For anyone looking for a special, civilised and comfortable retreat in a beautiful location – somewhere to really relax and unwind and enjoy being looked after very nicely indeed – then the cottages at Olepangi Farm are the ideal choice.
There are just five charming cottage bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms (and delicious toiletries). All are outfitted with colonial antiques, fine old Persian carpets, paintings and prints, plus super-comfortable, four-poster beds dating back to the British Raj. Cosy, restful accommodation and clear highland air means that guests always sleep very well indeed at Olepangi.
Burton & Speke Cottage – named after the pioneering explorers who discovered the source of the Nile, James Hanning Speke and Sir Richard Burton, this cottage has two bedrooms – one double, one twin-bedded – with an interconnecting veranda – making it ideal for families.
Markham Cottage – this double-bedded cottage is named after Beryl Markham, the British-born Kenyan bush pilot, adventurer, racehorse trainer and author – and the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west.
Thesiger Cottage – this twin-bedded cottage is named after Wilfred Thesiger, the British-born explorer, Arabist and travel writer who lived for many years in northern Kenya.
Largest of the cottages is the dramatic Round House which has a double bedroom and bathroom plus small balcony on the second floor, and a spacious living room and terrace with lovely views on the first floor. The living room can also be fitted out with extra camp beds to accommodate children.
“There really is something about this place that is so special. The setting is jaw-droppingly beautiful and the rooms cozy and comfortable. But it’s more than that. This is not a hotel – it’s a labor of love. It’s run by the owners Clinton and Elizabeth and a great team of staff. Such fascinating people who somehow magically made us feel like we’d been friends for 20 years. In a world where everything is the same, this is a one off!”
All guests have the run of the entire farm and its accommodation – in particular the expansive ‘Party House’, with its soaring makuti-thatched ceiling, which houses dining room and bar, drawing room and library. It is a wonderful structure, again beautifully furnished with an eclectic selection of antique furniture, indigenous textiles, oriental rugs and all kinds of interesting objets d’art collected by the owners in their travels across Africa and Asia.
There is a large collection of good books, comfortable armchairs and sofas in front of the fireplace and tempting drinks on offer, along with a big scenic terrace furnished with loungers and Adirondack chairs – making this a lovely place to get together and socialise – or just put your feet up, relax, reflect and enjoy the view.
Guests are actively encouraged to settle in and make themselves as much as home as possible, and the very welcoming and knowledgeable owners and hosts are on hand to welcome and interact with guests, help plan excursions and activities and to add to the friendly and relaxed family atmosphere which characterises life at the farm. A range of obliging staff are also on hand to help make your stay as enjoyable as possible.
“Guests are really made to feel part of the family. The owners, Clinton and Elizabeth take great trouble to ensure guests’ comfort and we were made to feel incredibly welcome. The property’s distance from any road makes it a truly wild location. And if you like horses or polo, this place is your paradise!”
Olepangi prides itself on its wholesome cooking and aims to create delicious and interesting menus using fresh, local produce, much of it grown on the farm. Breakfast is served on a deck hanging over the river with an “Elephant Toothbrush” tree growing up through the middle. Lunches are taken down the hill under shady trees beside the river course, and dinners served at the long antique dining table in the ‘Party House’.
All the accommodation sits on the edge of the farm looking out across a steep gorge in the Ngishishi River towards the 36,000-acre Ole Naishu Ranch, a working cattle ranch full of wildlife. Herds of zebra and impala are visible most days, and eland and kongoni often make an appearance. Hyena and lions are often heard at night and elephants are frequent visitors to the area – the farm’s perimeter is protected by a low-lying elephant fence. There are lovely walks to be taken around the farm and through the surrounding countryside, bush and shambas.
Riding is a major focus of the farm and guests can enjoy an outride in the surrounding community area (approximately 2 hours) or a picnic ride running along the Ole Naishu border (approximately 4 hours). Riding lessons are also available, both for children and adults in an all-weather arena and on a selection of well-schooled ponies and horses. The farm also has a bush polo ground and polo lessons can be arranged for advanced riders.
Recommended Day Trips from Olepangi Farm include :-
Day rides/drives into the Lolldaiga Hills – Spend a day on safari exploring the 49.000 acres of perhaps the most beautiful ranch in Kenya. Travel on horseback or by 4×4, enjoy a delicious picnic lunch and revel in the wonderful views, flora and fauna.
Ngare Ndare Forest Walk – Accompanied by a guide and an armed ranger, guests can explore these beautiful forest trails in the footlhills of Mount Kenya. Discover hidden waterfalls and rare birdlife and enjoy a private swim in forest pools, then navigate the 400 metre elevated walkway high in the forest canopy.
Climbing Mount Ololokwe – This flat-topped mountain in the Namunyak Conservation Area has a 2000 metre high summit, from where the views to northern Kenya are sublime. The hike to the top is steep and takes visitors through high altitude forest full of acacia trees, pencil cedars and cycad palms.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy – Kenya’s leading wildlife conservancy is less than an hour’s drive from Olepangi. Visitors can enjoy excellent game viewing together with an endangered species boma, a rhino sanctuary and chimpanzee enclosure.
Other even more adventurous activities such as Tandem Paragliding and climbing Mount Kenya are also available, and the team at Olepangi will be pleased to help you organise and undertake them.
Olepangi Farm also runs regular longer horseback safaris into the Lolldaiga Hills – these last several days and nights, with farmhouse and fly-camp accommodation provided en route. Please ask us if you would like further information about these trips.