Another Kenyan gem we have had the chance to visit in recent times is the Aberdare Cottages and Fishing Lodge. Someone once told me that one of the best parts about living in Nairobi is the opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of a big city to places like these. Oftentimes, these places are located only a few hours away from the city and getting to them is fairly easy.
After our weekend getaway to Naivasha a few weeks ago, I was looking forward to our next weekend jaunt. Luckily, that came soon enough when Kelly, a friend of ours, invited us to join their trip to the lodge. There was no set itinerary but we had loose plans to hike, bird watch and perhaps, engage in any other activities the lodge offered. Having no concrete plans sounded wonderful to me!
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Getting to the Aberdare Cottages and Fishing Lodge Campsite
We arrived at the lodge after a 2.5-hour drive from Nairobi. The ride was pretty smooth and scenic. It was also not as daunting as the route to Naivasha. For the most part, we used Google Maps until we got to the point where we could see the road signs directing us to the lodge.
We checked in at the reception upon arrival, paid the camping fees of 1,000Ksh per person and then drove to the campsite, which was a little ways away from the main lodge compound. The campsite, right on the banks of the river was absolutely beautiful. I was excited to fall asleep, listening to the sound of the river – our natural noise machine.
After dropping off our stuff at the campsite and settling in for a bit, we proceeded to have lunch in the main compound. We had been given a menu when we arrived and had placed our lunch order in advance.
It took a little while to get served but that was fine as it gave us all time to bond a little more. Lunch was alright but dinner? That was superb!
Hiking Along the River…
After lunch, it began to drizzle. We had planned to go hiking and bird watching and nothing was going to stop us! Well, heavy rain was undoubtedly going to stop me but that didn’t happen. It drizzled lightly during our entire 1-hour walk and eventually stopped altogether.
I, however, had thought that we would get drenched and I left my phone in the car. I have never regretted anything more because I missed out on capturing the largest leaf sighting we all had ever seen and a sheep headbutting Blue and chasing us! A sheep!
I guess the best memories are the ones you capture in your heart. That’s my attempt to console myself and it is not working!
We returned to the main accommodation area via the same hiking route for dinner. This time, we skipped ordering à la carte in favour of the buffet spread. It was a great decision as the spread was fantastic. My favourite item was the lemon cake dessert. I just couldn’t get enough of it.
It began to rain again during dinner, so we extended our time at the restaurant with a card game Kelly and Jimmy taught us. And for the life of me, I just couldn’t get the hang of it! I shamefully exited the game in the 5th round after maintaining a losing streak 5 times in a row! Everyone else enjoyed playing to the finish while I enjoyed watching from the sidelines 🙂
A Thunder Storm and a Cold Night…
Eventually, the rains subsided enough for us to get into our cars and drive back to the campsite. Getting back was quite the journey. First, we missed our turning as Aberdare Cottages doesn’t have signs to the campsite. But once we calculated how my kilometres we needed to drive to get to it, we were able to find it easily.
Another thing we had to deal with was the muddy and slippery unpaved road leading downhill to the campsite. After slightly sliding off-road during our descent, we all wondered how we would make it back to the top of the hill the next morning.
That evening, seeing as the rain was getting heavier and we didn’t have the right camping gear to handle the downpour, we pitched our tents under the shade of the unoccupied river-side cabins. The night was cold but, that, we came prepared for. After a few scares from roaring thunders and flashing lightning, I managed to fall asleep, soundly until the next morning.
The Morning After…
The next morning, while the rest of the crew went for a little bird watching walk, I slept in, cuddled next to Blue. By the time I woke up, he was already causing mayhem in the camp….
We are currently in the ‘Dinosaur’ phase of raising this little guy and it has been a lot! Ironically, we hear he is the calmest of his litter!
Anyway, our night camping and my second official camping trip was a success! My first one was organized by Unravelling Nigeria at the Omo Forest Reserve in Ogun State, Nigeria. I’m glad to say that both outings were very enjoyable.
Back to Nairobi…
Soon enough, it was time to head back to Nairobi. We had originally planned to go on a longer hike in the morning but there was a forecast for a heavier downpour during the day. I am still mentally recovering from my 5-hour long Mount Longonot hike, so let me tell you, I was not disappointed with the rain forecast at all!
We packed up, loaded, ready to leave but there was one more adventure left for the day. We still had to deal with even muddier roads going uphill and there was a chance we would get stuck or slide back down. To help the tires gain more traction on the road, the team worked to remove the excess mud off them. Once they got enough mud off, it was time to risk the climb up the hill…
We were getting ready to drive when a member of the lodge’s staff ran up to tell us there was another way! What a huge relief that was! Everyone had been so stressed out that no one noticed the road to the right. It wasn’t paved either but it had rocks on the ground and was not steep, so we were able to get out easily.
We grabbed breakfast at the restaurant and shortly after, began our ride back to Nairobi. I certainly had a lovely weekend and a wonderful time camping at the Aberdare Cottages’ Campsite, despite the rain and it’s a place I would love to visit again!
Have you ever been camping? Glamping counts too 🙂 Did you love it or it’s not really your cup of tea? Share with me in the comment section below! If you have visited the Aberdare Cottages and Fishing Lodge or Campsite, I’d also love to hear about your experience.
TLDR: I shared excerpts of this trip + videos on my Instagram Stories 🙂