Olomayiana, which means ‘blessed’ in Maa – the language of the Maasai, was dreamt-up as a weekend getaway and small farm by a Nairobi-based family – somewhere to escape the city and get back to nature with their young children and friends. It has grown over the years and now includes attractive stone-built cottage accommodation as well as the original safari tents – all set in 80 private and peaceful acres of woodland, hillside and grazing land.
The main camp area sits beside a large grassy clearing and houses the spacious kitchen and comfortable living and dining banda – they are nicely furnished and unusually well-equipped and supplied with everything guests need to make their stay as easy, convenient and enjoyable as possible. Plentiful solar-powered electricity helps make camp life comfortable and civilised.
“A piece of paradise in the Rift Valley – the place is possibly even more beautiful than on the pictures. The staff were very friendly and welcoming and the directions on how to get there were very clear (which, I can assure you, is unique in Kenya..) Thank you for sharing Olomayiana with us – I definitely hope to be back again soon!”
Sabine, The Netherlands
The latest addition to Olomayiana’s bedroom accommodation is the imaginatively-designed Hobbit House which nestles in woodland close to the main camp area – it has a spacious double bedroom, ensuite bathroom and terrace – out onto which the large double bed can be wheeled for alfresco sleeping and stargazing.
Close to the kitchen and living and dining rooms sit three Safari Tents – one has two bunk beds and ensuite bathroom and can house up to four children, the other two tents each have double beds and share a separate bathroom banda a few metres away.
The charming Glass Cottage sits a little further up the hill from the rest of the camp and again consists of large double bedroom, ensuite bathroom and terrace. Guests can look out across a deep gorge to the waterhole which is visited by a variety of animals – during the day a large and entertaining troop of baboons often takes up residence.
“We have explored many great spots in Kenya and this is definitely in our top three. What a great place to escape the hustle of Nairobi! Beautiful views, great swimming pool, lovely cottages, friendly staff, and so on and so on… Really a great weekend away, both for a romantic outing for 2 as well as for larger families with kids. We will be back!”
There is a wide variety of wildlife in and around the camp – you are likely to see monkey, impala, dik dik and warthog, and up on the hills are kudu, eland, bush and waterbuck and buffalo. Rarer visitors to the waterhole have been porcupine, aardvark, leopard, lion and zebra. After dark you will hear hyrax and hyena and if you go on a night walk you may see bush babies, aardvark, genet and civet cats.
A short walk up the hill takes you to the swimming pool, which enjoys beautiful views of the valley and also looks down on the water hole. Private and walled-off, it’s a great place to take a book and some binoculars. As well as chairs and sun-loungers there is a bar area, changing room, lavatory and shower, plus gas barbecue and pool toys.
Walking down from the camp site you reach the boma and stables – home to a small herd of cattle and six friendly horses. Victor the syce can take guests out riding and there are helmets and other equipment in the tack room. There is a fee of Ksh.1200 per person for riding out for an hour or two, but children can walk on the horses around the arena for no extra charge.
“We had an amazing time at Olomayiana Camp. The scenery is breathtaking, the staff were really helpful and professional and the environment is totally relaxing. Having a shower whilst watching baboons at the watering hole was a highlight for me. We didn’t want to leave and will definitely be back. For the budget this is as good as Kenya has to offer… Thanks Yolande for a great weekend treat!”
There are several other staff on hand to help you out and who live nearby on the farm. These include Ken who looks after the camp and guests and can also help with cooking, Janet who keeps the rooms clean and does the washing up, Daniel who manages the farm and Simon the night guard.
There are lovely walks around the property and in the surrounding hills and bush, and if you get up early and the weather is clear Kilimanjaro is often visible. Camp manager Ken is also a trained safari guide and is very knowledgeable about the local surroundings and bird and animal life. There are plenty of excellent and scenic sundowner spots nearby, and a 10-minute walk takes you to a stone bench on the hillside above the camp with panoramic views.
On the far side of one of the large hills above the camp are caves containing prehistoric rock art, and if you walk up the main Maparasha Hill you will come across a historic fort and war graves, dating from when the hills were an important defence against the Germans and the Tanzania border during World War One.
A short walk from the farm is the Church on the Rock and Orphanage – they are happy to welcome guests and the children love to be read to. Visits can also be arranged to the neighbouring Maasai manyatta, and both groups welcome small and appropriate gifts of fruits or vegetables, books or toys.