At the bottom of the campsite, by the dam, are two open rondavels, with electricity supplied by solar panels. These lead to a long wooden jetty, which extends out to the middle of the dam. Those who don’t want to swim can take their pick of two canoes, or a rowing boat moored to the jetty.
After a quick swim to cool down from our afternoon run, we sat down on the jetty with Chesumot Farm’s managing director, Kim Martin. Kim explained that the farm has been in his family since 1974, when it was bought by his father, Bill Martin. Today, the farm produces variety of tea, including green and purple tea – popular in Japan. A large portion of the estate is covered in purple tea bushes.
Amongst the tea fields are two arboretums and pockets of eucalyptus plantations, which line the tops of the tea-covered hills surrounding the campsite. Kim has some plans to develop the area around the dam, including the construction of thatched cottages and a fire pit in a natural bowl.
There’s plenty to do on the farm, besides swimming in the dam. We would have happily spent hours ambling through the tea fields, enjoying the views across the estate, or out towards the Nandi Hills, and watching the tea pickers slide their harvesting machines over the top of the tea bushes.
Visitors can also explore the estate on horseback, as we did, or spend their time birdwatching by the dam. Throughout the weekend, groups of black-and-white-casqued hornbills squawked and cackled in the trees above us, and we were woken up on Sunday morning by the distinctive call of a crowned crane.
A few hundred metres up the road from the campsite is a guesthouse, set within the tea fields beside a well-manicured lawn. There are four comfortable rooms, a lounge and a kitchen area, and the house can be rented for Sh12,000. Camping costs Sh1,000 per person. To book, get in touch with Kim on 0722741879, or email [email protected]
Jan Fox is a Director at iDC. Email: [email protected]