The Curious Wanderer: Ngendo Machua

Ngendo Machua

It’s Travel Tuesday and we are starting a new segment called The Curious Wanderer. The first Curious Wanderer is Ngendo Machua who loves to travel and is also a travel blogger among the many hats that she wears. She is a digital strategist and a copywriter. She has previously worked at Digital Brands Group, Squad Digital and Blue Print Marketing and has handled prestigious brands such as Safaricom, Standard Chartered Dubai, Rockefeller Foundation and Coca Cola. You can check out her blog

Ngendo Machua
Ngendo Machua

1. What is your favourite destination? Why?

Nakuru, specifically Sarova Lion Hill. I think those guys bewitched me. Every time I go to Nakuru I must stay there. The staff members are warm and very welcoming. It always feels like being home. The rooms are super cosy. The food is always so sumptuous. Their evening activities always get me excited especially watching mzungus trying to dance like Africans. Always a good laugh.

2. What places are on your travel bucket list? Why?

I must visit Samburu before this year ends. I hear the lions there don’t pose for photos like the ones at the Mara do. The lions of Samburu are the real deal.

Phuket, Thailand and Miami, USA are also on my bucket list.

3. What factors do you consider when choosing a destination for your holidays or mini breaks?

Before travelling I have to research on culture, costs and tourist activities available. The first time I went to USA, I had not done adequate research so upon arrival, an airport porter as me if he could help carry my luggage. I was pleasantly surprised and I accepted the offer. When we got to where the car was, he demanded his tip and I was like, say what now? Anyway, turns out in USA, you have to tip.

4. What are you travel essentials?

My yellow fever card, power bank, facial wipes, lip gloss, sunscreen and an extra change of clothes in my hand luggage.

5. How do you save for your holidays?

My husband and I have a separate savings account for holidays but we always book holidays early so that we get good rates. But also some of our friends own holiday homes and they are always kind enough to let us spend our holidays there.

6. Horror story from your travels. What went wrong?

So this one time we were on a #TembeaKenya safari at the Mara and one of the mornings we went for a game drive. While driving through a ‘paddle’ of mud, we got stuck. We tried calling out for help over the radio but no one was responding. So the rest of the guys decided to come out to push it but I decided to stay in the car as they pushed. As soon as the car moved out of the paddle and the guys had gotten back in the car, a herd of like 14 lions appeared a few metres from the car. My heart was in my mouth and for some minutes it was dead silent in the car.

7. Where are you planning to go for your next mini trip or holiday?

My family plus some of our family friends are planning a trip to Samburu later in the year.

8. If you had to choose a country from your travels where you could settle down apart from your home country which country would that be and why?

Sweden. Why? Five weeks paid vacation to start. There is universal healthcare, the summers are perfect…isn’t Olaf from there? I love Olaf!

9. Do you prefer to travel alone or in a group? Why?

Definitely in a group. I have a thing where I cannot eat alone…it’s just weird and awkward. I prefer eating and traveling in a group. It makes the experience fun and wild!

10. How many countries have you been to?

7 but in my head I’ve travelled all over the world

11. What is the most interesting city to visit in your country?

Mmmmh it has got to be Kisumu City. I love going here whenever I get a chance. I enjoy visiting the Kisumu Impala Sanctuary in the morning, feasting on fish at Lwangni for lunch then watching the sunset by the lake.

12. What is the most interesting souvenir that you have ever bought on one of your holidays?

A McDonalds cup and I still have it *hides*

13. Would you rather visit another country or travel within your own country?

Mimi ni mKenya damu!

14. What are popular tourist destinations in your country? Have you been to any of them?

Masai Mara, Mombasa, Lake Nakuru, Amboseli, Samburu, Mt. Kenya, Tsavo and the Aberdares.
I’ve been to all but Amboseli, Samburu and Tsavo.

15. Which would you recommend if you could only recommend one? Why?

They are all fantastic places to visit because they all offer different experiences. If I was to recommend one, it would have to be Masai Mara. It sort of has a little bit of every other destination (apart from Mombasa and Mt. Kenya).

16. What advice would you give a newbie traveller travelling outside the country for the first time?

  • Don’t expect things to be like they are at home.
  • Travel with your eyes wide open.
  • Be open to learn new things.
  • Don’t judge, instead say, “Isn’t that interesting? Tell me more.”
  • Learn the basics of the local language. Use them often. It is the best way to show respect, break down barriers and start conversations.
  • Manners are universal, use them.
  • Do not shout at others, they are not deaf, they just can’t understand you.
  • NEVER complain that the people of the country you are visiting do not speak English. Remember where you are.
  • Bargain, it is an expected part of a transaction.
  • Respect local customs. It is not about your way, you are the visitor.

You can find Ngendo on twitter at .

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Managing editor and blogger at Potentash. Passionate about telling African stories. Find me at [email protected]