Lengishu

BORANA CONSERVANCY, LAIKIPIA, KENYA
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Lengishu

Borana Conservancy, Laikipia, Kenya
Safari in extraordinary style at this striking private retreat in the heart of Borana Conservancy, Kenya’s newest and most successful rhino sanctuary.  A dramatic and expansive home in a rugged and spectacular setting, Lengishu is the perfect location for a very special gathering of family and friends.

Lengishu accommodates up to 12 guests in 6 bedroom suites

“Stately but supremely friendly, it’s the house in Africa we all wish we owned”

Nestled into a hillside ridge in one of Kenya’s leading wildlife destinations, Lengishu is a luxurious and comprehensively equipped private family home offering sustainable tourism and ‘Big Five’ safari adventures for just one group of fortunate and discerning guests at a time.

A combination of rugged hilly terrain and sweeping savannahs, Borana’s unique geographical location and varied topography makes the conservancy a haven for a wide diversity of wildlife. Its landscapes epitomise East Africa and Lengishu boasts wonderful and uninterrupted views across the surrounding hills, the Borana-Lewa ecosystem and deep into Kenya’s Northern Frontier District.

Lengishu’s Main House forms the dramatic focal point of the property, with soaring vaulted ceilings, large inviting stone fireplaces, vintage oriental rugs and gorgeous bespoke and antique furniture. An imposing Entrance Hall leads to the Drawing Room, Dining Room, Study and Studio.  

Six beautifully-appointed bedroom suites are contained within four separate cottages arranged along the hillside – each is elegantly furnished with style, character and attention-to-detail. Every bedroom faces East and enjoys spectacular sunrise views over the valleys below, while the Swimming Pool, Pool House, Lunch Pavilion, Bar and Gym all face West – making them ideal for long lazy afternoons and dramatic sunsets.

A covered veranda with a pizza oven is a delightful hub for al fresco breakfasts and evenings under the African sky. Meals can be taken in a variety of other scenic locations in and around the property or out in a beautiful spot in the surrounding hills and bush – the choice is yours.

The welcoming and attentive Lengishu team are on hand to look after guests’ each and every need. Head chef Sam manages the kitchen crew, creating a varied and imaginative cuisine for guests. Bespoke menus feature seasonal local produce with a strong farm-to-fork and organic ethos, the wine list is extensive with every bottle personally selected by the house’s owners.

“Climb the same rock from which Simba surveyed his Pride Lands and marvel at how few vehicles disrupt the epic landscape of Borana Conservancy. An inspiration for the setting of Disney’s Lion King, this private concession has only a handful of properties, including the exclusive-use Lengishu House for 12 guests. A cornucopia of antiquities, family heirlooms and Masai fabrics, it’s an interior design masterpiece. ”

The World of Lengishu

A private conservancy with strictly limited visitor numbers and a commitment to high-end, low-impact tourism, Borana offers excellent game viewing along with all kinds of outdoor adventures and hands-on conservation experiences. 

Enjoy freewheeling on a mountain bike, tracking endangered species on foot or galloping through a herd of zebra on horseback.  Other fun and rewarding safari activities include guided bush walks, day and night game drives, bird watching and bush meals – all accompanied by your own private guide and customised vehicle.

Late in the afternoon, take a walk to Pride Rock, the inspiration for the original Lion King film, and enjoy sundowner drinks while taking in the sweeping panoramic views over the conservancy.

Conservation and community are at the heart of the Borana experience. There is a thriving population of over 200 Black and White Rhino and guests have the rare and exciting opportunity to follow them at close range on foot. 

Set out at dawn with armed rangers and help track, identify and monitor them before enjoying breakfast in the bush.  At dusk, join the rangers on deployments providing round-the-clock security for rhino, elephant and other big game.

Guests can enjoy a visit to a traditional Maasai settlement, learn from village elders about their history and culture and enjoy an exuberant celebratory dance. Borana supports numerous health, education and microenterprise programmes – visiting a nearby school is an inspiring experience for all the family.

A horseback safari offers a wonderful contrast to a traditional game drive and two stables on the conservancy cater for all levels of riding experience and ability.

Explore life in the treetops at the canopy walk high above the ground at the neighbouring Ngare Ndare Forest, swim in shimmering blue pools fed by glacial melt waterfalls from Mount Kenya and then relax with a picnic lunch. 

Charter a plane or helicopter for more distant adventures – explore the varied wonders of Northern Kenya on a scenic flight, fly fish for trout in the high-altitude lakes of Mount Kenya, visit a community-run elephant orphanage or race down sand rivers on quad bikes. The Lengishu team will be pleased to create a bespoke itinerary making the very most of all this fantastic region offers.

