Making Memories … at Ragati Log Cabins on Mt. Kenya

Making memories, special memories made from the REAL stuff; adventure, mud fights, swimming in mountain streams, fits & giggles, forest walks, crabbing, fly fishing, roasting marshmallows on the campfire … get my jist? All at Ragati Log Cabins on the slopes of Mt. Kenya.

Filled with excitement we departed for Mt. Kenya. What a beautiful drive through the Mweiga and Nyeri farmlands, past The Aberdare Country Club before winding your way up the mountain through its ever changing flora…. until you get to the most beautiful forest that is Ragati.

On their website, they state ‘You will not find anywhere wilder!’, I tend to agree. Ragati is an uncut gem; a find that will make you proud you found it first and trust me you’ll never want to get it ‘cut’!

Ragati Conservancy lies on the Southern slopes of Mt. Kenya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and consists entirely of Afro-montane forest and Afro-alpine heath. It’s ecosystem includes the Ragati river and its tributaries, and is home to an abundance of wildlife; elephant, buffalo, leopard as well as the rare mountain bongo, crowned eagle and African clawless otter. Home also to some amazing birdlife.

This  handsome wooden log cabin has a cozy sitting & dining room with a roaring fire, a large open verandah overlooking the stream trickling past, a little kitchen, four double rooms, a room with a bunk bed and a couple of bathrooms with delicious baths. There is no power and no fridge, but flickering safari lamps, solar lights and hot water… oh and a freezing river to keep your wine cool. It is truly self-catering, so I would suggest you take everything pre-prepared, but the wonderful Patrick is at hand to help with chopping, heating up and washing up, should you require.

The kids (6 of them, 3 to 10) were in adventure-heaven from beginning to end. This is mostly down to Ragati’s exceptional gillies; never did I meet 5 men so capable, so knowledgeable and so effortlessly excellent with a gaggle of such unruly children. They make Ragati proud. The kids & gillies day consisted of crabbing, fishing, exploring, adventure, swimming, mud-fights, water-fights, game-walks. All whilst the adults, 6 of us, relaxed, put the world to right, went on the odd beautiful forest meander, helped occasionally with some fly fishing, crabbing whilst overlooking a roaring waterfall, roasted marshmallows … heaven.

Ragati is truly an incredible weekend away or an incredible part of a safari.

Practicalities

Ragati Log Cabins  – Very special times. Having your own personal home, with no other guests, no wifi … where you get to spend valuable time together, as a family and with your friends …. whilst benefiting a community, the environment and the conservation area. We loved it, it is absolutely ideal for a family looking to travel alone or wuith another family or two (though you may need to add some beds and bedding)

Ragati Conservancy on the slopes of Mt. Kenya, Kenya – This is the ultimate if you are looking to experience unspoilt wilderness, whilst staying in a gorgeous log cabin, this is up there.
For those travelling to Kenya without kids Anyone looking to experience an area completely unspoiled and uninhabited, anyone looking for privacy, beautiful walks, birdlife and fishing … whilst being comfy, this is the perfect place to break up a wildlife-heavy Kenyan safari.
For those travelling to Kenya with kids – For parents who would like their kids to experience grass-root nature, for those kids interested in the outdoors, this is heaven.
Weather – The weather was beautiful, brisk clear mornings, warm days and cool nights.  The hottest month is usually December, January. The wettest month is usually April.
What to Pack? – Lots of layers asmd lots of changes of clothes for kids!! Shorts & shirts for the day, jumpers, jacket, trousers and jumpers for the evening & early morning …. swimming costumes for the brave … and lots of suncream.
Price From Kshs8,000 / USD80 per person per night, self catering rate. Children under 7 are free. This includes conservancy fees, gillies, guilded walks, camp staff, fishing fees and firewood. If you would like food to be provided, Soames (deliciously yum, yum) can supply the following:

  • Prepared meals to be collected from Soames on route for Kshs 800 / USD80 per person, per meal. Examples are Steak & Guinness pie, Spag Bog, Shepherds pie, Lasagne, Mousakka, Fish pie, Chilli, Beef Bourguignon.
  • A Chef and food preparation at the cabin – Dinner & Breakfast & Lunch from Kshs 10,575 pp if there are 10 people, Kshs 11,200 pp if there are 8 people, Kshs 11,200 pp if there are 6 people, Kshs 13,700 pp if there are 4 people. They will also sell you bottles of alcoholic drinks, cases of beer etc.

My advise – Stay here, with your kids. Not only is it amazingly beautiful, you are supporting a positive community project, a successful conservation project and you will spend proper valuable family-time….. a rarity in this day and age.

