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Malewa Ranch House - Naivasha, Kenya

Kigio Wildlife Conservancy, Naivasha - the Great Rift Valley, Kenya

An original colonial farmhouse, Malewa Ranch House was once the home of a member of the infamous 'Happy Valley' set. This lovely old house stands on the banks of the Malewa River, between Naivasha and Nakuru. Standing within the Kigio Wildlife Conservancy and with access to all the many activities on offer there, the house offers 5 bedrooms, a lounge, and a generous verandah.

Location
Leaving or passing Naivasha and continuing northwest on Kenya's Trans-African highway into the central Rift is the Kigio Wildlife Conservancy, the Malewa River lodge and Malewa Ranch House. Also nearby is Gilgil and Lake Elementaita.

Kenya hotels and accommodation
Amongst the wide range of Kenya hotels, some make the ideal Kenya safari destination. Choose a safari lodge, safari hotel, bush camp, luxury lodge, safari camp, tented camp or bush lodge. National park accommodation usually takes the form of a traditional safari lodge or tented camp, but numerous other options exist on the park boundaries. Luxury lodges and luxury camp options are also offered in the private wildlife conservancies.

Background
The Kigio Wildlife Conservancy
This relatively new wilderness reserve is a former cattle ranch, which rolls from the scrubby plains near the road and railway down through lightly wooded hills to the lush valley of the Malewa River. Established in 1997, Kigio already has an impressive conservation record, with the herd of Rothschild's giraffe relocated here in 2002 now breeding, and a pair of white rhinos relocated here in 2005 settling in well. Both relocations were filmed by the BBC. Although the conservancy rarely contains any large predators and is entirely fenced, the park's count of large animal species is very healthy and includes hippo, buffalo, impala, Thomson's gazelle, waterbuck, zebra, warthog and ostrich. The reserve is a great place to visit for a few hours or as an alternative Naivasha base. As well as wildlife viewing (by car, on foot or with rented mountain bikes) and riverside bird-watching, Kigio offers abseiling, horse-riding hikes up the densely wooded Kashuki Gorge, and river swimming.

A 3,500-acre conservancy, lying between Nakuru and Naivasha in Kenya, Kigio offers wide ranging habitats, from riverine and euphorbia woodlands to short grass and Leleshwa shrub. Presently if holds some 3,500 head of wildlife (including the endangered White Rhino and Rothschild Giraffe, a 200 strong herd of buffalo, impala, Grants and Thomson's gazelle, eland, hyena, leopard, hippo and over 200 bird species).

Accommodation
The house offers five bedrooms and three bathrooms to the following plan:
Wood Hoopoe
This has always been the 'master bedroom' with a double bed, an open fireplace and cedar wood floors. Ideal for the ‘Master of the house' or parents wishing to be close to their small children at night. Shares a bathroom with Wood pecker.

Wood pecker
Formally the lounge to the original homestead, this room has an open fire and cedar wood floors. It has twin beds and shares a bathroom.

Weaver bird
With views over the front lawns and bird table, this double room has an en-suite bathroom

Sunbird
Early morning sunshine filters into this spacious ‘rust coloured' room with twin beds and overlooks the flowers beds frequented by Sunbird's looking for fresh nectar.

Kingfisher
South facing with views down the river with the opportunity to glimpse the rare Giant Kingfisher between the curtains at dawn. This spacious room shares a bathroom with the Sunbird

Dining and bars
Meals are served in the spacious lounge area, which incorporates a classic dining table.

Activities
Activities include nature walks, bird-watching, fly-fishing, abseiling, mountain biking, horse riding and swimming in the ‘eye of the spring' natural spring of Kasuki Gorge. The conservancy's position also allows for visits to other interesting destinations nearby such as a day trip to Nakuru Park to see up to a million flamingos and a myriad of wildlife and birds. Hells Gate National Park is also within easy reach for a day trip where you can walk and cycle amongst wildlife and there are excellent sites for rock climbers. This is adjacent to Lake Naivasha where boat trips can be arranged and a visit to Elsamere the home of the late George and Joy Adamson of Born Free fame. The higher altitude Aberdare National Park is also close by offering a different range of fauna and flora including black serval cats, black leopards, bongo among others. Visits to homesteads and schools in the local community can be a very rewarding experience as well as seeing local crafts in action. Further afield, safaris to the Masai Mara and/or Samburu game reserves can be organized.


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