Sheer luxury on offer at Laikipia’s Borana
Posted Thursday, March 22 2012 at 17:57
"Cock your hat,” Frank Sinatra once said, “because angles are attitudes.”
But in Borana Ranch, a sprawling 32,000-acre property situated on the eastern rim of the Laikipia plateau in Northern Kenya, it’s a little more than just about angles and style.
There, the sun is ruthless and so you cock your hat to save your eyebrows from getting singed.
However, if you squint north – past the aeronautically gliding Kori Bustards, you might catch a glimpse of the magnificent Mt Kenya, weather permitting.
And if you look south, past the sea of bowing red oat grass, you’ll catch a glimpse of some of the 4,000 or so cattle that graze this land, perfectly co-existing with all the big five you will find in the park.
Borana Ranch – named after the Borana cattle – has a history that dates back just after the First World War and through three generations.
After the war, the British government handed out land in empty areas of the highlands to settler soldiers and encourage agriculture in the areas.
One Will Powys, drew several thousand acres of land around the Kisima springs in the foothills of Mt Kenya where he started a farm.
Later – because he wanted an area suitable for sheep farming – he bought land around Ngare Ndare River (“River of Sheep” according to the Maasai language) and set up a ranch on which Borana ranch now sits.
Will married Elizabeth and together they got three children, one of who was Rose.
Rose later married Tony Dyer, who ran the ranch for years before one of his sons, Mike, took over in 1984.
But 1984 was a disastrous year because it refused to rain for the next 18 months and Mike lost 700 head of cattle.
The loss prompted him to rethink the business. He decided that conservation was the only other way to go. Borana Ranch took a new turn.
Together with his wife, they built Borana Lodge in 1990, a plush and exclusive 8-cottaged luxury haven on the lip of Samangua Valley.
When they opened its doors to the first guests, the response was so overwhelming that it featured in Architectural Digest – An American magazine aimed at an affluent and style-conscious readership which bills itself as the “International magazine of interior design".