D. Bunge, Wildlife Manager, Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy:
As a young Kenyan boy growing up on the slopes of Mount Elgon National park, I wanted to work with wildlife.
As a university student at Moi University studying Wildlife Management, I looked forward to a career in Wildlife Conservation.
For me, the Mountain Bongo Repatriation and the other Conservancy Projects are a dream come true.
Game Ranch Lifestyles:
A Paradise Found
Adjacent to the Mount Kenya Game Ranch lies a unique and spectacular enclave of exclusive residences.
A very private estate nestled into the foothills of Mount Kenya boasts panoramic views across the mighty forests of the Mount Kenya National Park to the majestic snow covered peaks of “Kerinyaga,” God’s Mountain.
We have called this stunning estate Mawingu, Kiswahili for Clouds.
A privileged few residents call it home
Unlike “theme park re-creation” this un-spoilt paradise reflects the true adventure of life in Africa….
The founders of William Holden’s famous African ranch have all built homes here.
Sadly our friend and co-founder Bill Holden passed away before he could realize his own dream home in the clouds.
But not before he and his partners stocked their ranch with more than a thousand endangered wild animals of 26 species.
Rare Pygmy Hippos
They built hidden fences, planted hundreds of trees, spectacular flowers and planned exclusive residences for a few of their affluent friends seeking a piece of paradise.
Stefanie Powers keeps her polo ponies here
That was in the 1970’s
It was not until 1985 that the “Mawingu” estate became a reality and the first residence was built for our friend, famous Hollywood producer Robert Halmi.
Bob Halmi spent every moment he could at his home in the clouds, often commuting from New York, he would bring along his famous friends from the world of film and stage.
Soon Stefanie Powers built her own impressive home. Many famous friends followed, from the U.S., from England, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Australia etc. making for a truly international little community.
Today Mawingu is a small international community of people that have fallen in love with Africa. They enjoy the luxury of their own homes while here and as a base for Safari with adventure on their doorstep.
It is an ideal high altitude clear air climate, temperatures vary only slightly with highs between 75 and 80 all year round.
Game Ranch resident Julian McKeand
Lazy Days Around the Pool
Soaking up sun can be enjoyed most of the year but for the more energetic there’re plenty of activities and relaxing diversions on offer:
- Tennis at the Club
- Golf next door
- Lawn bowling
- Horse Safaris
- Fly fishing for trout in the clear mountain streams
- Sport flying and gliding
- Helicopter Safaris
- There is adequate rainfall to delight the gardening enthusiast
- …and so much more
There are no pests and the only wildlife around here is that of the more enjoyable kind: Antelopes, Zebras, Monkeys, Gazelles, even Buffalos and of course plenty of Leopard and Elephant in the surrounding forest. There are no snakes to speak of (they prefer the hotter climes and lower altitudes) and no bugs or mosquitoes.
Imagine: No one needs screens on their doors and windows.
Nights are always cool and log fires guarantee a cozy atmosphere. Kenya can really offer all 4 seasons at once.
For the photographers and artists amongst us, the whole of Africa with her unique light, flora and fauna beckons right on our doorstep.
Watching the full moon cast a spell over the mountain has become a cocktail ritual we enjoy with fascination, over and over again. But with modern technology now available there is of course Satellite TV, the might of the Internet, and all other gadgets available to those that enjoy them.
Our only neighbor is the famous Mount Kenya Safari Club, another William Holden creation. It’s our local where things often get lively at night.
Recently ‘the Club’ has changed hands and is now managed by the experts from Fairmont Hotels, an international company specializing in the management of 6 star resorts.
A major $15,000,000.00 renovation is under way. The theme and goal is not to change but to bring back the Club to its former glory, recapture the atmosphere of luxury and adventure, but with all the modern state of the art conveniences at close hand.
This will of course include a spa, a beauty parlor and opportunities to shop. The adjacent Mount Kenya Art Gallery is a treasure trove.
Philippe Cauviere, Manager of the Safari Club delights in helping to plan our private parties in our own homes, or banquets at the Club. He’ll do up a romantic picnic basket for two with the same enthusiasm and attention to detail as your 50th birthday party for 200 guests.
The Club has several bars, casual and gourmet dining, conference facilities, a business center and most importantly a friendly concierge who will efficiently take care of all your heart’s desires.
Our closest little town where we get all our supplies is Nanyuki a mere 6 miles down the hill. Nanyuki has grocery stores, butcheries, and banks; postal, Internet and courier services; hardware stores and garages; a well equipped private hospital, and even an airfield with regular scheduled flights taking only 35 minutes travel time to Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi.
Most houses are staffed locally, there is no shortage of loyal well trained live-in housekeepers, cooks and gardeners to look after the flowers and grow your own organic vegetables. The Ranch itself is fenced and has excellent security.
For travel some of Mawingu’s residents prefer to charter their own aircraft and some use the Game Ranch airfield for convenience. The Bettarellos boast that they have dinner at their home in Milano and breakfast on their terrace overlooking Mount Kenya….
Around the holidays things in our neck of the woods get lively. Most residences are owner occupied and there is usually plenty of young folk around.
Daily visits to the Animal Orphanage become a favorite with children and animal lovers alike. Here they help the keepers feed the baby animals and provide love and companionship to our temporary charges.
With all the choices of Safaris in the immediate area and the unique beaches of the azure blue Indian Ocean at close reach, everyone’s family wants to visit this little paradise whenever they can.
Imagine yourself in the warm African sunshine, recharging your batteries in the perfect peace and harmony of a timeless natural environment.
Later after a stunning sunset many hours of meaningful musings spent around a warming fire… or more soberly at breakfast watching the snowy peaks of Mount Kenya gleaming in the early light of another perfect day in Africa.
© 2003 - 2017 Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy
All our pictures and stories may not be reproduced without the express permission of MKWC