Laikipia County, Kenya
Arijiju is a private Kenyan hideaway for discerning design and nature lovers offering unrivalled safari experiences, world-class wellness and pioneering conservation efforts.
Hewn into a hillside on the privately owned Borana Conservancy in Northern Kenya, Arijiju is a strikingly beautiful family home that has been designed and constructed over a painstaking ten-year period and is available for exclusive hire for groups of up to ten adults and four children.Designed by a combination of leading architects and interior designers, this magical home opened in November 2016 and offers world-class wildlife, outdoor adventure and wellness facilities in one of Kenya’s most staggering landscapes, alongside a pioneering approach to conservation. Arijiju is truly an exemplum of design brilliance, with every aspect of its natural surroundings having been carefully considered.
The ten-year project saw leading architects, Alex Michaelis of London-based Michaelis Boyd and Nick Plewman of Johannesburg-based Plewman Architects come together to collaborate, with much of this time spent deciding on the perfect location. Highly influenced by what Michaelis calls ‘the holy trinity’, Arijiju’s position was chosen predominantly based around the region’s three most impressive views: the sunrise, sunset and Mount Kenya. A fourth and utterly unique influence also came from the acoustics of the valley, which has been incorporated to maximise the sound of the dawn chorus of birds singing.
The building itself was inspired by the rock-hewn churches of Ethiopia and imposing Le Thoronet Abbey in southern France, and boasts vaulted archways, stone passageways and a central courtyard unlike anything else in the surrounding area.
Home to five exquisite suites, three flanking the central courtyard and a further two nestled in the olive groves that surround. Each feature the same earthy colour scheme and effortless touches characteristic of leading interior designer Maira Koutoudakis, whilst a sixth ‘constellation suite’ is available for those nights too beautiful to sleep anywhere but under the stars.
Elsewhere, a cavernous dining room, games room, cinema and well-equipped library are available for cooler nights, and with a team of 20 resident staff - that range from guides and rangers to butlers and chefs - Arijiju ensures every need is catered for.
Arijiju is not just a safari lodge but also a health and wellness retreat. The organic cuisine and fresh daily smoothies lend to the healthy lifestyle Arijiju supports. There is a spa, Hammam, gym, yoga deck, tennis court and squash court all inconspicuously blending into the valley, with treatments by Arijiju’s highly skilled masseuse and beauty therapist on call and included in the rate. Arijiju can also arrange a personal trainer, tennis coach, yoga instructor, etc. to come to the property and stay in staff accommodation during their stay, at an extra cost.Furthermore, guests can enjoy the carefully mapped out trails which offer the experience of unique guided 'running safaris’ among the Big 5.
Design & Layout
From the outside, Arijiju’s flat roofs planted with natural grasses, roughhewn local stone and timber see it all but disappear into the untamed landscape, whilst inside five expansive bedrooms, a cinema, library, living area and cavernous dining room offer state-of-the-art luxuries complemented by an earthy colour scheme, locally sourced materials and copper accents. Soulful interiors were masterminded by Johannesburg-based Maira Koutsoudakis of North Island fame, and fuse a European classicism with an African aesthetic style, enriching the home with a sense of place.
A combination of bespoke furniture handcrafted by local artisans and craftsmen from all corners of the world ensure each piece becomes an heirloom to be passed down through generations, whilst the elements have been considered at every angle, whether it be a well-positioned tree used as natural shade for pool loungers, the orientation of interiors with a view of elephants at a watering hole, or the consideration of how natural light would mould and mitigate the experience of space.
Arijiju’s main lounge and dining room are part of one elongated, double-volume space with walk-in fireplaces on each end. A glamorous bar-counter invites guest into another lounge and is the perfect place to start an evening sipping a cocktail. While in the morning enjoy a fresh brewed coffee with the sun streaming through the main lounge’s iconic glassed arched windows.
The Batian Master Suite is the summit of magnificent! With light and views streaming in from the terraces on two sides, this master suite is beautifully composed. With rumpled, oversized linen bedding, feather pillows, soft throws and an open fireplace, this room has a homely feel. While the outdoor shower facing Mount Kenya reminds guests of where they are in the world. With a vast open plan layout, the bed faces the valley and the lounge, perfect for a family to gather in front of the stone hearth, faces another beautiful vista. The front terraces lure guests out with leather butter-fly chairs and an unravelling skyline that inspires big thoughts.
