Treetops: Royal Retreat

Royal Retreat: Treetops

A feeling of nostalgia engulfed me as we drove past the Nyeri Scouts Centre near the ACK Church. I reminisced my Primary School days when I was a girl guild and the ultimate ‘pilgrimage’ of being a guide was visiting the Lord Baden Powell grave site at the compound of St. Peter’s Church.

Photo Credits: Wikipedia
Lord Robert Baden-Powell

As I was immersed in my own thoughts, we suddenly made a left turn and within minutes we were at the main entrance of Outspan hotel. We were ushered in by one of the butlers into the main reception, after explaining to the front office manager that we were headed for an overnight stay at treetops hotel; we were directed to the restaurant. We secured a twin bench outside the patio as we enjoyed the fresh air, kids ran up and down as they played and sunbirds fly from flower to flower as they took the much needed nectar while pollinating them as well.

Photo Credits: Outspan

Buffet lunch has been prepared and we started with soup and graduated to the main meal and dessert and coffee. The coffee provided the much needed kick for our tour to the Paxtu Museum that is within the Outspan compound. Lord Baden-Powell spent the last years of his life (1938 to 1941) at the Outspan in a special cottage called Paxtu. “Pax” was the name of his home in England and “Tu” was a corruption of the word “too” in English. The Paxtu Museum is dedicated to the life of Lord Baden-Powell; the founder of the Scouts Movement and receives many scouts and guides from across the globe. After the museum visit we departed for treetops. 

We drove to the main Aberdares Headquarters to pay park entrance fees to facilitate us gain entry into Aberdares through the Treetops Gate. As we drove in towards treetops, we saw variable and bronze sunbirds, streaky seed-eaters, warthogs and bushbucks. After a gradual ascend, we arrived at a rustic, majestic apartment like building that had tree-bark finishing on its walls.

We were ushered to the reception as we walked on a flight of old-creaky wooden stairs to the first floor. The lady gave us a short briefing on the lodge and their housekeeping rules and later ushered to our rooms.

All the rooms overlook a watering-hole and when we entered our room we could already spot some black-smith plovers, buffaloes and bushbucks. We rested for a while and later headed to the top floor to gaze and spot animals at the watering hole.

We stayed at the lounge chatting, and reliving the history of Queen Elizabeth II and the sightings recorded at the watering hole in the past and the rebuilding and refurbishment of the lodge.

My eye caught a story recorded in May 1969 of Bongos fighting at treetops.

The story of the hunter on duty read, At 11p.m a herd of bongo consisting of two male and eight female arrived, the two males walked to the middle of the lick and about eight yards away a fight started one male charging and the other immediately wounding it in the chest and stomach and knocked it to the ground. The attack continued at varying intervals until 2am next morning when the bongo died. You will see in photograph No.6 a hyena arrived as the bongo died”. My mind was unravelled at the population of the bongo then and now as they draw near to extinction.

There were numerous newspaper cuttings and photos of Queen Elizabeth II of how this famous lodge entered into the history books as a lady ascend the lodge as a prince and descended as a queen following the death of her father King George VI.

We later went for an evening nature walk as our guide interpreted the significant and benefits of some of the plants found in the area. We were in a group, birding became a bit challenging though we managed to see a pair of Egyptian Geese and a grey-backed camaropetera disappeared into the bush upon spotting it. We headed back to our rooms to freshen up and later have dinner.

We walked past Suite 18, ‘Princess Elizabeth Suite’ where Queen Elizabeth slept while staying at the lodge.

As we walked along the corridor we couldn’t help but notice the integration of nature into the lodge architectural design as there tree trunks cutting cross the pathways and branches growing on the corridor.

After dinner, we sat by the window and there was a huge herd of elephants at the watering hole. The lodge and watering hole is located an ancient Elephant Migratory route between Mt. Kenya and Aberdare Ranges and makes it the perfect and magical place to view wildlife.

We admired the elephants take turn and make gentle whispers and later turned into the warm comfortable cotton sheets for a much deserved rest.

In the morning, Mt. Kenya was towering against the backdrop of the watering hole and there was a hyena quenching his thirst as we departed for breakfast. At the table we narrated stories of waking up in the middle to watch animals at the watering hole following the lodge’s buzzer system. Thereafter, we bid farewell to the amazing and ever smiling staff at the lodge, after having a royal retreat at Treetops.

