Hewn into a rocky hillside on the sprawling Borana Reserve in Laikipia, Kenya, Arijiju is an enchanting family home that has been designed and constructed over a painstaking ten-year period and is now available for exclusive hire for groups of up to ten. The calm and contemplative space takes inspiration from the Ethiopian monasteries that lie to the North, boasting vaulted archways, stone passageways and a central courtyard, whilst its flat roofs planted with natural grasses and rough-hewn rock see it all but disappear into the untamed landscape.
Arijiju is home to five exquisite suites, three flanking the central courtyard and a further two nestled in the olive groves that surround. Each feature the same earthy colour scheme and effortless touches characteristic of leading interior designer, Maira Koutoudakis, whilst a sixth ‘constellation suite’ is available for those nights too beautiful to sleep anywhere but under the stars. Elsewhere, a cavernous dining room, games room, cinema and well-equipped library are available for cooler nights, and with a team of 14 resident staff – that range from guides and rangers to butlers and world-class chefs – Arijiju ensures every need is catered for.
Arijiju is not just a safari lodge but a health and wellness retreat too. The cuisine and fresh daily smoothies lend to the healthy lifestyle Arijiju supports. There is a spa, Hammam, gym, yoga deck, tennis court and squash court all inconspicuously blending into the valley, with treatments by Arijiju’s highly skilled masseuse and beauty therapist included in the rates and carefully mapped out running trails to offer unique ‘running safaris’.
Whilst the Maasai Mara is perhaps Kenya’s most famous safari region, its vast open plains are far outstripped by Laikipia’s exceptional diversity, with snow-capped mountains, dense forests and sprawling deserts lying to the North and East and the towering Mount Kenya to the south. As such, Arijiju offers a truly unrivalled number of ways to explore it, with the usual 4×4 safaris complemented by horseback, walking, mountain biking, quadbiking and buggy safaris. Further afield, stride through the canopy of the Ndare Ngare jungle on aerial bridges and spend a night camped in its lush interior, or board a helicopter to soar over hidden ecosystems nestled in the craters of dormant volcano, shimmering mountain lakes on the slopes of Mount Kenya, and sprawling deserts untrodden by tourists in Northern Kenya.
Although the house is surrounded by untamed nature, inside every detail has been considered, and then refined again. Maira Koutsoudakis… has imbued the interiors with real soul, mixing the simple with the rich, the monastic with the decadent.
Conde Nast Traveller
A 21st -century house built with 12th -century craftsmanship… that feels ancient and wise, honest and elemental, but also very contemporary. There can surely be few sights more serene, or welcoming, in all of Africa.
Travel + Leisure
That human touch gives the five-bedroom property an intimate, homey feel, like a fabulous friend’s personal retreat.