Home. This word evokes so many emotions and has a different meaning for everyone. But what does Home mean for this Wanderluster? This month’s #travellinkup theme explores the concept of “Home”, and I thought of this as the perfect opportunity to ramble on about what this means to me. Stay with me, my dear Wanderlusters as I attempt to blog about what I consider Home!
In my world, home is not a place, but a feeling – the starting point of love, hopes and dreams. Linked with feelings are memories which may define what one calls home at some point in time. A scent can take you back many lifetimes and remind you of a place you once called home and this is particularly true for me. Every time I pick up a pack of Crayola crayons (has to be Crayola and no other brand), their waxy Crayolaey smell takes me right back to the carefree days of my childhood, which then evokes memories of of me running around in my garden and playing in my imaginary world of elves and fairies. The fresh, crisp pages of a new book take me back to the weekends where my Mum and Dad would take us to the only bookstore in town, Text Book Centre to buy our new books for the week. All these beautiful memories then lead me to believe that home becomes a place where you put out little roots and create a life for yourself with the people you love and cannot imagine being without. Home, then, is really where the heart is.
This saying is particularly true for me having been a nomad at heart for the longest time and wanting to call every place in the world that I fell in love with home. But every story has a beginning and a connection to a place that one calls their home, and my fairy tale happens to be in is this beautiful country in East Africa called Kenya.
To give you a bit of background, I was born and brought up in Kenya and am a third generation “KenIndian”, which is the nickname that some (not all) of us Indians out here (who by the way are now recognised as the 44th tribe in Kenya and this has got mixed reactions) like to give ourselves. My family hails from Nanyuki, a town in the central highlands of Kenya, often nicknamed the spiritual heartland of the country being graced by the shadows of the snow-capped peaks of Mt. Kenya. Sadly I didn’t get to experience living in Nanyuki because by the time I was born my family had moved to Nairobi, the capital city but I consider my roots to be from Nanyuki as my family has a very special bond with this town.
My great grandfather built the Sikh Temple in Nanyuki and every year my family congregates here to celebrate the Sikh new year known as Vaisakhi. This is akin to a pilgrimage for us, and through the generations we have cared for the Temple and consider it a sacred place where we go to pay our respects as often as we can and this is something I remember doing from when I was a little girl. To date, I feel a sense of peace every time we travel to Nanyuki and so, that feeling of having arrived “home” is pretty strong when we arrive safe and sound at the gates of our Temple!
Given my special connection with Nanyuki, I thought it apt to share some of the places around the Laikipia Plateau which Nanyuki is part of. This Plateau is peppered with some of the most beautiful parks and some pretty exclusive lodges which I think should be on many a WanderList. This is a sneak peek on some of the properties – watch out for detailed blog posts soon, but for now, let’s explore what I like about these places then, shall we?
Mount Kenya Safari Club
When I was growing up, this was THE swankiest club this side of the equator and I seem to recall that kids weren’t allowed to visit. Or maybe they were but had to be in bed by 7 or something like that. Maybe it was something my parents told me so that they could indulge in a romantic weekend away but whatever the story, it only meant that I had to visit as soon as I could, and it has now become a home base of sorts when we travel out to Nanyuki. Set on the slopes of Mt Kenya, the lush green lawns of this Club are dotted with colourful peacocks, and they seem to go on forever, rising up to meet the snow-capped peaks of the mountain. Crisp mountain air, long five course meals and cozy rooms decked with fireplaces keep us coming back. And of course, the fact that it is smack bang on the equator means that you can be in the Northern or the Southern Hemisphere in the blink of an eye! The equator runs right through the pool and through a bedroom known as the Equatorial Suite where has his and hers sinks across each hemisphere!
Solio Ranch by The Safari Collection
Dining in the wild is probably one of the most magical things you can do out in Kenya. Where else in the world can you be sat in the wilderness enjoying a freshly cooked breakfast and surrounded by hundreds of rhinos? Solio Lodge in the heart of Laikipia is a secret (well not so secret) place where I sat in disbelief just meters away from wild white rhino, and indulged in breakfast fit for a king. Or queen. Isn’t that reason enough to love Kenya and want to call her home?
Ol Pejeta Conservancy and Sweet Waters Tented Camp
The fact that the Ol Pejeta Conservancy houses and safeguards two of the extremely rare Northern White Rhinos of which there are only three, yes you read right, three individuals left in the world today means that this place is extra special. We are extremely lucky to have seen these creatures, being on the brink of extinction. If there is one place to put on your WanderList then this would be it, because just like the dinosaurs we will one day be left with only pictures!
Now this is a property that I visited a couple of weeks ago, and I am bursting with excitement at having had the opportunity to experience the Segera side of life and I can’t wait to tell you more about it. Watch this space because trust me, you will be blown away with what Segera has to offer!
So, dear Wanderlusters, forgive me for rambling on so but I suppose a lil bit of WanderInspo isn’t a bad thing and I do hope that you found my piece of home a place that you would want to visit too!
-Did you know?
This area of Kenya has a link with the Royal Family of the United Kingdom, because it was at Treetops Lodge in the Aberdare National Park that the present Queen Elizabeth II learned of her father’s passing, and this meant she arrived in Kenya as a Princess and left a Queen. Prince William proposed to Kate in a rustic wood cabin overlooking the snowy peaks of Mt Kenya. How awesome is that?
– Want to know more?
If you want a bit of history on how Indians arrived in Kenya then please visit my good friend Binny’s page as she has narrated the story beautifully.
If you want to read some more posts and see what other bloggers think when they think of home, head on over to Follow Your Sunshine, SilverSpoon London, Adventures of a London Kiwi or on the blog of our lovely guest host Ngaire at Kiwi Footprints.