Book Review: The Return Journey by Maeve Binchy

These are star-crossed travelers who take each other’s bags by mistake, only to learn that when you unlock a stranger’s suitcase you enter a stranger’s life; the house-sitter who moves into her client’s life as well as her home; a holiday for four in Greece which has surprising consequences; and the chance encounter at an airport which unites an unlikely group of people. Full of love, loss, revelations and reconciliation, this enchanting collection shows Maeve Binchy at the height of her powers.

The Return Journey

I know a couple of fans of Maeve Binchy’s work and so when I came across one of her books, I had to read it and see what the fuss was all about. The Return Journey by Maeve Binchy is a collection of short stories on the theme of travel and vacation. When I picked the book, I didn’t know that it was a short stories collection. However, I still got lost in the pages, reading each story to the end.

There are different angles in each story. For instance, my favorite one was ‘ The Wrong Suitcase’ which is about two travelers who ended up swapping suitcases and so they had to open each other’s suitcase to find information on how to exchange the suitcases. It’s what they find in the suitcases that shapes their opinions about each other. There are a couple of other stories about people who find love and friendship during vacations. There are also stories of people who venture out of their normal routines to go on vacations.

All stories are heartwarming and I found myself smiling as I read them. Maeve Binchy does a great job of taking readers to each vacation and into the lives of the characters. The stories made me long for my own vacation. I wish I could  move to Italy and work in a restaurant like one of the characters.

If you are looking for a light, fun read, then you should definitely get The Return Journey by Maeve Binchy. This would also make a great read on vacation(Easter holiday is coming up). I don’t know whether all Maeve Binchy books are short stories collections but I do look forward to reading more from her and finding out. Do let me know if you have any recommendations on other Maeve Binchy books that I should check out.

Giraffe Ark


As I have mentioned before, my travel companions around Nanyuki are my mum and big brother, Allan. We always make a point of discovering new places whenever we are home at Narumoru. Having been to numerous places around Narumoru and especially in Nanyuki, we decided to explore the nearby town of Nyeri. One of the places that we have been planning to visit is the Tafaria Castle. However,first, we decided to drive down to the Giraffe Ark.

We left home at around 12:00pm and made it to Nyeri town by 1:00pm and then we begun the journey to Giraffe Ark which we were told is located somewhere on the Nyeri-Nyahururu highway. We passed by the Golden Gates Hotel, which I wrote about here:The Golden Gates Hotel. We then spotted the home of the former president, Mwai Kibaki where we unsuccessfully tried craning our necks, peeking through trees but that home was really hard to see. We caught a glimpse of a single, castle-like structure that we assumed was his home. We drove for about 30 more minutes without any sign of the Giraffe Ark although we saw numerous resorts along the way. We kept driving until we started suspecting that we had missed the sign. We even thought that we were closer to Tafaria Castle by then. However, just as we were about to give up, we eventually saw the sign post leading us to Giraffe Ark which was six kilometers away off the main road.


A few images from Giraffe Ark

Giraffe Ark is tucked away in a quiet, remote area, sort of like a hidden gem. However, once we got through the gates, we were met by a buzz of activities. It was slightly drizzling so we were delighted to see the hotel staff meeting the arriving guests right at the parking lot with huge umbrellas. They were quite pleasant, greeting everyone, shaking hands and offering directions. I must say, that was the best reception that I have ever received . To say that the place is beautiful is an understatement; Giraffe Ark is one of the most magnificent places that I have ever been to.


There are a lot of seating areas around the place, as i said, its like a little town. I loved the different designs of the seats.They were so beautiful.


I found this little gazebo, that was just enchanting.

They also have  amazing accommodation at the Giraffe Ark including a Honeymoon suite. If you are looking for an out of town plot to a nice, beautiful, magical place, then definitely head to Giraffe Ark.

ps: I took all the photos in this blog post, I don’t know if my photography skills are just improving or maybe the location was just so beautiful that all photos look great

check out this link for more details and photos of the place:The Giraffe Ark




The Mt. Kenya Royal Cottages



The farthest from home that I have been is Zanzibar. I have also been to the lovely Lamu Island and of course Mombasa. I love islands  and so would like to visit more of them. This year, I plan to make my first trip to Malindi. I also dream of visiting Rusinga Islands someday or at least Kisumu where I have never been to.

