Lake Naivasha, Kenya - Classic 4
Olerai House is a secluded farmhouse set in the glorious countryside of the north shore of Lake Naivasha. Ideal as a place in which to get your African bearings when you first arrive, the farm, with its temperate climate and gentle pace of life, will soothe and acclimatise you before you move on to wilder Africa. Olerai House, owned by Oria and Iain Douglas-Hamilton, renowned for their research and studies into elephant behaviour, is a welcoming and hospitable travellers refuge. The staff are wonderfully friendly and helpful, the ambience is tranquil and the house and grounds quite lovely.
Oria's Italian heritage is evident in the great attention paid to matters culinary and aesthetic. A shaded piazza with bright bougainvillea overhead and a wooden swing seat makes an ideal spot to read or take afternoon tea and freshly baked goodies. The garden is the perfect place to relax and take the sun. The rooms are exquisitely decorated and furnished with fine attention to detail. Light and airy, they all have indoor or outdoor sitting areas, fresh fabrics and a host of small touches - interesting books, toiletries, bottled water, country flowers, gowns - to ensure comfort. Even the kitchen is charming. Decorated in the Bloomsbury style it is seriously inviting. Guests are welcome to forage there, although very seldom find it necessary! All the food is prepared on the premises. Ambrosial ice-cream, jewel-like preserves, the freshest of bread, pasta and soft cheese are just some of the wonderful home-made treats in-store for guests.
There are no rigid timetables at Olerai House. Meals are served to guests' convenience and to fit in with activities. A boat ride to Crescent Island, game drives in Lake Nakuru National Park, hikes across the back hills of the farm, or walks along the lake edge are just some of the intriguing possibilities. Oria and her staff ensure that all these, and more, are beautifully organised and perfectly orchestrated, often involving a fabulous picnic. A flight to Lake Bogoria for tea among the multitude of flamingos or a day flight to Amboseli Park for some elephant watching is extra, but well worth it. Alternatively, you may play golf, fish, play croquet or just lounge around the pool at Oria and Iain's sublime Art Deco home, Sirocco House, which is just a short walk away, down a stunning avenue of jacarandas. Olerai House, with its beautiful farm in the Lake Naivasha, is a home away from home and time out from real life.