Kempinski Hotels and Simba Hospitality first announced their partnership almost a year ago, in June 2012, which would see Europe’s oldest luxury hotelier enter the Kenyan market, operating the tented luxury camp, Olare Mara Kempinski Masai Mara, and the 200-room five-star city hotel, Villa Rosa Kempinski.
Nearing completion, Villa Rosa Kempinski in Nairobi is set to open in August 2013, and Capital Lifestyle Magazine was given an exclusive opportunity to take a sneak peak.
Check out what you can look forward to in August here:
The GSM Association has opened its Africa office in Nairobi to effectively support the growing African telecoms market. The Africa headquarters will be based in Nairobi’s iHub and will enable the GSMA to work more closely with its members and other industry stakeholders to extend the reach and soci0-economic benefits to mobile throughout Africa.
Speaking at a media briefing, GSMA’s Director General Anne Bouverot said they were excited to launch the new office in Africa as the region is becoming increasingly vibrant and critical market to the mobile industry.
“The rapid pace of mobile adoption has delivered an explosion of innovation and huge economic benefits in the region, directly contributing US$ 32 billion to the Sub-Saharan African economy or 4.4 per cent of GDP. With necessary spectrum allocations and transparent regulation, the mobile industry could also fuel the creation of 14.9 million jobs in the region between 2015 and 2020.”
GSMA is an association of mobile telcos and operators across the world with 800 members spread across 220 countries including Kenya. The rapid increase of mobile connections has attracted GSMA to the region, adds Bouverot. Mobile connections in Sub-Saharan Africa increased by 20 per cent to 500 million in 2013 and are expected to increase by an additional 50 per cent by 2018.
The GSMA’s permanent presence in Kenya will enable the organisation to work closely with its members to put the conditions in place that will facilitate the expansion of mobile, bringing important connectivity and services to all in the region.
Kenya’s strategic location and innovative and regulatory environment were some of the factors that pulled GSMA to Nairobi. Of particular focus for the Africa office will be the development of mobile technologies and platforms to improve health, agriculture and education services and financial inclusion.
“Africa is a mobile-first continent. The level of innovation we have seen in this (mobile) space is unprecedented anywhere in the world. We will be looking to support these kind of social services that can, for instance, build on the already successful models like M-pesa,” said Chris Locke, Managing Director, Mobile for Development – an arm of GSMA.
The Africa office will also deepen the already existing research and analysis work done by the Mobile for Development Intelligence unit of GSMA.
According to the latest GSMA’s Wireless Intelligence data, total mobile connections in Sub-Saharan Africa passed the 500 million mark in Q1 2013, increasing by about 20 per cent year-on-year. Connections are expected to grow by a further 50 per cent, or 250 million connections, over the next five years which requires greater regulatory certainty to foster investment and release of additional harmonised spectrum for mobile.
The region currently accounts for about two-thirds of connections in Africa. It also has the highest levels of mobile internet usage globally. In Zimbabwe and Nigeria, mobile accounts for over half of all web traffic at 58.1 per cent and 57.9 per cent respectively, compared to a 10 per cent global average. 3G penetration levels are forecast to reach a quarter of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2017 (from six per cent in 2012) as the use of mobile-specific services develops.
However, despite the high number of connections, rapid growth and mobile internet usage, mobile penetration among individuals remains relatively low. Fewer than 250 million people had subscribed to a mobile service in the region, putting unique subscriber penetration at 30 per cent, meaning that more than two-thirds of the population has yet to acquire their first mobile phone. GSMA there is an important opportunity for the mobile industry to bring connectivity, access to information and services to the people in this region.
Chinese cuisine: the food of ancient imperial courts, and since the 19th century, its delicious and savoury appeal has popularized the school of cooking internationally, and sometimes even with inebriated persons.
In much of the Western world, particularly in North America, late-night Chinese food has become the must-have meal for all walks of life falling into- and out- of clubs. In Kenya, Chinese restaurants have made the transition to a generally sweeter palate and in some cases, infused flavours of India; which was the case at Xi’an Chinese Restaurant’s predecessor, Mister Wok.
Xi’an Chinese Restaurantis located Salonika Villas on Muthangari Road, Nairobi, Kenya.The average meal costs Ksh 1,500. To book, click here. Special thanks to Eat Out Kenya.
Since November 2012, Xi’an formally took over the Mister Wok nestled in Salonika Villas on Muthangari Road, Nairobi. Poolside, the small and modest space has been revamped with a fresh coat of paint, wall hangings and a more spacious layout.
During the Mister Wok days, whose menu was more Indo-Chinese than simply Chinese, chefs used exorbitant amounts of ginger. The new flavours of Xi’an seem to be more Western-Chinese, balanced and basic. Clearly, if you’re looking for an authentic Chinese experience, Xi’an isn’t the place. But, if you’re looking for tasty basic Chinese flavours, this is it.
