It will take you approximately an hour or slightly less to get to the lodge off the Nakuru Nairobi highway from a place called Kikopey, which is roughly 30km to Nakuru town.
The route to the lodge is a long, dusty meandering road. If you are not keen, chances of getting lost along the way are very high thanks to the not so good signage to the lodge. Also, a 4 x 4 wheel drive will be the most ideal to access the place. However, when you get to the lodge you quickly forget the bumpy ride uphill, thanks to the breathtaking view of the floor of the great rift valley.
Friendly. My favorite being the swimming pool attendant. You can tell he wasn’t trying so hard to impress clients. He is a natural. The owner of the establishment is very hands on too, interacting with the clients here and there, welcoming them and finding out if they are enjoying their stay.
The fact that we were not asked what we would like to eat was a deal breaker for me. However the explanation given was that we checked in late (4:00 pm) so we had to eat what the chef had prepared.
The three course meal was OK, nothing extra ordinary to write home apart from the soup that I thoroughly enjoyed, then waiters who were very attentive and within reach during meal time.
The dining area was clean, candle lit, and the tables were set appropriately. The fire place on a cold night made it more cozy,warm and homely.
Verdict: 5/10 for food.
7/10 for the attentive waiters.
The cottages were definitely up to my expectations. Spacious, clean, warm, well thought of interior decor, matching color scheme, comfy rags and throws, wide windows, strategic location to enjoy a panoramic view of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Elementaita from far, the sleeping warrior dormant volcano,and a magical sunset.
The only thing that I felt was a let down was the bathtub and lack of appropriate toiletries.. A modern ceramic tub with lavender(my favorite) scented shower gels,shampoos and soap would have given the cottage story a happy ending.
Last but not least…
4.The infinity Swimming pool.
If you ask me the one reason that would make me want to go back to sleeping warrior…then that will be the swimming pool. It might not be as big as it appears in the photos, nor warm (at the time I was swimming, however, I am told they usually heat it up on request) but the feeling you get of swimming on top of the world can not be compared to anything else at all. Every other thing stands right beneath you!
I can’t possibly put a number to that amazing feeling you get when up there. It is priceless.
Verdict: 8/10 purely because of the location ,shape of the pool and the priceless feeling derived from the swimming experience.
The food could be better followed by an option to choose what you would like to eat, a warmer pool would be best,proper sign posts for directions to the lodge would make the ride to the lodge even better for first timers.
“Travel while you’re young and able. Don’t worry about the money, just make it work. Experience is far more valuable than money will ever be” These are the famous words of David Wolfe.
Distant Relatives is home away from home. I spent one of my holidays there and I can strongly recommend it to anyone looking for a place to visit in Kilifi.
Here are my ten reasons why you should be on your way there already!
They have a wide array of accommodation to choose from depending on your budget. My favorite of course being the tent.It has a capacity of two. They will charge you slightly over a thousand shillings per person sharing for a night.
2. Environmentally Friendly.
The Cape Town Declaration of 2002 defines responsible tourism as making better places for people to live in and better places to visit.It pushes for tour operators and other stake holders to take action and make tourism more sustainable.Distant relatives has by all means walked and talked the gospel of the responsible tourism. So if you are keen on environmental conservation then you will have a field day there because almost everything is recycled. From the tumblers used at the bar, to the manure used at the farm.
It is also the only place in the world that you can find Viceroy old liqueur growing on trees! lol
Just on your way to the farm, is a common shower inside a tiny bamboo forest. You can occasionally see tiny frogs and other harmless reptiles as you enjoy your showers under the bamboo canopy. The water is then recycled for farm use!
3. Meet the world.
Visitors at the Eco Lodge come from all corners of the world as observed.Listen to music from different countries, have a good laugh and learn from the different cultures represented here. All you need is a rapport with people you are genuinely interested in learning from.
I tend to think if a good number of young people took time to travel and understand different cultures, perhaps half of the world problems caused by ignorance and in-exposure can been solved. As Mahatma Gandhi said…”Travel is the language of peace.”
4. Chill and enjoy your ‘you’ time.
If there is one thing I totally appreciated about distant relatives is the space and the interior decor. It is so natural, laid back and inviting. You can have a quick afternoon nap, read a book, lazy in a pod or just relax and enjoy the cool music in the background.
5. Discover your talent or lack of.
It is one thing to know that you can not play the guitar, darts or even pool then, it is another thing to have it confirmed by trying and failing horribly…
At distant relatives, you are sure to spend your afternoon perfecting your skills in these and other games or just having a good time as you learn or compete with other travelers.
6.Go on a fishing trip with local fishermen.
Isn’t that what everybody who visits the back packers does? Coast is generally hot, and naturally, the body will try to regulate it’s temperature back to normal. This leaves swimming as the most viable idea.
8.Party inside the Musafir.
