Mount Kenya Safari Club is a unique boutique hotel and 5 star hotel at the foot of Mt Kenya with views of Mount Kenya National park, Experience the sophistication of Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, a haven of stylish 5 star hotel accommodation for all seasons, the Mt Kenya Safari Club offers stunning views, exemplary service and the last word in fine dining, Mount Kenya Safari Club is award winning hotel and a member of Luxury Hotels of the World, every hotel room, suite, and cottage boasts stunning views. If you are looking for a luxury hotel in Mount Kenya Region for a weekend break or a romantic escape or a honeymoon holiday or simply somewhere to relax after climbing Mount Kenya, this could be the perfect place. The Mount Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki is truly a masterpiece of luxury; it can very well be considered the cradle of romance, history and scenery. From a country home to one of the most beautiful hotels in the world, Mount Kenya Safari Club is a Mecca for the who-is-who of the world, Built right at the equator on a ridge facing Mount Kenya the site is truly magnificent and well-worth a visit – if only for the view alone! The grand main building gleams white against the green sweep of surrounding lawns and there are dramatic views of the foothill forest rising to the peaks of Mount Kenya. Steeped in history and romance, the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club Nanyuki stands majestically at the foot of the second highest mountain in Africa. This grand old dame has been host to movie stars, statesmen, scandals and love affairs; her quiet, elegant poise belying the colourful history she holds. Originally a privately owned playground for the rich and famous, the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club Nanyuki was transformed into the graceful hotel it is today. Manicured lawns, flowing streams and rose gardens surround the hotel, retaining its 1950s architecture and the ambiance of an exclusive hunting club. While for the interiors, the use of indigenous materials — embracing an earthy palette, juxtaposed with vibrant African patterns — has achieved the intended purpose to preserve the nation’s culture in a luxurious way. This elite safari retreat exudes relaxed refinement. Think smooth, crisp linen suits, sundowners on the veranda and elegant evening dresses. Speaking of dresses, ladies, be sure to pack a few as the main dining room here carries a smart-casual dress code. Gents are also expected to be suitably attired, and smart trousers are a must. Tusks Restaurant oozes sophistication, serving up gourmet dishes and scrumptious breakfasts daily. Sunday brunch is not to be missed while the Indian curries and traditional breads served at dinner detonate an explosion of tantalising flavours in your mouth. Rooms are large and luxurious, and most have a view of Mount Kenya. Because of its altitude, the nights tend to be rather chilly, but guests can be rest assured that on retiring to their rooms for the evening, there will be a warm crackling fire to welcome them. The location of the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club makes it the ideal base for your safari adventures. Sweet Water Ranch, a private game reserve, is just a short drive away. Plus the nearby animal orphanage offers a humbling experience of feeding and interacting with a broad range of animals, who have either have been orphaned, injured or require special care. For many years, the Mt. Kenya Safari Club has been the magic that makes a Kenya safari. When Kenya safaris first became popular to Americans in the 1970s, trepidation was introduced into hard-earned holidays and the “adventure vacation” was born, and to be sure back then, we knew lots less about malaria and how to prevent it, many of the roads were hardly tracks and most of the night time lodging was in very basic tented camps with shared toilet and shower tents, more than once we took safaris to Kenya far enough into the bush that we would encounter locals who had not often seen visitors, It was never certain how these meetings would develop: friend or foe. And quite different from what you might expect, the game was hard to find. There was actually more of it, of course, but it was very skittish of people. It wasn’t really until the 1980s that Kenya’s highland game was approachable enough to take good pictures. And every day was very dusty and very dirty and the evening’s ice cold water for showers was manna from heaven. And even the finest Chicago debutante appeared at the evening camp fire looking like Miss America. In those days you didn’t race over to Kenya and back for a 12-day jaunt. Most safaris to Kenya were 22-26 days long. And by the third week, you would definitely notice “adventure fatigue.” That was when you would arrive at the Mt. Kenya Safari Club, in the 1980s; the Mt. Kenya Safari Club was more than a nice Holiday Inn on well landscaped grounds built around a central Victorian mansion, to a visitor the Mt. Kenya Safari Club was the most unexpected and amazing jewel in the crown of an adventure safari. There was a Members’ Dining Room ostentatiously separated from the guest dining room, and membership (open to all) cost about $500/year. So your richest and most resplendent clients were advised before departing home that William Holden, the principal investor of the Club, would welcome their “membership.” And by so doing on those few nights under Mt. Kenya, you would remove yourself from the grand guest dining room and be escorted by the Maitre D’ into the exclusive members’ lounge. Back then $500 was about a third what a 25-day safari in Kenya cost! Using the same metric, today, you can actually make the entire down payment on a 4-bedroom, 4-bath luxury home with a fireplace! The grand if palatial public areas of the original Mount Kenya Safari Club were all deep wood plastered with big game trophies. The Club was originally designed as a hunter’s retreat by William Holden and friends and as photography safaris grew much more popular, the board had no trouble pivoting into the modern age. There will be a perfectly manicured 9-hole golf course, and the entire complex is secure by a big game proof electric fence and mini-moat to keep out those wandering buffalos. But if you yearn for wild animals like zebra, lion, elephant and so forth, don’t worry. The resort is just south of the Sweetwaters tented camp and Ole Pejeta House private reserve, famous for its abundant big game. There are very few places you can stay in Kenya that carry such a colourful historical legacy.
Late actor William Holden founded Mount Kenya Safari Club over fifty years ago, and over the last half decade this has been a playground for luminaries from the worlds of politics, film and theatre. It’s easy to see why this spot was chosen for such glamorous getaways. This is not merely the site of the continent’s second tallest mountain but it’s also a temperate escape in dazzling surroundings. Sir Winston Churchill and Lord Mountbatten were members who enjoyed sojourns at the Club, as did film legends Clark Gable and John Wayne. There are few places more synonymous with the view of Mt Kenya than the lawns outside of the Zebar Bar at the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, what was once an exclusive private members’ club—the place where the jet set glitterati of the time would come to kick back and get away from it all, remains today one of the most sought after vacation destinations for discerning travelers in Kenya. , this lush space is ideal for guests pining for a luxuriant experience. With its elegant country club atmosphere but comfortable air, the hotel is regularly featured on best-of lists each year. Gorgeous lawns and ponds complement the beauty of the hotel’s interior. Guests will find the cuisine to be unsurpassed and the service to be warm and endearing. The Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club offers luxury accommodation in Nanyuki, Kenya. A magnificent view to behold, the prestigious main structure reflects the 1950’s colonial architectural design with a luxury country club feel, complemented with independent quaint cottages, including William Holden’s original cottage. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts renovated and upgraded the Club and its luxury Mount Kenya accommodations in 2009, however maintained its rich history and ambiance of a hunting club. It offers luxury accomodation in Nanyuki, Kenya with each of the guest rooms, suites and cottages reflect the history and charm of the original residence complete with modern day facilities. Most of its luxury Nanyuki accomodation has magnificent views of Mount Kenya and closely located to its superb dining facilities and recreational amenities. Our guest rooms and suites and cottages offers a wide variety accommodations to fit the needs of every guest, whether traveling on business, planning a romantic getaway, or enjoying a family vacation to this picturesque destination.
The Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club is one such place that sings of the character of times gone by and of and elegant lifestyle that it once harboured from 1959 when a group of investors, including American actor, William Holden bought the property and officially founded what is now known to us as this delightful property. Over 50 years on, the Fairmont has undertaken a massive overhaul of the property, renovating the 120 rooms in what can only be described as an exceptionally massive endeavour but done with the signature luxurious aesthetic and attention to detail, Fairmont Hotels is renowned for. For the moment you drive down the jacaranda-lined boulevard that leads to the 100 acre estate, there is a semblance of the scale and majesty of this place, sprawled at the feet Mount Kenya. Even check-in is tinged with a certain degree of pomp and ceremony and comes courtesy of chilled hand towels and a refreshing glass of fresh juice, you are courteously asked if you would like to take a seat and relax but a 3-hour drive from Nairobi has you wanting to stretch your legs and explore, set off on foot for the Mt. Kenya Wildlife Conservancy, adjoining the Fairmont Mount Kenya safari club property, which was also founded by William Holden and has now become a sanctuary for orphaned or endangered animals and also a centre for conservation education, the Animal Orphanage specifically offers guided tours and a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with many rescued indigenous species of wildlife from Bongo’s, caracals, dik dik, cheetah to numerous primates, your guide introduced you to Jack, a friendly and boisterous Colobus monkey who is enticed by your offering of maize kernels and confidently jumps on your shoulders, your arms outstretched and carefully picks with his dextrous fingers each kernel and pops them into his mouth. It is clear to see the wonder with which the kids interacts with these remarkable creatures, from feeding the bongos to riding on one of the Orphanage’s giant turtles, which had now OFFICIALLY becomes the highlight of their day. At a fee, its great value for money and a truly eye-opening experience, not to be missed even if you’re not staying at the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club. Since Mount Kenya Safari Club was founded, dinner-time has always been something of a pomp and ceremony, where patrons would don their finest livery and dresses. After all, this property has been graced by the likes of Winston Churchill and Bing Crosby and countless other high fliers of the day. Today, it is much more of a down to earth affair, where children are as welcome as the grown-ups. Nevertheless, you can still expect the same flair for service and food as days gone by. The Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club and Resort is an exceptional destination for kids and adults alike with recreational activities ranging from Horse-riding, mountain biking, swimming, and a fully kitted playground for the little ones. Big, Bold and impossibly beautiful, this sublimely spaciously designed, The Fairmont Mt. Kenya safari Club stretches beyond the imagination and expectation of many in a variety of ways. At an altitude of 2,135 meters, 3, 000 meters shy of the highest peak in Kenya, the ambiance of the evocative clear-air surrounding exudes a wonderful serenity that influences each moment and governs each day. Many notable and illustrious men and women have sought an opportunity to grace the club with their presence. Sir Winston Churchill was reputed to have been a founder Member. A 1960s safari club for the A-list is among the grand old Kenyan addresses recapturing past glories, If you wander into the bar at the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club these days you will not see Ernest Hemingway telling tall tales from a day's big-game hunting safari. Neither will you see Ava Gardner downing gimlets in an attempt to forget her failed marriage to Frank Sinatra; nor will you have to fight pet leopards for a seat. But in the club's heyday in the 1960s all these things were commonplace, when Hollywood heartthrob William Holden (Bridge Over The River Kwai, Network) and his partners, oil billionaire Ray Ryan and Swiss financier Carl Hirschmann, ran the place as the most elite private members' club in the world. Membership was by invitation only and members included Bing Crosby, David Lean, Charlie Chaplin, Steve McQueen, Conrad Hilton, Winston Churchill and the Maharaja of Jaipur. Stefanie Powers and John Hurt still keep houses adjoining the club. Holden, who fell in love with Kenya on hunting safaris in the '50s (he died in LA in 1981), was known for his practical joking in the bar, such as snakes hidden in the bottom of a peanut tin. He was also a very hands-on manager, keeping an eye on the bar and its goings-on via telescope from his private villa. But there is more to this idyll in northern Kenya, once the private home of jet-set couple the Prudhommes, than just the Hollywood magic dust left behind by years of raucous carousing. It is the sheer beauty of this stretch of land that sits at the base of Africa's second-highest mountain.
"Bill Holden said, when he saw the place: 'This is the most beautiful place in the world'," recalls expatriate American Don Hunt, Holden's close friend and chairman of the Mount Kenya Game Ranch, a conservation project set up next door to the club. The Mt Kenya Club club's beauty includes sweeping highland forest that leads into dense thickets of bamboo, while rich clusters of birdlife and herds of waterbuck roam nearby. The 200-kilometre journey from Nairobi is nowhere near as challenging as it used to be when Ray Ryan built an airstrip so A-list celebrity guests could avoid the trek. It's still a haul, however, past makeshift shops, roadside towns and hectares of the country's famed coffee plantations. There is still little to give away the beauty that awaits when you turn right past an electricity substation on a dust-choked road from the nearest township, Nanyuki, with only a family of warthogs trotting alongside you for company. A few minutes later, however, at the imposing iron gates embroidered with the Mount Kenya Safari Club logo of two elephant heads, you can see what captivated Holden and Hunt. Manicured lawns sweep down to a pool, past flower-filled ponds and then on to the slopes, where they climb for kilometres to the snow-dusted peak, known locally as Kirinyaga. The club is built directly on the equator its line cutting straight through the main bar, following the curve of the national park before running straight along the seventh hole of the club's petite nine-hole golf course, Having been greeted in the northern hemisphere by the hotel's general manager, The Mount Kenya Safari Club rooms are imposing and royally decorated, many with gargantuan fireplaces lit each evening to stave off the crisp mountain cold. Fairmont Hotels stated aim is "to bring back the passion and the glamour to the club as well as the tradition". And the hotel chain is sparing no detail in their quest, to bring back the white peacocks that used to roam the grounds as well as the zebras and even the cheetahs. Plus also aim to restore the spirit of the club not only as a safari destination but also as a place that supports its staff, Mount Kenya Safari Club has a unique luxe take on wildlife spotting, On your first day at the club, a surprise call from the front desk suggests you take the morning's breakfast at the base of the Mount Kenya, three choices of transport are provided: car, foot and horse. And, if the spirit of the place doesn’t get the better of you and find yourself bouncing around on the back of amiable horses, striding across the grounds where William Holden used to career around on his motorbike with his two pet gibbons, Rudi and Margot, clinging to the bike for dear life. On the return journey, as you ride past Holden's villa, you are sure that if he was watching through his telescope now, he would be pleased with how his pet project had turned out. Since its founding, this idyllic club continues to offer visitors a bounty of delights against a backdrop of wistful sights of the ancient glacier glint majestically soaring into the cerulean sky. The panorama of opulence and freshly cooked food complimented by delectable wines heighten your senses as the ever green landscapes, bountiful wildlife and sporting opportunities meld into memories for a lifetime. There are few places more synonymous with the view of Mt Kenya than the lawns outside of the Zebar Bar at the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club. From Ernest Hemingway to Winston Churchill, what was once an exclusive private members’ club—the place where the jet set glitterati of the time would come to kick back and get away from it all, remains today one of the most sought after safaris destinations for discerning travellers on safaris in Kenya. The founder of the Mt Kenya Safari Club, the Oscar winning heartthrob William Holden, bought the property in 1959 from an American Heiress who had acquired it some two decades earlier. Over the subsequent years, Holden developed and expanded the Club’s facilities and turned the property into a serene and luxurious natural reserve and animal conservancy. While it may be situated many miles away from any movie theatre, the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club has a front-row seat to its own kind of spectacle. From the hotel verandah its namesake, Mount Kenya, cuts into the horizon, a distinct set of glacier-clad summits (the highest of which clocks in at 5,199 metres). In its shadow, a tapestry of Afro-alpine foliage and forest hides hundreds, perhaps thousands, of wild animals. Plenty of zebra, buffalo, and waterbucks roam these parts, as do rarely-seen leopards and rhino, and it’s difficult to believe the genesis of the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club came, in some ways, from its founder’s love of hunting safaris in Kenya. Holden purchased it along with two partners, and its days as the Mount Kenya Game Ranch began. Today the most luxury hotel in Kenya sits on this site, and there is an animal orphanage as well, just steps away from the main guest house and cottages. The non-profit sanctuary was started by American actress Stephanie Powers in William Holden’s name after his death in 1981, and acts as a modern-day ode to wildlife preservation that can also be visited by hotel guests. Thirty employees tend to their wild charges, and the group of animals has grown to include some rare beasts indeed. The sanctuary is home to the only bongo (a striped forest antelope) breeding area in all of Africa, and also a large, lackadaisical turtle named Speedy Gonzales who clocks in at more than 150 years of age. A brother and sister cheetah in the maternity ward strut around their enclosure as quiet and stealthily as they one day will in the wild. One glance at a sponsor wall shows off an international mosaic of Chinese, Indian, and British donors, as well as a fair share of American supporters, and some silver screen connections too; names like “Mr/Ms Paul Newman” and “Mr/Mrs Frank Sinatra” boldly stand out. Bedecked with authentic remnants of post-colonial Kenya, black-and-white photographs hung on walls portray Holden, as well as Ernest Hemingway, hunting there. Mounted busts of cheetah and lion, stuffed wildebeest, and elephant tusks adorn the walls. The story-worthy interior design alludes to a bygone era, when a who’s who of guests used to drop in to stay—Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, among others—only adding to the property’s rich heritage. No stay would be complete without an approach toward the great Mt Mount Kenya and horseback could be the most enjoyable way to do so. Saddling up for an early morning “game ride” brings on vistas worth fumbling for one’s camera to capture as elephants and zebra lope about in the sunrise. (There is nothing much to fear; the animals observe a group of guests on horseback to be just a pack of horses, not registering that there are humans astride them.) It is uncommon to see albino zebras in the area, Pale and lightly-striped, the zebra sizes up the horses timidly before bounding off, the embodiment of his virtues both rare and wild—much like the mountain peak not far off in the distance. The Mount Kenya Club straddles the northern and southern hemispheres, as the lore goes, the divide cuts right through the long wooden bar set back from the hotel’s central courtyard in the main lodge. Imbibing across the hemispheres has never been so enjoyable, and it’s easy to imagine Hemingway pulling up a safari chair after a day under the sweltering African sun after a safari in Kenya, cradling a whisky and jotting down notes of his time spent here in the spiritual foothills of Mount Kenya. The sacred peak of a long-extinct volcano, Mount Kenya has drawn visitors for decades. Nestled in the lush foothills of this spectacular mountain, straddling the equator and with a history as rich and evocative as the surrounding landscape, Mount Kenya Safari Hotel offers a snapshot of Africa from a bygone era. Under the watchful eye of the Mount Kenya the highest Mountain in Kenya, guests can stroll throughout the hotel’s tranquil grounds and relax in the refined elegance of the club-like interior. And, of course, our enviable location adjacent to Mount Kenya National Park ensures that an unforgettable African safari experience. There are 120 guest rooms spread out in the delightful grounds of the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club. Accommodation comprises Fairmont and Deluxe rooms, Suites, and Cottages. All rooms feature a fire place, in room safe, a fully stocked mini-bar, tea and coffee facilities, separate WC and rain shower. The Suites have mainly king-bedded room, with fireplace, one sitting room, private veranda or balcony overlooking the river and Mount Kenya, and a four piece spacious bathroom with rain shower and bath. When money is no object, go for the: William Holden Suite - Mount Kenya view, fireplace, and veranda. Suites are located in the Garden Suites, William Holden Cottages and Riverside Cottages as well as in the Manor and the main building. The Cottages offer two bedrooms with en-suite bathroom, a spacious lounge with fireplace, private veranda and lawn garden overlooking the manicured grounds and Mount Kenya. There are many recreational activities available: horseback riding, golf, croquet, a bowling green, table tennis, swimming, a beauty salon, an animal orphanage and much more. Guided game walks and sightseeing in the Forest Reserve are available thought out the day, though the best times are early morning. The Game Ranch has large numbers of black and white rhino, leopard, lion, cheetah, giraffe, zebra, colobus and vervet monkey and plenty of other wildlife. Enjoy an elegant dining affair at the Tusks Restaurant, one of the most exquisite restaurants in Nanyuki. It offers a sophisticated indoor set up which extends onto a terrace, with a great view of the majestic mountain. Adjacent to it is the Zebra, a great spot to unwind after a day of Safaris to Kenya, whilst the Swimming Pool Bar is perfect for a tranquil rendezvous. The private William Holden Dining Area is popular for hosting private dinners and cocktail parties. Although the hotel does not offer any supervised children's programs, they can arrange for a babysitter to watch after your children. Specializing in personalized conference arrangement, for groups small and large, Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Hotel offers elegant meeting spaces, which can accommodate up to 200 guests in theatre format, and spectacular grounds for outdoor events. The surrounds of the pool are an ideal venue for cocktail parties for 15 to 500 persons. They can offer you a tailor-made Nanyuki wedding as unique as you and you’re spouse-to-be. They will arrange everything from the license, ceremony in our own chapel, and more.
