Above: Teddy Mitchener with Sharon his wife as a model for a mask. Copyright Sharon and Teddy Mitchener
Published: The East African Nation magazine February 2020
I was at the Nairobi Gallery that houses part of the late Joseph Murumbi’s (Kenya’s first foreign affairs minister) amazing art collection from all over Africa. On that day l was staring at a poster of a singularly beautiful mask of a powerful queen from the Benin Empire of the 16th century. It was of Queen Mother Idia done in ivory and iron inlay.
And it’s housed not in Africa but at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in the US.
It’s here again! Stretch it into a weekend celebration dedicated to love
Above: Kitich Forest Camp Mathews Range- Dinner under the stars with a herd of elephants.
Published: 8 February 2020 Nation Saturday magazine
Stretch Friday 14 into a Valentine weekend and l’ve got some great places to safari to that are unique. So get your map out and start mapping your Valentine weekend.
Tip: You can fly to any destination in the country including Lake Turkana for the weekend.
The Little-Known Secrets
Settle into the little known secrets in the far-flung mountains of the north like the Mathews Range or Mount Nyiro where crystal clear streams gush from ancient forests little touched by humans. Explore the forests and swim in the fresh pools from Kitich Camphttps://kitichforestcamp.com/ in Mathews Range or Desert Rose on Mount Nyiro. There’s plenty of wildlife around and ancient plants like the cycad from the time of the dinosaur. Small and exclusive, you’ll love these little known havens.
Above: The Usambara peak from Kilimanjaro Highway Motel, Tanzania. Copyright Rupi Mangat
PublishedSaturday Magazine Nation media 1 Feb 2019
Over a thousand kilometres south of Nairobi, the road less travelled is to southern Tanzania to explore Africa’s first and largest wildlife protected area. It is what used to be Selous Game Reserve, part of which has been renamed as Nyerere National Park in 2019. Nyerere, the respected Mwalimu was Tanzania’s founding father.
It was curiosity that led me to Mcmillan Memorial library, an iconic building of the 1930s in the midst of Nairobi’s central business district. The curiosity was fuelled by a visit to Mcmillan’s castle in Thika which lay in disrepair and devoid of any belongings or artifact belonging to the Mcmillans’ who were part of Kenya’s colonial history. Researching on this notorious character who was lar
ger than life – literally – seven feet tall with a girth that needed a five-foot belt to go around, the library was built in his memory by his wife. Mcmillan Memorial library is still an impressive building housing priceless first edition books and works of art, many which may be lost. l was looking for the clothbound book by Richard Minsky, a critically acclaimed American artist whose work sells for thousands of dollars. After an extensive search, the book with a price tag of US$ 2,700 today, seems to have disappeared off the shelves.
Mcmillan Memorial library
It was the axis around which modern Nairobi evolved – with the law courts directly in front of it, and other important buildings coming around it like the Bank of Baroda, the New Stanley hotel (now The Stanley), the railway headquarters and station, the Royal College of East Africa (today’s University of Nairobi) and the Parliament building.
Above: Standing on the quacking bog, it’s as deep as the pole. Copyright Rupi Mangat
Published: Saturday Nation magazine 18 January 2020
The wind is a constant in Kikuyu town on the outskirts of Nairobi. Standing on the periphery of the urban jungle that came about in the early 1900s because of the Uganda railway, we’re looking at a green glade of grasses ruffled by the breeze.
“Ondiri comes from ‘old lake’,” explains Naftali Mungai who is the patron of Friends of Ondiri Wetland Kenya (FOWK). “When the white people came here a century ago, they called it the old lake. The local Kikuyu could not pronounce old lake so it became Ondiri.”