Nanyuki's delight

Comfort Gardens SweetWaters. [Photo: Craig Muganda]
I could never tell the difference between those two words when I was younger. I should add that cook and cooker equally used to confuse me but suffice it to write that I still get concerned about this cool/ cold, cook/ cooker conundrum because I like cool places — and they can be cold — and good food. Or cool places that serve good food; even when those places are cold.

Cool — and they can be cold — places where good food is served are increasingly becoming scarce in Kenya, but when you are out for a good, wonderful and unforgettable experience, you can find such a place, which will also not cost you an arm, a leg or any of your body parts.

Approximately 205 kilometres from Nairobi, right at the Rongai main gate of 90,000-acre Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Nanyuki, lies Comfort Gardens Sweetwaters, the affordable, quiet and homely place that I discovered slightly over a week ago. Well, I was not disappointed, and neither was my photographer son, Craig, who captured the beautiful images plastered on this page.

Comfort Gardens SweetWaters. [Photo: Craig Muganda]
When you drive at a normal speed, taking time to enjoy the scenery and weather of Mount Kenya region, it will take you slightly over three hours from Nairobi to Comfort Gardens Sweetwaters, which is off Nanyuki-Marura road. And then your adventure can begin.

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There are fans of establishments where you drive for several kilometres from the gate to your room, but when you fancy a place where the distance from the gate to the beginning of your wonderful stay is just a matter of metres, then Comfort Gardens is the place.

“We have different categories of rooms,” Jejet Nungari, a front office staff member explained. “Simba Block has two categories of rooms, Standard and Standard Deluxe and our rooms look exactly as they are on our website, www.comfortgardens.com.”

A good getaway

A lioness taking a rest. [Photo: Craig Muganda]
If you want a room with a view of Ol Pejeta Conservancy which is home to the Big Five and other animals, then settle for the Deluxe; if not, Standard Room is perfect. Kifaru and Chui blocks have Twin Rooms — not just because of the number of beds in them, but they offer a twin view of the park and the swimming pool with poolside seats on which you can soak in the sun, and a baby pool for the young ones, meaning that Comfort Gardens is perfect for the whole family.

We settled for the Twin Room with a twin view. Like all the rooms at Comfort Gardens, it is spacious, has large windows, reading desk, hair dryer, hot water, free WiFi (available in all areas), and a TV which you can watch after a swim, a game drive or a walk in the garden where they host team building groups, conferences, weddings or receptions. They also serve dinners on the grounds.

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Lip-smacking food

When the idea of an open-air dinner comes up, you think of the cold. At Comfort Gardens, you can enjoy your dinner next to a crackling bonfire as you listen to the cackling of the resident birds, and this is good news for bird lovers because the compound is home to a number of species. Nothing spoils a good getaway like bland food. As a foodie, I was not disappointed, right from breakfast to lunch to dinner — and whether it was buffet or à la carte, the chef was on point with lip-smacking and well-portioned fare. Oh, and the coffee was just too good!

If you love your tipple, there is a well-stocked bar on the same floor as the restaurant, with a twin view of the pool and the park. If you are wild for life, the management can organise a game drive in Ol Pejeta Conservancy; 90,000 acres of unblemished nature with all types and sizes of untroubled animals — lions, elephants, rhinos, zebras, giraffes, impalas, buffaloes, cheetahs, leopards and chimpanzees who are housed at the Sweet Waters Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

Comfort Gardens SweetWaters. [Photo: Craig Muganda]
The cost of the game drive is exclusive of accommodation charges which are between Sh 9,000 and Sh 18,000 depending on the season, room type and whether it is bed and breakfast, half or full board. Children aged five years and below are not charged, those aged between six and 12 years pay 50 per cent when they are sharing with an adult and 75 per cent when booked in their own rooms. Anyone aged 12 years and above pays adult rates.

Nanyuki can be cold, but Comfort Gardens is not only cool, but has warm-hearted staff. Aren’t there cool places in Nairobi? You can read about one such place in two weeks.

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NanyukiOl Pejeta