In the mid 1950’s William Holden went to Africa on a Kenya hunting safari with two friends, and American and a Swiss. It was a time well before the independence of sub-Saharan Africa, well before mass tourism and well before the word “conservation” was in popular use. It was a time when East Africa was a safari destination for intrepid travelers, soldiers of fortune, settlers and hunters. Safari, a Kiswahili word meaning trip, was mostly associated with hunting trips. A “proper” safari would take a considerable amount of time and an equally considerable amount of cash and included. Going after the "Big 5", elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo. This is a story about how fame and glamour mixed with a healthy dose of altruism and curiosity led to the formation of the prestigious William Holden Wildlife Foundation and its associated Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy. William Holden, one of the biggest box office draws of the 1950s, an Oscar-winning actor and devilishly handsome Hollywood legend carried on a nine-year affair with Stefanie Powers, whose tempestuous but tom-boyish beauty made her one of the most memorable female TV stars of the 1970s and 1980s. With her help, he left behind a legacy far more enduring and meaningful than his acting career. Stefanie remains the globe-trotting president and face of WHWF which she founded in his memory. A talented man of many passions (Audrey Hepburn, antique Asian art, Grace Kelly, travel, African wildlife conservation and Stefanie— not in any particular order), his work in Africa was probably his most enduring contribution to the planet. In love with the wildlife of eastern Africa and concerned about their decreasing numbers, Holden and two friends, oilman Ray Ryan and Swiss banker Carl Hirschmann, bought a run-down hotel and converted it to the Mount Kenya Safari Club, refurbishing it as a ritzy watering hole for his wealthy Hollywood friends, European royalty and American tycoons of every commercial persuasion— the international jet set of the time. That was 1959, years before ecology; conservation and wildlife protection were to become popular. In 1967, Bill Holden and his friends purchased the surrounding property and founded the Mount Kenya Game Ranch. When business fell off in the '70s, Holden and his partners sold the club to Saudi millionaire Adnan Khashoggi. But, they kept the surrounding property and elevated the Game Ranch’s 1216 acres to an inspirational wildlife education center for Kenya’s youth and an animal rescue sanctuary. Bill Holden died in 1981. By the following year, Stefanie Powers was the Founder and President of the William Holden Wildlife Foundation and a director of the Mount Kenya Game Ranch and Wildlife Conservancy in Nanyuki, Kenya—founded by Bill Holden and TV personality Don Hunt in or around 1964. She was also appointed conservation consultant to Jaguar and Land Rover after creating the Jaguar Conservation Trust operated on their behalf in Central America. She has been on the advisory board of four zoos in the United States and has served as a fellow of the Los Angeles Zoo, the Explorers' Club, and the Royal Geographic Society. She is active in the movement to preserve and protect the dwindling herds of North American wild horses, and has received numerous international awards for her work in conservation, which she considers a life-long commitment. Powers still resides part of the year in Kenya. Although her history of animal care predates her relationship with Holden, many credit his inspiration for her dedication to wildlife conservation. Bill spent his time in Hollywood making movies to provide much of the funding for the Mount Kenya Game Ranch while Don Hunt and his wife, Iris, managed the ranch on a day-to-day basis. The partners’ ultimate goal was the preservation of endangered wildlife and its regeneration through selected breeding programs. Today the William Holden Wildlife Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Beverly Hills, California. Holden realized that educating the people of Kenya was the key to preserving their wildlife. He was an intensely private man, but the disappointments he suffered were in full view of the curious and the prurient. His first marriage, to actress Brenda Marshall, began to unravel when he had a vasectomy at her request after birthing two sons. He enjoyed well-publicized extra-marital affairs with his leading ladies— most famously Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Capucine. Some biographers have said that Audrey was the real love of his life and credit his transformation from big game hunter to conservationist to the horror he felt after he shot an antelope. Observing its huge eyes and long, slender neck, he exclaimed, ‘I've just shot Audrey Hepburn.’ During the filming of Sabrina, Bill Holden and Audrey Hepburn fell deeply for one another despite his broken marriage to Brenda who would not agree to a divorce. In the end, Hepburn broke it off when she learned he could not have children-- one of her most cherished aspirations. Holden suffered from alcoholism and depression for many years. By the early 1960s, his roles reflected his accelerated rate of aging. On the one hand he was no longer “The Golden Boy”, but the deepening lines in his craggy face brought him more mature character roles and acclaim for his acting abilities. His troubles deepened in 1966 while in Italy. Holden was involved in a traffic accident in which the other driver was killed. Holden had been driving under the influence of alcohol; he was charged with vehicular manslaughter, and received an eight-month suspended prison sentence. Holden was apparently overcome with guilt and friends said this led to even heavier drinking. He met Stephanie Powers when he was 56 and she was 32 at a California tennis tournament in 1972. The age difference did not seem to matter as Stephanie loved Bill-- and Kenya. For a while he stopped drinking. But his resolve didn't last and eventually, she too left. But Stefanie has kept both Bill and his promise to Africa in her heart for a very, very long time. William Holden died in his high-rise apartment on the seaside cliffs of Santa Monica, California in November 1981 at the relatively young age of 63. He was alone and heavily intoxicated. He reportedly slipped on a throw rug, gashed his head on a night table and bled to death. The coroner said he was conscious for at least a half an hour after the fall, but probably did not comprehend the severity of his injury and did not call for help. His body was found on November 16, but forensic evidence suggested he had been dead for several days and probably passed on November 12. His friend, director Billy Wilder said of Bill Holden: “ Here was a most successful man who virtually abandons his profession to take care of endangered species. He does not care about himself; indeed he kills himself. What he didn't realize was that he himself was an endangered species: the beautiful American.” Long live the William Holden Wildlife Foundation! The man did good things despite his demons. Now back to the story, William Holden and friends were prepared to spend many weeks on holidays in Kenya despite the fact that there was unrest in Kenya. The Mau Mau freedom fighters of the Kikuyu tribe were launching their war of independence. The Mau Mau hid in the mountain forests of the Abadares and Mount Kenya Region - which was also the place where upcountry inns were located. The inns provided hunters with a place to "repair" for a few days while their camp was moved to a new hunting block, but with the threat of the Mau Mau most of the north was empty of clients. There was one inn that was the favorite “repairing” spot for Bill and his pals and by some quirk of fate it was for sale! After many drinks and lots of dreams the three bought the inn and turned it into the Mt. Kenya Safari Club. “The Club” was a watering hole for the glitterati and crowned heads of the 1950’s and 1960’s, and the hotel’s “gold book” was a veritable “Who’s Who” of that decade. The club is located on the equator at 7000 feet above sea level on the slopes of Mt. Kenya which towers above the gardens and forests beyond the club. The view from the veranda bar alone is worth the trip. The inn was transformed into what became the most beautiful hotel in Kenya. The roughly 65 acres of grounds that comprised the Safari Club were surrounded by a 2000 acre mixed farm owned by a retired major in the British army. When the land came up for sale in 1960 it was a turning point in Bill’s life and in the life of a young American named Don Hunt. Don Hunt was associated with animals for most of his life at the time when he came to East Africa to film some episodes for his successful U.S. children’s TV show called “Bwana Don”. He too was captivated by a fascination for all things East African, but most of all, he and Bill cemented their relationship through their love of nature and the extraordinary wildlife in their midst. As kindred spirits, they shared their concern for the herds of animals whose numbers were beginning to diminish, however subtly. What began as an ongoing discussion became a reality when the major’s land came up for sale and the Mount Kenya Game Ranch was born. It is important to remember that conservation, preservation, and even the concept of “ecology” were ideas that would only become popular vernacular many years after the creation of the Mount Kenya Game Ranch. Green movements in the US and the UK brought wildlife conservation awareness to the world through tee shirts bearing the face of a baby seal that came onto our streets and into our lives. Bill and Don were joined by Julian McKeand, then a professional hunter and Iris Breidenbend, who became Iris Hunt. Together they created a game ranch with captive breeding programs of 37 East African species and an animal orphanage where Iris has raised generations of rescued orphans, sometimes bringing them back to health from the brink of death. One of the most rare species on the game ranch is the East African bongo (a shy medium sized forest dwelling antelope). The partners made the bongo the symbol of the game ranch and its logo. Throughout his life, William Holden continued his wholehearted support of the game ranch and often referred to it as the greatest work of his life, over and above all of his films. William Holden’s untimely death in 1981 brought his life to an end but not his work. In 1973 William Holden brought another person into his life and into his dream, Stefanie Powers, who was swept up by Bill’s contagious enthusiasm for Africa. After William Holden passed away, Stefanie, together with the Hunts, formed the William Holden Wildlife Foundation to carry out his unfinished work and carry on with his dream. The foundation received its IRS status as a Public Charity in October 1982 and the first group camped on the site of the education center in January 1983. Big, Bold and impossibly beautiful, this sublimely spaciously designed, The Fairmont Mt Kenya safari Club stretches beyond the imagination and expectation of many in a variety of ways. At an altitude of 2,135 meters, 3, 000 meters shy of the highest peak in Kenya, the ambiance of the evocative clear-air surrounding exudes a wonderful serenity that influences each moment and governs each day. Many notable and illustrious men and women have sought an opportunity to grace the club with their presence. Sir Winston Churchill was reputed to have been a founder Member. Since its founding, this idyllic club continues to offer visitors a bounty of delights against a backdrop of wistful sights of the ancient glacier glint majestically soaring into the cerulean sky. The panorama of opulence and freshly cooked food complimented by delectable wines heighten your senses as the ever green landscapes, bountiful wildlife and sporting opportunities meld into memories for a lifetime. Mount Kenya Hotel is every luxury travelers dream with majestic views of Mount Kenya, The Safari Club itself has a charm to it with peakcocks walking around and the grand architectural design of the whole place. Whether you're residing at the Safari Club or you're just visiting for the day, there are various recreational activities to do such as horseback riding, golf, croquet, a bowling green, table tennis, swimming, an animal orphanage, a maze, the rose gardens and much more. Peacocks and sarus cranes strut about manicured lawns and lily ponds. Semi-tamed sacred ibises, maribou storks, and Egyptian geese flock to ornamental lakes. In the background rise the jagged 17,000-foot peaks of Mt. Kenya, its tree-covered slopes constantly changing character as sun and clouds move overhead. Most think of it as the hideaway of the late actor William Holden and his hunting friends, and guests often ask to be put up in his favorite cottage - No. 12. The Mount Kenya Safari Club, originally a mansion known as Mawingo, is a large, two-story white building with balconies and pink-and-white awnings, which would look very much like a home in Beverly Hills. It's rated among the world's top 10 most exclusive clubs; the club's fame grew, attracting millionaires, royalty, and celebrities as well as tourists arriving daily on safaris to Kenya. It's an old saying at the Mount Kenya Safari Club that even the insects dress for dinner, not that you get too many of them at 7,000 feet, but the saying reflects a little of the ambiance surrounding one of the last bastions of the vanishing art of gracious living. After a daily diet of dusty wildlife safaris and bouncing over potholed Kenya roads, culture shock hits you when crossing the club's threshold. In the members' dining room, service is as polished as the silver, and gentlemen must wear jackets, long trousers, and ties after 6 p.m. Once past the club's outwardly snobbish atmosphere, you discover a fine hotel in a magnificent setting with outstanding service and numerous activities. The main clubhouse faces Mt. Kenya, sharing the same spectacular view with an arc of two-bedroom cottages. The lawn flows down past a heated swimming pool to lakes and ponds where hundreds of exotic ducks make their home. Scattered about 100 acres of lawns and luxuriant foliage are the putting green, bowling green, and an orchid walk. Between the cottages are tennis courts and a nine-hole golf course. Guests can go horseback riding along 20 miles of bridle path, fish for black bass or rainbow trout, soak in a sauna, or shop in the Safari Boutique for fur handbags, ivory jewelry, batik, and African artifacts.The club offers a reading and writing room, a conference center and cinema, safari center, piano music in the bar, and barbecues. You can dine in either the Safari Tent grill room or the Hunters dining room, offering six courses of such fare as filet mignon, Dover sole meuni`ere, and smoked salmon. Lunch can last about three hours while you sample 30 dishes or so prepared by Chef Zickert for the buffet on the terrace. Morning coffee and afternoon tea are served in two spacious lounges where roaring fires ward off mountain chills. Membership plaques line the walls along with autographed photographs of famous members and guests - Winston Churchill, Louis Mountbatten, and the Apollo space crew. About 130 guests can be accommodated in the club's 78 rooms, each of which has its own log fireplace. Evenings may well be the pleasantest time of day, when a porter appears to light the fire and you can relax while watching the changing colors of dusk on Mt. Kenya and listening to the sounds of birds, crickets, and distant wild animals. The most popular lodgings are the terraced cottages, all stone and timber. Each has large sliding glass doors opening onto a patio and semiprivate lawns screened by shrubbery, two bedrooms with a spacious sitting room dividing them, and an elegant bathroom with steps leading down to an enormous tub and shower. In 1967, the Fairmont Mt Kenya safari Club was acquired by Saudi Arabia's Adnan Khashoggi, who gave the club as a gift to his son on his 18th birthday. Unfortunately, Mr. Khashoggi tacked on an ungraceful three-story wing and a few squat garden cottages behind the tennis court. He also erected three large villas that have a lot in common with the ambiance of a hunting lodge. The rooms and suites in the new Italian-designed villas may well be the most sumptuous in Kenya. The Mount Kenya Safari Lodge is too nice a place for a mere overnight stop. The groups of safari-trippers on Kenya holidays usually troop in late in the afternoon and leave after breakfast, so if you have an aversion to tour groups, they won't be much of an aggravation, On the other hand, the folks on the safari tours to Kenya bemoan the fact they can't stay longer. On an extended stay, you'll probably share the club with only a handful of guests, except on weekends when members and their families invade the place. Relax for a few days and watch the sun rise over Mount Kenya. (Early morning is the best time to see the snowy peaks of Mount Kenya before the clouds move in.) You can play tennis, swim, golf, or drive up the mountain with a picnic basket packed by the club, the Safaris Desk at Mount Kenya Safari Club will organize any type of packaged tour - by car, camel, horse, or plane - and will store your luggage while you're away. Neither the Ark Lodge or Mountain Lodge is far by road, and Secret Valley, famous for its leopards, operates from Nanyuki, about 10 kilometers (six miles) down the road. Samburu National Park is just over an hour's drive. If you run out of diversions, you can always do what many of the safari club's regulars do: just sit around and admire the view. Practical information The Mount Kenya Safari Club is 120 miles north of Nairobi, 2 hours by car and 45 minutes by small charter plane. It's open all year and busiest from Aug. 1 through March 31, the period from Dec. 18 through Jan. 4 is the busiest of all. For reservations contact us by email or telephone contacts provided, probably because it entertains so many illustrious names and honeymooning couples, the Mount Kenya Safari Club prides itself on its privacy – although the views are so magnificent that you may never want to draw the curtains. The garden cottages don't have the feel of a hotel at all, with their parquet flooring, private patios, comfortable sofas and log fires that the temperature sometimes demands. But whether you stay in a cottage, a room or a junior suite, there's always the chance to dine by candlelight at the river, eat bush breakfasts, or lose yourself in the hotel's very own maze. Don't be fooled in to thinking that the strutting peacocks are the only wildlife in these parts, either. Buffalo and elephant can often be seen from the game viewing area – and where else do striking black-and-white Colobus monkeys peer through the windows as you're eating that obligatory part of Kenyan cuisine – a full English breakfast with HP sauce? Freebies: Shampoo, body lotion, bath and shower gel as well as drinking water; tea and coffee are provided in the rooms. Keeping in touch: all rooms come with flat screen TVs and direct-dial phones; internet is available in the business centre and complimentary Wi-Fi is available in the lobby.
