Guests come to Olerai for a variety of reasons. Maybe you are on your way to a safari in a distant corner of Kenya. You could be taking a short break from the city with your family, or are here as part of a special event. Whatever brought you to Olerai, we’re pretty sure you will feel relaxed, rejuvenated, and reconnected by the end of your stay, like so many of our guests, warmed by the sun, rejuvenated by the fresh air and sounds of nature. We like to think that that is because everyone finds something to fill their time exactly as they wish at Olerai House.

That could be doing absolutely nothing: grabbing a novel from the shelves dotted around the Lodge, curling up on a plump cushion in the garden, and losing yourself in your book until the next mealtime rolls round. We recommend looking up occasionally, though, to check on the giraffe or zebra that are likely to be grazing or browsing nearby, or the colobus monkeys high up in the treetops. Or you could spend the day sunning by the swimming pool, exchanging recipes in the kitchen, or perhaps lazing on a daybed with a stupendous view to enthral you.

Equally, though, you could be on your feet out exploring from dawn until dusk. An enchanting stroll through the Sanctuary led by our charming local guides opens your eyes to the environment and the wildlife all around. More strenuous hikes could include a long hill climb up the ridge behind Olerai, or an extended walk along game paths that crisscross the property. Further afield, we can arrange a day trip to conquer Mt Longonot, a sunrise horseback ride amongst wildlife, or a picnic in any number of secret little places we are happy to share with you. Ask us to arrange any of these activities for you, but please be aware that some may incur additional costs on top of your otherwise inclusive rate.

Olerai House guests are welcome to use the swimming pool beside the Douglas-Hamilton’s family home, Sirocco, where you and your family and friends can spend sunny days lazing around while the kids play in the water. Above you, colobus and vervet monkeys bound through the shady fig trees, and we often see zebra walking across the lawns beyond the pool. Head back to the Lodge for lunch, or ask us to arrange a barbecue there by the pool, then snooze the afternoon away. At 14m, the pool is long enough for serious swimmers to put in some strenuous laps, too.
Often Africa’s wild places are seen only from a vehicle. At Olerai House, in the company of a local guide, you can see the landscape as our ancestors did: on foot and at ground level. You will never forget the experience of walking across grasslands as zebra, giraffe, impala and waterbuck graze nearby. Your guide will take pride in pointing out interesting plants, tracks, birds and geology. Our walks can be designed to accommodate guests of all levels of fitness. For those keen on moving a little faster through the wilderness, we’ll point you towards the airstrip which you can lap with a clear safe view of incoming wildlife all around.
Take a motorboat out across Lake Naivasha to Crescent Island, a 300-acre peninsular that is a wildlife sanctuary similar to Olerai that hosts zebra, impala, wildebeest and giraffe, among many other species. On the way, your boat captain can detour close to an inlet where pods of hippo and herds of buffalo wallow in the shallow muddy waters and black-and-white fish eagles soar above. At Crescent Island, step down from the boat and stretch your legs with a short stroll while our staff lays out the gourmet picnic that our chefs at Olerai will have packed for you.

We have friends close to Olerai who will be happy to arrange a horseback ride through the wilderness, perhaps alongside wild animals that are far less spooked by horses than humans. Near to the Lodge lies the Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf Resort, one of Africa’s most spectacular 18-hole championship courses with majestic views over Lake Naivasha and the Rift Valley. Equipment and caddies are available for hire for players without their own clubs.

Hell’s Gate National Park, on the south side of Lake Naivasha, is famous for its natural hot springs and geysers, the eagles and vultures that breed on the steep cliffs, and towers of volcanic basalt that challenge professional rock-climbers. We can arrange guided walks into the narrow gorge at the Park’s center. Hell’s Gate is also one of very few parks where bicycling is allowed. Game roaming the surrounding wilderness includes the endangered Coke’s hartebeest, eland, and even one or two leopard. We would recommend stopping for a quick hour’s boat ride on the lake on the way there from Olerai.
There are a series of dormant volcanoes along the floor of the Rift Valley. Our favourite to explore is Mt Longonot, which got its name from the Maasai word oloonong’ot that means “mountain with many ridges”. It is a steep hike up to the crater lip, and then a long but rewarding scramble around its circumference with breathtaking views across the expansive landscape. We recommend this as an early start from Olerai so you can complete the hike before the heat of the afternoon. We can send you with a guide, and certainly with plenty of water, nibbles and a decent sunhat.

A half hour drive from Olerai is the small lake, Oloidien, a favourite stopover for migrating flamingo, where you can take a boat out into the middle and enjoy watching the pink ribbons of birds along the shoreline.  Further to the north in the Great Rift Valley, but a far bigger mission to get to, is Lake Bogoria, a ‘soda lake’ that attracts huge flocks of both Lesser and Greater Flamingo that feed on algae and plankton in the water. Very few organisms can survive the lake’s intense alkalinity caused by ancient volcanic ash, but the flamingoes thrive. The best way to get there is by plane, flying in for a picnic in a charming glade of acacias by hot water geysers, and a fantastic aerial view of the flamingo phenomenon.

Perhaps the best way to appreciate the majesty and immensity of Africa’s landscapes is from the air. We can arrange for a light aircraft to fly you from Olerai up above the Rift Valley to land at a dirt airstrip beside Lake Bogoria, where we can prepare you a bush breakfast including eggs cooked in the lake’s steam jets. In the past we’ve also done magnificent flights all the way north to Lake Turkana and the Suguta Valley, around the peaks of Mt Kenya or the hidden valleys of the Aberdares. Speak to us about arranging any other air charters or pleasure flights that you might want.

Lake Nakuru National Park, a two hour drive from Olerai, hosts one of the world’s greatest concentrations of white rhinoceros, as well as being home to the critically endangered black rhino. Present are many of the plains game endemic to Olerai that amass along the shoreline, but also predators including leopards and the world-famous tree-climbing lions. Guests will be charged for park fees according to Kenya Wildlife Service tariffs. For a shorter trip to see rhino, there’s also Kongoni sanctuary, a half hour trip around the lake from Olerai.


The wildlife sanctuary is a magical and inspiring location for weddings, parties, yoga holidays, artists’ retreats, work gatherings, board meetings or small conferences. Whether it is a large three-day event or a simple boutique lunch, our team of highly trained chefs and friendly staff will make you feel at home and look after your every need. Guests can be accommodated at Olerai House and Sirocco, the Douglas-Hamilton’s private Naivasha home or at other farm houses close by. Please get in touch to discuss what you need, and we will do our best to arrange everything.


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