Named after the Chinese city of Xi’an, home to China’s capital for eleven dynasties and over a thousand years of rich history – the city of Xi’an is regarded as the home and perhaps even the birthplace of dumplings. I didn’t know what I was expecting, but perhaps I read into the name of the restaurant a little too much, and found myself slightly disappointed when I realized that dumplings weren’t Xi’an Chinese Restaurant’s specialty.
The dumplings arrived with the hand-made wrappers soft and fresh from the steamer. Presented well, but the filling of the dumplings were disappointing. Stiff and dense, the minced chicken and carrot filling lacked flavour and natural juices – far from the succulent, moist and delicate dumplings I had craved for.
There was the Crab and Sweet Corn Soup (Ksh 300) and Dry Fried Salt and Pepper Prawns (Ksh 750), both great starters. The natural sweetness of the corn lifted the crab and simple flavours of the soup, which was thickened with corn flour to the right consistency – not too thick, still a bit runny.
Then there was the Ginger Crab (Ksh 1,000) served whole with its thickened fresh juices and sautéed in ginger and green scallions. Delicious and fresh, the Ginger Crab was definitely a favourite. A Western-Chinese staple, Lemon Chicken (Ksh 600) is always appetizing. Strips of crispy chicken lightly deep fried and tossed with colourful julienned peppers, coated with a tart and sweet sauce. The Beef with Mushroom Sauce (Ksh 680) was tender and delicious, but seemed like it was glistening with oil. The Shrimp Bang Bang Noodles (Ksh 450) were a bit bland, but its texture and basic flavours were splendid.
Xi’an Chinese Restaurant’s portions were decent, enough to share with other dishes; and with a side of rice, you’ll be full. Xi’an is a good neighbourhood find, affordable and tasty. Small but intimate. Modern yet homely. Being poolside, weekend Chinese cravings will be stylishly satisfied at this new Lavington addition.
When it starts out, you can be misled into thinking that Camp Mulla has come up with another one just like the other one.
But alas, they have gone no holds barred in their fresh new track aptly titled – All In.
Camp Mulla team up this time with 31-year-old Ghana man M.anifest, who was in Kenya last week to record the video for the track, produced for your listening pleasure by Sub Sahara Records.
Taio Tripper starts it out with a firm stance in the first verse, explaining what he is about and where he is going with his musical career, only to be cut short by the lovely Karun, who as the youth say, kills it with the hook!
Camp Mulla and M.anifest have met several times before and now Sub Sahara records are cashing in on their talent to do an East meets West collabo.
The song shows that the musical borders between several African countries are becoming more and more porous and the fans will soon be soaking up more than they have space for – but who’s complaining!
Have a listen and let us know if you would ‘stamp this on your passport’!
Fun, spunk and groovy would be the words to aptly describe the character of young Ghanaian musician Efya.
While incorporating words from her local tongue, Efya sets an enjoyable mellow vibe with just enough spice to get your head bobbing.
Formerly known as Miss Jane, Efya is a 26-year-old singer, songwriter and actress from Kumasi, Ghana, born to film producer mother Nana Awindor.
Singing from the age of 9 simply for the joy of it, Efya realized in 2008 that it was possible to take it up music as a career.
She emerged second in local talent show Stars of The Future and signed a record deal with event company Charter House, which resulted in her joint debut album; Irene and Jane Unveiled. In this case, Irene was the winner of the talent show in question.
Irene and Jane Unveiled was released in South Africa only. In 2011, when the recording contract elapsed, Efya went on to perform at several gigs, even as she perfected her tool of trade at the University of Ghana while she studied Theatre Arts, Directing and Music.
Since then, Efya has worked with artistes from the West Africa region including Nigerian stars Brymo and Sarkodie. At the moment, she is close to releasing her first solo album – Love Genesis.
Efya, in her fresh new identity has been selected to be the third African act to grace the Tusker Malt Club on April 25. First up was Nigeria’s Bez, and after that Zonke from South Africa.
The part time model has six awards under her belt in just five years, a perfect choice for Tusker Malt.
Kenyan musicians matched up to the electric energy at the MTV Africa All Stars Tour in Nairobi last week to turn up the heat with dazzling performances.
After a late start, Sony Africa signing Xtatic hit up the crowd with three of her club bangers including ‘Hit Em Up’, where fellow emcee Kaligraph Jones took South African rapper AKA’s place to help her perform.
The stage was small and intimate, but there was space enough for fans to peer on from every side and Xtatic made her presence felt.
She was only first among the impressive Kenyan line up, which included P-Unit, Camp Mulla, Madtraxx, Kanja and Norway-based Stella Mwangi.
