Wallet tourism

This post is waaaaaaaaaaaaay overdue and TravelingKenya has been on my case about it so here goes.

Last year December, my friends; NjeriCarole, Eugene, Kimaru and I decided we will ‘jump the year’ in style. We planned to take our adventure to Gilgil, Nakuru and Naivasha.

We left Nairobi on 31st December at 10am packed with ‘mangrathee’ and Uchumi sandwiches 🙂 Keemaru entertained us with reggae jams but I think only him and Njeri were singing along to the tunes. The rest of us..LEAVES!

We stopped over at View Point and took some photos and as you will see, we’re sexy and we know it..*snaps fingers*

On we went till we reached Kikopey and by then the reggae tunes had faded and the growling of our stomachs had grown louder. We literally burst out of the car and ordered for a lot of meat.

Evidence.

After shamelessly devouring the nyama choma, we made like tissue and rolled. Destination, Gilgil town. We were going to stay over at Hotel Sufra which is a kilometer from the Gilgil turn, off the Nairobi- Nakuru highway. We had made reservations a week before so our rooms were secure. A room is Ksh. 500 a night. Maybe at this point I should mention, this was a low budget trip but we made the most out of it.

After settling in, we decided to head to Naivasha. This was around 2.30pm. Kimaru seldom (when was the last time you used that word?) takes trips to Naivasha for ‘me time’ so he knew his way around. He took us to Fish Eagle camp where people had plans of swimming but I think guys were to knackered to do so. So we chilled and explored the camp.

Fish Eagle is a beautiful place but I had a few concerns on their unguarded lake which is now full of hyacinth. Apart from camping, they offer bike riding, boat riding and swimming. It’s a great family hang out away from Nairobi.

So because of the hyacinth, and the boats were just lying there, we decided to be cheeky.

Evidence.

The fun thing for me about this trip is that I could share my previous #TembeaKenya knowledge with them. I wanted them to experience what Magical Kenya had to offer. So as we left Fish Eagle, we passed by a nearby camp..I forget the name. We went to book a boat ride for the following morning which would take us to Crescent Island and back. We met a gentleman called Chege and he told us he would take us on the boat ride at a cost of Ksh. 2, 000 for the 5 of us. It was a good deal.

We headed back to our base after dining at a fairly new restaurant in Naivasha town. We got back to Gilgil in time for party mode to check in. Adjacent to Hotel Sufra is Hotel Freci, it’s like ‘the place to be’ in Gilgil. So because it was New Year’s eve, we had to pay to access the ‘main disco’. It was Ks. 100 per person. When we arrived, there was not much activity but I have to say Gilgil is different. The DJ was trying to mix music while on the disco wall, they were projecting ‘Just for laugh’ clips. Now if that’s not out-of-the-box thinking, I don’t know what is.

Gilgil is host to one of the Ministry of Defense’s army barracks, so most of the revelers present were the army and their plus ones 😉 Honestly, it was not the kind of fun we were looking forward to. All you should know is that there was no countdown by the DJ and we had turned in by 12.20am.

That was that.

Following morning, we vowed to start 2012 with a bang! We hurdled up in our car and left for our boat ride. Exciting. Chege was already there waiting for us. He’s a really cool chap. Got into the boat and off we went to Crescent Island. Just near the drop off point, we had to take a detour because the hyacinth was blocking the dock.

Finally we got there and Chege left us in the not very capable hands of the tour guide, Bernard. A few months back , the #TembeaKenya crew had come to this island and had met this same tour guide. He hadn’t changed. He literally demanded for tip beforehand. I got worked up and it was embarrassing for me because it was my suggestion to take my friends there. Anyway, we negotiated and we agreed. The walk there is always refreshing and a bit frightening (walking freely with buffalos at a distance is not exactly heart warming). The walk was about an hour but we enjoyed ourselves.

Evidence.

After that long walk, we tipped Bernard and waited for like 5 minutes before Chege came to pick us up. He took us to see hippos, did a demo of a fish eagle catching a fish and gave us stories about the lake. I’m not going to share those as you have to go and have your own experience 🙂

Lunch time!

Hunger pangs from here to Ngong had overcome us! As we drove back, I spotted Lake Naivasha Panorama Park. I asked the others if we could check it out. We did and we loved it. There was a pool and FOOOOD! As we were heading in, we bumped into Njeri ‘Mpenz’ who apparently was leaving to head back to Nairobi J My derailing instincts checked in.  They worked!

We ordered lunch and the ones who wanted to swim changed into their gear as the rest of us chose to spectate. The lunch was DELISH! A meal costs between Ksh. 150 to Ksh. 750 and swimming is Ksh. 300 for the day. Cost friendly..check! Great company..check!

Panorama Park is very scenic and chilled out. I didn’t want to leave 🙂

The sun was almost setting when we decided to head out to Nakuru and see what it had in store for us. On our way, I consulted my other half on where we could spend the night in Nakuru seeing as he travels a lot. He suggested we check out a place called Premier Lodge. I called and made reservations. Rooms range between Ksh. 600 and Ksh. 700.

On getting there, the hunger had checked in again. Don’t judge us. I always say when we get to heaven, we will get new bodies!  After settling in, we went in search of food in Nakuru town. Alas! We came across a Chinese restaurant. We ate, drank and made merry!

Evidence.

Following day, it was time to head back to Nairobi. Sigh! Why?

Had breakfast at a restaurant behind Gilanis supermarket and off we were.

On our way back, we stopped over at Kikopey..again! Made a quick stop over at Lake Elemetaita but there was not much to see there.

We used the Mai Mahiu road to get back to Nairobi and our last stop over was at the smallest church in Kenya which was built by Italian prisoners of war in 1942.

It can only sit 12 people. Sadly, the original golden bell, bibles and manuscripts were stolen and more recently the windows and door were also stolen but have since then been replaced. I didn’t understand why, seeing as there is a police station right next to the church. The lady there said that there is normally a priest who hold church there 3 times a week and using the facility is free as long as the preist residing over the ceremony is Catholic.

What a trip! What a way to start the year!

Roughly, each of us spent less than Ksh. 5,000 on the entire trip. I call it ‘wallet tourism’.

I’ll be a lil’ corky here and say ‘Stay tuned for #TembeaKenya: Western Kenya edition’ coming soon!

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