Safari Entertainment Packs for Kids

Our Advice is to always provide extra entertainment for your kids on safari.

A safari for kids is full of anticipation, excitement and adventure …. but there are quiet moments too, so our sister company, The SAFARI Company now offers these fabulous Kiddy packs for their clients to take on Safari!!

We suggest you do the same thing for your kids … and clients with kids!

AtholPlace, The Best Boutique Hotel in Johannesburg … & Ideal for Kids

AtholPlace Hotel & Villa, the best Boutique Hotel in South Africa and the best Restaurant in Johannesburg whilst being 100% family friendly! Contemporary-classic glamour, understated elegance, extreme comfort and incomparable service… it’s all true!

AtholPlace Hotel & Villa wins ‘the Luxury City Hotel, Country Winner 2016, World Luxury Hotel Awards.’ & ‘Best Restaurant in Johannesburg at Restaurant Week 2016’. Having seen these headlines, having seen the ratings, 9.7 exceptional on Booking.com and 5/5 excellent on tripadviser, my expectations were sky-high and sleep levels low … how embarrassing would it be to stay here with two crazy toddlers? I was excited to stay at this incredible place, but dreading it at the same time because of my children’s energy levels!

Our Stay

Situated only a short distance from Sandton, north of Johannesburg, AtholPlace was easy to get to from the airport (1/2 an hour) and we arrived in the quiet neighbourhood of Atholl into our gorgeous and comfy room, heaven. They had arranged our room perfectly with a cot and a kids bed, next to which was a box of everything you would ever need for a baby including nappies, de-tangle conditioner, toys, bath toys; lots of snacks and drinks including the most beautiful plate of cheeses and cold meats were also here for us, they had rightly assumed we would be hungry, but in no place to sit in the dining room.

After a wonderful night sleep, we enjoyed simply the most delicious breakfast I have ever eaten (truffle infused scrambled egg with smoked salmon, rocket on rye .. mmmmm!), yes the kids were happy too with their fruit lollipops, cereal, creamy yoghurt, eggs and sausages!

We spent the day at the Montecasino Bird Gardens,  Smile Cafe and a bit of retail therapy for Mummy, returning ‘home’ to a beautiful afternoon perfect for splashing around in the pool and charging around the garden until we were all ready for bed, well the little ones were (we didn’t waste much time on the gym, but there is a great little gym here). A perfect day for families, ending up with Billy (4yrs) stating ‘I want to live in Johannesburg Mummy’.

Kids asleep, it was time for us to experience Johannesburg’s Best Restaurant’s set menu, properly. It didn’t disappoint … trout amuse bouche, incredible breads with dips to die for, we had pork belly, salmon, melting duck and tender, tender fillet steak followed by mouth watering Creme Brulee (If I remember rightly, the meal cost about USD30 each!!). I would dine here every night if I lived in Johannesburg! Oh and they do offer a babysitting service.

What an incredible place to stay with such fantastic staff, professional and all wonderful with kids. The cherry on top of the cupcake was when the kids were presented with a foot diameter ‘cookie’ as a ‘take-away’ gift!

Practicalities

AtholPlace Hotel & Villa – I love it, we loved it. It is simply the most elegant place but perfect for children of all ages.
Atholl, near Sandton, Johannesburg – As a personal preference I would suggest staying in Fourways if you are in Johannesburg with a young family because all the great activities are here, but I also suggest you DO NOT miss staying at AtholPlace, maybe for part of your trip. If you are in Johannesburg alone, as a couple or with kids, even if only for a couple of nights, stay here.
For those travelling to South Africa with kids – If you are looking for privacy and the finer things, whilst being comfy, I highly recommend you spend some time here.
Weather – The weather was beautiful with clear, warm days when we were here in November 2016, turning rather chilly soon afterwards.  January is the hottest month in Johannesburg with an average temperature of 21°C (69°F) and the coldest is June at 10°C (50°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 11 in December. The wettest month is January with an average of 130mm of rain.
What to Pack? – the same you would pack to travel to any city, but remember to include sun-cream and clothes for all seasons. The weather changes overnight here.
Price – There is a current special rate of USD215 per night for a beautiful Superior suite going up to USD1,650 for a four bedroom villa with a private swimming pool. There are five superior suites and four deluxe suites, all with en-suite bathrooms, are extremely spacious, ranging from 45-55 square metres. For rates or to book, please contact me.
My advise – Spoil yourselves, stay here, it is a really great place, it’s comfortable with children of all ages and you will dream of being back there afterwards. If you want a reduced rate, contact me.