Located in the main building, a Fairmont room has an open layout plan that is tastefully furnished and features a sitting area with a great view of the majestic mountain. The room accommodates a king or twin bed, built-in wardrobes, tea or coffee facilities, stocked mini bar and a wood burning fire place to keep the evening chill at bay. The three-piece bathroom boasts of a rain shower, a 115/240v shaving socket, hair dryer and Fairmont luxury toiletries. Enjoy the serenity of country living and pamper yourself in our luxurious accommodations while relaxing your mind and body. An Awesome Mt Kenya is everything you want for your perfect getaway. This beautifully restored and luxuriously decorated hotel offers an enclave of peace and serenity, magnificent views and is close to a Mount Kenya National Park, and minutes away from animal orphanage. Make yourself right at home in the spacious room, relaxing by the fire place reading a book, watching the HD TV, or perhaps just stretch out and enjoy the views from the comfort of the beautiful leather furniture. This luxury getaway will provide you with all the comforts of home and the luxury of the finest hotel at an affordable price. Enjoy the views and relaxation of this peaceful getaway while allowing yourself to be pampered in luxurious accommodations. Your perfect vacation getaway awaits you here in the Kenya. In a hotel that’s the first choice among royalty, you know our rooms are fit for a King or a Queen. And isn’t it high time you indulged yourself just a little bit? Our oversized guest Fairmont room offer discerning travelers more space, more seating, and yes, more luxury. That makes any of our Fairmont room options the perfect choice for a family with children or a business traveler who’s hosting a small meeting. And best of all, our rooms are sleek, modern and very stylish—with charming artwork that reflects our African roots.
Room Size: 35 sq.m / 377 sq.ft.
Bed Type: One King or two Twin beds
Location: Main Building
View: Mount Kenya
The Deluxe View room offers breathtaking views of the majestic mountain. One can relax with a steaming cup of tea as you watch the sun rise against the poignant mountain backdrop. The room is spacious, luxuriously furnished with a sitting area and features a cozy fire place. It's complemented with a plush King sized bed and furnished with a 32” Plasma screen, a dressing table and built-in wardrobes. Its divine five-piece bathroom offers luxurious pampering with a rain shower, a separate bathtub and a vanity area. The new stunning Deluxe view Rooms continues the evolution of Kenya tradition of excellence, luxury and comfort. These deluxe accommodations feature clean architectural lines that blend African detail with relaxed European style. The open layout of the guestrooms was inspired by the colors of Africa, providing a true sense of serenity and escape, No matter what your reason for joining us at the Mount Kenya Safari Club, we are confident that our guestrooms will lavish you in comfort, luxury, style and elegance. Our rooms are more than just places to sleep. They are sanctuaries from the worries of everyday life. They are spaces where the beauty of nature blends harmoniously with attractive décor and luxurious features. Best of all, they offer exceptional value for you dollar. With options for breathtaking views, spacious balconies and fireplaces, our hotel room to suit your individual desires. And no matter which room you choose, you can count on a clean, modern space outfitted with a range of high-quality in-room amenities. Whisk someone special away to a contemporary designed Deluxe View Room in the heart of the Mountains. The ideal accommodation for a short escape with a loved one, our Deluxe View Rooms are designed to reflect the peaceful, laid back atmosphere of its idyllic Mountains setting. The Deluxe View Room features contemporary design with soft furnishings, complete with a king or queen size bed, external courtyard or balcony and breathtaking views of Mt Kenya.
Room Size: 38 sq.m / 409 sq.ft.
Bed Type: One King bed
View: Mount Kenya
Aptly named after the ‘love nest’ of the first owners of the club, the stunning suite is fashioned with a luxurious five-piece en suite bathroom, a spacious lounge with a beautiful stone fire place and a private terrace overlooking the garden. Additional amenity includes a separate vanity room adjacent to the bedroom. Located at the equator and founded by movie star William Holden, eccentric American Ray Ryan, and Swiss financier Carl Hirschmann in 1959, Mount Kenya Safari Club's former members have included Winston Churchill and Bing Crosby. It has been used for various famous films like Mogambo with Clark Gable, Grace Kelly and Ava Gardner. Some of famous guests are Charlie Chaplin, Richard Attenborough, David Niven, Bob Hope, John Mills, Sean Connery, Terry Mathews, Bing Crosby and Lyndon Johnson. Less than three hours by road from Nairobi, the Fairmont Mt. Kenya Safari Club is set in 100 acres of landscaped gardens in the foothills of Mt. Kenya, with magnificent views of Africa’s second highest mountain. The hotel has recently been renovated and upgraded but maintains its rich history and ambiance of a hunting club for the rich and famous. The main building was originally constructed by a wealthy American woman who fell in love with Kenya and the charming Frenchman who took her on safari. She left her family in New York to become part of Kenya’s happy valley set, building her dream home and entertaining friends and family. The next owner expanded the living space and opened a small inn. In 1959, the film star William Holden (Bridge over the River Kwai) and some friends stayed there and, falling for its charms, set up one of the most exclusive clubs in the world, ‘The Mt Kenya Safari Club’. The club, offering membership by invitation only, quickly became the retreat of the rich and famous including Winston Churchill, Bing Crosby, Charlie Chaplin, Steve McQueen, Conrad Hilton and the Maharaja of Jaipur. The hotel has done a superb job of keeping the history of the hotel alive with enchanting black and white photographs of romantic times past, strategically placed throughout the hotel, while upgrading it with modern amenities. Getting bored at this hotel is a sin. In fact, there are enough activities to keep you entertained for weeks. The most relaxing activity is also my personal favorite- to sit on the verandah and stare at the magnificent view while sipping a cup of tea or a glass of champagne. Or head to the spa for a massage and mani/pedi (no need to put down that glass of champagne). For more rigorous activity, there is horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing, walking, golf, croquet, a bowling green, table tennis, swimming and much more. For lovers of animals, the Mt. Kenya Safari Club borders with a 1000 acre game reserve and there is abundant game on the drive in and out of the hotel. There is also fantastic bird-watching on the property and a magical animal orphanage. We enjoyed tea on the lawn in front of the bar one afternoon. The birds were practically tame, wandering past us in pursuit of the day’s meal. In the short time we stayed at the hotel, we saw vultures, Ibis, Crowned Cranes, Maribu Storks and much more. One of the more exciting activities that the staff can arrange is a meal in the bush. Rides a horse, a mountain bike, walk or get a ride in a Landcruiser and, upon arriving in a picturesque location in the bush, your meal will be cooked and served onsite (often surrounded by game and fabulous views). Truly magical. The club is built directly on the equator which cuts through the bar and one of the rooms in the main house. You can be in the same bathroom at the same time as your significant other, but be in different hemispheres. Since multi-hemisphere weddings are considered good luck, many are held at this hotel. The bathrooms are luxurious, the beds dreamily comfortable and the huge fireplace roars at night to stave off the evening mountain cold. The curtains allow for total blackout so be sure to set your alarm if you have someplace you need to be in the morning (like the delicious Fairmont breakfast). Although the days of jackets and ties are no longer enforced, the dress code remains smart casual in the dining room. And that leads us to the best part about the Fairmont Mt. Kenya Safari Club- the food. The fruits and vegetables, many of which are organically grown on the property, are outstanding. All meals were fresh and delicious, generous and varied, including an Indian and a vegetarian offering at each sitting. The temptation is always to overeat. You will love the desert section; the pastry chef was trained at Savoy in London. On top of excellent food, you will enjoy very friendly and efficient service. Whether you are considering a romantic getaway, a family vacation, a conference or a special event, the Fairmont Mt. Kenya Safari Club is the ideal escape.
Room Size: 61 sq.m / 657 sq.ft
. Bed Type: One King bed
View: Mount Kenya
The cozy and inviting suite provides all the comforts of home. The spacious lounge is separated from the bedroom with a beautiful stone fire place that can warm you up from the comfort of the lounge or the bedroom. Located within walking distance from the main building, the suite has a five-piece en suite bathroom and a private terrace overlooking the beautiful lawn gardens and coffee bushes. The Fairmont Safari Club is a luxury hotel in Mount Kenya. Located in the foothills of the magnificent peaks, this hotel occupies an enviable location amid 100 acres of lawns, gardens and streams in Kenya’s Nanyuki region. The Mount Kenya National Park and Forest Reserve and Aberdare National Park are both close by. The hotel’s 9-hole golf course invites guests to enjoy a leisurely game, before dipping into the sparkling outdoor pool. Guests can also go horseback riding, mountain biking and fishing, or enjoy a whitewater rafting trip and camel trek safari. Meeting spaces at the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club cater for working guests, whilst the bar set on the equator offers afternoon tea and sweeping vistas. Guestrooms at the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club afford guests magnificent views of the mountain and stunning surroundings. Sumptuous interiors reflect the history of the original residence and feature WiFi, fireplaces and luxury bathrooms. Overlook manicured lawns and snow-capped mountains whilst enjoying nutritious and delicious cuisine at the hotel restaurant. Please note: The hotel requests that guests inform them of their flight details, in order to arrange airport transfers. Nestled in a quiet corner of in Kenya, the Mount Kenya safari club is the premier hotel destination for those seeking luxury, comfort, privacy, and romance. Feast your eyes on our lavish gardens, tranquil ponds, and gentle wildlife. Pamper your body with our Spa indulgence getaway package. Feed your soul with our gourmet cuisine, prepared with the finest local ingredients. Relax in sheer bliss next to a wood burning fireplace, or atop our cloud like king sized beds, and let us surround you with five star accommodations. The breathtaking views of our garden suites in bloom create a gorgeous location for memorable weddings and events. Make reservations now for a memorable experience that you will cherish for years to come. Acres of lush manicured romantic landscapes, exquisite private suites and cottages, gourmet meals from our chef's on site organic gardens; but there's more..... When you arrive in this hotel in Mount Kenya, you really know you’re at a Five Star hotel. Mount Kenya safari club is famous for its warm Kenyan hospitality, and this welcome is showcased at its finest here at our hotel. You have a range of stylish accommodation to choose from, with each of the beautifully appointed Rooms and Suites, Mount Kenya Safari Club is a five star wedding, Conference and Boutique venue with its idyllic country setting, this Country five star wedding venue is an oasis of breath taking beauty that exudes tranquility. Mt Kenya Safari Club boasts the grandeur of its flawless architecture, coupled with picturesque gardens and lavish fields where horses graze and gallop. An exclusive five star wedding and conference establishment on a Private Security Estate! This wedding venue is owner run with 5 star services, classically designed and exquisitely decorated. Our Banquet and Boutique venues are set well apart and can accommodate functions ranging from 10 to 600 guests.
Room Size: 73 sq.m / 786 sq.ft.
Bed Type: One King bed
View: Manicured Lawn
The Raymond Suite is luxuriously furnished to give the suite a comfy and inviting atmosphere. It features a spacious lounge separate from the bedroom, with a 32” Plasma screen and a beautiful stone fire place for the classic chilly evenings. The suite occupies 61 sqm and has a great view of the mountain. All the way north from Nairobi, marching to the equator line, on both sides of the road is the large tracts of wilderness, yellow hue laced with a little thin green. The town skimming occasionally a shepherd driving a group of animals, riding a bicycle bumps on the dirt road, perhaps a Chinese-made bike, you shut all the windows, isolated from the loess of flying, do not know in this wilderness, waiting for you will be what. Heading north to Nanyuki via dry hills cut by verdant valleys of banana and mango trees and little thatched roadside stalls selling watermelon, sugar cane and bags of acacia charcoal or river fish, your trusty 4WD purrs along. Cameras are locked and loaded. Mid last century, after five decades of indiscriminate slaughter by big game hunters (Roosevelt returned to the US with 14,000 specimens), a new form of safari emerged, based on the camera not the gun. At the Mount Kenya Safari Club outside Nanyuki (where charter members included Winston Churchill, Clarke Gable and John Wayne), guests took this development in their stride. Founded by screen star and hunter turned conservationist William Holden (his partner Stefanie Powers still keeps a cottage on the property), the club became a sort of Hollywood outpost and black and white photos of its glamorous guests line the lounge walls: Humphrey Bogart, Ernest Hemingway, Clint Eastwood, Grace Kelly, Marlon Brando and Jimmy Stewart, among a very few. Holden launched his private club in 1960, charging less than $10 a day for room and board, after “entirely” redecorating the Mawingo Hotel to offer a heated swimming pool, Turkish bath and massage, riding facilities, golf course, skeet shooting, trout fishing and tennis. Recently restored, and very stylishly so, by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts (the group behind London’s revamped Savoy hotel), the club, set in 40ha of landscaped grounds at the foot of the snow-capped Mt Kenya and straddling the equator, has lost none of its magic. Fairmont has retained the property’s clubby ambience across a series of handsome reception rooms while toning down the hunting motif a tad, with just a handful of stuffed trophies. The former Zebra Bar, once lined with skins, now makes do with faux cushions. The view from the terrace (and many of the 120 rooms, suites and cottages) across rolling lawns and forest to Mt Kenya is mesmerising. In the morning the mountain is swaddled in clouds; at dusk spun with gold. The club’s lawns, like the great plains, teem with life, in this instance large birds. Hooded vultures and sacred ibis, elegant crown-crested cranes (sporting fascinators fit for the Melbourne Cup) and dour marabou storks, strolling with a Churchillian solemnity, as though with hands behind back, double chins wobbling. These very large birds are everywhere, stalking the croquet lawn, perched ominously on the pergola, staring at you unblinkingly as you tuck into your second serve from the very good luncheon buffet. Book a cottage (number 12 was Holden’s) for gorgeous views of the mountain and spacious, urbane interiors evoking a relaxed Hollywood glamour. The club still offers bespoke touring: three or four days to the summit, heli-fishing, white-water rafting, or game drives to nearby parks including Sweetwater, Solio and Samburu. Guests are also welcome to wander next door to the 486ha wildlife orphanage where breeding programs include the endangered and highly charismatic mountain bongo antelope. The orphanage enjoys a garden setting and the charming menagerie includes cheetahs, dwarf antelopes, pygmy hippos, Patricia the ostrich (raised from an egg) and Speedy, the cabbage-loving, 150-year-old tortoise brought here from the Seychelles by Holden. And if you make a donation your name might just appear on a plaque next to, say, Mr and Mrs F Sinatra. The Mount Kenya Safari Club is a popular staging post for travellers pushing onto the Maasai Mara safaris and early morning finds the forecourt bustling with American adventurers in shorts, taking instructions from a man with a clipboard.