Treetops is small, intimate and personal and is ideal for people looking for a weekend getaway that’s about 3 hours from Nairobi. Contact us today for bookings for a romantic weekend getaway to Treetops and other amazing destinations and accommodation facilities via


Litare Fishing Village

Litare Fishing Village

Litare fishing village is one of the many fishing villages on lake Victoria and is located in Mbita off Rusinga Island.

Litare Fishing Village Main Entrance Track

The fishing village is accessible via boat and besides it being a fishing village, it is a small commercial hub with an open-air market, shops and other household items.

The village economy is primarily based on fishing, as majority of the population is engaged in activities related to fishing including; boat repairing, net repairing, fish cleaning and selling fish at local level. Almost every household owns one or two small boats or work on other locals boats.

Litare Fishing Village – A woman selling bananas
Denis of Amazing Kisumu interacting with children at Litare Fishing Village

Our guide Suleiman narrated that before human settlement, the fishermen used this area for drying off their fish catch. He elaborated that the houses on Litare Fishing Village are hired depending on the fishing season. Fishermen usually migrate to different fishing villages and settle there on temporary basis.

The fishermen routinely fish at night for about 8 to 12 hours using lanterns that attract flies that get burnt and caught on the fishing nets. The fish in turn surround the net hoping to eat the flies and get caught in the net. The fishermen go in search of the legendary Nile Perch or Tilapia which are renowned to make delicious meals whether grilled, baked, smoked or fried; and also small fish that include; Fulu (Luo) or Cichlid (English); Omena (Luo) or Sardine (English), and Kapenga.

Litare Fishing Village – A man pulling a fishing net to shore

According to our guide, the wood used to make the fishing boats is imported from Tanzania; they primarily make the boats from two types of hardwood; Mvuli or Mahogany.

Litare Fishing Village Boat
Men fishing off Litare Fishing Village in a wooden boat

The ladies come to the lake shore to buy fish from the fishermen at dawn and dry the fish during the day. After drying, the fish is taken to Rusinga and later to other cities for resale and consumption.

Litare Fishing Village – Sun drying Omena Fish
Litare Fishing Village – Sorting between Omena/Dagaa and Fulu Fish
Litare Fishing Village – Kites foraging in Litare

There are plenty of kites, egrets and herons foraging for food on Litare Island during the day; and in the evening they roost at Birds Island.

Litare Fishing Village – A Black Kite in flight with catch


Contact us via for tours to fishing villages located within Lake Victoria and learn the art of fishing, the culture of the people and the fishing trade.

Nairobi City Heritage Walking Tour

Nairobi City Heritage Walking Tour

The Nairobi Heritage Walking Tour offers an interactive and wholesome experience to visitors seeking to learn the past times of Nairobi. As you walk through the streets, buildings, monuments and green spaces you get to relive the history of Nairobi. The Nairobi City Heritage Tours comprises of four tours that include; the Harry Thuku Road Tour, the Kenyatta Avenue Walking Tour, the City Square Walking Tour, and the River Road Walking Tour.

Nairobi City Tour: Departing the Nairobi National Museum for the Nairobi Heritage Walking Tour

Due to time, our tour was a blend of the Harry Thuku Road Tour, and the Kenyatta Avenue Walking Tour and the City Square Tour. We commenced our Harry Thuku Road Tour from the Nairobi National Museum with a brief visit to the museum that included stopovers at the Nairobi National Museum, Snake Park and the Botanical Gardens.

Nairobi City Tour: Hotel Boulevard

This was later followed by walking down the Museum Hill through Harry Thuku Road. The road was named after Harry Thuku (a politician and activist in pre-colonial Kenya) and in memory of the shooting and killing of some protesters along the road leading to the Central Police Station demonstrating Harry Thuku’s release where he was held.

Nairobi City Tour: Walking along Harry Thuku Road past the Kijabe Street Intersection

Other major attractions on the Harry Thuku tour include: Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, Norfolk Hotel, Kenya National Theatre, Nairobi University and Central Police Station.

Nairobi City Tour: The Norfolk Hotel

We entered the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) while walking along Moi Avenue as we embarked on our City Square Walking Tour. According to our guide, Martin Wahogo (the author of Know Kenya: Pocket Guide Book); The Nairobi Central Business District is rectangular in shape, or to be precise, a trapezoid-like shape boxed in by Uhuru Highway (to the SW), Haile Selassie Avenue (SE), Moi Avenue (NE) and University Way (NW). Its shape is due to the original plan for a railway depot town that developed in front of the railway station.

