Rondo Retreat is the place to stay in Kakamega. This Christian-run retreat with its white, clapboard cottages and wrap-around verandas is a perfect base for walking in Kenya’s only equatorial rainforest.
Ksh 6,900 per adult, sharing, full-board.
Photos on its website don’t do this place justice, and that’s probably its greatest strength: that when you arrive here, you’re bowled over that it’s about three times as nice as you thought. That, and the feeling of peace.
If you’re not a big enough group to take over a whole cottage, you may find yourself sharing it with people you don’t know. Cottages come with two, three or five bedrooms.
Style & Character
The American influence is very telling here. Ranch-style cottages of varying sizes dot the property, and there are plenty of nooks and crannies around the property for quiet contemplation, in keeping with its Christian roots. (It is owned by the US-based Trinity Fellowship.) Peace is preserved at all costs, with children discouraged from going into some areas.
Rondo is situated at the very heart of Kakamega, one of the best locations in Kenya for birdwatching, not to mention the many different species of monkey that are found here. It’s an enclosed area with expansive, sloping lawns that give it a rather unKenyan feel.
Service & Facilities
A highlight of the retreat is its afternoon tea tradition, where cake and tea are brought to your cottage verandah. Service can be a little hit and miss, and given the distances between some of the furthest cottages and reception, it could be tricky to get hold of someone. That said, staff were friendly and welcoming.
- Enclosed forest walks on the property
Cottages of different sizes are available, some with two, three or four rooms, a communal sitting room and verandah. All are nicely furnished, some with rooms more spacious than others. If you come at a busy time, you may have to share your cottage with another group.
Food & Drink
Good food, but not exceptional. Bring your own alcohol if you wish to drink, as none is served here.
In many ways, it could be a perfect spot for young kids – large lawns, plenty of space to run around. Understandably, though, noisy behaviour is frowned upon, with the hotel set up as a spiritual retreat where guests can find peace. Children are not allowed to enter some areas, and there are not many activities particularly geared to the younger age group.
Value for Money?
If you get a cottage to yourself or your group, it’s good value for money for such a serene location.
Reviewed by Catrina Stewart. Stayed February, 2017.