Miti Mingi is one of Nairobi's nicest small guest houses, with an idyllic garden setting.
Miti Mingi Guest House: Our full report
Located in a quiet part of the booming Nairobi suburb of Westlands, Miti Mingi (the name means ‘many trees’) is a relatively modern, modestly sized bed-and-breakfast guesthouse set in a lush garden. The owners oversee the management of the guesthouse and live in a separate house in the grounds.
Unfortunately, Miti Mingi was sold in early 2014 and is set to close indefinitely on 24th March 2014.
Many small guesthouses in Nairobi are faith-based and slightly worn and old-fashioned. Miti Mingi Guest House is different. It’s privately owned by a Dutch entrepreneur and her Kenyan husband, and run by two full-time staff. Everything about it is fresh and practical, from the spotless kitchen that guests are welcome to use to the pleasant lounge with high-speed WiFi and the delightful breakfast terrace.
Miti Mingi is approached off a fairly quiet residential street in Westlands. There’s a security gate at the top of the access road where visitors’ identities are checked, and then a short drive past a number of other properties to the end of the cul-de-sac, down in the narrow valley of the Nairobi River (really a stream). At Miti Mingi’s gate, under the shade of giant bamboos, you’re usually met by the owners’ friendly dog. The watchman checks you in and will take your bags inside the house.
You enter the house through the french windows on the veranda, where guests usually have breakfast. The mainground floor comprises a lounge area, with sofas, a small help-yourself library and noticeboard, and a good-sized kitchen-breakfast room, with a large fridge-freezer, gas cooker, plenty of crockery and cooking utensils, and a sink unit.
The four en-suite bedrooms at Miti Mingi – two downstairs, two upstairs – each have a different colour scheme, reflected in their names. On the ground floor, ‘Shade’ and ‘Sun’ are good-sized double rooms, ‘Shade’ being done out in tones of grey and green and ‘Sun’ in deep yellow. Upstairs, accessed by a spiral staircase from the lounge, ‘Sky’, is perhaps the best room in the house. It’s slightly smaller, but light, with white walls and a blue, curtained alcove. ‘Sea’, next door, is usually treated as a single room albeit with a double bed, while the other rooms are for one or two guests, and can be arranged as double or twin.
As well as TVs, fans and frame-suspended mosquito nets, each room has a useful work desk, provided with a helpful supply of office essentials – stapler, scissors, ruler, glue etc.
The four en-suite bathrooms are cleanly tiled and practical, with walk-in showers, good lighting, single washbasins and mirrors.
Most of Miti Mingi’s guests are passing through Nairobi for a night or two during the course of work or safari travels, and activities based from the house tend to have a low priority compared with catching flights. Nevertheless, the owners and staff are extremely helpful if you want to explore Nairobi and there are plenty of options. The National Museum is 4km away, the Nairobi Central Business District 5km and the wildlife attractions of Karen and Langata (including the Nairobi National Park, Giraffe Centre and Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage) start around 17km away. Reliable taxis can be called day or night, and you should expect to pay around US$1 per kilometre. You should, however, be aware of Nairobi’s notoriously bad traffic problems, which are particularly acute during the rush hours between 6.30am and 10.00am and between 4.00pm and 8.00pm.
The neighbourhood of Miti Mingi is considered to be safe during the day, but it’s wise to use taxis after dark. There are plenty of shops and restaurants 2km away in the centre of Westlands. If you’d rather stay in, there is a limited supply of ready meals and pizzas available in the kitchen on an honesty basis (less than Ksh1,000), or you can call on meal-delivery services
Our viewWe think Miti Mingi is the best mid-priced guesthouse in Nairobi. It has all the privacy of a boutique hotel with the informality and convenience of a trusted bed and breakfast. We love the garden and the frog-chorus from the river in the evening. It always feels safe and relaxed: the staff are kind and helpful; and it’s a joy to be only a few steps from the kitchen and garden. Unfortunately, Miti Mingi was sold in early 2014 and is set to close indefinitely on 24th March 2014.
Ideal length of stay: 1 or 2 nights
Directions: Wilson airport (10km) or Nairobi International Airport (JKIA; 22km). Transfers to JKIA can take 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on time of day and traffic.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: B&B
Food quality: The only meal served at Miti Mingi is breakfast, with a rotating menu of 'English', 'Continental' and 'Healthy' options on a two/three-day cycle, with standard items every day, including cereals, eggs to order, toast or fresh bread, tea, coffee, fruit salad or fruit plate, butter and preserves (jam,peanut butter, honey, and marmalade)
Monday,Thursday and Saturday is English (sausage, bacon, baked beans, fried tomato); Tuesday and Friday is continental (croissant or pancakes, ham, roast turkey or smoked beef, cheese); and Wednesday and Sunday is 'healthy breakfast' (yogurt, juice and muesli).
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Tea, coffee and filtered water are included. Beer and soft drinks are available from the fridge on an honesty basis. Guests are welcome to supply their own drinks.
Attitude towards children: Miti Mingi are happy to take children of all ages.
Property’s age restrictions: None
Special activities & services: None
Equipment: One baby cot, one highchair
Generally recommended for children: Yes, but there are no special facilities. The garden is fairly safe to run around in. Toddlers and young children would be much better in the downstairs rooms, because the spiral staircase is steep.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: There are no phones in the rooms, but a cellphone is available for guests to use to make local calls. Free WiFi for guests (fibre-optic broadband).
TV & radio: Satellite TV (DSTV) in every room offers good reception with lots of channels.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: A first-aid kit is available. Clinics and hospitals are available in the neighbourhood.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: The security gate is for the whole area, so effectively it’s a gated community, with 24hr property oversight. There’s a nightwatchman at the guesthouse itself.
Fire safety: There are water extinguishers upstairs and downstairs, and a CO2 extinguisher and blanket in kitchen, plus a fire exit and signs.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Extra Charge
Money: There are small safes in the rooms. No currency exchange is possible (use local banks and ATMs).
Accepted payment on location: Payments may be made in Kenyan shillings only. No credit cards.