I grab my daughter’s hand and widen my steps to keep up with the man carrying our luggage. As he weaves his way among throngs of people in the busy streets of downtown Nairobi, it occurs to me, I wouldn’t know how to get back to familiar streets if something off happens. After crossing a confusing maze of lanes, we get to Nyamakima bus stage where he points me to one of the matatus that ply the Nairobi-Nyahururu route. I tip him for his service, buy our tickets (500 bob each) and board a matatu which quickly fills up. With the exception of several diversions due to road construction, the drive is pretty smooth and about 5 kms after the Gilgil weighbridge, the matatu takes a right turn to the road that would get us to Nyahururu. We drive through Ol Kalou and Ol Joro Orok towns which have been painted green, thanks to the rain from the Aberdares ranges. After two hours on winding roads, we arrive in the bustling town of Nyahururu. Like many Kenyan towns, banks, boutiques, and the ubiquitous Bata shoe store line the main street. A short, five-minute cab ride later, we drive into our destination – the Panari Resort Nyahururu.
Judging by the number of bridal parties taking photos around the hotel grounds, it appears the resort is a popular location for photo sessions. The small waterfall and the perfectly manicured lawns are certainly beautiful spots to have your photos taken. Two canons man the reception area, a sprawling space with the restaurant and the bar on its right and board rooms and meeting spaces on its left. Looking to hold a business meeting or conference in the Nyahururu area? Panari Resort has a variety of meeting rooms that can cater from as few as eight to as many as 200 attendees. After checking in and enjoying a late lunch which the restaurant was kind enough to reserve for us, we are transferred the short distance to our room by a colourful golf cart.
The resort has three room types – courtyard rooms found in the main building. These are 2 inter-connected rooms, one double and one twin, mostly sold to families. The cottage rooms are housed in 4-room blocks spread throughout the property with two rooms on the upper floor and two on the ground floor. TIP: Book the room on the upper floor, it has better views! Lastly are two self-contained executive villas which stand away from the rest. They consist of a living area, kitchen and two bedrooms. I love the brick motif on the exterior walls of the buildings – very unique!
What do I love about the room, you ask? Apart from how spacious it is, and the little fireplace that keeps away the evening chill, and the bronze, star-shaped shower head? I love sliding open the glass doors and getting wonderful views of Marmanet Forest and the Thompson Falls gorge. The scenic 74 meter Thompson Falls founded Nyahururu Town. Quick history lesson: Thompson Falls, a waterfall on the Ewaso Nyiro River, is named after Scottish naturalist Joseph Thompson who was the first European to reach the falls. He then built his home near the falls (what is today Thompson Falls Lodge) which he later expanded and turned into a lodge after it gained popularity among acquaintances. Some of these people came back and settled within the area creating what is today Nyahururu Town in Laikipia County.
Having a nine-year old in tow means you can’t keep away from the swimming pool for long. The Eucalyptus Spa & Fitness Centre houses the spa, an indoor pool, a well equipped gym, a yoga studio, steam, sauna, salon/barber shop and a small restaurant. The pool, gym, yoga studio, steam, sauna are inclusive for resident guests. I’m proud to report I actually worked out while on holiday! Close by is a trampoline, which is the perfect spot to have the kids work off excess energy. There is another play area close to the courtyard rooms.
Meals are served at the Brown Olive Restaurant, a long, room with low hanging chandeliers and brown seats that serves mixed cuisine. Next to it is the Silky Bar that serves your favourite drink just the way you like it. We spent Saturday night playing a vicious game of Monopoly with a group of eager young ins in a play area next to the bar! Nothing like a game of Monopoly to help you bond with strangers.
A stay at Panari Nyahururu Resort is not complete without a visit to Thompson Falls and the nearby Hippo Sanctuary both a walking distance from the resort. I’d also recommend visiting Lake Ol Bolossat, the only natural lake in Central Kenya which is just 8 kms from Nyahururu.
Panari Nyahururu Travel Tips:
- There are two routes to access the resort – via Ol Kalou or via Nyeri. Use the Ol Kalou route because it is shorter – a 4 hour-drive or less.
- Panari Nyahururu is a short distance from Nyahururu Town. A taxi will cost you 200/-.
- The rates range between Ksh 12,000 and Ksh 26,000 depending on whether you are staying on Bed & Breakfast, Half or Full Board and room type.
- It is warm and the air is crisp and clean during the day. However, the temperatures drop drastically in the evenings so remember to pack those sweaters and jackets!
Have you been to Panari Nyahururu? Let me know in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!