Nairobi City Tour: Moi Avenue


Nairobi City Tour: Muranga Road – Arcade House & Best Western Hotel
Nairobi City Tour: The Khoja Mosque (Darkhana Jamatkhana) was built for the Aga Khan Ismaili Muslims and has had only minor internal alternations since its construction. Its proper name is Darkhana Jamatkhana – Jamatkhana means “house of congregation” – as originally, most of the rooms were simply set aside for prayer and meditation in the house of the Ismailis. It is a three-storey western looking building, most likely because the Aga Khan of the time specifically exhorted his followers to adopt British and European customs.

The CBD features many of Nairobi’s important buildings, including; the High Court, the Parliament building, City Hall and City Square. Due to Nairobi’s two construction booms, one after independence and one during the 90s, today this African city is endowed within an unusual skyline.

Nairobi City Tour: McMillian Library – The library was built as a memorial to Sir William McMillan by his wife Lady Lucy in conjunction with the Carnegie Foundation (US). Originally the library was open to Europeans only, but in 1961, it was handed over to the City Council who opened it to the public without discrimination against any race, tribe or religion. Its entrance lies on a straight axis ending in the Nairobi Law Courts; it is one of the few existing old buildings of the colonial European / Classical architecture style in Kenya. The stone lions at the entrance also tell a story of Sir McMillan, the hunter.

Other major attractions on the City Square Walking Tour include walks through: Moi Avenue, Posta Road, Kaunda Street, Standard Street, Kimathi Street, Mama Ngina Street, City Hall Way, Taifa Road, Harambee Avenue and culminating at the roof top of the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC).

Nairobi City Tour: City Hall View from KICC

We proceeded on to our Kenyatta Avenue Walking Tour that showcases the input of the British and Europeans towards the development of the city and an introduction to the Asian influence. Other major attractions on the Kenyatta Avenue Walking Tour include walks through: Banda Street, Muindi Mbingu Street, Biashara Street, Kimathi Street, Kenyatta Avenue and culminated at the Nairobi Gallery.

Nairobi City Tour: Nairobi Gallery

The Nairobi Gallery which was the Old PC Building was popularly known as ‘Hatches, Matches and Dispatches’. This building was used to record births, marriages and deaths during the colonial period and is now a national monument.

Nairobi City Tour: Kenyatta Avenue

The Kenyatta Avenue Walking Tour has the most gazetted sites and monuments in Kenya that are found along Kenyatta Avenue that include; the Stanley, Cameo Cinema, Westminster House and Pan African House, World War Memorial Statue, World War Memorial Pillar, Stanbic Bank, Bank of India, Galton Fenzi Memorial, Kipande House, Old PC House, Nyayo Monument, All Saints Cathedral, Central Park, and Uhuru Park.

Nairobi City Tour: Cameo Cinema

Cameo Cinema was formally known as Theatre Royal before the First World War. At one point, it was the seat of the High Court; the Chief Justice and witnesses were accommodated on the stage. During World War II, it became the Garrison Theatre for the benefit of the troops and was later converted to a cinema. Presently, the Cinema hall has maintained its look and is a rental space and is being used by the Nairobi Water Company.

Nairobi City Tour: World War Memorial Monuments

The World War Memorial Monuments: The statue (1927) is that of three larger than life African men -two of the three are clearly Askaris, one representing the Kenya Armed Rifles and the other the Arab Rifles. The third is a member of the African Carrier Corps, from which the Kariokor area of Nairobi got its name. (Kariokor was the first housing scheme for Africans attempted by the Nairobi City Council). This statue commemorates the over 112,000 Africans who were involved in the wars and a further 200,000 Kariokor (Carrier Corps) who supported the European fighting forces. Rudyard Kipling’s words are inscribed on the statue in honour of the three types of soldiers who died in the World War: “This is to the memory of the native African troop s who fought to the Carrier who were the feet and hands of the Army, and to all other men who served and died for their King and Country in Eastern Africa in the Great War, 1914-1918. If you fight for your country, even if you die, your sons will remember your name”. These words are also written in Swahili and Arabic.

The years 1939-1945 were later added on the pedestal to include those who died during the WWII. The obelisk is a memorial to the dead of the two world wars.

