Olepangi Farm Cottages, Timau, Laikipia
A collection of just five delightful and beautifully-furnished cottages set on a 120-acre horse farm in the shadow of Mount Kenya, Olepangi is a sophisticated, welcoming and relaxing retreat, and the perfect place from which to explore the region on foot, by car or on horseback.
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.
- Elegant accommodation amid beautiful gardens
- Welcoming hosts and delicious home cooking
- Riding Lessons, Horse Safaris, Walking – and more
- Explore the Lolldaiga Hills, Ngare Ndare Forest and Mount Kenya
- Sleeps up to 10+ guests in 5 charming double/twin rooms
- From Ksh 15,900 per resident adult per night ‘full board’
Accommodation and facilities
- Five double/twin cottage bedrooms
- Antique furniture and rugs
- Lovely colourful gardens
- Outdoor terraces, decks and verandas
- Bar and library
- Dining room and drawing room
- Full board tariff including drinks
- Excellent home cooking
- Wifi Internet
- Good cell phone signal
- 120 acres of land
- Horse stables
- Polo ground
- Riding Lessons
- Walking and hiking
- Climbing Mount Ololokwe
- Games drives or rides in the Lolldaiga Hills
- Riding Safaris
- Ngare Ndare Forest walk
- Ol Pejeta Conservancy
- Mount Kenya
Situated to the North West of Mount Kenya, the Laikipia plateau is one of Africa’s most exciting and exclusive wilderness safari destinations – combining abundant wildlife, spectacular scenery, extraordinary cultural and bio-diversity, some of East Africa’s most successful nature and game conservancies – and a complete absence of package tourism.
The ‘Laikipia experience’ comes largely free of the constraints that often apply in Kenya’s national parks and reserves. Activities such as night game drives, nature walks, bike tours, horse-riding and camel treks – prohibited in most parks – are just some the exhilarating pursuits on hand in the extensive private reserves and game conservancies that make up much of the region.
Laikipia hosts a wealth and diversity of wildlife – second only to the Masai Mara in Kenya. It has significant populations of predators and also the “Big Five”, with over 50% of Kenya’s black and white rhinos, thousands of elephants, about 25% of the world’s Grevy Zebras, and an increasing population of rare Wild Dogs. The region is home to more endangered species than anywhere else in East Africa.
From Nanyuki and its environs there are numerous excursions , game drives and cultural visits that can be organised to neighbouring reserves, safari lodges and private ranches – such as Lolldaiga Hills Ranch, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Solio Ranch and Mount Kenya National Park. Riding, climbing, trekking, flying, white-water rafting, fly-fishing, polo, golf, mountaineering and many other sports and activities are also available close by. For more information on the flora and fauna and conservation of the region please visit the website of the Laikipia Wildlife Forum www.laikipia.org.
The gateway to Laikipia and Kenya’s northern territories, the busy market town of Nanyuki was founded in 1907 and still retains a distinctly old-fashioned charm. Dominated by the peaks of Mount Kenya, Nanyuki sits at 1,950 metres above sea level – making it one of the 15 highest towns in Africa – and the Equator runs across the main road just to the South of the town.
These days Nanyuki is home to the Kenyan Air Force and to the British Army in Kenya, and there are several good places to visit, shop and eat in the town – including the Lily Pond Arts Centre, Le Rustique and Cape Chestnut. At Nanyuki Airport you will find the popular Barney’s restaurant and just across the road One Stop Nanyuki has a café and excellent delicatessen. In the centre of town you will find a branch of Nakumatt , a Dormans Café and a Blue Rhino gift shop.
How to get there
Driving distance from Nairobi to Nanyuki is 120 miles (195 kilometres) on the main A2 road via Thika and Karatina – the road is good and the journey should take 3-4 hours.
Timau is about 20km northeast of Nanyuki, and Olepangi is about 5 km off this main road – the drive from Nanyuki should take about 30 minutes and we can supply guests with detailed directions to the farm.
