Second chances do come our way. Like trains, they arrive and depart regularly. Recognizing the ones that matter is the trick. With the curfew lifted, and everyone heading to the coast or up north, I opted to go back to one of my favorite destinations, Laikipia.
I could talk about Jambo Mutara Luxury Camp for hours! My first time here was by chance, and I hardly experienced the full package. I promised to return to this gem in the wild with the one thing I did not have on my first trip- time. I had a detailed itinerary that ensured I did not miss out on any of the attractions.
As a renowned over-packer, a week of packing and unpacking required divine intervention to fit all my earthly belonging into one suitcase. I ‘learnt’ that I did not need the wall clock and carpet for a weekend away after all 😊.
The day of travel finally arrived. I was up early and excited like a kindergartener going for their first school trip. I was on the road by 8 am as per my itinerary. I planned to arrive at Mutara by 1 pm. Alas, Nairobi traffic! All the planning in the world would not predict a snarl-up resulting in losing two hours! Perhaps there was an accident or a demonstration, or everyone remembered to fuel today. What day of the week is it? Anyway, nothing was going to dampen my mood today, nothing! I enjoyed my music as I made my way out of the gridlocked, matatu honking, motorbike infested Nairobi.
The drive to Nanyuki is quite pleasant. The road is well done and the trees on either side provide the much-needed reminder to relax and enjoy the ride. Just out of Nairobi, the greenery of the farms contrasts beautifully with the landscapes. The people on the roadsides were generally relaxed, they looked happy, typical of village life. I did not make any stops for sight-seeing owing to the 2-hour delay, but I did get lost again and had a detour to Nyeri 😉.
7 hours later, I finally arrive at The Equator! The hotel had organized a representative to help with hotel transfers from cedars mall Nanyuki. We used the Olpejeta-Rongai road to access the property. The guide was awesome; patient and understanding as I took a few stops to take photos. He knew all the scenic spots and gorgeous backdrops for those instagramable pictures.
We soon arrive at the hotel where I was received with warm smiling faces. The hotel observes all Covid-19 prevention protocols; sanitizers and hand-washing booths are provided. I sipped on a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice as my bags were transferred to my new home for the weekend.
The tented camp was just as I remembered; big cozy bed, well thought through interior design with a touch of nature and artifacts, and warm lighting made the room look so beautiful and oh so romantic! This time around I had the room with a bathtub outside. This would have made for a perfect honeymoon room, but ooh well ☹. I was going to make maximum use of the tab for sure.
It was getting a bit chilly; I went down to the lounge to grab a cup of coffee. The manager on duty passed by to welcome me. He wanted to make sure that I’m comfortable. I may have had a few requests, but he warmly assured me that he’ll handle it. He spoke with so much joy and professionalism. I felt at home. This kind of personalized experience is another reason I’m drawn back to Mutara.
The views from the lounge are breathtaking. The wild was calling. I couldn’t wait for the game drive after dinner! The skies opened up before I could clean up my dinner plate. Game drive canceled! As Pablo says, “If a problem can be solved, there’s nothing to worry about. If it can’t be solved, well you can always have some chocolate!” And that chocolate cake seemed to solve all my problems after all!
Exhausted and well fed I retired to my room. The hot water bottles made for a warm cuddle and extra blankets buried me in plush comfort. “Tomorrow I shall have a great time.” I reminded myself as I drifted away into slumberland.
It’s early morning and the skies seem not to have let up. Mother nature was clearly not on my side. So much for breakfast in the bush and I missed out on horse-back ride.
I had my breakfast setup at the deck with endless coffee and plenty of time to myself. I enjoyed the bitings as I caught up on some reading. As long as there’s coffee in the world, how bad could things get?
Eventually, the sun decided to bless us with its warmth and shine. The infinity pool, another favorite of mine wanted to play. I spent the rest of the morning enjoying the views from the pool.
This was so relaxing that I almost missed lunch, but the awesome staff had someone tending to my every whim and need. I was aptly reminded that my lunch was waiting for me at the deck. With the sun and my belly out, I was ready for some adventure; Kayaking.
The guide did most of the work. All I did was sit pretty singing and enjoying the views all through the kayaking form one end to the other. Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream! See those beautiful Egyptian geese, just don’t try to swim… We sang nursery rhymes as we enjoyed the scenery around the river. Something about a stream that is calming and comforting. I was at peace. Unfortunately, I had to head back to the hotel before nightfall.
I may have missed my game drive the previous night, but I was lucky to see some zebras, tall blondes, and an elephant as we drove across the expansive fields of the conservancy. I love elephants, but I had never been this up close to one.
This moment was magical and precious. Like a girl in love, I held my breath as I watched my favorite gentle giant majestically walk away into the wilderness.
On arrival, we were welcomed by the sounds of joyful music from the Boranas. I joined in the dancing and quickly forgot that it was getting chilly again. My country people are beautiful; from the happy faces to the attire, to the ornaments.
They told stories about their culture and the meaning of each song and every time the voices would raise in song, the body would move gracefully in rhythm. I surely need to appreciate local tourism more. The night went by so fast. It was my last night in this magical place.
With morning came my last hot bubble bath in the wild. I popped a bottle of champagne to mark the end of a memorable and fun stay as I soaked away and enjoyed the views from the tub. I had made a request for a late breakfast; I was not about to rush my solo honeymoon. Dear someone’s son, come my way and enjoy the strawberries with me…
After breakfast, I went in for a swim one last time. An hour’s swim turned to two. Soon it would be time to check out and I hadn’t packed! clearly, I wasn’t ready to leave just yet.
I have fallen in love with this place, that’s no lie. The tranquility of the bush, the warmth of the people, the beauty of the animals, and the stillness of the night. I would definitely visit again and again.
I wish I had just one more day of no honking, smoking, shouting, and no emails. PS. Your email does not “find me well”. Till the next time. in the meantime here is a short clip of my stay.
Things you should know:
- The hotel is fully compliant with Covid 19 prevention protocols.
- The Ongata Rongai gate is easily accessible and gentle on the small cars
- Mutara is easily accessible via matatu/Self-drive (if you don’t have a 4 by 4). Just call ahead and request to be picked from Cedars Mall – this attracts an extra fee
- Activities on the ground include horseback riding, kayaking, guided hike, bush breakfast, sundowner, and morning or night game drive this attracts an extra fee per activity