Nairobi City Tour: World War Memorial Monuments
Nairobi City Tour: Bank of India walking along Banda Close

The Bank of India was previously known as Memorial Hall and was initially occupied by the Legislative Council, earning it the name LegCo, from 1924 until 1954. LegCo was the colonial version of the Parliament, originally consisting of appointed white members and a few Asians. Currently owned by the Government of India, the building has housed the Bank of India since 1965.

Resting outside the entrance of Bank of India during the Nairobi City Heritage Tour
Nairobi City Tour: ICEA Building located along the crossroads of Kenyatta Avenue and Banda Close

The Galton – Fenzi Memorial Monument is a significant monument in Kenya and marks the pivot point of Nairobi and all distances from Nairobi are measured from this point. The monument was erected by the Royal East Africa Automobile Association in memory of Lionel Douglas Galton – Fenzi (1881-1937), the ‘Father of African Motoring’. He was the first man to drive from Mombasa to Nairobi in 45hours in 1926, when the road was still a dirt track.

Nairobi City Tour: Galton – Fenzi Memorial Monument

Due to time, we didn’t take part in the River Road Walking Tour that traces the origin of Nairobi City and the immense contribution of the Asian community to Nairobi’s development. The tour commences from the Kenya Railways, August 7th Memorial Park via Haile Selassie, the tour goes through Racecourse Road, Uyoma Street, Ronald Ngala Street, Tom Mboya and Moi Avenue.

Contact us via or call 0717110803 to book a guided tour. The Nairobi City Heritage Walking Tour must be on your bucket-list if you reside or plan to visit Nairobi as you will learn the significance of each street, the people who helped shape the present-day Nairobi, the culture of Nairobi in an easy and relaxed walk.

Nairobi City Tour: Overlooking Serena and Central Park


Geotourism and Natural Wellness Retreat at Netbon Ecotourism Kudu Camp, Lake Bogoria

Geotourism and Natural Wellness Retreat at Netbon Ecotourism Kudu Camp, Lake Bogoria

Lake Bogoria is one of the lakes located along the Great Rift Valley that transects through Ethiopia, through Kenya and finally to Mozambique. Kenya lies under the Eastern Rift and the lakes located within the rift system tend to be shallow and contain high mineral content as due to evaporation.

Landscape view of Lake Bogoria

Lake Bogoria is one of the alkaline lakes on the rift that has been declared a wetland of international importance and it is World Ramsar Site Number 1057. Lake Bogoria supports huge numbers of the lesser flamingo sometimes that feed on blue-green algae found on the lake.

Flamingos at Lake Bogoria
Juvenile Ostrich at Lake Bogoria National Reserve

The lake sometimes has a population of about 1.5 million flamingoes and its also used as a staging ground for other migratory species from Europe and Intra-Africa.

The lake lies on the Siracho escarpment and is the deepest alkaline lake in Kenya with numerous alkaline hot springs that contribute significant inflows into the lake. It is along one of these inflows to the lake that Netbon Ecotourism Kudu Camp is located.

The Camp lies along the periphery of the reserve about 2 kilometers from majimoto gate. The camp can be accessed via a long, dusty and rocky rough road that branches off to the right just before Mogotio Shopping Centre on the Nakuru-Baringo Highway to access Emsos and Maji Moto gate.

Netbon Ecotourism Kudu Camp traces its origin as an environmental group in Majimoto (Hot Water) where members were growing tree seedlings to replace the cut down trees in the area. The camp derived its name from Netbon from the group’s slogan to make ‘Majimoto green’ through its tree development nursery program and from the endangered Kudu antelopes found in the area.

Netbon Ecotourism Kudu Camp

In 2003, through funding, shifted their activities from agroforestry to tourism and started a tourism venture to build cottages, toilets, facilitate cultural homestays and buy a water tank that still stand today.

A Banda at Netbon Ecotourism Kudu Camp

The camp has 3 bandas each with three beds that have been made from concrete to help cool off the banda at night. For adventure seeking to spend the night under a star studded sky; the guests can set up camp at their camping grounds.

Restaurant at Netbon Ecotourism Kudu Camp

Campers can set up their buffet lunch under a shed they use as a restaurant or under a very old tamarind tree that is has tales of being used by white-settlers as we were told by Jeremiah Kiprotich the camp manager.

Tamarind Tree at Netbon Ecotourism Kudu Camp

The camp has diversified their product offering to include riverine dinner and breakfast at their natural hot spa at Majimoto. The natural spa has warm water that can be used as ‘natural plunge pools’ and be used by guests for relaxing purposes and catching up over drinks.

