Peace and luxury at Tandala house

Saturday September 23 2017

Tandala sitting room. Pic: Courtesy Tandala


When a friend arranged a trip to Tandala house on the slopes of the Maparasha hills, near the border of Kenya with Tanzania, I agreed to go and see if the place lived up to its online reputation of “charming divine and magical.”

After a nearly two-hour drive from Nairobi, we arrived at the little town of Bisil, where we turned off the main Namanga road to the left onto a rough, dusty road that led to the house.

A word of advice; do carry a head wrap and or hat to protect your hair from the dust because the drive to Tandala on this dusty road is seven kilometres.

The Tandala gate is barely visible. We passed it several times and had to call the house for help. One of their members of staff came out to the road to guide us to the main gate of the house.

We arrived at Tandala, hungry and eager to settle in and enjoy our getaway.

The ambience of the house gave me a feeling of calm and luxury, and of being one with nature.


Tandala is an old house and is eco-friendly with solar heaters on the roof. The house has no electricity and uses a generator for just four and half hours daily, from 6.30pm to 11pm.

I figured that my laptop battery would last just about six hours when in use, and so I carried a book that would take me through the hours until the generator would be switched on.

If you’re a traveller who wants to keep up with the ongoings outside your immediate surroundings, you may want to carry an extra laptop battery.

The house is built on a low hill, placing it in a perfect position for the wind to cool the rooms.

Tandala has five bedrooms. Two of the bedrooms have log fireplaces, en-suite bathrooms, one of which is outdoors. The staff ensure that every amenity is provided including a romantic candlelit bath if you request for one.

I chose to sleep in a room situated under the pool with an underwater view. The blue hue from the swimming pool drifted into my room even in the dark.

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Tandala house dining . Pic: Courtesy Tandala

Breathtaking view

Tandala has a roof terrace sitting area with a breathtaking view, ideal for a sundowner. While up on that terrace, the staff at Tandala will set you up with a log fire and drinks.

Tandala’s sitting room sits under high exposed timber beams, has wooden floors and a large fireplace that warmed us and inspired conversation late into the night over wine, tea and dessert.

The food at Tandala is really good. We had brought our ingredients from Nairobi and the chefs at Tandala prepared it during our stay. We set our own meals times to holiday hours with breakfast at 10am and lunch at 3pm.

The chefs impressed us with a poolside barbeque, and even the cabbage (not my favourite vegetable) was elevated to sumptuous levels.

Most of our meals were served on the veranda overlooking the waterhole where various animals come to drink.

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Pic: Tandala master bedroom. Pic: Courtesy Tandala

Every morning a large troop of baboons would grace us with their presence. One time, we became unwitting spectators to a vicious fight between two large baboons seemingly engaged in a war of dominance.

One of my friends decided to take a walk outside the house, and the staff gave her a stick to ward off any wild animals she might meet on her trek. We were glad when she returned unscathed.

Even though I had carried a book to read, I realised later that I did not need it. Tandala has romantic novels, history books and thrillers lined up on several shelves throughout the house for guests to indulge in.

Two of us tried out the spa treatments at Tandala, and the resident masseuse received high praise.

For just over Ksh50,000 ($500) per night for 10 people (minimum two nights’ stay), Tandala is a pretty good return on your investment.