We love camping. But we also love checking out new places. And Olepangi farmhouse has been calling to me for a while . We were camping in the Lolldaiga hills on 29th and 30th December and wanted to spend our New years eve without having to worry about cooking and all that jazz – we also wanted a nice warm bed to sleep in! On 31st December we got onto the road, and just before reaching Timau, turned left and down the path, following impeccable directions from the Olepangi owners. We were just in time for lunch – a good thing because I was so hungry! We were welcomed by volunteers Hattie and Maggie, as well as star chef Joseph – who I used to know a decade ago when I worked with Il Ngwesi! How small this world is! I was so happy to see him! Olepangi is small and intimate, so there weren’t too many guests – we very quickly made some new friends!
We had been booked into the Markham cottage (named after the famous female pilot, Beryl Markham, who was friends with Clinton, owner of Olepangi) which I absolutely loved! The cottage has a British Raj bed made in India dating from about 1840 and an antique Herzi carpet. The bed would have been used by a senior officer of the British military. It features stunningly carved bare-breasted angels in the headboard. Small and cosy – and the views! Gosh! The winds though, were quite chilly, so I had to keep bundled in layers.
After a nice siesta (I love my naps!) Sam and I headed for sundowners to the Party House- now if you like books, this is probably your zen space. A wall full of books, a room full of antiques, brasses, fabrics and thick luxurious carpets from the Orient. A glowing, crackling fire, wine decanters inspired by ancient Egyptian wine vessels (hieroglyphics included too!) – honestly, this place is home and magic all in one. We were welcomed by the owners of Olepangi; Clinton and Elizabeth, and quickly served up with drinks. Now I have been to other lodges, and while many are intimate, it’s really not very often that the lodge owners treat you like family. Everyone sat round the table for dinner, chatting, acquainting, and just being. Oh and the food! Joseph and his team had pulled out all the stops – turkey, parsnips, potatoes, veggies of all kinds, and for dessert – typical pudding with Brandy Butter! We sat next to Clinton and talked about all things – including their link to Pakistan, and specifically Balochistan, where my father’s ancestors are from.
After dinner we sat by the fire, chatting away till midnight. Olepangi’s resident boerbel, Lawrence, and Zha Zha and Ginger, two Jack Russells, kept everyone company. Clinton decided we should celebrate NYE in different countries, so we toasted to the Asia-Pacific, and Dubai, then finally Kenya! One of the family’s friends, Louise, made us do this lovely ceremony – we wrote all our frustrations and wants from 2018, and our hopes for 2019, and threw those pieces of paper into the fire with a little prayer.
The next morning (and whole day) was a lazy one! Breakfast was on a separate deck, so beautiful – fresh fruit from the farm, juice and some amazing coffee! We spent the day just sitting around doing nothing – and we were ok with that! At lunch we had some great conversations with Clinton’s son Stewart, all about our most wild camping encounters – and it felt like we had been friends for years! After a post-lunch siesta, Elizabeth took us round to see their main house – beautiful, simple architecture – and a garden designed with the yin-yang principle in mind. Olepangi has the most beautiful flowers – lavender everywhere! While standing on the balcony of their house, we saw at least 15 elephants on the ridge opposite, standing in the sunset light – we were lucky indeed!
After ogling till they walked away, we went to see the most beautiful horses (yes you can go on horseback safari here!) and the super organic farm – almost everything we ate came from the farm! Dinner the second night went late into the night -as we talked about all sorts of things. We finally did go to our bed – warmed with hot water bottles (I love when lodges do that!)
The last morning was a quick breakfast, and back to Nairobi. Needless to say, we weren’t the happiest campers, but we know we will be back!
To book Olepangi, simply go to their website! You will not be dissapointed!