Travel Updates

kilindi mid season

Elewana Collection has two stunning beach properties, one on the Kenya coast located on Diani Beach, a magical setting where white sandy beaches, rustling palm trees and the warm waters of the Indian Ocean are a stone throw away. Elewana AfroChic enjoys beach front ocean views and delicious sea breezes on a quieter, more secluded section of Diani Beach. Voted as one of the top 25 beaches in the world in the Trip Advisor Traveller’s Choice awards, Diani Beach is the ultimate holiday destination with a wide variety of activities and excursions on offer.

A plethora of water sports is available, where guests can enjoy scuba diving in prime spots that offer a number of dive sites for those that are just beginning to those that are more advanced and want to explore shipwrecks. Regardless of ability there is so much to see under the waves; white tipped reef sharks, rays, turtles and so much more. The coral heads have a myriad of colourful tiny reef fish to marvel at and the occasional octopus can be spotted. The best months are from September to April, the weather is perfect and diving conditions optimal for those wanting to explore the ocean floor. If you are unable to dive, snorkelling offers just as much in the shallower waters and trips to Wasini can be arranged, November being the best time as the waters are calm and visibility is crystal clear.

For those that want to stay dry but still explore the ocean from above, sailing and boat trips can be arranged, with the opportunity of seeing Humpback Whales from July to October as they travel annually in their thousands from the Antarctic to Kenya to breed and have their calves in Kenya's safe tropical waters. Humpback whales are among the most acrobatic of whales, and spend time leaping or ‘breaching’ to communicate, play, or give themselves a mini spa to remove unwanted skin parasites. Another marine animal that can be seen along the Kenya coast is the Whale Shark and the best months to spot the largest fish in the world is from February to March.

A very special experience to witness is turtles hatching and Elewana AfroChic has its own hatchery on the beach in front of the hotel. This is unpredictable as it depends on when the eggs are laid and collected to be transported to the safety of our hatchery. Last year we were extremely fortunate to have six nests hatch, three between April and May and then another three in September and October with a total of approximately 370 tiny turtles emerging and making their way to the ocean to our guests delight. With such a variety of options, visitors to Diani have the ability to make their holiday what they want.

The second destination is on the magical Island of Zanzibar with its sandy white beaches, turquoise-blue water and swaying palm trees and should be on everyone’s bucket list of places to visit. The historic Spice Island seems to have been lost in time with its narrow streets, carved doorways and ancient trade routes. As you head to the north of the island, Elewana Kilindi overlooks the ocean that has witnessed the spice trade route for over 500 years. Facing west, you can witness the sun set as you relax on your private balcony.

Explore the hidden secrets of the island with a trip to Jozani Forest to watch the rare and endangered Red Colobus monkeys, which is a species of red colobus monkey endemic to Unguja, the main island of the Zanzibar. Visit early in the year to see the new-borns fumble in the trees as they learn to climb and once you are ready to move on, continue your tour of the Jozani forest, passing along a few trails through the variety of flora and fauna. A visit to Stone Town, a UNESCO world heritage site, is a must and a place where history still lives. The stone buildings, meandering alleyways, and markets still existing as they have done for centuries make for a fascinating day of exploring.

Guests can also enjoy day boat trips, scuba diving and snorkelling to get a glimpse of the dolphins, copious fish and vivid corals that thrive in Zanzibar’s waters. The Humpback whale migration takes place between July and September each year. During this time there is also a slight possibility to see whale sharks around Mnemba Island.  A boat trip to Prison Island (Changuu) can be arranged to learn its fascinating history but also hosts more than 100 giant tortoises, a collection of endangered Aldabra giant tortoises, which were originally a gift from the British governor of the Seychelles.

Your time in the coastal destinations of the Indian Ocean can be as active or as leisurely as you wish, with a multitude of experiences to enjoy from water based sports to exploring the secrets these beautiful destinations hold or simply the favourite coastal pastime of relaxing and soaking up the sun. The world is your oyster but the pearl is found here.


Passengers to Zanzibar are being warned not to travel with single-use plastics to the island. This comes after the government began to strictly enforce a ban on all plastic bags, including zip lock bags, which was announced in October last year.

