Country charm at Jacaranda Lodge

Friday December 08 2017

The Jacaranda Lake Elementeita lodge. PHOTO | COURTESY


Frequent travellers on the Nairobi-Nakuru highway have most likely seen the sign for the Jacaranda Lake Elementaita Lodge.

The lodge is 500 metres off the highway on the escarpment overlooking Lake Elementeita 120 kilometres west of Nairobi.

The road to the lodge is all weather and therefore good for all types of vehicles.

The Jacaranda Elementaita Lodge has a rich history stretching back to colonial days. When we arrived there recently, I was struck by the uncanny resemblance of the reception area to that of Nairobi’s Muthaiga Country Club.

The lodge has retained the features and the atmosphere of an old colonial home — red brick buildings with shaded terraces, panelled walls, a sitting room with a library and a log fire.

According to the manager, the lodge was built in 1916 by an English settler, Lord Galbraith Cole. Now owned by Jacaranda Hotels, you can still feel the atmosphere of old-world charm and its British heritage in the lodge’s red brick architecture. The management also maintains a polite, understated approach to work.


I was in a group of 25 who had gone for a weekend one-night retreat to celebrate their 40th birthdays. We chose Jacaranda not just because of its affordability, but because the lodge is also very flexible and accommodating when it comes to special requests.

The rates are Ksh6,000 ($60) per person sharing per night on full board, making it an absolute steal for the frugal traveller!


A double room at the Jacaranda Lake Elementeita lodge. PHOTO | COURTESY

On request, the management set up a Karaoke night with dancing, and an outside log fire. For just one night, therefore, we had the perfect set-up for a house-party backdrop for the group, away from Nairobi but close enough for comfort.

We arrived mid afternoon and since lunch is served at 12.30pm, we had missed the cut-off time by a few hours, but the lodge was kind enough to prepare an à la carte meal for us. Keeping with British tradition, all meals consist of two courses and dessert.

The first course, a soup or cream, is served with different types of pastries while the salads are served with meats and the lentils as the second course. Dessert is an assortment of cakes, pies, tarts, custards, local fruits, coffee and tea.

The dining room extends out onto the terrace and guests get to choose where to dine.

We checked into our rooms after lunch. The lodge has retained the British charm in all its 33 rooms, which resemble bedrooms rather than a hotel room.

The rooms are independent, cottages, with an option of taking a twin room (a room with two single beds), a double room (a room with one double bed) or interconnecting rooms that are suitable for families with children.

With natural stone floors and simply furnished, each room is ensuite with a hot shower and bathtub. These are clean but could however do with an upgrade. The Wi-Fi is excellent in the first 12 rooms and intermittent in the rest.

Every room has an outside sitting area with magnificent views of the gardens, beyond which the landscape is perfect for a nature walk to the lake and hot springs.

The pool area has a breathtaking view of the lake. The lake itself is a bird watcher’s paradise and home to millions of lesser Flamingoes; it is recognised as a Ramsar site (a wetland of international importance).