Escape to Elementaita with TurnUp.Travel // Frame Ambition

There’s a first time for everything, as they say. The other day I packed my bikini, my camera and my hiking shoes for a weekend #EscapeToElementaita with TurnUp.Travel to chill at Jacaranda Elementaita Lodge. I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve been on a group trip (only once before, I believe) but going away for 3 days with a group of fun strangers has its charm, as I was about to find out.

You know I’m a fan of the underrated and the less popular, and with all the other more famous lakes and sites around it, Elementaita is seriously unappreciated as a perfect weekend getaway without the crowds and noise of Naivasha or the typical safari vibe of Nakuru, for example.

So off we went!

lake elementaita reflection

The Deal

2 nights at Jacaranda Elementaita Lodge on full board, driven visits to the lake and hot springs, guided nature walk, pool party, guided hike of Sleeping Warrior hill, visit to Kariandusi Pre-Historic Site. All for 15,000 KES per person (US $150).

Things I appreciated about traveling with TurnUp and the 12 other guests:

1.       Breakfast already arranged at Jacaranda Hotel, Nairobi before we hit the road

2.       Not having to think about transport/transfers

3.       Skilled people to take good photos of me (and us!)

4.       Hiking/Partying/Excursion gang sorted

5.       Traveling to/around game reserves and sanctuaries usually requires driving and whether you self drive or hire a driver for this, the cost is always better shared than footed by one person.

6. A loose itinerary with free time in between meals/activities to choose whatever we wanted to do

jacaranda elementaita lodge, kenya
jacaranda elementaita lodge, kenya
jacaranda elementaita lodge, kenya

The Lodge

The old colonial house that now contains Jacaranda’s central building was constructed in 1916 by a guy named Galbreith Cole. You can read the fascinating history on a plaque in the reception of his wild life fighting in the Anglo-Boer war in South Africa, moving to the property, being deported, trying to come back dressed as a Somali or something, all kinds of mischief.

The grounds are lovely and peaceful despite only being 500m or so from the highway with 33 rooms, a pool and a restaurant and bar terrace with a view of the sanctuary and the lake. I especially loved roaming around the gardens, the pool table in the bar, the swings on the lawn and the cheeky monkey visitors ;)

jacaranda elementaita lodge, kenya



The Fun

We honestly did the most for such a short trip, considering there was some independent chill time (work time for me) in between it all. Watching the AFCON final in the cozy lounge, 2 visits to the lake, a hike up Sleeping Warrior’s neck (probably only halfway though because we started quite late), a visit to Kariandusi and lunch at the legendary Kikopey for nyama choma on our way out.

There was an itinerary sent to us for this trip, but activities were spaced out enough that people could opt in or out of doing something and generally the TurnUp crew checked in with us to see if something would be better done at another time or done away with, for example. Plus, there was chill time for anyone to do whatever they wanted at several points, for the introverts and/or antisocial gang.

Be forewarned, they don’t call themselves TurnUp.Travel for nothing ;)

jacaranda elementaita lodge, kenya

My Verdict – group tripping with TurnUp.Travel

9/10 recommend! You all know traveling solo is my preference and my style, but I’ll be the first to admit that it doesn’t suit every style of travel or every destination. And sometimes it’s just time to be thrown in a van for an adventure with a few new people!

I appreciated the group size - not too big and not too small, the special touches that the average traveler might not have access to like our breakfast in Nairobi before departure or even the deal on the room and transport costs and of course, the crew that works hard to set up a fun and carefree vibe for everyone.

jacaranda elementaita lodge, kenya

*This was a sponsored trip and collaboration with TurnUp.Travel but all opinions of my experience are my own because as always, I want you guys to win. Thanks for reading;)

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