Guests have the freedom to choose their own itineraries and to be as active or as laid-back as they like.  Relax at the house, unwind and take in the spectacular views from private verandas and terraces – or in and around the expansive U-shaped infinity pool.  

Here you will find the scenic lunch pavilion, pool house with bar, snooker table, outside shower and changing room.  Next door, the spacious gym is well-equipped with cross trainer, exercise bike, treadmill and freestanding weights.  

With a regulation petanque pitch, an office and television room, a studio for yoga, writing or sketching and a wonderful-in house masseuse, Lengishu makes a peaceful and refreshing refuge from the demands of everyday life and the outside world.

From the very start, the owner’s vision for Lengishu was an inspiring fusion of luxury, style and sustainability, and this informed every element of design and construction. Each building blends quietly and organically into its natural surroundings, taking care not to break the hillside silhouette.  

The house was hand-built by local artisans and made entirely of sustainable locally-sourced materials. Exposed wooden beams, boards and panels are made of Kenyan teak and gum poles, stone for the floors, walls and design features was excavated from the site, and earth from the site dresses the walls.

The interiors are beautifully decorated and furnished in earthy tones with splashes of red reflecting the owner’s Scottish heritage and that of their Maasai neighbours.

Landscaping was also undertaken with great care, the gardens featuring an array of indigenous plants and shrubs which blend effortlessly into the surrounding bush. 

Lengishu is plastic-free, solar-powered and follows the conservancy-wide commitment to recycling. Rainwater for irrigation is stored in 300,000-litre tanks and grey water is recycled and reused.  Water from two solar-powered boreholes and is purified, glass-bottled and carbonated on site.  

Electricity is generated by the house’s state-of-the-art solar farm and firewood is collected from sustainable wood-lots. Delicious meals are created from produce grown at nearby Waitabit Farm, East Africa’s largest organic permaculture project, with salads and herbs from the kitchen garden.

“One of the most beautiful places we have ever stayed!  Every meal was unbelievable.  Every member of staff went out of their way to make sure every person in the family was comfortable and happy.  We had a wonderful time horseback riding, mountain biking, touring the farm and seeing all of the elephants and rhino.  We cannot say enough wonderful things about our time here. Thank you to everyone for such a special stay and for sharing your world with us!”

Location

Laikipia, Kenya

Straddling the Equator and stretching from the snow-capped peaks of Mount Kenya to the eastern rim of the Great Rift Valley, the Laikipia plateau is one of Africa’s most exciting and exclusive wilderness safari destinations – with abundant wildlife, spectacular scenery, extraordinary cultural and bio-diversity and some of East Africa’s most successful nature and game conservancies.

Ranching, conservation and high-end tourism go hand-in-hand, with few of the constraints that often apply in Kenya’s national parks and reserves.  Night game drives, bush walks, bike tours, horse-riding, camel treks, scenic flights and helicopter safaris are a few the exhilarating pursuits on hand in the extensive private ranches and conservancies that make up much of the region.

Laikipia hosts a wealth and diversity of wildlife second only to the Masai Mara in Kenya. It has significant populations of predators and the “Big Five”, with over 50% of Kenya’s rhinos, thousands of elephants, about 25% of the world’s endangered Grevy’s Zebra, and an increasing population of rare Wild Dogs. The region is home to more at-risk species than anywhere else in East Africa.

Borana Conservancy

The 32,000-acre Borana Conservancy sits just 27 kilometres north of the Equator, 40 kilometres north west of Mount Kenya and 2000 metres above sea level on the Eastern edges of the Laikipia Plateau. Borana is a non-profit organisation and all conservation fees paid by visitors are invested into the sustainable conservation of land and wildlife and into building local livelihoods.

With arid landscapes to the North and ancient indigenous forests surrounding Mount Kenya to the South, Borana Conservancy is a convergence of habitats where a wide variety of wildlife thrives, with large numbers of Buffalo, Eland, Hartebeest and sizeable herds of plains game. Rare Reticulated Giraffe are commonly seen nibbling the Acacia trees, while the cooler forests shelter Bushbuck, Colobus Monkey and the endangered Patas Monkey.

Borana is home to over 50 species of mammal including some of the world’s rarest and most endangered animals, such as Wild Dog, Leopard, Cheetah, Elephant, Lion and Grevy’s Zebra.  Borana is an incredible conservation success story – the fences were removed between Borana and the neighbouring Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in 2014, forming the Lewa-Borana Landscape – one of East Africa’s largest continuous rhino habitats at over 90,000 hectares and home to large and increasing numbers of Black and White Rhino.