According to Google images, this is what Rusinga Island looks like.

There are many benefits of traveling; I think my favorite one is that you get to learn other people’s culture. For instance; I learned just how gentle and friendly Tanzanians are after visiting Dar Es Saalam and Zanzibar. Its at Zanzibar that I saw the most beautiful sunsets.One evening, seated at Forodhani gardens, my brother and I sat in awe of how beautiful the island was and even wondered if that is what paradise looked like. In Lamu,  I learned about people whose lives are not dictated by time, an island where there are no official opening and closing hours for businesses and sometimes when it’s so hot, businesses close in the middle of the day and people go off to sleep. It’s a Lamu that I had the most adventure; I had a drink on a floating bar/restaurant in the middle of the Indian Ocean. I also took a ride in a dhow that kept being thrown around in the ocean waves.

2013-07-01 18.13.54Beautiful sunset at Zanzibar

The Mount Kenya Royal Cottages

One place that I have had the privilege of touring extensively is my hometown, Nanyuki. I have been to tens of places but still keep discovering new ones. That is the thing about Nanyuki, there are so many places to visit and each place offers a different experience.  The Mt. Kenya Royal Cottages is my latest discovery.


I saw the sign post for the Mr. Kenya Royal Cottages along the Narumoro- Nanyuki stretch sometime back.  The resort is located on a ka-hilly area and it’s not visible from the road. One day, my family and I decided to make the drive up the ka-small hill and check the place out. We found a wonderful little restaurant with very friendly staff. Interestingly, the prices for foods and drinks are far from being pricey. We had coffee/ tea pots and paid about 200shs only. The place was quite scenic and so we enjoyed a nice quite afternoon just catching up with each other and with nature.


On our way out, we talked to one of the staff members and he agreed to give us a tour around the resort and especially the cottages. Here are some pictures of the quaint cottages at the Mount Kenya Royal Cottages.


Check out this link for more details about the Mt. Kenya Royal Cottages;

When a Man Loves a Woman


It is said that love makes people lose rationality and do crazy things. I do agree with that and can  share a few stories of my own moments of ‘loved induced’ temporary insanity. However, this is not about me. This is about men who have done extraordinary things for the women that they love.

1. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

King Nebuchadnezzar was concerned when he noticed that his new wife, Queen Amytis was forlorn and homesick. He realized that Amytis was unhappy because she missed her home where there were highlands, valleys and forests unlike the desert where the King lived. King Nabuchadnezzar then decided to build the Hanging Garden of Babylon for her. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon was so beautiful that it is listed under the seven wonders of the ancient world. It was filled with plants, trees and flowers so exotic like nothing anyone had seen before.
2. Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is another magnificent building that was built for a woman. It is said that the Taj Mahal took over ten years to build.The Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan, emperor of Mughal empire, for his third and favorite wife, Mahal. Mahal had died at childbirth and the distraught King decided to build the Taj Mahal for her tomb. It is said that during the two year mourning period, Shah Jahan was consumed with so much grief that he prohibited music and entertainment in the region.

“Above all things I believe in love. Love is like oxygen. Love is a many-splendored thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love!”
— Christian in Moulin Rouge!

3. The Kenyan Love Story…Or Not!
The Lord Egerton Castle

Now imagine this, a man falls in love with an Austrian woman. He brings her to Kenya to his nice cottage. However, the woman unimpressed by his abode, laughs at him and declares that his home resembles a chicken coop or a dog kennel. This was in reference to the modest size of the home that only had…ahem… six bedrooms. That tiny place! Before, you judge her too harshly; you should know that this lady was ‘royalty’ hence a six bedroom house to her was just the same as living in a shoe. The lady was so disgusted by the tiny house that she fled back to her country leaving behind a very broken hearted man.

The man still determined to win her over decides to build her an impressive, grandiose castle with 52 rooms. The castle was so splendid that none other rivaled it even in England. The building materials were bought from Europe and the laborers were from Asia. At the end, he invites back the woman of his interest and once again, she rejects him in public. Even after building her such a magnificent and whimsical castle, she still remained unimpressed.


