“No one needs a vacation more than someone who has just come from one…”
It’s a quote usually attributed to Elbert Hubbard, but claimed by many who find themselves absolutely exhausted following a weekend of (mostly) rest. But exhausted in a good way.
For the typical born and bred urbanite in Kenya, vacations mean cramming as much as you possibly can into as short a time frame as humanly possible; which usually translates to “the Coast” and “shenanigans”.
We forget that we can be bad just about anywhere, and that perhaps, broadening our travel horizons isn’t such a terrifying ordeal.
The crew at Turnup Travel and its new offshoot “Turnup In Motion” which focuses on creating engaging and quality content around travel, tours and hospitality, have become family, and when they suggested a trip down to Fourteen Falls and Mount Kilimambogo, it seemed like a fun challenge. A side of Kenya I hadn’t really explored before, despite its proximity to the city of Nairobi.
And so the journey began, on a chilly Friday – congregating at the McMillan Memorial Library in the CBD. A great place to start because the plan was to explore a little of McMillian’s history during the trip. Fourteen Falls in Thika was the first stop we made – a scene stealing, popular destination for anyone engaged with nature. You can’t deny their magnificence, and the fact that almost any pictures you take with them in the background will be spectacular.
It’s unfortunate that pollution is working to steal away the beauty of the Falls, but it would be the perfect day trip for anyone with even a little sense of adventure. Navigating the rocky terrain can be difficult for some (read: me), but there are guides who will willingly help you across the worst of it. Trust me – if you spend 20 minutes clutching a strangers hand for fear that you will tumble ten centimeters down to your death, you become extremely close! They have fascinating stories – with many having worked there for over 15 years. Listen to them, but remember to tip if you can!
Onward to our next destination – the resort of Ol Donyo Sapuk, which is nestled between the Falls and Mount Kilimambogo. It’s property that had the luck of the draw with such stunning scenery around it – and it’s exactly the location for someone looking for a peaceful escape. Settled on about 50 acres of land, its ruggedness mixes with the modern charm of the buildings themselves. A quick dawn or dusk walk across the lawns can actually feel like a very long moment to have with yourself.
Location is one thing, but service is another. And Ol Donyo Sapuk had some of the nicest staff members I’ve actually interacted with in a long time. Take your pick of activities from the pool, to horse riding, to biking between locations, which also include the famous McMillan Castle – a building with a pretty dark history.
Full disclosure, I did not make it up Mount Kilimambogo, but I’m actually upset that I missed out on the challenge, after viewing the images that the rest of the team brought back with them. But knowing that it’s just a short drive away from Nairobi, I need to pass it forward – collect a few friends and make the trip down there again.
Such an enjoyable three day weekend, and a bunch of new friendships solidified
All Photography by the phenomenal Mark Denver