A farm in Africa
Article By: Gillian McLarenWed, 01 Feb 2012 2:04
Click to view published post: http://travel.iafrica.com/destin/africadest/775989.html
I have found a treasure.
When I have to overnight in Nairobi in the future, I will give no second thought to my choice of lodging: I will eagerly head towards the Karen Blixen Coffee Garden and Cottages again. Set at the foot of the Ngong Hills, where Karen Blixen- of 'Out of Africa' fame - had her farm, it has lush gardens and beautiful surrounds, and offers comfortable accommodation, a spirited pub and a restaurant with epicurean fare.
The historic Swedo House –which was built as a hunting lodge in 1908- is the site of the original farm manager’s house of the Swedo African Coffee Company and is now the reception and lounge area.
The luxury cottages are built in the original style of architecture, so I imagined I could recapture the romance of early colonial Kenya. My cottage was scrupulously clean and simply decorated, with a king-sized bed and splendid canopy with mosquito netting. A vase of stargazer lilies gave off a tropical scent that permeated the rooms.
To my delight, I discovered that the restaurant - set in verdant gardens - serves outstanding food. After sipping the obligatory traditional G&T, I was served a huge plate of fresh oysters, which grow wild near the seaside town of Kilifi.
Nestling on a bed of ice, they were accompanied by lime slices and some Tabasco. They were small but very tasty, stimulating my appetite for the prawns sautéed in garlic butter and lime that I had chosen, paired with a glass of South African Franschoek Statute de Femme Sauvignon Blanc, 2010. Delicious.
For dessert I savoured wafer-thin pancakes with lime and orange juice flambéed in cognac. I had not expected gourmet food in a small hotel, and could not believe my luck. The deserved popularity of the restaurant and lively pub are clear, as both were full of local Kenyans and ex-pat workers.
After a sound sleep, I woke to the melodious, unfamiliar calls of birds that I did not recognise. The thrill of visiting a new country in Africa, and the chance of a glance at these foreign feathers drew me out onto the verandah positioned near a pretty pond. I was sorry that I was not staying longer, so I could have a swim in the pool, surrounded by bushes in bloom.
As I was flying to the Maasai Mara, I had asked for an early breakfast in my cottage, which was served timeously and was really good. My driver fetched me at 6am and ferried me to the nearby Wilson airport, for my flight on Safarilink, despite the challenges of slow-moving traffic on dubious roads.
I was impressed by my experience at the Karen Blixen Coffee Garden and Cottages and heartily recommend it for accommodation or even just for a meal in the pleasant ambiance of fecund gardens.
Visit http://www.karenblixencoffeegarden.com to find out more.