By Omulo Okoth
Karen Country Club is as an elite golf club. Virtually all golf clubs congregate members of the high society, Karen brings together crème de la crème of the elite, probably only rivalled by Muthaiga and Windsor Country and Golf Clubs.
But one aspect of Karen sets it apart from other golf clubs.
It reports on its website that some unique features that distinguish it from other golfing clubs include flowering shrubs, lakes and wetlands, outstanding indigenous trees and many fine sporting amenities.
However, among those features, the most captivating, yet hardly mentioned, probably because it is obscured from public gaze is its bulk water project.
Started in 2009, during the chairmanship of Raphael Nzomo, the project has been finalised at the cost of Sh90 million only awaiting commissioning. It resulted in a 100,000 cubic metres dam, which will be used for irrigating the golf course.
The water is harvested from floodwater that flows along Mbagathi River. Jinaro Kibet, the current Karen Country Club Chairman, said the project is in line with Vision 2030 on the management of floodwater harvesting and in line with the club’s Vision of having a world class golf course, which is at the same time sensitive to the conservation of the environment and ecosystem.
“We have a focused Board and good Management team and an extremely supportive membership, all of whom are not only looking at improving facilities here, but also the future and how the current facilities can be sustained,” said Kibet, a renowned lawyer and sports personality.
Because of heavy commercial farming around this leafy neighbourhood, many residents of Karen have sunk boreholes, which has made the water tower sink even deeper. Even those not involved in commercial farming have sunk boreholes. This has made water scarce. Moreover, by having dams within the 220-acre country club, there is no need of pumping water using electricity.
The dams are hidden behind the lush fairways and manicured greens with Egyptian geese and kingfisher enjoying its tranquil surroundings. There are about 800 different species of birds including crested cranes and guinea fowl.
The game around the park include dik dik and wild rabbits. The Country Club General Manager, Sam Mwai, said only floodwater is pumped from Mbagathi River.