Kenya has so much to offer us, why do we search for travel experiences so eagerly elsewhere? Sometimes just that one night away is all your mind needs. So put your phone aside, disconnect from the world and be at one with the universe. Listen to the sounds of the wind, birds chirping, feel the soft breeze against your skin, look out at nature and see a thousand miracles happening right in front of your eyes. Just one night away in the right place can give you the recharge you desperately need.
And where I’m about to take you next is IT!
Living in a buzzing capital city, my soul urges for a walk in the wild a little too often. It’s so necessary to hit pause on the rat race and find ways to fill your lungs and mind with some clean fresh air. Lucky for me (and the rest of you Nairobians), weekend escapes of peace and tranquility are only a short drive away.
My one-night escape?
To a snug little self-catered cottage in Champagne Ridge – The Castle.
Champagne Ridge is in the Ngong Hills overlooking the glorious Great Rift Valley. There are hectares of untouched land with stunning views all round. And only two hours out of Nairobi, it’s fairly easy to get to. Once you see the iconic view of the knuckle shaped Ngong Hills, you’re getting closer.
Getting to The Castle:
The Castle is located in Ngong, Kajiado County. When on Magadi Road, drive through Ongata Rongai, Kiserian town and take the left at Corner Baridi.
Then follow the google map link here.
The Castle has been refurbished to include a main house and cottage (where we stayed). They are right next to each other but I guarantee you have complete privacy 🙂
About the owners:
The Castle is now owned by Deborah and her husband, Thiemo. Deb is originally from Australia but has lived in Kenya for well over a decade now. They bought the property almost 4 years ago and have never looked back. The property is self sufficient having its own organic garden and is eco-friendly running on Solar and Wind power. They even harvest their own water! In fact, Deb runs her own community solar power project called Napenda Solar Community – an initiative to help those in the rural area get access to Solar energy.
We met Deb on arrival, who was sincerely warm and welcoming. She gave us a quick tour of the place and was only a knock away in the main house for the rest of our stay. The Castle is super spacious with an open plan and all the amenities you need for a comfortable weekend away.
The large windows give you a striking view of the Great Rift Valley no matter where you are in the cottage. The space is quite modern yet simple with a huge mahogany dining table where you can enjoy your meals. The living area has a comfy leather sofa, TV, DVD player and plenty (literally thousands) of movies you can pick from. The kitchen has a gas oven, fridge, pots, pans, cutlery, crockery and drinking water. Just bring along all the food items you need to make your meals. But in case you do forget anything then Deb also keeps a small stock of supplies like beer, wine, charcoal, soft drinks, meat and bread that are available for purchase.
The Castle has a total of 5 sleeping spaces with two double beds and one single bed downstairs. Upstairs you have one king bed, one double bed and one single bed. The house accommodates a total of 6 guests very comfortably. However, there is only one shared bathroom downstairs.
Now that we’re done with the inside, let’s move to the main attraction of The Castle, its balcony. There’s a dining table and comfy safari chairs out there. A nice big BBQ also makes an appearance – perfect for some nyama choma. And the heat from it will keep you warmed up in the chilly night. But nothing beats the beaaaaautiful views of The Great Rift Valley from here.
Bougainvilleas creep up to the ledge of the balcony creating a serene frame around the hilly landscape. Obviously we spent most of our time out here sipping on wine, eating cheese & crackers, having deep conversations, engrossed in a book or sitting in silence at awe of our wonderful world.
As the sun set, we watched the hills becoming silhouettes and sun rays peeking through the clouds. It was a cloudy evening for us at The Castle, but the sunset was still well worth it. Watching day turn to night is always a pleasurable experience no matter where.
What did we get up to?
We went on a little hike to explore our surroundings. Turns out Deb & Thiemo are building two more single bedroom cottages in the area, perfect for couples. Halfway we were joined by Stella (1/3 of Deb’s pet dogs). She led us through the acacia trees and shrubs down the valley. We didn’t make it too far as we needed to get back on the road but guests have access to the entire 10acres of the property so you can go on long hikes in and out of the valley. There’s a natural spring and traditional Masaai caves that can be visited as well.
We also watched birds and searched the valley for more wildlife but didn’t spot any. If you do end up going then be on the look out for Eland, Zebras, Antelopes and Gazelles.
Costs & quick overview:
I stumbled across The Castle on good old AirBnB. You can book it here.
Rates are as below:
2 people = 10,000ksh per night
3-4 people = 14,000ksh per night
5-6 people = 16,000ksh per night
- 1 king bed
- 3 double beds
- 2 single beds
- Kitchen (gas oven, fridge, crockery, cutlery, pots, pans, water, tea, coffee) – take all your ingredients for your meals.
- DVD player
- Towels provided
- BBQ Grill
- Pets allowed (Deb has 3 dogs – Stella, Sally & Turbo)
TIP: pack warm clothes as it gets windy up there.
We had a really great stay at The Castle and can’t wait to go back! It was a pleasure meeting Deb and quite inspired by how she packed up her bags and left Australia to come live her dream in Africa (GOALS!).
Honestly, I’m no city girl. The concrete jungle, swarm of cars, busy bees chasing paper unable to catch a breath of fresh air… it’s not for me (but we all need that paper, don’t we?) #KeepGrinding #HustleIsReal
BUT just learn to take a break and live life, for all you’re going to leave the world with is nothing but memories so make them worthwhile.
I’ve got another memorable experience added to my books 🙂