane Fergusson laying his ghost to rest on his 3rdouting…having had serious equipment failure on his first trip and narrowly missing a striped marlin on his 2nd.
The largest fish of 40kg’s went to Richard Baudry from the Kenyan team (Clive Garlick’s near conquest was estimated at 50kg by the skipper) and  Warren Geerdink took top angler for his 100% conversion rate……the first cast on the first day producing his first sailfish on fly.
It was a close run competition, if this exceptionally relaxed holiday in the comfort of Hemingways can be described as such, with every team recording sailfish.
The stats definitely favored the fish, with around 80 sailies being raised, 30 of which were brought to the back of the boat and 9 eventually tagged.
The team that resoundingly took top honors was Team Columbia, with Warren, Adam Fowls and Greg Slotar each landing their 1st sailfish on fly.
Once again Garry Cullen and his fantastic team at Hemmingways made the Techniblock Billfish Challenge a pleasure to attend, with this years event set to be a Tri Nations of sorts with a challenging team from England taking on the South African and Kenyan contingent.
If you want to conquor the fastest fish in the Ocean, make sure you enter your team into this years’ Techniblock Billfish Challenge from the 22nd to the 29th November 2013.
Here’s to many more breaching bills!