Rondo At A Glance
- Location: Incredible but far outside of Kakamega town
- Rooms: Large, well decorated – several rooms per cottage
- Scenery: Absolutely stunning nature walks in Rondo’s back yard (Kakamega Rainforest)
- Staff: Incredibly kind, attentive, helpful and they speak good English
- Food: Outstanding, best food I have had in Kenya in the four months we have been here
- Atmosphere: Peaceful, unless the monkey sit outside your window for breakfast
- Price: Expensive – Regular price is over $120 per person per day
- Humanitarian workers to Kenya may be eligible for a substancial discount
We are wrapping up our time here in Kakamega and my beautiful, amazing wife just turned 24 years old today. I wanted to do something very special for her. I decided to take her to the Rondo Retreat to celebrate her birthday. Nestled in the Kakamega forest, the Rondo Retreat is an oasis in the Western Province of Kenya. Rondo is located just under two and a half hours from Kisumu. The drive down the dirt road from Kakamega passes by fields of maize, vibrant green tea bushes and sugarcane, soon giving way to the dense foliage of the Kakamega rain forest. The first thing that grabs attention is the landscape outside of Rondo. It is very well kept. Before entering the compound it is easy to see that this place is very well maintained. The grounds just inside the gate are filled with gorgeous African trees and bushes. The grass inside of the large compound is all neatly trimmed. The retreat is probably around 6-7 acres. At some point it was literally hewn out of the forest, leaving a quiet and restful escape.
The cottages in Rondo are not the common concrete or brick structures normally seen in Kenyan. The frame is brick with wood siding laid over top of it. The cottages are peaked with red roofs, also not common here. The inside of the cottages are nothing like any other place I have been in Kenya. Tastefully decorated with a mix between southern plantation and Victorian style decor. The walls are all painted deep, rich colors and trimmed with white paint. The furniture is very comfortable throughout the whole cottage, which is not at all common here in Kenya. The cottage is polished off with a very large “veranda” that starts on one end of the cottage and passes to the other side, the full length of the cottage.
The cottages are split into four or five rooms. During the busy season they can fill all the way up. However, during our stay we had the whole cottage to ourselves, which was so lovely. We were able to cozy up by the fire and read uninterrupted. It was quite restful. Imagine sitting by the fire during a rainforest thunder storm, wrapped in a freshly washed down comforter, reading your favorite book, next to your favorite person, sipping Kenyan black tea and eating chocolate cake-yes, it was that lovely.
When staying at the Rondo Retreat, full board is usually included in the price. Full board is lunch served after checking in, afternoon tea served on the cottage veranda, dinner, and breakfast the next morning. The food was absolutely amazing. We arrived just in time for lunch and enjoyed an amazing shredded carrot and beat salad and shepherd’s pie with roasted zucchini and homemade bread on the side. Lunch dessert was a wafer cookie atop two generous scoops of pineapple ice cream. For dinner we enjoyed, by candle light, rustic roasted chicken, potatoes, carrots, and green beans. For breakfast we ate fresh fruit, cereal, pancakes, bacon, and eggs. Every meal was accompanied by fresh mango juice! Whoever they have hired as their chefs are top notch. Hands down, the food we ate at Rondo was the best we have had in our four months in Kenya so far.
The staff here is absolutely incredible! Every single one of them are very kind and make their guest feel like royalty. For dinner they are dressed in a very nice collared shirt, vest, and bowtie. They started the fire in the living room fireplace for us, brought in extra wood, and served us our afternoon tea to our cottage. However they do their hiring is working very well. We were particularly very impressed with the director, David and our new friend Benson who took great care of us during our stay. This blog is focuses on the actual retreat and mentions nothing about the incredible Kakamega Forest in its backyard and all the trails that run through it. Check out our blog on the Kakamega Forest here! Here are a few more pictures from our stay: