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Hotel Review:The Panari Resort Nyahururu

When you mention a daycation,weekend getaway or a holiday in Nyahururu Kenya, the obvious suggestion that usually pops up is ;The panari Resort Nyahururu. I recently returned from a weekend getaway from the resort and have not been able to keep quiet about it. My social media pages have been awash with stories from Panari and I am not about to stop.

The Panari Resort elegantly sits on a twenty acre piece of land against a backdrop of the scenic Thomsons Falls  that waters the surrounding Marmanet Forest as it makes its way effortlessly down stream as Ewaso Ng’iro river.

The Thomsons falls that forms the scenic backdrop of the Panari Resort.
The Thomsons falls that forms the scenic backdrop of the Panari Resort.

Checking In:

There is an aura of class, peace and tranquility as you drive into the resort. The security detail at the entrance gives a clear confirmation of  guaranteed security during the stay.

Entry.
Entry.

On arrival, you are received by the resort’s manager who cordially welcomes you to the establishment as the porter takes care of your luggage that will be taken to your room as soon as you are cleared.

I got there at around lunch time and was directed straight to the restaurant for lunch.

Dining
Dining.

The dining experience was exactly what I imagined and more. The dining room was exquisite with white walls adorned with expensive wall hangings,big windows, sliding doors, black polished tables with cream and dark brown seats that had bits of gold undertones. On one side of the room was an ancient statue made from Plaster of Paris and delicately placed on top of the fireplace.

The tables were set with snow white table cloths, polished silverware that could pass for mirrors and matching table mats. At every corner of the dining room stood attentive waiters and waitresses.

Finally the sumptuous buffet meal was cleverly displayed with the sole intention of spiking one’s appetite. Bliss.

 

Dining table.
Dining table.

 

Interior decor
Interior decor.
Wall Hanging
Wall Hanging.

The Dining Experience.

Chicken and Vegetable soup for the starter.
Chicken and Vegetable soup for the starter.
Red Snapper, Chicken, and carbs for the main dish... Haha I know.. I was hungry stop looking at the size of the portion.
Red Snapper, Chicken, and carbs for the main dish… Haha I know.. I was hungry stop looking at the size of the portion.

When it comes to the dessert, one is definitely spoilt for choice! So much to choose from.

Dessert
Dessert.
Had to settle for something..
Had to settle for something…

Accommodation:

Transport to the room was by these clean,colorful and classy buggy cars. They are available on request. The signage to the different areas  of the resort has been properly done and hence no unnecessary confusion considering the size of the resort and the identical buildings.

colourful buggy cars.
Colorful buggy cars.

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Proper signage.
Proper signage.

A welcome note neatly placed on the hardwood table from the manager of the resort was one of the highlights of my experience.Every guest wants to feel welcomed,taken care of and assured of a comfortable stay…Well done Panari.

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As the warmth of the welcome note sipped through my system slowly, something else caught my eye.The room. It had a queen size bed,with white covers and lemon lime pillow sets, a huge floral wall painting with a corresponding colour scheme,an African themed bedside lamp, roof to floor window with drapery curtains that complemented the bed and wall colours. It had a polished wooden floor, furniture made from Mahogany wood (haha I guess) and a beautiful modern fireplace. On top of the table was an electric kettle, bottled water and an assortment of beverages for a quick fix.

The room
The room.
Hardwood Furniture and a fireplace.
Hardwood furniture, polished wooden floor and a warm fireplace.
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Thou shall not be thirsty in the hotel room.

 

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Modern hair drier.

 

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Sliding doors that lead to a panoramic view of the Marmanet forest.
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Details….

I love wall hangings. There were two high quality canvas painting  carefully and thoughtfully placed on the wall facing the sliding door. Products of fine art. Art that takes you back into time.

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The room is self contained and  has a modern bathroom that is well stocked with towels and toiletries.

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Clean tap and sink.