This is the story of Lord Maurice Egerton Tatton and the Austrian Lady (her name was never given).The Castle that he built is known as the Lord Egerton Castle and is located about 12kms from Nakuru town. It was built in the 1930s but still stands to date albeit a bit rundown over time.
It is said that after the rejection, Lord Egerton decided to focus on farming on his 26,000 acres of land. He then furnished his castle as if a family lived there. Lord Egerton forbade entrance into the castle apart from the servants.



In particular, women were banned from ever entering the castle or walking around its grounds. Because the Lady had compared his first home to a chicken coop or dog kennel, Lord Egerton hated dogs and chicken and they too were banned from the castle and its environs. So yeah, women, chicken and dogs… So serious was Lord Egerton that he put up notices on trees around his land and castle warning women that they will get shot if they ventured into the forbidden grounds.

If you think banning women from his grounds was extreme, wait till you hear what he did when visiting his servants. Lord Egerton would issue a two weeks’ notice every time he wanted to visit the Servants’ quarters. This notice was issued so that the women (wives and daughters) could vacate the premises in good time ahead of his visit. Lord Egerton died a lonely man in 1958.

Today, the Lord Egerton Castle is a tourist attraction where men and …women roam around freely admiring the grand home. It is also a popular venue for weddings. I can just imagine how Lord Egerton is looking down at his castle, face contorted in rage as he watches women and girls (and perhaps even dogs and chicken) walk and run around his home.

“Basically, all women are nurturers and healers, and all men are mental patients to varying degrees.”
Nelson DeMille, The General’s Daughter

So when a man loves a woman, he builds her something grand. And women, when a man builds you a castle, don’t reject him lest he decides to punish all other women (dogs and chicken too) because of you.

IMG_20151020_154112Me, at the steps of the forbidden castle


A few more images from around the castle:









Maanzoni Lodge

I visited Maanzoni Lodge for the second time this August and just like the first time, I was enchanted by the place. The beautiful lodge is set in such a serene environment making it perfect for weekend getaways or any kind of retreat. The first time that I visited the Lodge was in 2013, going back to the lodge two years later, i was amazed by how much the place had grown. I was informed that the lodge currently has over  270 rooms.

During the two day retreat, there were at least four other groups. It seems that Maanzoni Lodge has become a very popular destination especially for corporate events.

‘Maanzoni Lodge is set on a 10 000-acre ranch with beautiful vistas and wildlife, located in the tropical savannah grassland and in the heart of Lukenya. It is a 40 minute drive to the city centre of Nairobi and 25 minutes from the international airport.’

Here is Maanzoni Lodge in photos:

Beautiful Accomodations

I really wasn’t kidding when i said that the lodge is beautiful. This is a view of the accommodation area is  picturesque, tranquil and breathtaking

Below are some photos of the pool area:

Pool 1

Pool 2

Pool 3

Its a shame that i didn’t get to swim at this magnificent pool, id like to claim that its because i was there for work and not leisure but yeah, water phobia is real 🙂

At night, the pool area becomes the bonfire area. I met groups eating, drinking and singing near the pool at night around bonfires. It gave it a camping feel, really nice.

Lounge 2

Lounge Area

This is the lounge area right at the reception. The staff met us there, welcomed us to lodge and offered us a cold glass of juice before taking us to the rooms. Royal treatment 🙂

Below are some pics of my room. The rooms are quite spacious, clean with comfy beds. There is a TV in each room too. In 2013, i got a room with some kind of a patio with seats outside, really beautiful too.

Room 1

I wish i was allowed to take this bed home with me, it was way too comfy…

Room 2


The bathrooms all have hot showers but you need to ask the staff to show you how to work the showers. I had to do with a cold shower on the first day before i learned the tricks.

Another thing i really love about Maanzoni is the food. Seriously, the chefs outdo themselves with every single meal and honestly, that was my favorite part of the retreat.I bet i gained a Kg or two during the retreat but it was worth it.

Below are pics of the two dinning areas at the lodge.

Dining Area

Inside Dinning Area

The rest are photos of the accommodation area, i have so  many nice shots of this place. Its so beautiful and easy to photograph. I had to restrain myself from uploading too many pics. They were all so lovely. Here are some of my favorite ones:



Accomodation 1IMG_20150731_164839




Next time your organization has a conference or if you are looking for a getaway just outside Nairobi, you should check out Maanzoni Lodge.

