Hidden away in a secluded and sylvan setting in the quiet but fashionable Nairobi suburb of Karen, Ndege House is one of the most original and lovely private houses in the area. It consists of a charming and interconnected series of cottages, courtyards, rondavels and verandas, all crowned with steeply pitched thatched roofs which bring to mind a small African village or homestead.
Paintings, good books, elegant decorations and greenery abound throughout – all put together by the house’s erudite and well-travelled owners. Soaring ceilings, pale walls and wooden floors – together with touches of Zen – give the house a light and airy feeling, and the atmosphere of the whole property is civilised, tranquil and unstuffy.
The 1-bedroom Guest Cottage contains a spacious high-ceilinged bedroom with double bed, chaise longue and desk. A separate mezzanine sleeping area above the ensuite bathroom (with roll-top bath and shower) contains a single bed – ideal for older children (or snoring spouses). All the bedrooms have standing fans and mosquito nets.
The 2-bedroom Guest Wing contains two large double bedrooms – each with a fireplace and an additional raised sleeping platform with another single bed – again ideal for older children. There is a sitting room with sofas and fireplace, kettle and fridge, and a separate and spacious bathroom with two walk-in showers and roll-top bath.
Guests are very welcome to make use of the communal areas of the owners’ house and gardens which adjoin the guest accommodation – and to relax in the huge and airy drawing room or on the comfortable and shady veranda.
Meals can be taken in the galleried dining area or at one of several outdoor tables around the gardens and courtyards. While accommodation is generally on a bed and breakfast basis, the owners and staff are happy to organise additional meals as required. Full board accommodation is also available – and beauty treatments and massages can be arranged.
Guests also have the run of the large wooded grounds which surround Ndege House and the various other guest cottages on the property. A large swimming pool is also available for visitors’ use – along with sun loungers and terraces.
Ndege House sits in the heart of Karen with all the area’s cultural, retail, culinary and wildlife attractions close at hand. The Karen Blixen House museum is nearby – as is Karen Country Club & Golf Course and the AFEW Giraffe Sanctuary, with the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage and Nairobi National Park just a short drive away. Recommended places to eat such as The Talisman Restaurant and Hemingway’s Hotel are nearby – as are several boutique shopping centres and galleries.
Travel times to Wilson Airport are around 30 minutes and to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport around 50 minutes (traffic permitting) – with roads and communications improving all the time.