This must be the most romantic drive ever in Nyeri county…

February is considered to be the month of love and many people will be under pressure to please their loved ones. Well there are soo many ways you can do it. I am not a relationship expert but doing something new or unplanned can be very exciting. There are many benefits of Nature walks or driving around scenic places you haven’t been before.

This really affects the attitude and perspective of the heart.  Together you will notice things you’ve never noticed before.  Take time to Enjoy the views, and point out the things to your spouse that you are appreciating including them and sometimes You don’t have to talk about anything.  Sometimes it’s just nice to be with each other with nothing but the sounds of nature and the footsteps.

 

I have been around many places and this place in Othaya called njigari touched my soul. My guide told me way back this place had the poorest backward people ever but currently the place is well up, with good roads meandering through this village, gorgeous tea farms that look like a green carpet rolling up the hills and down the valleys and at the end of it all the Aberdare ranges picks it up. I tell you this village is breath taking.

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The main road seems to be on top of the hills such that you are able to see unending valleys over and beyond.  I was in awe! hope this images will wow you! Kenya Is truly Magical. My guide exceeded my expectation and on our journey back we were all quiet for a while perhaps trying to digest the magical views. We made a stop at  zaina falls another breath taking water falls in Makanga valley in Nyeri. The journey to the falls is quite scenic with streams and rivers, brokes full of trout fish.

It kind of reminded me of the  late Nobel Peace laureate Professor Wangari wa Maathai childhood story; “when I was a child I would visit a stream next to our home to fetch water for my mother. I would drink water straight from the stream. Playing among the arrowroot leaves I tried in vain to pick up the strands of frogs’ eggs, believing they were beads. But every time I put my little fingers under them they would break. Later, I saw thousands of tadpoles: black, energetic and wriggling through the clear water against the background of the brown earth. This is the world I inherited from my parents.

Today, over 50 years later, the stream has dried up, women walk long distances for water, which is not always clean, and children will never know what they have lost. The challenge is to restore the home of the tadpoles and give back to our children a world of beauty and wonder.”

if we may go deeper in Gikuyu customs Wangari was a a munjiru one of the Kikuyu clans The Munjiru has a strong connection to all of nature and with his flute he can keep animals away or summon them to an assembly or to infest an entire village. In this way they were the guardians of the drinking places at the rivers so that people and their livestock could use the drinking places without fear of attack from wild animals. I guess she lived up to her true status..

Getting to Zaina its not a tough terrain but its a 30 minutes walk, the bridge to cross Chania river was broken and there was no way in hell I was going to walk on the log- fear of heights-  so i decided to get rid of my shoes and get into the river as it wasn’t as a deep,, but the water was cold and soothing and nice, then cold, soothing lol!

 

when coming here you can carry picnic baskets and just enjoy the magical views. As I bade Nyeri goodbye this is one journey that has been imprinted in my mind… Forever.

Thank you Le Pristine

Always Nice to hear from you drop us a shout out.

 

 

 

Historical tour of Nyeri County with a touch of breath taking waterfalls..

I tend to think a traveler is a seeker, someone with quest that gets satisfied over and over again. It’s through my travels that history has come so alive, be it biblical or otherwise. During my recent journey on my quest to see #NyeriCounty that’s not on paper or google maps, I embarked on a journey together with my two Guides both of whom love this county very much and wonder why most places haven’t been showcased.

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If you read my last blog by now you know who Mr.Kingori is lol!  A Keen Bird watcher and also a passionate historian. I love History, don’t ask me how it came to be while my High school history teacher was nick named `Kapiriton’ coz she used to make us sleep. Feel free to think I slept through my history class hehe! But somewhere along my loooooong life I picked it up big time…

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Well, on this particular day we started by going to the Mau Mau caves on your way to Ngorano.. You branch off at Marua , the junction to Nanyuki from Karatina. Mr.kingori tells me during the colonial Era there was a war there between the Maumaus and the British soldiers it was called Mbaara ya Rui ruiru #BattleOfTheBlackRiver coz the water there looks black maybe coz of the many rocks underneath, and the battle was between the Mau Mau and the british colonial soldiers.

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The journey is quite interesting with beautiful valleys and vegetation’s and when we got to the falls it was obvious it’s a picnic site for the locals, while someone in Nairobi is dying to be dined and wined at Kempinksy etc a local here just want a quiet moment with the one they love by the falls and use the surrounding kopjes as seats and tables, others find this place good for their pilgrimages or just a quiet secure serene place to connect with Mwene Nyaga..

The journey down the falls is not as steep but has loose soil so it’s advisable to use proper hiking shoes. One thing I have noticed during my travels in Kenya, There are three types of people who knew and occupied breathtaking locations 1]The British colonialists, 2] The catholic church 3] The Mau Maus Maybe they selected them keeping their wellbeing in mind…. After visiting the caves we went to in search of other water falls all within 30minutes radius of Nyeri Town.