16 Great Activities In & Around Nairobi, to Enjoy, with your Kids

16 Great Nairobi Activities for Kids.
Exciting, educational & enthralling outdoor activities for you and your kids to enjoy, together, in Nairobi.

  1. Visit an Art Gallery – Kenya is full of great local artists for kids to enjoy. Try the Nairobi Gallery, Banana Hill Art Galleries, The GoDown Arts Centre or MattBronze (sculpted Bronze) etc.
    Our advise – If you need help, let us know your interests & location, then we will suggest the best for you.
  2. Go up to the Top of The Kenya International Conference Centre (the K.I.C.C Helipad would be best).. The best place to get a 360 degree view of Nairobi in all its sun-bathed splendour. If the fog’s not too heavy you can see all across the outskirts of the city to the National Park.
    Cost – Entry can cost Kshs 200 – 400 (about USD2 – 4) … may take some negotiating!
    Our advise – go out of rush hours .. to prevent serious traffic.
  3. Have lunch or a picnic in Nairobi National Park – A Perfect Kids Activity. Go on a game drive and see the incredible amount of wildlife in this city bordering park and either have a lovely picnic under an Acacia Tree or lunch at Ololo Lodge, where there’s also a great pool.
    Cost – From however much you would like to spend on a picnic or Kshs3,500 / USD 35 per person for lunch excluding drinks at the charming Ololo Lodge.
    Our advise – go with someone who knows, you’ll see a lot more and the day will be more fun! To enquire about a vehicle and or guide, please don’t hesitate to contact The SAFARI Company.
  4. Go and stay in a beautiful farmhouse in Tigoni dating from the 1940s. With an extensive garden, a pond and 24 acres of rolling fields dropping down to indigenous forest, you can stay in this peaceful, farm-fresh house for a night .. or two! Take walking trails through the indigenous forest with Sykes and Colobus monkeys as well as prolific birdlife. Roam around the grounds with the Jersey cows, swim in the pool or sit on the veranda, breathe in the clean air and take in the view of the Ngong Hills.
    Cost – From Kshs6,000 per room (Kshs3,000 per person if a double) including a full English breakfast, Kshs2,500 for an evening meal.
    Our advise – spend 2 nights, relax, walk, talk and make the most of this yummy home-cooked produce!
  5. Visit Karura Forest – 1,000 ha of wonderful forest was recently resurrected to its former beauty by The Friends of Karura Forest. You can escape Nairobi, with your kids and actively visit the caves, waterfalls, rivers and incredible flora and fauna. A perfect place for trail biking, walking, jogging, family fun days out.
    Cost – Kshs100 for a citizen, Kshs200 for a resident, Kshs600 (about USD6) for a non-resident to enter… plus car & picnic fees.
    Our advise – To go for a picnic, you must pre-book.
  6. Visit Kibera Slum & HELP – We highly recommend the fantastic One Horizon who run a community centre in Kibera catering for the needs of 300 children and their parents. Visit for the day or for the night. It’s not about building a classroom, it’s about connecting, playing and helping.  Kibera is a tough place to live and even harder when you are a child but this centre is a refuge,  centre for learning and a ray of light for very underprivileged children in a much challenged community. Come and be part of what will change your life.
    Cost – From USD200pppd for non residents. Please consult us if you are a resident.
    Our advise – Go!!! A life changing experience for adults & children, for those visiting and those in the centre.
  7. Try African Cuisine – Nyama Choma is the typical Kenyan barbeque, usually consisting of goat meat served with other delicious treats such as ugali (maizemeal) and kachumbari (a sort of salsa). Immerse yourself!
    Our advise – We suggest the following places if you want to try a traditional meal:

