Kiambethu Tea Farm

Posted on May 10, 2012

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Stuck for something to do on a lazy Sunday, a friend recommended that we make the trip to Kiambethu Tea Farm in Limuru for a tour and lunch. After a fairly negative experience looking at tea in Kericho, we weren’t too convinced, but talk of a fresh produce 3-course lunch persuaded us to make the motorbike trip.

And how pleased we were we did. Kiambethu Farm was the first place in Kenya where tea was commercially planted, by AB McDonell in 1918. The farm was selling tea by 1926. McDonell’s daughter, Evelyn Mitchell, took over the farm and began running tours. Now past 100 years old, Mrs Mitchell has handed the running of the farm over to her daughter Fiona Vernon, a lovely woman who was extremely welcoming to the fifteen or so tourists that had converged on her house.

The house, built in 1930, was beautiful and homely. The day began with Mrs Vernon delivering a talk on the different types of tea grown at the farm, along with the processes of picking and making the tea. After a short break to admire the house and stunning gardens – complete with views of Ngong Hills – we were taken for a look at the tea fields and a walk around the nearby forest, which houses colobus monkeys (though we saw none) and several types of tree that the locals consider medicinal. There was even a tree whereby if a young man could throw a rock over it he was deemed old enough to be circumcised, though to this day I’m not sure I’d be worthy of circumcision given how tall it was.

After the walk it was back to the house where we sat down to an excellent lunch made entirely from the farm’s own produce – vegetable soup for starter, a great beef curry for main and homemade ice cream and cheese for dessert. Drinks were included and our host was more than happy for us to relax in the spectacular grounds after we had finished. Well worth the trip.

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Posted in: Experience, Travel