Owner-managed, located in northern Kenya, in the Laikipia, on a 5000 acre ranch, and possessing extraordinary views of the Mukogodo, Ol Malo (which, rather incongruously, translates as ‘the place of the greater Kudu’), is an intimate and well-run luxury lodge.
Making the most of the natural contours of the escarpment into which it is set, Ol Malo is a stone and thatch construct, and consists of a main shared area, Ol Malo House and a pool. The shared areas include a bar, a dining and seating area. The interiors are cool, beautifully designed – olive wood furniture, rugs, well chosen artefacts, log fire, bright cushions. The food is divine, the service excellent.
The sleeping accommodation is divided between the 4 original cottages and Ol Malo House. Each cottage is en-suite, contains a bedroom, living room and balcony; each is characterised by a large glass / open front; and each recedes into the rock face, creating a cave-like ambience, whose naturally cool temperatures are, like the main lodge, offset by a decor and design that is sometimes bohemian, sometimes almost art decor, and sometimes a combination of both. The House is a new addition to the lodge. Bookable on an exclusive basis, it consists of 3 en-suite bedrooms, can accommodate up to 12, and would suit families and large groups.
Activities at Ol Malo include bush picnics, horse riding, camel treks, camping, village visits and swimming.
Naaripisho Women’s Bead-work Programme
‘Naaripisho’ translates as ‘group of people doing beadwork’. The women are paid for their work, which is then marketed and sold through Ol Malo Designs, and the profits from the sale are ploughed straight back into the Trust. Thus the women are supporting themselves and their families, and are ensuring the continuance of their traditional beadwork along with their community and its way of life.
L’chekuti Children Painting Programme
Ol Malo encourages all children in the area aged between 4 and 10 years to come to the Sampiripiri Arts Workshop where they can paint and have fun. The Ol Malo Charitable Trust collects and preserves a number of the children’s paintings in the Ol Malo Arts Collection, thereby creating a record of their culture and environment through their own eyes. The Ol Malo Trust markets and sells a number of the works, to help raise money for the programme.
The Ol Malo Trust tries to assist every Samburu man, woman or child who comes to the Sampiripiri Workshop in need of medical attention.
The Ol Malo Eye Project has proved to be nothing less than a life-changing experience for hundreds of families living in the area surrounding Ol Malo. The project encourages the use of the ‘Leaky Tin’ by the Samburu community: a hole is made in the bottom of a re-cycled plastic container, and an acacia thorn is used as the plug, making an instant shower. This method uses less than a cup of water to wash the hands and faces of an entire family. The Trust has designed a specialised tool – an ‘ngisipet’- which will be distributed to all families within the area. This tool is made by the local spear-maker and beaded by the Samburu women, and is intended to encourage the Samburu to cover up their waste in order to prevent flies from spreading disease.
A new project with the help of a Nairobi chiropodist aims to cut down on the numbers of lost feet and fatalities through the proper removal of the jigger-flea, to look at ways of prevention, and to source prosthetic feet for those who have lost theirs to this flea – and to other predatory creatures, such as puff adder snakes. To date we have held two clinics, and hope to make them regular – 3 or 4 per year.
Silango Water Project
The recent change in rainfall patterns – drought followed by heavy rains – has confirmed to us that building a network of Open Water Reservoirs (OWRs) is the right thing to do. Each OWR will measure 80m x 50m x 10m and contain 40 million litres of water. This water is collected during the rainy seasons (long rains April and May, short rains Aug and Sep).
Nkera Education Projects
The Trust aims to:
• build a network of nomadic / mobile schools and semi-permanent eco-nursery schools among the OWRs (approx one school per five dams)
• train community-chosen teachers so the children receive a balanced nursery education, and will be able to read and write by the time they attend primary school at 10 years
• encourage the children to look after (and learn about) the nursery of indigenous fruit and nut-bearing trees situated at each school: these trees will then be planted around the OWRs, to assist with the creation of a micro-environment for the surrounding flora and fauna
• provide alternative education: in the afternoons and / or during the school holidays the desks will be filled with teenage and adult Samburu, learning about health, hygiene and their environment, with specialist educators being brought in for the purpose
• build the schools using eco-friendly materials, which are designed to be taken apart and moved – to fit in with the Samburu nomadic way of life
• provide the required educational material and nourishment.