I am meant to understand there is a story behind Musafir the dhow… luckily during my stay at Distant Relatives,I was privileged to go to a party held in the Musafir deep inside the creek at night.. Ha ha ha talk of culture shock with all this foreign music and dancing styles! Were it not for Bob Nesta Marley’s Redemption song and get up,stand up, I would have completely floated. . but as I always say, we travel to learn and appreciate our differences.
Enjoy the best view of the magical sunset as sip you favorite drink!
The delicious hand made pizza,that is well cooked in a wood-fired oven,boasts of its thin crust coupled with generous toppings making Fridays at Distant Relatives a day worth looking forward to.
Other things to do…
Go to the beach.
Visit the beach any time of the day or night!
Last but not least…
Shop at their boutique for unique African wear and a host of other stuff. If you want to buy your friends and family gifts, this is the perfect place to.
Have you ever fallen in love, so hard, so bad and so desperately?
I know you probably want to know if I have, and the answer is yes. I am in love. With a guy I met, just last weekend. He is rich, quiet and shy. Very little is known about my Mr.
He is surrounded by the big, popular and loud guys, but my man chooses to be quiet. I like it that way, I want him to maintain a low profile. Haha competition is real you know… and a girl must protect her own…
But wait a minute, I am already talking about him here, so I might as well just spill it…
This guy lives in Naivasha.
His name…(drum rolls)…. is ….(Faster drum rolls.) Lake Oloiden. hahahaha! Gotcha!
Lake Oloiden is a small salt water lake in Naivasha just next to Lake Naivasha. My tour guide, a local, told me that a long time ago it was part of the larger L.Naivasha but a hill(s) grew in between and/or Lake Naivasha ‘moved’ away… (I wish I could get a researched version of this theory. (If you have any valuable info about this lake, please share with us).
Lake Oloiden is along South lake Road, about 27Km from the start of the road. As you approach the lake, there is a small shopping center called Kongoni which is about 800m to the lake. The lake is on the right side of the road. ( see who tried to give directions there!)
If you love nature photography, water bodies, land forms, amazing landscapes, peace, quiet and tranquility then this is the place.
This lake is hidden and that is why very little is known about it. However, I can confidently say that never in my life have I ever had a mix of awe, thrill, fear and amusement in just under an hour.
As you drive in towards the lake, the road is a bit curved so you just don’t know what to expect. Then Alas! the curtains are drawn and you get to see the secret nature has been keeping from you. Bliss!
The boat ride.It will cost you Ksh.2000 to rent a boat for about 30 minutes. The boat carries a maximum of 7 at a go. The thrill about this ride is debunking of the myth that L.Oloiden is tiny.What you see with your eyes when standing on the shore is not what is actually experienced when you go for the boat ride! It is fairly big.
Nothing beats the feeling of seeing a tiny hill across the lake then only to move closer and discover it is actually huge.
What would you do if you see a huge hippo a few meters from you, then at the blink of an eye it is not there. You quickly open your eyes and now it is just centimeters from you.You swallow hard and open your eyes wide while murmuring incomprehensibles…the next thing you know it has swam right beneath your tiny boat to the other side only to resurface with its mouth wide open!!! The questions that go through your mind suddenly are… where is the mother, father and siblings? How fast can I swim to the shore(Swim? to where?) Am I at peace with my maker? Jeez! It is scary. I wont talk about the confessions I heard from my pal Myra… (hilarious)
Peeping giraffes, ducking dik diks, grazing zebras, grooming birds, cheerful fishermen, croaking frogs,old cabin houses, rolling hills, green campsites and so much more… I could go on and on and on and on but no. I will stop at that.
See why I fell in love and why I will go back again when the sun shines?
What if I tell you that you can go to the coast for three days and spend about Ksh 10,000 on transport, food, accommodation and still have some loose change to keep while at the same time having a lifetime experience?
Yes…then move closer and allow me to fill you in on this hole and corner deal. As we always say here at Bonita on Safari, it’s about traveling as often as you can on a budget and enjoying yourself to the fullest.
Transport to and fro is very affordable and comfortable.
A comfortable ride to Mombasa will cost you approximately Ksh. 3,200 for a round trip. There are many bus companies that ply the Nairobi-Coast region, but I have to admit I’ve had an exceptional experience with Dreamline buses. I recommend you book a return ticket to avoid disappointments on your way back.
2. Cheap and healthy dishes.
A proper meal in Kilifi County will cost you on average between Ksh 200-250 in the many eateries that serve delicious hygienic meals. Breakfast will not cost you more than Ksh 50 this will constitute of Chai ya tangawizi, yummy mahamri and some coconut mbaazi on the side, for instance.
3. Readily available and extremely affordable transport in form of Tuk Tuks.
If there is one thing I miss about the coast in general is tuk tuk rides! It has a capacity of three passengers and charges Ksh. 100 within the town center and Ksh 150 outside the town center. For convenience, if you move around a lot, outside the town center you can have one tuk tuk driver’s number for easy pick and drop services.
