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Borana Lodge - Laikipia, Kenya

An exclusive retreat in Laikipia, Kenya

Intimate and exclusive, Borana Lodge is perched on the slope of a hidden valley overlooking a waterhole, where many animals come to drink. It was here that the Disney animators came to draw their inspiration for the Lion King. Built mainly from fallen cedar, and almost wholly constructed from natural materials, the lodge blends with the craggy stone outcrops of the escarpment and appears to grow organically from the hillside. Large windows in the drawing room allow wide panoramic views across the arid grasslands and all the interior spaces use and reflect the light and space of the surrounding plains. The decorations echo the use of natural materials, soft tones, African prints, and a variety of polished woods.

Location
Borana Lodge is set on the edge of the Samangua Valley with panoramic views of Mount Kenya and Kenya's Northern Frontier. It is situated on a 35,000 acre ranch 16 miles north of the equator, at an altitude 6,500 ft. Daily schedule services to Lewa from Wilson Airport, Nairobi. Then 1 ½ hour road transfer to Borana Private Air Charter.
By road - a 4-hour drive from Nairobi.

The Background
Borana is a working ranch, named after the Borana cattle that also call it home. Borana is an accredited member of the Eco Tourism Society of Kenya and plays an active role in regional conservation, eco-system maintenance, community development initiatives, health and education.

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 lodges or tented camps, but numerous other options exist on the park boundaries. Luxury lodges and luxury camp options are also offered in the private wildlife conservancies.

Accommodation
Borana has eight private and spacious guest cottages decorated in luxurious up-country style. All rooms have an open fireplace, veranda and en suite bathroom with bath and shower. Extra beds can be provided for children. Electricity is provided by a 240v generator which runs during the morning and evening hours. The interior décor includes luxurious of beds and bathrooms, rustic artifacts, recycled Indian-teak doorframes, fireplaces, naturally scented bath essence...and more. Full-board accommodation, house wines, beers and soft drinks are included in the cost. Borana is closed for the whole of November.

Laragai House is also on Borana and is available for rent.

Expansive thatched roofs and huge open rooms dominate the architecture at Laragai. Large four poster made from fallen olive, fig or acacia trees and draped in fresh linen sit in vast bedrooms decorated with traditional African artifacts and large paintings.

The beautifully decorated dining lounge faces the pool and the superb vistas of the Borana Ranch and the highlands beyond. In the main drawing room, beautifully carved tables with large African lamps lie next to luxurious sofas on wooden flooring offset by local sisal matting.

Set around a central garden with five double and three twin rooms, Laragai can sleep ten guests in complete comfort. Its ten permanent staff will ensure that your stay is a memorable one. They will serve drinks and meals by the swimming pool overlooking the plains - even lobster, take you on game drives or fly camping in the bush, or leave you in total privacy. The staff are also capable of arranging horse and camel-riding trips, helicopter safaris and much more, just as at Borana lodge. Leragai House is the ultimate private safari destination.

Dining and bars
Early morning calls come with tea or coffee and muffins warm from the oven. Lunch is served on the pool-deck. Menus include farm-produced fruit and vegetables, local meat, and freshly- baked breads.

Child-friendly
Children are welcome and extra beds can be provided.

Wildlife highlights
The conservancy offers a haven for a wide diversity of wildlife: lion, elephant, Jackson's hartebeest, buffalo, reticulated giraffe, Patas monkeys and great herds of antelope roam. The forest shelters bush buck, colobus monkeys and leopard.

What to see and do
The lodge has its own luxury swimming pool and in room massages are available. Morning, afternoon and night game drives are provided (with skilled Samburu guides), as are ‘sundowner' experiences. Additionally, Borana offers horse riding (Horse riding for both experienced riders and novices. We breed our own polo ponies and children's ponies), guided walks, fishing, a fly camp on Mount Olololowke, bird shoots, day trips to Samburu and the Aberdares Mountain biking on Giant Iguana mountain bikes and its own gift shop.

Optional extras
• Fly Camps
• Helicopter fishing trips to Mount Kenya - on application
• Visits to the adjacent Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, to see the endangered Grevy's zebra and Black and White rhino
• Visits to the Kisima floriculture project
• Cultural excursions to nearby Maasai Manyattas
• Masseuse and beauty therapy using home-produced organic essential oils.

A Typical Day at Borana
Dawn is a fabulous time on Borana - wake up with steaming hot tea or coffee and watch the sunrise over the Samangua valley and Hyena Dam. An early morning walk with Ant Kaschula or one of our experienced local Maasai guides give guests the benefit of their extensive knowledge of the bush and its ways. They have an intimate knowledge of the land and its inhabitants. Seeing big game on foot is extremely satisfying and allows guests to stalk game in completely safety. The slower pace means that guests also have a chance to see smaller animals that they would miss if speeding past in a car.

Then again you could just put your feet up, sit back in your open 4x4 and be taken to the game. Since Borana is private property, there are no Game Park rules and no one else will ever obscure your view of the big game that lives here. Night game drives - when most animals are active - are very popular, allowing guests an insight into the nocturnal life of the bush that is denied them in most of the parks.

One of the best ways of seeing big game is on horse-back - we have horses to suit all riders from beginners to experts. Guests can ride through the plains at the foot of the escarpment among giraffe, hartebeest and impala or into the forest that cloaks the foot of Mount Kenya. Guests can explore the ranch with guides to show them the special places and the big game that abounds here. Picnic lunches and sundowners can be organized for those wanting a day's ride but a quick hack before breakfast is just as easy to arrange.

The silence and off-road ability of our top of the range mountain bikes allow guests to get very close to big game - quickly and in safety. Mountain bikes give guests the opportunity to travel long distances, at their own pace and in a completely natural environment. There are few better ways to see the bush.

Of course a visit to the high altitude rose farm or to our organic essential oil distillery is by no means compulsory - a day of eating delicious home grown organic food by the pool and maybe muster up the energy to drag yourself away from your exclusively comfortable sleeping house for an afternoon massage overlooking Mount Kenya.

Borana is not just a game sanctuary, it is also a working ranch - many guests have found that spending a day on the ranch is equally as interesting as looking at the animals. Michael Dyer - who runs the ranch - is happy to take guests on his rounds. He shows guests the challenge of ranching in these hostile conditions - elephants in the vegetable patch, lions in the cattle bomas, flood, drought, famine.

An evening sundowner on Pride Rock followed by drinks in front of an open log fire and dinner under the ostrich egg chandelier is a perfect end to a perfect day.


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