“A wonderful environment that is beyond relaxing. Great staff who are extremely helpful and welcoming. Accommodation that is comfortable and spacious. I have been looking forward to visiting for a long time. My first trip did not disappoint. Thank you very much.”
The Ndongoro Log Cabin sits in a beautiful forest glade near waterfalls large and small and overlooks a bend in the Ragati River. It accommodates up to ten guests in five comfortable bedrooms – 3 doubles, 1 twin and 1 bunk. The ultimate eco-lodge, the cabin is built entirely from sustainable materials and uses sustainable methods to collect water, generate hot water and deal with waste.
Spacious accommodation includes a large sitting room and dining room with an open fire and a fully equipped kitchen. A large veranda with sitting area and dining table runs the width of the cabin and overlooks the clearing and the river. With no electricity, wi-fi or cell phone signal, a stay at the cabin offers guests a rare opportunity to unplug and enjoy a relaxing and uninterrupted stay amid untouched natural surroundings.
The cabin sits in the heart of the unique Ragati Conservancy which lies on the Southern slopes of Mount Kenya and consists of over 5000 hectares of afro-montane forest and afro-alpine heath. Its ecosystem includes the Ragati River and its tributaries, and is home to wildlife including elephant, buffalo and leopard as well as the rare Mountain Bongo, Crowned Eagle and African Clawless Otter.
“Our family had an idyllic weekend at your beautiful cabin – the fishing was great and our daughter enjoyed learning the basics of fly fishing from the team. The hikes were superb – beautiful birding and scenery. All-in-all this is a perfect setting for nature lovers – and so peaceful! We shall be back, many thanks.”
The river is an ideal habitat for rainbow trout, providing a fantastic opportunity to fly fish in crystal clear mountain tributaries running through pristine forest. There is also good lake fishing for trout on the 5-acre dam in the southern part of the conservancy.
All fishing equipment is supplied – including rods, reels, lines, flies and nets – and there is a fully-trained team of ghillies (fishing guides) on hand to ensure an amazing fishing experience. The team are there to provide expert advice and instruction, and novice fishermen, women and children are just as welcome as more experienced anglers. Children will also enjoy fishing for crabs and crayfish.
“Some of the most beautiful and idyllic fly-fishing rivers in Africa. The wild conditions and knowledgeable ghillies lead to a truly adventurous and rewarding experience. If you want ‘wild fishing’ there’s nowhere better.”
The Ragati River is 15km long and rises just below the alpine zone near the northern end of the Conservancy. It is a pristine mountain river dotted with many waterfalls and large pools, and with many tributaries flowing in from the east.
The river was originally stocked in the 1920s and 1930s with rainbow trout which have over many years developed a unique colouring and are now known as Ragati Reds. Today the rivers are regularly stocked with rainbow and brown trout from local fisheries, and there are plans to develop a trout farm in the Conservancy.
Guests can also explore the Conservancy on foot and guides are on hand to lead walks and hikes through the forest to beautiful open veils with the opportunity to spot game and bird watch en route. There are also some lovely waterfalls to visit – perhaps for a picnic.
“Away from any noise and stress, this is the perfect place to relax and breathe. We were so impressed with the simple, perfect design of the cabin and the warmth of the wooden architecture – it merges perfectly with its surroundings! Everything was lovingly and comfortably designed and the beds are very generous and comfortable. After a nice hike you can relax in the bathtub. With a delicious dinner by the fireplace and a good glass of red wine you can end the day wonderfully. Thanks for the warm hospitality and big praise to all the staff.”
The Ragati Conservancy was formed in liaison with the Kenya Forest Service and covers an area of some 5,000 hectares on the Southern slopes of Mt. Kenya. It lies at a height between 2,200 metres and 3,000 metres and adjoins Mount Kenya National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A large portion of Ragati lies within this heritage site.
The primary aim of the Conservancy is the protection of the area’s unique ecosystem, preservation of habitat and of the many species that inhabit the forest along with supporting important environmental and zoological research – but in a way that is inclusive and sustainable.
Ragati is partnering with the local community to provide job opportunities on the Conservancy, education programmes to promote understanding of the economic benefits of the Conservancy, as well as a revenue stream for the Kenya Forestry Service (KFS) and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).
Wildlife is returning to the Conservancy due to anti-poaching activities and close collaboration with the KWS and other organisations which strive to protect the area’s unique habitats. The forest animals are generally shy but if guests tread carefully they may be rewarded with sightings of some rare species.
The Mountain Bongo
The endangered Mountain Bongo are of special interest because they are endemic to Mount Kenya, the Aberdares and the Mau forest and are extremely rare. Poaching has reduced their population to as few as 100-150 individuals in the wild and many of these inhabit the upper reaches of the Ragati River in the bamboo zone at an altitude of 2,800 to 3,200 metres. The Conservancy is working with various experts on the opportunities for re-introducing Bongo and other species who used to call this region home.
Flora and Fauna in the Conservancy
Mammals found in Ragati also include Leopard, Giant Forest Hog, African Elephant, Buffalo, African Clawless Otter, Spotted Hyena, Sykes and Colobus Monkeys, Bushbuck, Waterbuck and the Black-fronted Duiker. Other notables include the Mt Kenya Mole-Shrew, Mt Kenya Mole-rat, Mt Kenya Thicket Rat and East African Tree Hyrax.
The Montane forest and alpine zone is also very rich in bird fauna with over 200 bird species and 53 of Kenya’s 67 African Highlands biome species. The following have been recorded in the area – Crowned Eagle, Ayres’s Hawk Eagle, African Long-eared Owl, Forest Guinea Fowl, Black and White Casqued Hornbill, Hartlaub’s Turaco and Tacazze Sunbird. A full checklist can be supplied to guests on request.
There are 880 plant species in the Conservancy, of which 11 are endemic and 150 are near-endemic in the Kenya Forest Reserve and National Park. The Afro-Montane zone consists of tall yellow wood forests, bamboo thickets and rosewood woodland. The Afro-alpine zone consists of ericaceous and an alpine belt with a high number of endemic plants.