Nanyuki’s airport sits just to the south of town and there are daily scheduled flights to and from Nairobi on the following airlines –
- Air Kenya (from Wilson Airport) www.airkenya.com
- Safarilink (from Wilson Airport) www.flysafarilink.com
Flights from Nanyuki also connect with the Masai Marai, Samburu National Park, Lewa Downs and other safari destinations in northern Kenya – please check with the airline for details.
The Olepangi team will be pleased to organise taxis to and from Nanyuki.
“We’ve been back in Texas now a few weeks and I can’t keep thinking about our trip to Kenya. It was amazing! Probably the most memorable part of our trip was our stay at Olepangi Farm in the foothills of Mt Kenya. And I’ve been trying to put my finger on “why”?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! We went walking and swimming in Ngare Ndare forest (so fun!), riding on the farm and long ( and challenging) walk to the local waterfall. We’ll be back … Not sure when, but we will be back.”
“We have had a wonderful stay at Olepangi. My children enjoyed the horse riding and we all enjoyed your company. The place is excellent and the Party House makes me want to redesign our place at home. We had a great day at Ngare Ndare, and all the staff are friendly and ready to take care of all our needs. Look forward to visiting again”
Shregash Roja and family, Nairobi
“Lacking words to describe these wonderful two days… but breathtaking and fantastic are two of them! The food, staff, views, rooms and horses will make me come back very soon – and don’t be surprised if I’m bringing along the Swedes! This is by far the best riding experience I’ve been on! Thank you all!”
“Beautifully designed accommodation complemented by a rich variety of artefacts from Asia and Africa – truly original. A warm, friendly, personalized environment with immaculate attention to detail. Wonderful architecture in this unique setting. So many varied venues for breakfast, lunch and dinner! A wide variety of activities. The views to the neighbouring conservancy must be the most spectacular in Africa. Excellent fresh food with helpful staff prepared to take into account individual tastes. We will be back!”
John & Morna Nance, Mombasa.
“The best stay in any place in the 7 years I have been in Kenya. Unforgettable scenery, horses, (Zeus wins!) and salad! Please don’t loose the home/farm/safari/lodge experience… it is the perfect mix. See you all soon, definitely.”
Resident Full-Board Rates
- Thesiger & Markham Cottage – Ksh 19,700 per adult sharing per night
- Round House – Ksh 20,900 per adult sharing per night
- Bunk Room – Ksh 14,900 per person per night (min 2 pax, max 4 pax); min age 6yrs; max age 18yrs; bookable ONLY with Round House
- Per child sharing per night (4–12 years) – Ksh 14,900
- 1 x 2 Bedroom Cottage (Burton and Speke – no interconnecting door) – Ksh 55,100 per night for exclusive use (up to 3 guests)
- 1 x 2 Bedroom Cottage (Burton and Speke – no interconnecting door) – Ksh 65,500 per night for exclusive use (up to 4 guests)
- 1 x 2 Bedroom Villa Gorilla – Ksh 59,900 per night for exclusive use (up to 3 guests)
- 1 x 2 Bedroom Villa Gorilla – Ksh 69,400 per night for exclusive use (up to 4 guests)
- Easter Supplement (7th to 10th April) – Ksh 5,950 per person per night
- Christmas/New Year supplement (19th Dec 2023 to 2nd Jan 2024) – Ksh 5,950 per person per night
- Alcoholic drinks supplement – US$45 per person per night
- Single Supplement + 50% per night
- Children under 3 years stay free of charge
Rates are on a ‘full board’ basis including all meals and soft drinks (but excluding alcoholic drinks), Farm Activities, Laundry and WIFI
These rates are for East African residents – please contact us for non-resident rates
Minimum stay – 2 nights, Easter, Christmas & New Year – 3 nights
Check in – 12 pm, Check out – 11 am
These rates, terms and conditions are valid for stays up until 1st January 2024