Check out their official website for more details:

The staff are the lodge are amazing and very helpful. For bookings, i have dealt with Kanini Musau, Sales and Marketing Manager. Her email address is talk to her if you need any information, she is really friendly and helpful.  I also met Asumpter Kanini, the Guest Relations Officer who gave me a brief tour of the lodge and told me about the expansion, a very lovely and cheerful lady. The whole team was great from the customer care desk, the chefs and their crew and Douglas who facilitated the team building events. They add to the enchantment of the place.

So why go to Maanzoni? Well, id say because its a great, beautiful lodge where you will get to enjoy the serene environment while also enjoying good service from the staff members.Its definitely worth a visit.

7th Heaven at Moof Africa

7th Heaven

7th Heaven
When I see their happy faces smilin’ back at me
7th Heaven
I know there’s no greater feelin’ than the love of family

Where can you go
When the world don’t treat you right
The answer is home
That’s the one place that you’ll find


I found this at the entrance of the Moof Africa grounds, not really sure what it is though but it kinda looks artistic 🙂

Family Time

I always thank God for the gift of family. Every second that I get to spend with them is a great blessing and I hope and pray that I will never take them for granted. They have always been there for me through the tears and laughter and I can’t imagine my life without them.

Going home and spending time with your family and your real friends keeps you grounded.
Jennifer Ellison

I remember in 2013,when I was involved in an accident ,the first person that I thought about was my mother and despite the fact that I was far from her and it was 4:00am, I called her and she answered on the second ring. By 6:00am, she was on Mombasa Road following the ambulance that was taking me to K.N.H. She spent the whole day with me as I went through one test after the other and took me home where she stayed for a week nursing me back to health. That is what family does, they bail you out of tough situations that you get yourself into and they stay with you long after everyone else has left.


outside seating area at Moof Africa
I remember years back after moving out of my folk’s place after getting my  first job, I thought I was finally Miss Independent. However, my first salary got stolen during a robbery at my workplace and so I had to call home and ask for assistance in paying rent .This was a reminder to the young and naive Miss Independent that I was trying to be, that I will always need my family.

Continue reading “7th Heaven at Moof Africa”

Trout Tree Restaurant

You haven’t really lived if you have never done the following:

1. Dined in a restaurant on top of a tree

2. Caught your own dinner/lunch

3. Asked for a drink and then watch the waiter use a rope to pull up the drink from a river

4. Visited Narumoro/ Nanyuki. Okay this last one me once again giving a shutout to my hometown.I am really not exaggerating when I say that Nanyuki is one of the most beautiful town in the country. No seriously, that town is quite picturesque.

You can do all these things at the Trout Tree Restaurant in Nanyuki.

This restaurant is just about 5 minutes off the Nanyuki-Kiganjo road just near the airstrip (yes we do have an airstrip in Nanyuki). It is located along the Burguret River. Unlike your regular restaurants, this one is built on top of an old Mugumo (sacred fig) tree. Needless to say, the view from the restaurant is simply breathtaking.




The ambiance at Trout Tree invokes the feeling of relaxation. Once you are seated there, the cool views and scenic surrounding puts your mind at ease. The seating arrangement is good even for big groups as they have couches all over the place. In addition, you will be surrounded by tall trees and waters all around. I also saw Columbus monkeys which are quite cheeky and hard to photograph.


Trout Tree Restaurant offers another unique experience. They have trout ponds surrounding the restaurant. You can see the fish jumping in the ponds especially during feeding time. When you order any dishes with fish, you get to watch as they get fresh trout right from the pond. If you are a bit adventurous, they will even let you catch your own fish. It really doesn’t get any better than that.


I think that this is quite impressive seriously though, I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t get impressed by watching the journey that the fish takes from the waters to the kitchen then lastly to your plate. Anyway, if still not impressed, you should order drinks at the restaurant and watch what happens. The drinks are kept cool by being stored in crates which are then kept in the rivers so as to stay cool. So when you order your drinks, you get to watch as the crate is hauled up with a rope.

There is also play ground.


IMG_20150404_162214Adults can play too
Only thing that I found a bit odd about the restaurant is that they close at 4:30pm even on weekends and in this case, during a holiday like Easter. We arrived there at 4:00pm and could only get a chance to look around since they were closing despite the fact that they had so many patrons. The official opening hours are 10am to 4:00pm.