Room Size: 61 sq.m / 657 sq.ft.
Bed Type: One King bed
View: Manicured Lawn
The Equatorial Suite offers one of the best views at the Club, built from the original manor block; the room is split into two by the equator. Guests have the pleasure of relaxing in the northern hemisphere in a spacious lounge with a beautiful stone fireplace and sleeping in the southern hemisphere, in a luxuriously furnished room with a 5 piece en suite bathroom. The exclusive suite also features a private terrace with a spectacular view of Mount Kenya. Guests staying in this plush suite are entitled to a fascinating Equatorial Ceremony, with a certificate award, complimentary airport transfers to Nanyuki airstrip and use of BMW mountain bikes. There's a tentative tapping, as if someone's unsure whether this is the right time for the morning wake-up call, you pull the curtains and find a marabou stork at the glass door - shoulder high and sinfully ugly. It stares back; its double chin under a bald head is as rosy as a rash, its dusty feathers like a cheap black suit. With the disappointed gait of an unemployed undertaker, it turns and walks off. Though the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club's many hectares are fenced from predators, there's scarcely a moment when the natural world - beautiful, strange and vulnerable - isn't front of mind. The monstrously large head of a stuffed buffalo sits above the breezy entrance and the porticos bear more trophy heads - wildebeest, cheetah and lion - from the days when hunters stayed here for months bagging beasts. Peacocks are shooed from Zebra, the last word in safari chic, at cocktail hour, when the fireplace is crackling and the long, low thunder of someone's pet lion can be heard in the distance. And the manicured lawns are alive with ducks and ibis, cranes and those sepulchral storks. Though the club straddles the equator - literally, a long brass strip marking zero degrees latitude bisects the courtyard and snakes under a spreading yellow-fever tree - there is snow on Mount Kenya, which dominates the view from every room. From your room there are clouds on Africa's second-highest mountain and the sun rises behind it with the power of revelation. You steer the horses towards the mountain, past the maze and the new tennis court on which the manager, Rana Mukherji, recently hit a ball around with former Hollywood actor Stephanie Powers, a long-time resident here. The forest of Mount Kenya National Park is close and within 10 minutes you’ve spotted a white zebra, vervet monkeys and plenty of aardvark burrows in the red earth, sometimes repopulated by warthogs. "Shhhh," says the club's horseman, James. And he points ahead to large - absurdly large - mounds of elephant dung. Fresh. Mercifully, you don't come across the elephants but there are two armed rangers waiting, just in case, when you stop for a surprise breakfast in a forest clearing. It's not just any breakfast but linen and champagne, smoked salmon and eggs cooked on the spot and strong Kenyan coffee. Horse riding is one of a raft of activities offered at the club, from nine holes of golf and mountain-biking treks to Swahili lessons and guided bird walks; from white-water rafting and trout fishing to a helicopter ride to one of Mount Kenya's alpine lakes (perhaps an increasingly popular jaunt since Prince William chose to pop the question to his future princess beside Lake Rutundu in October). A rugged four-day climb up Mount Kenya can be arranged from here, or a day of climbing and abseiling on granite cliff faces. Mount Kenya Safari Club is 220 kilometres north-east of Nairobi and is often chosen as a luxurious pause before or after safaris holidays in Kenya nature reserves, when a hot-water bottle and a lit fireplace at turn-down will be best appreciated. It is possible, however, to use the club as a base for game drives: Sweetwaters Game Reserve is about 30 minutes' drive from the club; Solio Ranch is 40 minutes away and the Samburu National Reserve is about 90 minutes away. Any form of lounging at the club will evoke visions of Hollywood glamour, for there are frequent reminders of its time as the playground of stars, statesmen and their entourages. In 1959 the club was bought by actor William Holden and he invited his buddies for months at a time. Clark Gable, Grace Kelly, Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando and Clint Eastwood came and played and their portraits and many more sit beside zebra skins and mounted trophies. The entire cast of The Lion was photographed during filming on the lawn in front of the main lodge and in your cottage are photos of Holden with Zamba and Tammy, his lions. These days there are no lions to be seen but through a gate next door, at the Mount Kenya Animal Orphanage, dozens of creatures are being prepared for a return to the wild. A walk among rare mountain bongos and colobus monkeys, under escort by Patricia the teenage ostrich, is one of the highlights of time at the club. There are African lynx, hyraxes, forest cats, Romeo the African porcupine, a couple of pygmy hippos from Liberia, grey crown-crested cranes with their mardi-gras head feathers and three teenage cheetahs, which sound remarkably like tabbies when they're eating. In 1967, Holden and some friends founded a conservation reserve and the orphanage on the property, beginning an ambitious breeding program to save the mountain bongo, a large and endangered antelope bearing white stripes on a russet coat, once even more prized among trophy hunters than the big five. Twenty bongos were captured at Mount Kenya and sent to the US to breed in the 1970s. The first herd was returned to the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy in 2004 and there are now 60 bongos on the reserve surrounding the club, a few of which can be seen at the orphanage. Education programs run by the conservancy about habitat protection and biodiversity reach 15,000 Kenyans a year. There are plans, says the conservancy's wildlife manager, Donald Bunge, to return the first 20 bongos to the wilds of Mount Kenya within a year. "This will be a dream come true for us," he says. Mount Kenya Safari Club is included in a range of itineraries,
Room Size: 138 sq.m / 1485 sq.ft.
Bed Type: One King bed
View: Mount Kenya
Similar to the Manor Suite, the Signature Suite offers a stunning view of the majestic mountain and is located on the historical block of the resort. The suite features an impressive 138sqm space accommodating a spacious lounge furnished with elegant fixtures, a beautiful stone fire place, a stately plush bedroom and a private balcony overlooking the swimming pool, picturesque gardens and magnificent views of the mountain. Its imperial five-piece en suite bathroom will definitely leave you feeling pampered. Though some of the deadliest animals on Earth live on Kenya's savannah, there was a time when people visiting the country were just as dangerous and even more unpredictable. The most volatile visitors to ever set foot in Africa would gather at the bar of what was once the world's most exclusive club - not your regular holidaymakers but some of Hollywood's biggest names of all time. At the Mount Kenya Safari Club you might have witnessed a brawl started by a drunken Ernest Hemingway, high as a kite after a bloody hunting adventure; or by the boozy Brat-Packers Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra; or the crazed Lord Delamere, whose notoriety spread across the globe when he rode his horse through Nairobi's finest restaurant at the Norfolk Hotel Nairobi in a drunken rage. The club's one-time owner, the actor William Holden, liked to wear a six-shooter on his hip when he drank here, in case the animals charged him on his way down from his cottage. His favourite trick was to wait until the bar was packed with guests and then he'd grab a star by the shirt collar - Steve McQueen or Clark Gable, perhaps - and slide them over the bar, smashing glasses in the process and jumping on them in a mock wrestle. Stories would filter back to Hollywood from shocked guests - those privileged enough to receive a personally written invitation from Holden. A notorious prankster, he also loved to fill the bar's peanut tins with snakes. Real ones. Serious risk-takers might have entered a high-stakes poker game on the perfectly manicured lawns with Aristotle Onassis, a regular visitor, or members of the Saudi royal family. When Holden's business partner was killed in a bomb attack in the late 1970s (not on the property), the most infamous arms dealer in the world, Adnan Khashoggi, bought the Mount Kenya Safari Club. He liked to turn up unannounced by helicopter on the lawn in front of surprised guests, emerging in Kenia safari gear with six leggy blondes required to walk in a straight line behind him. While the club was once a hedonistic hot spot for Hollywood bad boys, it never compromised its old-world civility. Now run by Fairmont Hotels, the Mount Kenya Safari Club is still regarded as one of the finest hotels in Kenya, though it no longer requires a personal invitation to stay. In the heat of the day guests can sun bake and swim in the pool, yet it gets so cold at night that fires need to be lit in guest rooms and hot-water bottles are deposited discreetly between the sheets of your four-poster bed. For a taste of a bygone golden era of Hollywood and Kenya's halcyon days, when reckless heirs of billionaires ran riot, there's nothing quite like the club. Pictures of visiting stars take pride of place in the club's Trophy Lounge; Marlon Brando, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, Charlie Chaplin, Grace Kelly and Ava Gardner stayed here and the area became the most popular film location in Africa. Sir Winston Churchill loved to smoke his cigar while taking afternoon tea in the lavish dining room. More recently, Michael Caine insisted fresh water be carried to his bath every evening to enjoy a "clean scrub". The club's regal ambience - open fireplaces, expensive rugs, weathered Chesterfield sofas, antique Arab chests and game trophies - is an elegant counterpoint to the most popular accommodation in Kenya - the safari tent. The writer Robert Ruark described staying here in melancholic prose: "From the broad window, a rolling green lawn sweeps sharply downward … to a forest … at the top of the forest stands Mount Kenya, almost close enough to touch. In the later afternoons, just at fire-lighting time, the mists sweep away and the old snow-capped mountains fill your living room. It is impossible to watch without weeping a little." The club is a short light-plane ride and a bumpy 20-minute four-wheel-drive trip north-east of the capital, Nairobi. On the drive here - a bouncy affair over dirt tracks and potted bitumen roads that provide an "African massage" - we pass a village where old men use donkeys to transport goods to market. "They have seen the most famous stars of all time drive through this village," the driver says. "But they had no idea who these funny white people were." arrive through 17th-century wrought-iron gates and past an animal orphanage just as Mount Kenya, at 5199 metres, emerges from a layer of cumulus clouds. It's chilly here at 2300 metres, welcome relief from the humidity of Kenya's equatorial coastline and the dry heat of the savannah. Your directed to a guest room in what was once dubbed Millionaire's Row. Ruark wrote that the suites here were "designed for people in love". After a long bath, a nine-course a la carte dinner is served in the Mawingo Dining Room (sports gear for men and miniskirts for women are forbidden but the rules on mandatory jackets have been relaxed). After dinner you retire to a Chesterfield by the fireplace in the opulent Zebar, where the heads of animals killed on long-ago hunts look upon you as you sip a snifter of cognac. In the morning, golf on a course designed on the advice of the great golfer Jack Nicklaus comes highly recommended, with the potential to spy zebras and elephants while putting. Lawn bowls is another civilised option - it became Holden's obsession later in life to build a full-size bowling green - and no visit to the club is complete without an afternoon of croquet on the lawn. The Mount Kenya Safari Club is the cool retreat (literally) after a week of animal safari spotting on the savannah (even the most avid animal enthusiasts can suffer from safari fatigue). For an insight into wild Africa with none of the crowds of the Masai Mara, the Ol Pejeta conservancy reserve is a 30-minute drive from the club. It's a 37,000-hectare rhino sanctuary with the highest wildlife-to-area ratio of any national park in Kenya and is home to Africa's big five (elephants, rhinos, lions, buffalo and leopards). This reserve, at the forefront of the Kenyan conservancy movement, has the largest population of black rhinos in east Africa. Here you can see three types of rhino: the black rhino, the southern white rhino and the northern white rhino (five of the last remaining eight northern white rhino in the world live here). Also within the reserve is the only chimpanzee sanctuary in Kenya, established by famed naturalist Jane Goodall. There are also full-day fishing safaris along the Honi River, catching trout downstream from the Chania, Karuru and Gura falls. Still, it's easy to remain for days at the club, channelling the movie stars and world leaders who came here to unwind. When Holden bought the club in 1959 it made the front pages of newspapers around the world; readers were fascinated by "the African Shangri La" as Holden called it: a celebrity hide-out among wild animals beneath a snow-capped equatorial mountain. While the snowfalls on Mount Kenya are receding and celebrity sightings aren't so common, the Mount Kenya Safari Club still has blue blood in its veins.
Room Size: 138 sq.m / 1485 sq.ft.
