As much as we would like to not admit this fact, the city life requires high levels of balance in order for you not to drive yourself up the wall. Work and play, Noise and silence.
Within and with-out Nairobi City I have been able to find little pockets of green that allow any human being to leave behind the hustle and bustle of the city and take a few hours, a day or a weekend off to reset the clock. Forests. Some of which are heavy laden with all life forms and some which exist by the side of the road for your exploration and enjoyment, photographer or not.
Ngong’ Road Forest
Located just off the Eastern Bypass, Ngong’ road forest is a lush small piece of heaven hidden. Regardless of its close proximity to the road, once within, the rest of the world ceases to exist. One seems to walk into another world where a large water body sits quiet with a possibility sea creatures or anaconda in there. I would say that I saw an anaconda in there but I could be confusing this memory with a dream. If you get caught in the forest just a little bit after it gets dark, fireflies come out to play; natures’ very own fairy lights.
It is located just passed Kijabe on your way to Naivasha using the Nairobi – Nakuru Highway which cuts right through the forest. On my way upcountry, many at times I have passed this forest. It always looked like there were other worldly beings that lived there watching as humans went on their merry way. As a photographer, this was one of the first places I shot at early in the morning. Photographers like to chase the golden hour and so many at times, we would find ourselves reaching Kinale early in the morning wielding heavy jackets, scarves and cameras. The sun gives such a yellow glow if it comes out that morning. If it doesn’t, you get to look like you are in a movie with the mist and fog all around you and trees towering over you. If both happens, you might as well be the director for a blockbuster movie.
Moreover, the minimalism of man becomes apparent just because of the trees that tower over you. You become a tiny spec and somehow your problems in that moment seems as tiny as you are. Try it someday.
Castle Forest Lodge
This is located in Kerugoya, in Kirinyaga. Castle Forest Lodge is located deep in the thick forest on the slopes to the south of Mount Kenya. It is set in a natural surroundings of rainforest, fresh water rivers with falls, a fabulous view of the valley on one side of the lodge, and the impressive peaks of Mount Kenya on the other. Weather? Definitely cold. You have the option of camping here or staying in one of their cute cabins. On the first night there, some of the guides will tell you that there will be a herd of elephants that just might come to the area in the morning. Unfortunately, when I stayed there, none came along. However the beautiful scenery, cows and horses compensate for this.
For each of these places, I insist that once in a while, go with the ones closest to your heart.