My Global Attitude is almost turning one year so this entire month is dedicated to spending time with my readers at least before my next overseas trip. Today, we kicked off the fun by visiting Kitengela Hot Glass.
We drove down Magadi road past Multi-Media University with Rolf’s place in mind listening to Ed Sheeran Castle on the Hill and catching up on our daily hustles. Of course i was nervous to meet some of my die hard fans for the first time but was glad to get constructive feedback about the blog. That’s what loyal fans are for 🙂
Thinking we got lost in the song and lost our way, we quickly confirmed with the security guards and then followed the rough and bumpy road with a panoramic view of Nairobi’s beautiful skyline across the bushes of Nairobi National Park. Somebody once said ‘Not all who wander are lost’ and i agree. We were lost but not totally lost 😛
Our first stop would be Rolf’s place where we left the car followed by a photo session on the suspended bridge. We popped by the restaurant and couldn’t do much since we didn’t have a reservation. One of the honorable members, Juliet suggested we try Kitengela Hot Glass house, the house that has been featured in ‘World’s most Extreme Homes’.
We followed the muddy path walking past Glen Edmund driving school. When there, you’ll see a well labeled ‘gate’ but the signpost is only visible at a close range. I’m told this is the most adventurous route as it involves walking across the rope bridge, which we did at Rolf’s place. The other route, perhaps more adventurous is to drive to Maasai Lodge and park the car there then cross the swaying suspended bridge to Kitengela Hot Glass house.
Past this gate, the atmosphere suddenly changes to a contrast of nature and the giant statues and mosaic sculptures on the pathway with baboons, white ducks and warthogs crisscrossing the entire area, you may think you slipped into a hole to Alice’s wonderland. So stunning!
And here’s the story!
Kitengela Hot Glass was started by a Dutch artist Nani Croze in the 1970s after settling in the area. They recycle used glass to create blown objects, glassware, lamps, chandeliers, beads all designed to catch the eye and capture the soul. It’s said to provide training to several artisans from the area and offering employment opportunities for them in the studio.
The iconic red-brick dome which houses the main workshop is said to have been constructed by Nani’s son Anselm Croze, after which the second workshop is named. In fact if you visit on a Saturday before midday, you’ll be treated to a glass blowing show by the amazing artisans.
Some of the artwork from Kitengela Hot Glass include Windsor Golf Club Hotel windows, screens for the Thorn tree cafe Stanley Hotel, screens at the Village Market Mall just to name but a few.
How to get there
This direction is for those who are driving directly to Kitengela Hot Glass Studios. For those going to Rolf’s place, it still helps. Generally, you need to be driving to get there as there is no public transport from the Rongai/Maasai Lodge bus stop.
From Galleria Shopping Mall, drive through Magadi road as if heading to David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Past Banda school, Petrocity petrol station, head down the road and just before Rongai town, take the first left turn to Maasai Lodge (a large and busy junction) and drive towards Nazarene University about 2 kilometers on a rough road.
There’s a road barrier just after Nazarene University gate after which you drive further 2 kilometers on a rough bumpy but all-weather road. Drive until you cross a little bridge and here you’ll start seeing signs to Anselm Kitengela Hot Glass. Drive further and your destination will be on the left.
Besides the glassware, this swaying suspension bridge above the river is another attraction. This bridge links Kitengela Hot Glass and Maasai Lodge. The only trick for those who are afraid of height is, don’t look down, keep walking.
Other activities include shopping for glassware and souvenirs, coffee at their coffee shop or you could just sit and watch the dogs, ducks, monkey and warthogs running around. Very cool.
PS: One of the staff stands by the bridge to collect money from people terming it ‘bridge maintenance fee’. He never tells you before getting into the bridge, only waits until you’re done and follows you asking for money. He doesn’t have any official receipts and doesn’t clearly communicate. When we asked to visit the office he said they don’t operate on Sundays.
I almost gave him a little piece of my mind because his objectives weren’t very clear to us but being on a Sunday, i let my 150 bob go:( We later called the management and they confirmed they actually charge.
Kitengela Hot Glass Contacts
- Cellphone: +254 722 523284 /+254 736 761533
- Location: Oloosirkon area Off Magadi Road/Maasai Lodge
- Bridge Contacts: +254 722 5222246
We had so much fun with My Global Attitude family on this half-day trip and hope to see you in the coming weekends.