A visit to Adventure Farm

Alan giving his introductory talk.

Photo credit: John Fox | Nation Media Group

The Adventure Farm’s website promises nature, fun, sustainability and wellness. My wife and I went there last Sunday and we found that these aren’t empty promises.

Nature? I was brought up on a five-acre farm in the flat fenlands of Britain’s East Anglia. It was one big field with row after row of potatoes, cabbages or cauliflowers – with a lonely willow tree at the far end. The Adventure Farm must have been originally carved out, I presume, from the Ngong Forest. Now, it shows nature in all its lushness — a colourful variety of trees and plants — and a fascinating collection of farm animals.

 Fun? Certainly – and especially for children. Alan, one of the farm guides, was just about to start his introductory talk to a Belgian family with two small children; so we joined them. With the help of lively illustrations on a huge blackboard set up in the comfortable lounge and dining area, Alan described the animal trail we were about to follow.

We went over to a long and low-slung building with many pens. The first set of water pens were for the whiskered catfish and then for the more common tilapia – the catfish providing valuable manure and the tilapia providing food for the kitchen. Further on we encountered the more interacting and entertaining pigs. Gradually, the children plucked up courage to feed and stroke them. Then we met the cows and, finally, the rabbits —  ready to be stroked and petted.

There is also a play area set aside for children. And they can have their adventure fun by tackling the zip-line and the climbing wall that are both adapted for children.

Sustainability? The catfish manure is used as nutrient for the vegetables and other plants. Do you know that diluted urine from rabbits can be used as a natural pesticide? The manure from the cows and pigs is fed into a digester that produces biogas for cooking. There is also a vermiculture set-up where red wriggler composting worms digest rotting vegetable waste. Seeds produced by vegetables and plants are dried for later use on the farm. Little is left to go to waste, and the drip irrigation scheme is another example of this. It is all part of the farm’s organic approach.

Wellness? It is promoted in three ways: eating food with farm-fresh, organic ingredients; relaxing with outdoor restorative yoga; pampering your hands and feet with a mani-pedi. ‘Indulge yourself in a relaxing treatment while you breathe in fresh air… while you enjoy farm fresh smoothies,’ the website says.

The restaurant offers a good range of dishes, with fish, meats and vegetables from the farm. But the pizzas from the wood-fired, domed oven are a speciality. You can choose your own toppings and children are encouraged to engage in the whole process, including loading the oven.

Judging by the frequent laughter as we enjoyed our own meal, the pizza oven was clearly another centrepiece for fun learning. The farm also makes its own range of ice creams, with some unusual flavours: kei apple, for example, and wild berries – a combination of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. There are many fruit juices and smoothies on offer, too. I felt a twinge of guilt when I ordered my cold beer after Alan’s tour.

 The farm’s founder, Ms Mwaniki, was a biology teacher at Alliance Girls High School and then headmistress of Nairobi Girls School. Much of her farm shows the inspiration of an educator. She has made a splendid and happy place.

I have said a lot about how children are entertained there, but it’s relaxing fun for adults, too! The prices are very reasonable. The tour costs Sh1,000 for adults and Sh500 for children – and if you want the tour you have to book. For directions to the farm near Dagoretti, I advise checking the website, www.adventurefarm.co.ke.

John Fox is Chairman of iDC