At first indistinct, then its symphony becomes clearer and louder. The melodic chanting, singing and dancing from a few Maasai welcome you to Mamba Village, momentarily make you forget about the hole-ridden dirt road that led you there in the first place.
Situated only approximately 13km outside of Nairobi’s city center in the leafy Karen suburb, Mamba Village is a sanctuary for wildlife and the perfect place to enjoy the world beyond the confines of our homes and offices.
If the restaurant is your final destination, visitors to Mamba Village make their way first through tree-lined pathways, a small amusement park that offers novelties like camel rides, an art gallery, over a man-made lake where the water seems still and peaceful, and finally past the crocodile pens where you can catch a glimpse of some of the largest crocodiles on the property being fed – perhaps an appetizing beginning to your own meal?
Instead of sitting indoors amongst the hand-crafted furniture and earthy colours on such a glorious day – blue skies and not a cloud in sight – we opted to sit outdoors, in the luscious surroundings, overlooking the lake. Delightful jazz plays in the background.
The lunch menu read of continental, African and grilled meaty treats. There was the “World reknown” Nairobi Mamba mixed grill platter (Sh 2,500) of a quarter chicken, beef and goat platter that arrived to our table in a paper bag, which revealed a large crumpled ball of aluminum foil where the grilled treats were placed. Not entirely sure what made this dish “World reknown” aside from the idea that Kenyans love Nyama Choma. The Traditional Fish (Sh 800) did not fair much better since the kitchen only had fish fillets available instead of whole tilapias, which clearly had been in the refrigerator for some time. The texture was too soft and the natural sweetness of fresh fish was absent. Finally there was the Crocks Beef Burger (Sh 800), which the patty came dry, under-seasoned and thin, sandwiched in an untoasted bun.
In comparison to the rest, far better was the Quarter Dill Dragon Rosemary Garlic Chicken (Sh 300), sensitively grilled until tender with an occasional sign of a char.
Though we waited for what seemed like an endless 45 minutes for our food, our hunger only eased by the beautiful tranquil surroundings, the staff was very pleasant and hospitable.
Mamba Village is definitely a great place to take a walk, explore and spend an afternoon with your children and friends learning about wildlife and the outdoors. Next time, I will try my luck with the water bicycles; I would have probably have got more entertainment out of it.