    1. Le Palanka – The ambiance is great, the food is good and the service is good.
    2. The most authentic is “K’osewe Ronalo Foods”, right in the city center.
    3. There is also one “Amaica” on Ngongo Road and JKIA.
  8. Enjoy a tour & a delicious lunch on a tea farm – This wonderful farm in Limuru provides a tranquil insight into life on a tea farm, a beautiful guided forest walk and a delicious lunch. The farm house is set within beautiful gardens surrounded by acres of tea and indigenous forest – home to the Colobus monkey and other wildlife.
    Cost – Kshs3,200 per person (about USD32) all inclusive, children under 12 are half price.
    Our advise – Book first (through us if you like) and then arrive at 11am, from then on your day will consist of a little chat about the history of the farm, the process of making tea, see tea in the field, walk in the indigenous forest, lunch prepared with veg from the garden and puddings with cream from their Channel Island cows.
  9. Feed the giraffes at The Giraffe Centre. Truly an experience of a lifetime for both adults and children and you get to learn about these leggy creatures.
    Cost – Kshs1,000 (about USD10) for a non resident adult and Kshs250 for a resident.
    Our advise – Open from 9:00am to 5:00pm everyday including weekends and public holidays. Go early to miss the crowds…. Plus, go on the nature walk, it’s lovely.
  10. Do a Brown’s Cheese Factory & Farm Tour – In the rolling hills of Limuru, it is well worth your while coming here for a 3-course lunch (100% homegrown ingredients) at the Brown’s farm. This is a wonderful opportunity to sample Kenya’s best cheeses. Cows and chickens are also there for all to enjoy plus milking of cows is possible for kids. Brown’s natural cheeses are made using traditional methods and no colorings, coatings, or additives are used, suitable for vegetarians.
    Cost – Kshs 4,000 (about USD40) per person.
    Our advise – Six person minimum or Kshs 24,000 (USD240) minimum cost. Always call to book.
  11. Go on The Nairobi Safari Walk! A conservation-based recreational facility on Langata road, where you can walk along a raised walkway and get a chance to see some of the rarest animals on the planet. These include the white Rhino, the Bongo and even the Albino Zebra. What this walk offers, is a chance to see most of Kenya’s wildlife within a single setting.
    Cost – USD25 for a non resident adult, Kshs250 for a citizen and Kshs350 for a resident.
    Our advise – don’t go at a weekend or if you do, go early to miss the crowds.
  12. Go and see an art performance, a play, a musical, dance and or another production at The Kenya National Theatre, The Phoenix Players or a host of other places.
    Our advise – ask us where the best performance is on at any one time.
  13. Visit The Nairobi National Museum – Four pillars of Kenya’s national heritage – nature, culture, history and contemporary art. Learn about the rich cultural heritage of Kenya and the archaeological origins of man, see the animals and birds of Africa in the galleries, appreciate contemporary Kenyan art, and then go for a stroll through the beautiful botanical gardens. If you’re brave, visit the snake park and get up close and personal with some of Africa’s favourite reptiles.
    Costs  – Kshs1,200 / USD12 for non residents / Kshs600 for residents / Kshs200 for citizens
    Our advise – The museum is open 365 days a year, from 8:30 to 15:30, go early to miss the crowds.
  14. Visit the Masai Market – it’s bright, cheerful and lively!!!  You can buy a variety of artefacts, ornaments, home décor and clothes from around Kenya, and Africa.
    Our Advise – Remember to bargain .. and these are the days:

    1. On Tuesdays – Kijabe St Pk next to Nairobi River & Prestige Plaza, Ngong rd.
    2. On Wednesdays – Capital Centre, Mombasa rd.
    3. On Thursdays – The Junction Mall & Ngong rd.
    4. On Fridays – The Village Market, Limuru rd.
    5. On Saturdays – High court parking, City Centre opp. Re-Insurance Plaza & Prestige Plaza, Ngong rd.
    6. On Sundays -Yaya Centre, Valley Rd, Hurlingham.
  15. Spend the night on a double decker bus! – Oh yes, it is a converted bus in the quiet leafy Nairobi suburb of Karen. An incredible adventure for a family, go and stay here, take some supper with you (they have most kitchen equipment) and spend a night on this bus. There are 2 queen beds and 2 single beds.
    Costs – About Kshs11,000 / USD110-120 for the whole thing (you can fit 4/5 family members comfortably).
    Our advise – Wrap up warm and go, the kids will love it!
  16. Last but by no means least, adopt a baby Elephant at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Langata – Play with it, feed and get to know it.
    Cost – USD50 per year fostering fee and you can visit at 4.00pm daily.
    Our advise – adopt an elephant so that you can go when there are no crowds and you can feed your elephant, stroke it, put it to bed. Honestly, for adults and children alike, this is up there.

There is tonnes of other fun to be had in Nairobi, from ice skating to GP Karting, horse racing to rallying, visiting malls to amazing restaurants .. but we have stuck to ‘safari & adventurous’ options.
For these experiences, for a vehicle, a flight, a guide or simply additional advise on travelling in and around Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda or Rwanda, please contact us.

 

Enjoy our beautiful country.
With very kind regards
Chania

Chania Tundo / Founder
Proud winner of:
• Kenya’s Most Influential Woman in Tourism and Leisure 2016
• East Africa’s Most Influential Woman in Tourism and Leisure 2016
www.aFamilySafariBlog.com – www.theSAFARICoLtd.com 

If you’d like to experience Africa whilst staying in magnificent little game lodges, a safari tent, a beach villa or exquisite little farmhouses, rather than the larger hotel chains, The SAFARI Company is right for you. Psst, we have found gorgeous places, even for the budget conscious.