About six years ago, Imran Hassan together with his father 56-year-old Omar Hassan were scouting for land to grow tomatoes under greenhouses. They settled on a 20-acre bushy piece of land at the border of Uasin Gishu and Nandi counties.
Besides the greenhouses, they tried to make the farm habitable for the family, as an escape from town life especially on weekends.
“We used to spend time at the farm as a gateway during the weekends. We loved the scenery and serenity. Soon our relatives requested to visit the place when we posted the photos on social media,” says Mr Hassan.
At the farm, a river flowed through the greenhouses, birds chirped, soothing the tired souls.
“We realised that our relatives’ friends tagged along. Soon many people got interested in spending time at the farm. That is when we decided to slowly transform it into a recreational facility,” the 28-year-old says.
First, they invested in landscaping, then they built gazebos, a kitchen, and a road.
Then they build a place for archery, spending Sh6 million on sprucing up the land.
They planted tomatoes in 16 greenhouses and injected the profit into the recreational facility. Two years ago, they quit the cultivation of tomatoes, set up the first zip-line in the North Rift region, adding a paint-ball spot, a horse-riding ring, a bike-riding track, and a camping site.
Kipkaren River Resort has now become a perfect spot for nature walks, picnics, and camping.
At the resort, there are four horses named Kokito, Rachel, Parker, and Jungle boy. One of them died as a result of the distress to the new environment.
Most of the clientele (about 70 percent) are families. Weekends and public holidays are the busiest.
“Families come with their food and cook. But don’t allow the alcohol. Our religion prohibits alcohol,” explains Imran.
On a peak day, they get between 50 and 70 people who visit the resort, especially during the weekends. When the business is low, they get about 20 people.
“Most of them are locals from Eldoret town, once in a while we get customers from Kitale, Kisumu, and Kakamega,” says Imran.
The charge range from Sh500 for zip-lining to Sh3,000 for camping, an amount that depends on the size of the tent a customer hired.
With a growing clientele, other investors have started offering zip-lining. The Morop Hills in Baringo County and Tiret Resort adjacent to the Kipkaren River Resort were set up in the last two months and are eyeing a slice of Kipkaren River Resort’s business.
“I don’t fear any competition, competition is healthy,” he says.
What are his plans? ; “Rome was not built in one day. We are slowly introducing new activities since these activities are costly... We are in the process of putting up the paint-ball. We plan to put up animal sanctuaries such as lions and snakes. I want this to become a nature recreational facility in the region,” he says.