In the midst of growing concrete jungles, Shilahi Wellness Gardens on the outskirts of Kakamega town is still attractive. Shilahi Gardens is a hidden gem and one of the most serene and tranquil places within Kakamega County.
Located 10 minutes from Kakamega town on 11 acres in Shinyalu, here one can experience calmness and quiet due to the relaxed ambience. The garden is located on the banks of River Isiukhu from which the water that is supplied to Kakamega town residents is pumped.
“The Shilahi Wellness Gardens is becoming popular among visitors, including local people who benefit from such visits,” Herbert Musoga, the proprietor, says.
The garden provides amenities that include a camping site, the riverside garden which is a place to set up tents for events, the rock amphitheatre and a children’s playground.
No food or drinks are offered at the Wellness garden, and campers are advised to bring their own food. At the entrance of the garden is Khakayi Hall, an iron-roofed structure made of wood, a wide door, has no windows and is supported by wooden structures. The floor is cemented and it is a space. There are no seats. Anyone who wishes to have their event indoors has to decorate the hall according to their specification.
“All the other facilities are outdoors, so the hall is a provision for those who like indoor activities. People can also shelter themselves in case of rain or scorching sun,” Musoga says.
Khakayi Hall has a capacity of up to 600. At the exit to the hall are two beautiful rabbit sculptures made of clay mounted on the poles erected on both sides of the path. Across the hall there is a tea plantation that has been trimmed exquisitely to form a lawn creating an alluring sight.
The pathway between the hall and the tea plantation is aligned with indigenous guava and Musila trees. At Shilahi Gardens, there are two areas where lactating mothers can attend to their newborns comfortably away from the crowd. The provision includes seats crafted from cement situated strategically under tall trees that provide shade.
“It was very thoughtful to create this private place for mothers. I appreciate the fact that I am able to feed my baby without getting uncomfortable from the stares,” said Joy, a young mother who visited Shilahi.
On the lower part of the garden is a staircase leading to an open-air circular rock. On both sides of the staircase, there are bricks modified with cement to create larger stairs that can also act as seats, with grass thinly trimmed in between them.
“This is a beautiful view for a wedding and it also brings out the natural aspect of it. The environment is so relaxing and the sound of water flowing makes it even more amicable,” said Sophy Inganji, a visitor touring the garden.
“One cannot create something so perfect. It is a gift of nature to us,” Musoga said. The confluence of River Salasa and the famous Isiukhu River makes the place cool during all seasons of the year.
About 200m along the banks of River Isiukhu is the riverside garden, a spacious ground and ideal camping site. Campers can cook their food or have something made for them by the management.