Serene & Cozy Chalet, Gilgil


This cozy Chalet is located in Gilgil, approximately 2 hours drive from Nairobi. I happened upon the listing on Air BnB, when planning a road trip over the Christmas holiday. We were looking for somewhere relatively close to Nairobi and this location was ideal as we planned to do some short day trips around Nakuru/Naivasha/Elementaita.

What we were looking for:-

  • Not too far from Nairobi, under 3 hours by car
  • Budget Friendly
  • A Self-Catering Kitchen and Outdoor BBQ
  • Comfortable and Clean
  • Tranquil and surrounded by Nature

Before you Travel

We already planned to do all our own cooking, so made sure to do all shopping in Nairobi. This includes all ingredients for all meals, fruits, veggies, drinks, condiments, spices, drinking water and ‘miscellaneous’ supplies like cooking oil or matchsticks …really, carry everything including charcoal for the BBQ, it will allow you maximum convenience 😉 The kitchen has plates, glasses, cups, cookware, utensils, a cooker and a fridge. Bed sheets and towels were provided and there is a water heater.


The Chalet

It is a 2 story Chalet, with a living room, kitchen, 1 bathroom/toilet and 2 bedrooms upstairs. Tip: It’s very hot during the day but it gets surprisingly cold at night.


Activities 

Gilgil is conveniently located between Naivasha and Nakuru. It is under an hour’s drive to Lake Naivasha , Lake Nakuru, Lake Elementaita (Quad Biking) and Hell’s Gate National Park.

FYI– There is no WiFi or TV at the Chalet, but there is a BBQ on request and a lovely outdoor area.

If you are looking for a cozy and convenient getaway near Nairobi, you’ve found it. It’s ideal for small groups, couples or families looking for a tranquil yet affordable getaway!

 

For more information or to make your booking click here.

Quad Biking at Lake Elementaita, Kenya

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For months I have wanted to try out a Quad bike….But where?? I have heard of places in Nairobi where you can bike in Ngong Forest but I haven’t tried it yet. As part of our road trip, I discovered a new-ish Lodge at Lake Elementaita that has Quad Bikes; Sirville Lodge (Click to check out their Facebook page). It’s right on the Lake, with a lovely view; we were there at about sunset. I can’t speak to the accommodation or food..yet 😉

 

Logistics:

  • Details: They had 2 Quad bikes when we visited (Dec 2016).
  • Location: It is right on Lake Elementaita and the map available on google maps is rather accurate. There is also a good amount of signage, so don’t worry, you aren’t likely to get lost.
  • Price: 500 Ksh per 30 minutes (Prices may change, this was our experience at the time).
  • Other: You aren’t allowed to ride after sunset, for your security, so make sure you get there early enough in the day…first come first served.

 

We arrived a little late so we were only able to ride down to the lake and back, then had a drink by the lake side, at sunset. Definitely a recommendable experience!

Check out our Video Here!!

The Great Rift Valley View Point, Kenya

When you spend so much time in Nairobi constantly staring at the backside of cars in traffic, you can forget how beautiful and serene parts of our country are. Not even an hour outside Nairobi, is the Great Rift Valley Viewpoint.

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Mount Longonot from the Viewpoint

In addition to the lovely view, there are several shops selling gifts and souvenirs, you can get yourself something memorable. In the future, I would also come out here for a picnic or just to be out of the city for a few hours/minutes. There are some more isolated areas where you can be undisturbed and still enjoy the viewpoint.

It’s a nice stopover spot, and there are public toilets available for free 😉 (Carry your own toilet paper). It is very windy so  make sure to carry a jumper or something (unless you, like my brother think you are immune to cold).

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Some Botties

This was the first stop of our Family Christmas road trip…Where to next? Gilgil? Lake Elementaita? Naivasha? Hell’s Gate?…

Paradise Lost, Kiambu

Paradise Lost is situated in Kiambu, approximately 14 km from Nairobi. It was a pretty perfect location  for a Mashujaa Day outing (In case you don’t know, that’s our ‘Heroes’ Day here in Kenya).

