Idyllic spot in Elementaita - The East African

Idyllic spot in Elementaita

Saturday November 10 2018

The swimming pool at Lemon Valley Farm Estate.

The swimming pool at Lemon Valley Farm Estate. PHOTO | MAGUNGA WILLIAMS 

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The year is 2013, and Nancy and her husband are scouting for a place to build their retirement home. They want a place in Nakuru town, 160km northwest of Nairobi, in the Great Rift Valley.

However, an agent in their employ tells them of a spot at the top of a hill, 25 kilometres away from the town, on the Nakuru-Naivasha road.

They go to have a look. The car stops in the ‘‘middle of nowhere” and the agent points to the hill that had nothing but shrubs, a rough road, and hard ground.

They say, “No thank you, let’s find another spot.”

“Just take a look,” the agent insists. “Give it a chance.” They did, and as soon as they got to the top and looked back, they knew that this was where they would settle.

Before their eyes lay a magnificent view of Lake Elementaita to the left, and an endlessness of calming nothing extending to the horizon where the sun sets.

This place became the Lemon Valley Farm Estate: A serene getaway spot.

The idea to share their retirement home with visitors arose in 2014, when Nancy and her husband were on a trip in South Africa, from Cape Town to Johannesburg.

While backpacking across the southern tip of Africa, they noticed that the homes they were passing through were mostly farm estates in which travellers could rent a room for a night. Back home, they had never seen anything like that, so why not try it?

And thus Lemon Valley came to be. This slice of heaven lies on the same hill as Soysambu Conservancy and across the road from the Lake Elmentaita Serena Camp.

And just as Nancy and her husband had looked at that place from the main road below and dismissed it, so did I.

I wondered who in their right mind would live up there. As soon as I got to the cottage the question was, who in their right mind would ever want to live anywhere else?

There are few joys in life like waking up in the middle of nowhere, roused not by the sounds of traffic and noisy (nosy) neighbours but by nature’s symphony.

The sunlight streaming in and the birds singing bring you to consciousness. And then the moment you open your eyes, you are greeted with blue skies, a calm lake, forests in the distance and sheer tranquility.

Lemon Valley Farm Estate in Elementaita.

Lemon Valley Farm Estate in Elementaita. PHOTO | MAGUNGA WILLIAMS

There are different reasons to go to Lemon Valley. Some say that this is the sort of place you go alone to find yourself. I think Lemon Valley is a place to go to with friends, a spouse, or family.

For Ksh3,500 ($35) per person you get bed and breakfast. There are discounted rates for groups. Activities include games, swimming and pony rides.

There is an outdoor area that can be used for a destination wedding or party, and the Charlocks Cottage that takes up to seven people, and allows visitors the option of catering for themselves.

Speaking of food, Chef Omosh of the Lemon Valley restaurant is one of a kind. Try his salad and spinach. I am never one to recommend vegetables, but this chef changed my mind. It may also be because they grow their own vegetables in a greenhouse.

The only problem is that you will have to wait for the food to arrive. The trick is to order early and then find something to do.

Also, because the place is relatively new, they have teething problems like sockets not working, showers not heating up and the wait staff bringing the starter and the main course at the same time.

But this is nothing to make you regret spending your time there. In any case, Nancy and her husband live on the property so complaints are handled immediately.

So if you’re having difficulties finding a place to go spend quality time with people you love, especially over the holidays and you want some peace and quiet and a beautiful sunset over the Rift Valley, go to Lemon Valley.