For a split second I looked around surrounded by a thicket of trees, alone in what felt like a scene from a dramatic movie. I could almost feel the eerie trees, enveloping around me. “What did you get yourself into, Vionna?” I found myself muttering out loud, while the horse I was on, galloped away; quite confident of the path it was leading me to. We trudged on, in what seemed like an eternity; “I should probably have gone with the tour van”, my inner voice taunting me on. It was too late to think twice about the decision I had just made half an hour before. At that moment, all I could do was inhale the fresh mountain air while I marveled at my own decisions as it finally dawned on me why we often wander for distraction, but find ourselves traveling for fulfillment.
I should probably start a few hours earlier, before I found myself wandering away in the woods on a cold Saturday morning a few weeks ago. Together with Fairmont and CulturedInt, we were off to an amazing trip dubbed, “The Fairmont Bloggers Experience” accompanied by a few media personalities and bloggers alike. Nanyuki always holds a special place in my heart; from the scenic beauty along the way, the cool fresh air, the lush landscapes and of course home to Mount Kenya, I was eager to see what this town and Fairmont had in store for us!
After an interesting drive from Nairobi, thanks to the lovely ladies I got acquainted with on our way to Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, we finally arrived there at about 9pm. I had mentally prepared myself for the extreme cold climate in Nanyuki, but my body wasn’t quite ready for the biting cold that welcomed us, as soon as we checked in! We hurried off to the Deck for dinner, as the chef on duty treated us to quite an array of delicacies, despite our late arrival! It takes quite some getting used to the cold weather in Nanyuki, especially if you’re from Mombasa, which was proving to be quite a challenge for me, and I, couldn’t wait to retreat back to the suite I shared with Wanjira for the weekend. The original Victorian charm is quite evident in all the suites; while the beautiful fireplace somehow teleports you back to a vintage era. There’s nothing quite like unwinding to the sound of crackling fire going on in the fireplace, while you’re wrapped up in a nice warm blanket, as you gently dose off to the warmth.
Waking up to the beautiful majestic view of the sun slowly rising over Mount Kenya in the distance the next morning, was quite calming; that spectacular view makes waking up at the break of dawn to capture that moment, quite worth it.
A bush breakfast on the slopes of Mount Kenya awaited us; as soon as I discovered we either had the option to ride there by horse, or jump in on the van, I quickly opted for the adventurous experience. There I was, halfway through the enchanting forest; confidently placed on top of this beautiful stallion, soaking in the tranquil landscapes and streams around the forest, thinking to myself whether the horse had an inbuilt GPRS system in case we got lost in the woods! Thankfully the horse was more focused than I was, and we finally managed to find our way and joined the rest of the team, as we made a grand entrance!
Nestled right on the foothills of Mount Kenya, surrounded by the forest with a view of Mount Kenya in the background, the bush breakfast on the slopes of the mountain is quite an unforgettable experience.
The culinary team welcomed us with nicely chilled champagne, while they arranged a full breakfast for us, in the middle of the plains, out in the wild, surrounded by nature.
After a memorable experience, we decided to embark on a tour of the game ranch across the vast property. We managed to spot a few albino zebras and various wildlife along the way, as our tour guide educated us more on the conservation efforts around the ranch.
Being home to the Bongo antelopes, which are under severe threat of extinction as they are hunted for their striking reddish- brown coat, Fairmont have admiringly made efforts to protect and conserve this endangered animals around the park. We headed off to the animal orphanage and got to feed some of the animals, while a few of us, had the opportunity to get inside the cheetah’s cage and managed to capture a few up-close shots.
A few bloggers headed off to tee at the golf course, while my fellow namesake and travel writer, Marion indulged in some fishing; I decided to explore the various rooms and cottages around the property. In my head, I’ve always had this dream of one day owning a cabin in the woods in Nanyuki, soaking up some warmth by the fireplace with Idris Elba by my side. When I stumbled on the beautiful cottages at Fairmont, my cabin fantasies happened to turn into reality (excluding the Idris Elba part) albeit for a few minutes.
After a day filled with so many activities, we sat by the bonfire catching up on the day’s experiences as our chef for the night, Chef Picco gave us an amazing dining experience which neither of us was mentally prepared for, considering all the culinary delights that had been laid out in front of us! It took me quite a while to recover from the death by chocolate experience I had with the dessert menu arranged for us!
The morning after, before heading back to Nairobi, I decided to explore and get lost inside the maze situated on the lush green lawns around Fairmont.
The life size maze is ideal for the adventurous kind; my inner child really enjoyed the feeling of running around, trying to find my way out despite assuming my photographic memory would help me maneuver my way inside, until I managed to cheat my way out, when I found a small opening on one of the fences! On my way to join the rest for brunch, I bumped into this little fella, staring at me; judging me probably for walking around barefoot and carefree despite the light drizzles.
We truly had a memorable experience at Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club. Traveling always has a way of teaching you more about yourself than you can ever imagine, so go find oceans, lakes and mountains to swallow you whole; they will save you in a way nothing else can. My unforgettable experience at Fairmont made me realize one thing; life should have more mountains and less stress!