‘I turned my dwelling right into a lodge’
- The primary home could be very spacious with three bedrooms, two lounges, a eating space, kitchen, and rooftop terrace, excellent for catching the dawn.
- Rural areas have been altering. There was quite a lot of actual property development.
- Constructing a lodge in Sakwa, about six to eight hours from Nairobi by street, would have appeared like a far-fetched funding concept, a number of years in the past.
About 40 minutes from Bondo city, I’m ushered into this lovely dwelling in Sakwa, proper on the shores of Lake Victoria. Pikidi Gardens, close to Liunda Seashore, was as soon as a household dwelling however Dorothy Achieng’ turned it right into a lodge, though that was not precisely the sport plan.
“Once we purchased this land round 2015, it was for constructing our household dwelling,” says Dorothy.
“As we did the development and obtained to have a really feel of dwelling right here, we thought the situation was too lovely to solely maintain it to our household of 5. We began establishing the primary home in February 2017 and moved by August 2018. At the moment, it was liveable however not completed,” she provides.
In designing the home, Dorothy didn’t have to buy round for an architect since there have been three within the household.
“After visiting the positioning, seeing its lovely view of the lake, we requested all of the architects within the household to provide you with a sketch design that might additionally take note of the environmental challenges like the warmth as a result of Bondo is thought to be a scorching area,” explains Dorothy.
Two architects got here up with sketches. Her first-born son, Ted, was in his last yr of college on the time, and his concept gained. His architectural plan was ethereal and there was cross-ventilation in every single place in the home design.
“I had an workplace and we polished the plan there, then we obtained approvals from the county authorities and I introduced it to website and needed to ‘babysit’ the venture until the tip, and we’ve the home now,” she says.
Nestled in a bush
Designing and establishing the home, she says, was very simple as a result of the builders adopted the plan. Landscaping nevertheless was not simple as a result of the land was nothing however thick bush.
“You possibly can not even stroll to the water as a result of it was so bushy. To get the panorama to some extent the place you might even have terraces that result in the lake was an uphill activity. I needed to work immediately with the fundis every single day, laying each stone, step, planter…all the things. It was thrilling however actually tedious,” she says.
For constructing supplies, they introduced in terracotta tiles from CTM in Nairobi, and the outside rubble stone partitions had been from the positioning itself and the close by village. They requested villagers to gather what they’d of their farms, and when the pile was large enough to move, the household purchased it.
The primary home could be very spacious with three bedrooms, two lounges, a eating space, kitchen, and rooftop terrace, excellent for catching the dawn over their signature moist fry tilapia with ghee, brown ugali, and traditionally-prepared greens.
“We first arrange a campsite and we’ve tents. Proper now, we’ve 12 tents that may accommodate 24 individuals,” she says.
One yr in the past, simply earlier than she opened her dwelling to staying visitors, she constructed three extra indifferent items; two cottage rooms, and a household cottage which might home as much as 5 individuals.
“My household remains to be primarily based in Nairobi, and I’m the one who’s been on the bottom to make sure that all the things runs easily. I’ve been right here completely because the pandemic, and so they relations come to go to,” she says.
New face in rural areas
Rural areas have been altering. There was quite a lot of actual property development— lovely properties and condo blocks the place there was once mud-and-grass thatched homes and small bungalows. Within the rural areas, the primary draw to the homestays is the unspoiled greenery which is more and more changing into scarce in cities as timber are cleared to pave means for an increasing number of development.
In Sakwa, the unimaginable sunsets over the lake, a plethora of birds that fill the air with songs at daybreak, and water which visitors may even go swimming or fishing in, is a plus.
Constructing a lodge in Sakwa, about six to eight hours from Nairobi by street, would have appeared like a far-fetched funding concept, a number of years in the past.
“We began as a house so it really works for us both means,” says Dorothy.
“After deciding to show it right into a lodge, we knew it could take quite a lot of advertising. What encourages us is that we get quite a lot of referrals and repeat prospects. Individuals get curious after they see it on-line. They suppose, ‘this place can’t be in Sakwa’…so they arrive to substantiate that it exists and that we’ve really constructed this in the midst of nowhere,” she says, including that almost all of her visitors are earlier residents of Sakwa who now stay in Nairobi and are available to Pikidi when they’re on vacation. Others have been from Rift Valley, particularly Eldoret and Kericho.
Dorothy additionally organises excursions to Ndede Island, a small fishing village. The lodge costs vary from Sh3,000 to Sh20,000 per evening.
In Luo, the lodge’s title, Pikidi means water and rocks, which speaks to the attractive topography of the world.
The decor in the home is distinctly African, and the household has plans to show it into a bit of museum. In the lounge, there are fishermen’s oars, brooms, calabashes as wall artwork, a nyatiti musical instrument propped underneath a window, conventional drums, and extra objects distinct to this a part of Kenya.
She turned the house right into a lodge one and half years in the past however bookings had been very low throughout the pandemic and nonetheless are. To maintain her employees of seven staff busy, she engages them in different actions reminiscent of farming.
“A quickly as individuals know there are such locations in rural areas, then extra can come and expertise the wild great thing about our little spot by the lake,” Dorothy says.