As Kenya celebrated Madaraka Day on 1st June, 2019, I embarked on a Tembea Kenya escapade. The events of that weekend made me agree with Cesare Pavese when he said, “Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all the familiar comforts of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things -air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky- all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” I also subscribe to Jawaharial Nehru’s school of thought that we live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.’
Travel intrigues me because you can go to the same place multiple times and still get thrilled. This should tell you that I was going to a familiar destination. We left Nairobi at 7.30am as a group of 16 people, among us five children. It was my first time travelling with more than two kids in the group and therefore, I was eager to see how that would turn out. The group had couples as well, the highest number I have travelled with in a while. Some aspects of the trip were new and this got me excited. After all, life is about discovery and new experiences. Mark Twain once said, “I have found out that there is no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” Travel with Eliud and find out why Naivasha can be re-packaged to fulfil your travel desires.
We used the usual Maai Mahiu route and this time were lucky because Madaraka Day celebrations were taking place in Narok. The road was cleared off trucks and heavy Lorries that are usually the cause of traffic snarl-ups. At the famous Great Rift Valley View Point, we met Joseph who had prepared some black coffee to keep us warm in the chilly weather. We had carried some snacks and turned this into a breakfast spot for the team. You cannot leave the View Point without having taken any pictures. How else are you going to prove that you were at the rim of the Rift Valley?
After capturing enough, we proceeded onto our next stop, the smallest church in Kenya (and possibly Africa). Italian Prisoners of War (POW) built the church.
No matter how many times I stop here, the story of this jewel always intrigues me. So many people zoom past this road without realizing that a piece of history lives here. Next time you use this road make sure to walk in and you will meet caretakers who will be happy to share the story with you.
After the short church service, we left for Hell’s gate National Park. According to me, this is the best adventure park in Kenya. It has a lot of activities to offer including; cycling within the park with animals upclose, rock climbing, game drives, walking safaris, volcanic beautiful sceneries, picnics, walks in the gorge and photogenic physical features among others. You can never get enough of this park.
Regardless of how many times you have been to the park, you will always have an adventure (Tip: change your travel crewJ). At Hell’s Gate, some of us took to cycling, while the rest followed slowly in a vehicle taking in the views of wildlife and scenery.
By the time we got to the gorge no one willing to walk through it for the 2 hours stretch. Time was not on our side. We chose to proceed to Olkaria Geothermal Spa.
This is a first of its kind in Africa. For only KSh 400, you get to enjoy unlimited swimming time in the only natural spa in Africa. We spent two hours soaking in the warm and relaxing water. The only reason we got out was the fact that we hadn’t had lunch and were starving.
Hippo point, Lake Naivasha was our lunch spot for the day. Here, we met my favorite fish vendor, Mama Jose. Fish was flowing like manna, but in kibandaski style. It was freshly caught from the Lake and prepared a few minutes before we arrived. The people in our group from the Lakeside (natural fish experts) confirmed the fish was indeed fresh. When you visit Hippo Point, pay Mama Jose a visit and let me know about your experience.
By the time we had finished stuffing our faces, the skies had turned black like they were angry at how we had demolished that ugali and dissected the fish. We wanted to go on a boat ride, but the tide wasn’t friendly. For that reason, we left for our overnight destination.
After a 30 min drive in the rain, we arrived at the hillside where one of a kind facility was waiting. I present to you, The Pot at Panda!
This is an artistic structure on the top of a hill. The entrance is directly opposite Buffalo Mall in Naivasha. It offers majestic views of the Rift valley, the flower farms and Lake Naivasha. It is a true countryside home.
The pot at Panda features a conference hall, a restaurant, a team building/playing ground, kids’ swings, a bar, semi-permanent tents accommodation, an infinity swimming pool and a spacious parking area. This is a game changer in Naivasha. The facility is in the process of constructing 15 rooms to offer an alternative to tent-phobic (I made that up) people.
We settled in and in no time it was dark. We then headed to dinner. Do you remember the fish fest? We were not hungry.
One of us had a birthday and we managed to give her a surprise. Eva was caught unawares as I was keeping her busy posing for pictures.
Later on we enjoyed a bonfire moment and some of us went to the bar to watch UEFA Champions League Final. The football game was a good way to wrap up the night.
The following morning I was feeling lazy and managed to drag myself out of bed at 9am. The sun was smiling and the beauty of Naivasha unraveled. Breakfast was set on a veranda, which offered magnificent views.
The scrumptious buffet breakfast was just what the doctor ordered, after which we could not help it, but dance to soul soothing Ohangla tunes.
Everyone was dressed up for a photoshoot and since Safiri Nasi and Zunguka Africa had promised free photography, I got to work.
The Pot at Panda is the perfect photoshoot venue.
As some were busy getting their photos taken, others enjoyed a swim (this time cold).
We were not in a hurry to leave. At 2pm we checked out and started our journey back to Nairobi but first made a pit stop at Buffalo Mall to grab snacks.
This was by far the best 2 days getaway I have ever had in Naivasha. It was full of activities and thrills. A lot of fun moments and experiences packed in two days. Safiri Nasi Limited had really put some thought into this itinerary. I can confidently say that it was the best way to spend the Madaraka Day weekend. This trip only cost KSh 7,270 per person. Safiri Nasi Limited has another similar experience coming up on 27th July at KShs 6999. Be part of it and thank me when you come back.
Until next time, Keep travelling……………..
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