Borana Lodge in Laikipia, Kenya
Borana Lodge is set on the edge of The Samangua Valley in Laikipia, with panoramic views of Mount Kenya and the Northern Frontier District. Borana is a small, luxurious family-hosted lodge which was built in 1992 using local building materials and deadwood from the ranch. It is situated on a 35,000 acre private ranch 16 miles north of the equator; a haven for a wide diversity of wildlife: lion, elephant, Jackson’s hartebeest, buffalo, reticulated giraffe, Pastas monkeys and great herds of antelope roam the plains while the cool forest shelters bush buck, colobus monkeys and leopard. The ranch is also home to over 300 species of bird-life. Many activities can be enjoyed at Borana including riding, game drives, walking and simply relaxing in the stunning scenery.
Borana is especially suited to those wishing to explore the African bush from the back of a horse without having to relinquish the comforts of a luxury lodge. The wide selection of horses for all ages and abilities makes it the perfect destination for mixed groups of riders and for their non riding partners who can have almost as much fun game viewing on foot and in 4 wheel drive vehicles. Experienced riders can enjoy riding between 4 and 6 hours a day across the African bush on thoroughbred and part thoroughbred horses, with the option of spending nights out fly camping far from civilisation. Borana also has several Somali / Ethiopian horses. Although small, these horses are sure footed, making them ideal for riding in the bush for excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.
Borana Lodge does not operate a set itinerary. Please see below for information on some activities you may enjoy on a typical day
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 complete 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 4×4 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 organised 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.
Neither Wild and Exotic nor the operators or suppliers can accept any responsibility for changes to itineraries or dates that may arise due to weather or unforeseen circumstances such as changes, disruptions or delays to airline flights for whatever reason. This holiday is subject to Wild and Exotic’s terms and conditions, a copy of which is available on this website under the general info tab.
Wild and Exotic fact sheet for Borana Lodge in Laikipia in Kenya
Accommodation: Borana has eight private and spacious guest cottages decorated in unaffected but luxurious up-country style (Four king-size doubles, four queen-size twins). Extra beds are available for children under 12. Two of the rooms can share a private dining room. All rooms have an open fireplace, veranda and en suite bathroom with bath and shower. The main lodge sitting area has comfortable sofas surrounding an open fireplace.
Activities: Wildlife viewing, riding, day and night game drives, bush walks accompanied by experienced and knowledgeable guides, relaxing by the horizon pool, picnics and bush dinners, mountain biking on Giant Iguana mountain bikes. Optional extras include a night under canvas fly camping, visits to the adjacent Lewa Wildlife Conservancy to see the endangered Grevy Zebra and Black and White Rhino, visits to Kisima and the floriculture project, cultural excursions to nearby Masai villages, masseuse and beauty therapy using home produced organic essential oils.
Best time to visit: January to October and December. Please note that Borana is closed during November.
Getting there: There are three ways of reaching Borana from Nairobi. Either by daily Air Kenya scheduled flight from Nairobi to nearby Lewa airstrip, or by private charter direct to the lodge’s own airstrip or by a 4 hour overland transfer from Nairobi.
Horses: Wide selection of horses to suit all ages and abilities including children. Fast and exiting thoroughbreds or thoroughbred-cross (many former polo ponies) for experienced riders. Borana also has several Somali/Ethiopian horses, which are small (14/15hh), sure footed and ideal for riding in the bush. As the horses live outside game is unafraid allowing you to get closer to wildlife than is normally possible.
Meals: Food is freshly prepared in the kitchen using fresh vegetable and also farm produce, juice from the orchard, wines from around the world. Meals are served on a rosewood table in dining room.
Rates include: Full board accommodation, laundry, activities, house-wines, drinks except imported champagne
Recommended length of stay: 3 – 7 nights
Kenya general information and map
Getting there: Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta international airport is the hub of East African air transport, and it has connections to most European cities. The flying time to Nairobi is approximately 9 hours from London.
Time: GMT plus three hours
Try not to miss: The Masai Mara for breath-taking vistas and unrivalled game viewing opportunities that reach a peak during the migration of plains game and attendant predators between late July and mid September. Wild and Exotic have a selection of camps and lodges chosen for location and style of management that will ensure you are up close and personal with the action. A short distance away lies Lake Victoria, where the attractions include fishing for huge Nile perch and searching for the rare roan antelope in Ruma National Park. The beautiful Chyulu Hills also stand within the Mara ecosystem, close to Amboseli National park where large herds of elephant roam the plains against the backdrop Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, just across the border in Tanzania.
The northern plateau of Laikipia sits beneath Africa’s second highest mountain, Mt Kenya, and is home to vast private and exclusive wildlife reserves where the visitor can enjoy fly camping, walking and camel safaris. Meru National Park is another far from the beaten track destination in Northern Kenya where we work with two fabulous lodges in pristine wilderness settings. For the adventurous we recommend a visit to the Northern Frontier District and Lake Turkana – otherwise known as the Jade Sea – and the Chalbi Desert, remote and wonderful destinations for the intrepid traveller.
After the excitement of the bush we recommend a stay beside the Indian Ocean, where deep sea fishing, diving, snorkelling, and other water sports await the energetic. In our opinion the best Indian Ocean destinations in Kenya are to be found on the less populated and beautiful northern coastline close to Lamu, where we represent a handful of stunning and exotic hotels.
Visas: All UK visitors require a visa. Visas can be purchased from the Visa counter at Arrivals in the airport, or visas can be applied for online http://kenyahighcom.org.uk/wp-content/themes/kenyahighcom/forms/Form-22-Application-for-Visas.pdf. Visa processing time after application and payment is seven days, and is US$50.
Weather: July, August and September are considered the best times to visit Kenya. June, November, December, January, February and March are also good times to visit. There are short rains in November, and long rains in April and May.
Why Kenya: It is often said that Kenya has been spoilt by mass tourism, and it is true that certain areas have suffered from exploitation. However Wild and Exotic have identified scores of remote and exclusive lodges in many different regions of Kenya, where the timeless beauty of this country remains as captivating and wild as ever. Few countries in Africa can match her extraordinarily diverse landscape that includes the fertile plains of the Masai Mara and the Rift Valley, arid deserts in the North, Lakes Turkana and Victoria, the snow capped peak of Mt Kenya, and the azure blue Indian Ocean. The standards of service and guiding are consistently high throughout Kenya’s national parks and there is no better country in the world in which to view Africa’s wildlife at its magnificent best.