Anyone touring Mt Kenya through Chogoria-Gate in Tharaka-Nithi County must visit Kinondoni Lodge.
Located about 33 kilometres from Chogoria town at the heart of Mt Kenya forest and 3,000 metres above sea level is the lodge, which offers a resting and viewing point for those touring the mountain.
Established in 1983 by the former Meru County Council and launched by German tourists Ruhm Kilrus, Hohlweg Rudolf and Cobberke Rudger, the lodge has remained the choice of local and international tourists keen on climbing the second biggest mountain in Africa.
At the lodge, accommodation is set out in a series of bandas nestling just at the point where the bamboo forest meets with the high moorlands.
There is plenty of wildlife to be spotted in the vicinity, particularly in early morning and evening.
They include the buffalo, antelopes, water bucks, chief-cat and monkeys, among others.
To lure the elephants out for the visitors at the lodge, salt is spread around a nearby swamp, which the huge beasts lumber out to lick for hours on end.
Small wild birds too make their presence felt by boldly perching on visitors’ shoulders.
A ranger, Mr John Mutegi, argues that, to birds in such deep forests, man is just an animal like a buffalo or elephant and they expect to find a tick or mosquito to feed on.
Campfire is also prepared to keep animals such as buffalos, elephants and hyenas away from the lodge at night.
Right from the lodge, one can also view various points of Mt Kenya, such as point Lenana, Baren Table, Batian and the mountain lakes.
Many tourists who visit the place enjoy fishing at Lake Michaelson, which is known for trout.
They can take photos of the beautiful valley and enjoy watching elephants swim at the Mpaku Swamp.
One cannot leave the lodge before visiting the amazing Mt Kenya Mau Mau caves, which come complete with a bedroom, sitting room, kitchen and a guard room.
Serious operational decisions were made here by the freedom fighters, but only the Mau Mau generals could be allowed to spend nights in the caves.
Back at the lodge, meal times offer visitors an opportunity to sample local and foreign dishes.
They are also taught the Ameru traditions, including songs, dances, tales and other cultural activities, like preparing the traditional beer porridge from millet.
There is enough accommodation for 40 visitors with an equal number of guides and potters.
Under the management of the Tharaka-Nithi County Government’s tourism department, a website for the lodge will soon be launched to market it and help revamp tourism in the region.