Natural Hot Spa at Netbon Ecotourism Kudu Camp

Jeremiah narrated that the water is believed to have very many therapeutic properties to help your body and skin that includes; reduce stress, reduce pain especially for people suffering from arthritis, relieves skin problems, boosts blood circulation, and promotes sleeping better.

The camp has a fireplace where you can set up a bonfire at night and engage in campfire games while enjoying the night sky.

Fireplace at Netbon Ecotourism Kudu Camp
River bed walk near Netbon Ecotourism Kudu Camp

In the morning, the manager can organize guided walks or field studies on geotourism and archeology to guests around the majimoto area that has sites with fossils to guests who are interested.

Rocks Strata during Geotourism tour

According to Jeremiah, the Lake Bogoria ecosystem was once submerged under water in an expansive water body due to the large number of fossils found in the area.

Micro Shells seen during our Geotourism Tour
A ball of hand held shells during Geotourism Tour

While staying at the camp, you must visit the Lake Bogoria National Reserve whose main attractions include; geysers, hotsprings, rich birdlife and wildlife, the endangered kudu antelopes, landscape and so much more.

Make sure that you have carried plenty of drinking water as it gets quite hot while visiting the area. Netbon provides mosquito nets though we would recommend that you carry an insect repellent.

Interested in visiting Netbon and engage in birding, geotourism excursions, rejuvenate at their natural spa or view wildlife at Lake Bogoria National Reserve? Contact us via today.

Soapstone Carving at Tabaka

Soapstone Carving at Tabaka

Tabaka is located about 24 Kilometres from Kisii town and is renowned for its unique Kisii soapstone rocks. On our journey from Rusinga Island to Naivasha for an overnight stay; we made a brief stopover at Tabaka, at Kistone Art Gallery. Here we met Mr. Joshua Kariuki Ouma who has been in the soapstone business for 15 years at Tabaka.

Joshua elaborated that they buy the Kisii rocks from miners who get them from Nyatiki Hills which are usually edgy, brownish and irregular. Thereafter, the carvers workmanship begins using small axes and chisels to show the rock’s soft white quality. Depending the order placed by the client or Joshua’s creativity, he transforms the stone into the shape and design he desires.

This transformation involves cutting the stones from large boulders using a saw and other simple hand tools. After cutting, they prepare a sketch of the shape they desire. Thereafter, they start carving the piece into the desired piece using a small axe-like tool; this process is done carefully and systematically and is usually the most critical and tricky part of the process.

Once the rock has been carved into the desirable piece, a process of sanding is undertaken that involves smoothing the piece with a chisel. After sanding, the piece is washed to remove the loose dust and chippings while smoothing with sandpaper.

They can choose to add colour or paint the statues or figurines to give them a more appealing look to potential clients. The entire process can take an entire day to make one piece; right from cutting to waxing.

One ready, they take the products to the workshop. Joshua manages a small workshop as a business enterprise for soapstone handcrafts that has helped him educate his children and employ works to sustain their livelihood. His enterprise comprises of both men and women.

They interchange jobs but mostly the men get the stones from the quarries and carve the pieces into the desired shape while the women involve polishing and washing the finished products as well as applying a shinny cream wax.

Joshua told us that most soapstone handicrafts are sold as finished products in form of carvings to tourists, other dealers in Nairobi and to exporters.

If you are staying in Kisii or passing by, make sure you stop by Tabaka and pop in by Kistone Art Gallery and buy some souvenirs and gift items and home decorations. Contact us via for more details.

Nature Based Clay Pieces at Fired Earth Pottery

Nature Based Clay Pieces at Fired Earth Pottery

Photo Credits: Melissa Mathu

As we drove towards Camp Carnelley’s for an overnight stay, one of my friends expressed interest in visiting Fired Earth Pottery. We were all interested in learning more about clay pottery; we got in touch with Obadiah and planned on visiting his workshop the next morning.

Upon arrival, Obadiah ushered us to a lounge area which he also uses as a pottery demonstration site. He explained that once he gets the clay, he throws it onto the wheel and moulds the clay into the desired shape which is an intricate process and its here that the story of the mould is profoundly narrated by the forms patterns and natural colours infused.

Obadiah narrated that corrosion and weathering are some of the external factors that uncover the inner character of the mould and help create texture and colour. Thereafter, he took us to the kiln where he had left some moulds burning for about four hours. He showed us some moulds that had cooled off from the fireplace and were awaiting his glazing workmanship to begin. A variety of glazes might be used depending on the desired aesthetic feel desired; although Obadiah has his own style of clay pottery with signature nature themes.

