Turi a Mumbi

15th Mar 2021

When I heard of this place reopening on the 4th of July 2020, I couldn't wait to sample it. It had just the kind of environment I love: nature, water and a cultural set up. I knew Nairobians being Nairobians would soon flock it (which is a good thing and also a bad thing) and so I purposed to visit it first weekend of opening. Because of the measures taken for social distancing one has to book prior via the number provided on their social media sites.
Yesterday, I had a minor setback when Nyamalo, my faithful jalopy, got some engine trouble and I thought of cancelling the trip today but we hadn't been out for an outing since March 2020. I needed a new place since we've been to almost all the places that the Nairobi diaspora has at the moment. I also wanted someone to help in the translation given the fact that I don't understand Kikuyu.
Turi a Mumbi as per Google maps was 32km from where we stay. It is along Banana Limuru road just after Limuru Girls High School. The directions via the map were accurate to the metre. The Banana Limuru road is now recarpeted. Very smooth. Not a single bump (which is crazy given the many corners) and unmarked. The drive, as usual, is always a welcome sight to sore eyes given the rolling tea plantations that are a hallmark of Limuru. Limuru weather is often much lower than Nairobi so dress in layers.
We arrived around midday to a warm welcome by this lady whose family runs the place. Hygiene measures are in place as well as the usual temperature checks (I can't believe that my reviews will now have to include Covid19 measures! How the world changes!). What I loved about the reception was her willingness to share about their journey as a family in setting up the place and the reason behind it. I got to learn a few Kikuyu words too. While making the reservation, one is told about the entry charges (350Ksh for adults and 200 for children under 12years of age).
We then set about checking out the place as we waited for our lunch. The grounds are a green carpet of grass that slopes into a river separated by a wooden fence. The sound of the waterfall is quite distinct from all corners of the ground. A thick natural forest surrounds the area and was the route of our nature trail as we descended and ascended the valleys. It is a short but quite slippery trail that includes crossing the shallow river. One has to take off their shoes to step on the moss-covered rocks. Also be on the lookout for those large ants that have nasty pincers that cling on to the skin.The experience was beautiful!
The seating area is on the grounds where stacks of hay are intersected with wooden benches and recycled car tyres. It provides for a nice ambience that reminded me of the open door concerts I used to attend at 910 James Gichuru. Turns out the place is run by Kwame the musician and his wife, Kanyi! I love his music!
There is a hall/dining area that is a sort of tree house since it blends well into an existing tree. The crockery is from recycled glassware and calabashes and wooden spoons from most of the crockery. The menu is in Gikuyu, it quite short and simple. They need to offer a bit more of variety of local cuisine but given that they are just reopening then I give them the benefit of doubt. The food is affordable. A bowl platter of deep fried cassava/yams/banana/sweet potato goes for Ksh. 200. My kids loved the deep fried cassava served with a dipping of guacamole. For the drinks we had a choice of fresh mango juice, fermented porridge and African tea.
The washrooms were clean initially though second time using them they had run out of water. They will have to install a big water tank when the numbers go up.
The parking is limited and one has to park along the road. They have plans of creating alternative parking at a nearby compound.
There is a playground under construction but we carried a football (beware of balls falling into the river since that will be the last time you will see them) and the nature trail kept the children busy.
All in all, we had a great time. I will surely be back and the kids are practising the few Kikuyu words they got to learn.
No alcohol is allowed but they will soon start offering muratina (local brew).
Amakove rating: 8/10. Because of the ambience.
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