The Mukutan Retreat Laikipia, Kuki Gallmann, Kenya
Ol Ari Nyiro is a 100,000-acre (150 square mile) private paradise, wildlife and ecological conservation reserve in Laikipia, Kenya.
It is home to Kuki Gallmann, best selling author of I Dreamed Of Africa, an autobiographical story of love and death set against the dramatic backdrop of Kenya’s Great Rift Valley.
The story that has developed there has already made it to millions a symbol of survival, healing and hope. This unique sanctuary has kept intact the mystique of the Africa that has brought generations of travellers to the Cradle of Mankind.
“Suddenly, the undergrowth clears and we are confronted by a scene of startling magic: a sole acacia tree, its branches as gnarled and twisted as the limbs of an old woman, silhouetted in the burnt-orange sunlight against a vivid purple sky. Behind the tree, a sheer 3,000-feet drop; beyond, a view that seems to stretch on forever. ‘This is the end of the world, the beginning of the world, the roof of the world,’ whispers Kuki.
‘This is where we all began.’” Tatler, Sep 1999
Ol Ari Nyiro is an oasis of breathtaking beauty renowned for the variety of its landscapes, from open savannah to steep gorges, rolling valleys and sweeping plains, spectacular ridge top views of the Great Rift Valley, endless vistas of hills covered in wild sage and thorn trees.
The variety of plants, animals and terrain that you can walk among will take your breath away
The Forest of Enghelesha is the only indigenous and protected forest remaining in Laikipia, home to the last surviving troupes of the rare and endangered Colobus monkey, as well as over 400 species of birds and many rare and exotic plants.
Kenya is the most popular destination for safaris in the world. The Serengeti-Masai Mara covers an unvisitable 6000 sq miles and admits an unavoidable 150,000 visitors a year. At Ol Ari Nyiro visitors can experience wildlife undisturbed and in solitude.
Ol Ari Nyiro is home to the largest population of undisturbed indigenous black rhino outside the National Parks, the largest population of Cape buffalo on private land in Kenya, herds of elephant, eland, waterbuck, and many lion, leopard and cheetah.
Safaris and tours led by our own professional guides can be taken on foot, on camel, on horseback, in a jeep, by helicopter or by plane. If you choose a walking or camel safari, trained camels with their traditionally dressed handlers will wait nearby to walk with you, carrying your picnics, drinks or breakfast to secluded romantic locations like the Moonlight Cottage, waterfalls or hot springs.
Our Silver-grade Guide (one of only 3 in Kenya) is available to accompany you on any adventure, along with a professional armed askari guard. In addition, Ol Ari Nyiro has an entomologist, ornithologist, ethno botanist, rhino ecologist, all in residence, and all of whom are delighted to share their passion and knowledge with our visitors on trips.
Ol Ari Nyiro’s renowned cuisine is a mixture of exotic Indian and African tastes and classic Italian gourmet dishes prepared by our Italian-and Indian-trained chefs. Food is prepared from fresh, certified organic ingredients all grown in our gardens.
Some of the things you might like to try during your stay at Ol Ari Nyiro:
• Discover the wealth of Ol Ari Nyiro’s plant and wildlife on a private walking safari
with our silver-grade guide, accompanied by any of our resident experts,
including an entomologist, ornithologist, ethno botanist, rhino ecologist, plus an armed askari guard
• Glimpse into the daily lives and culture of the elusive Pokot people .
• See first-hand the conservation activities of The Gallmann Memorial Foundation, and join in if you wish
• If Kuki is at home, meet her and hear her story
• Join our reforestation activities and plant your own indigenous tree .
• Take a natural hot water spa in the luxury of a mineral rich thermal spring
amongst granite boulders and palm trees.
• Relax with an Ayurvedic massage using our own locally
–extracted organically certified natural essential oils, from indigenous African plants.
• Swim beneath waterfalls in deep, clear waterfall rock-pools
• Go horse riding or camel-riding on a mini camel-safari to a bush picnic.