Obadiah took us to his store where he has displayed his finished products including; bowls, cups, plates, lamps, vases, coasters, decorative pieces and so much more for sale.

In case you are in a hurry you can place a custom made order, which in turn he will deliver to you in Nairobi once he finishes.

Adjacent the Fired Earth Pottery is Ogira Art Gallery, it was the festive season and his workshop was not open. We seized the opportunity to take photos outside his workshop that had beautiful, handmade wooden furniture.

Photo Credits: Melissa Mathu

For more information and details on pottery classes and workshops in East Africa contact us via or call 0717110803.

Experience African Stories at Kikwata Picnic Site

Experience African Stories at Kikwata Picnic Site

It was sometime in May 2010 after a birding trip to Olergesaile Pre-Historic Site that Susan Wamucii Kungu requested us to visit a piece of land that she had bought set on the foothills of Ngong Hills. It was a wet, muddy and raining afternoon and we only spent a few minutes on the farm that she had planned on setting up a campsite. Fast forward to 2015, I ran into her at Tuskys Supermarket and she urged me to visit her campsite, she handed me a flier and we planned on a tentative date to tour her place.

Kikwata Picnic Site Route Map

On the set date, we finally arrived outside an embossed acacia tree coloured metal gate; as we drove in and my eyes were drawn onto the lush green and well manicured campsite grounds.

Kikwata Picnic Site Main Gate

Wamucii explained that she was inspired to call the picnic site Kikwata after the Acacia mellifera (Black Thorn) which is a low, branched tree with a more or less spherical crown that were commonly found in the area. The heat of the midday sun was moderated by a cool breeze from the nearby Ngong Hills.

Kikwata Picnic Site Grounds

Wamucii ushered us into her house; prepared tea and homemade scones as she shared a brief on her life and how she came to set up Kikwata Picnic Site.

Wamucii Preparing Homemade Scones as she narrates the Buffalo and Rain Story

As she prepared the scones, she narrated The Buffalo and the Rain Story. WATCH THE VIDEO CLIP below for the full story.

Once the tea and scopes were ready, Wamucii picked her ‘kiondo’ sisal bag and ‘panga’ machete in preparation for the farm tour as she ushered us under a thatched roof shed.

Kikwata Kiondo for carrying farm produce

She placed the tray with our refreshments, snacks and fruits on a beautiful natural wooded tree stump off cut table as we settled in to listen to more stories. We enjoyed the gentle breeze from Ngong Hills and the wind whistles across the lush lawns of the magnificent Kikwata Picnic Site as we sipped our tea and ate scones.

Susan explained that she hosts children groups on the lush, manicured grounds as she engages them in storytelling, children games and camping. There is also a separate shade that can be used as an outdoor kitchen by groups to prepare and cook food.

Grass Thatched Shed for hosting Guests

Wamucii guided us on a farm tour where she engages in organic farming. We learnt how to grow herbs like mint, rosemary, lemon grass and some best practices in organic farming.

Rosemary Bush at Kikwata Picnic Site

Wamucii heavily uses mulch to help protect the ground from direct sunlight exposure and uses a net to protect spinach from birds.

Susan demonstrates using mulching to protect the soil from direct sunlight.
Susan uses nets to cover spinach from attacks from birds
Susan checking on her capsicum on the farm

As we toured, we harvested a few passion fruits, berries, carrots and green capsicum that were not only appealing but ready to eat.

Susan checking on carrots on her farm
Happy Susan against the background of passion fruit

On her farm, Wamucii has also planted bananas, potatoes, pumpkins, black night shade (Managu), amaranthus (Terere), collard greens or kale (sukuma wiki), and spider plant (sagaa or saget).

Amaranthus (Terere)
Pumpkins at Kikwata Picnic Site
Spider Plant (sagaa or saget)
Banana tree amidst an undergrowth of potatoes

As we left the farm, Wamucii demonstrated how to clean a panga that she was given by her mother-in-law to dig and aerate around plants and other vegetables in the farm.

Susan took us on a brief tour round her chicken pen and as she narrated her journey towards rearing chicken.