When reading the distressing impact of single-use plastic on wildlife and the environment we must all recognise that plastic never goes away. Plastic is a durable material made to last forever, yet 33 percent of it is used once and then discarded. Plastic does not biodegrade; it only breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces – Elewana is proud to have taken such a stand and joined the many organisations around the world to eliminate its plastic waste.

Elewana Collection has made considerable efforts to reduce its carbon footprint on the world around us. We strongly believe in the importance of conservation and we do our best to promote these values with the communities we work in, with our teams, and of course with our guests. In the last couple of years we have made great strides in reducing single use plastic. We started with the #banthebottle initiative, eliminating our use of plastic water bottles, and then at the beginning of last year, we were the first property group in East Africa to eliminate the use of plastic straws across all our properties. We now offer biodegradable paper straws and encourage guests to go to #warwiththestraw.

kenya airwaysalitalia

Alitalia and Kenya Airways have entered into a codeshare partnership to offer their customers more travel options at their hubs in Nairobi and Rome.

The deal which became effective early March, will see Alitalia's code placed on Kenya Airways' flight beyond Nairobi to Mombasa and Kisumu in Kenya, as well as to a further 19 African destinations including Abidjan, Accra, Addis Ababa, Antananarivo, Brazzaville, Dar es Salaam and Douala.

The move is aimed at enhancing connectivity by providing customers with a one-stop seamless travel experience from Rome.

"Similarly, Kenya Airways will expand its offer to Italy and Europe by placing its 'KQ' flight code on Alitalia's services from Rome to 16 Italian domestic destinations," said a statement from Kenya Airways on Monday.

Alitalia and Kenya Airways are both members of the SkyTeam alliance.

The new codeshare flights are available for sale through the airlines' reservation systems and in travel agencies from 14 March 2019, for travel from 12 June 2019 when Kenya Airways will inaugurate its four-weekly service between Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and Leonardo da Vinci International Airport in Fiumicino, Rome.

Alitalia flies to 77 destinations, including 22 Italian and 55 international destinations, with over 3600 weekly flights and 102 routes.

Source: All Africa

safari link

Planning an itinerary with multiple destinations can be tricky when considering the transport logistics of getting there. Safarilink has daily flights operating out of Wilson Airport to a number of destinations with seamless connecting service from Masai Mara to Zanzibar or to Diani.

Clients ending their safari in Laikipia or Masai Mara can connect via Wilson to Zanzibar or Diani, thereby arriving at a very convenient time to enjoy sundowners on the beach!

For those that are connecting to Zanzibar, upon arrival off their safari routes at Wilson, ground staff will meet and assist passengers to their dedicated departure lounge prior to clearing immigration and boarding. All flights to Zanzibar are operated in one of the Bombardier Dash-8 aircraft, with complimentary snacks and drinks served on board. Baggage allowance is 20 kgs inclusive of hand luggage.

From To Departure Arrival
Daily Flights to Masai Mara
Wilson Masai Mara 10:00 11:00
Masai Mara Wilson 11:00 12:15
Daily Flights to Diani Beach
Wilson Diani 14:00 15:20
Daily Direct Flights to Zanzibar
Wilson Zanzibar 14:00 15:45

Elewana Collection has properties in each of these destinations;

Elewana Elephant Pepper Camp - Mara North Conservancy

Luxury bush camp with outstanding wildlife viewing in the heart of the Masai Mara. Elephant Pepper Camp is one of Kenya’s original, very small and exclusive tented camps, located away from other lodges in the pristine Mara North Conservancy, making it the perfect base from which to explore the wonders of the Mara.

Nestled in a lush thicket of Elephant Pepper trees overlooking open grasslands frequented by herds of game, Elewana Elephant Pepper Camp maintains a rustic luxury and authenticity of a traditional safari from yesteryear. Spacious canvas tents are elegantly furnished with Raj campaign furniture, and enjoy comfortable en suite bathrooms.

Nothing rivals sitting around the campfire listening to the sounds of the African night. Enjoying extended game drives with our highly knowledgeable and qualified guides, guests participate in the most unique wildlife experience in the world. Elewana Elephant Pepper Camp brings people to the heart of the wilderness with just the sights and sounds of the African bush.

