Ol Malo Lodge

It’s been a while since we shared our adventures – but we are back!!  The end of September saw us visit beautiful Ol Malo – a family owned and working run ranch in Northern Laikipia where wildlife roams freely.  

As usual, with all our trips, we left Nairobi by 5am, and with a quick stop for a cup of coffee in Nanyuki, we headed towards our home for the weekend, which was another 100km of driving through some villages and beautiful landscapes.  

The “Three Sisters” – one of the rock formations on the way to Ol Malo

It was heartwarming to see birdlife and wildlife, including elephants at close range while driving to the property (something I did not expect).

Ellies on the way to Ol Malo – think they had come out of a mud-bath
Reticulated Giraffe on the Road

On arrival, we were warmly greeted by Laban, who would be our guide for our time there, and Chyulu, who is part of the Franscombe family that own and call this place (this little piece of heaven on earth) home.

There are two properties in Ol Malo – the house and the lodge which are a short distance from each other.  

We stayed at the lodge which has 4 rooms (I must say that each room is super spacious), each with a slightly differently design.  The house has two cottages and the main house with 6 rooms in total, making it ideal for a larger group to have exclusive use of the whole house.   

Ol Malo House Lounge

Both properties are perched on a cliff, with stunning infinity pools and the most spectacular views of this under-rated part of Kenya – truly one the hidden gems the country has to offer. The design of the buildings is spectacular, with a great African and rustic feel – I will not give too much away, but have a look at the pictures below to get an idea of what it looks like.

Pool Views
Our Bedroom at the lodge
Bathroom decor

I found it impressive that the lodge and house were both designed and built by the family, using local materials mainly off the ranch.  It was refreshing, as always, (and something that I am glad is becoming more of the norm in lodges in Kenya) to see the use of renewable solar energy for heating water and drinking water supplied in repurposed wine bottles.  The crystal clear sweet water comes from a 600ft well on the property.

I also loved the beautiful bronze sculptures dotted around the lodge – make sure to look out for these when you visit and if you fancy taking one of the pieces home, they are for sale. 

One of the amazing bronze sculptures at Ol Malo

After settling into our rooms, we had our lunch near the beautiful infinity pool.  

Our lunch set-up by the pool at Ol Malo Lodge

Many of the salads and vegetables are grown on the ranch, so the tastes of the food are just that much more divine.  The eggs, milk and cream are also straight from the farm to the table.  I loved the communal dining and as always with this, got to meet some amazing people from around the world.  Over lunch, we learnt more about the history of the area and the property from Chyulu, including the work of the Samburu Trust, which is run by Julia, also part of the Franscombe family.  Read more about their amazing work, especially the pastoralist schools here.

I always find that we never know where the times goes when we are out in Laikipia and Northern Kenya, and it was nearly 3pm when we decided to take a shot afternoon nap.  At about 4.30pm, we got up, and the evening adventure was a short horse ride on the plains.  It was funny seeing Kamal’s horse want to constantly stop to eat and take it’s own path – I think the guides really managed to paired the horses to the personality of the riders.  Mine was a lazy one, who needed constant prodding to get going… lol!! But for those who love horseriding, Ol Malo is a must-do to explore the wild on horseback.

We got back to the lodge in time to freshen-up and head for dinner which was classic Swahili-fare around a bon-fire, and brought the perfect end to a magical day.  Before heading back to our room, we stopped by the infinity pool which had a spectacular view of the milky way for some astro-photography.  The stars in the sky were just wonderful and reminded us again of one of the many reason we love these parts of Kenya.

Night Skies Views from the Pool

After the most refreshing sleep, we woke up to the first light entering our room.  The sunrise was perfect and I don’t have the words to describe the colours, with their reflection in the infinity pool, so I will let the photos do the talking.  

Sunrise Views – Reflections!!
Sunrise Views

We had teas and cookies brought to our room, before heading on a walking safari around Ol Malo with Laban and Samwel.  We first headed towards the leopard hide (where a leopard had been seen the previous day), and were rewarded with a sighting of a herd of more than 20 elephants at the waterhole, just a few feet from where we were.  The hide also has bunkbeds for those who are adventurous and want to spend the night watching the game coming to the waterhole.  We loved the walking safari and especially enjoyed sightings of two of the “little five” – the ant lion and leopard tortoise.  Do you know what the other three of the little five are?

