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Lalibela in Laikipia

Under the ‘guise’ of hosting an agent educational, Kate seized the opportunity to discover Arijiju in Laikipia – a place of such startling beauty that to truly grasp it, it must be experienced firsthand
Above: African olive trees, iceberg roses and lavender - only at Arijiju

I am a safari brat. There is no point in sugar-coating it. As many of you know I was raised on the back of a Land Rover and have been privileged enough to stay in many of the best safari lodges and bush homes in sub-Saharan Africa – both inside my parents’ lodges as well as those of their dear industry friends.

Kate’s first ever horseback safari - and definitely not her last

But I have never been as excited as I was a few weeks ago when I woke up on the morning that I was to fly to Arijiju in Laikipia. For the longest time, I had wanted to step across the threshold of this sole-use bush home about which I had only heard whispers. She felt like a secret nobody knew, and her beauty was rumoured to take your breath away.

The perfect balance of sophistication and simplicity

Before going, I had trawled the internet for images and begged Nicky to tell me more about her brief stay there. So, what did I do? I planned a trip with (almost) the sole purpose of staying at this five-bedroom, exclusive-use safari home, under the guise of hosting five wonderful travel advisors across Kenya for a week – I had given them full disclosure, and they all knew how excited I was to be going.

Inspired by the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela
Inside a sanctuary and outside the African wilderness

Well, Arijiju was not beautiful, nor was she magnificent – she was perfect. Even her imperfections were perfect. Sunken into the ground on the edge of a hill with views of Mount Kenya, she was modelled on the famed Ethiopian churches of Lalibela. And that is exactly how she feels: the thick stone walls and arched walkways frame a jasmine, rose and olive garden courtyard and give the feeling of walking through a monastery or cloister from a by-gone time.

Steel, stone, flowers, cotton - a perfectly woven carpet of textures

The juxtaposition of the brick walls, large iron-framed windows, and simple but elegant furniture are perfectly (yes, there is that word again) offset by the gardens, the bowls of fresh local flowers that adorn every tabletop, and the beautiful touches of fabric scattered through the house.

Swimming into infinity
Did Arijiju perfect the saying ‘God is in the detail’?

I could wax lyrical about each bedroom, and the tiny details that make Arijiju what she is: from the boot room with squash and tennis shoes as well as horse riding chaps; to the cinema that is cool and comfy; to the serenity of the study; to the pool (oh, and pool-side DIY pizzas!); to the kitchen with jars of home-made cookies just waiting to be nicked as you walk past; to the spa with its handsome hammam and everything in between.

From roses to smiles and everything in between

But as da Vinci once said, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. What makes Arijiju truly beautiful is that her beauty is discreet. She is not flashy. Yes, absolutely everything is impossibly gorgeous, but she does not scream luxury – she simply whispers class. She is imperfectly perfect.

Unforced and unfussy, it’s impossible not to kick back and drink it all in

Filed under: Safari Style

Tagged with:

Angama Safaris , Mount Kenya , Travel East Africa

About: Kate Fitzgerald Boyd

Kate was born in a chafing dish – well almost. The date she was due to arrive was perilously close to Christmas and her mother wasn’t taking any chances so out she came just in time for a decent Christmas dinner to be served to the guests at the hotel of her childhood. Back-of-house babies, they call them. And she has never looked back and now logs more air miles than she knows what to do with sharing the Angama Mara story far and wide.

Browse all articles by Kate Fitzgerald Boyd Meet the angama team

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