With two exclusive VIP areas where all the stars mingled and danced without hindrance, the Tree House not only barred underage revellers from accessing the venue, but they also had to shut the gates when the party got too full.
The tour, which had guest artists Big Nuz and Dj Tira from South Africa, is part of an ongoing 3-year collaboration between MTV Base and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province.
“These are some of KZNs finest,” said Zozo July of South Africa Tourism, before the concert began, expressing that it was their intention to take KZN to the rest of Africa and invite them to return the favour, using music as a medium.
“The concerts that happen during the tour will each be taped and broadcast on MTV for the world to see,” said Alexi Okosi, Managing Director of Viacom International Media Networks Africa.
Kenyan rapper Madtraxx, of the Skamares fame, said it was a big deal for MTV and KZN to involve Kenya in the project, as he thinks it will open up boundaries for musicians to do business across the continent.
“It shows also how much we have in common,” said DJ Tira, explaining; “if Big Nuz is big here then there is a lot we have in common across Africa.”
“We’re here for music and that’s what’s amazing,” piped in Taio Tripper of Camp Mulla. The youngsters have polished their on-stage performances and it showed as they took the mics at Tree House, also giving band member and producer K Cous space to show his skills on the drum set.
DJ Tira played for a solid hour with a face as ‘Serious’ as the hit track sung by his proteges Big Nuz.
STL’s energy on stage was unmistakable, introducing herself with the song ‘Stella Stella Stella’ and then breaking out into “Bad As I Wanna Be” before thrilling the audience with a remix of Diplo’s Butter Theme.
Diplo is one of the producers of Snoop Lion’s new album, Reincarnated, which he will sample when he heads to Durban, South Africa on May 18 for another leg of the MTV Africa All Stars tour. This week, the musical campaign will be in Lagos, Nigeria with musicians Davido, Professor and Ice Prince on the line-up.
And the Nairobi Sessions continue, this week with Wambura Mitaru and Just A Band as the main features.
Wambura sings Radi na Umeme, a dedication to unity among the human race. As a student at Berkeley School of Music and a younger sister to musician Sara Mitaru, Wambura’s voice and song are very convincing.
JAB, or Just A Band was represented by their most outspoken band member Blinky Bill on the second part of the sessions.
This edition of the sessions was shot in a music store at the Sarit Centre, with guitars dangling from the ceiling and creating a mixed feeling of genius and clutter.
Music producer David ‘Blackman’ Muthami, who is the brain child behind Nairobi sessions, says the new location was meant to show that the music could just as easily be coming out of New York, London, or any other ‘global urban city’ in the world.
Last year, IBM research listed Nairobi as one of the cities with the worst traffic globally, costing the country an estimated $580,000 in lost revenue and hours per day. IBM, in a follow up report, recommended the use of mobile phones and closed-circuit television networks to highlight traffic issues during peak hours. The system IBM has proposed will involve creation of a central command centre and closer cooperation with the police traffic department.
But one developer has gone ahead of the more comprehensive multi-sectoral solution to create an app that collects traffic information from the public and disseminates the same through a web and phone application and also through twitter. However, the Ma3Route did not start off as a jam buster.
“I developed the platform to help people to get easier and faster directions between locations in the city,” says Laban Okune, the founder of Ma3Route. “The app was initially designed for visitors who could not get up to date maps of the city.”
Launched in July 2012, Ma3Route has evolved to a source of timely and accurate traffic information hinged on the crowd sourcing concept. The growing community of volunteers and contributors send traffic updates via twitter, SMS (Safaricom short code 7955), web or using the Android app.
“Ma3Route allows citizens to easily share the traffic situation they are experiencing. The platform aggregates the crowd-sourced data and provides an easy to understand way for citizens to get updates. A user can either look at traffic in all of Nairobi or zoom in on a specific route,” explains Laban.
The app has maintained its original mandate of providing directions using a Matatu, plus other additional features including; integration with foursquare and Google places to map out businesses in estates and neighborhoods and a citizen reporting functionality to report bad driving.
Laban describes the Android-based mobile platform as the most locally developed application.
“Users can subscribe to traffic feeds on specified routes, especially if they use them routinely. Once subscribed to a particular route, you receive live updates as soon as news about traffic on that route is posted. Ma3Route is also currently interconnected with Twitter and can post all received traffic updates onto Twitter through @Ma3Route or the user’s individual Twitter account,” says Laban.
As the app has grown, users are using it to report and receive information on incidences along major roads and centres.
“We sometimes break news using the information users submit…like riots or accidents from different areas.”
Laban has now looped in cab companies whose drivers are always on the road to partner with him in providing real-time and accurate information on traffic situations.