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Rondo Retreat Centre

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Posted by  Simba Thursday, 15 June 2006 15:39

Rondo Retreat Centre

Rondo Retreat Centre

Originally, Rondo was owned by a sawmiller who, in 1948, built a house at his wife’s request at the base of what was thought to be the biggest tree in the Forest, an Elgon Olive, which still stands today. The sawmiller left Kenya in 1961, leaving the property to the Christian Council of Kenya. Rondo officially came into the hands of the Trinity Fellowship in 1966 which was headed by the Reverend and Mrs. Cuthbert (Cubby) and Mathilde (Thilde) Dawkins. The Trinity Fellowship first used Rondo as a youth centre and orphanage. It was also the setting for the filming of "The Kitchen Toto". Rondo has facilitated serious research such as that undertaken by the Kenya Indigenous Forest Conservation Project (KIFCON) and the Kenya Wildlife Service, resulting in their book, "Kakamega Forest, The Official Guide". There is even a picture of Rondo in it. All visitors should obtain a copy, it is the best exhaustive introduction to the Forest, and is available at our Front Desk.

Today this peaceful place has been "opened to the public" and is run by the Reverend and Mrs. Godfrey and Elisabeth Dawkins. They invite you to take time from the rush of your busy life to come and contemplate nature, yourself, the world, the work of God.

Funds and personnel permitting, Rondo related projects will include: Community Outreach, Environmental Education, Eco-Tourism, and Regenerative Agro Forestry.

Escape from the ordinary into the extra ordinary. There are so many exciting things to see and to do in experiencing and exploring the wonderful world of the tropical rain forest.

Accommodation

NOT FIVE STAR BUT FIRST CLASS

Rondo Retreat is not a hotel, not licensed to serve alcohol, but a hospitable homestead. The homestead consists of the main house of clapboard and colonial era corrugated iron, and five cottages in the same old style, whose proximity to the forest makes for delightful accommodation.

There are fifteen en-suite double rooms, plus three more double rooms that share the large original bathroom in the main house. No two rooms are the same. The bedrooms, sitting rooms and dining room have all been decorated and furnished with flair using things "old and new", antique prints and photographs, and local paintings, crafts and fabrics.

Hearty English breakfasts, midday lunches, and candlelit dinners are served in a brightly cosy dining room, in front of a crackling fire if the air is cool. Tea can be taken in the sitting room, on the main verandah or in your cottage or room.

The chapel perched on the edge of the garden above a dramatic drop into the forest, and set apart from the other houses for solitude, is ideal for individual prayer and congregational services, meetings, seminars and small conferences. Solar energy for lights, videos and tape-recorder.

Things to do

Hiking along Nature Trails

Starting with the rolling lawns and flowerbeds of Rondo's upper garden, already alive with animals and birds. Descending in the dappled light to the fish pond and paths of the lower garden with dancing butterflies before and behind. And leading out into the forest proper accompanied by a piercing cacophony, or left alone in intriguing silence never knowing what one might see around the next corner. This is one of Rondo's very own trails that runs right down to and along the Yala River.

Out in the sunshine again you can climb Lirhanda Hill that rises above the forest canopy with stunning vistas of the forest and surrounding countryside.

Taking in Soaring Sights

Trees of tremendous height, great girth and massive buttresses, hanging with lianas. A mix of lowland and highland species giving Kakamega Forest a unique variety of flora and fauna.

Flowers including 60 species of orchids and 9 are endemic (found only in Kakamega Forest). Rondo is proud to have some in its own garden. Then there are many species of herbs and ferns.

Birds The forest is best known for its sheer abundance and diversity of birdlife. Some 367 species have been recorded. 36 of the species that occur in and around Kakamega Forest are found nowhere else in Kenya. Kakamega Forest is a "must" for any serious bird watcher.
Butterflies There are representatives of every African family of butterflies. Some of these include the Regal and Broad Green-banded Swallowtails, the Black-tipped Diadem, the Forest Mother of Pearl, and Hobart’s Red Glider, the only scarlet butterfly in the Forest. Plus the genus Charaxes which contains the fastest flying butterflies in Africa. Other interesting insects are the Goliath Beetle, Stick Insects and Fire Flies.

Animals In addition to the monkeys already mentioned there are Giant Forest and Flying Squirrels, mongooses, civets, servals, and genets, smaller antelope such as duikers, and numerous species of bats. The Hammer-headed Fruit Bat is endemic to Kakamega Forest, and is the largest bat on the African continent with a wing span of almost one meter and a huge head. GUIDES Well qualified local guides are available. Take Benjamin, for one, he is a walking encyclopedia and a conservation activist.

Contact Details

Rondo Retreat Centre
P.O. Box 2153, Kakamega, Kenya
Tel: 056-30268
Fax: 056-31057
Mobile Kakamega Office:(+254) 0733- 299149,
(+254)0724-740804
Modile Forest Office:(+254) 0735-894474
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



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