NO MORE BUILDING CASTLES IN THE AIR.
Tafaria Castle, ever heard of it? Years ago, in an English class my teacher said building castles in the air means wishful thinking of impossible things which can never come to be. As I grew older my History teacher said most castles belonged to kings and warlords. Recently however, In Africa, in a once small sleepy remote village called Wiumiririe (Kikuyu word for soldier on, keep at it ) I discovered Tafaria Castle.
This one is unique. Less than a decade old as compared to most others still standing a century or more later, it doesn’t trace back to any famous warlord, legendary king or the colonizers. It belongs to, Tafaria Waititu who grew up in this nothing spectacular place with the hustles of lack of water, walking many miles to school, a faraway shopping centre and health facility crossing valleys and hills, battling wild animals along the way. He knew that castles are meant to be build and not be somewhere lying in the air. He dared to dream about lighting up his own village, it literally came true seven years ago because since the castle was built, the area got connected to the electricity grid-line. This place filled me with hope and some new motivation that our dreams can always come true if we decide to chase them. Their mantra is “ONCE UPON A DREAM”
I frequent Wiumiririe so I always tried fitting my visit to Tafaria Castle into my other plans but it was always elusive, never worked out. It was like a jealous and proud girlfriend who wanted all the attention. It seemed to be telling me, “you know what, I stay in a castle, you just don’t play around with royalty, if you want to visit me, plan properly and take your time. I don’t share time or resources with anyone or anything. It is all about me.”I decided enough of the games and it was time to be serious, man up and do a real chase. I gave it a day of its own no divided attention, specifically from the capital city, Nairobi to go there on a four hour journey and see this beauty.
Good thing it was worth all the attention. It was mind blowing. Royalty doesn’t disappoint. Took this trip with four of my friends. It was like a dowry payment occasion I was doing after all the chase, friends had to accompany me. So this time we used private means (most of my trips I use public means but hey, this is a royalty affair, I will give details of how to get there with public means at the end though)
We settled for a round adventure and from Nairobi we used Nyeri-Nyahururu Road.There is amazing scenery on this road. We came back using the Nyahururu-Gilgil-Nairobi Road. It gave us that wholesome road trip experience. From the main highway a rough road leads there and for me rough roads mean something epic is on the way. It is quite a distance so if using public means after alighting at Makutano one can take a motor bike to the Castle. The reception has mounted photos of every construction milestone from digging the foundation, water piping, electricity connection , roofing to the grand opening appreciating each step of the journey.
We started with swimming, which they charge Ksh.500. Something unique about the pool is that it has no deep end, perfect for learning and water games. You can have a look at more exciting activities here
I then took a round tour. I fell in love with their interior starting from the doors. It has this ancient feel and I love antiques. Furniture has this antique feel which I find interesting. They have also incorporated amazing art work on the walls.
Their rooms have names such as lost knights,vikings and damsels pointing back to war years. I loved how they had named their meeting room the “think tank” you go in and come out with a concrete game plan.
Outside there is a memorial stone of honour with the names of all those who took part in building the castle from the architect to the plumber to the casuals. Such a nice way of appreciating people unlike most places who honour the elite people who did the grand opening, forgetting the many hours of labour that went into building something. Most labour was sourced locally thus empowering locals.
Most castles have towers, this one has a plastic bottles tower, very tall with a star on top recycling plastics and going green. This is a message coming out strongly on the need to recycle plastics especially after the Blue Economy Conference. They have also creatively recycled wine bottles in a window shape manner
They have an outdoor gym. They also have this seesaw balance, the little things that excite me.Then there is an art gallery promoting local artists ,showcasing their work.
Castles must have horses and as I was passing the stable, I bumped into this sharp looking middle aged man, he extended his hand,”Hi ,I’m Tafaria, welcome“. It caught me off guard never, expected to meet the dream bearer. It took me back to my dreams which felt achievable. We did not talk much though. By the time we were finishing the round trip, food was ready. I come from Kinangop famous for potatoes and milk, that blood is still in me, in the restaurant I took potato wedges in which had this nice shape and their fillet. Someone taking time to decorate potatoes for me is touching, I appreciate the effort they put in. I liked it .My friends had beef and ugali which were also well done. Their meals range from Kshs. 900.The staff are very kind, one offered to take us photos, bless his soul, showing us around the restaurant and bar which we had not noticed all along we had gone straight to upstairs leaving behind some amazing interiors behind downstairs.
It was time to leave and we met some magic on stepping out at around 7:30 p.m.Taaada! The castle had light up. So we did some nice night shots and set off back home.
Using public means;
- From Nairobi board Matatus to Nyeri at Tea Room around Kshs.350.
- At Nyeri board Matatus to Nyahururu for around Kshs.300 alight at Makutano, you’ll see the Tafaria sign board.
- From there take a boda boda to Tafaria at Kshs. 150. With Ksh1,500 for fare on the higher you are good to go.
Click here for Google maps directions. It really help plus the signage is quite clear 🙂
|Full board (Ksh.)||Half Board (Ksh.)||Bed and Breakfast (Ksh.)|
Activities to do in Tafaria Castle
|Horse Riding||Ksh.500 per person|
|Swimming||Ksh.500 per person (Free for in-house guests)|
|Archery||Ksh.500 per person|
|Game Drive to Aberdare National Park||Ksh.300 per person entrance to the park if using own vehicle and Ksh.300 for vehicle. If using the castle vehicle Ksh.25,000 which has a capacity of 7 people|
|Game drive to Solio Conservancy famous for its white and black rhinos||Entrance to the Conservancy is Ksh.3,000 per person If using the castle vehicle Ksh.25,000 which has a capacity of 7 people|
|Lawn Tennis, Basketball, Volleyball, Badminton||Complimentary|
|Fairy tale wedding with the Horse Carriage Riding||20 rooms on half board-Ksh.312,000, Meals Ksh.2.500 per person, Cake 12kg is 60,000, Having your own D.J Ksh.10,000 using their in-house D.J Ksh.25,000.They offer complimentary room for the couple on wedding day and free photo shoot Rates subject to customization|
|Team building||Kshs.4,500 p/p for full day all inclusive|
|Centre for the Arts- Art Exhibitions, Art Residences, Collectors Hub and Tafaria Advocacy Visual Arts Award||Keep checking with them for how to sign up as an exhibitor or for gallery shows|
Tafaria Castle Contact: +254700151480