Ever ridden a camel on the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in the foothills of Mount Kenya? Or attended the Imilchil Marriage Festival in Morroco? Destination Magazine shows you beautiful places to visit and exhilarating things to do while in East Africa. The magazine, run by husband and wife team Brennen and Kate Matthews, is more than just a travel magazine. “It is a travel, leisure and lifestyles publication” says Kate who is the Manager of Finance and Administration. “It promotes the best the region has to offer” she purports.
Kate grew up in Mombasa, Kenya. While she attended high school and university in Nairobi, and has lived and worked in Burkina Faso, Mali, Canada, and Uganda, she still considers herself a “coastarian.” In this interview, Kate shares insights on starting a magazine and dishes her top picks of the activities highlighted in the magazine.
TEMPO: In putting together this magazine, what are some things about Kenya that have surprised you?
Matthews: That there are so many beautiful locations in our country that many Kenyans do not know about-myself included! Some are tucked away in remote places, others are out of reach financially for a lot of people but it still remains that [these places] are there and they are stunning .
I have learnt new things about our world, people and cultures, animals, insects, history, interesting facts and figures…so many fascinating things.
TEMPO: How did you get the idea to start the magazine?
Matthews: Opportunity and timing. Brennen and I had discussed starting a magazine and had even drawn up a business plan to that effect. Brennen has been published in numerous international and local newspapers and magazines (and used to work with Twende Magazine) but I knew nothing about magazines apart from reading and enjoying them. So on my hesitation, we shelved that idea. But opportunity knocked harder when a gap was left in the Kenyan market for a publication like Destination. So we grabbed the chance and here we are.
TEMPO: What was the start-up process like?
Matthews: Actually to be honest, the start up process was very fast. We had a narrow window of opportunity to get the magazine out and onto the shelves. God has a remarkable way of getting things to fall into place at the right time. We had good contacts with people who had worked for previous publications. We had some money saved up, the goodwill and belief of a number of people, and the drive and dedication to get this done. The first year was a blur of 12 hour days.
TEMPO: Of the activities you suggest for people, name your three favorites
Matthews: Dhow trip- It’s magical, being out on the open water, wind in your face, sails up, gentle swaying of the vessel. Like the voyageurs of old, you get a sense of heading out into the unknown.
Snorkeling- I did this for the first time off Wasini Island in Kenya’s south coast – Kisite Marine Park. Fabulous. The colourful and vibrant underwater world is like nothing above ground.
Horse- back riding game viewing- You get so close to the wildlife you can almost touch them because the horses scent camouflages your own. It’s unbelievable!
TEMPO: Is there a woman in your life who’s been an inspiration to you?
Matthews: My mum. As a single widowed parent with four young children, on a government salary, she worked hard and always held her head up with a smile on her face regardless of the circumstances.
TEMPO: Give a tidbit of advice to our Tempo women about any topic at all.
Matthews: Pursuing a goal: Be realistic with your goals: [set] SMART goals. Once set, go for them with all you got. “To get something you never had you have to do something you never did”
Starting a magazine: It’s not all glamour and hype. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and a great team. But each issue that comes out and you hold it in your hand; makes all the hard work worthwhile.
Running a business: Make sure you have the cash flow required to run your business. Cash flow shortfall is one of the major downfalls of small businesses.
Having a family: Family is important and should be your number one priority – when all is said and done, it’s the family that sticks around. Children bring so much joy but they are also a lot of work. As the Swahili saying goes: “Kuzaa si kazi, kazi ni kumlea mwana” (Giving birth is not the hard work, hard work is raising the child)
TEMPO: Last words?
Matthews: “The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you”
Kate lives in Nairobi, Kenya with her husband Brennen and their three-year old son, Thembi.
Check out Destination Magazine: www.eadestination.com.