First published in Nomad Magazine (Issue 14 – Deep Blue)
We were in search of a place to do nothing but sit next to a crackling fire, listen to the sounds of the earth, have a conversation with people in person while disconnecting from our virtual world, all while being comfortable and at home. When we stumbled across Lelwel Cottage, we instantly thought it ticked all those boxes and therefore decided to escape the city for two peaceful nights.
How to get there
Lelwel cottage is located in the gated community of Lelwel estate just outside Timau town, about 3 hours 30 minutes from Nairobi. It is about 220 Km from Nairobi and is easy to get to with any kind of car. The A2 highway from Nairobi all the way to Timau is very smooth and scenic. The place is not on Google Maps but is very easy to find with the directions sent by the host. From Nanyuki you come through Timau town and take the first road off to the left (same dirt road to Ngare Ndare forest). Drive down this for about 2 km passing a gate on your left called ‘mlima’- the Lelwel estate is the next gate on the left. Lelwel cottage sits on a private 15 acres and is a guest house neighbouring the owner’s home.
This delightful home has lush green gardens and boasts views of Mt Kenya. It has two en-suite bedrooms comfortably fitting four people. There’s a fireplace and living room space shared with a fully kitted kitchen (fridge, oven, toaster, pots, pans, cutlery and crockery). A sofa couch and ottoman are strategically positioned directly opposite the fireplace. The only drawback here is that there is no dining space inside and all the furniture is white so if you’re a messy eater there’s bound to be some stains. Luckily there is outdoor furniture but for dinner, it’s a very chilly option.
The interiors are clearly inspired by the beach which contrasts well with the cold region. There is a large, life size painting of the beach with ocean waves gently lapping against the yellow sand. The wooden storage cabinets have silver details of ship wheels and the colour palette of the entire space is light blues and white.
The rooms are very spacious with plenty of wardrobe space so if you’re looking for a long term stay around Timau, this is your ideal stop. Both rooms have a signature huge window, but the room we stayed in was particularly special because it faced Mt. Kenya. The bathrooms have cement interiors (again, very coastal). They provide clean towels and toilet paper on a daily basis while also cleaning and setting up your fireplace daily.
It is self-catered so take all your supplies with you. We just wanted to sit back, relax and catch up with each other. We spent our days sipping on G&T’s and having DMT’s.
Food – We made some chicken pesto pasta for lunch when we got there and some roast chicken, potatoes and veggies for dinner. In between we snacked on carrot and cucumber sticks with homemade hummus. On the second day we made a late full english breakfast, snacked on cheese and crackers, homemade brownies and made some pan-fried fish and couscous with roast veggies for dinner.
Self-catered homes are definitely one of my favourite type of accommodations, much preferred than catered hotels etc. I like feeling like I’m in a home away home and having my privacy. If you’re looking for a romantic intimate getaway then try out Lelwel. It is a 30minute drive from any kind of grocery store so just be prepped with everything you think you need.
What to do there
There’s plenty to do in the area. If you’re the sporty kind, the Timau sports club is right next door if you fancy a game of tennis. Nanyuki town is a 30min drive so you can have a taste of all the delicious restaurants there. If you want to experience the wild then Borana conservancy is just 20 minutes away and our personal favourite, Ngare Ndare is just up the road too. Here you can enjoy a jump in the icy cold azure pools with water fresh from the mountain. If you’re looking for a longer road trip, an early morning drive to Shaba National park should result in an exciting game drive.
How to book & costs
A night at the Lelwel cottage will cost you Ksh 11,000 and if there are four of you then that’s a mere Ksh 2,750 a night each. You can check the availability and book it on Airbnb here.
If you do check it out then leave a comment below to let us know what you thought of the place.
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