A room with a view.
Feb 4, 2006
|A couple of months ago, Evan and I were driving up by Lake Naivasha and we spotted off in the distance, a fancy looking hotel perched on the side of a big hill. We later determined that it was the Great Rift Valley Lodge. So while Evan was out of town in January, I booked up an overnight at this cool place. [He paid when he returned :)]
We started the journey an hour later than we had planned. Not unusual for us. The drive was mostly pleasant, until the last 11 or so km which was on some of the bumpiest/dustiest road I have ever seen. Actually, I think calling it a road might be a tad generous. Once we passed through the security gate, however, was some of the smoothest road in Kenya.
The lodge is a series of buildings - lobby building connected to the main building by a covered walkway. The main building contained the restaurant and the bar. They also claim to have conference space on the second floor.
We checked in and headed to our room. There are a number of buildings - kinda like cabins - that contain 4 rooms each. 2 at ground level and 2 upper rooms. We had the upper room with a balcony. The room is awesome! Pretty mosquito netting around the bed (we found out later that it was just decorative, as when untied, it didn't even cover the whole bed). There is a sitting area, with the world's most dangerous rug (we each must have slipped a dozen times on the thing - luckily no falls or injuries!). And big glass doors leading out to our balcony. It was so pretty!
We headed for lunch, where we got to sit outside on the balcony of the restaurant. They feed birds right next to where we were sitting. There were these really cool iridescent blue birds all over. And several dove/pigeon looking things. And some cute little sparrow type birds. And quite a few bright yellow birds.
After lunch was naptime. Then we thought it would be fun to take a swim. Maybe not the best idea. We headed to the pool and noticed that there was no one in it. Lots of people sitting around it though. Well, as soon as we stepped onto the first step into the pool, we understood why - it was bone-chillingly cold. The kind of cold that takes your breath away. Evan tried to ease his way in but that just wasn't working for him. He decided to just go for it and go down the little waterslide they had. Everyone around the pool was watching as he headed for the slide - eager to see if he would go through with it. And he did. He tried to get me to do it too, but I didn't want to get my hair wet (or get hypothermia.) I did eventually ease my way into the water. For about 3 minutes. Then I had to get out - it was just too cold. Of course, once I got out, I was even colder with the slight breeze that was blowing. I sat in the sun for a while and eventually became warm, but it felt like I might never regain my normal body temperature.
After the swim, we went on a bird walk with Daniel. He was very knowledgable. We saw lots of birds and he also pointed out indigenous plants. One type of cactus had this strange white fuzz all over it. This white fuzz turned out to be the eggs of a worm that lived on the tree. These fuzzy white eggs used to be used for food coloring (esentially worm egg blood). Evan and Daniel picked some of the eggs and rubbed them between their fingers to see the bright red coloring. It stained their fingers.
We brought some champagne and we drank it on the balcony before dinner as the sun set. During dinner, there was a man playing the guitar and singing. And there was some kind of celebration going on, because everyone that works in the entire place (including Daniel our bird guide) came in singing during dinner. They had a drum and a giant torch, which made me a little nervous in an all wood building. Luckily, no raging fire.
The next day we had breakfast there. We were too late getting there so we didn't get to sit outside. Then we headed out. We decided to drive across the Aberdares. On the way to the park, we came across a campsite and cafe. Evan slammed on the brakes as we drove by - the sign said something about coffee. We stopped in for some drinks and ended up getting banana-walnut bread, some other bread whose name I forget with plum jelly, and some guinness fruit bread. And Evan got his precious coffee. When we were leaving, the woman running the cafe gave us an extra slice of the guinness bread - they had just opened that weekend and we were their first customers. The place was very nice and had the nicest bathrooms I have seen in Kenya. We got some brochures to put in the Embassy.
The drive across the Aberdares was much bumpier and a little more unpleasant than we remember it. And the dust! The car was covered in dust, as were Evan and I. It was pretty gross. I took a shower when we got home, but I still felt dusty.
This was the first trip we have taken that didn't involve driving around looking for animals. While I enjoy the animals, it was kinda nice to just relax.