A Garden Oasis in Nandi Hills


Kapsimotwa Gardens Resort was built in the 1950s. Photo | Stanley Kimuge



  • This garden has survived many generations from 1955 when it was started by an Australian white settler named Roy Mayer.

As one navigates through Nandi-Hills town to Kapsimotwa Gardens, lush tea plantations are spread as far as the eyes can see. What attracts many visitors to this garden that is about 10 kilometres from the town, is the red flowers, the geometrical-shaped old trees.

This garden has survived many generations from 1955 when it was started by an Australian white settler named Roy Mayer.

She loved nature so much that she planted over 100 different flower species such as the Star of Bethlehem, English Blue bell, African daisy, jasmine, honesty, cardinal flower, Peruvian lily, hibiscus, granny’s bonnet, urn plant, African lilies, red roses and climbing orchids.

Over the years, the garden has remained intact. In the middle, there are two ponds which are shaped like Australia and Africa continents. The water naturally seeps from a swampy ground and collects in the ponds.

“The water flows from the Australian-mapped pond to the African pond to show that the founder of this garden came to Africa to share her rich love for nature,” says David Bor, the manager of Kapsimotwa Gardens.

The manager says that Roy did the landscaping on the hotel that stands on about 2,000 metres above the sea level. She built the hotel to attract other White settlers living in Kericho, Nandi as well as foreign tourists.

“Her intention was to build a hotel where tourists from abroad would come and relax and spend their time in the garden,” says Bor. In 1978, she sold the property and the new owner has kept the garden even since.

Over the years, it has become an oasis where families hang out. On one end, there is a one-storey grass-thatched structure where visitors can carry their own food. Others come and grill meat there.

The gardens also boosts of a number of both exotic and indigenous trees such as wild bananas, fountain, Nandi Flame, Nandi gold, Coco palm, Royal palm and bamboo trees.


Kapsimotwa Gardens Resort. Photo | Stanley Kimuge

Birds sanctuary

It's a bird's paradise too. There are a number of bird species such as weaver birds, pigeons and doves, cuckoos and touracos, perching birds and monarch fly catchers.
In 2012, the founder’s son browsed through the Internet, located and visited the hotel that his mother had built.

“He was quite impressed that the resort was still intact as her mother had conserved,” says Mr Bor.

When BDLife toured the garden recently, some elderly people were in groups relaxing as children played in the field while a middle-aged man grilled meat.

At the highest point of the resort, one can view the breathtaking Lake Victoria in the neighbouring Kisumu county as well as the Kisii hills.

“Last year, we had a group of Canadian tourists who camped outdoors at the gardens. We also have plans to put up a modern hotel to accommodate more visitors,” says Bor.

Besides the gardens, visitors can also tour the tea farms which were planted in the 1950s. They can also visit tea factories nearby and buy the processed leaves to carry home.

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