Every bedroom at Arijiju is beautifully appointed and subtly different. That said, they all have in common a king size bed and impressive leather desks, deep copper baths and indoor and outdoor showers, huge lush towels and great pieces of furniture. Sandalwood candles, crystal wall lights, copper details and an edited palette of soft toned furnishings complete the sense of understated luxury. Hot water bottles and ragging fires keep guests snug on cooler evenings.
A short walk from the main house along rustic and stone paths are the Ngare Ndare and The Mukogodo Suites. Both rooms have beautiful features. Each one has an elegant stone fireplace, four-poster bed and a lounge with an elegant sofa that can be made into an extra sleeping space when needed. The bathrooms are immense and encourage long cleansing rituals with gorgeous salts and soaps.
Each of the five suites has a day bed that can sleep a child, and the two twin rooms can be made into triple rooms. Besides the 5 en-suite bathrooms, separate loo’s can be found in the shared living area, pool area and spa area.
Spa & Fitness
Blending inconspicuously into the surrounding valley, Arijiju is home to the most sophisticated wellness facilities of any private home in Africa, including a spa, gym, yoga deck, squash and tennis court. The elegant Spa House boasts a vaulted hammam, cold plunge pool, rain shower and a monastic treatment room, whilst a well-appointed gym opens up into the wild and contains TRX equipment, a treadmill, rowing machine, spinning bike, free weights and boxing equipment. Outside, a wood burning hot tub and chill-out space offer meditative views across the valley, and the 25 meter infinity lap swimming pool is popular with guests and local elephants alike, who often arrive at sunset to quench their thirst. A range of tailored wellness programmes are available to groups and individuals, and guests can opt to work with Arijiju’s range of highly-skilled local trainers and therapists for the entire duration of their stay, or design their own bespoke retreat.
Dining, Activities & Laikipia
The Maasai Mara is perhaps Kenya’s most famous safari region, its vast open plains and huge concentrations of game have attracted the game spotting enthusiasts for decades. But arguably more rewarding is Laikipia’s exceptional diversity, providing the perfect place for the truly adventurous, curious and seasoned safari travellers.
Arijiju is a sanctuary for African adventure, hidden away in one of Kenya’s most successful conservation reserves and with the nearest neighbour over six kilometres away. To the north and east lie snow-capped mountains, dense forests and sprawling deserts whilst to the south looms Mount Kenya; offering a truly unrivalled number of ways to explore it and spot the Big 5.
Here, guests can experience their divine natural surroundings by the usual 4x4 safaris, complemented by horseback, walking, mountain biking and quad biking safaris. Further afield, guests can stride through the canopy of the Ndare Ngare forest on aerial bridges and spend a night camped in its lush interior, or board a helicopter to journey deep into the untrodden deserts of Northern Kenya or else soar over hidden ecosystems nestled in the craters of dormant volcanos and shimmering mountain lakes pink with flamingos. Alternatively, glide above hippo’s and crocodile’s on the Esawo river towards the mighty Mount Kenya. For fishing aficionados, there is also the option of fly-fishing in otherwise inaccessible lakes on the slopes of Mount Kenya.
A team of 20 resident staff – from knowledgeable guides and rangers to charming butlers and world-class chefs – are on hand to cater to every need. Arijiju’s head gardener is fully trained in permaculture, and the organic garden provides healthy farm-to-fork menus with energy rich, quality ingredients that regenerate and renew a sense of wellbeing. Breakfast consists of homemade muesli, seasonal smoothies and fresh eggs from Arijiju’s very own chickens served on the sun-drenched front terrace, whilst for lunch and dinner the head chef will create sharing style dishes including North African inspired salads and farm-reared meats, served out in the bush, in the garden or up on the roof terrace.
