Located at the base of Kaptagat forest amidst the training camps of marathon and cross-country runners in Uasin Gishu county, Elagerini is a luxury-tented camp close to the famous Sirikwa caves
Njeri Maina @njerimainar
Whenever the city gets overwhelming, I sometimes feel the irresistible urge to run.Just to bolt from the hustles and bustles of the city and go to some place quiet, serene and tranquil. At other times, I stumble into small, quiet gems that I am unwilling to leave and even more unwilling to share.
You know, those places you want to wrap around your heart and call yours and run back to them whenever the world decides to go awry on you.
One such gem of a place is Elagerini Travellers Tented Camp in Uasin Gishu county. Hello there, Google maps! Located 22km from Eldoret town and just a kilometre from Kaptagat town next to Naiberi river, this is the perfect place to relax, hold a conference, or simply go for an afternoon meal with family.
Elagerini is a luxury-tented camp near Kaptagat forest and close to Sirikwa caves. The caves are rock outcrops that, according to archeologists, the early man was trying to fashion into shelter.
One can visit this heritage on their way to Kaptagat forest for a hike or nature walk, all which can be arranged through Elagerini.
Runners training camps are adjacent to the camp and a visit or even a training session with the athletes can also be arranged.
One can also simply explore the vast Elagerini compound during the day and sit next to the gurgling Naiberi river that is at the periphery of the compound.
I spent many afternoons listening to the soothing water sounds and the chirping of the numerous birds perched on the indigenous trees while dreaming of never coming back to Nairobi.
You see, Elagerini has a big beautiful compound, where one can pitch tents for camping at a small fee or simply book a warm bed in the luxury tents at Sh8,000 per night.
The tents are beautifully furnished inside, with Maasai ornaments hanging off the walls. Each tent has a private balcony and a vast sitting area where I was more than happy to pull a seat and read books in the flowery shrubs.
The tents are separated from the administrative side by a small brook and a wealth of flowers. All the tents are named after indigenous trees such as Silibwet, Emitir, Mindililwet, Sertet, Tabilikwet and Emitit. One can walk around and spot some of these trees in the compound.
Mr and Mrs Patrick Birgen, the luxury tent founders and owners, are not just keen on indigenous trees, but are also devoted to conservation as well. “We are conservationists at heart,” Patrick says.
“We encourage people to grow trees as they are an important part of the ecosystem. We are involved in the reforestation efforts of the nearby Kaptagat forest,” he adds.
The Birgens put their money where the mouth is. Elagerini sponsored the annual Kaptagat half-marathon held mid last month with an aim of raising awareness around conservation of Kaptagat forest. Money raised from the event went into reforestation and maintenance of the forest.
The route to a man’s heart is through food. The way to this woman’s heart also lies in food and drink. Elagerini has a well-stocked bar and flight footed staff ensure your glass never runs dry.
Food is made fresh and per order. The camp has a beautiful vegetable garden from which they source fresh vegetables for the kitchen. They also source for produce from local farmers, which promotes local businesses.
On our first night, we had roast maize that was sugary and fresh from the shamba as we sat round a fire and traded stories about the athletics scene in Kenya. For dinner, we had ugali and mixed vegetables (derema, saga and managu). Oh, what sumptuousness! My palate was on holiday too!
Elagerini is a Sirikwa name, which means the place of cool waters. To me, Elagerini is so much more than that; it is the place of cool vibes, warm hospitality, great food and great drinks. It is the one place I will be running back to soon.