Africa, Countries

Hakuna Matata on Kenya’s Pride Rock

It’s lion in wait there for you sundowners and Disney buffs… no worries, it’s Hakuna Matata on Kenya’s Pride Rock.

Bet you didn’t even know you knew Swahili (until Signature Experiences alerted me).

But then again we’re all polyglots aren’t we with those couple of words we learn for our summer holidays.

High old time: Simba

Now few things conjure up Africa more than The Lion King.

And Kenya in central/east Africa is at the heart of it.

Which is probably why Disney chose it for the inspiration of The Lion King’s Pride Rock.

Simba’s scene

The Borana Conservancy in Northern Kenya is where you’ll find Rafiki holding up Simba for the whole savanna to see.

And Elton John belting out The Circle of Life.

While the Rekero camp in the south-west’s Masai Mara right in the middle of the Great Migration Country replicates the lions’ stalking grounds.

Now we’ve all heard tales of the mark the traditional tribesmen people, the Masai Mara, can leave on western visitors.

And read or watched programmes where Westerners marry a warrior and move over to Kenya.

But it has been known to sometimes work the other way.

Masai Marry

Out of Africa: Kyoso Leerat and Ethiopia’s finest Meseret Tekalign

Like when my old friend Adams & Butler’s Siobhan Byrne Learat returned from her trip to Kenya with the best souvenir, her very own Masai Mara warrior Kasao Leerat.

And much like those of us kilted variety, Kasao rightly and proudly dons his African robes to promote his country and his and Siobhan’s brand.

All of which only piques the interest to visit the land of Leerat and Lions.

Elsa’s land

Elsa’s lions: In the Meru Game Reserve

Where you can also visit that other well, lion, of cinema, Elsa, popularised in the Oscar-winning Born Free.

And see her graveyard in the Meru Game Reserve Joy and George Adamson set up.

So whether it’s Hakuna Matata on Kenya’s Pride Rock.

Elsa the lioness or the Masai Mara then magical Kenya, as they brand themselves, will surely cast a spell.

And if you want to get a flavour before hotfooting it out to Africa…

Disney on stage

Then take in a production of Disney’s The Lion King wherever you find out.

And for me that was Disney on Broadway’s visit to Anaheim.

Hakuna Matata all you cool cats.



Africa, Countries, Ireland, UK

A Kenyan tribal elder as a souvenir

Most of us make do with a fridge magnet but Siobhan Byrne Learat brought back a Kenyan tribal elder as a souvenir.

Now Ireland is a much different (and better) place than in 2007 when Kasao Learat first came to Ireland.

It was around the time I embarked on my own 13-year residency in Ireland.

Unforgettable: Elephants in Namibia

And I am reminded of a sign in a DART (or train) station which read..

‘The big problem with this country is too many pasty-faced people.’

A shared experience 

Our of Africa: With Kasao, and Meseret from Ethiopian Airlines

I was one of those pasty-faced people in the assembled group when I first met Siobhan and Kasao in Dublin.

And, of course, he stood out in his tribal garb.

But also for his warmth, wisdom and fun, although Siobhan will be happy to know I wasn’t checking out his bum!

You couldn’t help inspecting Kim Kardashian’s, the influencer boasting the most famous derrière in the world, either.

Back in the day when Kim and Kanye West were rumoured to be honeymooning in Ireland we searched for leads.

When we should have known that when it comes to high-end hospitality Siobhan and Kasao’s Adams & Butler are the go-to people.

Kim’s story

News hounds that we are, we did track down Kim and Kanye to £18,000 a night Ballyfin, Co. Westmeath.

Where my intrepid friend Emma Byrne happened to be staying with her then boyfriend Dan.

And had to wipe her eyes when Kim squeezed that rear into her chair next to her at breakfast.

People come in every shape, size and colour and you never know who you’ll discover (or bump into) and where.

Only that it will be a helluva ride.

I was offered an eye up to the keyhole of the window of the world Siobhan is offering… in Namibia.

But because of my own inadequacies with modern technology I missed out on Adams & Butler’s webinar on the South-West African country.

Welcome to Namibia

Mrs Fix-It: Siobhan

Mrs Fix-It to the rescue with this vid.

Now it would take all the time in the world, which we don’t have, to run through all the options Adams & Butler offers.

But both in the UK & Ireland and around the world you’ll get the best in experiential travel and interaction with the locals.

And a Kenyan tribal elder as a souvenir!