This African country still got what it takes and then some more


(Posted 17th April 2015)

Many readers were intrigued to read that only recently was the 110th Kenya Derby run at the Ngong Racecourse, showing a tradition of horseracing in Kenya going back over 100 years and then some. During the racing season is the course a magnet on Sunday’s for entire families to have a day out to enjoy themselves, perhaps place a little wager and enjoy the electric atmosphere as the horses gallop along the stands towards the finishing line.

A return to Kenya’s capital, with a weekend to spare, triggered a search what is on and what is up across the country and the calendar of events, exhibitions, festivals and sporting galas proved to be overwhelming.

Visitors can take to local e-guides to find out where their own interests are best met and the hotel concierges are well versed to know what to recommend to their guests.

This weekend three major events caught this correspondent’s eye, one to do with horses, one general sporting event kicking off the season and one which celebrates ‘Unity in Diversity’ as Kenya joins the rest of the world to celebrate the third Nairobi Cultural Festival.

The ‘Soysambu Event 2015’ invites to the bottom of the Great African Rift Valley where from today until Sunday a series of equestrian activities will take place on the conservancy, comprising Dressage, Cross Country and Show Jumping. Visitors have plenty of choices where to stay in the vicinity and the closest lodges like The Sleeping Warrior on the Soysambu Conservancy, the Lake Elementeita Serena Camp or the Lake Elementeita Lodge will no doubt be fully booked, as will the campgrounds and other places close enough to commute to and from the conservancy where the annual event is taking place.

At the opposite end of the country, along the white beaches of Watamu, will this weekend the Watamu Triathlon take place, the first in the triathlon season. Kicking off tomorrow and lasting until Sunday afternoon will no doubt lots of sports aficionados travel to the coast. Well over 200 local and foreign participants have confirmed their entry and they, and their supporters will stay in Watamu or in Malindi where a range of resorts and holiday lets are available to offer their guests some fine examples of Kenyan hospitality.

And of course does in the capital Nairobi the Third Nairobi Cultural Festival take place at the amphitheatre of the National Museum, the Courtyeard and the Botanical Garden, and the best, entrance is entirely free.

It is this wide range of events visitors to Kenya can find and sample, confirming the truly cosmopolitan status of the Kenyan capital and of course elsewhere in the country. While suffering negative publicity in the recent past is Kenya nevertheless an extraordinary destination where it is not all about the beaches and the safari parks but also about lifestyle, golfing, horseracing, athletics meetings and of course the cultural diversity which leaves many visitors in awe.

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