Ol Malo means 'the place of the greater kudu', and orphaned kudus are sometimes looked after at the lodge, so the name is fitting! The lodge is owned by Colin and Rocky Francombe, both born and raised in Kenya, and all their 3 children are involved in the running of the property giving it a real family feel.
Ol Malo is a luxurious lodge is set on the edge of an escarpment in Laikipia. The land is home to about 50 different game species including elephants, buffalo, giraffe, Grevy and Burchell Zebra, gerenuk, hartebeast, Grants and Thompsons Gazelle, impala, lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena (spotted and striped) and wild dog. There are about 280 bird species in the Ol Malo region. You can go on 4x4 safaris, accompany a Samburu or Turkana guide on a walk, and explore on horse or camel back. The lodge has strong links wirh the Samburu community who helped in its construction and many of whom are employed here, and as a guest you are positively encouraged to visit the local manyatta and meet different individuals.
Between activities you are free to relax at the lodge, watching wildlife at the waterhole, chatting to other guests in the lounge and enjoying refreshing swims in the infinity pool. Most meals are eaten communally, giving you time to let to know your hosts as well as the other guests, and dining in the bush meals is a regular occurrence, and another way to enjoy this magnificent setting and views.
The four cottages are huge, well-furnished, and very comfortable, with great views down into the valley below. They are built of local stone and thatch and have characterful decor, rustic furniture and handwoven textiles. Each has an en-suite bathroom
Ol Malo House is a separate 6-bedroomed property that can be booked for exclusive use, ideal for groups and families. It consists of a large lounge-dining room with open fireplaces that leads to 3 bedrooms, all en-suite. The other 3 bedrooms are in separate cottages, each with its own bathroom. There is plenty of outdoor space for dining and relaxing, including an infinity pool.
Photographs courtesy Ol Malo Lodge and Ol Malo House
Open: Ol Malo is open all year apart from April, May and November.
Location: Ol Malo is in a private ranch and game sanctuary covering over 2,000 hectares on the northern edge of the Laikipia plateau. The lodge has an airstrip and is about 75 minutes flying time from Nairobi.
Rooms: There are 4 guest cottages, all with picture windows and a wide deck facing the waterhole in the valley. Each room has an en-suite shower room. There is round the clock electricity. Phones and camera batteries can be charged in guest rooms.
Ol Malo House comprises 3 en-suite bedrooms, an open plan lounge-cum-dining room, and 3 1-bed cottages, and is available for groups and families of up to 12 people for exclusive use. It has its own outdoor deck and pool.
Activities: Game drives form the core of your stay, supplemented by horse and camel rides, mountain biking, guided nature walks, bird watching, tubing, fishing and visits to Samburu villages. There's a leopard blind with bunk beds where you can overnight in your quest to see a leopard. A return helicopter ride to Lake Turkana for a picnic lunch can be arranged. Some activities are season specific.
Facilities: The lodge has a lounge with a fireplace for cool evenings. There is an outdoor infinity pool. The grounds provide views of the waterhole and salt lick. The lodge has a gift shop. There is a laundry service.
Dining: Meals are eaten in the main lodge, and bush breakfasts and lunches can be organised. Most meals are eaten together as a group.
Children: Children of all ages are welcome. Babysitting can be arranged.
Health: This is a malarial area.
Communication: There is internet access and mobile phone coverage.
Notes: Ol Malo is run by its owners, Colin and Rocky Francombe, who built the lodge with help from the Samburu community. Their son, Andrew, and his wife Chyulu, run Ol Malo House and are very much involved with the activities.
The Ol Malo Trust, a registered Kenyan charity, supports the local Samburu people, promoting healthcare and education and helping them live according to their traditional values, skills and nomadic lifestyle. It also supports the harmonious co-existence of the Samburu and wildlife.