Several years ago, with no knowledge in running a hotel, a couple left their promising careers to establish a family resort.
William Njoroge, 62, a pharmacist by profession says, when they opened the resort, his wife Rose, a human resource executive became the executive chef.
In 2009, the couple had bought a bushy neglected land about 25 kilometres from Kitengela town.
The Njoroges built a simple cottage which was a family weekend getaway. To them, this give their then young children a chance to watch wild animals that used to roam the area freely.
Their friends began requesting them to offer their cottage for weekend adventures. Soon the bookings were overwhelming and they decided to expand it into a hotel.
They gradually turned the 10 acres into a haven of tranquillity, planting Italian Cyprus and other exotic trees and built artistic cottages that would house guests.
Mr Njoroge says the road to put up the facility has been bumpy and financially draining to an extent that the couple thought of quitting midway.
“My wife used to work at the United Nations as a human resource manager and I was working with an NGO as a pharmacist but we decided to quit our jobs to an unknown world. Raising the construction money was a daunting task and we were forced to sell off some of our assets. We also approached a financial institution for a loan,” says Mr Njoroge.
It took the couple four years to complete the first phase of the hotel that opened its doors in 2014.
With several gazebos in the fields, the restaurant is perfect for sightseeing where the visitors enjoy sundowners and bird watching. Tens of lovebirds in pairs, red eye doves, weaverbirds among other dozen species make the resort lively.
From the balcony, guests can also watch wildebeest, zebra, giraffe and other wild animals to patronise the neighbourhood freely.
The resort now has more than 42 rooms with plans to increase it to 60. No rooms have TVs, so as to “lock’’ the visitor away from the noisy outside world.
“We wanted our visitors to only be disturbed by chirping birds and crickets in the thickets but not the television. This is a place to savour a few hours of solitude. Actually visitors love the idea of no TV,’’ says Mr Njoroge, adding that the resort has conference rooms and now attracts foreign envoys and groups meeting for team building.
Mrs Njoroge still runs the kitchen as the executive chef after undergoing a food and beverage training.
“We grow about 60 percent of our food organically,” she says, adding that she now has 25 employees.
The Njoroges live in one cottage within the compound for easier supervision with the husband taking the role of the director and a part-time medical expert with an NGO.
An oasis in the dry wilderness of Kajiado
Tumaini Gardens in Isinya, Kajiado, was only a dream in their mind until 2012 when Rose and Peter Njoroge built their first cottage in the 10-acre piece of land they had purchased 12 years earlier.
At first, the cottage would serve as a getaway sanctuary for their small family whenever they felt like getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city, but when their friends who would come for a day visit with them requested to stay at the cottage during holidays, it offered a business opportunity they had not even thought about seriously.
As the name suggests, it all started by faith, as small as a mustard seed, it was planted, germinated, pruned and watered to become the 16-room resort it is now in just three years.
The garden is what impresses you immediately you enter the resort with its well-manicured lawns and flower gardens exclusively set to give a beautiful garden in an extremely hot and dry area of Kajiado.
The front yard of the resort is beautifully landscaped with stone slabs and grass placed simultaneously to create an interesting checked garden pattern adding detail to an otherwise plain surrounding.
A bicycle garden elegantly stands on this space with pots of flowers placed around the front of the bicycle to form a vintage style garden theme.
Each flower garden is made unique from the others with ceramic and concrete pots spread around the garden to give it a more liberating look.
Next to the swimming pool is a beautifully designed pergola with polished mazeras stone finishing and overlooks the luscious garden donned with gazebos.
Another flower bed is laid with natural white limestone gravel which makes it look neat and tidy and with the lights trained on it, it becomes a spectacular spot at night.
The Njoroge’s love for gardening is what inspired the lush garden which now attracts many who want to enjoy the cool breeze and hot weather of Isinya.
The two, through their travels in various countries brought with them images of landscapes they saw and liked and put all these different images together to make Tumaini gardens. They would visit the garden every weekend from Nairobi and work tirelessly on the landscape and today, seeing what they eventually ended up with, their work eventually paid off.
From the horizontal plants garden to the subdivided flower garden and the use of lime stone to give the garden a classy look, they translated it all into their well-put-together landscape.
The horizontal garden deserves special mention as very few can actually pull this off. It is neatly erected on the wall of the changing rooms adjacent to the swimming pool, with hanging plants gracefully dangling from it giving the illusion that it is part of the wall.
Rose left employment and devoted herself to making Tumaini Gardens a reality, a process that has taken them 3 years to have the gardens looking like it does now.
Peter Njoroge, the hotel manager says most people are drawn to the resort due to the general ambience around the place and the well-manicured gardens, some who want a swim in the pool while others who want to have out-of-town functions with the landscape as a backdrop.
The difference with this place is that the owners have made into a resort whether the family or groups of friends can come to have fun in a high-end place and not the usual nyama choma bandas that dot the area.
Situated in the vast plains of Isinya and only 7 kilometres from the quiet town, Tumaini has grown in popularity especially among Nairobi folks and travelers on the busy Namanga road who want to get some fresh air in the country side.
“Most of our visitors want a serene and quiet place and at Tumaini we offer that tranquillity as one can come to this getaway without any disturbances while enjoying the environment.