WHY I LOVE THIS PLACE IN KENYA (AND YOU SHOULD TOO!)

WHY I LOVE THIS PLACE IN KENYA (AND YOU SHOULD TOO!)

The Place
If you have traveled to Kenya, East Africa, chances are you have visited a place called Karen. Its about 20 minutes drive from my apartment during weekends and even less during Sundays when traffic is low and most Kenyans are either in their homes or attending Sunday services.

I do have fond memories of the place way back in the late 90's when together with my girlfriend back then and with a Sri-Lankan couple, we would take a break from our work during the weekend and spend time the whole day at Karen which was full of green trees and lush gardens.


Karen has its rich history when the early Europeans had lived in Kenya and had actually acquired large tracts of land from its original owners, the Masai tribe. 


Masai Tribe
The said tribe is one of the many tribes in Kenya that owned vast tracts of land including the whole of Karen area and raised cattle for a living.

To this day, the Masai tribe is visible in the streets of modern cities of Nairobi, Mombasa and elsewhere. One can easily identify the tribe with their very noticeable traditional Masai clothing, its red colored check patterns. The young and old men peddle their goods to mostly tourists.



I really like their handmade native wallet and belt made of leather. I bought a set for myself as shown on the photo.

Over the years, the ownership of these vast lands had changed. The early European and Indian migrants and including Kenyan government were able to possess a great part of the land.

I will be featuring the rich history of the Masai tribe in detail in a separate blog post, please look forward to it.

My Experience 
Fast forward year 2015 upon my return to Kenya, advanced technology in transportation such as Uber would take me to the same place this time with my fur baby Jimboh almost every Sunday. A good place to relax and take a break from a hectic work week. 

I could smell the freshness of the air and sense the green forest while my Uber driver passes through a newly built highway. Once my Uber exits the highway and enters a narrower path road, thick and tall green trees would welcome me and a sense of finally being away from the polluted concrete jungle and the pressures of daily life for a few hours just to escape.


Since i left Kenya year 2003 and by destiny i was not able to go back leaving all my personal belongings behind, i came back after 1
2 years. I was surprised and impressed to find Karen with its green tall tress and thick forest in spite of progress and noticeable housing and commercial structures built within the area. 

For Pet Parents
Karen happens to be a wonderful and suitable get away place for pet parents like myself. The residents in the community are basically pet lovers and most of the residents are of European heritage. Based on my observation generally majority of the local community in Nairobi does not consider pets as part of the family.

If ever you find yourselves stuck with strict limitation on pet movement, Karen is the best place to be and is less than an hours drive from downtown Nairobi.


Recommended Pet Friendly Hotel
There are several pet friendly hotels within the area. So far the best pet friendly hotel that i can recommend based on my personal experience is Purdy Arms

I was informed by a Kenyan couple who sells organic vegetables during weekends at the curio shop premises that the hotel property is owned by a religious organization and leases out the property to the operators of the hotel.

The building facility itself was previously a private treatment center for drug dependents coming from the affluent residents of Karen. The center was closed down and converted into a hotel.

The hotel maintains its old style family room accommodation (at least around 15 rooms), dining facilities and a relaxing garden where you can enjoy an early breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The hotel has an interesting bar with a touch of European ambiance, wide screen projectors all over showing Europe's most popular sport, football.


I have been a frequent visitor of the said hotel and got acquainted with the operators/owners of the hotel, a husband and wife team, with origins from the European - Kenyan community and are dog lovers as well.


Most of the restaurants, hotels and commercial establishments in the Karen area are basically operated,  owned and managed by the  European-Kenyan community, having a customer mix that caters to the upper class Kenyan population.

Much more can be written about the history of Karen and i will continue to share more about my personal experience with this special place in my future blog.

Photographs 
I am also glad to share some of the many memorable photographs i took during my visits at Karen and to the hotel. I also promise to share more photographs in the future blog.

Hope you enjoy these photographs.


If you like what i have shared with you, please share this blog with your family and friends.


Thanks and Warm Regards,

Rossano


A view of the garden.
Guests like my self would prefer to have my early breakfast in this garden while the grass is still quite wet. A typical breakfast would be composed of beaten eggs, ham, sausage, beans, toast and coffee.

All the garden dining tables are normally fully occupied during lunch hour when more guest arrive. To ensure i have table for the day, i would come early in the morning and start the day with a good breakfast.

The food becomes better with the lunch menu consisting of European, Asian and African food selection. Families and groups from diverse cultures bond together, eat and spend the day in the garden. 


I would find a suitable corner, enjoy the garden, food , with my book and newspaper while my furbaby Jimboh lies on the grass and would enjoy watching all the kids playing.


A view from my balcony room. The best room location for Jimboh (my furbaby)




A view of some of the rooms. A great space overlooking the garden.



A view of the entrance leading to the bar.



A wider view of the garden.



Guest would prefer to bond together and enjoy their lunch under garden tents, surrounded by trees and grass.



Garden tables are reserved and prepared in advance for family and group outdoor events.



   Bigger garden tents for large family or group gathering.


                         
Multi table set up to accommodate guest. A good spot to enjoy your coffee and read a book or work from your device and laptop.
      

A view of the verandah with dining tables. A great spot to have your early breakfast, lunch and dinner.



The curio shop is open during weekends. The community small businesses would set up their spaces and sell their handicrafts, rugs and even organic vegetables.


Bar
Yes, its a bar. A typical bar with European ambiance. If you enjoy English football and beer, this is the place to be. The bar is open until past midnight. Its a place where people who love to mingle and drink.



A view of a cozy hallway leading to the bar and verandah.


One of the rooms that i occupied. This room has its study room and great living room and a fireplace.


A view of the main entrance to the hotel surrounded by trees and serves as the main parking lot. It is a private road that leads you to the hotel.


You may want to check this youtube link about a true to life story about Karen Blixen. A European woman that had lived in Karen and owned a coffee farm. A Hollywood film was produced that starred Hollywood actress Meryl Streep and actor Robert Redford



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