Sandai positions itself as a place from which to access the eastern Aberdares, which of course it is. But it’s just as much of a destination in its own right if you’re looking for a place to chill and mingle with other guests.
The last time I made the journey, I went with a friend, leaving all but my youngest child behind. Which was perhaps just as well as we managed to get terribly lost during a drive in the Solio conservancy, a good place for spotting rhino. Getting lost with a friend and a baby is a bit of an adventure, but getting lost with children who can understand their predicament is usually frantic.
Situated in farmland to the north of Nyeri, Sandai is a sprawling, wooden farmhouse with eclectically-furnished rooms, communal dining and simple, healthy food provided by German owner, Petra Allmendinger. The farmstead consists of several rustic self-catering guest cottages, and six guest rooms, two of which are within the house itself. The biggest draw – for me – is dining together with other guests. I am hardly a social animal, but I do enjoy the experience, all too rare these days, of sitting round a table with a bunch of strangers and swapping stories.
Last time I was here, I went on a shopping spree at their wonderful carpet workshop. Petra employs and trains people living locally to make beautiful, simple and affordable rugs, and a large grey rug from Sandai is the centrepiece in our house in Nairobi. We didn’t ride this time, but many guests go riding on horses kept at the property and the surrounding farmland is good for hacks. Or take a picnic lunch into nearby Solio, and try not to get lost.
Pre-pandemic, Petra used to host yoga and painting workshops and hopefully those will be reinstated in the months to come.
In a country where the price of accommodation seems to be going up and up, prices are among the friendliest for residents, with a single on full board costing Ksh 9,000, or Ksh 16,000 for a double.
Tel: 0721656699 / Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author
I'm a former travel magazine editor, focused on Kenya, before which I covered news in Africa and beyond. These days, I travel with my kids.