Colonial splendour and sweeping views of Kenya's dramatic volcanic heart.
Colonial-style Kongoni House lies in central Kenya, just 120 km from Nairobi. This tranquil retreat was built on a volcanic shelf above lakes Naivasha and Oloiden, and from its gardens you get a panoramic view of the wild acacia savanna and, beyond it, the gleaming lakes. Surrounding the lodge is a private park, the 800-hectare Animal Rights Reserve (ARR), which is open to everyone who wants to experience Africa away from the safari freeway. The villa is luxurious, the food is plentiful and delicious, the accommodation is spacious and comfortable, and the animals right come into the ranch to graze.
At the lodge
The communal areas include a sitting room furnished in true early 20th-century style, with an original phonograph. Meals are served on the terrace overlooking the lawn or in the elegant dining room gleaming with silver and crystal. The chef's talents are excellent – the cuisine is a combination of Mediterranean and local. Wi-fi is available, and there's a DVD library, a swimming pool and two large patios where guests can enjoy sundowners and watch the animals graze in the garden.
The main house has six en-suite double rooms and a one bedroom annex accessed via the terrace, all the with wooden floors and decor that combines chic with a comfortable home-from-home appeal. In the garden behind the villa, hidden among euphorbia trees, are two separate cottages, each with three sunny bedrooms, a studio, a small lounge and a kitchen. Room service is available.
Excellent guides host game drives to see giraffe, buffalo, antelopes including Thomson's and Grant's gazelles and eland, zebra, lion, leopard, elusive bat-eared fox, serval, monkeys and wild dog. Take a guided walk, explore on a bike or horseback, enjoy boating and photography at Lake Naivasha and Lake Oloiden, or go birdwatching to look for the 400-plus species. Don't miss a trip to Hell's Gate National Park, an aptly named destination where gas fumes fill the air and hot springs bubble.