Njeri Maina @njerimainar
On the Nairobi-Nyeri highway right before you get to the Sagana-Kagio T-junction, there is a new gem I think you should all know about.
Located about 102km from Nairobi, Sunciti Hotel is a favorite stopover spot for lunch or a cold drink for the weary traveler with a discerning palate who just happens to be visiting Kirinyaga, Murang’a or Nyeri counties. It’s recommended as a stopover too for families and businesspeople en route to Nyahururu, Nanyuki and other regions in Northern Kenya.
I have eaten many lunches here even though my rural home is, literally, a stone’s throw. I am, especially, fond of their kienyeji (roadrunners) chicken served with French fries. Their homegrown chicken is normally cooked with a surplus of onions and mild chilli, just the way I like it. My sister on the other hand usually prefers goat meat, but that is a story for another day.
The place is quite scenic too, with a graveled pathway that leads you to a series of man-made waterfalls where different bird species come to quench their thirst. Apparently, weaverbirds come to take a water-break here after noisily building their homes (grass nests) in the nearby, tall trees. It is an Instagram-photo worthy spot, hear ye all millennials.
Sunciti has a big, well-laid out parking. Next to the parking are cottages that you can stay in for as little as Sh5,000 a night. There are also rooms, which go for Sh2,500 for bed and breakfast.
But I am more of a camping kind of girl. I normally persuade myself that since I cannot camp at home, I am eccentric but not that much, I would much rather walk over to Sunciti and camp with my friends.
Camping normally costs Sh1,500 per tent, a small price to pay for an evening out with good friends, good food, great conversation and a big bonfire. A big swimming pool too is open throughout the week and — I was told— is manned by a capable lifesaver.
And the kids are not left out. This resort has a wealth of children play activities available for the traveler or in-house guest with a hoard of energetic kids. I recently took my brood of nephews and nieces for a boat spin in the Sunciti manmade lake, somersaults at the trampoline, a jump in the bouncing castles (this one was specifically for me) and some spot of climbing up and down a big, blue rubber mountain. When we were all tuckered out, me more than the kids obviously, we went to our tent where we had food waiting for us.
We were fully entertained by a local PCEA Women’s Guild party in the next tent who were singing Kikuyu hymns in celebration of one of their member’s birthday. It sounded like the choir wing of the church group. It is not uncommon to find groups holding parties, weddings, conferences or even retreats here.
There is a variety of food to choose from with an in-house butchery where customers can choose the cuts they want and instruct the chef on how it should be prepared. They also have a bar with an extensive wine, beer and liquor list. It’s here that I discovered some amazing anti-hangover soup to tide you over to the next morning as you go through the ‘I will never do this again’ and ‘alcohol kills and is my enemy’ phase.
You can choose to sit outside in the tents, inside the restaurant or go upstairs to the garden lounge where the hotel can be set up for your specific number of lunch or dinner guests.
My friends and I much prefer the upstairs garden lounge with minimal candle lighting. It gives us a sense of intimacy.
“Here at Sunciti, we endeavour to give all our guests the much needed respite they require. We are here to give them an experience they will not forget, be it during a stopover, a stay with us or just a retreat. We have a whole team dedicated to that from highly trained animators, resident Djs to our hosts and hostesses,” Samuel Macharia, the Sunciti director assures me.
And sure enough, every single time I step into Sunciti and see the warm smiles that I am welcomed with, it certainly feels like home. I feel the love and care that shines on every traveller, camper or retreat goer who chooses Sunciti.