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…
The tranquil Retreat Centre in the Kakamega Rain Forest welcomes you to make it your home for a few memorable days, pursuing your hobbies as a butterfly collector, beetle specialist, frog fancier, spider hunter, tourist or bird watcher.
Among the vast array of birds the Kakamega Rain Forest is home to the flamboyant Great Blue Turaco, gemlike Emerald Cuckoo and the cacophonous Black-and-white casqued Hornbill. From the monkey family we have the blue Sykes, the red tailed, the common Black and White Colobus, and the rare deBrazza’s.
The Forest is also home to 40% of the total butterfly population of Kenya.
Perhaps you are a “people person” and would like to catch a glimpse of the local culture. Or it is just rest and relaxation in a special spot you are looking for.
Excellent food and accommodation.
Wonderful walks and views.
Rondo Retreart is 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.
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