Meet Nani’s Kitengela Glass Sanctuary

THE F.O.M.O. TRAVEL SHOW

By Rosario Achola

(Posted 25th May 2020)

I first heard about this place about 20 years ago from a friend with a name inherited from a Vampire Slayer. She said it was made of broken pieces of glass that came together to make magical structures that last.

And they have lasted. 40 years, deep in Nairobi National Park, in a place called Tuala Township in Kajiado East. It is the stuff of Alice and rabbits, wormholes and spikes. A natural ecosystem with a glittery exoskeleton, SHINY like the turtle said. In your head.

With COVID 19 Cabin-fever running high, 3 weeks of steam had to be let out and where else but in the wild. Of course being law-abiding citizens we were cautious to ensure we did not cross county lines, but it had to be done. When I finally arrived at dusk, I was ushered straight in to meet the creator of this Eden. I was expecting a haughty Grande Madame. Instead, I found a kindly old lady in a shoe.

An entire eco-system has flourished around this gentle creature, a testament to the tenacity of Flower Power thinking. It is not just hot air luv. If you build it they will come. Nani Croze, now in her 80s, started this place 40 years ago with her now dearly departed husband, the great Mzee Croze, philosopher, philanthropist and a most avid reader, R.I.P.

But make no mistake, it was her idea. In keeping with the type of anti-heroes that I love, she says she didn’t have a grand vision of how this would turn out, and only gave herself one rule: NO STRAIGHT LINES.

There are currently 8 cottages (give or take one or two as nobody is quite sure; they keep sprouting up), each of them completely unique in design but complete with all the creature comforts you might wish for while in the bush, namely a very comfortable bed, a hot shower, protection from the local wildlife (friendly or otherwise), and lots of pretty shiny things.

The legend of Baba Jaga:

In keeping with Brothers Grimm fairytales, and other Slavic legends of crones in forests, it is easy to believe that Nani Croze has deliberately isolated herself for “nefairious” purposes. But what she has brought out of her little patch of land in the forest is nothing short of magic.

Aside from all the art, and the cottages where you can come stay and get inspired to create your own “Opus Dei”, there are several animal sanctuaries (donkeys, camels, bush-babies, baboons, and hyrax), a full-blown glass works apprenticeship system, and marketing for local artisans. She is an equal opportunities employer and does what she can to support and teach orphans in the neighborhood.

Creativity comes when you open yourself to the elements and the influences around you and Nani’s Kitengela Glass Works has taken traditional skills and blown new life into them, while recycling what others call rubbish into clear gold. Alchemists still exist in the modern world and are rewarded for their faith with an environment that proves there IS a different way to live.

If you want to be part of the experience, a night in a cottage of between 1 and 3 bedrooms costs between $45 and $85. Cost of additional people per cottage is $20. The big Lengai House with the pool is $150 peak season.

LENGAI HOUSE – OUTSTANDING camp; WONDERFUL GORGE COTTAGES

Upstairs double bedroom with king size bed, attached toilet, sundowner

terrace with stunning views over Silole Sanctuary and Nairobi National Park. Below a double bed in a spacious

living/ dining room single extra bed in niche by the front door, self-catering kitchen. Large bathroom to share with basement if occupied, direct access to sauna & swimming pool.

Daily rate Low Season KSH 10,500 for 2 persons plus 1,800 for every other person

High Season KSH 12,500 for 2 persons plus 2,000 for every other person

N/B For self-catering there is an extra charge for gas use @ Kshs 300/- per day

B) LENGAI’S BASEMENT FLAT (ADJACENT)

Double bed room, shared bathroom with A), veranda, direct access to swimming pool & sauna.

Daily rate Low Season: KSH 6,500 for 2 persons

High Season: KSH 7,500 for 2 persons

Bookings contact Rehema: +254 727 450 925 kitengelaglasstrust@gmail.com

Watch The F.O.M.O. Travel show Episode 30: Nani’s Kitengela Glass Works

https://www.facebook.com/patientzero7/videos/2904284182952299

Subscribe to my channel Abyssinian Ronin Productions:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP0tpmOCUmnfxzSYrE3xz-g

To be profiled on the show email:

coalrosa@gmail.com

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