Kikwata Picnic Site Chicken Shed
Recently hatched chicks at Kikwata Picnic Site
Happy Susan with two laid eggs

For security, Susan has two geese that announce the arrival of any visitor or animal on the farm as they are loud and quick to respond when they hear the slightest questionable sound or noise. Geese tend to be fearless to challenge any animal or human that intrudes their territory.

The Kikwata Picnic Site is a five minutes walk from the Deny’s Finch Hatton grave on the slopes of the Ngong Hills, this beautiful picnic site is the ideal place to relax in an attractive rural setting. In case you are planning on camping or visiting the picnic site, you can combine with a visit to the Denys Finch Hatton Grave or a hike up the Ngong Hills. You can combine a visit to the two sites.

Colourful flowers at Kikwata Picnic Site

Susan has also published her memoir titled ‘Life is a Gift’ that has insightful stories from her long and varied life including; growing up in the United Kingdom, her life in Kenya, marriage, life in the village, learning to speak in Kikuyu, her experience as a teacher in Kenya, music, storytelling and so much more. Make sure you buy her book and get an autographed copy while visiting the Kikwata Picnic Site.

Life is a Gift Book Cover by Susan Wamucii Kungu

Contact us via for a visit to Kikwata Picnic Site or hike to Ngong Hills.

The Ruins of Gede

The Ruins of Gede

The ruins of Gede are the relics of one of the Arab-African settlements found along the East African coast. Gede is the most known and most talked about Swahili Town site in Kenya. The name Gede is an Orma word meaning ‘precious’. These towns were built by the Swahili people during the 13th and 14th century.

Nature Trail path at Gede Forest

Scientist suppose that at its peak of prosperity about 2,500 people lived in Gede. There are still various theories as to why the town was abandoned during the 16th and 17th century. However, after Gede was abandoned, it remained undistributed and nature has the time to re-conquer the place.

The ruins at Gede were rediscovered in 1920s and gained the status of Historical Monument in 1927. Since then about 18ha of the site have been excavated and the remains of several mosques, a palace, residential houses and elaborate pillar tombs have been revealed. Because it is hidden in deep forest the site is very atmospheric and mysterious.

Main Entrance to the Great Mosque
Ruins of the Mosque of the Sarcophagi

Forest birds like Fischer’s Turacco, Malachite Kingfishers, Paradise flycatchers and African Harrier hawks can be seen from the tree platform. You might be lucky to see Golden-rumped Elephant Shrew on the ground of the surrounding thicket.

Some of the finds from the site include; imported Chinese and Islamic porcelains, glass and shell beads, gold and silver jewellery and coins. Local pottery finds make up the majority of finds and includes vessels used for cooking and storage. Many of these can be seen at the Gede Museum.

Contact us via for heritage and historical tours along the East African Coast.

Pilgrimage to Komarock Shrine

Travelling eastwards from the city of Nairobi, one soon enters the expansive heart of Ukambani; the traditional homeland of the Akamba People. The peaceful plains and occasional hills of this land are indeed a welcome sight after a stay in the busy bustle of Nairobi. Heading towards Kangundo, one soon begins to see rocky hills to the left and right. And it is one of these hills, some 50kms from Nairobi that has become over the last few years a special place of prayers, retreat and penance. For it is here on the Komarock Hill that the Akamba People have welcomed Mary and her Son, Jesus into their homeland and into their hearts.

From ancient times, Komarock was always referred as a sacred place. Elders would journey there, climbing to the western side of the rock to offer sacrifice at the Ithembo (the designated place for traditional offerings), praying for rain and protection from diseases. Often, the old folk say, their petitions would be answered, thus fostering the belief amongst the people that an unknown power resided there on the mount.

Legend has it that Komarock is a distortion of the Kikamba phrase ‘koma loko’. This in the Kamba language means ‘sleep’ it is said that in the old days, girls and women going to fetch firewood and gather fruits and bird’s eggs on this hill used to find a mysterious woman sitting on a rock, holding a baby in her arms, rocking it gently and singing to it a lullaby.

The shrine at Komarock near Tala in the Catholic diocese of Machakos was built to foster devotion to Our Lady. No authentic miracles or bodily cures have been recorded at Komarock, although several persons claim bodily cures have been recorded at Komarock, although several persons claim boldly and spiritual favours after visiting and reciting rosary there. Though some claim to have seen Our Lady there no proof has yet been provided. Komarock Shrine was chosen as a shrine because it is an isolated place, where you can spend time in prayer without being disturbed by the hustle and noise of the world. The hill is said to be a place of prayer for anyone who wants to spend some time alone with God.

