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Kenya: Meet the Couple Behind Multi-million Rock House in Nairobi

The Rock House in Nairobi
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Written by See Africa Today

Africa has a variety of fascinating architectural designs that promote tourism in a big way. But, just one look at the Rock House in Nairobi strikes you hard.

The whole structure is made of tiny white landscaping rocks but the aggressively built gate to the Rock House is mind-blowing. The gate is heavy – obviously as it is made of steel and fibreglass material.

Patrick Wanjohi, the proprietor of Rock House in Nairobi, says the final design of the gate was his creation. All he wanted was for people to have something to remember about their journey and stay at the establishment.

About the Rock House in Nairobi

The house’s design is a clear copy of the famous Mau Mau caves tucked deep in Mount Kenya. Both Mau Mau and the caves are historical because these men fought for Kenya’s independence.

The Rock House in Nairobi

The Rock House in Nairobi. Photo/Business Daily

Thus, the Rock House in Nairobi greatly resembles these historical aspects of the Mau Mau Caves.

Patrick and his wife, Susan Wanjohi, are into the 34th year of their marriage. They both designed the Rock House ten years ago.

An epiphany occurred when their four children grew up and left the nest. The echoing noises in their once-quiet house became more audible and noteworthy.

To accommodate guests, the couple turned a portion of their marital home into an inn. They have their own area of the compound to reside in, so they have their own privacy.

The Couple Behind the Rock House in Nairobi

The two have been working in the hospitality industry for almost 30 years. So, it was not much of a surprise when they branched out on their own. When Wanjohi was younger, he enjoyed horseback riding and trout fishing as well as hiking and exploring his hometown.

In 1992, he founded Mountain Rock Safaris, a tour and safari firm that specializes in adventure walking and wildlife safaris. As a developing artist, he entered shows across the country and won every time he displayed his work based on his observations of nature.

The Mau Mau caves in particular won many hearts because people love and relate better to natural beauty.

The Rock House in Nairobi

The Rock House in Nairobi proprietors Patrick Wanjohi and his wife Susan Wanjohi. Photo/Business Daily

What Inspired the Cave-like Design for the Rock House in Nairobi?

Wanjohi tells Business Daily’s Lifestyle that he built a house like the caves because life took him away from that setting. The rocks were a lovely representation of nature.

He recounts that it took him one year to build the house in Karen – a posh neighbourhood in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.

The Wanjohi’s went back to his childhood playground with rock craftsman Nathan Kithinji. They spent hours building moulds from the rocks by the caves, capturing even the texture. The moulds were returned to their original location in Nairobi.

How Was the Rock House in Nairobi Built?

With the design envisioned, it was time to make this dream a reality. A smoothed out sand and cement mixture poured on blocks finally made it happen.

The concrete blocks were put to the house’s exterior after removal from the mould. Fibreglass was used to cover the important stone pillars that support buildings. In turn, this gives them the warmth of wood without the trouble of maintaining them.

The couple planted trees and flowers and dug up parts of their property to provide locals and visitors from across the world with a completely natural experience.

The Rock House in Nairobi

The Rock House in Nairobi. Photo/Business Daily

After months of painstaking effort and meticulous attention to detail, the Rock House blossomed. But it wasn’t without a wallet full of funds borrowed from the bank.

Nonetheless, the family house changed into three architectural masterpieces. First, 12-double rooms for $26 (Sh3,000) per person every night. Then, a conference hall, and a waterfall-encrusted pool.

The property had $88,066 (Ksh10 million) price tag on it.

In order to pay for the project, the couple refinanced their previous home and obtained a bank loan. After the public’s positive response to the investment, they serviced the loan dutifully.

How is the Décor at the Rock House in Nairobi?

The welcome desk resembles a massive tree stump, complete with sculpted forest-like accents made of cement.

Using wood for the seating and tables gives the room a rough feel. The path leading to the upper chambers feels like you’re in a dark cave. It is all thanks to the dirt mounds jutting from the walls and the rock fissures that line them.

For Wanjohi, the waiting room is his first love of the building and the second is the pool. The décor, as elsewhere in the house, is out of the ordinary. The rock ensembles serve as the property’s eye-catching centrepieces.

What Does the Rock House in Nairobi Offer?

Rather than dispose of the construction detritus, Wanjohi stacked it sky-high and made a life-size Mount Kenya replica.

Wanjohi asserts that after seeing the mountain’s tip so many times, he can say with certainty that it is an exact reproduction of the actual, jaw-dropping mountain.

Ideally, the Rock House prepares Mount Kenya climbing clients for the real mountain by showing them what to expect.

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About the author

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See Africa Today

Pharis Kinyua is the editor of See Africa Today. With over seven years of experience in digital media, he has a soft spot for African tours and travel. His drive is to tell the rest of the world what Africa offers, the best accommodation facilities, national parks, culture, shopping malls and best airline deals to travel to Africa

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