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Northern Frontier

Ol Lentille Properties |

Ol Lentille
Local Info

Our hosts here are the Laikipiak Maasai of Kijabe Group Ranch. In Kenya, a Group Ranch is owned in common by its members. There are some 250 members of this Ranch, of whom about one third are resident here. The Ranch population is about 800 people with about 2,000 Kijabe people living elsewhere in Kenya. Approximately 100 Kijabe residents have been employed in the construction of the Sanctuary. Our neighbours are other Maasai ranchers, and to our north Samburu tribesmen.

The people of Kijabe still overwhelmingly pursue their age-old pastoralist way of life. They are cattle-herders, and keepers of goats and sheep. Increasingly they are able to combine their semi-nomadic existence to find dry-season grazing, with the technology of the twenty-first century, using mobile phones to buy and sell livestock at better market prices. Nevertheless, the colourful spectacle of the weekly livestock markets is still vibrantly alive.

The women of the Ranch are developing small craft businesses and Regenesis is helping them with accessing training and in selling their products in international markets, adding much needed cash to the family income. They have also opened a Maasai Craft Village or "Manyatta". The manyatta will serve to preserve traditions, and to educate both the new generation and those of our guests who may be interested in a visit. You will be warmly welcomed.

Guests with business or community/economic development expertise may wish to become engaged in our business angel programme.

Ol Lentille Conservancy - Laikipia Area, Kenya

50 miles northwest of Mt. Kenya at a Maasai-Owned Group Ranch

Participation in the Conservation Program and Projects, Horse & Camel Riding, Parcours Jogging Trail, Croquet and Boules, Mountain Biking, Rock-Climbing, Game Drives & Walks (Day & Night).

At the property - Gallery and shop selling art and necessities. Swimming pool for lounging, sunbathing, and dining. Library with books, games and for relaxing by the fireside. Deck for wildlife viewing, GPS telescope, bar, central fireplace. Jogging trail with exercise stations, Boules/Bocce/Petanque, and Croquet.

In the conservancy - Game drives (day and night), walking safaris (day and night), Abseiling and rock-climbing, Horse riding, Camel riding, Mountain biking, Quad-bikes/ATVs, Bush Skills course, Fly camping, Conservation work (occasionally with researchers from Mpala Foundation).

Further afield - Horse and camel treks (1 to 5 nights), Bird shooting in the Chalbi desert, Trout fishing on Mt. Kenya, Light aircraft and helicopter trips, Trips to other parks and reserves, Kayaking and river rafting.

With the community - Support to local business start-ups, school visits and visits to the Craft Manyatta.

The manyatta (village) has been built by the women of the community totally from local traditional materials. It is open to guests to take part in and learn about the Maasai culture. The songs and dance of the women and the warrior group add colourful and energetic entertainment. Guests will learn about the uses of local medicinal herbs, traditional cooking and food including the Maasai practice of taking blood from a cow, childcare practices, house building techniques, animal husbandry, fire lighting, musical instrument and weapons making, games such as mbao, the complex gambling systems of the wazee (elders), and beadwork. Guests will have an opportunity to support the women further through purchase of beads and other artefacts.

Four wonderfully luxurious full-service Country Houses

The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille offers you a choice of four wonderfully luxurious full-service Country Houses each with its own Butler, Valet, Guide, and Askari. Your Own Place in the African Wilderness. The Houses are designed by young Nairobi architect Lengai Croze with interiors by Chris Payne and Emma Campbell; each echoes a Voice of Africa. They have been built by arguably East Africa’s finest creative builder, Mark Glen. All our Houses have an abundant mixture of unique courtyards, decks, gardens, and lawns. Some have plunge pools. Each house is located to ensure your privacy. Bedrooms in all the Houses except The Eyrie can be equipped with either a double bed or with twin beds. Just let us know your preferences on reservation. The kitchens in our Houses are modern and well equipped. Some guests will want the kitchen to be the domain of their Butler; others will want the pleasurable convenience of being able to help themselves to a midnight snack from the fridge. The choice is yours. All our Houses have study areas with a desk where creative writers may find inspiration from the magnificent vistas beyond the window.

The Colonel's House (Sleeps 4) - In "Campaign" style, this house seems truly to be the bush home of a well-traveled military man. With brass-bound furniture, oriental carpets, and a beautiful "Knole" sofa in front of an open fire you can feel a connection with a bygone era of comfort and style. The House has two double bedrooms, sitting and dining rooms, and kitchen. Each bedroom has a dressing room and a sunken bath. The courtyard has a plunge-pool.

The Sultan's House (Sleeps 2-4) - This stone-built house is designed in "Lamu" style under a huge roof thatched with twisted papyrus. It has fine plaster carving, and lavish furnishings, including a four-poster bed. The House has one enormous double bedroom, a huge sitting/dining room and a kitchen. The space of this House is such that it can be converted to a two bedroom house if you prefer.

The Eyrie (Sleeps 2) - This special house is perched at the top of our kopje in "African Retro" style. The Eyrie has one bedroom, a sitting/dining roomwith open fire and kitchen. It is seductively furnished. The circular bedroom has a gigantic round bed, and it is but a few steps to your own secluded outdoor double rock bath with views over our rugged hills to the deserts of the north.

The Chief's House (Sleeps 6) - A reflection of contemporary Africa combining a sumptuously cool modern interior with the best of African art, fabrics and artefacts. It has three double bedrooms, sitting and dining rooms, and kitchen. The sitting room has a charming open fire, as well as a plunge-pool on the outdoor deck. Each bedroom has a dressing room and bathroom. The master bedroom has a large outdoor bath set in the rocks for candlelight bathing under the stars.

