Green welcome at Fairmont Kenya
Fairmont Collection of Hotels and Resorts in Kenya has curated a bucket-list, three-stop journey across its properties – Fairmont The Norfolk, Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club and Fairmont Mara Safari Club – delivering a safari holiday like no other.
Laden with layered insight into the history of the East African nation and the culture of its people, the itinerary marries conservation and sustainability under the umbrella of conscious luxury. It certainly helps that the three properties are icons in their own right with their own stories to tell and their own heritage, all supported by unrivalled service.
The three-stop trip includes multi-night stays at Fairmont The Norfolk, Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, and Fairmont Mara Safari Club, with swift and picturesque air transfers with Bongo Expedition, to road transfers. Tailored for families, solo female travellers, groups and honeymooners, the itinerary promises a safe, private and luxurious stay across the best of Kenya’s tourism offerings.
FAIRMONT MARA SAFARI CLUB
Fairmont Mara Safari Club is perched on the edge of Mara River in an intimate conservancy named Ol Chorro, the first conservancy belonging to local communities and its unique sanctuary sheltering the two last white rhinos of Masai Mara. Apart from morning and evening private game drives that focus on local flora and fauna, there’s no better way to get the lay of the land and the stories of its people than going for a walk with a village elder. We learn about the Maasai and their culture first-hand on our walk with Maasai Chief Ole Nasi as he guides us on a walk through the wild to his home in the Maasai Village. Once at the village, guests have the unique immersive experience of sharing history of the Maasai community, take a close look at Maasai architecture, traditional medicinal herbs, join in their dance and feel at one with them. This is a great chance to interact with the women and kids of the community, sharing their day-to-day life routine, exchanging stories and supporting them by buying handmade gifts to take back home. Be sure to bring a heavy-duty sunscreen and wear sun protective gear.
With Fairmont Mara Safari Club, you can expect to have a perfectly luxurious and delicious farm-to-table lunch experience in East Africa. Guests first visit the charming organic kitchen garden tucked away on the property and pick out ingredients under Executive Chef Haziz’s guidance. There are fresh herbs, vegetables both indigenous and borrowed from world cuisine, chillies and crunchy leafy greens. The meal is cooked to preference – you may choose to test a few greens you foraged – but take heart, there is a variety of meats and fish to choose from on the chef’s table. Lunch is served on an ornate table decorated with locally grown flowers and ferns, in a tree-shaded alcove of the property’s extensive gardens that overlook lazy hippos. Leave room for a variety of desserts, go for anything with the delicious passion fruit flavour.
After a visit with the only white rhinos in Masai Mara, we end the day with sundowners by the Aitong Hills overlooking Kileleoni, the highest point in the Maasai Mara, with views of the Mara Reserve. The Fairmont team arrange plush cushions around a bonfire in a quiet alcove, surround it with fairy lights and serve a selection of drinks and snacks. We encounter small wildlife, curious to take a peek at their urban visitors. In fact, Fairmont Kenya’s three-stop journey features sundowners, breakfasts, lunches and dinners in varying alfresco locations – a recurring theme of dining in the wild that guests across age groups will cherish.
FAIRMONT MOUNT KENYA SAFARI CLUB
Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club is the only place in Kenya dedicated to the protection of the marvellous fairy antelope, mountain bongo as well as other Mount Kenya endangered wildlife and flora through the breathtaking and lush Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy.
The Animal Orphanage and the Conservation Education Programme offered at the Conservancy play a crucial role creating harmony and balance for the preservation of the ecosystem
Covering over 500 hectares of land, Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy is home to the critically endangered Mountain Bongo breeding and re-wilding programme that began over two decades ago.
Guests at Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club (located within the above-mentioned conservancy) have the privilege to observe the majestic bongos, within the conservancy as well as in a dedicated sanctuary, the very first and most admired sanctuary of Kenya.
An early morning experience labelled ‘bongo tracking in the dark forest’ proves just as exciting as it sounds as a small, controlled group of guests, led by an expert guide, track bongos in their natural habitat and learn more about their rewilding programme.
For most of us, the Mountain Bongo is a new species of animal we have encountered on this day and we feel quite fortunate to see the great, shy beasts at such a short distance and while on foot.
The historic Kenyan estate of Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, which was once known as the former hunting lodge of Hollywood figure William Holden, now plays a central role in the area’s conservation story.
Guests to the luxury property pay a conservation fee that goes towards supporting the protection and preservation of the ecosystem and wildlife on the slopes of Mount Kenya. From reforestation initiatives to re-opening the direct access from the property to Mount Kenya National Reserve, the hotel protects the ecosystem and ensures both guests and future generations of Kenya experience the beauty of the landscape and live in balance with wildlife.
The Animal Orphanage at Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy is located next to the main gate Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club. It takes care of orphaned, abandoned and injured animals to eventually release them back into their natural habitat in the wild once they are back to optimal health and fully recovered (whenever possible).
Two lioness cubs have been taken in by the Animal Orphanage programme at Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy supported by Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari. Their rescue is an example that highlights the importance of educating both the local community and tourists on the need to protect our wildlife and the impact of animal deaths on Kenya’s ecosystem.
Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki provides a mountain hideaway and safari amid verdant forests and waterfalls. An iconic and historical building later evolved into a private club for international celebrities, the hotel is situated in a beautiful, exotic garden where visitors may engage in outdoor activities, learn about conservation efforts, and explore the enchanting Kenyan woods, waterfalls, and views of the snow-capped mountains. Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club enables visitors to learn about Kenya’s unique and diversified heritage. Guests can ride horses or bikes around the estate, plant a rose sapling named after themselves in the rose garden, enjoy outdoor yoga or spend some quiet time reflecting in the property’s atmospheric chapel.
FAIRMONT THE NORFOLK
High tea with history
Fairmont The Norfolk is a peaceful haven in Nairobi. Since first opening its doors in 1904, the secluded gem has remained a celebrated Kenyan landmark and boasts luxurious suites and rooms set around tranquil tropical gardens, an outdoor heated swimming pool, a serene health club and unique dining facilities.
The property is home to beautiful gardens and over ten species of exotic birds in the heart of the city with a showcase of a vintage transportation collection including rickshaws and a vintage Ford roadster, providing an insight into Nairobi’s rich history.
Enjoy a complete high tea with all its lacy trimmings on a lazy afternoon on the terrace once you return from one of the several sights that the city of Nairobi offers, including a visit to the Nairobi National Park (the only national park within city limits), the elephant orphanage (pre-booking fills up quickly!), giraffe centre, national museum, rail museum, and shopping tours.
Make a day trip out of the eclectic Kitengela Glass Factory like we did or head to Kiambethu Tea farms, one of the pioneer tea farms to sell tea commercially in Kenya. Explore the farmhouse set within the beautiful gardens in Limuru highlands, followed by a fresh alfresco lunch hosted at the owner’s bungalow situated on the estate.
Game drives, spa
No trip to Kenya is complete without either an early morning, afternoon, late evening or even a nighttime game drive (or all of the above) through the stunning savannah. Over the days, we have our fair share of excited animal spotting and admiring expansive vistas in Kenya’s top national parks, followed by sundowners in the wild and, once we reached the hotels, luxurious Fairmont spa treatments to prepare us for another day of African adventure.