Komarock Shrine is dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary. It is a place set apart by the diocese for prayer and medication. The ten foot statue of Our Lady at Komarock represents Our Lady as she appeared at Lourdes in 1854. The huge, yet realistic 70 feet figure of Jesus in arms leaning against her chest invites the devotees to prayer, penance and sacrifice. It shows a tradition that Mary received the dead body of her son in her lap when it was lowered from the cross, for it is impossible for a woman of about fifty years old to hold in her hands the dead body of a full grown man of 30-35 years old.

Komarock is a place of pilgrimage. Pilgrimage is a journey to and from a holy place or shrine as a religious action-it means an act of piety. Processions, reverence of the cross, signing of hymns, recital of prayers and palms, fasting and pious actions are connected with pilgrimages. Pilgrimages also are made as a sign of gratitude or thanksgiving for favours received. It is a symbolic expression of a Christian’s aspiration to leave this world and to journey towards his heavenly home. Muslims go for Haj Pilgrimages to Mecca. Buddhists go to places where Buddha became enlightened. Hindus have several important centres of pilgrimages spread all over India. Visiting these places and bathing in the sacred rivers, they believe would wash away sins. Many consider it to be a sign of salvation to die in one of these holy places. Pilgrimages to the holy Land were a tradition that goes back to the time when Emperor Constantine built a Basilica over the Holy Sepulchere, where according to legend the true cross was preserved and was discovered by his mother St. Helena.

In case you are looking for a place to seek peace and refuge within East Africa, contact us via for pilgrimage tours.

Ngare Ndare Forest – Deep Blue Pools and Canopy Walk Experience

Deep Blue Pool and Canopy Walk Experience at Ngare Ndare Forest

Ngare Ndare Forest is located on the northern foothills of Mount Kenya about 45kms from Meru Town. The Forest is located in both Meru and Laikipia counties, covering an approximate area of 5,545ha and is part of the Mt. Kenya forest ecosystem. Ngare Ndare Forest is the only indigenous forest in Kenya with an expanding canopy of cedar trees; which is quite interesting to find tree species often associate with Northern Europe.

The forest is managed jointly by Kenya Forest Service and the Ngare Ndare Forest Trust. The Ngare Ndare Forest Trust was a community led initiative that started as a forest working group in 1989 and was later registered as a Trust in 2004. The Trust aims to conserve the forest, simulate economic development amongst the host community by offering development and empowerment programs as well as human-wildlife conflict resolution measures.

The Ngare Ndare Forest Trust has several initiatives that seek to provide sustainable alternatives for the Ngare Ndare community. The forest has a variety of ecotourism products that support an array of activities to visitors. While visiting the forest, you can walk on the 500m canopy platform that offers an ideal vantage point to view the forest ecosystem and birdwatching site for visitors and enjoy the trill of walking on the trees canopy.

You can choose to go for a game drive on a 4×4 vehicle or undertake a guided walk from the canopy platform with an armed ranger to the blue pools where you might encounter wildlife including water bucks or forest elephants.

The Forest provides a sanctuary for animals such as; elephant, rhino and buffalo, where they reside to give birth, nurse their injuries, recuperate or die. The forest also has an ‘Elephant Corridor’ which connects the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy to Mt. Kenya Forest and serves as a migratory corridor for elephants and other wild animals to and from Mt. Kenya and the Northern Rangelands. In case you chose to extend your stay, you can set up camp at one of their designated wild camping grounds and view the sun set over drinks with friends or family.

The Blue Pool provides a refreshing swim to brave visitors ready to brace the chill. It is believed that the enticing turquoise water emerges from ground water from Mt. Kenya that forms the Ngare Ndare River that also provides water for the local communities and wildlife.

The forest is also a habitat for other wild animals, birds and insects and is an ideal destination for nature lovers and birders. In addition, its home to a variety of indigenous plants, some of which have herbal remedies, the forest is characterized by the red cedar, podo, greenheart and fig trees; the dominant tree species is the Juniperus procera and Olea africana.

It truly is a forest of unique natural beauty, breathtaking sights and sounds; and offers a thrilling and exciting experience to meet the special yet diverse needs of visitors in a way that is both memorable and rewarding. It is a perfect destination for the adventurous, the intrepid and those simply seeking to have a good time while promoting environmental conservation.

Are you considering visiting Ngare Ndare and other scenic sites in Nanyuki? Contact us via or call 0717110803.