Segera Retreat embodies Conservation, Culture, Community & Commerce. These four elements dubbed ‘the 4C’s’, define this Kenyan Gem in the heart of Laikipia County.
There are pretty much 2 means. Drive or fly.
We don’t want to splurge by arriving on a plane so we hit the road from Nairobi at 6 am, driving through the stunning Kenyan sunrise.
As we near Nanyuki, Silvia pulls over and reminisces her high-school days at the foot of Mt Kenya.
We take a few pictures and crack on.
Nairobi – Nanyuki (3-hour drive)
After a solid 3 hours of driving from Nairobi, we arrive at Cedar Mall in Nanyuki Town.
This is where we meet our Segera driver, the amazing Paul Kasaine who promptly keeps us up to speed with what to expect on our activity-packed weekend.
We transfer our equipment from Silvia’s car to Paul’s 4×4 Land Cruiser which is a bit muddy; “Rains have come back to Segera”, he says joyfully.
We hit the corrugation and 1 hour later, we drive through the gates of Segera Retreat.
Nanyuki-Segera Retreat (1-hour drive)
Segera Retreat – The Property
In all my travels across the country, never have I received a welcome like my friends and I got at Segera.
We are greeted by the General Manager Mr. Jens Kozany, the Tourism Manager Mr. Moritz and the entire Segera Members of staff allocated to serve us.
After exchanging pleasantries, our charming bartender Andrew Leshao, ensures that our throats never run dry. If you aren’t holding a sensational cocktail on your right hand, there’s a freshly squeezed mango juice on your left.
The 4 of us are allocated respective villas (Segera’s accommodation), assigned individual members of staff who’ll take care of us during our stay and immediately, we are home.
Mr. Jens Kozany gives us a comprehensive and thoroughly informative tour around the property. We learn about the history of Segera.
We learn about Segera being a simple family Boma (A traditional homestead), until the owner, Mr. Jochen Zeitz purchased the 200 square kilometer piece of land and turns it into a holiday destination.
Finding your way around Segera
Segera retreat – Accommodation & Interiors
To say the architecture in this compound is mind-blowing would be an understatement. The thought and attention to detail infused in every single structure is second-to-none.
Getting into my villa is like stepping into a time-machine and travelling to the best feats of architecture of old times.
The rustique texture is intoxicating and in every corner you take, there’s award-winning African Contemporary artwork by African artists splashed all over.
Main highlights of a 3-day trip to Segera…
1. The Bird Nest & Picnic sun-downers
Fulfilled by NAY PALAD and brought to life by the visionary architect Daniel Pouzet, this magical structure, borrowing its name from its unique look of a giant bird’s nest at the top is a lover’s destination of it’s own to say the least.
The house is located in the heart of the wild, hence, the serenity is therapeutic.
Holding a glass of some high quality wine and seeing the sun set atop the nest is absolutely breath-taking.
Picnic sites are aplenty, however, there’s one in particular that tops the rest. Picnic by the river.
2. Game Drives
Segera is a Conservancy; hence, there’s an abundance of wildlife which move freely across the neighboring conservancies.
Common wildlife you get to see include the Big Five(excluding the Rhino), Plains Zebras (including the endangered Grevy’s Zebra), Eland, Defassa Waterbuck, Buffalo, Warthog, Impala, Thomson’s Gazelle, Kirk’s Dik-Dik, Steenbok, Grey Duiker and the Grant’s Gazelle.
Predators include; Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Spotted Hyena, Wild Dog, Black-backed Jackal, Serval and the Striped Hyena.
Occasionally, you’ll get to see the endangered Reticulated Giraffe, Patas Monkey, Grevy’s Zebra or the Lelwel’s Hartebeest.
Game drives at Segera are not your typical time or area-restricted drives. You can go for either a day or night drive or both!
You’ll also have a rare opportunity to go a guided walks in the conservancy with armed rangers. In our case, we get the chance to take it a bit further.
On the second day after a 5-star breakfast, we meet the Segera Ranger & Anti-Poaching Unit accompanied by the K-9 unit.
After introductions, we are informed that we shall undertake a mock ‘poacher-hunt’ and Joe hastily volunteers to be the ‘poacher’.
Joe rubs his scent on the ground and sets off into the wild, accompanied by armed rangers of course.
We wait for a few minutes, Milky, the bloodhound gets Joe’s scent and the ‘hunt’ begins.
As we walk on foot, I have an incredible conversation with the the highest ranking ranger about the dynamics of protecting Segera. I’m absolutely impressed by how they respond not only to the conservancy’s emergencies, but to the Segera Community as well.
The rangers’ use of highly trained sniffer dogs and current technology ensures than no external threat will be a bother to Segera.
Currently, an all-women Ranger Unit, first of its kind in East Africa, is undergoing training and will be unveiled in a few months.
3. Community visits
Main communities in the Segera ecosystem are Samburu, Turkana and Borana tribes.
Recently, women from these three tribes came together to form a strong organization known as SATUBO Women Group.
This is a community project envisioned to empower women and promote sustainable development of rural communities. Members of SATUBO primarily come from Jerusalem village, near Segera Retreat, the headquarters of the Zeitz Foundation.
The village is made up of small, traditional huts constructed from clay and grass, which house as many as ten family members. Jerusalem community faces challenges such as lack of education and poverty and SATUBO aims to solve these challenges.
Jane, the leader of the group explains to us in great detail how they, coming from a community which women were not highly valued before, overcame this obstacle and created a haven where women would put their various skills (mainly knitting and creating traditional artifacts) to good use.
The organization, with help from the Zeitz foundation also ensure that children go to school.
4. ‘Out-of-Africa’ Bi-plane
Jochen Zeitz’s love for ancient artifacts is evident in one of his most priced possessions.
On Day 3 early morning, the GYPSY Moth GAAMY Bi-plane is rolled out of it’s hanger and my friends and I are given access.
History of the bi-plane…
“The plane was used by Robert Redford to fly Meryl Streep in the old-timey movie OUT OF AFRICA. Years later in a Paris Auction, a telephone bidder bought it and stated that he is returning back it to Africa where it belongs”.
300,000 US Dollars and a new engine later, the plane now resides at Segera Retreat where it flies guests across the staggeringly beautiful Northern Kenya for a truly Out-of-Africa experience.
After the bi-plane tour, we get the chance to meet the legendary photographer Michael Poliza who gives us a life-changing TED-TALK about the beauty if Kenya especially Northern Kenya. Having gone to places in Kenya where civilization simply doesn’t exist, our jaws drop as he displays his images frame after frame.
We plant a tree and say goodbye to the entire Segera Family. It’s accurate to say that if my friends and I had a choice, we would never want to leave. We sadly leave but amazing memories stay with us.
For more information, visit www.segera.com