Bed Type: One King bed
View: Mount Kenya
If you can’t get enough of the mystical mountain, then the Manor Suite is ideal for you. Situated in the original historical block of the resort, the suite features an open concept design including a spacious lounge area flaunting luxurious furnishings, a wooden lit fire place, a separate plush bedroom and a private balcony overlooking the swimming pool, picturesque gardens and unrivalled view of the mountain. Its luxurious 5 piece en suite bathroom will leave you feeling pampered. Everyone agrees that Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club Nanyuki is an exclusive travel retreat. Situated some one hundred and ninety kilometres north of Nairobi, on the slopes of Mt Kenya, it has a reputation for relaxed elegance. Many of the world's most famous names, be they royalty, film stars or merely the rich, seek it out as a secluded haven where, although you don your safari gear during the day, you always dress for dinner. Sir Winston Churchill was reputed to have been a founder Member. The list of those who joined after the Club opened in 1959 reads like an international ''Who's Who'', and includes Prince Berhard of the Netherlands, Lord Louis Mountbatten, author Robert Ruark, former US President Lyndon Johnson, Conrad Hilton, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and a bevy of celebrities. The Club's allure has never faded. Contemporary Members have included His Royal Highness the Aga Khan, President El Haj Omar Bongo of Gabon, President Gafaar Numeiri of the Sudan, Members of the Saudi Arabian Royal family, KRH Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz and Mrs. Anwar Sadat. A highlight has been President Daniel Arap Moi's acceptance of membership, which has accorded the Club Kenya's seal of approval. Countless people will vouch that the Club's exclusive tone has been maintained, but if word of mouth is not sufficient, the Club's reputation was reaffirmed recently when it was given the prestigious World Star Award by the United States. Thus the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki ranks equal to hotels and resorts of longstanding classic quality such as Hong Kong's Mandarin, the Negresco in Nice, the romantic Gritti Palace in Venice and Zurich's stately Dolder Grand. At the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Resort, the normal leisurely tempo of a holiday can be changed dramatically with trout fishing, game watching and mountain climbing. The Club's staff has been primed to lay it all on for anyone who feels the need to punctuate lazy days by the pool with activities of all descriptions. A regular scheduled, thirty-minute flight links the safari Club to Nairobi city, and also to the range of other air excursions offered to any point of interest in Kenya. Like many of East Africa's pre-war dreams the then 'Mawingo' and now known to us Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club was born of a love affair, and one that had all the ingredients of an epic Romance, a handsome older woman, a dashing aviator and, for their playground, all of Africa. However, what gave the creation of 'Mawingo' its sparkle was the unlikeness that almost typical of the spontaneous, champagne years that gave the Kenya of the 1930s its notoriety. Rhoda Lewinsohn was married to a millionaire financier from New York. She had everything: a philanthropic husband of good social standing and two grown-up daughters, but also a rare ability to enjoy life to the fullest. Evidence of this 'joie de vivre' is threaded throughout her story from the moment she left her family in the United States to holiday in Kenya. Although in her fifties, Rhoda was a stunningly attractive woman, as sleek as a thoroughbred racehorse, and with the same dynamic energy. Perhaps it was these qualities that attracted Gabriel Prudhomme to her. He was much younger than she, an adventurous French bachelor who had his own airplane, and was a keen hunter of big game. When he took Rhoda and her friends on safari to Kenia, not only did Rhoda shoot her first elephant, she also fell madly in love. Gabriel pressed his suit and very soon Rhoda, the Manhattan Matron, had discarded her husband and her US citizenship. The couple was married in Paris before returning to Kenya to live at Njoro among the Happy Valley set. Years later, as a widow in her eighties with swept back blonde hair and an unlined face, Rhoda would show photos to her friends who came to tea at her home in Santa Barbara, California. The pictures were foxed with age, but you could still see the figures in comical long dresses and baggy shorts, arms linked and laughing on the lawn, or proudly standing with gun in hand next to a trophy lion. She referred to them all by their first names and spoke of them in the present tense as though they were still around. The Duke and Duchess of Norfolk' Indian Erroll and her husband Joss who, later, was to be shot mysteriously in his car one night - a murder that was never solved. Rhoda and Gabriel were anxious to build their own home and had chosen as a setting an enchanting expanse of forest and field at the foot of Mt Kenya near Nanyuki. The property, however, was not for sale. It belonged to a Mrs. Wheeler from San Francisco who had also fallen in love with the same environment and wanted to build a house of her own, but a strange quirk of fate was to change everything. Mrs. Wheeler's fiancé died suddenly while abroad. Grief stricken, she told Gabriel she would sell the land if he would fly to France, have the body cremated, and bring the ashes back to Kenya. Gabriel agreed willingly, and later flew Mrs. Wheeler high over Mt Kenya and scattered her lover's remains over the mountain. The Prudhomme started to build immediately and completed the house in a year. Photographs show Indian labourers busy working on bamboo scaffolding. Unlike other Kenyan houses of that time, where guest cottages were added on haphazardly to accommodate a growing number of friends, relations and children, Rhoda insisted on one large building. She said that she wanted everyone under one roof because it got so muddy during the rains. It was Rhoda who gave the house the name 'Mawingo', the Kiswahili name for 'the clouds' that so often skirt the slopes of Mt Kenya. There have, of course, been changes since then, but Club connoisseurs can still recognize the original building, which extended to where the Trophy Lounge is today. The relaxed and sophisticated atmosphere is probably much the same as it ever was and even in the early days there was an abundance of tropical shrubs, a small lake and small orphanage of Antelope and Cheetah. The Prudhomme Mt Kenya idyll lasted just a year before the onset of World War II shattered it in 1939, when Rhoda returned to New York. Tragedy ensued. Having fought for the Free French in Algeria, Gabriel flew to the United States to rejoin Rhoda but, without the sparkling air of the Kenyan highlands to nourish it, their relationship soured. Rhoda divorced Gabriel and thus lost both husband and home, for she had given 'Mawingo' to him as a present. When he died, shortly after the war, his intention had been to return it to her, since in his own words, ''...she was the only woman I ever loved''. He had, however, forgotten to sign his will so the house went to his family, who were, alas, never able to enjoy Mawingo. During the war, the family home in France was occupied and Gabriel's family was forced to live in their unheated attic. They both died of pneumonia. Mawingo was bought in 1948 by Abraham Block, who extended the house and turned it into an Inn. In 1959 the film star William Holden stayed there with his friends Ray Ryan and Carl Hirschmann, the latter a Swiss Banker. They were in the middle of a shooting safari, and Ray Ryan needed to recuperate, having sustained a cut eye from gun recoil. All three men succumbed to Mawingo's charm. They bought the property and turned it into one of the most unusual and exclusive Clubs in the world, 'The Mt Kenya Safari Club'. It has blossomed over the years with each new addition - luxurious cottages with sunken baths, a golf course, tennis courts, swimming pool, sauna - and side by side to William Holden's favourite project, a 1000 acre game reserve stocked with more than 800 wild animals. Following his death, it has now become the William Holden Foundation. The rich and famous still retreat to the Club for relaxation. Catherine Deneuve, Liv Ullman, Stefanie Powers, Ali McGraw, author James Clavell, film producer David Lean and footballer Joe Montana have all signed the guest book. Those who have stayed there will understand Rhoda's assertion to a friend in California, some 30 years after her marriage to Gabriel had been dissolved ''those were the happiest years of my life. There are no regrets''. There is no doubt that the historical background of Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki reads like a fairy tale. The only difference is that in this case, the fairy tale happens to be a true story, which drawn upon the feelings of almost everyone who hears about it and realizes that such a place does exist.
Room Size: 89 sq.m / 958 sq.ft.
Bed Type: One King bed
View: Mount Kenya
Named after the founder, the William Holden Cottages reflect the history and charm of the original residence. The cottage features an impressive 329 sqm space which is elegantly furnished and possesses a spacious lounge, a beautiful stone fire place, a regal five-piece en suite bathroom and a expansive private lawn overlooking the majestic mountain. The stunning cottage has two adjoining bedrooms which can be closed off for individual privacy or sold as a one or two bed roomed suite, each furnished with all the suite features and amenities. ON the busy road northeast from Nairobi to Nanyuki, you pass open-air stalls piled high with watermelons, apples and parrot-red mangoes. There are thriving banana and coffee plantations and sturdy acacia and candelabra trees, the latter looking like oversized dinner-table decorations swirled with dust. This region is a food bowl; as yet more produce for sale appears, there are sweet potatoes on the same stand as beautiful hand-woven baskets; at an old Singer treadle sewing machine, a woman is smoothing out lengths of vividly striped fabric ready to be hemmed. She is already wearing a dress and layered hat of the same material and, as her arms work away, the effect is of a billowing spinnaker. Everywhere there is industry and purpose you we sail on, past the Faircut Butchery and Magic Touch Hair Salon, the Live well Clinic and the Maximum Miracle Health Centre. The Honey Pot Beer Club ("Obey Your Thirst!") looks inviting; its neighbor, a cautionary presence, is the Deliverance Church. But you have a date with the Equator; your destination is Mt Kenya Safari Club, a 1930s-built property that was once the hideaway haven of actor William Holden, who founded the club in 1959. It used to hum with his celebrity chums; visiting VIPs, from Winston Churchill to Lord Louis Mountbatten; and local khaki-clad luminaries with their uniformed bearers and pet leopards in tow, Thirsts in those days were no doubt obediently quenched with gin, that most colonial of tipples, as the sun set on both sides of the equator here, at latitude zero on the dot. The 120-room property, now open to all as a safari lodge run by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, is in the foothills of Mt Kenya, spread across more than 40ha of groomed lawns and rose-filled gardens, golf course, forest and twizzled thickets of deciduous bamboo, close to the rolling region once known as Happy Valley. In the 1920s-40s this was infamous White Mischief territory where the three As -- altitude, alcohol and adultery -- ruled, and bored expatriate Brits frequently starting drinking at breakfast and forgot the names of their children. The landscape is high and hilly, sweeping and majestic, with crisp air and nights cool enough that Mt Kenya Safari Club guests can expect hot-water bottles popped between the soft sheets of their four-posters and fireplaces lit. Nearby is the Aberdare Range, subject of the joke my parents always liked to tell in county Surrey when they sent up our over-posh neighbours. "Did you see the Aberdares while you were out in Kenya?" went the question. "Seen them?" came the outraged reply. "Why, we had dinner with them." The suites and cottages are incidentally quite something, complete with parquet flooring, private verandas, comfortable sofas and log fires and though absolute privacy is easily had, shutting out the views by drawing the curtains would be verging on criminal. There’s plenty to do too. “From mountain biking to horse riding in the morning, there’s also bowls, croquet, swimming, golf and nature walks, so it’s an ideal place to have a day to relax in.” All well and good, you might say, but where are the animals? The slopes of Mount Kenya have their share, but things really hot up when you head for safari in Samburu. Running through the heart of this dramatic and rugged landscape is a precious ribbon of life: the mud-brown Ewaso Nyiro River. Graced by tall palms and shady acacias, the river is essential to the region’s endemic species, including gerenuk, reticulated giraffe and Grevy’s zebra. There are predators too. Leopards and lions leave their tracks in the dust. But above all, Samburu is elephant country. The mood at the hotel is safari chic, with enough retained colonial trimmings to look the part. There are agreeable guestrooms in the main building but pick of the accommodation is in an original two-bedroom "south of the equator" cottage, with shared lounge quarters but otherwise completely private. These bungalows are spread in arcs with doors opening to the lawns and the prospect of Mt Kenya -- at 5199m, Africa's second-highest, after Tanzania's Mt Kilimanjaro -- looming decoratively in the distance, like a theatre scrim. Holden, who died in 1981, always stayed in cottage No 12, and his long-term partner, Stefanie Powers, still keeps a house on the estate. Meanwhile, Bing Crosby, Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak are among the famous faces framed and hung on the walls of the main building, with its colonnaded wings and high ceilings. Look, there's Karen Blixen en route to Tanganyika by oxcart, circa 1914; and over there, Theodore Roosevelt "with his first bull elephant" (dead). There is a heated outdoor pool, croquet lawn, nine-hole golf course and ample strolling territory, but expect to be followed by honking peacocks and promenading marabou storks, their wings folded back as if clasped, their heads bent, looking like dour parsons out for a constitutional. The club straddles the equator and a long strip marking zero degrees latitude divides the courtyard and proceeds past a yellow-barked fever tree. It is in this courtyard that you attend the Equator Ceremony and learn of the Coriolis effect, whereby moving objects appear to veer to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern. Water gurgling down a plughole is the easiest way to test the effect, illustrated by club staff with three basins -- in the north, the south, and bang on the equator. Sure enough, the water goes down in a clockwise direction in the northern hemisphere, trickles straight down on the equator and flows anti-clockwise in the southern hemisphere basin. Guests look on and cheer. In the Zebra, with its zebra-print cushions and murals, you sip fresh passion fruit and tree-tomato juice, Highlands iced tea and chilled Tusker beer while overlooked, a trifle disconcertingly, by the mounted heads of long-expired game animals. The neighbouring William Holden Animal Orphanage is a vast enclosure of caged and roaming animals, and home to the well-fed likes of Oliver the buffalo, Patricia the ostrich ("here since she was an egg", laughs one attendant), Romeo the porcupine, Mara the wildebeest and Speedy the tortoise, brought from the Seychelles by Holden and estimated to be 150 years old. But the star attractions are endangered mountain bongos, an antelope species endemic to Mt Kenya and the Aberdares. Sick, injured and orphaned animals are cared for under the Mountain Bongo Repatriation Project and eventually will be released into the wild; the distinctively striped bongos are indeed cute, the babies with Bambi eyes and fluffy heads. Photogenic, too, are cranes with elaborate crests and golden crowns, striped tabby forest cats and a lone zebroid, a cross between a horse and a zebra, and not a happy-looking chap. Safaris are available to nearby game reserves such as Sweetwaters safari camp and Samburu. Twenty-five full-time gardeners tend the grounds, including a mini coffee and tea plantation tucked behind a hibiscus hedge between two rows of guest cottages. The organic kitchen garden is thriving with swiss chard, rosemary, endive, sage and multiple varieties of mint. These vegetables and herbs enliven the food, served buffet style at breakfast and lunch, but with superior choices and some dishes cooked to order at a chef's station; dinner is table d'hote, and if you eat on the terrace on a fine day, expect to be observed by hard-eyed birds. Most guests are on days off between touring Nairobi and safaris in Masai Mara. My two-night stay feels much too short; linger a while and there are Swahili lessons on call or gentle bird watching walks, perhaps with golden labradors Tusker and Grammy. Otherwise, just sitting in a lawn chair feels jolly fine, marabou stork at elbow and copy of Frances Osborne's The Bolter, about scandalous Happy Valley habitue Idina Sackville, on lap, watching the play of clouds over Mt Kenya. The sounds of Mount Kenya unfold as you drift away. The whispering wind, trickling flow of water from nearby rivers and streams fed from glaciers, clip-clop of hooves, chirping birds and sharp crackles from a bonfire – all sounds of my day that lingers. Memories of the champagne breakfast, an afternoon of pampering, delicious meals and great conversations with your companions are still fresh. Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club is a true retreat experience. Weekenders, honeymooners, mountaineers and nature lovers will be captured by Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club’s charm, especially by the views from the resort that are the most spectacular to be had in the area – the perfect place to seek regular solitude during your vacation in Kenya. Beyond the glam and gloss of endless espressos, bubbles and pampering there is a deeper meaning to be found at Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club if you seek it. It’s the spiritual energy of the mountain itself. Without any distractions, the gentle energy of Mount Kenya inevitably will wrap itself around you. And for some, that is the reason why they keep returning. Nanyuki Mt Kenya Safari Club is about 200km northeast of Nairobi. You have to search far and wide to find a resort that rivals Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, its unique location and celebrity history makes it one of a kind. Originally the private haven of movie star and founder William Holden, illustrious members and visitors to this historic club include celebrities, royalty and heads of state. Once a play ground for Hollywood stars, the club reflects the 1950’s colonial architectural design, providing a snap shot of Africa from a by gone era. Named after the founder, the 12 identical William Holden Cottage Suites reflect the history and charm of the original residence. They are elegantly furnished and possess spacious lounges, beautiful stone fire places, regal five-piece en suite bathrooms and expansive private lawns overlooking the majestic mountain. The stunning cottage suites have two adjoining bedrooms ideal for a family or two couples, offering privacy and luxurious accommodation, a duo feature celebrities find rather irresistible.
Room Size: 329 sq.m / 3541 sq.ft.
Bed Type: One King bed and twin beds
View: Mountain and lawn views
Located on the river side and 2 minutes drive away from the main building, the suite is uniquely situated, providing a magnificent view of Mount Kenya from a tranquil seclusion. The room is luxuriously furnished with ample living space, which is separated from the bedroom with a beautiful stone fire place, a 5 piece en suite marble bathroom and a private terrace overlooking the forest. Located on the slopes of Mount Kenya, the Mount Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki offers a unique blend of comfort, relaxation and adventure. Set in manicured lawns and decorative ponds and flowerbeds, one can enjoy the surroundings in style against the backdrop of Mount Kenya. The Club has a total of 144 rooms, consisting of two villas, 13 Riverside and 12 William Holden cottages, eight Garden Suites, Clubrooms and studio suites. All rooms have a private bathroom with shower, telephone and log fireplace. Most rooms also have a private veranda that overlooks Mount Kenya. The luxury villas, William Holden cottages and the presidential suite each have a large sitting room for guests to lounge around in after a round of golf. Guests can also enjoy trout fishing or a game of tennis. The Mawingo and the Kirinyaga restaurants are readily available, as are two bars, the Zebra Bar and the Trophy Lounge, which have a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Besides viewing game from a platform there are many more activities and services on offer. There is a heated swimming pool, tennis court, putting green, nine-hole golf course, bowls, croquet, trout fishing, art gallery, health and beauty centre, club shops, game viewing platform and bush dinners are arranged on the banks of the River Likii.
Room Size: 545 sq.m / 5866 sq.ft.
Bed Type: One King or two Twin beds
View: Forest view
If privacy and serenity are on the agenda this is the perfect room for you. This room is uniquely located, providing a magnificent view of Mount Kenya from a tranquil seclusion. The room is luxuriously furnished with a spacious lounge,five-piece en suite marble bathroom and a private terrace overlooking the forest.
Room Size: 415 sq.m / 4467 sq.ft.
Bed Type: One Queen bed
View: Forest view
All guest rooms at the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club offer the following amenities:
• Air conditioning with digital climate control
• Alarm clocks
• Wireless High Speed Internet Access available
• Two dedicated phone lines with personal voice mail
• In-room safe
• Miller Harris luxury bathroom amenities
• Mini-bar refreshment centre with a selection of premium food and beverage products
• Tea and coffee maker
• Fairmont bathrobes and slippers
• Hair dryer
• Iron and ironing board
• A selection of complimentary newspapers (national or local newspapers) are available upon request.
• Rain shower
• Fire place
The following amenities may be available in selected guest rooms. Please indicate the request in your on-line reservation, or ask one of our reservation agents.
