Located on a 5,000 acre ranch and wildlife sanctuary stretching from the plains down the Laikipia Escarpment to the Ewaso Nyiro River on the edge of Kenya’s north-eastern province, the lodge is set on the edge of a cliff and looks south over the deep valley, giving impressive views of the surrounding wilderness and occasionally Mount Kenya far in the distance. Owned and hosted by the Francombe family, Ol Malo has been home to the family for many years. Having welcomed their own family members aged 18 months to 80, they have a proven track record of providing family fun for all ages.
Accommodation & Facilities
The cottages at Ol Malo are built from natural stone, with thatched roofs, and overlook a much visited waterhole. The rooms have en-suite bathrooms and a private verandah. There are four spacious thatched cottages of which two are suitable for families. Cottage one has a main room plus an annex and sleeps a maximum of six. The main bedroom can be made up with a double bed and a single bed or three singles. The adjoining annex is ideal for children with one bunk bed and a sofa bed sleeping a total of three. The bathroom is shared between the main bedroom and annex. Cottage two has a main room and an annex sleeping a maximum of four. The main room has one double bed. The annex consists of two single sofa beds, ideal for young children. The bathroom is shared between the main bedroom and annex.
Eating & Sleeping
Children can have separate meals at times to suit. The hosts will discuss with the parents what their children would like to eat and cater accordingly – and understand that children can be selective eaters! The room ladies regularly lend a hand babysitting (Andrew and Chyulu Francombe have young children themselves so staff are accustomed to this).
Wildlife & Activities
Guests can choose to go on day and night wildlife drives, horse rides, escorted bush walks and camel treks. Bush meals are also a big feature of any stay here. Wildlife includes kudu, giraffe, zebra, antelope, elephant, leopard and buffalo. Day excursions to the Karisia Hills and to the Samburu town of Maralal are available. At Ol Malo there are various opportunities to interact with the Samburu, such as spending time at one of the local manyattas and learning how the Samburu go about their daily lives. Guests can also see the morans (warriors) and young women, and will understand why ‘samburu’ means butterfly in Maa when they see all their glorious beads and finery. There is lovely a pool to relax by and excellent bird watching as well.
Specifically for children …
• All the guides and the majority of staff have their own children and are great at entertaining guests’ children.
• The lodge’s infinity pool is child friendly and has a sloped shallow end with steps.
• Horse riding is available for all ages and there are hard hats for children. Very good lead rein ponies and quiet horses are available for all standards and there is a small area available for enclosed riding.
• Camel walks are available for any age. Young children can ride with an adult and camels are led by their handlers
• Explore the ranch – there are many ranch activities available including milking, egg collecting, fishing and age appropriate tracking walks.
• Beading workshop – learn how to bead beautiful bracelets like the talented Samburu ladies.
• School visit – join in with ‘morning circle’ with the Samburu children (skipping, singing, dancing).