I am a true up-country Kenyan girl, born and raised in the beautiful Rift Valley for the early part of my childhood. The Rift which cuts through all of East Africa, and seems to be constantly green and fertile. Growing up there I took it all for granted and longed for a life in the city. These days, I look forward to any opportunity I can get to go back.
Last weekend was my latest of these sentimental returns to where my heart will be forever anchored. I felt blessed to receive a complimentary stay with a few of my team members at the Great Rift Valley Lodge & Golf Resort in Naivasha, where we spent a night and a day at their exclusive Marula House. The two and a half hour drive from Nairobi was in itself a very enjoyable experience taking us through lush green landscapes, joking and chatting all the way. But the sight which awaited us at the lodge was sheer amazing! The lodge is actually a cluster of beautifully designed self-catering cottages of varying sizes ranging from two to five bedrooms, which all overlook the 18 hole golf course with breathtaking panoramic views of the greenery of the valley and the lovely Lake Naivasha just below. Mt Longonot and The Aberdare Range are visible at the horizon and so is the Mau Escarpment on the other side.
I love arriving my hotel room after a long journey, getting rid of your bags and throwing yourself on your comfy bed. But walking into our Marula house was almost like coming home. You should have seen the vids I put on Snapchat (or maybe you actually did … LOL) (@silvianjoki) showing us running around the house, trying out our beds, loving our luxurious bathrooms, getting lost in the views of the greenery all around us, discovering the kitchen until finally settling down with a glass of wine on our ground floor veranda.
The boys Nick my assistant and Charles our photographer got the two beds on the second level of this three tier-three bedroomed house, while my makeup artist Phoina and I each had a fantastic bedroom to ourselves downstairs.
In 2015 the lodge won an award for Kenya’s best golf hotel, but we were not here for hitting the balls but rather for relaxing and shooting inside our luxurious home. Yes, yes, I know we should have hit the sack a bit earlier, and every bedroom has its own full satellite TV, but none of us wanted to retire early, so we were all hanging around chilling in the beautiful lounge decorated in luxurious vintage style, enjoying the full bouquet of satellite TV and audio channels, while keeping in touch with our social media networks via a perfect Wi-Fi, chatting away to share our memories of days past, just fooling around a bit playing games like spin the bottle, and having a few more drinks to wash down our takeaway dinner.
We could actually have cooked a full meal ourselves in the spacious well-equipped kitchen or taken our dinner in the restaurant of the lodge, but preferred just to stay the house and enjoy its endless facilities and stunning home décor.Most people come here for a few rounds of golf but sometimes also enjoy early morning walks or horse riding followed by a swim in one of the two gorgeous pools.
I wanted to take beautiful pictures. And so my morning started with a cup of coffee and a doughnut followed by a lovely shower. After a face beat by Phoina, I felt well prepared for a day of dedicated work in front of the camera. Shooting at a very specific and confined location can sometimes pose a challenge but shooting here at The Marula house somehow challenged us with more options than necessary. This house is just so beautifully decorated and offers a variety of areas to shoot. It’s a joy to work with such a talented and dedicated team, and I look forward to sharing the images with you in the coming weeks.
On our way out we watched a beautiful wedding in the lush green garden, what a beautiful place to tie the knot! The lodge is also a perfect location for a company team building event, since it can accommodate up to 30 persons in 5-star luxury and offers a range of physical recreation facilities including a panoramic pool, tennis courts, badminton and nature walks.
I felt privileged to be able to enjoy what I do professionally in such a perfect environment. I decided that when I visit next time it will be together with my daughter for an escorted game and bird walks in Eburu Forest or a guided horse riding and mountain bike safaris with friends. This would be such a lovely place for two to four close couples (with or without children) to spend some top quality time together.
For enquiries and reservations, please contact Marula house management on; firstname.lastname@example.org
Have fun !