Lifestyle, Travel


January 23, 2017

The best thing about taking a four-year-old on vacation is the fact that the memories stay with them. Since we all need a little (or maybe a lot) of validation occasionally, every time they recount an experience reassures us that taking them along was a great decision. It’s also encouraging to know that all the hours you put in babysitting (as opposed to Turning Up or getting Blissed Out) were worth it. You know, you could have chosen to leave them behind, under the ever-watchful eye of grandma, your sister, or any trusted person. Then you would be free to enjoy your vacay the only way you know best.


Holiday Version One- Turned Up

Used to describe a holiday experience that is fulfilling but leaves you feeling drained and lethargic such that you want to go on another holiday to reverse the said effects. Mostly attractive to the young-ins or young parents who need a reality check.

You wake up at 9.45am with a dreadful hangover. You try lifting your head off the bed and it feels as if a 100kg gunny bag has been placed squarely on it. You are breathing just fine, so you eliminate the possibility of gunny-on-the-head as its sheer weight would crash your skull in its entirety. There may be no weight on your head, but there surely must be a million minuscule artisans drilling and hammering and plastering this iconic structure that sits inside it. Possibly working on your brain to remind you not to consume such copious amounts next time you book yourself into an all-inclusive resort.

You miraculously manage to drag yourself off the bed and pull on some tracks and a T-shirt, at the same time nudging your half dead partner to get up. You get to the restaurant at 9.59am, just as the obsequious waitresses are about to clear the buffet. But they don’t, so you quickly fill up your plates with whatever hangover remedies you can find.

After breakfast, you go back to the room and nap for about two hours before pressing repeat!

Holiday Version Two- Blissed Out

A holiday that evokes feelings of serenity, calm, relaxation, self-identity and even adds to your wit. You want to take over the world once you get back to normalcy after having this kind of holiday.

The night before, you set your alarm for 5.30am but 5am finds you awake, rendering your alarm bootless. You have done your homework and know the vantage points where you can catch the glorious sunrise from. If you are on Safari, you want to enjoy nail-biting action packed game sighting and snag the most amazing footage while at it. At 8.00am, you make your way to the hotel restaurant, your resplendent bikini quintessentially sitting under your white kaftan, the one you purchased on your last work trip from Addis before they declared a state of emergency.

After breakfast, you head out for a swim and spend the rest of the day on the pool deck with the other love of your life in one hand-your book, and a cold Heineken in the other. Later, you will visit the spa to experience their signature treatment before taking a walk on the beach and hopping into a dhow to catch the sunset from the middle of the sea. After dinner, you retire to bed at 10.00pm and allow Bruno Mars or Ed Sheeran to serenade you to sleep. Like clockwork, you are up at 5.00am the following morning and you can’t wait to do it all over again.


Version two has been my story for the last four years. I can’t remember the last time I was- say at the coast and I went on my google app and said “Ok google, where is the party at tonight?” That’s for the Blaze generation. Sunrise chasing, poolside chilling (as I sip on some bevvy), walking on the beach, dhow rides at sunset and spa treatments are it for me. Except when I am in another country where I’ll put on my exploratory hat, jump in an Uber and see what the city has to offer.

Last December, we drove down to Amboseli National Park where The Sentrim Amboseli was our home for three days. Safaris are not my thing and I would go to the coast a million times over before I consider the Mara. But the mister loves Safari, and as it turned out, so does Xena. And sometimes seeing your family genuinely happy is extremely fulfilling, so you take one for the team.

Sentrim is such an enchantingly tranquil family friendly establishment with the most magnificent view of Mt Kilimanjaro right from the premises. It is also extremely budget friendly and will not leave you wondering if your priorities in life are misplaced. Xena mostly enjoyed spending time with her six-year-old cousin swimming or simply chasing raccoons on the cemented path ways. Her wardrobe was also quite enthralling and perfect for a warm vacay in the bundus, thanks to our newly discovered Kenyan fashion line for kids- Doris & Moris by www.alladin  As for the mister and his brother, being in Amboseli was rather emotional as it evoked such profound memories of their childhood. Tuna sandwiches by the roadside as they headed to the park, getting stuck in the mud and watching the car skid-oblivious to the frustration their folks would be going through and the excitement that came with being the first to spot an animal (especially the big five) are some of the memories that have lived with them.

The game drive- a first for Xena, was the highlight of her trip and since then, whenever she sees an elephant on TV she calls out for everyone to see “The elephant in Amboseli”. This is usually followed by a plea to go back to Amboseli at the earliest convenience, something you don’t want to hear in January.

As for me, seeing Mt Kilimanjaro standing tall on a cloudless day, its knobby face grizzled and quiet and mysterious as it jutted into the clear blue sky- was the highlight of the trip.

Hoping that your year is taking shape just as you envisioned it and that it is not too late to wish you a happy new year! I would love to hear your idea of the perfect holiday so drop me a comment below. Before I forget, Alladin World of Brands is giving away makeovers of up to KES 10,000 in exchange for a photo describing a special family holiday. Check it out over here and hopefully you will share the wins with me 🙂


Joy D’Souza.

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6 years ago

Girls vacay = turned up, I’m hoping for one soon!!
Never been to Amboseli Sentrim, might consider it for my son’s love of the wild animals.

6 years ago

Great piece. Being an adult and a mum has surely redefined holidays. Having my 3 year old and a nursing 9 month old at the time, left me drained despite enjoying everything my hotel had to offer. This year i chose to get away alone and all i did was sleep. We plan to get away in a few months with a new baby, a 4 year old and a 2 year old…I don’t foresee bliss 🙂

Kissinger Githinji
6 years ago

Now I see where the curls came from? You’re such a beautiful family.

6 years ago

Oh how beautiful! Mama Xena you gotta give it up to your hubby, the babies are spitting images of him. Those genes are strong LOL

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