Kirinyaga as I knew it…
I’ve known Kirinyaga from a friend of mine because it is her village. Anytime I hear the word upcounrty, a lot comes into mind: Our own ‘Great Wall of China’ along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway, hours on the road traversing a county after the other and generally getting to the village late in the evening right before dinner is served. With my understanding of a how a trip upcountry usually is like, I wasn’t sure I wanted to do another shagz trip.Especially after a friend highly recommended this place in Kirinyaga called Maya Gardens.
The never ending Nairobi Cold
The prolonged cold in Nairobi sort of renders one immobile especially over the weekend when there are no solid plans.
That Saturday morning was cold. Time was also moving a bit fast, one minute I am fighting with my duvet for warmth, I close my eyes for one second and when I open them it was already midday. But thing was, I wasn’t leaving Nairobi, neither was I leaving my house, let alone my bed.
The Botched Plan
I called the hotel to push my visit to a sunny day and because I wasn’t going to make it before dusk, assuming Kirinyaga was far.
The lady on the other end of our telecon asks me where I was and why I thought it would take me hours to get to Kirinyaga. I say because its shagz and most shagz are far. I can’t forget how she was amused… Apparently, even when using public means, the most it will take you to get to the hotel from Nairobi is two and a half hours! I would feel cheated if I travel to shagz and not stop mid-way to eat and use the wash room.
With this new info, I was all set to spend my weekend in Kirinyaga.
Getting to Maya Gardens:
I used 2NK matatus that were plying the Nairobi-Nyeri route, from Accra Road, (Tea room) at the CBD. They filled up pretty fast and in no time we were on our way. The trip took approximately two hours to Sagana town where I was to be picked by the hotel. Ten minutes later, we were headed to Maya gardens, which is located approximately ten minutes from Sagana town along a murram road.
If it is your first time going towards those sides, it is usually a good idea to call the hotel for directions. In some cases they even offer pick up services. It is not easy to miss Maya gardens, thanks to its green perimeter wall and gates.
There was a sound security system at the hotel and proper checks were done to all incoming persons and vehicles. There was also an ample parking space off the entrance driveway.
It is almost impossible to miss the reception .The check-in process as expected was very fast because Maya gardens is a small intimate establishment. I settled for a room in the middle of the gated area that housed all the sixteen self-contained units.
All the sixteen units have a similar design, adequately furnished with a king size bed, a work table and a movable wardrobe. Each of the units also have a thirty two inch TV set and a small unit attached on the wall for setting up coffee. The rooms all smelt so fresh and were properly ventilated. The bathrooms were sparkling clean and I guess the freshness of the rooms and the fluffiness of the door mats was an automatic nod of approval.
Each of the rooms had these cute coffee tables at the small verandas overlooking a beautiful flower garden. There was sufficient space between the rooms to guarantee the much needed privacy.
On the other end of the gated units stood the two bedroomed family unit. Similar to the other rooms only bigger and ideal for a group of friends or family who appreciate some space and want to sleep under the same roof.
Green gardens, restaurants and bar.
Maya gardens boasts of beautiful plants: flowers, shrubs, bushes, and trees hence the name. I couldn’t help but notice the effort put in making the gardens outstanding and lively. All the restaurant facing gardens were adequately covered with carpet grass and nicely furnished with just the right amount of garden furniture.
Meals at the restaurant are on order basis. If you happen to visit Maya, kindly ask for either their mbuzi or kuku kienyeji…you will thank me later! I have no idea where they source their meat from but truth be told, they have some of the juiciest, goat meat that promises a burst of flavours with each bite.
The bar is well stocked and has a variety of drinks to it, ranging from alcoholic to non-alcoholic beverages. Being a wine enthusiast, I was impressed by the wide variety of wine they had.
Camping at Maya Gardens
A few meters from the restaurant and the rooms, is a carefully manicured lawn and a beautiful live fence dotted with garden lamps that serves as the camping grounds for Maya Gardens. The grass is so soft and properly maintained it could serve as a mattress in the event that one doesn’t have a proper camping mattress. In the middle of the camping ground is a bonfire pit, well designed to avoid the messy litter of the bonfire debris.
To my surprise, night temperatures in Sagana were very bearable and one would be mistaken to think it is a normal night at the coast.
There is a huge swimming pool that is being constructed now and I can only imagine how it will be a crowd puller.
River Sagana or what locals call Thagana is a hub to many water sports in the area. One of such places is rapids camp. Maya can organize packages for activities such as zip lining, rafting, bungee jumping and with team building exercises for its clients in liaison with Rapids Camp.
I have always wanted to zip line across a river and checking it off my bucket list through my visit to Maya must have been the highlight of my maiden visit to Kirinyaga.
Other activities include hiking, biking and visiting rice irrigation schemes like Mwea in the county.
I loved my stay at Maya and I would recommend it if you are on a budget,and you need a short break from the city.
To book your stay kindly contact them through…