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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Filed under: Safari Style
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