Located in an area full of history, where many bloody battles were fought between the German forces based in their then colony Tanganyika and the British and allied troops based in Kenya, Grogan’s Castle is now a Tourist Site.
Imperial Germany’s General Von Lettow-Vorbeck slipped across the nearby border at Taveta with his troops and continued to inflict heavy casualties upon the allied forces in several battles and encounters, and a First World War Cemetery still reminds visitors of the events which took place nearly a century ago.
Five stylish self contained bedrooms now await tourists, coming either to visit Tsavo West and nearby Lake Jipe and Lake Chala, as does a guest cottage in the grounds of the ‘castle’. Meals are served on a ‘communal’ dining table where visitors have the opportunity during meals to share their finds and experiences and bringing them together in a family like setting rather than the separate seating used in other lodges and camps. Meals are ‘home cooked’ and the menu changes with the season to use fresh produce from their own farm and gardens.
War history buffs will have rich pickings when coming to this – unjustifiably – less visited part of Kenya where they can still trace the old battle grounds and positions taken by the British and German forces, the latter incidentally never defeated in that campaign.
Grogan’s is owned and managed by Basil Criticos, whose family also own an extensive sisal estate in the area and who is both a former member of parliament for Taita/Taveta as well as a former cabinet minister in the government of then President Daniel arap Moi.
Visible from Grogan’s, besides the nearby Pare Mountains, is also Mount. Kilimanjaro across the border in Tanzania which especially at sundowner time often appears in its full majestic view, best enjoyed from either the pool side or the main terrace of the imposing hill top ‘castle’.
A 1.200 meter long murram airstrip offers the easiest option to come to Grogan’s and those with a bit of history on their visiting agenda will not be disappointed to have spent a few days there and being able to combine it with visits to nearby lakes and into the less explored part of Tsavo West National Park.
Compiled by Jackie