The Best Lodge for Family in Lake Naivasha, Kenya.

Kiangazi House, in my view, is simply the most ideal lodge in Naivasha if you’re travelling with kids. With a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, endless interesting and unique activities around both Lakes Oloidien and Naivasha, it is even perfect if you’re mad enough to travel with toddlers!

We set off for our adventure in order to arrive at Kiangazi on a Saturday morning. After Kenya’s testing display of driving and traffic-jams, we arrived to peace, calm, cool Kiangazi, with the biggest smiles you ever did see!

It really is a little gem. A beautiful 7-bedroom old ranch-style house (some rooms in the house, some are external cottages) with panoramic views across a green lawn, heavily populated waterhole (warthog, eland, zebra and impala), over Lake Oloidien and into the blue hills in the distance.

We could go here on every holiday. The place is peaceful and beautiful. The staff are simply incredible, they aren’t over the top, but nothing seems too much. The food is extremely tasty, home-cooked fare… and the activities, the activities, the fun was all about to begin.

Their swimming pool, I mean ‘oasis’ is something for a toddler to explore within, not just swim in. The lawns are rolling and perfect to exhaust the over-energetic.

The game drive / sundowner / kids supper expedition is unforgettable; all piled up high on top of the 4×4  with Bernard, the most calming, interesting and informative guide, off we went to explore Oserengoni, our very own wildlife sanctuary (OK we’re sharing it with one other tiny lodge, Chui Lodge).  This sanctuary was created in the 90’s with the sole purpose of giving the resident wildlife a place of safety as the flower farms & population increased. The first animal we saw, can you believe it was a Zonkey (work that out!). We then saw endless warthog with hundreds of the sweetest little piglets, eland, impala, bush buck, zebra, buffalo, wildebeest… a surprise ‘sundowner’ met as equipped with marshmallows ready to BBQ, amazing kids supper, the most delicious ‘bitings’ and much needed glass of wine. All this merriment were followed by an exciting night game drive back to a rosepetal bath!!

An activity not to miss is the crisp morning drive to the lake shore, followed by a lovely refreshing walk along the shore where you discover a fabulous bush breakfast (fresh fruit, pancakes, donuts, omelettes, piping hot coffee … mmm) all being prepared for you by the lake by the smiling chef. After we were sufficiently full, we were whisked off on my favourite drive by the lake, under all the Yellow Fever trees, again full of plains game and then to our boat. What an interesting hour, along the shores of Lake Naivasha full of beautiful vegetation, fisherman hard at work, the Colobus monkeys lolling around in the morning sun and general life on the lake… pheow, what a morning!

Time to leave already. We didn’t have time to visit the Oserian flower farm, but its always good to leave something for next time!

Oh … I forgot to say, we were given two beautiful bunches of roses on our departure …. how’s that for delicious!

Practicalities

Kiangazi House – I love it, we loved it. It is a great fun place for adults and children of all ages.
Lake Naivasha, Great Rift Valley, Kenya – It is important to spend time on a lake in the Great Rift Valley and with the added bonus of a private sanctuary and the flower farm, this is up there.
For those travelling to Kenya 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 January 2017.  January is generally warm in the days and chilly’ish at night. The hottest month in Naivasha is usually December. The wettest month is usually April.
What to Pack? – Shorts for the day with a shirt, a jumper and jacket, trousers and jumpers for the evening …. and swimming costumes for the brave and lots of suncream.
Price – The rates are currently USD240 which includes full board accommodation in this lovely personal house and all these amazing activities. 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.

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.