Travel

A Bush Retreat After the Polls

The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille has four villas with discreet butler service. PHOTO | COURTESY
The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille has four villas with discreet butler service. PHOTO | COURTESY 

The Coast, one of Kenya’s top holiday destination, was hard hit by the tension leading up to the August 8 General Election as hotel bookings remained average in the week leading to, during and after the polls.

This was not an indicator of the holiday spirit as Kenyans and international tourists alike opted for alternative destinations to spend the month off with their families.

Mohammed Hersi, an hotelier and chairman of Kenya Tourism Federation indicated that the bookings at the coast were much lower than in July, however the Maasai Mara and the Mt. Kenya regions were in high gear as local and international visitors flocked the destinations.

The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille in Laikipia, for instance, has had its best bookings this year.

“The elections have had no impact on tourism at all, August is the peak time of year with thousands of international clients coming to Kenya who wouldn’t even know the Kenya elections are happening,” said John Elias, general manager The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille.

This is one of the properties luring holiday makers.

Sometimes vacation calls for tranquil moments that demand being far away from civilisation and post-election anxiety.

This explains why developers are now coming up with luxury holiday homes right at the heart of national parks and dense forests to satisfy demand for privacy and wild experience for holiday makers.

Kenya emerged the third most preferred travel destination by the High Net-Worth Individuals (HNWI) in Africa last year, beating world famous Mauritius and Seychelles, explaining why bush property are among the highly sought out destinations.

“People want authenticity, privacy and life changing experiences, this is exactly what Ol Lentille is all about,” says John.

Below is a list of some of the luxury bush property popular among the rich.

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The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille

The property has four villas with discreet butler service and sits in a private conservation of over 40,000 acres the Laikipia in Northern Kenya.

Each of the four architect-designed villa is positioned to ensure maximum privacy. Bedrooms in all the houses except The Eyrie can be equipped with either a double bed or with twin beds.

All have large lounge areas, dining areas and stunning terraces with panoramic views, the larger villas have plunge pools. 

The other villas are the Sultan’s House, The colonel’s House and The Chief’s House.

One of the key selling points of the property is the exclusivity aspect. In the 40,000 acre expanse, there is no interruption to a secluded and private holiday.

For this month, which falls under the high season, it costs $770 (Sh80,000) per person per night sharing or a flat rate of $7000 (Sh727,300) for exclusive use of the entire property.

Cottar’s 1920’S Safari Camp

Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp in Olderikesi at the border of Maasai Mara, Serengeti and LoBoindo is amongst the most popular safari lodge for the HNWI visiting Kenya and fifth in Africa, according to the Afrasia New World Wealth report released in April.

Kenya is famous globally for the wildlife safaris and the wildebeest migration explaining why the Maasai Mara has in the past remained a prominent travel destination for the super-rich.

It was not by default that the camp featured amongst the best in the continent as tens of facilities are also available at the national reserve. The camp provides ultimate privacy and abundance of wildlife especially during migrations.



A tent at Cottar's Camp. PHOTO | COURTESY
A tent at Cottar's Camp. PHOTO | COURTESY

Dinners are a private affair while bush meals and sundowners are organized on request.

Cottar’s’ Bush villa measuring 10,000 square feet in size with large living room, dining area and five bedrooms all en-suite is also available at the property.

Finch Hattons

The luxury tented camp at the heart of Tsavo West National Park is the hallmark of luxury in the wilderness. The property features spacious rooms with a king-sized bed taking centre stage. The opulent furniture tastefully positioned gives the room an out-of-the-bush feel.

Finch Hattons luxury tented camp, located 300 kilometres away from Nairobi, is well thought-out and strives to satisfy the desires of those who yearn for the finest.

Facilities are catered to match individual tastes and requirement. Their services do not come cheap as non-residents rates per night during high season prices start from Sh80,000 ($800) for a tented suite.



Tented Suite Deck at the Finch Hattons Luxury Camp. PHOTO | COURTESY
Tented Suite Deck at the Finch Hattons Luxury Camp. PHOTO | COURTESY

Mt Kenya Wildlife Estate

The estate offers enough space for those looking forward to engaging in sporting activities while on holiday for holiday makers yearning for time away in Mt. Kenya region.

The property comprises of 66 villas in the 1,000 acre estate at the foot of Mount Kenya and next to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. The Sh18,000 per night five bedroom houses are spread strategically ensuring privacy for every visitor.

“The whole 1000-acre wildlife estate has been carefully designed to give a unique opportunity to unwind in the bush, explore and mix with wildlife, away from vehicles, in safety and in magnificent surroundings.” 

Sasaab

Sasaab is close to the Buffalo Springs National Reserves, in Kenya’s Northern Frontier District. The architecture of Sasaab follows strong Moroccan design principles, in which African heat is of primary consideration.

Each of the nine Moroccan-styled rooms has an enormous open-air bathroom and private plunge pool.



Sasaab Camp is a Moroccan influenced luxury safari lodge with wifi and plunge pools located near Samburu, Kenya. PHOTO | COURTESY
Sasaab Camp is a Moroccan influenced luxury safari lodge with wifi and plunge pools located near Samburu, Kenya. PHOTO | COURTESY

From the veranda, guests can take in the remarkable views across the Laikipia Plateau toward the jagged peak of Mount Kenya.

Part of the Safari Collection, Sasaab costs $750 (Sh77,925) per person per night on full board.

Elsa’s Kopje, Meru

In the larger area is Elsa’s Kopje in Meru National Park, which opened its doors in 1999. It is a unique property, in one of the most fascinating parks in Kenya, and of course, the Born Free history, truly adds to its charm.

Elsa’s Kopje, drawn by an architectural genius Stefano Cheli, is literally sculptured in Munghwango hills, above the site of George Adamson’s original camp where he raised orphaned lions.

Kopje is a Dutch word for “hill”.

Elsa’s Kopje joined the Elewana Collection in 2015, a group of 16 boutique lodges and camps in the most iconic locations in Kenya and Tanzania.



The lodge is named after Elsa, a famous lioness, and has a private two-bedroom house and cottages with large verandas and spacious rooms. PHOTO | COURTESY
The lodge is named after Elsa, a famous lioness, and has a private two-bedroom house and cottages with large verandas and spacious rooms. PHOTO | COURTESY

Elephant Bedroom Camp

Elephant Bedroom Camp is a luxury tented camp with 12 tents, four of which have king beds while eight have twin queen beds. It offers bush breakfasts, cultural visits and sundowners. Even with the touch of the wilderness, the camp offers WiFi. Resident rates average at $640 (Sh66,496) per night on full board.

Campi ya Kanzi

The award winning boutique ecolodge in the Chyuly Hills sits is a 283,000 acre Maasai owned reserve.

The accommodation includes a luxury tented cottage, Hemingway and Simba tented suites and Kanzi house.As part of the conservation, guests pay $101 (Sh10,494) fee to assist the Maasai community and protect their wildlife.



The Kanzi House is a villa available for renting out to groups and families. PHOTO | MAASAI.COM
The Kanzi House is a villa available for renting out to groups and families. PHOTO | MAASAI.COM

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