Like 2020, 2021 won’t be remembered as the year of travel. So we understand that you might have fallen out of touch with the latest event scene in East Africa. And while the coronavirus and its variants almost killed the hospitality sector, we’re pleased to report that a wave of new restaurants, malls, and hotels are opening up in major cities like Nairobi, Kampala, and Dar es Salaam, which means more great places for you to visit.
So we, your local chauffeurs, have put together this must-visit list of events and places to check-out in 2022.
Driving through any metropolitan city in East Africa will quickly reveal lots of ‘coming soon’ projects. Boutique and grand hotels equals more eateries and venues.
Most establishments love to use the surprise element in their marketing. Traditionally, upcoming places would tease a little on social media to build excitement before opening to big fanfare. But lately the industry has gone quiet on openings, but, given what we saw towards the end of 2021, we think this year looks promising.
And while some might not like to be play the role of guinea pigs on their travels, we think it’s fascinating to stay in a newly built property, to be among the very first people to ever experience it.
So here are some hotels we’re excited about:
JW Marriott Hotel – Nairobi (Opening in 2022)
The GTC (Global Trade Centre), has already generated a lot of buzz online as the most iconic premium complex in the region. When completed this year, GTC will have the tallest building in East and Central Africa with 42 floors (we’re hoping for a restaurant/bar at the top — just imagine the views). If you’ve been in Nairobi recently, you will have notice that construction is almost complete. The JW Marriott Hotel, the building’s anchor tenant, promises unforgettable guest experiences. JWMarriott, the 5-star arm of the Marriott hotel group, will instantly leapfrog all to become the premier center in East Africa.
The One Resort – Zanzibar (Opened late 2021)
If you are one of the only people to miss out on Zanzibar in 2021, then do not get left out in 2022. And while there has been a few new openings, there is “One Resort” (pardon the pun) that you must visit. Located in Makunduchi (South Zanzibar), The One Resort is a tranquil and luxurious newly launched hotel. With lots of character in the rooms and a beautiful (and very large) pool area, it is the ideal destination to work on your Vitamin C. Also, be sure to book some spa time, as no resort visit it truly complete without it. At sunset, you can choose between cocktails on their rooftop, beach or pool to enjoy the fantastic views of the Indian Ocean. Pretty amazing right?
Latitude 0-Degrees – Kampala (Opened late 2019)
Not as new as the others, but given Uganda’s strict COVID-protocols over the past couple of years, this property has yet to be fully experienced by the world. This ultra-stylish boutique hotel is about 50 minutes from Entebbe International Airport. The pool area sits atop Makindye Hills to offer panoramic views of Lake Victoria and the city of Kampala below. You will enjoy the luxury of staying at a place that feels like home. Highly, highly recommended.
As the world slowly reopens, in-person events will continue to grow, making your Zoom bookshelf background less relevant in 2022.
And if you are starting to travel again to East Africa for business, there are many conferences and trade fairs taking place. Besides, nothing captures networking like meeting face-t0-face.
Whether food, music, cultural festivals, art fetes, or nightlife, East Africans know how to put together a celebration.
Here is a great resource for art, culture, and entertainment events in Nairobi. And here are some we think you should visit this year:
Sauti za Busara – Zanzibar
Translating to “Sounds of Wisdom,” the Sauti za Busara festival is a pan-African music festival that happens in Stone Town every year. Stone Town, the heart of Zanzibar, puts you close to all the sights and sounds of the island.
The festival brings together musicians from the continent on one stage. This year, the 19th edition, will take place from the 11th to 13th of February, and the theme is “Amplifying women’s voices.” The event has always been exciting, and this year will be no different. You will also get to learn about Zanzibar’s history and culture during this event.
And if you do happen to visit Stone Town, you want to ensure your hotel has a great view of the ocean and a rooftop pool. And luckily there is one such spot: Upendo House which we highly recommend. Airbnbs are also your friend.
Lamu Yoga Festival 2022 – Lamu
Lamu is one of the most serene and beautiful destinations in Africa. And if you love or practice yoga, this event is for you. You can start your morning with rejuvenating sessions, including yoga flows, stretches, breathing, and other mindful activities. Join like-minded yogis for days of fun and relaxation. Everyone who visits the festival always talks about how healing and relaxing it was.
Lamu has such great vibes and rich architecture, and it’s best to stay on the beach. The Majlis is a luxurious, stylish and unique private hotel that will elevate your trip. But there are so many other great places to stay in Lamu like Forodhani House Lamu and Peponi Hotel. Get your yoga-mats ready.
Lamu Cultural Festival – Lamu
A great family event to add to your calendar: The Lamu Cultural Festival. The organizers are still waiting on clearance from the Kenya Health Ministry on hosting the event, but it looks pretty certain to go ahead (though you’ll have to keep checking online for the exact date).
This annual event spotlights Lamu’s culture, heritage, and language and happens in the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and must-see destination. Witness dhow races, swimming competitions, and the renowned donkey race. The festival attracts cool and artistic people from all over.
You can fly into Lamu with Jambo Jet.
Kwita Izina – Kigali
Another interesting fete you should check out is Kwita Izina or the Gorilla Naming Ceremony in Rwanda. The “land of a thousand hills” is home to many green forests that house innumerable gorillas. In this event, which started in 2005, participants take part in gorilla tracking and naming. The community gets to see the new members of the gorilla family. The ceremony a great way to spread the word on appreciation, respect and care for wild animals. This event attracts celebrities, government officials, conservationists, community members, local influencers and youth volunteers. Although the 2021 event took place virtually, there is hope that the next one may be physical. You can read more here and find out the dates for the next event.
Whether traveling for business or pleasure, you’ll need a hassle-free way to get around. You can book your airport transfer or hire a vehicle hourly and we, your chauffeurs, will ensure that you always have the inside guide in any of these cities.
And if connectivity is essential, book our executive cars with free in-vehicle WIFI so you’re stay connected. Learn more here.
In 2022 travel safe and Arrive Fabulous.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY EVENTS
- Blankets and Wine (Nairobi)
- Swahili Fashion Week (Dar es Salaam)
- Tribal Chic (Nairobi)
- Lake Turkana Festival (Turkana)
- International Peace Marathon (Kigali)
- Swahili Cultural Festival (Dar es Salaam)
- The Nile Gold Jazz Safari (Kampala)