Kenya: The Textile Safari
February 9-19, 2019
Guided by: Carla Unger
US$ 3,750 per person sharing (international airfare not included)
Kenya is bursting with colors, not only from the landscapes and wildlife, but also from the brightly-colored textiles used as clothing, baby wraps and household goods. This first-of-its-kind safari provides you with the opportunity to meet textile artisan groups and women’s cooperatives. You will participate in quilting, screen printing and weaving workshops, meet a spinning and knitting women’s group, and shop for textiles and unique products. Topped off with a wildlife safari to the world famous Maasai Mara and the award winning Encounter Mara eco-lodge. You will be guided by Carla Unger, a Canadian quilter who has lived in East Africa for 15 years and has a passion to share her love of textiles and connections with artisan groups. Come expecting to fill your luggage with treasures for the way home!
February 9,10: Flight to Nairobi, Kenya
Your international flight takes you to Nairobi, Kenya (arriving Feb. 10th). Upon arrival, Carla will welcome you at the airport and drive with you to the beautiful Amani Gardens Inn in Nairobi.
Feb. 11: Handmade quilts and the Spinners Web
After breakfast, visit the Salama Mamas, a women’s cooperative that makes handmade quilts to sell, putting the profits towards their childrens’ school fees. They will get you started on making your own quilted project, using the kantha method of hand-quilting with fabric scraps. Enjoy lunch at the unique River Café in Karura Forest, a forest protected by Wangari Maathai’s legacy. In the afternoon, stop in at Spinners Web and shop their selection of products sourced from a wide variety of artisan cooperatives in Kenya. In the evening, enjoy a quiet dinner at Amani Gardens.
Feb. 12: Batiks, Screenprinting, and Fabric Shopping
Transfer to Amani ya Juu, a sewing and reconciliation program for marginalized women in Africa. Enjoy a personal tour of their workshops and shop at the boutique. Because Carla is the quilt designer at Amani, she has been given special permission to allow participants of this tour to “shop the scraps” at Amani. These hand-dipped cotton batiks and screenprints are truly one of a kind pieces. Enjoy designing a custom quilt if you choose! Participate in a screen printing or batik workshop and learn the process Amani uses to make their beautiful designs. After lunch at the Garden Café at Amani, transfer by van to Biashara Street in downtown Nairobi, shopping among their wide selections of fabrics. Transfer back to Amani Gardens for a rest, or a dip in the nearby pool at the King’s Post Hotel. Supper at Amani Gardens.
Feb. 13: Elephants, Weaving, and Hand-woven Rugs
Drive to the historical Karen neighborhood of Nairobi, to meet the elephants at the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. Be entertained by watching the elephants during their feeding time and the antics that ensue. Learn more about this project that is working tirelessly to rehabilitate these orphaned elephants. After lunch at the Tin Roof Café, stop in at Kamili Designs to shop for their unique screen printed products. Transfer to Trio Craft Weavers for a weaving demonstration and workshop, and to shop and admire their beautiful hand-woven rugs. Evening at Amani Gardens Inn.
Feb. 14: Knitting and Spinning
Drive three hours to the beautiful Kembu cottages, located on a working dairy farm in Njoro. Settle in to one of the private cottages, and take a farm tour. Walk over to visit the Kenana Knitters, a project dedicated to empowering women from the local community to earn income by spinning yarn and knitting products to sell. Shop for their unique woven and knitted products. In the evening, enjoy a fire and catered dinner in the cottages.
Feb. 15: Hippos and Pottery
Have an early start and drive 2 hours to Carnelley’s Camp by Lake Naivasha. Transfer by boat to Crescent Island to walk around with wildlife and enjoy a picnic. Take a boat cruise on the way back to enjoy the water with hippos, and cormorants. Enjoy lunch at the Carnelley’s restaurant. Pop over to Fired Earth Pottery and Elementaita Weavers to shop for their products on the way back to Kembu Cottages. Relax at the cottages and enjoy another fireside meal.
Feb. 16,17: The World Famous Maasai Mara
Drive to the Loldia airstrip for your 50 minute flight over the Great Rift Valley to the world famous Maasai Mara National Reserve where you will enjoy exciting game drives providing you with the chance to photograph the full range of African wildlife (eg. lions, leopards, elephant, cheetah, giraffe, buffalo, hippos, etc). Spend two nights at the beautifully appointed Encounter Mara Tented Camp with en-suite bathrooms, hot showers, and locally grown food. Enjoy full day game drives with a picnic lunch out on the open savannah. Our game drives will be in open sided Landcruisers and we will be able to get within “purring distance” of the big cats that reside within the region. Enjoy sundowners overlooking the breathtaking landscape before returning to Encounter Mara Tented Camp for a delicious dinner and campfire.
February 18,19: Nairobi Departure Flight
After one last wildlife drive, board your charter flight (included) back to your Nairobi day room at the Crowne Plaza near the international airport for a chance to swim, shower, and share a final dinner together. Transfer to the airport for your flight home (arriving on February 19th), with memories of a unique adventure that will last a lifetime!
Included for this safari:
- En-suite accommodations (based on double occupancy) and all meals as per the itinerary.
- Exclusive transport with 'pop-up' roof and guaranteed window seat.
- Services of exceptional English-speaking guides, knowledgeable of the local region and culture.
- Long-range radio communication (and access to mobile phone) for the duration of the trip.
- Complimentary bottled drinking water.
- Daily safari briefings and textile expertise from Carla Unger.
- All park entry fees, conservation fees, entrance fees, airport transfers, and departure taxes.
- Guided safari walks, school/orphanage visits, and cultural excursions as per the itinerary.
- Leadership in ethical, socially responsible practices.
- A domestic chartered flight (February 17th) as mentioned in the itinerary.
- A day room on February 17th.
- Complete pre-departure information including packing lists, trip itinerary, and flight details.
- International airfare.
- Travel/medical/cancellation/interruption insurance.
- Single Supplement (if you would like your own room).
- Passport fees, inoculations, and Tourist Entry Visa.
- Gratuities for drivers and any optional excursions.
- Souvenirs, soft drinks, bar beverages, laundry, email, phone, and items of a personal nature.