The land subdivisions in Athi River area of Machakos County have affected the ecosystem in so many ways. About five years ago, it was common to see wild animals roaming the vast plains that stretch towards Kangundo but not anymore as the land has been subdivided and developments taken over, forcing away the wild.
Nevertheless, you will still find some hidden gems. Just about three kilometres from the Nairobi-Mombasa Highway lies Wattle Blossom Lodge, a new getaway in the rapidly developing wilderness.
A turn-off from the highway, a dusty road – now under construction – leads you towards the acacia shrubs which characterise the Athi Plains and the Savanna beyond. There are many real estate investments in the area but the bush camp at Wattle Blossom removes you from the city and places you smack in the middle of nowhere.
What strikes you when you first arrive at the lodge is the opulent view it offers. From a vantage point, I spot the Lukenya Hills, Daystar University and even the rumbling industries that dot Athi River area. The view gets better at night with a myriad of lights originating from the busy highway.
Wattle Blossom is surrounded by a live wire perimetre fence for the security of the guests and there is ample parking for visitors. Once inside, I notice the cottages that are a trademark of the lodge. They are semi- permanent tents; a mix of timber, concrete and tents raised up above the ground. The mix of the village with an urban twist is striking in the bush setting.
The paved walkways lined up with street lights form a network between the various sections of the lodge. Taking a walk down the paths, I notice that the cottages, set among the acacia trees, are almost camouflaged.
The walkways are lined with flowers, adding to the aesthetics of the getaway. The colourful display contrasts beautifully with the natural vegetation of the plains.
Each cottage has a staircase leading to an exquisite interior. Once inside, you could easily forget that you are inside a tent. There are twin beds which can be easily joined together to create more sleeping space. The wooden floors help cool down the cottage during the day and the beds, wired to heaters, help beat the chill at night.
A reading table separates the sleeping area from the spacious washroom which has a bathroom, a sink and toilet. When the day is hot, as usually is in the Savanna, the acacia forms canopies that cool down the temperatures and combined with the winds that blow from the hills, you can relax away from the stifling heat.
Seated on the verandah to catch my breath, the natural sounds from the chirping birds and their movements from tree to tree lull me into a deep sleep. When I come to, I am greeted by the sight of the deep blue waters in the nearby pool and in the heat of day, I decide to take a quick dip. During dinner time, I have my meals served beside the swimming pool and the stillness is cut through by the soft music on rotation by the resident deejay.
The pool is child friendly and if you are one for pool parties, I highly recommend giving this place a look over. Beyond the pool is a winding nature trail that leads to Athi River –perfect for an evening romantic stroll.
You can also ask to have your tent pitched by the river bank and sleep to the sounds of the rushing waters in the rainy season. Unfortunately at the time of my visit, the river bed was dry thanks to the stretched out dry season. You can also light bonfires making it the perfect place for team building activities.