On the slopes of Mt Kenya nestled on a 10 acre plot of olive and cedar trees is the Karichota cottage. A four bedroom getaway owned and run by Keith Pearson from the Theatre Company and gets its name from a nearby stream.
The first thing you notice even before you get to the house is all the green. Thunderstorm season has been really good for the forest and the trees have just been soaking it up. The cottage itself boasts the aforementioned four bedrooms, an artist’s creative space, a modern kitchen, a covered verandah and a fireplace. There’s also a gazebo and two tents right at the edge of the forest (a lovely place to sleep if you want to wake up to bird calls, but if you do make sure you’re warm, that mountain air bites!) I had three days there but right out of the van I wasted no time and was off into the forest, hiking down the trail to the river. I’d been told that there were elephants in the area but the only evidence I could see of them was their giant footprints and spoor (that’s poop in layman’s terms). Also in case the elephants get too curious there’s an elephant fence too to keep them away. On that first hike it became evident that the area is an orthonoligist’s paradise (bird watchers).The cottage has a small collection of books and one of them is a book on east African bird species and it’s a great ‘carry with’ when you’re going hiking (yes I just made up the word ‘carry with’), but carry your own binoculars I didn’t spot a pair at the house.The river itself was rapid what with all the rains but not so daunting as to scare away the average swimmer. Don’t forget its source is the mountain so it’s cold as hell. In fact we used the river later in the trip to chill bottles of white wine and vodka.By the time I got back Michael Ndambuki, the resident manager/field guide, had started a fire to keep back the cold and the girls had all sat around it.
Strangely enough the guys were in the kitchen cooking while the girls lazed around…The kitchen at Karichota is fully stocked with crockery, cutlery and all manner of utensils. There’s even a coffee strainer thing for the caffeine fiends. Suggested shopping should definitely include canned foods, bread, spreads, vegetables, noodles, rice and flour. Just consider it as shopping for camping.We were in a group so we were all over the house with board games, drinking games and telling stories. Of course that didn’t stop some of us from secluding themselves with a book in a part of the house or grabbing a blanket and sitting in the garden looking up at a night’s sky so filled with stars it seems surreal.
Karichota means different things to different people. To some it means a place to go catch up with old friends and make new ones. To others it’s where you go to create your new master piece or to just be one with nature and the universe.
How to book Karichota
Call or SMS Keith Pearson (0722815112) at least a fortnight before your intended departure date.
-Take Thika road from Nairobi to Karatina.
-!2 km after Karatina turn right onto the road to Nanyuki
-drive 34 km till Naro Moru town and approx. 6km past the town you’ll see a small set of veggie kiosks and a sign that sys PCEA on your left. There should also be a mini petrol station.
-turn right there and follow the track for 1km and turn left at the Karichota sign.