 

One thing to note is this places are great but not in a controlled environment and if people were to flood in this area there is no way the community would benefit from this. Challenge to you Nyeri county Tourism. we went to muruguru falls, Ihururu Falls

My day ended with a glass of wine at my now all favorite place Le Pristine Kindly note that all this tours can be arranged directly from Le Pristine Hotel Nyeri.

you have any more interesting places in Nyeri county kindly let us know you may also check this blog out 

Giraffe Ark Game lodge a gem in Nyeri county.

If you are a follower of my blog by now you know how hard it is for me to turn down a trip to Mt.Kenya tourism circuit… and today was that time again. When an invite to visit Giraffe ark Came along I took it because I had missed visiting this gorgeous property far too many times.

Giraffe Ark Game lodge is 3 and a half hours from Nairobi its located in Muiga 36km from Nyeri town. Its tucked near Aberdare Ranges. Even though muiga can get quite dry and dusty on arrival I noticed the lodge has maintained its compounds very green and have planted a lot of trees.

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At the receptions we were received warmly with a cold towel and fresh juice. During my stay here Victoria the marketing Manager who was our host gave us a tour of the property. Giraffe Ark Lodge has a choice of 30 rooms: 6 Deluxe, 5 Luxury, 1 Royal Suite, and 18 Executive Suites , they have incorporated a blend of Pan African, Western, Oriental and Arabian themes.

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All rooms have verandah/balconies, Flat Screen TV’s with premium channels (DSTV), Ensuite bathrooms with hot water. Most of the rooms also have an exquisite view of the Majestic Mount Kenya. From the furnishing in the rooms is obvious the propriety has heavily invested in the décor. Its actually evident through-out the lodge. Everything is placed masterfully.

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The rooms I can guarantee you are very comfortable and quite spacious, airy and well lit. Another thing I noted is they are located away from the social places hence giving you the peace and serenity you might need while on holiday.

 

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The chef didn’t disappoint either the meals were delicious. They have a restaurant that serves European and Kenyan classics with a twist. They offer the freshest flavours of locally sourced produce, as they work with the farmers who provide them with the best the market has to offer , The property also have a beautiful and well equiped chinese restaurant where you can catch all the latest sporting events on mounted big screens . The environment blends well with nature as you enjoy a sundowner cocktail drink at our elevated terrace restaurant above a rocky dam. The outdoor sitting area offers a good atmosphere as you also take advantage of Aberdare range’s fresh air.

 

There are many activities one can engage in while there e.g Swimming, cycling, horse riding, hiking, game drives ETC you can also engage in rounds of chess from their giant chess boards and if you have small kids there is an arena for them. The property also has a conference facility and grounds great for events.

We highly recommend this property and we thank Mr.Peter Magu for hosting us.

Should you ever want to to stay at giraffe Ark Game lodge, write to us venture.omania@gmail.com or call, text, Whatsapp +254722838338

The Giant within–when you visit Nyeri county take a moment and explore..

As I sip down my dawa at Valley Coffee in Yala Towers Nairobi, admiring the view of Nairobi from the balcony couldn’t  help but remember a journey I had taken a few days earlier so  I decided why not share it with others as I awaited for my meeting to commenceimg_8773

There is always something exciting that’s ignited in my stomach whenever I go to Mt.Kenya tourism Circuit the atmosphere is quite unforgettable. On this particular day my longtime friend Phoebe [my partner in crime lol!—no we are actually very innocent girls.] was joining me as we honored an invite to visit Nyeri and familiarize ourselves with the attractions in this area and also, to actually understand why even after being such a gorgeous place, with lots of attraction, Nyeri is still not reaping from its potential as a touristic destination. Leisure and Destination Marketing is something I hold dearly to my soul. So u can imagine how much my adrenaline was racing for such a challenge.

A journey to Nyeri from Nairobi is such scenic one as it traverses you through central Kenya from Pineapple plantations, coffee and farm fields, with beautiful landscapes, its everything a rural area would look like, on the way you will find farmers selling their produces e.g Rice, Irish and sweet potatoes, fresh fruits and vegetables, chickens, roasted maize and yams hehe..

For new people on this route watch out as it has lots of corners, drive at controllable speed especially if the road ahead is not visible for a distance. After a disappointing “Continental Breakfast “ at Lazarus café in town we departed for Nyeri our chit chats made the journey of 150KM short.. Upon arrival we met with the owner of Legacy Gardens who was our host and guide throughout our stay. Winfred is so passionate about Nyeri shes quite informed and up to date with things that could attract some one from whichever part of the Earth you belong to: we had a perfect guide…[I always advice travelers get yourself a reliable local guide and you will learn and enjoy a destination beyond the guide book and way beyond google].

We arrived in Nyeri around midday, checked in at Legacy gardens freshened up and we officially checked in Nyeri town [Rware as the natives call it]

Nyeri is famous for its hardworking and strong willed women –women of steel-women who have taken over the role of heading their families as some husbands had turned into alcohol, women who works soo hard to sustain their families the best way they can. It’s a role most find a ridicule to the masculine gender but what could she have done?? Well I find her extra-ordinally although some incidences reported perhaps due to frustrations etc can’t be erased.