Leopard Tortoise – One of the small five

Laban and Samwel were super-knowledgeable about everything from the wildlife and their tracks, to the plants, trees and insects and geography of the area.  

One of the many starling species we came across
The beautiful Rufous Crowned Roller

They gave us an interesting lesson about the ants and the whistling thorn and it was incredible to see the interaction and the symbiosis of the two. 

Whistling Thorn Acacia – Spot the ants

There was also no time frame put on any activity, so you could enjoy it at leisure – our 1.5hr walk lasted about 3 hours due to our constant stops to look at and learn about all the wonderful things in nature.

Kamal and his teachers (The Ol Malo Guide team)

Along the walk, we saw more elephants and giraffes, and the guides finally led us to camels, which unbeknown to me were then going to take us to our spectacular breakfast spot, where Meg, who is managing Ol Malo house with her husband Rob, was waiting for us.  

Want to join us for breakfast here?

Meg and Rob are originally from South Africa, and Meg is a yoga instructor and also a beauty therapist.  It was a nice chilled out breakfast, with us just absorbing the views and by the end, Meg had convinced me to have a facial later in the afternoon, with the locally sourced products (which sounded divine) that she has developed.  Every step of our trip had been so well thought out, that we were able to enjoy each and every moment tremendously. 

We then had a short drive back to our lodge, passing a dam on the way, where elephants often come to drink and cool down.  Once back at the lodge, Sunday lunch was a communal affair by the pool again and we enjoyed some great curries (it was fun spending some time in the kitchen with the chefs putting this together) with rice and chapatis. Looking down at the dam below (the one we had passed earlier), we were blessed to see a huge herd of elephants drinking and cooling down.

How many elephants can you count?

I had to pull myself away from the lunch table as it was time for my facial, which was organized for me to have in our room.  Everything was clearly explained to me about what products were going to be used (all locally sourced, but I cannot remember them all now, except for the honey from the hives on the farm) and I think at some point, I must have been so relaxed that I drifted off to sleep, as I just remember hearing that the treatment was done and I should take my time to get up. The facial left my skin glowing and soft and I felt thoroughly rejuvenated. 

Our final evening (it felt like we had been there for over a week) saw us have an evening game drive, a short hike to a hill for some ‘out of this world’ views of Laikipia and Northern Kenya, and finally the finale of dinner under the stars in the beautiful tree-house set up near another dam that the family has constructed for the wildlife in the area.  At dinner, I just felt like I should lie back and just stare at the star-filled sky and milky way. If this takes your fancy, it is something that can be organized – sleeping under the stars in the tree-house (dependent on weather and availability).

Night Skies at with our private dinner in the tree-house

After another night of sleeping like a baby and listening to the sounds of leopard, hyena and lion, it was our final morning.  Ol Malo really has a unique feel about it due to the fact that it is also the home of the owners – and we found this in all the small details and personal touches in organizing the activities and meals during our stay. We came as guests and left feeling like family – Chyulu, Andrew, Meg and Rob made us feel right at home and we are counting down the days till we can go again.  

And go again we will, as there are still more activities that we did not have the time to do, including visiting the local Samburu tribe and learning about their culture, exploring the ranch and taking part in the day-to-day ranch activities, as well as experiencing Ol Malo Nomad, which not only does horse-back riding/walking /camel safaris with fly camping, but also has one of my bucket-list trips – a Helicopter ride to Suguta Valley and Lake Turkana – I am already dreaming of that adventure…

Suguta Valley contrasting landscapes

If you would like to experience all that we have written about and more (especially the helicopter adventures – a shorter flight can also be organised), than contact us through our contact page or email info@kampurtraveldiares.com to arrange this amazing adventure for you.

And remember, when you travel with us, part of the proceeds go to furthering education for children in Northern Kenya.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” John Muir