A well-run well-established and affordable lodge
A 2 ½ or 3 hours depending on how you drive, The Aberdare Country Club is to the northeast of Nairobi and in the Aberdare Highlands, which forms part of the Great Rift Valley. Aberdare Country Club has rolling lawns and beautiful gardens. The views are spectacular: the plains below, the Aberdare Mountains to the west, and Mount Kenya to the east. My friends and I were visiting their sister hotel The Ark and we needed to stop here for counterchecking and of course have our lunch before we proceeded to The Ark. We drove past the main gate of the Aberdare Country Club and in a matter of seconds I knew that I too would need someone to answer my questions. It was all too much to take in. Where would I start? Were those Warthogs walking past the humans? Those zebras and gazelles could see us right? I mean, they weren’t statues or sculptures were they? I had seen zebras and gazelles before but this was different. They were so close to the Landcruiser and to the humans outside. We drove deeper into the club and witnessed more peculiar extraordinary sightings. The monkeys watched the golfers tee off. The multicolored peacocks walked flamboyantly by the guest rooms and balconies. These animals coexisted with the humans as domestics do. Beneath all that wildlife was the neatest greenery. It was as if each grass leaf was commanded by Mother Nature not to grow an inch past the other. It was uniform; it was orderly; it was beautiful! Above the grass, shot out huge tree trunks with evergreen foliage. Not a wilting leaf in sight. The Garden of Eden had been revived and I had to admit that this was not another usual day in my life. It wasn’t just the amiable welcome we received from dancing Kikuyu traditional dancers but the freshly squeezed mango juice. It was the ambiance and the topography. The Country Club’s buildings hold the charm of a private home. The location was originally called “The Steep.” Since we arrived during lunch hour we joined the rest of the team at the restaurant. My expectation for their meal was indeed raised higher after all the beautiful things we saw as we made our entrance. My expectations were not cut shot, the food was delicious and made to perfection. After our lunch, we went round to see the facility. Just before I forget their restaurant is a full-service bar and a gift shop that sells both arts and crafts, some clothing, and small necessities. As we went round we saw a 9-hole golf course, a heated swimming pool, steam bath and sauna, a health club with a fully-equipped gym, a spa that offers Ayurveda treatments, and a tennis court. Besides game drives to the Aberdare National Park and to Solio Ranch, which is a haven for black and white rhinos, you can also go horseback riding, trout fishing, mountain biking, and take birding and nature walks within the sanctuary. There are 19 cottages with a choice of twin and double rooms, two deluxe rooms, and one VIP suite in luxurious colonial style. All the cottages have en-suite bathrooms, tea/coffee stations, and fireplaces and are suitable for families. There is also disabled-friendly accommodation available. You can play golf as the warthogs, peacocks and monkeys watch you test your swinging skills. For the adventurous, hiking may be your preferred way to spend your time. Horseback riding into the terrain is available too. All levels of riders can enjoy an indelible romantic experience. For those that have had too much animal, vehicle safaris are offered. In the safaris, rhinos, baboons, leopards, and chimpanzees can be spotted. Bird watching is a loved activity in the country club too. One can spot over 150 species of birds. Our time was up and we had to head to the sister lodge The Ark. This well-run, well-established and affordable lodge in one of Africa’s most beautiful settings is a great stopover between safaris to relax and rejuvenate. I am considering at least doing a night here one of these fine days so that I can experience the whole package of luxury in the wild.