• Connecting Rooms -- in the William Holden Cottages
Enjoy an elegant dining affair at the Tusks Resturant, one of the most exquisite restaurants in Nanyuki. it offers a sophisticated indoor set up which extends onto a terrace, with a great view of the majestic mountain. Adjacent to it is the Zebar, a great spot to unwind after a day of adventure, whilst the Swimming Pool Bar is perfect for a tranquil rendezvous. The private William Holden Dining Area is popular for hosting private dinners and cocktail parties. Facing the snow-capped Mount Kenya and overlooking the property's beautifully manicured grounds, the signature restaurant boasts a menu abounding with the incredible variety of foods that are farmed in Central Kenya. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, this elegant setting features terrace and indoor dinning around the original grand fireplace. Breakfast and lunch are served as buffet offering the best of what Kenya has to offer, dinner is served as a four course’s set menu with vegetarian options. Tusks Restaurant offers fantastic views on to Mount Kenya forest and snow caped peaks, in the evening, the original fire place will provide a warm and cozy atmosphere. Seating capacity is 120 people. Zebar features large windows overlooking the gardens, snow covered peak of Mount Kenya and beyond. In addition to offering a relaxed lounge atmosphere, Zebar, resting on the equator, is one of the few places in the world where your server will have to cross from the southern to the northern hemisphere to retrieve your order. The menu includes choice of liqueurs, beers, soft drinks, cocktails, wines, spirits, tea and coffee, as well as a bar snacks. Relax by the pool, while your waiter serves you a refreshing cocktail crafted by the Zebar. Liqueurs, soft drinks, cocktails, tea and coffee, as well as a snack menu are served from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm. Set around a wood-burning fireplace, this cozy private dining location is accented with collection of photographs that feature actors and movie casts from yesteryear. The room has a working fire place, private terrace and spectacular view’s of Mount Kenya. In-room Dining is available along with a selection of liquors, soft drinks, cocktails, wines, spirits, tea and coffee. At all Fairmont hotels, children3 and under eat free from the kids' menu while children 6-11 eat for half price off the regular menu. New this year is the expansion of the brand’s Lifestyle Cuisine program to children’s menus - offering a healthy twist on the usual kid-friendly favorites such as chicken strips, pizza, spaghetti with meatballs and even chocolate mousse. Chefs are in the process of swapping out refined flour for whole wheat, incorporating fruits and vegetables into recipes to help meet the recommended daily fiber allowance, and employing alternative cooking methods to help ensure healthier choices are made available to young diners.
Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club provide a comprehensive range of conference rooms, all-round secretarial services and audiovisual equipment. Kirinyaga Room, the largest of our four conference rooms accommodates up to 300 persons in theatre style while Tembo seats 14 around a board room table. Syndicate rooms, Colobus and Chui are adjacent to the main the conference room. The hotel meeting rooms are well lit with natural day light and provide internet connectivity, audio-visual equipment, adjustable light settings and air-conditioning. Specializing in personalized conference arrangement, for groups small and large, Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club offers elegant meeting spaces, which can accommodate up to 300 guests in theatre format, and spectacular grounds for outdoor events and activities. Our facilities, complemented by our dedicated conference team, will ensure that your meeting becomes a unique and memorable one. Plan your conference, meeting, seminar, training, team building or any other group event and save with our special group rates, Mount Kenya Safaris Club is one of the best hotels in Nanyuki region where you can connect business and pleasure… Perfect escape from your office and great place for work. We provide all of your special event needs. Our event and catering staff will work with you to execute your vision for corporate meetings and conferences facilities, training, team buildings, or the special event you desire. The “conference facility is perfect place for high level conferences, seminars or business meetings. Decorated with modern art, has large capacity for conferences, or can be prepared as a formal board room for meetings. The conference room is equipped with projector, flip charts, whiteboard, speaker platform and wireless internet access. For an exclusive and be spoke event, Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club not only offers a unique backdrop but provides professional and personalized services to match your specific requirements. From cocktail receptions in the Rose garden, elegant bush dinners adjacent to River Likii to breakfast set up on the slopes of Mount Kenya, among others, all events are well crafted and complemented by the warm personalized service of our expert staff. Ensuring you have a distinct and memorable event. At Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, We realize that offering conference packages makes planning and budgeting easier for every conference planners and organizers. With this in mind we have created several packages to suit all market segments. Whether for staff training, field service conferences or team training – our hotel offers the perfect conditions for these events and many more: we have the capacity for meetings, seminars, workshops and conferences. Mount Kenya Safari Club has a very light, friendly, air-conditioned conference room equipped with state-of-the-art technology and the possibility of different room layouts. An experienced, friendly team takes care of all the details, from technological requirements to catering. Then you can simply concentrate on the content. Enjoy an elegant affair at the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club restaurant in Nanyuki. Dress is strictly smart casual, and ladies are asked not to wear mini-skirts, and gentlemen are asked not to wear sports gear. Long trousers are mandatory for dinner. Special early supper can be served in the main dining room for children under 12 years old, and children are not allowed in the public areas after 9:30 p.m. A room service menu is available, together with a choice of liqueurs, soft drinks, cocktails, wines, spirits, tea and coffee. Room service is available 24 hours. For those who wish to spend time relaxing at the Nanyuki resort hotel, there are many recreational activities available: horseback riding, golf, croquet, a bowling green, table tennis, swimming, a beauty salon, an animal orphanage and much more. To be able to relax and appreciate the superb setting, the personal attention lavished on all our visitors, the numerous activities and superb cuisine, one night is just not enough. Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club is the ideal base for a truly superb holiday in Nanyuki, Kenya. With some of the country’s finest attractions on the doorstep, visitors to the resort can enjoy an enormous range of excursions and activities without spending hours and even days traveling between each. The Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club is pleased to introduce Tusker and Grammy, our canine ambassadors.
Imagine your wedding in the heart of the Mount Kenya, in a timeless place and where time stands still, if you looking for the ideal venue for your dream wedding in Kenya – for special honeymoon days or to refresh your wedding vows? Then you have come to the right place! Mount Kenya Safari club is the perfect location for your special and exclusive wedding celebration; here everything revolves around enjoying a romantic time together as a couple. No matter what you have in mind for your wedding, you will want for nothing! With rich food, landscapes and history, they can transform any wedding into a romantic real-life fairy tale that couples and guests won't want to leave after just a couple days. And, who says you have to? Imagine transforming your destination wedding from a one-day affair to a full holiday escape for you and your guests. The celebration can last for days or weeks! It will be a wedding ceremony that's truly legendary in the minds of your friends and family. It will be the standard by which all other weddings venues are measured. And it will be a treasured memory for all who attended, In addition to receiving all the benefits and support of our stress-free full wedding planning program, we will help you design a complete vacation package for you and your guests, based on the number of days you desire. At the heart of your holiday is the weeding grounds you’ve been daydreaming about. Whether you picture yourself surrounded by culture or luscious wedding gardens, we will help you create the exact wedding you've been envisioning. Our full wedding planning service, included in our holiday escape program, gives you the support, flexibility, options and control you'd expect to have when planning the most precious day of your life, without all the anxiety. We are by your side from start to finish helping execute your vision, no re-invent it, so that your wedding feels like your day, not someone else's. Mount Kenya Safari Club professional wedding planners are there to provide you with advice. On request they can arrange a fairy-tale wedding celebration for you, wholly in keeping with what you want. If you like, wedding planners can help you with the planning and preparation and provide you with tips and ideas of how to make your wedding a very special, unforgettable highlight for you and your guests. We are happy to take care of everything – from the wedding registrars and wedding photographers to the witnesses, butler service and wedding car – so you can enjoy every moment, Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club is the classic fairy tale destination wedding of your dreams, experience the sheer beauty of this idyllic paradise that sits at the base of the magnificent Mount Kenya, where exquisite manicured lawns overlook tranquil ponds, a delightful rose garden with a flowing stream and an elegant Ballroom with a seating capacity for 200 guests provide a unique setting for your personal wedding theme. And as every couple is unique, our resort features authentic touches tailored specifically to your needs. We recommend our quaint little chapel for smaller intimate weddings which has a seating capacity of 15 guests. Newlyweds can indulge in our honeymoon holidays extras with a romantic breakfast on the slopes of Mount Kenya, leisurely nature walks, horse riding or an idyllic picnic on Lake Alice where Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton. Choose a Fairmont wedding and receive exclusive access to our Platinum Honeymoon Program. The Kirinyaga Room which has a seating capacity of 200 guests for a sit down dinner and up to 260 guests for a cocktail reception. This can also be an amazing wedding reception venue in case of weather change, it can accommodate at least 200 guests seated. Our large garden courtyard has elegant looks that create a great breathtaking atmosphere with the strolling peacocks giving it a more flourish look. Abundance of natural-light and the spectacular view of the courtyard and the Equator line running the length of the room. With a wedding day being one of the most important days of your life, with our team of experts, we specialize in making your wedding dreams come true. Our facilities, complemented by our dedicated catering team, will ensure that your event becomes a unique and memorable occassion.
Our manicured gardens with strolling peacocks are a fabulous site for cocktails, whether using the rose garden or the expansive courtyard, we offer the perfect backdrop for your function, including birthdays and anniversaries. If you prefer an indoor set up our elegant ballroom - Kirinyaga is quite ideal, with high ceilings and luxurious furnishings, whilst our private dining room, offers exclusivity and splendor for an intimate get together. If you seek tranquility by the mountain side, beautiful landscaping and be spoke service, then Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club is the perfect setting for your social event. The Kirinyaga Room which has a seating capacity of 200 guests for a sit down dinner and up to 260 guests for a cocktail reception. This can also be an amazing wedding reception venue incase of weather change, it can accommodate at least 200 guests seated. The room is situated at the beginning of hole number one on the right handside. The nine-hole golf course lies right on the Equator line with a spectacular view of the Mount Kenya. The room can accommodate an unlimited number of upto 300 as it has a wide space outside and for indoor seating, it can accomodate 80 guests. This cozy private dining room has a spectacular view of Mount Kenya and a set around wood-burning fireplace. Very ideal for private dining for 20 and cocktails for small groups of about 20 guests. Enjoy a seamless and stress-free event experience. The Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club offers meeting and social planners a set of online tools, at no cost. We are able to customize an event booking website just for you. You can send out a reservation campaign to invite your guests to reserve rooms. Your guests can enjoy the convenience of booking online in your contracted block any time of the day. You may also receive guest list updates based on your needs, Ask us how we can get started creating a seamless booking experience for your guests.
With magnificent views of majestic Mount Kenya, the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club Resort's 120 luxuriously appointed hotel rooms, set in over 100 acres of landscaped gardens, offer a unique blend of comfort, relaxation and adventure. Its no wonder this Nanyuki resort emerged a winner in the 2013 Travellers Choice Awards and that Travel & Leisure Magazine often positions it in the 'World's Top 50' List. Originally the retreat of movie star and Club founder, William Holden, the Club's illustrious former members have included Winston Churchill and Bing Crosby. For those who wish to spend time relaxing at the Mount Kenya resort hotel, there are many Nanyuki recreational activities available: horseback riding, golf, croquet, a bowling green, table tennis, swimming, an animal orphanage and much more. To be able to relax and appreciate the superb setting, the personal attention lavished on all our visitors, the numerous activities and superb cuisine, one night is just not enough. Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club is the ideal base for a truly superb holiday in Nanyuki, Kenya. With some of the country's finest attractions on the doorstep, visitors to the resort can enjoy an enormous range of excursions and activities without spending hours and even days traveling between each. Making it one of the most truly best hotels in Kenya. The resort has a scenic 9-hole manicured golf course. It is interspersed with ponds, sand banks and is the only course bisected by the Equator in Africa– allowing one to leisurely cross from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere. The course has been redesigned to mirror international golfing standards, and has seen a new interest in corporate firms making their way here for a round of golf. The property's picturesque landscape lends a serene atmosphere and ideal backdrop for teeing off, whilst the weather is perfect, never too hot or cold to putt a golf ball. For corporate guests the Club offers an additional ‘fun’ night golf option on hole #1 for events at the golf clubhouse. As one of our most popular holiday types, an all inclusive golf holiday will include a range of food and drink to enjoy when off the course on your next trip. Most all inclusive golf packages will include not only your food during your stay but also a host of beer, wine and spirits to supplement your stay and make even the tightest member of your 4-ball being the first at the bar! The resort has a scenic 9-hole manicured golf course. It is interspersed with ponds, sand banks and is the only course bisected by the Equator in Africa– allowing one to leisurely cross from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere. The course has been redesigned to mirror international golfing standards, and has seen a new interest in corporate firms making their way here for a round of golf. The property's picturesque landscape lends a serene atmosphere and ideal backdrop for teeing off, whilst the weather is perfect, never too hot or cold to putt a golf ball. For corporate guests the Club offers an additional ‘fun’ night golf option on hole #1 for events at the golf clubhouse. All of our golf offers can be customised to suit your needs. For example, longer or shorter stays plus more or less rounds of golf. Please add any additional requirements into the quotation request form.
Relax, rejuvenate and refresh yourself at our newly opened Health & Fitness Center, with breathtaking views of the Mt. Kenya scenic landscape. Inspired by the serene beauty and tranquil surroundings of the Club, the Health & Fitness Center offers a wide range services - whether you yearn for a good work out or in need of deep relaxation or revitalization, our state of the art Health & Fitness Center will indulge all your senses.
Fitted with the latest cutting edge Technogym equipment, including cardiovascular and isotonic machines, the Fitness Center is located in a modern air conditioned venue, naturally lit and skillfully managed by our professionally trained, personal instructor. It also houses male & female changing rooms and lockers, with full amenities and a well-appointed resting lounge. If you enjoy the outdoors, we have BMW bikes for hire, or complimentary to FPC members. Our heated Swimming Pool, Tennis & Basketball Courts are also available for use. As a member of the Fairmont President Club (FPC) you have complimentary access to the Fairmont Fitness Program, which includes Reebok work out attire for use during your stay.
indulge yourself in a haven of soothing body treatments with a range of luxury aromatic products carefully selected to suit your body and skin. Our 3 treatment rooms are located in serene surroundings, with one tailored to cater for couples treatments. Our trained therapists offer both Asian and Scandinavian treatments, facials, hand and foot care.
Babysitting is available on request – a 12 hours notice is normally required. Contact the Reception to make arrangements.
The hotel has bell staff located at the entry of the hotel. Complimentary luggage storage is available.
Massage, Facial, Manicure, Pedicure, Hair Dressing, Bird Walk, Nature Walk, Equator Ceremony, Animal Orphanage, Horse Riding, Pony Rides, Golf Club Rental, Mountain Bike, Climbing Mount Kenya, Climbing and Abseiling, Rafting and Canoeing, Game Drives to Aberdare National Park, Samburu Game Reserve and Sweetwaters Game Reserve.
The Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club is one of those rural Africa lodges that looks and feels like it should’ve been in the movie “Out of Africa’. The shadow of Mount Kenya is a great setting for a classic Africa safari lodge and to experience the Africa that you have always dreamed about. Africa is chaotic, frenetic and in your face but it can also be the calmest, most peaceful place in the world. The Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari lodge is one of those places and it offers a lot to do. The Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club is about a 3.5-hour drive from the bustling Kenyan capital of Nairobi. Conversely, you can take a short 40-minute puddle jumper flight from the small Wilson Airport in Nairobi to the small town Nanyuki. From Nanyuki, it’s a 15-minute drive to the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club. The Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club actually straddles the equator. It literally runs right through the center of the hotel and is marked accordingly. Upon arrival, you are taken to an equator crossing ceremony and actually got to dance (ish), play some drums with some Masai people and you are even presented with a certificate of crossing the equator. Guests can check into the hotel from 1200pm but rooms are guaranteed from 1pm. Check out time is 10.00 am. Late checkout can be arranged, kindly contact the reception.
