accommodation photos – https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/0B7SgKrmiC0owXzNHbHNqYVB6eVE
scenic photos – https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/0B7SgKrmiC0owX3pOdm9EVXJrb2s
Name: Republic of Kenya
Population: 45 million
Language: English, Swahili
Currency: Kenyan Shilling (KES)
Time zone: UTC +3
Kenya is a stunning country, featuring almost every terrain and climate from desert, beach, cities and forests. There is something for every traveller here, particularly for wildlife lovers. It has over 40 National parks throughout the country and holds the some of the world’s most loved and endangered animals. Here you will find lions, leopards, elephants, hippos and so much more!
Kenya is famous for its incredible safaris, which are the countries main source of tourism. Also well known is the semi nomadic Maasai tribe- a hugely symbolic tribe known for its colourful adornments and traditional clothing.
Kenya is a nature lovers paradise, with a visit to the Great Rift Valley being a must. For those who enjoy a gentler pace then Kenya also offers some beautiful beaches, its coast stretching almost 80,000 kilometres. The beach is also sunny for most of the year! The capital, Nairobi is the fifth largest city in Africa, with unique vibes and a vibrant nightlife. This bustling and cosmopolitan city will throw you into Kenyan way of life and be an interesting eye opener.
Kenya is a huge country with its climate changing from tropical along the coast, to arid in the northern regions and then mild inland temperatures. Kenya receives a large amount of sunshine year-round but generally, the hottest months are between February and March while the coldest months are July to mid-August. The “long rains” start from March to June, while the “short rains” are between October and December.
Due to Kenya being a major hub for migration over the years, it has now become one of the most culturally diverse countries with many different languages spoken.
There are over 40 different ethnic groups in Kenya, including Luo, Kamba, Maasai and more. Each have their own of mother tongue, although Swahili remains the most widely spoken language. You will also find ethnic groups from European, Arab, Indian and Pakistani, who migrated to the country in the 19th century.
Religions such as Christianity and Islam are widely spread, however many local people still believe in the ancestral world, where the dead have a bearing on the living.
Today, the majority of Kenya’s culture, dress, music and food has taken strong influence from other parts of Africa, India, Europe and the United States. In certain parts of the country however, many local communities hold onto their traditional lifestyle and customs. They still wear the clothes, animal skins and jewellery as they did centuries before. Many remote tribes remain completely isolated and indigenous.
Traditional Kenyan meals usually consist of corn, potatoes and beans. A staple and popular dish is Ugali, a porridge made out of maize. Another typical meal is irio, which is a blend of corn, potatoes and beans dipped into meat or vegetable stews.
Kenya Airways fly daily between Mombasa, Malindi, Lamu, Kisumu and Nairobi. Another popular airline is Air Kenya, which flies regularly between Nairobi, Mombasa, Malindi, Lamu, Amboseli, Maasai Mara, Meru, Nanyuki and Samburu.
Kenya has a large bus network between many of the country’s popular destinations but be advised that roads will be bumpy. For safety reasons, we highly advise to use the long-distance buses during daytime only, as crime increases after dark.
Minivans, locally known as “matatus” are another way to get around for short and medium distance journeys. Taking a matatu is a fantastic way to experience the real Kenya and you will often find them decorated in bright and fascinating colours. You can flag down a matatu from the side of the road and nowadays routes and schedules are provided on Google Maps, making it much easier to get around.
The train in Kenya is often named the “Lunatic Express”. It travels between Nairobi and Mombasa three times a week. It is without a doubt a unique experience to travel by train and see the local Kenyan way of life as you pass by. Do be aware that trains have a bad reputation for being extremely slow, often with delays. If you have time on your hands though, this can be a great way to experience the country.
Gatanga Village will be your new home and allows an incredible opportunity to experience an authentic, rural Kenya. Close by is the industrial town of Thika, where you will be able to find any supplies you need. Nairobi is just over an hour away by car so can easily be visited for weekend nights out and sightseeing. You can also explore many of the natural areas nearby Gatanga, for example, Fourteen Falls, a set of powerful waterfalls.
Accommodation & Food
About the Accommodation
Your accommodation will be at our volunteer house in Gatanga Village. All volunteers are asked to be environmentally aware and use all resources with restraint, particularly water, paper and electricity. There are occasional power and water cuts during the day (this will just add to your experience of living like a local!). The accommodation is very simple but comfortable and with all of the necessities you will need while here.
You will have all meals provided and rooms cleaned on the weekends. You will be expected to clean up after yourself and play your role in keeping the accommodation neat and tidy. The volunteer house is not far from the local Police station and a short walk to markets and shops. Please be aware that smoking is not accepted in public areas or even within the sight of local children and officials. Please refrain from smoking in these public places. The local dress is quite conservative. Small shorts, miniskirts and sleeveless tops are not considered appropriate to wear in the village. Women in particular should cover shoulders and knees.
*Please be advised that in the event of an excess number of volunteers, we may use other accommodation houses in the area that will meet a similar standard to the main accommodation.
Available Room Types
|All meals included||Yes *|
|Free beverages||Yes **|
|Persons per room||2-4|
|Wifi in public areas||Yes|
|Laundry facilities||Yes ***|
* 3 meals on weekdays, 2 on weekends
** Drinking Water is provided
*** Limited – expect to hand wash or pay for launder services
Your daily meals will consist of mainly Kenyan cuisine, which will be of vegetables, potatoes, eggs, bread, pancakes (commonly known as “chapati”) and fruits such as oranges, bananas and avocados.
Thika town is located a 30-minute drive away from the volunteer house and is packed with supermarkets, shops, ATMs, local markets and good restaurants. You have a choice of local transport available in Thika, such as bicycle and motorbike taxis, van taxis and buses. The local minibuses called “matatus” are very tightly packed but a great way to experience local culture. They can be found near the local market during the day and can drop you off in Thika town. The bus station in Thika is the base for many tour companies, departing on tours and day trips to various parts of Kenya.
Mandatory Orientation Day
On your first Monday in Gatanga, you will join our orientation day. This is an important day to help you become familiar with your surroundings, as well as learning about the local customs. Your program will continue like usual from Tuesday and throughout the rest of the week.
- Introduction meeting, General/ house rules, Setting Expectations, Advice on Health and Safety and handling of documents.
- Kenyan Do’s and Don’ts, Introduction to Kenyan culture & history and Swahili Language Lessons.
- You will be shown around the house, local area and where you can find nearby shops. This is where you can buy a local SIM card if required.
- Tour to a Coffee Factory
- Hike to a local Waterfall
Activities & Events
No scheduled activities outside the project.
Sights & Surroundings
During your free time, there are many places to explore in the surrounding areas. For example, you can visit the Fourteen Falls in Thika, go trekking up to Mount Kenya (a stunning snow-capped peak), visit the gorgeous Mombasa beach or head out on a weekend of sightseeing in Nakuru or Nairobi and explore the national parks.