Situated in the Kenyan Highlands, overlooking Laikipia’s Samangua Valley, Borana Lodge is known throughout Africa as being one of the leading lights in wild land management.
Owned by the Dyers, a third generation white Kenyan family, the land (30,000 square acres) was originally part of a post World War One British government settler incentive. Bought by Michael Dyer’s grandfather, and added to his own parcel, Borana has always has been a working ranch. The lodge itself opened for business in 1990. Large, thatched, built into the side of the valley, it consists of a dining room, a lounge and bar area, a small eco-shop, and is fronted by enormous windows. Built from local materials, by local artisans, it is surrounded by eight thatched cottages. A lot of thought has gone into their location, creating a sense of privacy, and making the most of the view.
Food & service
Served in the lodge, in the bush, or in a tree house, the meals make excellent use of the lodge’s own farm; fresh and healthy, they’re a delight. The chefs are especially good with dietary requirements, and the service is wonderful across the board.
Set within a garden made up – largely – of indigenous plants, overlooking a busy waterhole, and within easy access of both lodge and horizon swimming pool, the cottages are en-suite, spacious and beautifully decorated. In keeping with Borana’s ethos, the furniture is locally sourced, the beds constructed from local woods, and the polished wooden floors, together with the verandas, are a nod in the direction of a colonial up-country tradition found throughout the highlands.
It is worth noting that two of the cottages – slightly larger, and designed with families in mind – share a giant-sized veranda. There is complimentary Wi-Fi across the lodge, but please be aware the connection can be slow and intermittent.
Activities at Borana include horse riding, 4×4 wildlife drives, guided walking safaris, mountain climbing, off-road biking, night drives and an opportunity to engage in one or more of the many work aspects of living on a ranch. Whatever the activity, whatever the interest, visitor feedback is excellent, and the level of guiding is considered to be up there with the best in Africa.
Please note: conscious of energy consumption, the generator is turned off at 10.30 p.m.
All earnings retained by the lodge are reinvested into the conservation schemes. These include training rangers, monitoring endangered species – black and white rhino and gravy’s zebra among many others – and operating a mobile clinic. Perhaps most impressively, the lodge funds a substantial education programme; provisions are made for primary school equipment, teachers’ salaries and even sponsorships for children.
The Seven Elephants Tree Nursery has catalysed reforestation efforts. This tree nursery now produces more than 30,000 trees annually for reforestation efforts on the ranch and in the surrounding communities.
The Borona Conversancy boasts a quite remarkable 97% local employment rate (the majority of staff are from communities on the Conservancy’s border) and has organised a livestock to market programme which advocates for sustainable farming practices. Hide and Sheep Ltd employs a talented group of blind and physically disabled people from the local community, who together create an impressive variety of top quality sheep and calfskin products.
Local children are encouraged to study conservation minded subjects, helping to safeguard the future of the Conservancy for the next generation. The mobile clinic, which assists the Kenyan government in vaccination and family planning programs, is registered with the World Health Organisation.