There are several activities available to visitors. Here’s what we got up to:-

The way there after the first big sign

Originally, our plan was to go cycling, but that’s now a plan for next time. Instead we found ourselves a spot and organized our drinks and music for an awesome chill session. There is a large open area where groups and families were having BBQs, picnics etc.

Our tickets and drinks

The tickets show what activities are available, here’s what we observed:-

  1. We didn’t see anyone fishing, not to say that you can’t.
  2. We saw the horses and witnessed some enthused kids riding them, accompanied of course. I, however, would not ride one as they look rather malnourished and my over 60 kgs may be a bit much for them.
  3. We saw a lot of people out on boats. Unfortunately the line was too long so we opted not to wait. It looks fun though, and you go unsupervised/unaccompanied around the ‘lake’ (I don’t know if it is a real lake or something else, but a water body).
  4. We did not see any camels, they could have been in another area, it’s quite a large place
  5. As for the nyama choma and cash bar, we carried our own stuff so can’t speak to the the legitimacy of those…
  6. We DID go into the caves and to see the waterfall….

 

The Cave and Waterfalls

 

The caves are over 2.5 million years old and are protected and preserved by the folks at Paradise Lost, in conjunction with the Museums of Kenya. The entrance to the caves is just behind the beautiful waterfall and is large enough for it to be comfortable. If you are claustrophobic (I am but I frequently forget until I am in a situation where my heart stops), you may not enjoy the caves much, it gets hot, stuffy and gets very small very fast. The rest of my group went all the way inside the cave, I was not about that life and only made it about 10 meters in before I started to freak out and opted to go back to the waterfall:-/

After seeing the waterfall and cave, we decided to do some sight seeing. It is a really really nice area with a lot of outdoor spaces and trails, great photo opportunities as well.

There is a nice open area with an incredible view of the lake/water body. We took a break here before going to search for the boating station.

Off we went to look for the boats….we looked and we looked..and rested and looked…we found ourselves back at the waterfall and took the opportunity to ask fro directions..Lol!

Oh there are also toilets spread out across the grounds. There are some funky ones in the main open area where there are a lot of people, but there are also others away from the crowds..Look for those..

We found the boating station, but there was a pretty long line and we weren’t willing to wait. Well, we could have come back, but we were quite beat and ready to call it a day.

Just a pair of Bottys

 

It was a lovely afternoon, but there are a few things I want to go back to do including; cycling, boating and camping…I’ll tell you all about it..

 

Savage Wilderness, Sagana

Savage wilderness has been around for over 25 years. I feel a bit ignorant for only discovering it this year, oh well, better late than never.

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This bridge passes over the Tana River, connecting the two sides of Savage

My colleagues and I were recently there for our annual team building weekend (3D/2N for a group of 39 people).

One of my favorite things about Savage wilderness is that transport from Nairobi can be arranged with them and the price be included in the cost per person. If more local destinations had this simple and convenient arrangement, I can imagine it would drastically encourage domestic tourism.

We departed Nairobi on a Friday and arrived at Savage Wilderness about an hour and a half later. The first thing you notice on arrival is the amazing greenery, one gets a true sense of the ‘great outdoors’.

 

It is important to note that this is not a 5 star luxury resort. Savage wilderness deals in adventure tourism, and as such, the accommodation is decent but not luxurious, consider it part of the adventure experience 😉

The Rooms

Our room was basic but enough; toilet, shower, bed, pillow, sheets, mesh on the windows etc..

 

Activities

There are so many activities available. We took part in several ‘team building’ activities and just a handful of adventure activities.

 

Zip Lining

 

Rock Climbing

I am TERRIFIED of heights, a fact that I frequently forget. One of these photos captures the moment that I remembered my fear. Mind over Matter!