4. Affordable Accommodation
Kilifi County boasts of so many tourists hotels. While on a budget, I strongly recommend Distant Relative Eco-lodge and backpackers. Accommodation here starts from Ksh 1,250 a night. They have very nice dorms,tents, and bandas. You can also come with your own tent and pay only Ksh. 500 a night!
5. You can check out Kilifi Creek
When you come from Nairobi, the closest you come to a water body is Nairobi river, then why not visit Kilifi and enjoy this peaceful, beautiful scenic view of Kilifi Creek.
6. Enjoy an evening Sail
An evening sail on a boat will take about two to three hours into the sea. You can carry your book, camera or drinks and sail your worries away as you enjoy the scene and appreciate the marvels of nature.
7. Visit Watamu
Watamu Marine National Park is about an hour and a half drive from Kilifi. This is where you get to swim with the dolphins and beautiful colorful fishes,snorkel, wind surf, sunbathe, water ski or just enjoy the cool ocean breeze. If you do not like swimming, a nice glass bottomed boat ride will definitely awe you.
8. Enjoy the street food culture
The streets of Kilifi are dotted with street food vendors. One thing I particularly liked about them is the level of hygiene even as they prepare their delicacies by the road side in the open air. When you visit Kilifi, make sure you try out deep fried cassava and ‘viazi karai’ served with tamarind sauce otherwise known as ‘ukwaju’.
9. Learn about the Agiriama people and culture.
Nothing gives so much pleasure as traveling to a new place and learning a thing or two about the inhabitants of the area.I was in luck to visit a neighboring village. Had my new friend Mozda plait my hair at only Ksh. 80.00. She told me about their cultural practices and beliefs, and even invited me to spend a weekend with them…he he he I guess that means no paying for accommodation the next time I go to Kilifi…:-)
10. The breath taking Kilifi sunset
Last but not least…This by far is the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen. The calmness, cool breeze, golden sky,orange sun, gliding birds, and sounds of laughter from friends just sums up a perfect evening in Kilifi.
Stanley’s Haven; a holiday resort tucked neatly on the leafy suburbs of Murang’a County in an area called Mukuyu, is about one-and-a-half-hour drive from Nairobi, the Capital City of Kenya.
As you enter Stanley’s Haven, it is difficult not to notice the picture perfect lavish green gardens, perfectly manicured lawns, brightly coloured flowers, delightful fragrances emanating from exotic trees and bushes and the serenading minstrels of the male weaver birds as they try to attract mates who are busy repairing their nests that hang delicately from the tree branches.
In the early in the morning, dew on the trees form tiny drops of water as the golden sun rays seductively caresses the leafy branches of the trees which then majestically roll on the blades of the leaves and dance gracefully at the tip of the leaf before dropping on the ground below. What a sight to behold.
The general service at Stanley’s Haven is impeccable, right from the gate man who warmly welcomes you upon arrival, to the main reception then the restaurant all the way to the room service.
As the old adage goes, ‘there is no love that is sincere as the love for food’ the restaurant at Stanley’s Haven is big on delicious African dishes together an assortment of any kind of meals you might like. The meals are prepared on order. Peter the chef is a maestro.
Yummy food prepared by the chef
The restaurant area is adequately spaced, elegantly furnished and dotted with eclectic wall paintings that imbue emotions of travel and adventure. On the background, the sweet ballad of soft jazzy music endlessly serenades you giving you a sense of abundant relief.
Directly opposite the restaurant is the swimming pool. Nothing beats a cool dip in the evening after a long tiresome day of driving and sightseeing. At night, the pool is lit from under the water with special LED lights that create a glittering impression as the water is swayed side by side by the gentle breeze caused by the wind. The supply of big clean and fluffy towels is equally delightful.
If you have kids, the more you should have a weekend getaway at the Stanley’s Haven, a well thought out play site fully fitted with all kinds of playing equipment is present in the premises dubbed the kids’ corner.
Make sure to check it out during your visit. The management quipped to me that they are putting up a hammock and an adult swing very soon. SHHHH! It’s a secret!
They also have a modern conference room that is spacious and fully equipped with stationary, sound system, projectors, proper lighting and white board. A definite perfect choice for strategy, committee or family meetings.
Finally, to the icing on the Cake-Accommodation! One immediately gets spoilt for choice. It is difficult to decide under which roof you’d want to sleep. The rooms are spotlessly clean, brilliant comfy beds, peacefully quiet, well packaged products like shower gels, shampoo and body lotion in the bathrooms, large plasma TV, free Wi-Fi and cable TV and an ever ready staff on standby to help with room service. I could go on and on but let’s sum it all up and say it’s an experience you want to have for yourself.
There is a four bed roomed bungalow on self catering basis, but you can request for a chef, self contained spacious cottages, single and double rooms. With all this, there is always enough room for you and many more of your friends and family.
Stanley’s Haven comes in highly recommended to anyone who wants to experience luxury and relaxation at the country side for about just an hour self drive from the hustle and bustle of city life. Go give it a try and thank me later!