Mountain tranquility

By Evelyn Makena, Giants Club African Conservation Journalism Fellow, in People Daily 

Published 10 March 2018

Arriving in Naro Moru River Lodge in Nyeri county on a Friday evening instantly lifts the spirits. Green canopies rest above graceful walkways lined with mature exotic and indigenous trees. There are rows of shrubberies along winding paths towards a gentle hillside covered with flower blossoms of white, pink, purple, red and yellow.

It’s stunningly beautiful, pleasantly quiet and a tonic to my body, weary of contemporary craziness of the bustling city. More surprises await me, as I saunter towards the rooms for a two-night stay, just two and half hours away from Nairobi.

Tree branches wave hypnotically at the gentle nudge of the chilly evening wind. Resting at the foothills of Mt Kenya, the lodge brims with natural beauty. It’s nestled within a forest along the equator, with Tigithi River running through it.

Dimmed lights are mounted on artistic wooden carvings placed along stone paths, leading to the cottages. Set on varnished wooden decks, the cottages are cozy, warm and inviting.

With high wooden ceilings, muted hues of green and white, gorgeous naturalistic flooring and a large fireplace, the cottage is an effortless combination of rustic lux with modern twists.

This is one among 46 rooms within the facility with a total bed capacity of 130. Accommodation options range from cottages, bunkhouses, country homes and a camping site all with an eminent rustic feel.

The eye can’t help wandering to a large painting of the snowcapped Mt Kenya perched on one of the walls. The lodge boasts of helping countless visitors climb Africa’s second highest mountain, through the shortest route.

Sir Rufus Klarwill who founded the lodge in 1949 endeavored to find the shortest route to Mt Kenya and succeeded at that after discovering the Naro Moru route.

It takes just three days and two nights to ascend to point Lenana using the route compared to seven days and six nights on the longest route, I gather from the lodge’s GM, Edward Wangechi, during dinner in Kirinyaga Restaurant, one of the lodge’s two restaurants.

The following morning, I awake to sounds of growling colubus monkeys, lulling flowing waters of Tigithi River and chirping birds that fuse into a melodious bush orchestra. Butterflies take flight from a flowery terrace that leads to the facility’s gardens.

Manicured lawns provide a great outdoor setting for breakfast as the early morning rays seep through Jacaranda canopies. Tucked away in the midst of trees in the 72-acre facility is an azure swimming pool with a bewitching view of the peaks of Mt Kenya.

A tasty meal of rosemary chicken, roast potatoes and fresh tropical fruits at Nelion Pool Restaurant precedes bird watching in the nature trails within the forest. An hour at the sauna within the tranquil haven adds to the bliss as time lazily slips away.

  • Read the original story here. This story is reproduced here as part of the Giants Club African Conservation Journalism Fellowships, a Space for Giants programme to expand the reach of conservation and environmental journalism in the four countries where we work.