Olerai House, Lake Naivasha
I think I’ve found perhaps the most expensive house in Kenya. Correction – the most expensive house when you are bringing your own food. By my goodness, is it worth it.
Over the Easter holidays, we joined two other families at Olerai on Lake Oloiden, barely separated these days from the larger Lake Naivasha. While the house is sometimes available per room, by far the nicest way to enjoy this beautiful property is to take it on an exclusive basis with none but your friends and a collection of zebra, giraffe and antelope to share your oasis.
At Ksh 100,000 a night, the price nearly made me weep. Split three ways, it wasn’t nearly so painful, but there was still the food (and the temptations of the nearby farm shop) to contend with in our budget.
Set in acres of exceptionally green and well-watered grounds, where ponies and plains game roam free, Olerai is a beauty. The Douglas-Hamilton family, who live on the same conservancy, have created a gorgeous and colourful house with decadent rolls of Indian fabric, arresting paintings and a very liberal use of paint.
The six rooms – four doubles, another room with four singles, and a sixth with three singles – are each so individual and lovely in style that you can safely ditch that urge to arrive ahead of your fellow guests to bag the best room. But the highlight is the grounds – an expanse of lawn merging into grazing where the beasts get close enough to nibble on the creepers tangling around the house.
At night, the hippos roam up close to the house but are fortunately fended off by a wispy roll of electric fencing. With a good torch, the night-time viewing is almost as good as that during the day.
The house is as bit further from the main attractions than most other lodgings on the lake, with the Hell’s Gate entrance a 40-minute drive away, and the well-stocked La Pieve farmshop a 25-minute drive along a rutted, dirt road. But that’s no matter if what you really want is some true solitude in extraordinarily peaceful and beautiful surroundings – that you’ll get at Olerai.
On the same conservancy are two other lovely properties – the Studio, and the three-bedroomed Dairy, both of them an explosion of colour too. All guests can use the main pool, situated next to the owner’s home, Sirocco. Eggs and sometimes milk are available from the management, as well as ready-cooked meals. All houses come with a cook on request. Guests are charged a daily conservancy fee (Ksh 1,500 per adult) on top of the house rental.
For bookings, contact Catherine on email@example.com
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About the Author
I'm a former travel magazine editor, focused on Kenya, before which I covered news in Africa and beyond. These days, I travel with my kids.