Archery

 

Team building

(Everyone needs to get over the wall..I will call it the wall climb)

 

We did a couple of other team building games and activities. We had the opportunity to jump in the river, 6 (out of 39) of us did; 3 men and 3 women. You have to jump in with a life jacket, helmet and your shoes; it is after all an actual river.

 

FOOD- The food is GREAT! It’s unlike any food I have experienced at ‘luxury’ establishments…this food tasted like home food that my mummy could have made. True story 😉

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Dinner I think

 

My experience was incredible and I am soooooooo looking forward to going again VERY SOON with friends. Apart from the activities we did, they also have kayaking, white water rafting, bungee jumping and mountain biking, to name a few.

 

Check out their website would ya- http://www.savagewilderness.org/

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If one is good, two must be better!

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Girlies

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Girlies

 

 

Distant Relatives, Kilifi, Kenya

Every so often, it’s important to just get away from everything and give oneself a chance to reboot. I’ve been feeling that way since the beginning of the year, not having traveled or gotten away from my usual routine in Nairobi. It was time for a girls weekend!! Woop Woop!

We were a group of 5 ladies, in need of some sun and sand. Distant Relatives Backpackers has a pretty strong reputation in Kenya as one of the best, if not the best, backpackers we have. So off we were…ROAD TRIP!!!

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Road Trip!

 

Anyone who knows me knows that I like to play mother hen, so I volunteered to get snacks, make sandwiches, bake cupcakes and make sure we have enough drinking water. We left Nairobi at about 4:30 am and were in Kilifi by about noon.

 

Shout out to my woman crush of the year (or decade), Maria, who drove a manual vehicle all the way there and back…none of us helped (On purpose of course, as some of us, namely me, would have helped us into all the ditches and trenches nearby). The journey itself isn’t half bad if you have good company, as we did 😉 There are places you can stop along the way, we wanted to reach asap so stopped once for about 10 minutes on the side of the road, and once in Voi for coffee and potty.

 

From the moment we arrived at Distant Relatives, the holiday mood took over. What I didn’t know before we arrived was that it is also an ecolodge, the rooms are evidence of their green practices.

 

The toilet/bathroom area was my favorite part of the room. The whole indoor/outdoor theme going on was rather lovely.

 

The toilet has special instructions for use, its not a very clear photo, but the instructions tell you where to pee and where to poop and how to handle that situation with sawdust. Surprisingly (at least for me) the use of sawdust completely covers the potty smell.

 

After settling into the room, it was time to explore….first indoors..

Outdoors

 

Some of the activities available-

Volleyball

They asked around who was interested…luckily the turnout was pretty good. I am a BIG volleyball  enthusiast, so this was a big pull factor for me.

 

Swimming

We spent soooooooo much time in the pool..

 

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The Beach

The beach is about a 3 minute walk from the backpackers, I would call it a semi-private beach as it isn’t too busy, but there are still other people there.

There is also a public beach about 10 minutes drive from Distant Relatives. We checked that out but the beach is much fuller and there is sooooooo much seaweed. But still pretty and a nice place to relax for a while.

 

Food-

Ha ha, as if anyone would doubt that I would talk about food somewhere 🙂

Firstly, the food at Distant relatives is not particularly cheap or what I would consider backpacker friendly. For example, rice and beans is sold for 400/= ksh. On the other hand, Friday is Pizza night, and Pizzas go for 600. I finished my WHOLE pizza 😉

 

In case you are looking for a getaway but are intimidated by overpriced vacations (As I am), Distant relatives backpackers is definitely an option. Accommodation is affordable and on top of the bandas, they have dorms as well as camping facilities. As for food, we also got some biriani from nearby, because of course a visit to the coast is not complete without biriani.

 

What an amazing girls only weekend! By all means, don’t take my word for it, visit 😉

their website-  http://www.kilifibackpackers.com/

 

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Heading back to Nairobi