An oasis of luxury set against the foothills of Mount Kenya, Segera Retreat is home to conservation, community and culture. Its thatched villas, eccentric towers and living cactus boma are set within a garden rich with hummingbirds and sculptures. A place with thriving wildlife that reminds to tread gently on the land, while refuelling your creative energy.
As written for Amadi Travel and appears in Hamaji Magazine.
Feel the Presence of Mt Kenya
Forming a crucial part of the expansive Laikipia Conservancy, Segera is where conservationist Jochen Zeitz has successfully established a safari offering that combines privacy and exclusivity in his wild Kenyan home away from home. Providing vital migratory corridors, the 20 000 hectares malaria-free grassland is home to lions, leopards, cheetah, elephants and buffalo as well as journeys of giraffe, large herds of zebra and endangered species such as Grevy’s zebra, Lelwel’s Hartebeest and African wild dog. Set to the northeast of the Great Rift Valley, Laikipia is increasingly recognised as one of Kenya’s best safari regions, and the only part of the country where both the game and habitat are increasing thanks to impressive conservation efforts.
In the distance, the ethereal presence of Mount Kenya can be felt. Particularly magical in the early mornings when a scattering of clouds often lingers in the foreground. Exploration from Segera Retreat takes you to wide open plains and gradual slopes, into river valleys and to magnificent waterfalls, in search of resident birds at the two lush wetlands on the Suguroi and Mutara Rivers. Giant Cathedral Acacias and ancient Fig Trees offer shade from the midday sun, and for perfectly presented bush picnics that allow you to pause and simply marvel at the setting.
Thatched Villas, Exclusive Homesteads, Contemporary Farmhouses
Strategically placed throughout the luxuriant sculpture gardens and retreat grounds for maximum privacy are six beautifully styled Garden Villas, a large saltwater pool and three homes with private pools: Villa Segera – which is perfect for honeymooners, the grand Segera House and the contemporary family Farmhouse. All have contemporary interiors, beautiful views and are ecologically sensitive. Pathways lead to the spa and gym, Rasul steam tower, the Stables and Paddock House where meals are served with views towards Mount Kenya. The main area has the Wine Tower and renovated stables, complete with a bar and dining room filled with contemporary African art from the Zeitz Collection. Giraffes are known to visit daily.
The villas are on stilts with thatched roofs and bleached wood. The interiors are almost identical with huge stone showers, extra-large beds, and generous day beds that can be turned into sleep-outs. Each has a villa attendant. Double story Segera House is ideal for couples travelling together and has 3 en-suite master bedrooms. A gallery links the upstairs rooms with views down into the atrium-style lounge that opens onto a dining area and gorgeous private pool. Elegant with neutral furniture and safari-inspired tones. The Farmhouse, which is the original homestead, has been transformed into a contemporary home with slick black floors and double French doors that open onto the outdoor lounge and pool.
The Nay Palad Bird’s Nest
Sleep like a bird, in a nest, in the wild. This truly unique collaboration between Segera and Nay Palad presents itself at the Nay Palad Bird Nest – a raised ‘nest’ in the wild with an en-suite bedroom as well as a bed on the rooftop that allows you to sleep under the stars. Offering 360-degree views, arrive just before sunset to lit lanterns, champagne and a picnic-style dinner. In the morning, breakfast will be delivered in order that you can prolong the romantic seclusion and your time in the wild.
Farm to Fork Five Star Dining
Segera has a farm-to-fork approach to meals with organic vegetables and herbs harvested from the thriving on-site garden and served alongside locally sourced meat and fish. Fresh bread, quiches and tarts are baked daily and you’ll also find a range of healthy salads alongside delicious gazpachos and soups depending on the season. Chef Elizabeth has created a range of multi-plate menus that match this style perfectly. Opt for a pool-side lunch, an evening in the Wine-Tower or the ambience of the Stables and Paddock House, the Retreat’s 5-star cuisine can be enjoyed wherever you prefer.
Immersive Exploration and Activities
A Segera safari shows you a different world. One that will connect you to the land, the people, the wildlife and that magical sense of Kenya through cultural, community and wildlife experiences. With the Aberdare Mountain Range, Mount Kenya, and the Rift Valley with the Great Lakes nearby, this location is ideal for exploration, specifically exhilarating helicopter flights. Go game viewing and wildlife monitoring and see how removing miles of game fencing has helped establish vital elephant corridors in the area. Take an immersive bush walk with your ranger to learn more about the intricacies of bush life.
