Until very recently, I had largely considered Nanyuki to be a convenient pit stop for trips to northern Kenya. It was an area that I had only passed through on my way to conservancies in Laikipia or beyond, and somewhere to grab a snack or quick coffee.
But I have learnt over the last couple of weeks that it’s a worthwhile destination in its own right, and an ideal location for a weekend excursion out of Nairobi.
What changed my perspective was a trip last month to the Shepherds Huts, just south of Nanyuki town on the main highway from Nairobi.
The huts form part of One Stop Nanyuki – an all-in-one roadside property with a range of accommodation, a restaurant, a juice bar, a small supermarket, a salon, a plant nursery, and even a veterinarian. As its name implies, it serves as a one-stop shop for travellers en route to other destinations, or as a base to explore the area.
There are plenty of charming Airbnbs, campsites, hotels and lodges in and around Nanyuki, but the Shepherds Huts are among only a handful that are dog-friendly. Technically, their website says ‘well-behaved pooches only’, which should have ruled out our puppy, Riley, but my wife and I brought her along anyway.
There are four huts on the property – Bramble, Oak, Holly and Ivy – each handcrafted in Nanyuki, and based on the design of a traditional Somerset shepherd’s hut. They are all built on authentic British oak chassis, with cast iron metal wheels. Holly and Ivy sit next to each other by the swimming pool towards the back end of One Stop, while Bramble and Oak are closer to the restaurant and reception.
Our host, James, booked us into Ivy because he said it had the best view, and he was right. Sitting in the chairs on the verandah, we looked straight out across a wide lawn towards Mount Kenya. It’s also been really cleverly designed and landscaped.
The wooden deck is shaded from the elements and screened on one side by a wall of vegetation. Out front, a papaya tree gives a bit of privacy from the nearby 100 Year Old House, which can also be rented out. The deck leads down a ramp to a separate bathroom with a solar-powered shower.
The interior of the hut is a single space, but with beds at each end, it can comfortably accommodate three people. At its heart is a large dresser, a fridge/freezer, a microwave, a toaster and a kettle. Tea, coffee, sugar, water and milk were all provided, which was a nice touch. With tasteful white and pastel-coloured furnishings, it was a neat and clean space to spend a night. Our challenge for the weekend was to keep it that way with a hyperactive, muddy German Shepherd.
We spent a nice evening on the verandah eating pizza from the Frontiers Coffee Bar on site, and woke up early the following morning for a stunning sunrise behind Mount Kenya. We learnt that we were very close to the mountain’s forest line, so we decided to take Riley out for a leisurely five kilometre run.
We looped round the back of One Stop and jogged along a straight dirt track to the forest. It was a great way to spend a Sunday morning, before a quick lunch in Nanyuki and the drive back to Nairobi.
So, the Shepherds Huts are a fantastic base for a weekend exploring Nanyuki. We only really scratched the surface. There are plenty of accessible excursions nearby, from Mount Kenya, to the Ngare Ndare Forest and Ol Pejeta. Or you may just want to escape the city and relax, and One Stop is well-suited to that, too.
For more information, head to www.onestopnanyuki.com, or call 0700 888646.