What makes Mount Kenya region the coveted real estate destination?

In Nyeri, the demand for homestays rose steadily last year when Catholic faithful all over the world visited the county to celebrate the beatification of a Catholic nun Blessed Irene Stefani ‘Nyaatha.’

With the event the concept of homestays blossomed, giving local and international visitors a feel of what life in a village is like.

“The event was an opportunity through which we showcased the county’s tourism products and put the homestays on firm path to growth,” said county’s tourism executive Stanley Miano in an earlier interview.

Under this new approach, those running homestays businesses are required to fulfil guidelines regarding emergency response, security, hygiene and sanitation. One of the conditions is that one of the family members must be living within the home.

It is only after inspection and certification by the regulator (Tourism Regulatory Authority) that they get licensed.

And with the ongoing zoning of commercial and industrial areas and re-designing of Nyeri town, the Department of Land and Infrastructure concurs that land is in high demand, but those who own it are not willing to sell or develop it.

Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua is on record assuring plot owners that his administration was trying to link up investors who want to develop the town, but have no space, with land owners who are unable to develop their parcels.

“We shall also link them up with financial institutions. We want land owners who have been unable to develop their portions to at least benefit from their properties,” the governor said in an earlier interview.

In Murang’a County, the devolved unit has been lining up incentives for real estate developers to spur further development. Some of these include connection of water supply and upgrading of rural roads to speed up development.

In Gatanga and Maragua, some parts previously characterised by huge chunks of coffee plantations have now been turned to real estate with gated communities, complete with electronic surveillance.

In Nyeri such investments are located in expansive Kieni area where they are contributing to the Mt Kenya/Laikipia tourism circuit.

The investments have come with new middle and upper class lifestyle activities such as golf, spa, gym, swimming, nature trail, excursions to Mt Kenya, picnic and bush spa in the wooded forests.

The location of some of these developments are such that they give clear views of both Mt Kenya and the Aberdare ranges as well as convenient access to a variety of tourist sites and activities including climbing Mt Kenya.

Main supermarkets have also ventured into region. Nyeri, previously considered as a sleepy town where residents and potential customers had low spending power, has particularly become a big beneficiary of the retail investment boom.

For instance, in December 2014, Naivas supermarket, a family-owned business and one of the top four retail chains in the country, took up 62,000 square feet space in a new mall, home to the town’s first escalator. The mall is located on the town’s main street – Gakere Road.

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