By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario - Despite concerns expressed on an international level about travelling to Kenya, at least one Cornwall woman considers it a paradise.
Colleen Winters, a local travel agent, embarked on an eight-day excursion packed with unbeatable wildlife encounters and sun-drenched beaches in November 2013.
For her, the experience was the pinnacle of a career based in travel. Winters stayed in Nairobi, Kenya’s capitol and largest city.
“I felt very safe and at ease. Locked gates surround all the lodges,” said Winters. “The Kenyan people were very warm and welcoming - always willing to answer your questions and extremely knowledgeable.”
Alternatively, the Government of Canada warns that the potential for danger is a lurking reality when travelling to the exotic destination.
The federal government’s official website reported: “There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Kenya. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to the increasing number of terrorist attacks, kidnapping and incidents of crime targeting Westerners throughout the country. Such attacks have occurred in the past in Nairobi, including Eastleigh, the Coast region, including Mombasa, and the North Eastern region. Further attacks remain possible.”
Winters still stands by her experience. Before sending travellers into one of the last real wild kingdoms left on the planet, she wanted to confidently stamp her reputation to the eight-day retreat package.
Wondrous creatures, majestic waters, and colourful tribesman, popular for their epic jumping skills, were just a small dose of her Kenya encounters. The adventure began with a tiny orphanage. Winters and her fellow travellers were reduced to tears after the children performed in appreciation of their food and toy donations.
Next was a lodge aptly titled the Ark in the middle of a bush overlooking a watering hole where numerous elephants, wild buffalo, gazelles, and hyenas gathered to graze. Then it was off to the Fairmont Mt. Kenya Safari Club, a hotel/resort situated right on the equator - 7,000 feet above sea level, far from the standard ideology of roughing it in Africa.
The remainder of the trip mixed luxurious amenities with rugged, yet tamed safari wilderness.
“Kenya truly is a destination that is a must for anyone who wants to see and experience different cultures,” said Winters.
Although the federal government doesn’t consider Kenya a danger zone, the following warning was issued:
Regional Advisory for the northeast part of the country
“Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against all travel to northeast Kenya within 150 km of the Somali border, including coastal areas North of Pate Island in Lamu District, and to Garissa district where there is a risk of kidnapping and attacks. You are also advised to avoid all travel to the border areas with South Sudan and Ethiopia due to armed banditry and cross-border violence.”
Regional Advisory for the Eastleigh neighbourood of Nairobi
“Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against non-essential travel to the Eastleigh neighbourhood of Nairobi, where several attacks have recently taken place.”
For more information, visit http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/kenya.