Highlights at Segera Retreat is spending time with their anti-poaching unit and their highly trained bloodhound dogs, performing seek and find missions with them and learning more about their sensitive noses and the huge value they bring to the fight against poaching. A moving experience led by dedicated people and their Sniffer-Dogs.
Harvest honey from Segera’s acacia trees in full bee suits with traditional bee-keepers. Join the ‘Tree of Life’ re-forestation project by planting indigenous trees on Segera and spend time in the Centre for the 4Cs (C4C), gaining insights and depth into Segera’s community involvement and sustainability. See the ZEITZ Foundation projects in action, such as the WaterBank school and the SATUBO beading initiative. Visit Segera Ranch and the traditional herdsman who care for over 3,000 cattle, and even join them for the weekly cattle dipping if you’d like.
For a truly memorable experience, take to the skies in the lovingly restored G-AAMY. Fondly remembered from the Oscar-winning movie ‘Out of Africa,’ it’s the yellow biplane which soared above Kenya’s dramatic landscapes and which Jochen Zeitz returned to Africa in 2013, fitting it with a new engine and seeing it returned to glory. On one of your nights, settle in for an outdoor screening of your favourite movie, with blankets and popcorn.
Mind, body and soul are refreshed and revitalised in the Wellness Centre where various holistic treatments and spa therapies have been designed to nourish the entire body. Your treatments can be supplemented by time in the Rasul Tower with a steam bath, saltwater swimming pool and gym session.
Segera demonstrates that luxury can be sustainable and lives by the ethos that every stay changes lives.
The Long Run, Every stay changes lives
Owned by Jochen Zeitz and with the support of the Zeitz Foundation, Segera Retreat is at the forefront of positive impact in Kenya. Dedicated to achieving a healthy balance of the 4Cs – Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce, it has seen the last decade bring to life what started as degraded land. Equally, The Long Run, an initiative of the Zeitz Foundation and today a collection of rare experiences and places, was launched as a travel movement to help businesses, nature and people work together for a better future.
A catalyst for change, you’ll find vast solar installations providing energy and heat, recycled and captured rainwater feeding the verdant gardens and homegrown vegetables pulled fresh from the earth to enrich daily menus. While game fences have been removed to re-open vital migratory corridors for the animals. Through the ZEITZ Foundation, engage in the conservation projects that are protecting Segera’s wildlife and the vital initiatives improving the lives of the communities.
An Art Lover’s Mecca
Segera Retreat is home to Jochen Zeitz’s impressive collection of contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora – known as the Zeitz Collection. A sister of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) in Cape Town, South Africa, a stroll through the gardens rewards with wire sculptures, monumental bronze, stone and steelworks, outdoor projections and interventions. In the Stables and Paddock House, find a display of watercolours, video installations, prints, etchings and paintings by African artists can be viewed.
What we love about Segera Retreat
– The shared belief that ‘sustainability is no longer about doing less harm, it’s about doing more good’, as prescribed by Jochen Zeitz and felt throughout your stay.
– Segera Retreat’s commitment to The Long Run and how every stay actively changes lives.
– The Laikipia area, one of Africa’s most remarkable safari destinations and home to the second-highest density of wildlife in Kenya, yet one too often overlooked.
– The Farmhouse, Segera House, Villa Segera and Family Villa which are perfect for family holidays and groups of friends travelling together, and come with a private vehicle for added exclusivity.
– Segera Retreat’s many hides and lookout points for outdoor dining, coffee stops, sundowners or to simply pause and watch the natural rhythms of the wilderness play out.
– The untamed views of Mt Kenya and the surrounding landscape that can be enjoyed by helicopter safari in particular.
– Segera Retreat is the perfect match for interesting minds, conservationists, art lovers and those looking for excellent wildlife, wellness and an opportunity to engage with Kenya’s fascinating culture.
Segera Retreat is easily accessible by air, either from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, domestic Wilson Airport or from Kenya’s other safari and coastal destinations. Laikipia is a 45 minutes flight from Nairobi and just an hour’s flight from the Masai Mara.
As recommended by AMADI, a conscious luxury travel brand that designs journeys for like-minded travellers across Africa. Four nights or more is recommended to allow time to enjoy the range of culture, community and conservation experiences on offer at Segera Retreat. Many guests stay a week or more, most opt for a night at the irresistible Nay Palad Bird’s Nest.
Contact: [email protected] | +41 (79) 731 00 06 | www.amadi.travel
** Read my other articles from AMADI travel as featured in Hamaji Magazine.