 

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High quality Shampoo and shower gel.
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The H tap actually gives instant hot water…no stories…
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Abundant supply of white, fresh fluffy towels.

There was yet another surprise that awaited me when I opened the sliding door that led to the balcony. The panoramic view of Marmanet forest,The gushing water from Thomson’s falls as it furiously made it way down the gorge and the wide angled clear horizon.

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The chirruping of birds and the gentle breeze in the valley added flare to the already perfect picture that nature had painted.

The front porch of the room paved way to the other side of the hotel giving a sense of direction and bearing in case one felt lost.

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One view of the resort from the room.

 

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Views from the front porch.

Fun things to do:

In case you are wondering what else there is to do in the resort then wonder no more. The resort houses a fully equipped gym, a heated indoor swimming pool that is right opposite a small bar, Eucalyptus Spa and Salon, aerobics and yoga studio. There is a trained instructor on site just in case you need assistance

Swimming Pool
Swimming Pool.
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Poolside restaurant.

 

Aerobic Studio
Aerobic Studio.

 

The lemon water at the gym entrance.
The lemon water at the entrance to the gym.

 

Gym
Fully equipped gym.
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Eucalyptus Salon.
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The Spa.

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As you walk away from the utility complex, there is a site to behold. Manicured lawns, no stray grass, an artificial water fall, lovely benches,swinging seats, fresh air and a few ornamental canons.

Manicured lawns.
Manicured lawns.
Swinging seats fro relaxation. Ideal for reading.
Swinging seats for relaxation. Ideal for reading.
Waterfall.
Waterfall.
Do not step on grass :-)
Do not step on grass 🙂
Benches.
Benches,aren’t they cute?
More benches.
Then more benches.
Ornamental canons.
Ornamental canons.
more buggy vans...
More buggy vans…
Kid's play area.
The well equipped kid’s play area.

After a stroll around the resort, I ended my evening at the Silk Oak bar. This is where style meets class. Enough space at the counter, leather lounge seats and a sufficiently stocked bar!

Silk Oak Bar.
Silk Oak Bar.
Hanging wine glasses.
Hanging wine glasses.
Spacious round table and seats.
Spacious round table and seats.
Thirsty merchant making his way to the bar.
Thirsty merchant making his way to the bar.
More space.
More space.

It is true what the say when you are having a great time…Time flies.

It was a memorable stay at Panari Resort Nyahururu and will definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

For more information about the resort, visit their website here.

Or drop them an email on…reservations@panariresort.com

With Love…

Bonnita-sig

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Meet Laura Lazzarino,The Argentinian Globe Trotter.

During my recent trip to the coast for my birthday, I had a unique opportunity to meet Laura. How we started off was simple, we were cooking up a storm with our new friends J and Ferdinand. Ferdinand was so curious about the octopus meal that everyone was so excited about. Ugali was also in the menu.Across the swimming pool at Distant Relatives rumours quickly spread that we were preparing octopus meal and ugali. Soon after our guest list swelled. Part of the guests was one Laura. As we got to know each other and shared our travel experiences, one of my friends called out my name to ask what amount of water was enough for our Ugali…Quickly Laura picked the name and asked with a lot of excitation, “Is this Bonita? Bonita on Safari?” She went ahead to say how she found the blog useful especially a blog post I wrote about Kilifi and Distant Relatives, as they say, the rest is history…

We caught up again during her stop over in Nairobi with her boyfriend Juan as they headed to Nyahururu and here is how our interview went  as she got to tell me more about herself and her travel experiences across the globe.

Me: Who is Laura?

Laura Lazzarino (31) is an Argentinian travel writer and the free spirit behind www.losviajesdenena.com; a personal travel blog which has been active online since the year 2008. My adventures across 50 countries has inspired a new generation of independent travelers. I am also  a National Geographic Viajes Magazine contributor and author of two travel books, including the best-selling Caminos Invisibles. Right now I am crossing Africa overland, from Cairo to Cape Town, looking for new stories to be featured in my next book.