Football, Volley Ball, Hula Hoop, Croquet, Horse Shoe Throwing, Giant Jenga, Scrabble, Giant Ludo, Badminton, Table Tennis, Chess, Draughts, Pool Table, Darts, Monopoly, Junior Dictionary, Playing Cards. This elite safari retreat exudes relaxed refinement. Think smooth, crisp linen suits, sundowners on the veranda and elegant evening dresses. Speaking of dresses, ladies, be sure to pack a few as the main dining room here carries a smart-casual dress code. Gents are also expected to be suitably attired, and smart trousers are a must. Tusks Restaurant oozes sophistication, serving up gourmet dishes and scrumptious breakfasts daily. Sunday brunch is not to be missed while the Indian curries and traditional breads served at dinner detonate an explosion of tantalising flavours in your mouth. Rooms are large and luxurious, and most have a view of Mount Kenya. Because of its altitude, the nights tend to be rather chilly, but guests can be rest assured that on retiring to their rooms for the evening, there will be a warm crackling fire to welcome them. The location of the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki makes it the ideal base for your adventures. Sweet Water Ranch, a private game reserve, is just a short drive away. Plus the nearby animal orphanage offers a humbling experience of feeding and interacting with a broad range of animals, who have either have been orphaned, injured or require special care.
Laundry service is available on a daily basis, laundry given by 10am will be returned the same day after 6pm Dry cleaning service is done in Nairobi which is a 2 1/2-hour drive. This service takes three days. The hotel has in house Laundry facilities available from 7am to 6pm daily. Ironing and Pressing services are available and returned within 2 hours. Express service is also available at an extra cost of 50% of laundry/dry-cleaning charge. In the early days when Hollywood legend Bill Holden was chilling at his private cottage at the Mount Kenya Safari Club, he always kept a telescope trained on the main bar in the hunting lodge. At 2,187 metres (7,000 feet), alcohol packs a bigger punch, and with a guest list that at times included Charlie Chaplin, David Niven and the Aga Khan, Holden got a kick out of watching his celebrity friends get looped. The wild drinking parties of the swinging sixties are over, but the Mount Kenya Safari Club, now part of Toronto-based Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, is still East Africa's top address for decompressing from a bush safari. The biggest difference today is that instead of Hollywood celebrities you'll find maribou storks the size of George Burns roaming the grounds. When Holden acquired the Mount Kenya Safari Club in 1959 with Texas millionaire Ray Ryan and Swiss banker Carl Hirschmann, it was a hunting lodge. Over the decades, the property, set on more than 100 acres of the Rift Valley, has been expanded to 120 guest rooms, suites and cottages. Fairmont completed an extensive renovation this summer costing about $10-million, adding balconies and terraces to open up the property to Kenya's central highlands. (At this altitude, there is no risk of malarial mosquitoes.) Other additions include an elegant conference centre and a heated swimming pool. The main lodge retains its original Cape Dutch style, along with old hunting trophies and photographs from the glory days. Pair of elephant tusks standing taller than a Masai warrior frame the entryway to Zebar, which serves potent Bombay martinis. Every room at the main lodge has a view of Mount Kenya, the country's highest mountain at 5,199 metres. Dallas-based Wilson Associates was hired to redesign rooms, blending the opulence of 1940s Hollywood with the grandeur of colonial Africa. The main features are a four-post mahogany bed with Egyptian-cotton sheets, and sitting area next to a sprawling fireplace. There is also a heavy emphasis on Kenyan marble quarried in the Rift Valley, which has been incorporated into the coffee table, fireplace mantel and bathroom counters. Suites have a separate bath and rainwater-style shower with glass casing. Heavy tapestry-style curtains are a chore to open to use the balcony. The equator slices clean through the main lodge, which means that in some rooms a guest's top half sleeps in the Northern Hemisphere while his bottom half sleeps in the Southern Hemisphere. There's a new elegant swimming pool, nine-hole golf course, lawn bowling and tennis court, plus a video lounge for watching DVDs. But this is Africa, and guests are encouraged to explore the private grounds. The William Holden Animal Orphanage is probably the property's most popular attraction, located a short walk from the reception area. The highlight is a small herd of mountain bongo, an endangered species of antelope with magnificent spiralling horns and mahogany-coloured hides. You can also arrange to ride on horseback through a purple forest of cedar, fig and fever trees to a champagne breakfast in the open air. The only downside is an English saddle, which fortunately becomes more comfortable after a few glasses of champers. Another great option is hiring a jeep at the front desk and driving over to the Solio Ranch, located 15 kilometres away near the country town of Nanyuki. Over 5,000 hectares, this game reserve has Kenya's largest concentration of white rhinos. Some evenings Masai, Kikuyu and Embu natives from nearby villages perform traditional dances on the terrace at Zebar. And, in case you're missing your own dog, the resort has two amiable golden retrievers – Ducia and Volga – which guests are welcome to walk around the grounds. Eating à la carte at Tusks Restaurant is good, including French-style classics such as biftek and poulet frites. The nearby town of Nanyuki is in the heart of Kenya's sport-fishing country, so the trout in almond sauce is outstanding. Nearly all the food on the menu is sourced from central Kenyan farmers, providing not only much-needed employment, but organically grown fruits and vegetables for the kitchen. Soak up the atmosphere at this luxury property in the middle of the African bush. It offers just the right combination of comfort and adventure, the way Bill Holden liked it.
Where Sundays are laid back and fun. Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club offers an experience that fits perfectly with what Sundays are meant to be; a time to unwind, enjoy a good meal and have fun with family in the midst of manucured gardens, tranquil streams and ponds. Sunday Brunch Buffet, If an ‘all you can eat’ barbecue, unlimited alcoholic drinks (beer and wine) and a lazy day in an idyllic setting is the best thing for you, then the place to be is Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club. You can treat the family to a delicious Sunday Brunch at Tusks Restaurant which provides cosy indoor dining or you can opt to sit on the Terrace which has a fantastic view of the majestic mountain or choose to relax at the Courtyard in a laid-back Kenyan style. Sunday Brunch specialties include ‘made to order omelettes’, waffles, pancakes, fresh salads from our very own herb garden, pasta, chef’s carving station and a hamburger station. Included is a sumptuous selection of barbecue, smoky sausages, roast beef and lamb ribs. Loads of fun for the kids with jumping castle, clown and wholesome outdoor activities in the kids playground.
The Story of the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy is as full of color, romance and memorable incident – both human and animal – as any of the classic Out of Africa sagas. Yet it’s never been told, One day, perhaps. But in the meantime, the following outline covers some of the highlights of the founding and almost 50 years of development of this African heritage conservation project for the preservation of endangered wildlife in Kenya. At the heart of the project is the animal orphanage, a privately owned and funded facility, unique in East Africa, for the care and rehabilitation of young, abandoned, sick or otherwise vulnerable animals and their eventual return to the wild. It all began like this… Two young Americans met up in East Africa for the first time in 1964. They were in Kenya, their country of choice, for no good purpose other than to enjoy themselves. Do a Teddy Roosevelt – go off on wild adventurous bush safaris in the bush, hunting and fishing and collecting themselves a bag of the fabled “Big Game” trophies. Kenya was newly independent of British colonial rule and under the Republic’s founding President, they found the reborn “Black African” land both a warm and welcoming place – and of beauty beyond description. They bonded closely over the course of their camping safaris into the wildest parts of Kenya. But the thrill of hunting soon began to wane. What they came to realize was that the sheer pleasure and personal reward they received from the African “bush” experience were not from the destruction of wildlife but from feelings of wonder and exhilaration at its very existence in a timeless natural environment. From that point, they made a pact to do what they could to protect and preserve the animals. It was at first a day-dream, but over time they began to talk more seriously about the possibility of owning a small private part of the wild, with no other agenda than to fulfil their commitment. it would eventually happen. They found a stretch of pristine rangeland and so began what would be a lifetime’s work of developing the first project of its kind in “Black Africa” – The Mount Kenya Game Ranch. The two friends and partners in the enterprise were film actor William (Bill) Holden and TV personality, Don Hunt. The Ranch In their search for the ideal location, they were joined by Julian McKeand former professional hunter turned game warden, and Iris, a German-born art and Africa enthusiast who would later become Don’s wife. They eventually found their perfect site 1,216 acres of rough marginal rangeland nestling in the foothills of Mount Kenya, surrounding the world-famous Mount Kenya Safari Club. Owners Jim and Betty-Ann Nicholsen were elderly and finally tiring of a hard life of subsistence on a small annual wheat crop and a few sheep they ran on the land. They were ready to sell. The deal with the Nicholsens was duly done and the farm acquired. Dean Johnson, a well-known U.S. Attorney and Bill’s close friend and mentor, joined the group to oversee the legalities. Together they agreed to Don’s idea for the concept of their corporate logo, which symbolized the core purpose of the project that would remain the one constant over the ensuing decades of development and ever more diverse activities on the Ranch. It featured the elusive Bongo of Mount Kenya and the Aberdare forests – the rarest, most threatened and, some say, most beautiful of the African antelopes. From day one, for all the partners, Kenya would remain “Timeless Africa”. It would take up many hours of deep and meaningful musings around the campfire on Kenya safari, or, more soberly, at breakfast at the ranch, watching the snowy peaks of Mount Kenya gleaming in the early light. The farm was all but devoid of wildlife. It bordered dense forest land and the Mount Kenya National Park, where traditionally, animals had been hunted for meat – but also, increasingly at the time, poached for illegal trade in horns and skins. The game warden and his staff did all they could to contain the onslaught of commercial poaching. Increasing human settlement posed a further threat to wildlife and people alike. What were once traditional migratory routes for the game became “conflict zones” and the animals were seen as trespassers to be chased off or shot. The conflict has yet to be resolved. Bill went back to Hollywood to make movies to provide much of the initial investment needed to begin development of the Mount Kenya Game Ranch towards its ultimate objective- the preservation of endangered wildlife and its regeneration, where indicated, through selective breeding programs. Don and the others stayed on to get the work started and, from the outset, he and Iris spent much time on safari tours in Kenya, moving animals out of areas earmarked by the government for resettlement of the poor and landless. Bill joined the couple whenever he could; never losing his youthful enthusiasm for life in the wild- the wilder the better, including the always hazardous capture operations. Julian stayed behind to supervise development of the ranch infrastructure and to deal with the new African government authorities in Nairobi. President Jomo Kenyatta himself – the well-loved founding “Father of the Nation” -took an immediate and lasting interest in the project. He often directed Don and his crew to particular areas of human-wildlife conflict, seeking their help in the translocation of vulnerable animals. He took much pleasure in initiating a program to assist in the re-stocking of wildlife parks in other African countries, for which he was later inducted into The International Conservation Hall of Fame. Slowly the Ranch filled with rescued wild animals and, whenever a surplus of stock accumulated, some of the animals would be sent not only to African reserves, but also to established, carefully vetted zoological parks in the U.S. Many of these animals would form the nucleus of breeding herds, from which, in due course, viable family groups could be returned to their original habitats where the species had been depleted to the point of local extinction. While Don occupied himself with the main operations, Iris found herself more and more required to take responsibility for the young, often sick and dying wildlife casualties of the pressure zones in Kenya and elsewhere on the continent. These were “orphans of the wild” in need of a new home – of care and resuscitation in the safe environment of the Ranch. As the menace of poaching grew, so the flow of motherless orphans onto the Ranch increased to the point that Iris’s home and garden could no longer double as a refuge for wild baby animals. She then set herself the task of building a permanent facility from what had been Betty-Ann’s old chicken coops. The wildlife waifs – mostly guests, but also a few permanent residents – were thus provided with a new home and compound, which she named, formally, The Mount Kenya Animal Orphanage. Iris then drew on the experience of game scouts, game wardens, vets, and others to refine the care program, which included training a staff of African keepers and developing “survival diets” for the most-at-risk infant orphans. One of her early supporters and advisers was the well-respected Kenyan National Park Warden Bill Woodley. Neighbors and visitors soon became used to seeing Iris with a baby elephant or giraffe or brood of baby cheetah in tow – or most memorably for some – a boisterous scamp of a young chimp in her arms. Often, wherever possible, the orphanage “graduates,” a never-ending stream of them, would be returned to their natural homes all across Africa. One inflexible principle Iris has always applied in the running of her project is that none of the animals would ever be treated, assigned or consigned to anyone as pets. Her strong view has been that, no matter how endearing they become, they would all remain as nature intended – wild animals, free in particular of human anthropomorphic sentiment. In any event, the process of rehabilitation and release is never easy. But it is the consistent aim of the Ranch and Orphanage – and the success rate among Iris’s “bush graduates” clearly attests to the fact that she and her team are, as she puts it “at least on the right track. hereas the saving of a few orphans may not count in the overall picture of conservation, it plays a primary part in how much attention and respect we should pay to nature and the environment as a whole. Since Iris started the Animal Orphanage, she has invited more than 100,000 African students to visit and take part in its conservation programs. Neither the Mount Kenya Game Ranch nor the Animal Orphanage is a charity or trust. Nor does either one provide salaried employment for its owners or directors. The dedicated staff get paid, but no one else. Visitor tickets to the Orphanage have helped. But the receipts have never been nearly enough to meet the costs. The facility has been funded from the start through money earned not begged or otherwise solicited as donations. The sudden tragic death of Bill Holden in 1981 was a great shock for Don and Iris and an irreplaceable loss for the partnership. But the couple recommitted themselves to the project and continued to meet most of the cost over-runs from their own personal earnings and savings. They joined with actress Stefanie Powers in contributing to the creation of a unique permanent memorial to their close friend through the fulfillment of his long-standing wish to draw the new generations of young Africans into the cause of preserving their own natural heritage. He’d had in mind a structured program of encouragement, information and education and it was for this purpose that the William Holden Wildlife Education Center was conceived and developed. Don and Iris donated the land for the Education Center and the investment finance was provided by Stefanie and the legions of people who had valued what Bill Holden had given them, either personally or through his accomplished work. His facility was duly constructed and, since 1982, the student intake from Kenyan Schools for its program of short courses has built up to a total of 7,000 a year. Sometime after the inception of the project, Stefanie joined the Mount Kenya Game Ranch Board of Directors. She has remained deeply involved in the Foundation, but also frequently works with Iris and the staff of the Orphanage, helping in whatever way she can. Along with Iris, she has almost a religious conviction that all creatures have a right to a secure life on the planet and that humans, the dominant species at the top of the food chain, have a duty to ensure that African wildlife – not exclusively, but in particular – continues to share the earth’s natural resources in its natural environment. The Mount Kenya Game Ranch/Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy is now a recognized and significant link in the world-wide network of conservation organizations. The most remarkable of the Conservancy’s exotic stock are: A breeding herd of the rare mountain bongo, now extinct on Mount Kenya, which forms part of a program to return the species to the wild. A breeding herd of 30 very rare white zebra, offspring of the last of their kind, rescued from extinction many years ago in the arid northern Kenya range. These are now the only specimens of their kind left alive in Africa. It is currently home to some 28 species – around 1500 animals – all of which are the progeny of the individuals and small family groups rescued from threatened wildlife range and forest areas under the direction of the Kenya Government in the seventies and eighties. Kenya has come a long way in the field of conservation, with its various Tourism & Wildlife Service’s still maintaining the largest land area in Africa given over exclusively to wild flora and fauna. Mount Kenya has been recognized by the United Nations as a World Heritage Site and with a renewed commitment made by the new government of President Mwai Kibaki, it will almost certainly remain a primary world attraction for the present and hopefully for future generations. As always, the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy will make its contribution, not least with a main objective of restocking the forest parks with its own emblematic Bongo Antelope. Adjacent to the Mount Kenya Game Ranch lies a unique and spectacular enclave of exclusive residences. A very private estate nestled into the foothills of Mount Kenya boasts panoramic views across the mighty forests of the Mount Kenya National Park to the majestic snow covered peaks of “Kerinyaga,” God’s Mountain. We have called this stunning estate Mawingu, Kiswahili for Clouds. Unlike “theme park re-creation” this un-spoilt paradise reflects the true adventure of life in Africa…. The founders of William Holden‘s famous African ranch have all built homes here. Sadly our friend and co-founder Bill Holden passed away before he could realize his own dream home in the clouds. But not before he and his partners stocked their ranch with more than a thousand endangered wild animals of 26 species. They built hidden fences, planted hundreds of trees, spectacular flowers and planned exclusive residences for a few of their affluent friends seeking a piece of paradise. That was in the 1970’s It was not until 1985 that the “Mawingu” estate became a reality and the first residence was built for our friend, famous Hollywood producer Robert Halmi. Bob Halmi spent every moment he could at his home in the clouds, often commuting from New York, he would bring along his famous friends from the world of film and stage. Soon Stefanie Powers built her own impressive home. Many famous friends followed, from the U.S, England, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Australia etc. making for a truly international little community. Today Mawingu is a small international community of people that have fallen in love with Africa. They enjoy the luxury of their own homes while here and as a base for Quenia Safari with adventure on their doorstep. There are no pests and the only wildlife around here is that of the more enjoyable kind: Antelopes, Zebras, Monkeys, Gazelles, even Buffalos and of course plenty of Leopard and Elephant in the surrounding forest. There are no snakes to speak of (they prefer the hotter climes and lower altitudes and no bugs or mosquitoes. Imagine: No one needs screens on their doors and windows. Nights are always cool and log fires guarantee a cozy atmosphere. Kenya can really offer all 4 seasons at once. For the photographers and artists amongst us, the whole of Africa with her unique light, flora and fauna beckons right on our doorstep. Watching the full moon cast a spell over the mountain has become a cocktail ritual we enjoy with fascination, over and over again. But with modern technology now available there is of course Satellite TV, the might of the Internet, and all other gadgets available to those that enjoy them. William Holden creation. It’s our local where things often get lively at night. Recently ‘the Club’ has changed hands and is now managed by the experts from Fairmont Hotels, an international company specializing in the management of 6 star resorts. A major $15,000,000.00 renovation is now complete. The new face of the Club is stunning and has captured its former glory, the atmosphere of luxury and adventure, but with all the modern state of the art conveniences at close hand. This will shortly include a spa, a beauty parlor and opportunities to shop. The adjacent Mount Kenya Art Gallery is a treasure trove. Niall Cowan is the enthusiastic young General Manager at the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club. He and his artist wife Susie and little daughter Tara are delighted to be here and have become popular members of our “neighborhood.” Niall and Susie are dedicated supporters of wildlife and conservation and you can often find Tara helping to feed animals at our adjacent Orphanage. Niall delights in helping to plan our private parties in our own residences at Mawingu with the same ease as banquets at “The Club.” He’ll do up a romantic picnic basket for two with the same enthusiasm and attention to detail as your 50th birthday party for 200 guests. The Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club now serves gourmet fare in their dining room for breakfast, lunch and Dinner, but the Chef is always game to prepare special meals to your heart’s desire.
