Travel and Photography Blog
Did you know that Kenya is the third-largest producer of tea in the world? Tea is Kenya’s main export and the industry provides employment for many people in the country, especially around Kericho, a town considered to be the tea capital of Africa. Kericho is also said to be one of the prettiest and cleanest towns in Kenya, with a central park (something unusual in Kenya) and nice, welcoming people. Let’s not forget that the surrounding highlands are covered by thousands of small bushes that make of the famous tea plantations, a great opportunity for photography.
Visiting the tea plantations and its factories is the obvious thing to do in Kericho. If you’re planning on visiting a factory, you should know that you need to book the visit several days in advance and that it won’t come cheap, as the factories aren’t near the town center and you’ll need to pay private transportation to get there. Most factories are closed on Monday because on Sunday the workers enjoy their day off and there are no tea leaves to process until Tuesday. By the other hand, you can plan to only visit the surrounding tea plantations. Try to visit a field that is being worked at the moment by tea pickers, as the people with their colorful clothing and baskets make a beautiful sight!
You can book a visit to the tea fields at the front desk of the Tea Hotel, located about 1 kilometer from the town center on highway to Nairobi. They charge 200 shillings per person and offer a guided tour of the tea plantations situated behind the hotel. We had an excellent guide that gave us lots of tea-related information. Among the many things she told us, she explained that on average each tea picker collects between 30 and 40 kilos of tea leaves by hand per day, and that the factory pays them 8 shillings per kilo! If you are looking to buy souvenirs there is a shop with good deals within the Tea Hotel.
Getting to Kericho
Before coming to Kericho we had spent a couple of days in Nakuru, about a 2-hour drive away. The matatu from Nakuru charged us 300 shillings per person. For some reason it didn’t drop us off at the matatu stage, I guess because it was heading for Kisumu, a big town next to Lake Victoria, and it was only passing through. Instead, we got off at a petrol station located on the highway, right after passing the Tea Hotel. From there we had to walk about half a kilometer to our hotel.
Since we wanted a hotel near the matatu stage because we were only planning on staying in Kericho two nights, we decided to stay at the Saiga Lodge. It offers clean and spacious rooms with shared bath for 800 shillings per night, and a little more expensive if you want a private bathroom. The staff is very friendly and hospitable, and the place has a great location, right between the matatu stage and an Uchumi supermarket.
Written by Daniel