My Out of Africa – Champagne Ridge, Kenya

‘Out of Africa’ the Movie and the book are a great watch or read for everyone in love with Africa and its stunning landscapes. I am in love with expanse landscapes that are very predominant in Africa and even more so in Kenya.

For the weekend I had my very own Out Of Africa experience less the terrible luck in relationships; or maybe I have my own version of that. Smile 🙂 !!! My birthday week was great deal of lunches, dinners, good vibes but something was missing till I found Magic at this little stunning house called Enkaji Osiwo in Champagne Ridge whose names means ‘House in the winds” in the Maasai language.

 

Getting There  – 5.5/10

This is the only section of this post that has a low rating but I hope this will not deter you from visiting this stunning piece of Heaven. Located about 2 – 21/2 hours from Nairobi city centre depending on the route used, traffic, number of stops and how much you get lost. Getting took us almost 4 hours with traffic and getting lost for an hour but on the return we took about 2 hours. The road is horrific and a 4WD strong vehicle is not only highly recommended but an ESSENTIAL requirement.

On Holiday Home’s website it is advertised as 1 hour from Nairobi but do not be fooled the 1 hour is what you will need to drive from Nairobi to Corner Baridi where the tarmac good road ends, you will then need  an extra hour of extreme off road driving to get to the house. The total amount of time needed from Nairobi City Center to the House is a minimum of 2 hours.

Upon booking the house you will be provided with a map that will take you to the house via Langata road. The care taker of the house  is not the best with direction and kept telling me to look for a white stone, I don’t really blame him too much as there is not much in terms of landscapes to go by.  With that being the only lead to get to the house it was a nightmare to get there. However when we finally got the house that was immediately forgotten as we ‘oohed’ and ‘aahed’ over the views but did have a stern chat with him on getting some signs done. 

However if you are familiar with Kenyan roads and driving in Kenya, the recommended route would be to have an early start and from Karen Round-a-bout, follow Ngong Road all the way to Ngong town.  At the T-Junction in Ngong town, turn left and follow this road all the way to Kiserian where you’ll turn right onto Magadi road. This would save you quite a good amount of traffic hours.

How to Book – 8/10

This is extremely easy; Holiday Homes Kenya is a villa and holiday home rental agency that has different stunning houses in the rift valley area, safari houses and beach houses. Their service is professional, speedy and the prices unbeatable. My agent was Angela who offered a couple different houses but the stunning house of Enkaji Osiwo was the most appealing to me and so I booked it.

The only reason they get an 8 / 10 is because I couldn’t pay by credit card which was inconvenient for me. The map provided is not as clear as we followed it and still got lost. 🙂 They could also ensure that there are signs for the houses they are renting.

On the website the descriptions of each house is clear that lets you know what to expect in terms of cooking equipment, electricity water, activities etc, they also They do offer real time availability on their website and precise pricing.

The house was US$ 100 (Kes 10,000)  per night on a self catering basis for a maximum capacity of four people

The House – 9/10

The house is a little gem in the middle of nowhere. Situated right on the far edge of Champagne Ridge the house offered the best views of the 3 rental houses in the vicinity. It is a charming, snug and eccentric two-bedroom cottage that offers phenomenal panoramic views from the wooden veranda deck. It is right on the cliff, and one can experience an awe inspiring sight, an expanse of stunning African vista for as far as the eye can see and just like me have an Out of Africa experience.

The decor of the house is a great blend of tribal, African and eccentric with pops of colour that make it all so awesome and right up my alley; especially when it comes to the most comfy bean bag chair.  It features one double bedroom upstairs and one twin bedroom downstairs. Both bedrooms are bright and airy with windows overlooking the scenic Rift Valley.

The kitchen is well equipped with all you will need for your short stay including a gas cooker and oven. You will need to bring a cooler box as there is no fridge. The house has 2 toilets and bathrooms. However, the downside is that it does not have running water meaning there is a lot of work when it comes to maintaining their usage. The care taker is however very keen to help with cleaning up after you and providing water for all your need – besides drinking water. As with most self catering places you will need to bring everything with you – for this house it is even more important to ensure you have thought everything through as there no stores or shops from which you can go get supplies from. They do provide you with a basic packing list to give you guidance. For this particular house you need to bring EVERYTHING including all condiments, spices, teas, sugar, coffee, soap, toilet paper, drinking water etc.

 

The Experience – 11/10

As you can see from my rating the experience was 1000 times better than I had anticipated. The main concept here is to “cook,eat, drink” and perfect “the art of doing nothing”- This is  the sole reason for my existence. We arrived at the house at 3pm famished and tired but thanks to David by 3.15pm the car was unloaded and the unpacking done ready for us to start on making a quick late lunch. I definitely opted for my classic honey and garlic baked chicken with a salad and some bread. We enjoyed the late lunch on the wooden deck taking in all the views and chatting away. After we were all satisfied time stopped for a while and everyone sat together but each lost in their own worlds as we sipped our wines or drank our ciders.

By the time we realized time had not really stopped it was sunset time and thus brought out the shisha, more wine and ciders and started prepping the pizzas for dinner. We did a couple pepperoni and basil pizzas and used fresh mozzarella (the one you buy when soaked in water) which made all the difference in the world in the taste. Well to be honest we kinda got carried away and the bottom of the pizzas got a little charred but it was still tasty.

The night was full of fast moving and dramatic stars , calling birds and good conversation. We laughed, played cards and chatted away into the night before retiring to my room where I slept with curtains wide open for a little peak of stars each time you turned.

The following morning I woke up and did a short stroll in my pajamas to explore the rugged terrain where the house was located. There were hyraxes running around on the rocks, a young Maasai boy grazing his goats and a lot of nothingness. It was pleasant!!! By the time I was back my friends had made breakfast where we had a classic easy breakfast – toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, tea/coffee, juice and fruits. It was a very relaxed affair and afterwards everyone found their happy places where we just chilled in no rush to leave. We were quite lucky as check out time is 10am but they let us stay till 3pm.

The Views- 11/10

This could easily be the main reason for choosing this location. It did not matter where you were you had something great to see. The bedrooms had more windows than walls allowing you to sleep, dress, and chill as you enjoyed the views. They do have a veranda with easy couch chairs where we stayed for the 2 minutes drizzle which we experienced twice during our stay. From the main house the windows were open all the time giving you a sneak peak of the incredible outside. However my happy place was the wooden deck with colorful pink and orange cushions which gave you panoramic views from the comfort of your lounge seat. I could easily say I spent 80% of my time there and 10% sprawled like a cat on the cosy and comfy bean bag when the sun was too hot to seat on the deck.

During my morning wander I also discovered a shaded area with easy seats that gives you a view of the rift valley from the front and views of the house on the rear. This would be a great spot for quality ‘me time’, meditation or to catching up with a good read.

 

An added bonus at this house is the  ‘The World’s Best View from a Loo’ , the house has an external toilet located a little walk from the house and allows a private and rich experience where one can feel at one with nature! The view from the external toilet is stunning. There is no door hence you get to seat down and really connect with nature in more ways than one 🙂 There is a shower head as well hence it is possible to also take a shower out there 🙂

All in all, I would easily have this house as my weekend house where I get to unwind and really enjoy the beautiful African landscapes before returning to real life. 🙂

Vistas y Vibras Buenas – Happy Views & Vibes

~Lea~

 

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