Famous for its Rhino breeding sanctuary, the Solio game reserve is situated 45kms from the resort. Rhino enthusiasts will be delighted to get close up views of the endangered black and white rhinos in large herds, which is a rare treat in this region. The tour is not complete without viewing other wild life species including giraffes, buffalos, lions, cheetahs, zebras, antelopes, among others, with the exception of elephants. At Solio the contrast in topography and wildlife in this 18,000 acre reserve is stunning. Huge stands of yellow acacia compliment the higher rolling plains whilst a bountiful marsh, Solio's lifeline, bisects the sanctuary.
Home to orphaned and abused chimpanzees from west and central Africa, this sanctuary attracts numerous guests who travel to view this fascinating and endearing specie due to its close resemblance to humans. A sheltered oasis, clustered around a water hole and set in the pristine calm of the private Ol Pejeta Conservancy, guests can view the fascinating Chimpanzees from 9.30am - 10.30am and 3.00pm - 4.30pm daily. Guests also have the privilege of viewing the Big Five, at the private conservancy, which has a higher wildlife-to-area ratio than any of Kenya's national parks. This tour will definitely leave a memorable impression of your African adventure.
Mount Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa, long overshadowed by Mount Kilimanjaro; trekkers have for long taken notice of this beautiful glacial peak, An ancient dormant volcano, its flanks have been shaped and moulded to dramatic affect by glaciations. Mount Kenya plays host to dense bamboo and rainforest on its lower slopes and rare Afro-Alpine moorland and plant-life at higher elevations. Alongside the climbers’ twin peaks of Batian (5199m) and Nelion (5,188m) lies the no less dramatic trekkers peak at Lenana (4,985m). The trekking Mount Kenya demands a degree of fitness and altitude smarts, but it rewards all the way to the peak. The Highlights of Mount Kenya are taking in the view of the 3 peaks from Shipton’s Camp; Climbing Mount Kenya is very accessible and there-in lies the problem. With a decent level of fitness it is easy to gain altitude quickly and find yourself the on the night before summiting with a throbbing head-ache and all the symptoms of acute mountain sickness. Climbing Mt Kenya with a good experienced mountain climbing guide, taking a sensible easy pace and keeping hydrated makes all the difference. The best approach is always to allow extra time for your ascent, an extra day at Shipton’s Camp takes all the pressure of the itinerary and gives you time to enjoy the fabulous trekking around the Mt Kenya peak. Generally speaking it isn’t necessary to undergo a grueling fitness regime prior to attempting climb Mount Kenya, anyone who is trek fit, and is comfortable walking 6-8 hour days should be fine, The Mount Kenya trekking crew will usually consist of a guide, cook, porter for the cooking gear plus a personal porter per trekker. It has been said before, but a good experienced guide is so important on Mount Kenya climbing safari, for two reasons; (1) they will regulate your pace, be able to draw on their experience to diagnose altitude sickness symptoms and have the confidence to make critical decisions and (2) their knowledge of the wildlife and fauna on the mountain will bring the environment alive. All Mt Kenya climb guides and porters must be registered with Kenya Wildlife Services and hold a mountain guide park from Mt Kenya National Park. It is fair to say that all the guides will have a good knowledge of the Mount Kenya routes, but only the good guides will have wildlife knowledge and experience of dealing with altitude sickness problems. Sirimon route is the most popular ascent as the altitude gain is nice and steady and it offers one of the most beautiful approaches to the peaks. Allow a minimum of 2 nights to peak when ascending, although we recommend spending an extra night at the last camp (Shipton’s) on the way up. If you want to avoid the crowds then Burguret is the best route. You’ll be hacking through pristine rainforest on this little used route, overnighting at wilderness campsites. Going up this route is challenging, it is little more than a game track in places, often muddy and rough under foot. Burguret is usually combined with a Chogoria or Sirimon descent. Allow a minimum of 3 nights before peak when ascending, Naro Moru: Naro-Moru is the most popular descent route, fast and easy (at least on the way down!). Naro Moru passes through the notorious vertical bog section which gets very waterlogged in the rainy seasons. The vegetation is at its most striking on this route. It can be descended in one very long day, usually done in two days and one night. Chogoria: If you have more time then choose dramatic Chogoria over Naro Moru for the descent. The Chogoria route passes by tarns, waterfalls and an incredible gorge. Allow two or three days for your descent. Timau: Timau is little used nowadays; there is little forest on this side of the mountain and no facilities, just lots of wide open country. This guide to Mount Kenya is intended as a useful resource for any trekker planning to climb Mount Kenya. For those looking to book an organized trek of Mt Kenya with experienced travel guides, full support and private transport from Nairobi, Mount Kenya safari club can arrange treks along all Mt Kenya routes, Kenya is subject to two rainy seasons, the long rains from mid March to mid June and the short rains from September to October. Mount Kenya remains trekkable throughout the year, but during the long rains especially, you will need to be prepared for some heavy rain falls and muddy tracks. The good news is that even in the depth of the long rains, there is usually reliable sunshine for a good portion of the day (10am – 3pm). Outside the rainy season, you can expect plenty of sunshine From Nairobi, Mount Kenya is around a 4 hours drive. There are good paved roads all the way to the towns at the foot of the mountain, but the last stretch of road up to the park gates is a rough dirt road that can get almost impassable in the rainy season, when a 4wd is essential, Mount Kenya is only to be attempted by experienced Mountain trekkers with extensive high altitude experience. Each year trekkers die on Mount Kenya attempting Point Lenana; it is easy to get lost in the cloud cover! If you do want to attempt the trek independently you’ll need to get yourself to the park gates by safari vans. The Mount Kenya park authorities do not allow trekkers to enter the park alone, so there will need to be two of you. You’ll need to be prepared to bring all your own gear and provisions. The biggest challenge you will find is navigation on the mountain. Paths are not clearly marked and cloud cover is common. If you don’t want to lug camping equipment, then there are huts all the way on the Sirimon route. If you do choose climb Mt Kenya on your own, don't expect to be popular with the locals, as it deprives them of work. Organise your trek from Nanyuki. If you can get yourself to Nanyuki or Naro Moru you will be able to shop around and find guides and porters locally. This is a good way to keep costs down, but allow a couple of days to pull everything together. A good guide should be able to help you source porters, a cook and food and make any necessary bookings at the huts. Book a trek package. If you are short on time, this is the best option. Most pre-arranged treks to Mount Kenya include transport to and from Nairobi. At the cheaper end this will involve your guide meeting you in Nairobi and travelling with you on a public minibus (mutatu) to the mountain. This saves a lot of money, but be prepared for delays and extra costs once you get to the mountain if it is raining as you’ll be forced to sort out a 4wd to get to the park gates. If you pay a little more then your Mt Kenya trek will include transfer in a private vehicle from Nairobi. Your trek crew and equipment will be ready and waiting for you and you at the mountain and you can head straight up, The Kenya Wildlife Service keeps raising the prices for park entry (to the extent that most websites offering Mount Kenya treks are displaying out of date prices). You’d be mad to come to Kenya to climb Mount Kenya and not explore at least a little of this magnificent country. Most people will want to combine the trek with a safari holiday in Kenya. The nearest parks to Mount Kenya are the Northern parks of Meru and Samburu. Both are fantastic parks with arid scenery reminiscent of the Lion King. There are mid ranges camping options as well as the usual luxury safari lodges on offer. You can get to Samburu in a couple of hours from Mount Kenya, and if you are short of time three days is sufficient to get a good taster of Samburu and then get back to Nairobi for your flight home. If you have more time then you can journey by road from Mount Kenya to Masai Mara via the Rift Valley Lakes.
Nanyuki is a market town in central-east Rift Valley region of Kenya lying northwest of Mount Kenya along the A2 road and at the terminus of the branch railway from Nairobi. Nayuki is situated just north of the Equator (0° 01′ North). It was founded in 1907 by British settlers, some of whose descendants still live in and around the town. If there is a town in Kenya that reminds anyone of America’s Wild West two centuries ago, it is Nanyuki. After a 45-minute drive from Marua junction in Nyeri, the landscape begins to change. The lush greenery slowly gives way to dry land vegetation like cactus. As you approach Nanyuki, the land becomes flat. It springs to life again with indigenous plants past Naro Moru town. Nanyuki is a resort town that opens up to the greater Laikipia areas, famed for wildlife conservancies. It is a dusty town that deceptively appears sleepy. Walking around the town, you will not fail to notice women with faces discoloured by wind-burn. This is due to the cold leeward wind that blows at night after a hot day. The wind blows from Mt Kenya to the Aberdare ranges in Nyandarua. You will therefore be surprised at how chilly it gets immediately the sun goes down. Famously known as the end of the railway, Nanyuki Town has its fair share of nightlife, perhaps rivaled only by Mombasa and Naivasha. Some British soldiers like it so much here that they return and settle for good after their military careers. A new crop of white Zimbabweans has settled here, leading to the formation of three groups of Europeans: the old colonial generation settlers and Kenyan cowboys, white Zimbabweans and the newly acclimatized ex-soldiers. It is one of the few upcountry towns that have a Dorman’s coffee house branch. Other cafes and restaurants that make you forget you are upcountry include the food court at the mall area and the settlers’ meeting point — the Cape Chestnut. It is the settlers’ last frontier as they move away from Nairobi. Land Rovers and beautiful “bush homes” abound. These homes double up as private tourist dwelling places. Some of the finest Kenya hotels are found nearby, notably the Mt Kenya Safari Club, Sweetwaters camp and Adnan Khashoggi’s former home at Ol Pejeta House. Nanyuki is currently the main airbase of the Kenya Air Force. The British Army also keeps a base at The Nanyuki Show Ground (NSG) from where it conducts yearly desert and jungle training exercises on the mountain and in the arid areas to the north. Nanyuki is the capital of Laikipia County. Security within ayuki is top notch, with British army surveying the area assisted by the Nanyuki police station which is a 30 minutes’ drive from our property. Nanyuki can through air or road. Most of the private ranches have aircraft, while Tropic Air operates from State-owned Nanyuki Airfield. Air Kenya, SAX and Safari Link have daily flights to the town, boosting accessibility by air. Its airport lies 6.5KM south of the town and is served by light aircraft along the highway to Nairobi. There is a regular air service by Air Kenya, which is very convenient for businessmen and tourists. In the early 1990s the Nanyuki airstrip was a simple grass stretch with a beaten runway, a single shack and no fencing. It attracted little interest save for the occasional aircraft making a landing or herders grazing goats in its overgrown grass. Its lonely state was a mirror of the region’s slow economy. But winds of change were blowing in the distance, bringing with them a tide of developments that would soon wake the sleepy airstrip and town. Tropic Air fenced off the airfield, put in place security, carried out ground maintenance and did repairs on the runway. Tropic Air then built an office for his new air charter company, Tropic Air, a hangar and an aircraft maintenance facility. Finally a new vibrant economy was ushered in supported by tourism, horticulture and real estate. In 20 years, Laikipia moved from an insignificant rangeland to a high-end destination, with premium facilities that attracted high profile guests including royalty. From six tourist facilities in the whole of Laikipia, there came up more than 40 fixed and mobile tourist facilities. As tourist numbers grew, so did the prominence of the Nanyuki airstrip as it became the gateway to Laikipia and northern Kenya. Air Kenya is the most convenient way to travel to and from remote areas of interior Kenya and especially for entering and exploring the various Game Reserves. Road travel is possible however expect uneven road conditions, frequent traffic, construction etc. Air Kenya flies mostly twin engine props: Dehavilland Twin Otters although they utilize about three different size aircraft depending on number of passengers. They will fly by the way with even as few as two passengers booked. You may purchase your ticket in advance very easily on line via the Air Kenya Website or you may even ask Mr Kenya safari club reservations team to arrange this for you. Please note the following helpful hints when flying Air Kenya: The planes generally have a capacity of about 18-20 passengers, there is a limit of 15 kg per person for checked baggage; you cannot bring any large or heavy suitcases; I highly suggest soft duffle bags. You can bring onboard one backpack of small flight bag. There are no flight attendants or bathrooms on board. You must be at the airport 20 minutes prior to departure. You do not have to worry about any security check, airport x-ray and passport ID etc. It’s a very simple process: A very friend staff member checks off you name with a pad and pen and then tags your bag and then presents you with a small orange boarding card. You then proceed to the door of the plane where there is open seating. The seats are surprisingly comfortable; and the configuration is 1-2. A bucket of sweet candies are passed by the co-pilot. The door of the cockpit is open and the captain and co-pilot are quite efficient and friendly. The flight from Nanyuki to Mara lasts in duration of approximately 1hr; depending on your Hotel or safari lodge there is a second stop on another Masai Mara Reserve Airstrip. For the Fairmont Mara Safari Club; it’s the first stop at Mara North or Masai Mara. The Airstrip is a dirt field in the middle of the Masai Mara reserve. The local hut at the Maasai Mara Airstrip serves as a small duty free shop! Outside the Hut and especially if you are staying at a high quality luxurious camp such as The Fairmont Masai Mara Safari Club: There will be attendant waiting there for you with cool scented towers and fresh local juices!! A fleet of Fairmont Maasai Mara Club Game Drive Jeeps wait to take you to the fenced and very well protected compound of the Hotel. The drive alone from the airport to the safari camp is a mini safari game drive; you literally will see wild game right outside of the air strip area: Zebra, Gazelles, Warthogs and Baboons, among other wildlife. If you are traveling for any length of time or extensively throughout Kenya; I suggest leaving your large suitcase/luggage in Nairobi at Fairmont Norfolk Hotel and then return again there before departure. It’s much better to bring duffle bags or smaller soft sided bags with you while taking the Air Kenya flights. Remember that if you are connecting in Nairobi; Air Kenya flies to the Wilson Airport and not to the major international airport. You will find Air Kenya to be safe and reliable and in particular the Dehavilland Twin Otters are quite sturdy and strong; often used during war times for airlifting soldiers and other army equipment. Find all contacts information about Mount Kenya Safari club including telephone number and email address from this website