Conservation & Sustainability
Spanning 90,000 acres, the Lewa Borana Conservancy is renowned across the globe for its successful conservation of black rhino’s and lauded for its pioneering collaborative conservation approach between local communities and ranches that give animals access to more wilderness and integrates free-range cattle ranching. Keen to keep up with this, Arijiju is at the forefront of the reserve’s conservation efforts, spearheading a host of anti-poaching initiatives including educational outreach programmes in the neighbouring village and the introduction of highly-trained, anti-poaching rangers. The results speak for themselves, with Laikipia emerging as the only region in Kenya where wildlife numbers have increased over the past 20 years: with over 200 black and white rhino’s, 400 elephants, 334 bird species, the third largestlionpopulation in Kenya - with 47 individuals in seven prides across the Lewa-Borana Landscape -, along with cheetahs, leopards, giraffes, buffalos, baboons and many other endangered animals that are all now migrating to or living in this wildlife safe haven.
Designed to celebrate nature and co-exist with the surrounding landscape, sustainability is at the heart of the house. Arijiju is entirely powered by solar energy, recycles all grey water and is completely free of plastic water bottles thanks to a local borehole that supplies all drinking water.
The Roots of Arijiju
Prior to the commencement of the construction of Arijiju, the owners decided to camp right on the spot, on the spectacular hillside, to experience where the sun spilled light, where the breezes cooled the trees and how the iconic shape of Mount Kenya anchored the view. The plan was to create a home that worked with nature and reminded one of childhoods spent carefree and barefoot exploring in the wild. Having grown up in West Africa and Norway, the owners combined passions for conservation and true wilderness experiences inspired a home that could share and promote the protection of the African bush. For them, Arijiju is just that and more.
Please note that Arijiju offers rates starting from $9,500 per night on an exclusive-use basis for up to six guests, with additional adults charged starting from rates of $1,000 per night per person. This includes all meals and beverages, Borana or Lewa airstrip transfers, babysitting and laundry facilities, game drives and wilderness walks, mountain biking and bush running with experienced guides, use of tennis and squash courts, gym, media room, home cinema, yoga deck, hammam and spa, five hours per day of spa treatments and all local taxes.
During the festive period, the 16th of December to the 10th of January, Arijiju requires a minimum stay of 5 nights.
At all other times of the year, the minimum stay is 3 nights.
Each of the five suites has a day bed that can sleep a child, and the two twin rooms can be made into triple rooms.
The property can accommodate a maximum of 10 adults and 4 children
Smoking is permitted in some areas of the property including the bar area, dining room, living room and the comfy fireside spots outdoors (which is preferable). Heavy smokers are asked to limit their smoking to outdoor spaces only, and it is forbidden to smoke in the bedrooms, offices, cinema or games room.
Pets are allowed at Arijiju, however, it is at their own risk as there are leopards and baboons around the property. Pets are required to stay on the house premises and not chase wildlife around the property. Please note that the grounds keeper owns a dog that lives on the premises.
Please note that while check-in & check-out times are at 10.00 AM respectively, Arijiju will do their best to be flexible and accommodate bespoke requests. In such cases, this property manager asks that guests let them know as soon as possible if they would need an early check-in/late check-out.
All meals, whether served at home or in the bush
All beverages, including quality house wines, spirits and liqueurs
Borana airstrip transfers
Daily laundry service
Babysitting facilities for children
Game drives and wilderness walks, including the big 5 drives, night drives, walking safaris, hiking, trail running & rhino tracking
Mountain biking with experienced guides
Bush running with experienced guides
Use of tennis and squash courts, croquet, boules, gym, yoga deck, hammam, and spa
Wifi, Sonos multi room music system, Apple TV and movies in the home cinema
Introductory spa and beauty treatments, five hours per day
All local taxes
Lewa Airstrip Transfers - $200 per vehicle one way
Premier cellar wines, champagnes and spirits
Additional spa and beauty treatments
Arijiju can arrange a personal trainer, tennis coach, yoga instructor, etc. to come to the property and stay in staff accommodation during their stay.
All outsourced activities including:
Game Drivers on Lewa
Helicopter excursions with Latitude Adventures
Horseback safaris with riding wild
Fishing trips to Lake Alice
Climbing Mount Kenya
Please note that guests must pay an additional $190 per adult per night ($95 per child per night) in conservation fees for the Borana Conservancy. 100% of the conservancy fee goes towards supporting local education, community and wildlife conservation projects. Please note Arijiju and The Borana Conservancy are not-for-profit.
Be sure to indicate which services you would like to have when making a request. Please note that optional services will incur additional cost.
from $9,500 / night