Find a variety of incredible properties to consider on your next visit to Naivasha.
Built in 1926, this property has seen numerous visitors including Winston Churchill and Ernest Hemingway. “We take our conservation very seriously,” says our host Helen Hartley. “It’s all privately funded by a Polish family who set up an organisation called ARR (Animal Rights Reserved) who are involved in things like wildlife rescue and protection with people calling in from as far as Mt Elgon”. When you stay at the house, it helps to know that your money goes towards supporting a good cause. The property has four doubles and one family room, and two extra doubles can be availed on request.
*Where we stayed
LUCITA FARM GUEST HOUSE
The decor is rustic country chic, and if you love art, Lucita farm is a haven! There are three properties on the farm; two (3 and 4 bedroom) guesthouses great for families and a stable suite perfect for couples. The guesthouses are spacious, complete with fully equipped kitchens. The stable suite is all white with quirky decor and if you look out the window, you are likely to spot a waterbuck milling about the foliage. There are also two horses and dogs on the farm. The cottages are available for booking on AirBnb.
Ajabu house is located on the Gilgil and Malewa delta of lake Naivasha on Loldia Farm which has been in the JD Hopcraft family for over 100 years. Initially, it was built by Wildfred Hopcraft in the early 1930’s, and added to as his family grew with his wife. There is a master bedroom which is large, spacious and en-suite with an antique bath offering stunning views across to Lake Naivasha. The bird room is perfect for children with bunk beds and one queen bed; its birds-on-the-wall fixtures are unique and create a certain je ne sais quoi. Siriane guest house, nestled among the fig trees, was initially constructed by Italian Prisoners of War during the mid1930’s and has two spacious rooms, each with en-suite bathrooms, with incredible views. The muse guest house was the backbone of the house (offices, stables etc) until 2014 when it was converted to accommodation with three bedrooms.
*Where we stayed
THE MANOR HOUSE & DODO’S TOWER
This colonial tudor-style house sits on the exclusive Hippo Point conservancy along with the wooden 120 foot Dodo’s tower. The Manor House was derelict before being purchased by its current owners about 30 years ago, and they have since transformed it into the cozy home it is today while retaining much of its Elizabethan charm. Some of the living spaces have been renovated, with stables being turned into two-storey one bedroom pads and a granary now serving as a main lounge. The decor is European and African, mixing contemporary art with locally made quirky pieces.
It was designed and created by June Zwager; her vision was brought to life with help from the local community and her team of skilled craftsmen. The Lodge is built from simple bush stone, acacia, olive and Leleshwa wood all sustainably sourced from within the sanctuary. There are eight spacious ensuite cottages, each with its own veranda and striking views. The bedrooms have magnificent four poster beds, roaring log fires and unique décor, making the rooms completely different from one another. A large swimming pool on the property overlooks the waterhole and wildlife sanctuary beyond.
ENASHIPAI RESORT & SPA
A bit closer to Nairobi is Enashipai, meaning place of happiness. This sprawling retreat on the shores of Lake Naivasha is a great base for exploring the lake, but also for relaxation. Various kinds of rooms such as the afro-chic fountain executive rooms with their signature Maasai necklace headboards are available. At the spa, the signature treatment involves a mud wrap, a waterfall treatment followed by a calabash instrument massage. If you bring the kids, there’s a playroom with staff to watch them, giving you the opportunity to nip away for that massage.
The story of the raising of an orphan lion cub by Joy and George Adamson in the 1950s and her subsequent release into the African bush is one of the great conservation stories of all time. Once a holiday home and later to be a retirement home for the Adamsons, Elsamere remains a unique destination in Naivasha. Delicious meals are served here and the traditional style high teas remain some of the best in Kenya. At Elsamere, history connects with the future as conservation is their main objective. The lodge has 10 double rooms, all ensuite, with private verandahs facing the lake.
KIBOKO LUXURY CAMP
This boutique camp on the shores of Lake Naivasha has only eight spacious luxury tents set in green serene surroundings. Guests can expect five-course gourmet meals from the restaurant as prepared by talented chefs, best enjoyed while taking in the rich scenery. Relax and get pampered at the Eseriani Spa which offers full body, face and foot massages, aromatherapy, body scrubs and wraps, and so much more. Excursions around Naivasha can easily be arranged based on your interests from the camp’s convenient location.
GREAT RIFT VALLEY LODGE
The Lodge is built on the Eburru, a mountain that the Maasai call Ol Donyo Opurru, meaning mountain of smoke. It sits at about 7,000 feet from which elevation it enjoys magnificent views to the west and east. The vistas stretch from Lake Naivasha to the jagged volcanic crater of Mount Longonot and, beyond, the sloping shoulders of the Aberdare Mountains. There are 21 twin and nine double rooms, all with private balconies overlooking the spectacular expanse of the Rift Valley. The rooms are located in spacious two- and three-storey blocks, furnished with large four-poster beds, handmade wooden furniture and modern en suite bathrooms.
LAKE NAIVASHA SOPA RESORT
With their traditional and conscientious care for the environment, Sopa carefully positioned all the buildings on the property so as not to chop down any of the numerous trees on site. As a result, they had to come up with a radically innovative design for the main public area building which now snakes its way between the trees with long and graceful curves. This is why the two swimming pools and areas like the spa, tennis court, two conference halls and stables are so widely set apart. The lodge has 84 rooms, two being wheelchair accessible rooms.
NAIVASHA KONGONI LODGE
Located 27km from the turn-off to Moi South Lake Road is Naivasha Kongoni Lodge, crafted from simple bush stone, local acacia, Leleshwa and olive wood with a beautiful thatched Makuti roof. The lodge whose name is Swahili for hartebeest overlooks Lake Oloiden and Lake Naivasha, only a few minutes away from Hell’s Gate National Park. It has three executive/honeymoon cottages and 26 well-spaced and beautifully furnished deluxe rooms. Each executive room has an indoor and outdoor Jacuzzi and a luxurious corner shower. A swimming pool is available, and sundowners can be arranged in their rondavel.
Nature was left to take charge of this former cattle farm in 2001, and today, the farmhouse is shrouded in bougainvillea and the scent of wildflowers fills the air. Bright, individually-decorated rooms are furnished with expansive beds and crisp linens, and the ensuite bathrooms are stocked with organic soaps and lotions to soothe your skin. The chefs produce unforgettable meals with organically-grown or pasture-raised ingredients picked fresh from the garden each day. The farmhouse drawing room is comfortably arranged around a crackling log fire where you can sip chilled wine, relax and warm up.
PHOTOGRAPHS: BRIAN SIAMBI, RESPECTIVE PROPERTIES