In omnia paratus; Latin phrase to mean, ready for anything. Nairobians live for out-of-town getaways. They look for every excuse in the book to get miles in between them and the CBD. They live bags and plastic money in hand ready, to fly off to the sunset at a moments notice. Yet with so many travel options ranging from Nanyuki, the Coastal beaches, upcountry, the Rift, it would seem out of this hay stack they have found their Vegas.
Naivasha is home to revellers, no question about it. It’s a candy shop; an array of wild parties, touch rugby, bikini car washes, red carpet events, and wild camping. Since time immemorial, it has played host to some of the biggest events of our time. From the Smirnoff Red and White Party back in 2011, which saw the leading DJ Joe Mfalme, Chucky and Hypnotic join their international counterpart DJ @WAR on a hydraulic giant stage, which simultaneously elevated each playing disc jockey, as revellers partied away on two elevated dance floors within the mega dome–a Smirnoff nightlife experience like no other; the annual Rift Valley Festival–the largest musical event in the country which lives up to its billing every year by attracting thousands from all over; “To Hell’s Gate on a Wheelbarrow”, a platform through which KWS partners with corporate organisations aim to raise funds for the construction of the ultra-modern education centre; Naivasha Fashion Weekend, which saw hundreds in their numbers stream in.
The event was geered to raising funds for various charities in the Naivasha Community. It showcased designs by Moo Cow; Sarakaray; Amani ya Juu; Vaishali; Wambui Mukenyi, and an art exhibition by various artists including Wanjuki, Andrew Kamiti, Kathy Katuti, and Debbie Oulton; Party in the Wild, at Fishermans Camp that combined the thrill of a safari, camping, the ultimate Kenyan barbeque experience, Nairobi party people, beer pong, touch rugby, a game drive and bonfires.
That aside, has Naivasha become too overhyped. So is the fascination dying down? And what really happens when people go out of town for bikini car washes or touch rugby? Which are the clandestine joints? How available is weed or ecstacy in this so called Vegas? “The face of Naivasha changes depending on who you ask. A Nairobian just knows the usual Enashipai Resort and Spa, Lake Naivasha Country Club, Lake Naivasha Panaroma Park, Fisherman’s Camp, Crayfish, Sopa Lodge, which cost from Sh10,000-100,000 depending on the extravagance; simply put, the glamour. The residents, however, we have the entire picture spread out for us to see.
Naivasha is a place where you can get pretty much anything you want and at any price. The people may seem reserved, but they are wild. There are regulars at Karati Keg cente ndogo, at least there you can get cheap booze. There are the ones profiting from prostitution. They are the ones trafficking weed. You can buy a joint for as little as Sh10.
Most of the guys who traffic conduct their businesses outside the town, from prying eyes. However, anytime there is a major event in town, you’ll encounter a number of people carrying joints they want to cash off to revellers,” says Alex Maina, a resident and student at Moi University.
While residents are unappreciative of the hyper entertainment nature that has indeed become to be what Naivasha is known for, it seems they are not unwilling to cash in on bad publicity. “Sometime back, Nakuru was thought to be life of the Rift. It was thought to be the Soddom and Gomorrah, but no more. Everyone can tell Naivasha is winning in this rat race. Taxi drivers, we see it all. Ladies highly intoxicated taken advantage of in the endless dark corners in town.
But what can you do?” Remarks Kenneth Mwangi, a taxi driver, Naivasha town. It seems Nairobians have adopted a habit of taking the Vegas in the Rift at face value. They are unaware of the working of the city. “Naivasha is exciting, erotic and adventurous, says Micheal Saruni, renown male model. The place is an enigma. It is my oyster.
You go there to loose yourself–there is no wrong. Shots in the afternoon are an everyday affair. It’s no big deal. Nairobians love the rift and all it has to offer. From Moxies Sports Bar for football lovers, Club Litmus for fantastic music, Crayfish–wild camping moments; there is literary everything for everyone.” And while the argument could be that Naivasha might sooner than later become overrated, the reality is that anytime there is a party in the Rift, people come in their hundreds.
“Just last weekend, the Party in the Wild was mammoth”, quips a Spicer. “Nairobi’s top party troopers, have in no way been tamed by this wild town. If anything, the mere fact that it’s Naivasha makes them insane, literally. Epic; that’s the only way to describe it. Party in the Wild drew in scores, from game fanatics, guzzlers, revellers, campers–there was something for everyone.”