Olerai House is a charming little getaway on the northern shores of Lake Naivasha, about two and a half hours drive from Nairobi. The property is part of the Elephant Watch Portfolio – a collection of luxury lodges plus a self catering cabin owned by the Douglas-Hamilton family, who are well-known for their conservation work, most notably, their charity Save the Elephants.
I visited a couple of months ago with mum and dad in tow (it’s a great place in Kenya to go with your parents), keen to see what else Naivasha had to offer than the usual haunt for those for a weekend getaway from Nairobi – Camp Carnelly’s. We arrived to be greeted by giraffe meandering along the path and zebra blocking the gateway with their mouths full of flowers.
Formerly a cattle farm, the farmhouse has been converted into a beautiful guest area with rust painted walls and is engulfed by a huge bougainvillea, its flowers tumbling from the roof to the floor. The grounds are magical. Leading all the way down to the lake shore, they team with wildlife from fluffy waterbuck to wallowing hippos and are an adventure to explore with one of Olerai’s knowledgable guides. There’s also a particularly lovely pig who nonchalantly wanders the grounds munching on the grass. We spent a very happy few days there lapping up the sunshine, exploring the north side of Lake Naivasha and lounging in the peace and quiet.
The rooms at Olerai House are all individually decorated with colourful, creative patterns and homely adornments. The beds are comfy and large with lots of quilts and linens on making them feel particularly luxurious, and each room has an en-suite bathroom filled with organic soaps, lotions and potions to smother yourself in. Pictured is the room my mum and dad stayed in, a spacious and very pretty cabin room with a big bay window looking out onto the grounds.
FOOD AND DRINK
The chefs at Olerai cook with produce grown on site from the organic garden each day. Lunches included a range of tasty salads served out on the grass under the trees, while a three course dinner is served in the farmhouse next to an open fire. A range of drinks are available and the staff are incredibly accommodating – ready to top you up as soon as your glass is running low. Note that drinks are extra.
It’s a bit of a spine-jangler to get to Olerai House as North Lake Road is still a dirt track. While it’s not too challenging a drive, it does take a while as the road is full of divets. Once you arrive, the setting is just beautiful and you’ll have no trouble winding down from the journey with a glass of G & T on one of the loungers I can assure you. There’s also lots going on in the local area to keep you interested, including boat trips on Lake Naivasha and a visit to Hells Gate National Park (popular with Rock Climbers).
Resident rates are 15,750KSH per person, per night sharing and 21,000KSH for a single per night which includes full board accommodation and laundry, guided bird walks and hikes, conservation fees, service charge, taxes and access to the swimming pool.
For more information and to enquire visit elephantwatchportfolio.com/oleraihouse/.
TOP TIP: Given its lakeside location, the mosquitos here are pretty bad so make sure you stock up on bug spray before you arrive. Some is provided in the room, but it’s not great so if you have a brand you know works, bring it. I use Incognito rather than that nasty deet stuff and swear by it.
Photos by Lindsay Constable (thanks Dad)