With Mr Nomad having been so busy at work lately, a break was in order to recharge batteries. We chose to book a 3 day break at Castle Forest Lodge in order to escape the pressures of work as the place had a reputation for peace and quiet! After a 2 hour drive from Nanyuki to Castle Forest Lodge, nestled not far from a town called Kutus in the county of Kirinyaga, we were not disappointed.
Castle Forest Lodge can be found deep in the dense tropical rain forests on the south side of Mount Kenya and the scenery was breath taking and simply out of this world. It is set in a natural rainforest with fresh water rivers and twin waterfalls with views of a valley to one side and to the other, the foreboding peaks of Mount Kenya.
The place was unspoilt in its beauty, and exactly what we had wished for. There was very little phone signal so Mr Nomad could not distracted by ever pervading thoughts of the outside world. The Lodge itself was built in around 1910 and is fully self-sufficient for its power supply and took great care of its environment, being eco-friendly by recycling and re-using materials. The electricity was limited and it was forbidden to use power sapping items such as a hair dryer! (my hair straighteners were most definitely out!) It is rumoured that the Lodge was visited by Queen Elizabeth II and the President of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta some years ago. In or around 2000, the Lodge was renovated and can now accommodate just over 30 guests in the lodge itself, and in the numerous cottages and bungalows dotted around the grounds. Camping is also permitted. The cottage that we stayed in was very rustic and basic but comfortable and homely. As the nights get cool, we had an open fire place in our room and a roaring fire was made up for us every evening. In my eyes, this was essential as I do feel the cold and I found the nights to be particularly chilly.
That said, we awoke every morning to bright sunshine. The immediate view outside our cottage was a delight – free roaming goats and horses. This did re-ignite Phil’s desire to own a goat, although I was more captivated by the horses.
There were signs dotted around warning of the presence of wild animals and it was apparently common place to have elephants wandering in but we did not see any wild life, save for Sykes monkeys. We did however, hear Tree Hyrax screeching rather loudly through the night. Buffalo, leopard, hyena, bushbuck and monkeys have been known to be spotted at Castle Forest Lodge but we did not catch even a glimpse of such wild life, save for the Sykes monkeys jumping around in a distant tree.
There was very little to do at Castle Forest Lodge save for take in the wonderful surroundings and relax. We embarked upon numerous walks into the forest but we got no further than the beautiful cascading water falls.
And what a sight to behold they were! The water was crystal clear, running straight off the mountain and it was as fresh as it could be. It was also extremely cold!
Mr Nomad in his usual adventurous style braved a dip in the water, edging towards one of the water falls but I could not be tempted and only managed a paddle.
The coldness of the water aside, the forest itself and the waterfalls were simply stunning.
Castle Forest Lodge is to be recommended as the ultimate get away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. There was a definite feeling of slipping away from reality, back in time to the days before modern technology swept us along at an undesirable pace. It was peaceful and tranquil. It was back to nature. The food reflected this and was basic but wholesome and tasty and the staff could not have done enough to make our stay perfect.