When we plan a break, it usually involves a frenzied search on Airbnb. With three children, hotels and lodges are getting increasingly out of our financial reach, and a house is often the most economical of the offerings out there. Yes, yes, we could camp… but we are not natural campers.
And so – to Nanyuki. We had our eyes on Tapendoi for a while – but on the main house, which was only occasionally up for weekend rentals. Then the Hurt family did up a neighbouring cottage on the same property, adding two safari tents to expand the space, giving us the opportunity finally to stay there.
The house itself has been very well done – it has a country cabin feel, thanks to the main wooden structure, a log fire and comfy armchairs. Accommodation is in the two fairly fancy safari tents to either side – one a twin which suited the kids, and the other a pretty spacious double, both with ensuite bathrooms.
While I might have been content to stay at the cabin unwinding, our kids required something more stimulating. Tapendoi enjoys an enviable position just 10 minutes’ drive from Lolldaigas, a private game conservancy that is accessible via prior arrangement. It is a spectacular piece of country, and thankfully recovered from the wildfires that ripped through here in 2021.
Meanwhile, our children wanted to ride horses – desperately. After we rang round all of the lodges – guests only, sadly – we found Everything Altitude, a rustic but well-run stable just outside Nanyuki with some good riding in the surrounding area. For those looking to surround themselves with horses, then Everything Altitude also has its own cottage, also on Airbnb.
Most surprising was the facelift that Nanyuki has had in the last couple of years, not least the addition of the Mt Kenya climbing gym, an outdoor wall (we spent quite a few sessions there), and the deli restaurant Shop 14, a serene little spot selling fine foods, most of them locally-sourced. It has a playground, too. By contrast, Cape Chestnut, which we tried for lunch one day, felt a bit dated by comparison. And if we didn’t fancy cooking, then there are several options to buy ready-made, home-cooked dishes for collection, our favourite being the Food Fairy.
At the end of a hectic day, it was always a pleasure to return to the warm hearth of Tapendoi.
Tapendoi is booked via Airbnb. There's a minimum two-night stay. Expect to pay in the region of Ksh 35,000 a night after service charges and bank fees.
More things to do around Nanyuki: The blue pool at Ngare Ndare is well worth a visit and has exciting canopy walks. Ol Pejeta, just south of the town, is a game conservancy with very reliable game sightings. Of course, Nanyuki is the base for ascents of Mt Kenya, and a good place to acclimatise. For mountain bike hire, contact Nixon on 0708 499 875.
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.