I kept trying to get close enough to get a pic of the monkeys but it became a hide and seek game. They were taunting me, giggling mercilessly as I ran around trying to catch them until I gave up. I didn’t take this pic 😉
I look forward to going back to Trout Tree  and maybe this time I’ll get there early enough to fully enjoy the restaurant.

If you want more details about Trout Tree restaurant, visit:

Naro Moru River Lodge

Nanyuki is one of the most beautiful towns in Kenya and I’m definitely lucky to call this place home. The town is well developed with good infrastructure, good tarmac roads, water and electricity even in the remotest farms.All the way, you get a beautiful view of the mountain especially early in the morning and late in the afternoon when you can even see the snow. The town is full of awesome entertainment spots mostly set in scenic areas with rivers, view Mt. Kenya or natural forests.


This weekend, I traveled home and got to spend an afternoon at Naro moru River Lodge with my mum. This lodge is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Naro moru. There is a serenity that I found there that quickly made me forget the hours that I had spent on the road from Nairobi.


Naro Moru River Lodge is located just a few minutes from the Naro Moru(this is the last town before you get to Nanyuki town). You will branch off from the main road at the police roadblock at Narumoro and take the left turn on the dust road. It’s only a 5 minutes drive. The road is dusty, bumpy and rough but don’t let that put you off.

Some of the key activities at Naro moru River Lodge include:


1. Mountain Climbing the Lodge offers a great location for those who want to climb Mt. Kenya through Lenana, Batian and Nelion routes. It is also a great place to rest and rejuvenate after climbing the mountain.


This is at the front entrance of the lodge, it shows Mt. Kenya, the white parts represent the snow at the mountain top


2. Bird Watching and Nature Trail- Although I didn’t get to do any bird watching while at the lodge, I understand the lodge is a great location for bird watchers. The nature trail also provides guests with scenic routes around the lodge



3. Accommodation- If you are looking for a place to stay in Naro moru, and then this lodge would be perfect for you. This is especially awesome for those who need a nice, quiet place away from noise or distractions. I saw the cottages and it made me dream of getting away for a few days, spending nights at the cottages and days under the trees in front of the river. Whether a romantic getaway or a family holiday, this place is really good. In addition, if you are looking for a honeymoon destination, this looks like a great place to consider.




This is right outside the cottages
This is right outside the cottages

4. Camping- A lot of people especially Nairobians only think of Naivasha when thinking of camping. However, Nanyuki has some great camping grounds in different resorts like the Naro moru Rive Lodge


5. Conference facilities- The Lodge has great conference facilities that would be perfect for organizations looking for a place to have retreats. With the serene environment and beautiful surroundings, this is a place even I would like to come back for a retreat. In addition, there are also team building activities that would be great for corporate


6. Recreation- The River Lodge has a beautiful swimming pool which is where my mum and I spend most of our time. There is sauna too and grounds for table tennis, squash and other games.

I really enjoyed my visit. Not only because of the scenic views all around but also because of the really friendly staff that had I met. From the waitress who served us to all the security guards, everyone was super friendly. In addition, we met the food and beverages manager, Augustine who was really good to us. He answered all our questions and volunteered additional information.

The water is quite low right now, hope to visit during the rainy season when the river is flowing

The prices are not so bad. However, if you are on a hustler’s budget like me, you better have lunch at Naro Moru town and then beverages at the lodge. Sodas are only Kshs.100.


Naro Moru River Lodge is definitely a place I hope to visit again.


For more information, visit the lodge’s official website at:


If you are looking for other lodges around Nanyuki, check out this list:

Chaka Ranch

welcome 2

Most Nairobians enjoy ‘out of town’ plans. It’s always a great idea to spend some time away from the city and enjoy the countryside. However, it is true that most people would still prefer to take a little of the city with them even as they venture into the countryside. I think this is why Chaka Ranch has been such a big hit since last year’s holidays. It is tucked away at the foot of Mount Kenya but still loaded with a lot of fun activities that everyone can enjoy.

