ARIJIJU, a luxury retreat in Borana conservancy, Kenya
f you seek for a private and personalized way to discover Africa’s nature in Kenya, then we may have found the perfect secret place for you to stay. Described as « the most beautiful house in Africa » by the senior editor at the UK CNN traveller, Peter Michael Browne.
Located on the Borana Conservancy in Laikipia, Kenya, few kilometers north of the equator, Arijiju is named after the hill upon which it stands and is the result of a decade of work. The owner of Arijiju house, a Nigeria-Born, London based, worked with the architecture firm Nicholas Plewman – Architects Associates. His aim was to create as both a family home and a luxury retreat for like minded guests. He also wanted his children to experience the freedom and the simplicity he enjoyed during his youth. And yes, Arijiju is an exceptional private house.
Nestled on a hillside and overlooking Mount Kenya in a reserve of more than 32,000 acres, known to be ideal for safaris, Arijiju is inspired by the ancient Earth architecture and the Monasteries of Ethiopia. This gives it an almost religious atmosphere, favourable to meditation and rest. A central vaulted cloister forms the centre of the house, connecting the main rooms and offering a luxurious private retreat in the heart of the wilderness. Few materials were used to build the house. Among the materials used were stone and wood, all local. Green roofs, including local plants and solar panels, ensure minimal environmental impact of the house. Arijiju is designed as a sanctuary, created to make space in the spirit, in the middle of a wild and authentic nature.
Interior designer Maira Koutsoudakis combined a blend of African-inspired rustic chic with natural colour palettes to create the project. The house features five luxurious suites and the main common areas include a dining room and lounge at the height of sophistication, a lounge bar, a gym, copper baths, indoor and outdoor showers and a spa with a hammam that communicates with outdoor terraces in levels. The most exciting is undoubtedly the extraordinary 20-metre overflow swimming corridor that overlooks the savannah and makes us want to dive immediately or simply relax nearby. We have also heard that sometimes the pool can be used as a watering hole for elephants. The simplicity of the property through the materials used and the luxurious spirit that emerges represents a striking contrast to a preserved and natural savannah. From the pool, you can see the wild olive trees and acacias. During the rainy season, the surrounding valley around which the house is located can reveal temporary rivers in the distance during the rainy season.
Equipped with a masseuse and an esthetician whose treatments are included in the rental rates. Yogis will do a session on the yoga terrace; the more active ones will be able to use the gym and the tennis and squash courts. With a staff of 14 people, including a butler, a ranger and chefs who prepare a healthy and light “Ottolenghi” style cuisine, you will have no trouble getting all your requests fulfilled.
The Arijiju house is the kind of place you’ll crave to stay for your next retreat in the nature. The house itself is an attraction. An ode to the luxury modern African way of life.
The simplicity of the architectural lines, the meticulous attention paid to the interior design, the various amenities of the house and the exceptional natural surroundings, make this property a magical place. The reserve is full of wildlife, including Africa’s big five ( lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and Cape buffalo), or wild dogs and cheetahs. 4×4 safaris are therefore a must, but Arijiju also encourages visitors to explore on foot, horseback riding, jogging or mountain biking.
However, if you wish to stay in Arijiju, count about 7 600€ per night for a maximum of 6 people and for a minimum of three nights. Please note, however, that the capacity of the villa is a maximum of 10 people.