Located south of Lake Turkana, and overlooking the plains of northern Kenya, Desert Rose is situated on the slopes of Mt Nyiru.
Built by Yoav and Emma Chen, together with a team of Samburu, some camels and a Toyota land cruiser, Desert Rose is made entirely from local materials, is well known for its environmentally conscious approach to everything from water and power to the use of indigenous plants in its gardens, and makes fantastic use of its location.
Considered by the Samburu to be holy, and possessing a micro-climate all of its own, Mt Nyiru is home to an ancient podocarpus forest, and it is this – its springs, its source of dead wood, its cooler temperatures – that drew the Chens to it.
Catering for up to 12, Desert Rose consists of a shared area, a pool and 6 rooms. Characterised by a slate floors and olive and cedar wood furniture, the main lodge is divided into a dining room, lounge, outdoor dining platform and a small library. The lounge is filled with hand-woven rugs, low comfortable furniture and a fine collection of largely African artefacts, and serves as an excellent retreat for those in search of shade, solitude or a chance to meet and exchange notes.
Food & service
Desert Rose is a beautifully styled lodge, and visitors make much of its understated and yet warm atmosphere. The food – also locally sourced or grown – is first class, as is the service.
The rooms are discreetly located about the property. Each has its own bathroom, a solid, handcrafted four poster bed, and, like the lodge itself, is designed to blend in with its natural habitat. The open-air bathrooms are a case in point: was it not for their fittings, their modern colourings, the bath and basin could just as well been carved from the rock in which they sit.
Activities include local wildlife walks, bird viewing, visits to working villages, camel treks, para-gliding, rock climbing, helicopter trips through the Suguta Valley and fishing in Lake Turkana.
Desert Rose has a proudly green philosophy and uses exclusively natural sources to produce energy, from solar heating to a gravity fed water system. It’s constructed using solely organic materials, and everything – from fireplace to bath – is handmade.
The majority of Desert Rose’s employees come from a nearby village, Waso Rongai, and the camp is in constant communication with the Samburu community.
The lodge has been supporting the community through many development initiatives, including building a vital medical clinic and piping the local primary school with water.