Located in the beautiful Nyanza region of Western Kenya, Karibuni Eco-Cottages is a community-based initiative supporting responsible and ethical tourism.
Karibuni Eco-Cottages offers a relaxing and refreshing experience of “the real Africa”. Our community lies a little way from the well-beaten tourist trail and offers access to all the wonderful sights and sounds of Western Kenya.
Stay in traditional Luo mud huts or modern brick-built accommodation and let the sounds of nature send you to sleep.
Experience the landscape, people, culture and wildlife that make Kenya truly unique.
Dine on traditional and contemporary Kenyan cuisine in our restaurant.
Explore the Nyanza region and its surrounding attractions on a Karibuni Tour.
Opportunities for skilled volunteering placements.
Whether you want to relax and be pampered, go exploring or volunteer in the community, we will make you feel at home in Kenya.
Volunteering opportunities whilst staying at Karibuni Eco Cottages have been carefully developed to support educational and economic development and provide lasting benefits to the community in Ndhiwa. We encourage our volunteers to take part in two-way sharing of skills, knowledge and ideas with our staff team and members of the community in Ndhiwa – volunteers often leave having gained a lot from their experience as well as having contributed their skills and expertise.
There are a number of ways you can contribute:
- Football – Our Brighter Futures project uses football to tackle school-related gender-based violence in Ndhiwa. We’re always on the look-out for keen footballers and coaches.
- Teacher training – Qualified teachers can take part in our teacher training initiatives with local schools. Our programme aims to improve teaching and learning and encourage alternatives to corporal punishment.
- Agricultural projects – Support our agricultural training programmes, help to develop our demonstration site, or support the introduction of new farms in our partner schools. These projects are suitable for keen gardeners as well as those with more formal training in this area.
- Karibuni Eco-Cottages – Share your skills in hospitality, catering, customer service, sales and marketing, promotion, accountancy, business development and leadership as you support our Kenyan team in developing their local business.
- Business and financial training for women – Do you have a professional skill that could be put to use in Ndhiwa? Please get in touch to see if we can arrange a volunteering opportunity for you.
- Photography and videography – a keen photographer or videographer? Use your skills and passion to help us tell our story.
Ndhiwa is a small market town surrounded by countryside with many small villages. There is a food market, a few hardware stores, a couple of bars for locals, a bookshop, no supermarket and definitely no night clubs.
The people of Ndhiwa are part of the Luo tribe. In contrast to the strong community spirit and warmth of the people are the challenges they face. They lack many of the things that we take for granted – electricity, running water, sanitation, labour-saving devices, easy transport, medical care and educational opportunities.
Ndhiwa is a stone’s throw from the equator so it is hot although often cool at night. It is generally dry but it can rain, especially in the early evening – when it rains IT RAINS!
The climate and rainfall is unpredictable resulting in an insecure food supply. There is widespread poverty, malnutrition and poor health and average life expectancy for women and men is around 41 and 36 years respectively.
When visiting Kenya it is important to fit in with local cultural traditions and not cause unintentional offence. This is particularly important for styles of dress and language.
Some cultural patterns are different in Kenya:
• Dress in Kenya is conservative. You will not see bare shoulders, exposed midriffs or low-cut tops.
• You will not hear ‘bad language’.
• Shaking hands to say ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ is normal and is expected. They may hold their right forearm with their left hand. This is a sign of respect. If you are offered a clenched fist then they consider their hand to be too dirty for you to shake – you should shake their forearm.
• It is quite normal for male friends to hold hands, but men will rarely hold hands with their wives or girlfriends.
As Team Kenya enjoys a close relationship with the local community, we expect that you make a real effort to observe local culture. You are expected to comply with a visitors’ code of conduct during your stay at Karibuni.
Karibuni Eco-Cottages is in Ndhiwa, which is in a remote part of western Kenya. There are several options for travelling to Ndhiwa.
You can fly into Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta Airport, Kenya’s main airport. From here you can transfer via road to Ndhiwa. We can organise a private transfer for you, or you can travel by public bus, though please ask us for recommendations on which public bus services to use as some bus companies do not have the best safety standards. A road transfer from Nairobi to Ndhiwa can be expected to take at least 8 hours.
You can fly into Kisumu International Airport, which is a smaller airport much closer to Ndhiwa. There are several flights each day from Nairobi to Kisumu, many with Kenya Airways, which means if you travel with Kenya Airways or partner airlines KLM and Air France you will be able to transfer straight through to Kisumu. Upon arrival in Kisumu, it is approximately 2 hours to Ndhiwa.
