Kia Ora Lodge in Highlands a wellness retreat
THE festive season is approaching, and while diasporans are busy looking for last minute deals for flights home for Christmas, families here are making plans to accommodate the annual influx of guests. The guest bedroom will need to be cleared of the overflow of junk accumulated since the last visitors departed, blow-up mattresses borrowed, bed linen washed and ironed, and new pillows bought to replace the lumpy ones your guests were too polite to complain about. If this all seems too daunting, why not consider booking everyone into Kia Ora Lodge on the corner of Knightsbridge Road and Glenara Avenue, Highlands.
Although the lodge is a short drive from RG Mugabe International Airport and is close to busy Glenara Avenue, it manages to be a tranquil destination, seemingly far from the madding crowd. Lush green lawns, mature msasas and flourishing shrubs surround the attractive honey–coloured lodge, built in 2012 on the site of a former plant nursery. You might think you were entering a wellness retreat as you relax on a comfortable garden chair and sip a delicately-flavoured cup of Ethiopian coffee, served by a smiling waitress. Little wonder that Kia Ora is an Amharic expression, bestowing good health on the recipient.
General manager Mimi Berhane, who left Ethiopia some years ago, explained how she and her husband designed and built this attractive lodge. Ten luxury bedrooms and an executive suite accessed by a staircase, and overlooking the tree tops, all have king size beds, crisp white bed linen and comfortable pillows. Baths and basins are state-of-the-art and spotlessly clean. A colour scheme of honey, burnt umber and orange is echoed throughout the living rooms, bedrooms and dining room in the lodge. Beautiful original art work by Zimbabwean artist @soopiercy is tastefully displayed throughout the lodge. Admire scenes from Lalibela in northern Ethiopia, marvel at the painting of a 23 metre high carved obelisk in the ancient city of Aksum, and picture yourself cavorting in Soo Piercy’s depiction of King Fasilides’ bath, a huge square pool surrounding his two-storied palace. You may even be inspired to visit Ethiopia to see these sights for yourself.
Breakfast was served in the spacious dining room, where we were joined by three bright young women involved in local media publications. Full English breakfast, priced at the RTGS equivalent of US$12, included two tasty grilled sausages, bacon and tomato, thinly-sliced chips, mushrooms, baked beans and scrambled eggs. (Fried or poached eggs and omelette were also available.) This came with toast, real butter and coffee or tea. Croissants with bacon and eggs were also on the menu, and toasted sandwiches with a choice of fillings including chicken and mayo, cheese, ham and tomato.
Healthy breakfasts of muesli, honey and yoghurt are also on the menu, and hot beverages include Ethiopian tea and coffee, and
Tanganda, lemon and green tea.
You needn’t be a resident of Kia Ora to pop in for breakfast, although it might be wise to phone in and reserve a table. Light meals such as chicken, beef and vegetarian wraps, fish fingers and chicken nuggets are also available.
After breakfast, Mimi showed us the recently built, fully equipped conference centre. Tea and snacks are included in the conference package.
Should you need to cool off, visit the secluded swimming pool. Slightly smaller than King Fasilides’ bath, the water is bright, clear and blue, and particularly inviting as temperatures in Harare climb into the 30s. Make your way then to the garden tables and chairs, and relax with your laptop in front of you. WiFi at Kia Ora Lodge is free, so check out all the news channels before sending out your tweets, checking Instagram, and completing your assignments in peaceful surroundings.
Be prepared for the run-up to Christmas, and make sure your guests are comfortably and conveniently accommodated. An overnight stay with breakfast in a luxury suite in this four star lodge will cost an international traveller US$120. And when all the rush is over, consider treating yourself to a restful stay in this peaceful retreat. A Matter of Taste with Charlotte Malakoff
Kia Ora Lodge
60 Knightsbridge Road
Mobile: 0713 263 219
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