Everybody was hopeful that the beginning of a new decade would bring good tidings with it. The year 2020 was going to be our best year yet, so we thought.
But soon in, our lives changed in so many ways.
Covid-19 happened and the world went on a lockdown with local and international travel bans.
Curfews were imposed and many have since adjusted to the concept of working from home.
It’s called the new normal. But, as soon as the country’s economy was partially reopened and travel bans lifted, I discovered a little gem tucked away in Sagana, Murang’a County.
In September, I decided to take a break with some friends and get out of the city. We ended up at Jangwani Camp, a two-hour drive from Nairobi. It was love at first sight!
Jangwani Camp was opened four years ago and it is not “home away from home”; it’s a hidden getaway that I’m grateful I got to experience.
We spent a memorable 24 hours and I have been back twice with my family. I’m actually planning another visit before the year ends.
Picture this. You are snuggled up in a cosy tent surrounded by lush greenery. On one side of the tent is a series of waterfalls – four to be exact – on the other, a rocky hill that you can climb to catch a magnificent sunset over the falls.
I’ve been to different camping sites, but this was a different experience altogether, especially considering the sound and sight of the falls was right there by our tents.
While this, for the most part, defines Jangwani Camp, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are other attractions within that will blow your mind.
How it all started
During my second visit, I got the chance to meet the owner, John Kuria, for a brief chat.
Mr Kuria narrated how the concept of Jangwani came about and how he got started.
“Initially I thought of naming the campsite wilderness, but I had reservations with an English name. That’s how I came up with Jangwani – which simply translates to a dry area, which is ironic because this place is not dry,” Kuria said.
The father of two, who worked as a tour guide for more than two decades, says that after years of travelling across the globe, he wanted to settle down and host people.
“My idea was to set up a secure campsite which is family friendly,” he said.
It took a great deal of patience on his part as he looked for a place to set up a venture he had dreamt of for years.
But even after settling on the ideal site, getting started came with major challenges that he had not anticipated. He didn’t get a single visitor for three months, yet he had bills to take care of.
“One day I was seated out here alone looking at the water falls. Then I saw someone walking into the campsite. He had his own tent which he pitched at the far end of the campsite. He stayed here for three days and left. That’s how it all started,” Kuria narrated.
Of course his business, like many others, have been affected by Covid-19. In the wake of the pandemic, Mr Kuria has been forced to cut his staff by half. But he is happy that things are slowly returning to normal.
“Soon after the economy was reopened, we saw a flood of people who just wanted to get away from home. I’m happy business is slowly picking up. We can’t complain because we are getting some business,” he said.
The unique camping experience at Jangwani will allow you to detox your mind while enjoying your time with family or friends. The experience also brings you closer to nature.
Falling asleep to the sounds of the waterfalls is a therapeutic experience preceded on most nights by the warmth of a bonfire that the camp sets up every evening.
Sunrise over the waterfalls is a breathtaking sight that campers who visit Jangwani often wake up to.
Campers have the option of choosing between two luxurious tents with a beautiful view of the waterfalls or tents that accommodate up to 100 people. You can also self-cater if you wish or order from the kitchen which has a wide menu.
For the adventurous souls, a visit to Jangwani cannot be complete without a kayaking or rafting expedition on River Sagana. A professional guide is always at hand to offer crucial instructions during this adrenaline-inducing adventure.
If you are a morning person, you will definitely relish the refreshing guided walks in the morning.
For fishing enthusiasts, River Tana provides an opportunity to engage in sport fishing.
“A good catch guarantees you a delicious meal at the campsite while enjoying the enchanting sight of the amazing falls,” Kuria is quick to offer.
Archery and mountain biking are also available, adding up to an adventurous getaway. Biking lessons are unfortunately not provided.
That said, if you love nature or just want to explore, Jangwani Camp is definitely worth a visit.