Partner content: Ol Malo

Situated on the northern edge of the Laikipia plateau, Ol Malo is nestled into a rugged escarpment looking out across the time-honoured lands of Kenya’s Northern Frontier District. It’s an ancient landscape populated by stunning wildlife and a rich culturFriday, 2 August 2019

Situated on the northern edge of the Laikipia plateau, Ol Malo is nestled into a rugged escarpment looking out across the time-honoured lands of Kenya’s Northern Frontier District. It’s an ancient landscape populated by stunning wildlife and a rich cultural heritage, just waiting to be explored

Pioneers of this style of tourism — this is one of the first ‘bush homes’ in East Africa offering a luxury ranch-style stay — Ol Malo is owned and hosted by Colin and Rocky Francombe with their son and daughter-in-law, Andrew and Chyulu. What was once an overgrazed cattle ranch when the family bought the land in 1992 has since been transformed into a prime, and beautiful, conservation site with two separate homes ensuring a personal and private experience. 

The homes have been designed and built by the family, taking their inspiration from the natural world around them, with each member adding their quirky ideas to the designs.

Ol Malo Lodge is an exclusive four-bedroom boutique property. This small, intimate lodge has just four rooms, all individually decorated, blending traditional local style with luxurious hand-woven furnishings and thoughtful touches; a home away from home.

Ol Malo House is a beautiful, six-bedroom house perched on the edge of the Laikipia plateau overlooking Samburuland to the north and Mount Kenya to the east. This spacious property features sumptuous soft furnishings inspired by the colourful Samburu tribe and earth tones from the stunning surrounding landscape. All the rooms at Ol Malo are luxurious spaces, with private verandahs, and en suite bathrooms that feature cascading showers and inviting oversized hot tubs.

The Francombe family run a working ranch, which provides fresh produce for their guests:  ranch-raised meats, freshly laid eggs, milk, organic honey and vegetables selected in the garden. Meals can be tailored and guests are welcome to get involved in the ranch activities. An early morning visit to the dairy herd to fill the milk jug for breakfast is the highlight of the day for many children.

Guests are hosted by the Francombe family and their Samburu neighbours. Each day is carefully designed for every guest, whether they’re seeking peaceful game watching, a chance to learn from the ancient Samburu nomads, or thrilling adventure. Ol Malo guests have the opportunity to experience Kenya through the eyes and minds of those who know and love the land. 

While Colin and Rocky were the ones who dreamt and created the beautiful family homes, their children have brought their own touches to the business, and in the process have opened doors to experiences far and beyond Ol Malo, and into the wilderness.

The Samburu Trust

The Francombes have a unique relationship with the Samburu through the Samburu Trust, which was created by daughter Julia during the drought of 2000. To this day the ranch is central to the Trust’s projects. It now covers more than one million acres of Samburuland, with groundbreaking schools, water reservoirs and community driven wildlife conservation. This is a rare opportunity to meet the Samburu people, and a unique chance for guests to share their incredible way of life. 

Ol Malo Nomad

Andrew and Chyulu have created an experience to take people even deeper into this magical country with Ol Malo Nomad. Using their helicopter, a team of camels, sure-footed horses and knowledge from the ancient tribes, adventure is at guests’ fingertips. Their latest creation is the ‘Ol Malo TWO3TWO Safari’ for the ultimate nomad.

Guests arrive via small aircraft into a bush airstrip before jumping into a helicopter and flying further into the bush. After being dropped in a remote location, meet Chyulu with the caravan of camels and team of Samburu tribesmen. Spend the following days traversing the ancient migration routes of Samburuland by foot or on horseback. Meet local tribes, learn and experience their traditions. Stalk and track wildlife on foot, getting close enough to get amazing photos. The camp is moved by camels and is ready to meet guests each evening. Sit around a fire under the stars, cooking supper and discussing the day’s adventures, before settling back in a comfortable bed under a blanket of stars, lulled to sleep by nightjars. After two nights out and about, guests arrive at Ol Malo.

After days spent exploring, kick back and enjoy the superb comforts, hospitality and privacy of the Francombe home. Soak in a bath atop of the cliffs looking out over the wilderness. Experience ranch life with Rocky and Colin and learn about Kenya’s history through their personal stories.

Set off in the helicopter with Andrew and head west. Dropping down 4,000ft into the Great Rift Valley, the helicopter flies through the incredible timeless landscape, landing wherever looks exciting to walk, explore and picnic. This is Kenya’s wildest and most beautiful playground that very few people ever get to see, let alone play in. 

Explore everything from mountains to sand dunes, see salt flats teeming with vibrant flamingos and untouched expanses. The camp is situated on the shores of the great Jade Sea (Lake Turkana). Enjoy meals of fantastic fresh fish and welcome cold drinks. Spend the following day exploring ancient lake islands, the wonderful birdlife and fishing. 

DON'T MISS

The Ol Malo Nomad experience — TWO3TWO Safari — journeying into the Great Rift Valley by helicopter, horse, camel and on foot

NEED TO KNOW

KEY FACILITIES
• Horizon pools
• Ranch-grown food
• Mobile camping options
• Treehouse 

KEY ACTIVITIES
• Helicopter trips 
• Camel riding
• Horse riding for all levels
• Game walks
• Day and night game drives
• Samburu bead workshop
• Ol Malo Nomad adventures

GET IN TOUCH

olmalo.com
T: +254 721 630 685
E: info@olmalo.com


This content was written by and is brought to you by our sponsor. It does not necessarily reflect the views of National Geographic Traveller (UK) or its editorial staff.