Zebras at Olerai House ©Georgina Goodwin
SOYSAMBU CONSERVANCY, LAKE ELEMENTAITA
Situated within easy reach of Nairobi is Soysambu Conservancy on Lake Elementaita. Home to 28% of the world’s population of lesser flamingoes and 10% of the world’s population of Rothschild’s giraffe, the conservancy’s 48,000 acres of diverse ecological significance will leave you mesmerised.
During the day, you can expect to see giraffe, gazelle, zebra and waterbuck saunter along the shores, while at night hippos graze, leopards pad around, and aardvarks snuffle about for ants.
WHEN TO GO: The landscape blossoms during the long rainy season from April to June, and although wildlife is not as concentrated during this time, the season coincides with the birth of a new generation of animals, especially antelopes, that make for some incredible sightings and a fresh look at nature.
WHERE TO STAY: One of Kenya’s best-kept secrets is Olerai House, which is situated in the Sirocco sanctuary on the shores of nearby Lake Naivasha, and is one of the best places to stay in the region. At Olerai House, you could be excused at times for thinking you were in the Garden of Eden - zebra nibble at the tablecloth, entranced by the scent of freshly baked scones, and giraffe have been known to feed from the terrace while guests enjoy a drink beneath them. A short walk across the sanctuary is Sirocco House, which is an exquisite Art Deco palazzo that was built by my grandparents in the late 1920s. You can swim in the pool at Sirocco House beneath enormous fig trees while colobus monkeys feed overhead.
Organic gardens full of crisp green vegetables, and pasture-raised hens, ducks and sheep supply the kitchens with a bounty of fresh produce that’s made into delicious meals that can be enjoyed outside in the garden or in the fire-lit dining room. The house itself is crowned with a champagne-burst of flowers, and their delicate scent perfumes the air, while expansive green lawns look out towards an extinct volcano, Mt. Longonot.
Alternatively, Nigel Archer Safaris individually crafts each of their trips to fulfill personal preferences, and they can happily tailor an itinerary to Kenya’s Rift Valley eco-system.