A view of the ranch from the entrance foot bridge
A view of the ranch from the entrance foot bridge

The ranch is located at Chaka, a small town on the Nairobi to Nanyuki highway. I visited the ranch from Nanyuki and it was just a 20 minutes drive to Chaka town. From Chaka town, it took us about 20 more minutes to get to the ranch, the roads are good but we had traveled during a public holiday and so there was a lot of traffic. We were practically stuck in a convoy all the way.


There were a lot of activities going on at the ranch. There are restaurants, barbeque areas, sports bars, a kid’s playgrounds with bouncing castles. However, I think the main attractions of the place is the buggies and quad bikes. There were races all around the place for kids and grown-up.


Eating Area

The ranch has two types of small quad bikes; the Toto and Junior which can be hired at Kshs.1000 and Kshs.2000 each for a 30 minute ride around the track. For adults, there are the senior quad bikes which are hired for Kshs.3000 for 30 minutes. There are also three types of buggies, Junior, Maggiebuggy and Racing Baggie for Kshs.2000, 3000 and 5000 respectively.




Kids having fun


It was fun watching the kids
It was fun watching the kids

Things you should know about Chaka Ranch:
a. The location is very beautiful. The ranch is surrounded with stunning views especially of the Mount Kenya. There is also outdoor eating area from where you can see the dam. This is very beautiful although may not be ideal for kids unless closely monitored since the dam was not fenced by the time I was there.

A view of the mountain
A view of the mountain

b. They have a cashless system where all payments have to be made using Visa/Mastercards or Mpesa. We used Mpesa to buy all meals. I saw the same system in use at the Bantu Lodge where we had to buy meals and pay for all activities using a ticket, no cash inside the lodge. Not sure if it is a new thing at leisure spots in Nanyuki only.

What I didn’t like about my visit to Chaka Ranch was the fact that on that particular day, people had to wait for up to 4 hours for food orders to be ready especially any type of ‘Nyama Choma’. It could be because it was during a holiday and the place was really packed as it had just been launched but we ended up not eating at the venue during our visit.

people 2

I hope to visit the ranch again on a normal day,not a public holiday definitely.

Otherwise, Chaka Ranch is definitely a great place to visit. If you have kids, they will definitely enjoy the visit even more. It is only 2 hours away from Nairobi so definitely an easy drive for a weekend out of town.

I was moving at what i would call a neck-braking, dangerous speed LOL
I swear…it was moving at what i would call a neck-breaking, dangerous speed LOL

photo credit:I took most of the photos, however, some were from where i also got the pricelist for the bikes(the epic pics of the stationery bikes and the mountain are from the site). Visit the official website for more information about the ranch.

One bridge at a time

There are many articles online giving tips on ‘how to conquer the fear of heights’. I have had a phobia for heights for years and have experienced panic attacks caused by heights. Out of all the tips that i have read, i particularly liked ” Face your fears”. This is the one that i embraced. However, I was a bit apprehensive although excited at the same time when after Olootua natura trails, the Kwea team suggested that we go check out some bridges.

One thing that you need to know is that these are not the usual bridges that cut across rivers. However, they are bridges suspended about 100 feet off the ground held in place by some man-made features that did not give me much confidence. Under the bridge, there are huge rocks, little rivers but generally thick bushes.

Being on top of these bridges, you are forced to face your fear head-on. However, once you get used to being that high up with very little support, you start to appreciate the view around you.

Here is how I bagged bridges and overcame my height phobia all in one afternoon.

Maasai Lodge

The bridge looks quite harmless from this angle
Bridge one

Maasai Lodge Bridge

Not so harmless anymore
Th bridge 2

The Views from the bridge
The Rocks 1

Rocks 2

rock 3

This looked really good
This looked really good
View of the lodge from the bridge
View of the lodge from the bridge

This bridge was not so scary so by the time we were leaving, i had relaxed. Well, that was until i saw the second one.

Kitengela Glass Bridge

The bridge was so narrow and swinging lightly in the wind.
The bridge was so narrow and swinging lightly in the wind.


Kitenga Bridge in Full

Trying to calm my nerves and get on the bridge
Trying to calm my nerves and get on the bridge
It took about 5 minutes to get across the bridge though it really did feel like hours especially when i got to the middle
It took about 5 minutes to get across the bridge though it really did feel like hours especially when i got to the middle

On the other side
Below are some photos of what is one the other side of the bridge