SERENA ON OL PEJETA A WINNING COMBINATION
Ol Pejeta, Kenyas complete wildlife experience all in one place on the Laikipia Plains of Central Kenya has in recent years established itself as a choice destination for both overseas and local visitors, offering as comprehensive a game viewing experience as it possibly comes in Kenya. Located within sight of Mt. Kenya, itself a national park and one of Kenyas adventure destinations, and the Aberdare Mountains on the other side, the estate was previously owned by one Adnan Kashoggi, famous for his extravagant lifestyle and notorious for his arms deals with regimes around the world.
He did leave however a legacy behind, as the present day Ol Pejeta estate was to emerge from his initially 160.000 acres large ranch and wilderness area, on which he established at the end of a nearly 2 km long grass airstrip his residence in Kenya, for long just called the Kashoggi House before it was in more recent times renamed into Ol Pejeta House. Now managed by Serena Hotels, the former residence has been meticulously maintained and offers unparalleled luxury in private surroundings, with staff at the service of their guests if not their beck and call.
Not too far away is Swetwaters, a very posh safari camp which only recently saw the completion of another 11 en suite tents, forming the Morani Wing. Serenas famous hospitality awaits guests in the heart of the conservancy, where a chimpanzee sanctuary offers viewing of this otherwise nonresident species in Kenya, while in the wider surroundings Kenyas greatest concentration of Eastern Black and Southern White rhinos are found, complemented by 4 of the 7 surviving Northern White subspecies, the rarest of them all.
Plains game, predators including lions, leopard and cheetah are found and while Ol Pejeta is a mixed ranch where livestock coexists with wildlife, this has only added to the attraction for visitors, as they can see both cattle and game live side by side. Here in fact is living proof that proper herd management reduces wildlife inflicted losses to a bare minimum, putting recent revenge killings for livestock losses in a very different light, namely that there was perhaps some negligence on the side of the owners of lifestock, failing to employ proper guarding and protection procedures, which are now part and parcel of Ol Pejetas commercial fabric.
There are some smaller camps on the distant side of Ol Pejeta, and the conservancy too offers some self catering accommodation as well as camping spaces for families or wagenis wanting some more hands on experience, but without any doubt it are the Serena properties, Sweetwaters and the Ol Pejeta House which provide the type of luxurious surroundings, leaving no question about creature comforts unanswered, which many visitors to Kenya are looking for. From personal experience I know, that if a guest, staying say at the Nairobi Serena Hotel, wishes to go on a short safari, Ol Pejeta offers as comprehensive a game viewing experience as it probably comes in Kenya, with the added bonus of seeing large numbers of rhinos, more than probably anywhere else in East Africa on one spot.
Schedules flights to Nanyuki are available several times a day from Nairobis Wilson airport, this correspondents preferred airline being SafariLink which regularly uses state of the art Cessna 208 Grand Caravans, and a flight takes, depending on the aircraft used, between 35 and 45 minutes. The Serena properties on Ol Pejeta all provide transfers to and from the airfield on request against a nominal fee.
Yet, a 3 ½ hour drive from Nairobi via Thika, Karatina and branching off before reaching Nyeri towards Nanyuki also offers scenic sights on a relatively good road, travelled on very recently in person when visiting the Aberdares, and a stay of 2, 3 or even 4 nights will be a most rewarding experience, alongside enjoying Serenas superb hospitality of course.
Ol Pejeta and Serena are partners in conservation and East Africas leading hotel group has for long been at the forefront of making significant monetary and material contributions to wildlife conservation and re-forestation across the country. Visit www.olpejetaconservancy.org and www.serenahotels.com for more information.