A rotunda with a soaring stained glass dome, The Library is the club room where you may read, write, relax, or chat with fellow guests and hosts. Atop the Library is the viewing deck, which has an open fire, a bar and a GPS-controlled telescope to bring the heavens even closer. The Pool is a great place to chill with lounging pods filled with creamy cushions, and a dining and sundowner deck under sails.

Great food tailored to your tastes served wherever and whenever you want by our international Chef. A specialized wine list of twelve great red and twelve great white wines from the southern hemisphere. "A gastronomic delight."

Your staff are here to please you. Nothing is too much trouble for them. They will give you as much, or as little, help with all your needs as you want to have. If you want your Butler to fix your drink, he will. But you should feel completely free to do it yourself if you want to. Your Butler is the senior member of your house staff, and is also responsible for providing your meals and drinks, wherever you may be: in your house, at the pool, in the library or on safari. Your Valet makes sure your house is well-cleaned and tidy, and is also responsible for your luggage, laundry, ironing, shoe cleaning. If you would like your Valet to pack and unpack for you, just ask. Your Askari is responsible for your safety and security at night. He is trained in first aid and fire fighting. You may also see him in the dusk and dawn hours tending to your gardens. If you are walking at night he is available to escort you from place to place if you would like him to (recommended). Your Guide, a local Maasai, is a qualified member of the Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association and is a fund of knowledge about the ecology, flora and fauna, people and culture of this area. He will drive your safari vehicle for you, and accompany you on many of the activities you may choose here. For parents with young children we can also provide an Ayah (or Nanny).

Those who need to keep in touch with home or office need not be bound to the desk the whole property enjoys wireless access to the internet via satellite broadband. Just bring your laptop or wi-fi PDA. Or leave it at home and chill. Each house is equipped with its own Apple iPod and powered speakers pre-loaded with hundreds of great tracks. If you would like to have your own CDs transferred we will be pleased to do this for you. Power and hot water are provided to you from the most modern solar systems. All bathrooms are equipped with special low-power hair dryers.
Any Time of Year

The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille is open all year round. There are two rainy seasons: October/November and April/May. During the rains there may be mists in the mountains, the weather is cooler, and the meadow flowers and grasses abound. Our roads and airstrip remain passable even in prolonged rains.
Owners & Hosts

In 2001 the community-owned Kijabe Group Ranch determined to set aside 2,000 hectares/5,000 acres (a full one third) of their grazing and settlement land for conservation tourism, and with the support of the African Wildlife Foundation, established The Kijabe Trust to promote and manage the project. They have been increasingly successful in excluding livestock in this area; and increasingly successful in attracting and securing growing numbers of important wildlife species.

In July 2005, the Ranch, entered into a 25 year partnership agreement with Regenesis Ltd. Regenesis is a Kenyan company set up to invest in community based conservation and tourism. Its executive directors are John and Gill Elias, a British couple who relocated to Kenya in 2004 to undertake such an enterprise. John is a former international company director, and Gill a lawyer turned teacher.

Recently, an agreement has been reached with the neighbouring Nkiloriti Group Ranch to add a further 600 hectares/1,500 acres to the conservation area. At the same time it has been named The Ol Lentille Conservancy. We are also working closely with our Samburu neighbours to help them to establish their own 10,000 acre conservation area.

Both Ranches have also recently set limits on the numbers of livestock to be carried on the remainder of their land. This is already having beneficial effects on grazing quality and sustainability, tree preservation and erosion. Importantly, The Ol Lentille Conservancy is at the heart of the greater Naibunga Conservancy which joins together the conservation areas of seven other Group Ranches in a 17,000 hectare/43,000 acre tract of northern Laikipia.

Laikipia is, famously, home to more endangered species than anywhere else in East Africa, and due to the remarkable integrity of the ecosystem supports immense wildlife populations. The Ol Lentille Conservancy is home to the endangered African wild dog, greater kudu, leopard, both the striped and the spotted hyena, and klipspringer, as well as more common species.

Part of the mission of The Kijabe Trust ( is to secure the Conservancy for this and future generations. The Trust employs (currently 14) Conservancy Rangers to protect the flora and fauna of the area. Two additional Rangers are employed by the Laikipia Wild Dog Project, a collaboration of Mpala Wildlife Foundation ( and the University of California at Davis. The Ol Lentille Conservancy Rangers are skilled trackers and each is developing a depth of knowledge about an aspect of conservation and wildlife: specialising in trees, plants, or insects and so on. Our Chief Ranger is Sgt. Samal Kimorgo, a son of Kijabe, who is also a member of the Kenya Police Reserve.
Perched on the flanks of a wooded rock kopje, in the heart of our private conservation area, is The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille - a collection of four private, full-service, fully staffed Houses for the discerning few.
Situated at the community-owned Kijabe Group Ranch, on the far northern escarpment of the Laikipia Plateau with enormous views to the craggy peak of Mt Kenya, the Samburu sacred mountain Ol Olokwe, the Matthews Range and the Karisia Hills. Our private conservation area, known as The Ol Lentille Conservancy, is 6500 acres of grassy hills and deep valleys, heavily wooded with many acacia species and African olives. Its sandy laghas are bordered by great stands of fig and fever trees. It is named for Ol Lentille, a 1977m hill from the top of which (an easy scramble) an astonishing panorama unfolds. The Conservancy is home to the endangered African wild dog, greater kudu, leopard, striped and spotted hyena, and klipspringer.

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