Elewana Sand River Masai Mara - Masai Mara National Reserve

Luxury tented camp lying on the northerly route of the spectacular annual migration. Guests can sink back in time and savour the same glamorous ambience, unspoilt scenery and spectacular game viewing as the Hollywood stars, royalty and celebrities of that classic era of African adventure.

Elewana Sand River Masai Mara comprises of 16-tented accommodations - including 1 family tent - each divided into two separate but adjoining campsites, with each area possessing its own designated dining and public areas, thereby creating an increased sense of exclusivity and privacy.

Sand River Masai Mara is an ideal destination, at any time of the year, for those wishing to enjoy exceptional game-viewing. The National Reserve is best known for its large concentrations of big cats, such as leopard, cheetah and, of course, lion. The Masai Mara ecosystem holds one of the highest lion densities in the world and this is where over two million wildebeest, zebra and Thompson gazelle migrate annually. It hosts over 95 species of mammals and 570 recorded species of birds.

Elewana Afrochic - Diani Beach

Diani Beach is a magical location of white sands, rustling palm trees, and warm Indian Ocean waters. Elewana AfroChic enjoys beach front ocean views and delicious sea breezes on a quieter, more secluded section of Diani Beach. Each en suite room is uniquely designed with coastal furniture and fabrics, and amenities to take care of your every need. The crystal clear fresh water pool laps up against the terrace where guests have the option of dining or relaxing with the view of the ocean across the pool and shaded garden. The hotel has earned itself a reputation for a “home away from home” atmosphere, excellent seafood and friendly service.

Voted as one of the top 25 beaches in the world in the Trip Advisor Traveller’s Choice awards, Diani Beach is the ultimate holiday destination with a wide variety of activities and excursions on offer. A plethora of water sports from scuba to snorkelling; deep-sea fishing to sailing; day trips to Shimba Hills National Reserve and Mombasa City, are just a few of the many activities available. And of course there is always the favourite coastal pastime of relaxing and soaking up the sun. With such a variety of options, visitors to Diani have the ability to make their holiday what they want.

Elewana Kilindi Zanzibar - Nungwi

Elewana Kilindi Zanzibar is the ultimate romantic destination, the perfect place to enjoy the harmony of the ocean and spend time with the one you love. Set in a picturesque tropical garden with its secluded beachfront, the luxurious Pavilion suites embrace wide-arched glassless windows affording spectacular views over the Indian Ocean.

Each villa has its own private plunge pool and is tended to by its own Guest Ambassador. Kilindi's 'open-to-nature' approach provides the true essence to any stay and crafts a private, intimate and 'barefoot' appeal that so many crave. Explore the hidden secrets of the island or relax in the infinity pool watching the dhows head out to sea, with a gentle breeze in their sail.

There is a delightful spa offering an extensive array of treatments to satisfy you from head to toe, the spa combines African natural ingredients with both modern and traditional methods in the art of beauty, offering the ultimate in pampering.

Guests can enjoy day boat trips, scuba and snorkelling to get a glimpse of the dolphins, copious fish and vivid corals that thrive in Zanzibar’s waters. Stone Town is a UNESCO world heritage site, and a place where history still lives. The stone buildings, meandering alleyways, and markets still existing as they have done for centuries make for a fascinating day of exploring.


photos of the month

Clockwise, Left to Right: Joel Cheruiyo & Mburuk K Frank

Following the Herds

wildebeest mara river

In a new paper published recently in the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution, mathematicians and conservationists from the UK, Africa and the United States discuss how they have used both machine-learning and citizen science techniques to accurately count wildebeest in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania more rapidly than is possible using traditional methods.

Evaluating wildebeest abundance is currently extremely costly and time-intensive, requiring manual counts of animals in thousands of aerial photographs of their habitats. From those counts, which can take months to complete, wildlife researchers use statistical estimates to determine the size of the population. Detecting changes in the population helps wildlife managers make more informed decisions about how best to keep herds healthy and sustainable.