Walking through the bush with only the sounds of the wild and the soft tinkling of the camel bells,
you will find yourself travelling at a relaxed pace, moving through the wild in tune with the
rhythms of nature.
• Fish in over sixty rain dams and streams, some of which are filled with delicious tilapia,
black bass and fresh water crayfish.
Our staff can prepare them on site for a delicious mouth watering picnic.
The Retreat is perched on the cliffs overlooking the spectacular Mukutan Gorge at the edge of Kenya’s Great Rift Valley.
Mukutan means ‘The Meeting’ and it is here that the fingers of the surrounding hills meet.
Three large traditional dwellings patterned after native African rondavels arranged around a central fireplace provide private and luxurious living for up to 6 people.
Each hut offers luxurious accommodations with a double bed (some rooms have 2), a fireplace, a private veranda overlooking the cliffs and a bathroom with sunken baths and handmade pottery basins.
Each is built of local stone, papyrus cedar and olive woods.
The rooms are dressed with antique Swahili, Lamu and Indian furniture chosen carefully over the years by Kuki Gallmann, textiles from around Africa and India clothe the sofas, beds and cushions.
There is also a spacious main living area with fireplace and breakfast verandah perched over the verdant hills from which one can hear the waterfall below and the calls of over 400 bird species as well as other animals which happen to pass by the salt-lick in the valley below.
For those lazy afternoons, an infinity pool has been created in between the rocks. It is fed by water from our thermal springs below and has breathtaking views across the Mukutan gorge.
The Moonlight Cottage, a roofless cottage with a huge, hexagonal Star Bed, 12-foot across, ideal for romantic moonlit trysts and stargazing, lies next to the elephant lake near the Retreat.
The unique setting, the silence and the evocative sounds of Africa, make the Mukutan Retreat an exclusive hideaway for discriminate travellers who wish to find a total communion with nature in simple yet sophisticated comfort.
“As the sun sets over the gorge, rhino, elephants, buffalo and bushbuck come to take the waters… Despite their apparent primitivism, the rondavels unfold as a contemporary African retreat, both spartan and sybaritic. Charcoal made from wild sage bush is used to heat water from a raised stone tub that overlooks the landscape… Throughout the rondavels, contemporary craftwork mixes with antique Swahili and Lamu carvings. Curved stone banquettes are cushioned with striped pillows inspired by the kikoi, a loose garment worn by men. An old Lamu rosewood cabinet now serves as a bar. There are also West African fertility sculptures, Turkana baskets, antique cane chairs and 1920s leather.”
Conde Nast Architectural Digest
“The gorge is a refuge for the endangered black rhino, which graze on the candelabra trees there. Sveva, Kuki’s daughter, takes me to visit Maji ya Nyoka, Water of the Snake, the hot springs deep at the heart of the gorge. The lower we descend, the more jungle-like the vegetation becomes… A waterfall cascades down the rocks into a murky green pool, the vast rock face framed by strangler-fig trees and palms through which the last rays of sunlight struggle to force their way. The scene is like the gateway to a lost kingdom or paradise. Multicoloured butterflies dance in and out of the shadows as Sveva swims in the water. “
Tatler, Sep 1999
From fresh, organic ingredients all locally grown on the ranch, and fish form our lakes, guests will have a choice of famous Italian cuisine and Indian /chinese spicy vegetarian and evocative food prepared by our trained chefs.
All food is organically grown in the conservancy’s gardens.
Toiletries are supplied in the rooms.
For local insurance with the Flying Doctors services of the AFRICAN MEDICAL RESEARCH FOUNDATION (the cost) will be added to your invoice, unless we are otherwise advised; this will guarantee local airlifting with professional assistance in case of emergency, and will cover you for two months.
We advise you be fully insured against accident and illness before you come.
Informal safari khaki and comfortable shoes during the day & smart casual in
the evening. Our shop will provide smart and exotic accessories .
Rates are inclusive of full board accommodation,
transfers to and from the airstrip,
all game drives
and activities, laundry
and tent service.