Is this your first time in Kenya?

Yes!

Me:How does Kenya compare to your country? What are some of the similarities, and obvious differences?

L:Well…some landscapes remind me a lot of Argentina, but only for a moment. When a colorful bird or a giraffe appears in the picture, then I know I’m not home! Nature is overwhelming here, people and their traditions are different too. But I think we have something in common; we are friendly and we love visitors.

Me:How do you decide on the places you visit when you go to foreign countries?

L:We read a lot. We investigate, surf the web for hidden spots, plan an itinerary. But we are flexible too and always open to last-minute changes, or recommendations on the spot.

Me:How many countries have you visited so far?

L:Fifty, including Antarctica.

Me:How long have you been travelling for?

L:I started travelling eight years ago, but it was not full time. In 2010, I decided to make my passion my lifestyle. I’ve been traveling and writing ever since.

Me:How do you afford your travels?

L:Mostly, by selling my books online. In 2013, I self-published “Caminos Invisibles” a book about our 36,000Km  hitch-hiking trip through South America. After that, I published a Hitch-Hiking Guide to a Spanish publishing house and other projects. Also through collaborations with travel magazines like Revista Viajes de National Geographic.

Me:What inspires your travels?

L:Cultural differences,their challenges and new scenarios, I like how every travel changes me and the lessons I pick on the road.

Me:Did you plan to travel the world and write about it or it just happened by chance?

L:I never really planned it, but I would be lying if I  said I have never dreamt about it. I just did not think it was possible, at least for me…a simple girl from the countryside, with no contacts, no influences and no experience. It was not easy at first. I had to knock on so many doors, to learn a lot and work for free. But it was totally worthy it! I would have missed a lot if I never gave it (and myself) a chance!

Me:What are some of the highlights in your travels?

L:Before visiting Africa, sailing to Antarctica was one of the most intense experiences I have ever had. Now I have to say that watching free wildlife in Kenya and Tanzania is also something I will never forget. Hitchhiking in Iceland, getting lost in small Colombian villages in the Coffee Axis and looking for my great grandfather’s town in southern Italy would complete the list.

Me:Do you have any life lessons picked along the way?

L:One of the first times I hitch-hiked in Argentina, I met a truck driver who, after carefully listening to my story (I had just given up my job to start traveling and was so full of doubts) told me: “Never regret what you have chosen for your life”.

Me:Do you ever get homesick?

L:Who doesn’t? But tech has shortened distances, right?

Me:What is the longest you have stayed without going home to your family?

L:Fifteen (15) months. It was too much. Not only because of my family, but also for myself. I learnt that after one year of traveling, I lose interest. I get tired and I get to appreciate more a good kitchen and a hot home shower than a new adventure, landscape or story. This is when I go home to get the travel excitement back.

Me:Have you ever been in a situation abroad when you feel like your life is in danger? If yes, how did you overcome?

L:Not really, but I got robbed in Venezuela and was harassed in Egypt. It was not nice, of course, but I always keep in mind that those are random situations which can  even occur back home and that if I leave, then I will always have a bitter memory that might be unfair judgement to the people of that country. So I taught myself to get over it by taking time off,chilling out, not thinking about it and then go for that adventure again.

Me:What are some of the challenges you’ve gone through as a foreigner abroad?

L:I think that interacting with cultures where women take up most responsibilities in the society is always a shock. I can’t help but wonder why I, on the other side have so many opportunities and choices yet they don’t…if we were to be the same.The other Challenge is learning how not to judge,especially when you are confident with your principles.However, I think it is good practice.What we consider “normal” is just a convention. I have learnt to appreciate what I have more and also to question some statements that I have always considered to be true.

Me:What is in your bucket list?

L:I have a bucket list of over 50 items! Just to name some: Fly in a hot air balloon, participate in a flash move dance, camp in Lake Turkana, visit Christmas Island and  live in Colombia for a season.

Me:What are some of the things you’ve checked out of your bucket list?

