Whether or not you’ve visited Kenya; one of the most prominent countries in Africa, Karatina is not a place you’ll hear about. Often overlooked as one of the places to visit in Kenya, Karatina is a town in Nyeri County that offers more than expected. Located at the base of Mt.Kenya, Africa’s second highest mountain, Karatina is one of the few places I truly love spending my holidays. It is a tranquil and cool town, filled with friendly people and home to Karatina Open Air Market, the largest in East Africa. Talk about having access to fresh, nutritious, organic and numerable types of food at affordable prices to nourish you during your stay there; the market has it all.
1. Dairy Land
Milk flows thick in Karatina and yogurts flow thicker. If you love all things yogurt, the milk shops in Karatina offer a wide variety of yogurts. From passion to mint, these home-made delicacies do more than quench your thirst. At only 1$ per liter, with a slice of rhubarb or carrot cake, they’ll take the edge off better than a glass of red wine.
2. Mt.Kenya forest
Deep into Karatina, is Mt.Kenya Forest, nature’s home to numerous waterfalls, caves and tree species. I enjoyed swimming especially in these waterfalls and the long walk through the forest relaxed me well. It a place of massive greenery and ample fresh air that’ll leave you craving the town’s life.
3. Tranquil and fun atmosphere
Karatina is filled with hospitable people ready to give you hand in case you’re lost or in need of assistance. They’re jovial, peaceful and good-humored folks who love having fun and making merry. Starbucks, the hotel synonymous with Karatina, is located at the heart of the town. Other than comfortable accommodation and pleasant meals, it offers an unforgettable nightlife experience.
4. Exceptional meat joints
If you love meat and love it cooked exceptionally, Karatina’s Ibis and Oldoiyo Lengai hotels will serve you a platter you’ll enjoy immensely. Whether roasted, fried or stewed, the meat is to die for. I took a liking to the steak served at Ibis; it was juicy, soft with a tinge of sweet and sour flavor combined.
5. Karatina Open Air Market
Open air markets may not be on the covers of travel brochures but this is one that warrants so. Spread over a number of acres, Karatina open-air market will give you the feel of nature’s fruits at their best.
I could talk and talk about Karatina’s beauty but you have to be there to see exactly what I mean. From Thursday’s karaoke nights at B-Club, scrumptious samosas at Three-in-one to the softest chapatis in Jamaika, Karatina takes to a large number of its visitors. I loved my stay there which was a surprise to me given my preconceived notion about the place. I was actually a bit sad to leave and still nostalgic about the experiences I had in Karatina. Don’t be fooled by its size, give it a chance and you’ll see how much of Kenya’s hidden treasure rubs off on you.