OUT&ABOUT: A charming 100-year-old house

Tuesday February 25 2020

The 100-Year Old House, Nanyuki. It's architectural style is distinctly Victorian, its wood cured to retain its unique charm. PHOTO| ANITA MURAGE


Vacations are all about location, right? Something about the scenery evokes a sense of calm in the traveller, which then influences the kind of holiday destination they settle on. Some like the allure of sandy beaches, while others prefer the crisp air of the countryside.

All the same, Nanyuki town has a charm that romances even the pickiest of travelers.

Part of this charm is in its rich history, from its name to its position in the Kenyan colonial archives. The name Nanyuki is derived from the Maasai word ‘engare nanyuki’, which loosely translates to ‘river of blood’.

Local folklore tells the story of a brutal massacre along the banks of the Liki River. The bodies of the slain morans turned the river blood red, hence the name.

After the First World War, 1,000 British ex-soldiers were also granted land here. Some of their descendants are said to still live there today.

The influx in the settler population resulted in economic and technological developments that sought to cater to their needs, as well as those of the colonial administrators.


Breakfast is best enjoyed on the veranda, with the rays of sunlight brightening your early morning. PHOTO| ANITA MURAGE

These developments included a post office, which stood among the 250 that had been built before independence. It is this history that then established Nanyuki as the training ground of the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK).

For history lovers that just need a place to sleep, preferably with an interesting story behind its inception, the 100-Year Old House at One Stop, Nanyuki is just the place to be.

The house is actually 108 years old as of 2020, and was constructed in Hurlingham in 1912.

According to the description of the house on their website, it was to be demolished in 2018 to make way for a skyscraper.  Seeing this, the team acted fast, picking the house piece by piece and transporting it to Nanyuki where it got a new lease on life.


Location is everything, and the team at One Stop seem to have gotten that right. The grass surrounding the area where they rebuilt the house is evergreen, complemented by trees, bushes and lavender flowers at the entrance of the restored house. Beyond the fence, a dense forest ascends towards the magnificent Mt Kenya.

On arrival, the mountain eyes the town behind the clouds gathering at its peak. The reception from the team is warm as they take us around the enchanting little home. It has three bedrooms and comfortably sleeps six, with two bathrooms, a cozy master bedroom and two single beds for the remaining rooms.


The living room area is effortlessly cozy, an environment that is ideal for laughter and conversation through the night. PHOTO| ANITA MURAGE

The kitchen area is fully equipped, with a chef to cater to your needs if you would rather spend your holiday exploring the town or lazing about. You will have to carry your own foodstuff though, and the chef comes at an extra fee as well.  The food is worthwhile; it tastes delectable and provides a refreshing break from the monotony of hotel food.


As for communal areas, the living room is quaint and snug, with a fireplace as Nanyuki can get quite cold in the evenings. There is no television which is fantastic in my opinion, as it fosters a conducive environment for board games and other interactive social activities with friends and family. The compound also has a swimming pool.

Breakfast is best served on the veranda, and if you wake up early enough, it comes with front-row seats to the unobstructed view of Mt Kenya’s majesty. For a town that has so much to offer, it’s the little details reminding us of home that remain nestled in our minds.