Finally, there are flights between Nairobi Wilson Airport, a smaller airport in Nairobi and Homa Bay. These flights are with an airline called Fly540 and depart early in the morning. Currently, we would advise against taking these flights as the airline has repeatedly cancelled the flight with no notice and this has caused a great deal of inconvenience to our guests.
Yes. Though it would be appreciated if you could notify us of any dietary requirements in advance, so that we can ensure we have suitable food available.
We have clean, filtered drinking water. Our washing-up water comes from a well or is rainwater collected from the roof. When you’re on safari or tour in Kenya, bottled water is available to purchase in most towns and lodges (including Karibuni). Unfortunately, few people in rural Kenya have access to treated, clean water and the majority of the population drinks water from a river or well.
Yes. It is necessary to take reasonable precautions, such as not walking alone after dark, but Ndhiwa is very safe and our guests have not experienced any safety issues. The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office advice is available here.
Your travel clinician is likely to advise on certain vaccinations before travelling to Kenya, you are also likely to be advised to take malaria prophylaxis. Some vaccinations require a course of several treatments, so it is advisable to visit your local travel clinic well in advance of your visit. Up to date advice is available here.
Please note, that if you are arriving from a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission (list) you are required to carry proof of a yellow fever vaccination.
First aid is available at Karibuni Eco-Cottages. There is also a government hospital and several private health clinics nearby and pharmacy in Ndhiwa. More serious problems would be treated in Homa Bay or Nairobi, or by air repatriation in an extreme emergency. We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance before you leave.
The seasons are becoming more erratic in Kenya, but the typical pattern is warm weather from January to mid-March, the long rains then arrive from mid-March through to the end of May. Then it is dry from June to mid-October, with the weather gradually becoming warmer over this time. Then there are short rains in mid-October through to November before a dry December. During warm periods you can expect temperatures well over 30 degrees Celsius, though it cools down in the evening. Note that the lack of tarmac roads around Ndhiwa makes travel in the rainy season problematic.
Karibuni Eco-Cottages has mobile signal and modems to access the internet. Wifi hotspots are available in neighbouring villages.
• Torch/Head torch
• Small rucksack
• Sun cream
• Insect repellent
• Baby wipes
• Hand sanitiser
• Sun hat
• Small first aid kit
• Music, books
• T-shirts (no strappy tops)
• Long sleeved tops
• Light trousers or long skirt
• Shorts (knee length)
• Warm layer for evening (one is sufficient in warmer times of year)
To prevent unnecessary delays in the airport, we recommend registering for a visa online prior to departure. Register here. It can take a few days for your confirmation to come through, so please do this in advance. A few days after applying for your visa, you will need to log onto the website to print out a copy of your confirmation.
For your application please use the address Karibuni Eco-Cottages, Ndhiwa, Homa Bay County, the email address firstname.lastname@example.org and the phone number 0703 779 332.
Yes. We require all volunteers to hold adequate travel insurance and will ask for proof prior to departure.
A stay at Karibuni Eco-Cottages is £30 per night for guests and £20 per night for volunteers. This includes accommodation and all meals.
To give an idea of other costs, international flights from the UK to Nairobi tend to be between £400 and £600 and an internal flight from Nairobi to Kisumu or Homa Bay is usually £50 to £80 each way. A Kenyan visa costs £40.
Please complete our Karibuni Eco-Cottages Booking Form. If you have not agreed an overseas volunteering placement with a member of Team Kenya staff, you will also need to complete a Volunteer Application Form. Please note that we match all of our volunteering placement with the skills, interests and experience of the candidate, so we can’t guarantee a suitable placement will be available.
Karibuni is a great place to watch birds. The tranquil gardens of the eco cottages are surrounded by bush and agricultural land which attract a range of species.
A very vocal colony of weaver birds greet visitors at the gate whilst the likes of Paradise fly catchers, several types of sunbirds, doves and the resident African thrush and African pied wagtail are regular spots with sightings of species such as the white browed robin chat and northern black fly catcher also being noted. Mousebirds, the brilliant Black headed gonoleck, Hada ibis and Hammerkop are all regular visitors to the surrounding scrub with less frequent sightings of woodland kingfishers and a host of other species.
A walk into the town of Ndhiwa or along the numerous tracks through the scrub and farmland can be a very rewarding experience with a plethora of species to view. It can also lead to frustrations when trying to identify some of them! Long crested eagles abound, various types of swallow and swift, several types of weaver, Yellow mantled widow bird, Crowned crane, sun birds and Brown parrot all come to mind.
Further afield but within easy striking distance is Ruma National Park, where over 350 species have been recorded including the globally threatened Blue swallow. The vast Lake Victoria is also within easy reach with considerable numbers of African fish eagles, a variety of Kingfishers and many other water loving species.