Soft drinks and house wine are included;
bottled water, special wines and all spirits are extra.
Professional aromatherapy massage
A Christmas/New Year supplement will apply. From 21 st December to 6th January included.
Our Nairobi office can arrange transfer by air directly to our new Laikipia Enghelesha airstrip.
The price varies with type of plane and number of passengers and is not included in the cost of staying.
Settlement is due one month, 30 days before arrival.
Checkout time is by 10:30 am. However, a late departure can be arranged. This will be dependent on availability. Late checkout is after lunch and charged at 25%per person and includes lunch and activities.
We suggest a minimum stay of three/four days. Return guests all stay for one week or more as there is so much to do.
“Nine faces of Kenya” by Elspeth Huxley.
“I Dreamed of Africa” by Kuki Gallmann.
Her autobiography is based on the ranch, and will make the experience more vivid. A feature film released worldwide in May 2000 was shot partially on location, by the direction of Hugh Hudson, with Kim Basinger and Vincent Perez in the leading roles.
Her other books are “African Nights”, “ Il Colore del Vento” and “Night of the Lions” and the new “Elefanti in Giardino
We would be grateful if you would state your preferences in the clients profile we shall send you, so that we can prepare for your visit and look after you with individual attention as much as possible.
Thank you for your interest and we do look forward to sharing with you the magic of Ol ari Nyiro.
A unique refuge and the most private of all resorts in Kenya, overlooking the spectacular Mukutan Gorge on the edge of the Great Rift Valley.
The Retreat is situated on the extreme west of the Laikipia plateau on Ol ari Nyiro, the 100,000 acre Laikipia Nature Conservancy, a biodiversity hot spot and home to conservationist and author Kuki Gallmann. Mukutan means ‘the meeting’ and it is here that the fingers of surrounding hills meet.
A staggering amount and variety of wildlife, including black rhino and over 470 species of birds make of this one of the most extraordinary destination for people seeking total exclusivity.
The conservancy is run holistically and the spirit of the land is very powerful and healing.
The unique setting, the silent and the evocative sounds of Africa, make the Mukutan Retreat an exclusive hideaway for discriminate travellers, in simple yet extremely sophisticated comfort. Built in elegant African style, using local stone, native woods and papyrus thatch, each cottage is original in layout and dÈcor.The Mukutan Retreat featured in Architectural Digest, when just opened, May 1995.
Accommodation/Facilities: Three traditional dwellings perched at the edge of the gorge, offer accommodation with double beds, a spacious bathroom, a fireplace and private verandahs.
A central lounge and dining area has the atmosphere of a private home, furnished with rare antiques,sophisticated Africana, individually selected items.
An infinity pool like a pond overlooks the valley.
Organic food is served in the Retreat – mostly Italian, with exotic touches.
Specialised guides and hosts welcome and look after the guests.
Although she travels for her work, Kuki Gallmann, hosts or meets clients when she is in Laikipia.
1 Walking in the hills and valleys with a trained local guide
2 Guided botanical walks or walks with local herbalists
3 Games drives and night drives to spot lion.
Picnic breakfast and lunches in especially constructed look outs.
Swimming in the rock-carved pool or one of the waterfall pools.
4 Natural thermal mineral rich hot springs
5 Night under the stars in the ‘moonlit cottage’.
6 Fishing in one of the dams or streams for black bass and fresh water crayfish.
7 Bird watching – 473 identified species
8 Cultural visits to Pokot, Turkana and Samburu tribes.
9 Visit the newly discovered archaeological digs.
10 Yoga and meditation lessons can be arranged by prior warning
Optional Extras: Day trips by helicopter or private plane.
Closed Seasons: Open all year round
Access: By private charter flight to private Laikipia Main airfield or by road.
Effective from 1st January 2009
MUKUTAN RETREAT – SLEEPS 6 PAX
Per person sharing per night US$ 575/–
Single room supplement US $ 200/–
Child under 12 years – US $ 285/– pp per night
Conservation fee per day US$ 65/–