NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 23 – This was a Friday that I had looked forward to with much eagerness. I was due to return to a place that was still etched in my memories nearly seven years since I last visited.
Fairmont East Africa had organised a media tour to the recently refurbished Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, and I was privileged to be on it.
And so, on this beautiful Friday I woke up in high spirits, ready to tour the world. My colleagues and I met up with the trip organiser Lillian Nganda over lunch at the Fairmont Norfolk before we set off towards Nyeri by road.
Two and a half hours later and a couple of drinks down, a battery of journalists disembarked a bus at the foothills of Mount Kenya, right at the equator.
The General Manager Phillip Cauviere and his staff had taken the trouble (that looked like pleasure to them) to prepare a welcoming party that included Maasai dancers and hotel employees with the characteristic warm towels.
And then, there was Resident Naturalist Simon who took us on a tour of the flora and fauna surrounding the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club. He then demonstrated the Coriolis Effect at the court yard.
This unusual defiance of scientific law is exhibited in an impressive water demonstration that will leave you baffled! Basically, the water rotates anti-clockwise at the northern hemisphere and clockwise at the southern hemisphere. The idea is to demonstrate to a visitor that the club’s courtyard is divided into two by the equator line.
The demonstration culminates with a presentation of a certificate by the “Chief of the Fairmont Mt Kenya Club ‘chiefdom’ amid song, dance and pomp.
As we walk through the courtyard, I notice that while some things have changed with the renovations, the club’s original design has largely remained intact save for a new main restaurant that replaces the previous one which is to be converted into a conference room.
The Tusk Restaurant and Terrace has been uniquely constructed to provide an endless view of the club’s manicured gardens and the magnificent snow-capped Mount Kenya.
As the afternoon wore on, and with our mouths agape at the splendour created by this multi-million shilling refurbishment, our hosts checked us in. Again, some super star treatment awaited us – golf carts were at hand to take us to the rooms.
Mr Cauviere has been quite generous to us and is offering us the William Holden cottages for the night stay. The cottages consist of two ensuite rooms interconnected by a lavish lounge complete with a fire place, fully stocked mini bar as well as facilities for tea and coffee. Truly this is a home away from home. No, many would trade their homes for this one, any day.
My cottage mate Cathy and I could not control our squeals and shrieks as we took in the beauty of our surroundings. The club has not spared any efforts in trying to make this place as warm and luxurious as possible. From bath salts, sewing kits, shoe mittens, lots of towels, a big bathroom with both a tub and a shower, a pot pouri and bathroom mats too.
At the balcony, cozy seats allow the visitor to zone off into the wonder of the mountain and its scenery.
Dinner begins at the Zebra terrace bar. We are seated in clusters around fire places bonding with a number of senior managers of the Fairmont chain of hotels. We are then ushered to the main restaurant where the chef has put out a choice of lamb and pork and some crunchy vegetables all served to taste.
As we walk back to our rooms I cant help but notice how chilly the place can get at night.
I wake up the next morning wondering exactly where I am. There is some light trying to steal through the very thick curtains in my room creating an amazing deep yellow reflection at the top and bottom of the curtain. My groggy self is confused. Is it morning or night?
I stumble out of my bed to establish exactly what this amazing light is all about and wow! The sight out yonder keeps me rooted to the spot. It’s the sun rising from behind the very majestic Mt Kenya. The sky is so pleasantly clear and is allowing me the whole view of the mountain right to the snow-capped peak. I can’t help but stare at this magnificent piece of nature for a while.
The better part of the day is spent enjoying the different activities on offer within this magnificent facility. Mountain bike riding, horse riding, golfing, swimming, to a walk through a thrilling man-made maze and a peak at the Mt Kenya forest.
Mr Cauviere, the manager, tells us that there are over 50 activities one can engage in while at the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club.
“With such a wide range of activities you’re assured that tourists, honeymooners of family will always get something to do within the club.”
Time seems to be flying and soon its time to freshen up for lunch before leaving.
This trip has given me a wholesome experience, from rediscovering the facility, to enjoying it, to trying out the different experiences on offer and enjoying each of my meals. I sure hope no kilos piled on while at it
I thought Mount Kenya Safari Club was amazing when I visited it seven years ago; I am still looking for one word to describe it now.