We hadn’t planned to be in Kenya.
On our way to spend Christmas in Burundi in the Great Lakes region of Africa, our plane had touched down in Nairobi and there we had learned about violent clashes that day in Burundi and all flights were cancelled. So we made the best of the situation and decided to explore Kenya.
Now, early morning, awaking to the sound of exotic bird calls in the valley, we hurry outside, anxious to see the rugged outline of Mount Kenya before the daily rainclouds obscure it from view. Groups of black-and-white colobus monkeys, with their old man faces, roam through the tree canopy and the magnificent crowned cranes stretch their wings on the tree tops. Although it is summer and we are standing on the line of the equator, we sling jerseys on and wander down to the lake, the early morning mist slowly rising from its waters.
This is the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, 190km north of Nairobi in Nanyuki ; built as a romantic, but ill-fated, retreat in the 1930s and rescued by the Hollywood star William Holden in the late 1950s as he sought to set up a wildlife refuge here. The grounds around the hotel are magnificently maintained, sweeping lawns, where a tame stork roams, a fascinating maze beyond the lake, 100 acres of landscaped grounds.
There is always an ethereal quality about mists rising from water, whatever the country,
and flowers raise their heads to meet the early morning sun, their colours reflecting the intensity of the African sun.
There is a forgotten old formal rose garden behind the hotel, surrounded by ancient trees , a feeling of nostalgia permeating the atmosphere.
Later, afternoon tea is served on the terrace, overlooking the immaculate maze, storks and ibises our companions.
Dublin city, indeed the 21st century, seems a million miles away.
Read more about this wonderful Kenyan hotel HERE