Deep inside Kakamega Forest lies the alluring Rondo Retreat Center, a Christian sanctuary for nature lovers. A very lush, green and peaceful base if you want to explore the only remnant in Kenya of the once magnificent tropical rainforest that stretched across Central Africa, also known as the Guinea-Congolian forest.

It’s believed that Rondo was initially owned by a saw miller who, in 1948 at the request of his wife, built a house for her at the base of what was thought to be the biggest tree in the forest, an Elgon olive. We were pleasantly surprised by how well kept Rondo Retreat was, given that they started building it over 65 years ago and continued to add different elements to it as the years went by.

Getting There:

If you’re planning a road trip then it should take approximately 7 hours to get to Rondo Retreat Center, you can find it on Google Maps here.

You could also fly to Kisumu then hire a taxi to Rondo Retreat from the airport. Fly SAX usually have regular flights (approx. 11,000/- for a return flight).

The retreat is home to 6 cottages with a charm like no other, perfectly preserving the history of the property. There’s Turton’s House, Turaco Cottage, Founder’s Cottage, Colobus Cottage, Isukha Cottage and Nandi Cottage. We stayed in the Founder’s Cottage which was very spacious, clean and made us feel right at home. It had a total of 2 en-suite bedrooms and a verandah.

You can only book the lodge a full board basis, and they serve hearty meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They do have specific timings for meals, so try not to be tardy.

DAY 1:
Lunch – Salad, Vegetable Quiche, Poached pear with crème fraiche and chocolate.
Dinner – Broccoli Soup, French Chicken stuffed with spinach & wrapped in bacon, Guava Mousse

DAY 2:
Breakfast – Full English breakfast (eggs made to your liking), Fruit & Cereal Spread
Lunch – Salad, Shepherd’s Pie & Fruit bowl
Dinner – Pumpkin Soup, Coconut Fish & Rice, Mango Mousse

DAY 3:
Breakfast – Full English breakfast (eggs made to your liking), Fruit & Cereal Spread

The center guarantees visitors a serene and captivating scenery. It is famed for its hiking along nature trails and is popular with bird lovers, with over 300 species of birds in its environs. The Great Blue Turaco, the emerald cuckoo, and the cacophonous black-and-white Casqued hornbill are among its avian attractions. There are also massive trees, scenic spots, and waterfalls.

For butterfly lovers, Rondo never disappoints. It has over 400 species, all in their natural habitat. Snake lovers can catch a glimpse of the black and the green mamba, the rock python and other species of related reptiles. Other animals are the bush pigs, bushbucks, tree pangolin and the colobus monkey.

Taking a sunrise walk through the Lirhanda Hill, which is the highest point of the Kakamega Forest, one can catch a glimpse of the forest and nearby towns like Chepsonoi, Shinyalu, and Kakamega.

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