L:Cutting my hair drastically (I even wrote a post about it, it was so empowering) and paragliding (so exciting)!

Me:Do you miss normal life?

L:Not at all. This is the best I could do with my life, the best decision I have ever made. I don’t regret it, not even in the bad moments of traveling, not even for a single minute.

Me:Airbnb or couch surfing?

L:Both. I like balance. Please add  camping to the list too!

Me:How do you balance life and travel?

Laura!

L:Traveling is my life…

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Hotel Review: Sleeping Warrior Lodge.

Sleeping warrior lodge is  a beautiful, discrete, lodge in Elementaita of Nakuru County inside Soysambu Conservancy  and is owned by the Delamere Family.

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.

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Part of the rough terrain as seen from the lodge

My Verdict.

1.The Staff

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.

Verdict: 7/10

2.Food

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.

Dining area.
Dining area.

Verdict: 5/10 for food.

7/10 for the attentive waiters.

3.Cottages

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 cottage
One of the cottages.

 

Inside the cottage.
Inside the cottage.

 

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Sleeping Warrior as viewed from the cottage.
Sunset
Sunset… from the cottages patio.

 

view outside the cottage
The beautiful raised patio.

 

Other cottages
Other cottages

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.

Verdict: 7.5/10

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.

swimming pool
See what I am saying?

 

The Swimming pool
The Swimming pool.

Recommendations:

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.

Overall verdict: 7.5/10.

Do I recommend Sleeping warrior? Oh yes.

Rates:  A total of Ksh 10,000 per person sharing (USD 100) full board.

I encourage you to: Call and know the prevailing rates because the receptionist told me it goes to Ksh 15,000 per person sharing a night on full board sometimes.

Other Attractions…

You can visit Lake Elementaita which is visible from the lodge, go for a game drive in the surrounding R0ysambu Conservancy or Lake Nakuru National park or visit Nakuru town.

On your way out of the lodge, you will see a variety of wild animals. I heard the guides say they saw a pack of eight lions that evening. So if wildlife is your thing… be sure to visit the place!

So,have you been to sleeping warrior before? Please share your experience in the comment section below with other readers to help them plan their safari better!

Till the next post…it’s a wrap!

Naughty Zebras

With Love…Bonita.

 

 

 

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I saw him, he saw me, we fell in Love and I am going back!

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.

  1. Awe.

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!

Lake Oloiden
Lake Oloiden.

2.Thrill.

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.

Oloiden hills.
Oloiden hills.

3.Fear.

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)

Scary hippo
Scary hippo

4. Amusement

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Grooming time.

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.

Peeping Giraffe.
Peeping Giraffe.
Pelicans...
Love birds?

See why I fell in love and why I will go back again when the sun shines?

Lets meet at Oloiden.

 

 

 

 

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Stanley’s Haven, Murang’a County,Kenya.

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.

Beautiful gardens at Stanley's Haven.
Beautiful gardens at Stanley’s Haven.

 

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One of the houses surrounded by beautiful gardens and sweet scented flowers

 

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Trees with hangings bird’s nests, colored petals and lush green gardens

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.

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Impeccable customer 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.

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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.

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The very clean swimming pool

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.

Kids corner
Children’s 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.

 

conference
Conference room

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.

Accomodation
Wide array of accommodation to choose from...

 

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Clean,modern amenities in the rooms…

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!

 

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Fun facts about Leleshwa Getaway

  • It is about 1 hour from Nairobi.
  • It borders the Nairobi National park from the Ongata Rongai side.
  • It will cost you about Kes. 1000 per person per night with 10 or 12 of your friends .
  • It is perfect for birthdays and parties out of town.
  • It has a river that flows down a team hence a chilling place.
  • It has rocks inhabited by hyraxes and other tiny animals.
  • It has photogenic monkeys that will chill by the terrace waiting for a photosho,
  • It borders Kitengela glass.
  • It is also close to Rolf’s place.

Well, now you know…