They used a deep-learning algorithm to identify the wildebeest in images taken from the 2015 aerial survey of the Serengeti National Park. The system was 'trained' to recognise wildebeest using 500 high-resolution aerial images from the Serengeti, then fine-tuned for further accuracy, eventually being capable of processing 1,000 images in less than two hours and able to produce a total count of over 20,000 wildebeest within 1% of a count conducted by a human expert.

The team's second approach used the 'citizen science' website Zooniverse to publish a selection of the same images, with each large-resolution image split into 12 equal-sized tiles to make counting easier. Over three weeks in May 2017, more than 2,200 Zooniverse users looked at close to 10,000 of those images, offering their counts of the wildebeest in each image. To ensure an accurate count, every image was counted by 15 different volunteers.

Dr Colin Torney, senior lecturer in the University of Glasgow's School of Mathematics and Statistics, is one of the paper's lead authors. He said: "Wildlife managers need regular and accurate counts of animal populations to help them identify any changes and evaluate what's causing them. Without a good handle on population abundance, it's much harder for them to see the early warning signs of a decline caused by changing habitats or increased levels of poaching and start to take the proper steps to redress the imbalance.

"Our approach gave us really good results, which I think shows the unique benefits of this type of cross-disciplinary collaboration. Our research suggests deep learning algorithms could support traditional hand-counting methods or, potentially, even replace them entirely as the primary means of processing the aerial photographs."

Dr Edward Kohi, a co-author of the paper and Principal Research Officer at the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, said: "These emerging technologies will enable TAWIRI to have an annual wildebeest survey as the time consuming manual work will be taken care of. The success of the machine learning approach represents a major milestone for wildlife survey techniques in Tanzania and across Africa. TAWIRI and our partners take this improvement very seriously and we are planning to apply this advancement to other wildlife species."

Dr Grant Hopcraft of the University's Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health & Comparative Medicine, is the senior author on the paper. He added: "The major driving force in the Serengeti's ecosystem is the abundance of wildebeest. Currently, there are about 1.3m wildebeest, which influence almost every variable in the ecosystem - everything from the return rate of fires, since they eat the grass, to the amount of insects that are available to migrating birds. Without wildebeest, the ecosystem would shift into a completely different state and therefore it's important to know how many there are.

"About 8.5 percent of that population is lost each year through illegal bushmeat trade, predation and natural causes. The fastest the population can grow through calving is about 10 percent each year, so the margin for maintaining the population is pretty slim.

"The work we've done with deep learning and citizen science is really encouraging, and we're keen to expand it further in the near future, perhaps for population surveys using satellite imagery. It's an exciting time for the field, and demonstrates the potential benefits that can be achieved from mathematicians and ecologists working more closely together."

Source: All Africa

Elewana Collection has two properties in the Serenegti, which are perfectly located to witness the annual wildebeest migration as they travel through during specific months. Each property offers a unique experience with prime wildlife viewing year round.

Elewana Serengeti Pioneer Camp - South Central Serengeti National Park

Elewana Serengeti Pioneer Camp is perched on a rocky outcrop in southern central Serengeti and affords dramatic views of the Serengeti plains that drift endlessly into the horizon.

A camp designed for limited impact on its natural surroundings and has the feel of a 1930s mobile safari camp, but with all the modern day amenities of a luxury camp. The tents are tastefully decorated in Campaign-style safari furniture, with en suite bathrooms offering steaming hot solar-heated showers. Each tent has a personal room attendant to look after guests’ needs. Ensconced among the natural bush, the tented suites offer a truly back-to-nature feel.

Elewana Serengeti Migration Camp - Northern Serengeti National Park

Lining the banks of the famous Grumeti river, Elewana Serengeti Migration Camp perfectly encapsulates the luxury camp experience. Overlooking a kopje and the sweeping plains across the river, the camp’s main areas include open-plan lounge, dining room with large balcony, or sunset viewing platform with camp fire each designed for guests to enjoy the expansive view. A large swimming pool invites guests for a refreshing swim during the heat of the day. The luxurious and elevated en suite tents are incredibly spacious and tastefully decorated in rich dark wood and leather furnishings. The perfect embodiment of a luxury bush safari experience.