Posted in travel

Blown Away

Let not Magadi road lie to you that traffic on weekends is fast. And no amount of waking up early could
save your ass for Anslem Kitengela.

The journey has begun. That of cheap places to explore in Nairobi and its environs. The one that will leave you cursing some tour companies for overcharging your pockets. Yes am here to snitch! I don’t fathom how on earth you would pay Ksh 2,500 and above for a place you can comfortably access with the help of Google and its Maps. Places that you only need Ksh 1,000 plus keep change. You will thank
me later but any who it is not my money.

Since am in the KBF (Kaguru by Foot-don’t drive since I don’t own a car) department, I boarded number
125 bus at Railways that head to Ongata Rongai. These will charge you Ksh 50 on the higher side and
alight at Maasai Lodge stage. If you driving simply use Magadi Road, turn left at the Masai Lodge Stage.
This stage is just a few kilometers away after Multi-Media University. From here it depends on whether
you want to access Kitengela glass from the Masai lodge or from the African Nazarene route.
Took the African Nazarene route that is tarmacked but shifts to a bumpy, rocky, dusty path immediately after the University. The only public transport here are the motorbikes and tuk tuk . If you use your bargaining skills well they won’t overcharge. A tuktuk charges Ksh 400, while the bodaboda is Ksh 200.
Took the latter.

Anselm Kitengela
The journey to this gem that has been here for the last 25 years welcomes you to shrub vegetation, close glimpse of the SGR and crafted pieces on the roadside. We got here before noon, fingers crossed that we had not missed the glass blowing. This is where the fun lies. Artists recycle glass with an aim of creating environmental awareness to combat climate change. Like their mission states :

creating functional beauty from trash, bringing unique eco-chic light into our clients lives with an honest antique craft; made by artisans whose rights are supported, and who are nurtured in a respectful, fair and
integrity rich working environment.

Entry is FREE!

The huge acreage is divided into art, glassblowing, lighting, furniture and dalle de verre. Each section
unique, beautiful and mind blowing on its own. Started with the glassblowing where we found an artisan in the process of making a vase. The furnace uses recycled engine oil to melt the glass as the artisan shapes the glass while blowing air into it. The first bubbles are important in shaping the base of the
glass. Moreover, they infuse a pigmentation color imported from Germany that gives the glass its color.
Various techniques are used and the best was the handkerchief where the artisan spins the hot glass going against and along gravity to flip it open. Beyond explanations. You have to see it to believe it.

From here my jaw dropped at the art shop where what is made is sold. The pieces range from glasses, cups, jars, vases, chandeliers and mirrors. The compound is meticulously designed making it a haven to take all your worries as you bathe in fresh air. The furniture sector includes seats and tables that would make an envy of a dining set to garden seats. The Dalle De Verre is where metal meets glass. More of a workshop. The glasstronomique menu is one to set a rumbling stomach. From light snacks, coffee, fries to ice-cream that are quite affordable.

Nani Kitengela
Bordering Anselm this property is accessed via another gate and entry is also free. Owned by Nani, art
reigns! My welcome here was that of a monkey running away with a Fanta soda it had stolen from the fridge. Yes monkeys on this side are naughty! The storey building houses paintings, glass artefacts, wood carvings and portraits on the upper floor. In addition, an open door serves one with views from the scary bridge. Besides the ground floor being a replica, books, journals and classic collections like cassettes makes it a standing ovation.
The path to the scary bridge is found here.

Scary bridge
Ksh 150 per head gives you that junkie cross to Masai lodge route. Held together by mesh wires and
decorated by glass objet d’art, the 171 feet long and 4 feet high bridge serves a wanderer with a seasonal river, massive rocks and lush bushes.

Masai Lodge
After crossing the bridge a 10minute walk will get you to the lodge signage. You will want to slow your pace while at it to get a glimpse of wild animals. The reception here is the most friendly I’ve endured. Olemaiyan welcomes guests once he spots them and escorts them to whichever section you want to access. He makes you laugh as he cracks jokes while getting acquainted. He eases your mood. So serene plus pristine that it tempts you into booking yourself for the night. The waiters and waitresses get to you very fast and help you locate a seat. Their A La Carte menu is very affordable catering for people from all walks of life. Ordered the Masala chips at Ksh 300 which is the best I have had so far. All the rest are fake! This is the real masala.

Rolfs place
I was not ready to call it a day knowing I was in the same vicinity as Rolfs. 15 minutes’ walk into yet
another dusty road led me here. The wow factor here is that it is a restaurant on a cliff. You spot it from
afar and marvel at its architecture. Forget the naughty monkeys, here baboons do the talking. Find them
at the gate minding their business as long as you don’t disturb them. If you think you had had it with bridges then you better overcome your fears as early as now. A suspended wooden bridge takes you over to the restaurant that has a cheaper menu than Masai. Their fries are at Ksh 200 but comparing the ambience here, I prefer Masai. Throw stones.

Called it a day by calling my bodaboda guy who charged me Ksh 100 back to Masai lodge stage.


Living my life, exploring it, yearning more of it and learning from it.

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