Well, we first went to a restaurant for some chicken Kienyenji and Winnie just knew the right place, the bird was big and yummy and some Mataha [a mix of boiled dry maize, beans, potatoes and pumpkin leaves mashed together]. Mataha is a traditional food among the Agikuyu community. It used to be made in plenty and would be stored with Itairu [woven trays] in granaries and if you needed to eat all you had to do is go to the granary and fetch some hehe.. life wasn’t complicated then,  you didn’t need soup, maybe a glass of milk or water and you super..

We had an observation though every place that we visited that was frequented, the welcome was always a smelly toilet down stairs before you get to a wonderful place upstairs hehe.. so was the goodbye….but we are smart usitudharau..on our way down we held our noses till we hit the road across hehe… waa two minutes felt longer and I guess Our cheeky laughters attracted quite a few curious looks but well at-least the yummy kienyenji chicken wasn’t spoilt lol! #MissionAccomplished.

Our next stop was the newly 4star rated, one of the few in Nyeri county and that’s White Rhino hotel, a historical hotel built during the British east Africa era, in 1910 by three white settlers who had shot a white a rhino in the same location. The hotel now is open to all unlike before it had a sign “White Only” sits evident that this hotel has a history of over 100yrs. Well, from having rooms that aren’t self-contained to a modern classic city hotel with international standards, surely this hotel has rebranded…

There are other historical buildings in nyeri town like the Osmana ollus shop dating back to 1899, The baden powels grave site memorial, The Italian war Memorial chapel in Mathari, The Paxtu cottage belonging to Baden powell at Outspan hotel which was later occupied by.., The colonial civil and  criminal lawa courts situated in Ruringu: Did you know the first colonial African cell was in Nyeri, well it was, near provincial police post.

There quite a nurhinomber of historical places in this blissful town as Baden powell referred it… e.g Field Marshal Dedan Kimathis Famous fig tree post office in the Aberdares, The treetops Hotel where queen Elizabeth II became Queen while vacationing in Aberdares, The Sacred site where Dedan Kimathi was shot in Tetu… Nyeri still continues to add on its history with Wangari Maathai Becoming the First African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace in 2004. Just like a cherry on top in May 2015 this town received world attention during the Beaitification of Sister Irene Stefani –Nyaatha, she was declared to have lived a life of Heroic virtue through her service to the sick in Nyeri before and during the world War 1.. I guess Nyeri is here to continue making Headlines both local and international.

Other attractions include; Zaina falls in Tetu, Mau Mau caves, Nyeri Hill, Othaya Hill zainacommon wealth graves, karura falls, lots of private ranches with magnificent waterfalls and landscapes. This place is a hikers galore, Religion traveler, wildlife enthusiast, birdwatcher’s haven, fishing expeditions, cultural and historical enthusiasts.
During our visit here I purposed to meet with few hotel owners and also to learn quite a few things about this town as a tourism destination. It wasn’t pleasing to learn that even if this county has world re-knowned attractions like Abedrare National park, Mt.Kenya National park, Solio game ranch, Olpejeta conservancy etc its still struggling on how to maximize on its full potential. Travelers still to choose to stop-over more than sleep over. Where else some hotels are struggling others are at 80% occupancy because they can afford costs arising from Marketing strategies. What happens to those who can’t afford? I would advise them to join hands and create some leverage. Being in tourism for quite a long time doesn’t turn me into an expert but its does expose me to realism—[is that English]- There is no way I can just leave my residence just to go stay in a hotel without a particular reason, there must be a reason for me travel…only then will I check where to sleep. Could this county be spending more time marketing their own individual hotels more than the Destination? If the already existing attractions aren’t attracting enough travelers, can they create reasons for travelers to want to stay or desire to visit Nyeri County more than any other destination?  Can they repackage this county to a more enticing product? The ball is in your court both the private sector and the county government of Nyeri.

#MyUnforgettable; The Nyeri observation point on your way to Ihururu has awesome sunset, it gives you this priceless sense of peace and stillness.img_8217.you basically loose yourself, the view below of coffee plantations and Nyeri town, Mt.kenya at a distance and Nyeri Hill at your back, Nature protecting you and exposing you to its beauty

As we departed Nyeri we had a lot of questions and recommendations for this county.. Would creating a happy valley tour or  recreating a mau mau route whereby travelers can experience our colonial era refresh this product? All I can say is unless they join hands and come up with campaign to #TembeaNyeri the best will get better and the rest will go worse with only getting overflows or very few check-ins.

We can’t forget to thank the White rhino Hotel, To Mr.Muchiri of Mpeta Guest House- if you are looking for self catering modern, furnished apartments this place would be for you especially for those travelling for business, need a short stay etc. It also has a high speed free internet and in a very accessible location.

Our utmost Gratitude goes to Winfred of Legacy Gardens for being such a passionate guide in Nyeri county and a wonderful host. Legacy gardens have self catering fully furnished Holiday homes, well manicured gardens, vibrant interiors and above all its just home-away-from-home.