Real Estate firm HassConsult has on Wednesday announced Kenya’s first sensory botanical garden, designed by award-winning Spanish architects iGreen to sit within the innovative township filled with cascading waterfalls and community facilities.
The township dubbed “Enaki” is complete with golf carts for residents and visitors, boutique-lined high streets, a hotel, amphitheatre, and floating restaurant, which was conceived as the legacy project of the former Agriculture Minister the late Dr Munyua Waiyaki on his own farmland, opposite the Nyari Estate in Nairobi.
The public Five Senses Botanical Garden was his donation, and has now been designed to stimulate the senses with a botanical array that improves health and alleviates stress – with California Polytechnic State University reporting that visiting botanical gardens reduces stress for 61 per cent of visitors, while 39 per cent report an uplift from the environment and experience.
Yet, while the world now has 1,775 botanical gardens across 148 countries, few of them are in Africa, with South Africa hosting the largest number, at 17. In Kenya, there is only one widely recognized botanical garden based on its plant culture and diversity.
“As developers, we began with a donated park, and realized we had an opportunity to create something entirely new in Kenya and in real estate by leading the way with an holistic botanical experience that defined the nature of the whole township and its lifestyles,” said Farhana Hassanali, CEO of HassConsult.
To connect the township with the sensory delight of the park, HassConsult moved the parking underground and created a pedestrianized network of gardens and facilities, with 70 per cent of Enaki now dedicated to green space.
“The idea has been to seamlessly ignite the five human senses of sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste in an unrivalled experience for residents and visitors alike,” said Farhana.
Within the new park, a gazebo made from bamboo arches with swing seats and small ceiling lightings overlooks a water clock, as visitors enter the sun path tunnel, created by patterned shadows and enveloped in a citrus smell of waterlily and climbing plants to ignite the brain’s senses. Arches made of letters create poem verses as arrays of flowers and tree stretch either side.
The garden has then been designed around aromatic rooms made from chocolate cosmos, frangipani wisteria, gardenias, sweet aslysium, sweet peas and jasmine flowers, enhanced with coloured shadow and scented tree gazebos.
The garden also includes a children’s nature park, a floating water lily restaurant and tea house, as well as a lake, recreational music space, water jets and fountains.
“Timeless yet contemporary, Enaki is an exquisite realization of Waiyaki’s dream, across cycling trails, an outdoor fitness circuit, a gym, sports lounge and dance studio, as well as a business cluster with working pods that are set in woods, and an on-site spa,” said Farhana.
Enaki sits on a total of 22 acres with its life-cycle housing nestled into its middle zone and featuring bespoke homes for single, young people, couples, small families, large families, downsizing families whose grown-up children have left the nest, and assisted living for the elderly.
“Each home was designed with a specific demographic in mind, all of them served by on-call staff and restaurants, and every design driven by the specific needs of residents at different points in the life cycle,” said Farhana.