For keen ornithologists, Borana is home to over 350 species of birds, including a variety of Eagles, Vultures and the stunningly bright Superb Starling.  Borana also is host to a substantial organic farm, a working cattle ranch and state-of-the-art abattoir and butchery.  Using holistically-raised livestock as a rangeland management tool, the cattle play a vital role in the conservancy’s success story.

In Detail

(Click on any of the headings below for full information)

Accommodation and Facilities

Main House

  • Entrance Hall
  • Study
  • Drawing Room and Dining Room
  • Studio Room with Bathroom
  • Veranda with dining area and pizza oven

Fish Eagle Cottage

  • Master Bedroom Suite
  • Ensuite Bathroom
  • Sitting Room with fireplace
  • Veranda

 Goshawk Cottage

  • Double Bedroom Suite
  • Ensuite Bathroom
  • Sitting Room with fireplace
  • Veranda

Upper Cottage

  • Hornbill Bedroom – Double Bedroom, Ensuite Bathroom
  • Hoopoe Bedroom – Twin or Double Bedroom, Ensuite Bathroom

The bedrooms share an interconnecting private Living & Dining Room with large fireplace and spacious veranda.

Lower Cottage

  • Sunbird Bedroom – Double Bedroom, Ensuite Bathroom
  • Wydah Bedroom – Twin or Double Bedroom, Ensuite Bathroom

The bedrooms share an interconnecting private Living & Dining Room with large fireplace and spacious veranda.

All bedrooms have ensuite bathrooms with walk-in rain showers and free-standing, roll-top copper baths and loos with views.  All have a fireplace or wood burning stove for cooler evenings, plus ample clothes hanging and storage space.  Each cottage has a small kitchen equipped for tea, coffee and cold drinks – room service is also available. Laundry service included and hairdryers provided (low wattage).

Outside Spaces and Places

  • Pool & Pool House
  • U-shaped Infinity Pool
  • Indoor & Outdoor Dining Areas
  • Lunch Pavilion
  • Fully-equipped Gym
  • Games Room with Sundowner Bar and Billiards Table
  • Changing Room & Outdoor Shower
  • Enclosed gardens and grounds
  • Pétanque pitch

Property plan

Activities

  • Day and night game drives
  • Guided bush walks, sundowner excursions, bush meals
  • Mountain biking
  • Horse riding
  • Conservation activities
  • Tracking black & white rhinos on foot
  • Community & cultural visits
  • In-house massage and beauty treatments
  • All kinds of optional extra adventures and activities beyond the conservancy are available at additional cost

Connectivity

  • Wi-fi internet
  • All bedrooms have smart televisions with Netflix
  • DSTV satellite tv in Study
  • Sonos Sound System connection in Main House and Pool House
  • Good cell phone service – Airtel and Safaricom

Management and Staff

Key members of the 25-strong Lengishu team include –

  • Manager – Sheila
  • Head of house – Winnie
  • Chef – Sam
  • Safari Guide – Nissa
  • Head of housekeeping – Ann
  • Barman – Martin

How to get there

  • Private charter flights are recommended and are available from across East Africa to the Borana Conservancy Airstrip which is a 15-minute game-drive away from Lengishu.   Helicopters can land at the house heli-pad.
  • Daily scheduled flights on Safarilink and Air Kenya are available from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport to Lewa Downs – the flight takes approximately 1 hour followed by a 90-minute game-drive from Lewa to Lengishu.
  • Road transfers can be arranged and Lengishu is a 5-hour drive from Nairobi.
Location Map

Rates

Exclusive-use rates for up to 6 guests per night

Up to 6 guests Additional adult Additional child (5-15 yrs)
Standard Season
(6th January-14th June, 16th September-19th December 2022)
USD 9,000 USD 750 USD 350
Peak Season
(15th June-15th September, 20th December 2022-5th January 2023)
USD 10,000 USD 750 USD 350

Minimum stay – 3 nights.
Minimum stay over the Christmas & New Year period – 4 nights
Children under 5 years stay free of charge.

Conservation fees Adult: USD 190/day Child: USD 95/day

Included in the rates

Available at additional cost
  • Exclusive-use occupancy of the property
  • Services of staff and manager
  • Full-board accommodation
  • Selected cellar wines, spirits, beers and soft drinks
  • Local airstrip transfers (Borana Conservancy & Lewa Downs)
  • All Borana Conservancy-based safari, conservation and community activities
  • Use of safari vehicles and services of driver/guide
  • One horse ride per guest per stay
  • In-house masseuse
  • Guide or pilot accommodation (excluding conservation fee)
  • Afternoon departure with lunch
  • Visits to Ngare Ndare Forest
  • Additional horse rides
  • Activities outside Borana Conservancy
  • Adventures across Northern Kenya on foot, horseback, quad-bike, mountain bike, helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft can be arranged – prices on request