Monday, December 20, 2021

Kitengela Hot Glass

Ever wondered where bottles or glasses end up after they have been used and tossed aside? well, maybe not! but if you have, then look no further than Kitengela Glass where you will find some really beautiful pieces for sale made from recycled glass and also get to watch artisans go through the whole process of creating these pieces. Kitengela Hot Glass neighbors Nairobi National Park and getting there is an adventure in itself because you can't rely on google maps and the road leading to the place is a mess. Actually, can it even be considered a road? hmmm?! all I can say is, a sturdy car and good driving skills are required but if you look on the bright side of things, that's just part of the adventure right? 

The first time my sister and I attempted a visit Kitengela Hot Glass we got lost because we were using google maps and that took us round in circles so we aborted the mission when it finally dawned upon us that we were lost and wouldn't be able to find the place. I still wanted to give it another shot so I went to their website here where I was able to get directions and even call while on the way, for guidance. They were pretty good about it and very helpful in ensuring that we were on the right track. We finally made it on the second attempt and I am so glad that we finally did get to visit.

The place is very bright and colorful which I loved and I enjoyed watching the whole glass blowing process by the artisans going on about their work. On a visit to Kitengela Hot Glass you can walk around the compound admiring the colorful decor, do some shopping for your home as they have really cute pieces that are sure to brighten up any space, or just chill at the cafe area with a drink and snacks while taking in the cool ambience. 

We also got to get on the famous nearby hanging bridge that links Kitengela Hot Glass to Silole sanctuary which adjoins the Nairobi National Park and has various nature based activities to partake in. The bridge is suspended 100 meters (328 feet) above a deep river valley and the view is really beautiful once you get over how scary it is walking across the swinging bridge

That's it folks! we had a really good time at Kitengela and after we had our fill of all the beautiful art, we stopped by the nearby beautiful Maasai Lodge for lunch and a bit of relaxation before heading back home. Here are some bonus photos I took from the lodge, a visit is highly recommended especially if you looking for some rest and relaxation.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Paradise Lost

The good thing about working remotely has been the flexibility to manage my time. I have been working remotely at my job in the US while staying in Kenya so during the day I have my days free to do as I wish provided that by evening I am logged in for work (thank goodness for the time difference). That being said, short day trips have been a life saver for me and it's been fun discovering places to check out. One such place is Paradise Lost.

Paradise Lost is a resort and park located in Kiambu town and from Nairobi the distance is only about 14 kms (9 miles) by road, not far at all and ideal for a day trip. I visited the place on a week day which is actually the best time to visit since there are no crowds and you can enjoy the grounds in peace and also enjoy certain freebies like entrance into ancient caves which usually has a charge of Ksh 400 (slightly less than $4), this separate from the park entrance fee which is Ksh 400 for adults and 300 for kids, that's less than $5 each. At the park, you can go on a nice nature walk, zip line, go on a boat ride, explore ancient caves or set up a picnic and relax. 

That's it folks! it was such a good day trip from Nairobi, I enjoyed the nature walk and exploring ancient caves where the famous Mau Mau freedom fighters used to hide, if those caves could talk! Paradise Lost is truly a beautiful place to explore outside the city and truly, I think the name should be Paradise Found.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Mount Longonot National Park

If you love hiking or any other physical activities in nature there is no shortage of choices in Kenya, one of those choices is Mt. Longonot which my sister and I decided to check out for hiking. Longonot is  a stratovolcano meaning it's built up of layers of lava and ash, the name Longonot is derived from the Maasai (local tribe) word oolonong'ot which means steep ridges or mountain of many spurs. It is located 90 Km (56 miles) from Nairobi the capital city so you can easily make it a day trip which is what we did, it was about a two hour drive for us each way. 

Entrance fee to the park where you can start your hike up the mountain is Ksh 250 (about $2) for residents and $15 for non residents, I know! nonresidents are charged quite a bit in comparison, to visit attractions within Kenya. When we arrived to the park we didn't have any specific plans, we just wanted to hike as far as we possibly could and make it back to Nairobi in the evening. There was an option to get a guide but we decided to do it on our own, the guide was offering various levels of intensity related to hiking so for anyone thinking of visiting, just know you have options no matter the level of physical fitness or endurance. For reference, the trail from the park entrance to the crater rim of Longonot is about 3.1 kms (2 miles) which is not bad at all and the loop around the rim is 7.2 Kms (4 miles). The challenging part is of course some of the steep parts of the climb up the mountain but I think it's doable.

The hike was lot's of fun and along the way we spotted gazelle's gracefully grazing without a care in the world and we got to enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery. The sun was a bit hot so I would suggest to anyone thinking of visiting the park to start hiking very early in the morning before the sun is at it's hottest. A good hat and sunscreen are also recommended! we ended up hiking for a couple of hours before calling it a day, we unfortunately din't get to the rim even though it appeared so close but hopefully next time I will be able to when I am less pressed for time.

That's it folks! I am loving these physical adventures in Kenya as they are giving me quite the workout in addition to providing some of the most beautiful natural scenery imaginable! I am so glad I got to check out Longonot so I can cross that off my list and move on to the next adventure, watch out for the next update.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Hiking at Ngong Hills, Kenya

I know I disappeared for a minute there but I have been super busy with work. I am still in Kenya but working remotely which is pretty awesome! During my off hours I have been exploring interesting places and appreciating what this beautiful country has to offer. I recently ventured to Ngong Hills for a good hike and the opportunity to enjoy nature, I went with my sister and an old school friend and we had such a good time. The Ngong Hills are made up of a range of 7 hills in a ridge along the Great Rift Valley and stand at 2,460 meters (8,071 feet) above sea level. They are located in the northern tip of Kajiado county and about 25 km (16 miles) from Nairobi so it's easily accessible if you are in the city and visiting time is between 6 am to 6 pm daily.

There is an entry fee of 200 Kenyan shillings (slightly less that $2) to go hike up the hills but if you want to partake in other activities like filming or zip lining, the fees are different. We wanted to go hiking so we paid the 200 Ksh fee. 

I knew it was windy up the hills but I just never thought of how strong those winds are, it's no wonder that there are wind turbines installed up there to generate energy. I actually liked it because despite the hot sun, you still felt cool plus the air just felt fresh.The views were beautiful and we came across school kids on a field trip, folks who had come to pray and meditate and joggers who came to exercise. I truly enjoyed the experience.

That's it folks! We hiked up and down 2 hills before calling it a day meanwhile, the kids we saw on a field trip were running up and down those hills like it was nothing. It's no wonder we have some of the best long distance runners in Kenya! Had I not been pressed for time maybe I would have attempted to go up and down all 7 hills, the hike was actually not too bad and it's definitely worth a try.