A unique, artistically-styled retreat built with undulating curves that mimic the rolling hillside in which the lodge is set, Olarro blends effortlessly into its surrounds. The interior is a cool white, accented by earth tone accessories and enhanced by modern décor chosen for its quality and the integrity of its design. Olarro runs on eco-friendly principles not only in design but in its use of resources. It employs state-of-the-art wind and solar power technology. The lodge offers seven cottages, one exclusive house, central dining and bar options, swimming pool, spa and a wide range of unique activities.
Location of Olarro
South Western Kenya in the Loita Hills Massif. Olarro, Maa (language of the Maasai) for ‘the Buffalo’, is 6000 feet above sea level, nestled in the Enkijape hills about 200 kms from Nairobi. It is situated on a 20,000 acre private Conservancy surrounded by 130,000 acres of Maji Moto Group Ranch, owned by the local Maasai people. The Conservancy sits along the corridor of the annual wildebeest migration and plays a significant role in the Greater Nguruman, Loita, Mara, and Serengeti ecosystems.
By air from Nairobi: A short 35 minute helicopter flight direct to Olarro helipads or a 45 minute scheduled service flight / charter plane to Siana airstrip followed by a 1½ hour road transfer to Olarro.
By road from Nairobi: A visually stunning drive from Nairobi along the Great Rift Valley escarpment and then down across the valley floor and up into the Loita foothills. Approx 3 hours.
Alternatively if transferring from elsewhere in the Mara, Olarro is a short 1 ½ hour drive from the Keekorok gate of the Masai Mara Game reserve.
When to visit the Masai Mara National Reserve
The Masai Mara National Reserve can be visited at any time of year. Rainfall is typically highest December, January and April. The timing of the annual wildebeest migration varies according to annual rainfall patterns.
Olarro faces westwards looking out over the rolling hills of the Mara ecosystem.
Main Olarro, situated on the north side of the property, has seven cottages (3 twin rooms and 4 double rooms). Six of the cottages are co-joined through a common sitting area, ideal for groups of friends or families. Visitors to Main Olarro cottages dine in the Northern Lounge which overlooks the savannah.
For those guests seeking total privacy and exclusivity, Little Olarro is a private house located a short distance from the main lodge. It has a luxury suite with a master bedroom, a smaller twin bedroom, lounge, dining area and veranda, all offering stunning views of the Loita plains. Little Olarro has its own entrance, private kitchen and deck area.
Most Kenya national parks offer mobile phone connections and staff will be glad to point out optimum reception points.
Dining and bars
The Northern Lounge overlooks the Loita plains and is used by the seven Main Olarro cottages. The expansive decks offer 180 degree views across a pristine corner of Africa. There is also a sundeck, lounge area and bar, as well as an ‘under-the-stars’ open air fireplace. Meals are prepared using the finest, fresh ingredients and are served either in the Northern Lounge or at a poolside table under the stars. The swimming pool is a series of small, inter-linked pools, providing guests with privacy and the ideal place for a cool dip to escape the heat of the African sun. There is an adjoining Mini Spa that offers a full range of treatments and services - an ideal way to relax at the end of the day.
The Upper Deck Lounge is the private lounge and dining area exclusively for guests at Little Olarro. The two-storey structure houses a fully-equipped kitchen and massage room on the lower level. The upper level has a spacious lounge with a fireplace and a dining area and sundeck, all affording breathtaking views of the Loita plains.
Bush dining options include sundowners where drinks and cocktails are erved at a specially chosen site in the conservancy offering stunning views of the sunset over the rolling hills and plains. Bush dinners are a spectacular dining experience under a star-studded sky in the wild. A picnic table can be set up on request at a chosen site in the conservancy for guests who want to enjoy al-fresco dining within the stunning landscape of the conservancy.
On safari in Kenya with children
Children are welcome but parental supervision is required. On request, we can provide early dinners and child minder services for our young guests. We ask that parents show consideration to other guests where children are concerned. Olarro is very child-friendly. The Olarro Juniors Adventurers Club (O.J.A.C) creates programmes that are full of bush adventures and give the adventurers a unique insight into the local Maasai traditions and lifestyle.A fully qualified Maasai guide will take the children on hikes in the Loita hills and teach them traditional methods of how the warriors survive in the harsh tribal lands. The adventurers learn crucial bush survival techniques such as how to light a fire without the use of modern methods using sticks and dried animal dung, learning about different animal spores and dung and how to track the animals, make and shoot a bow and arrow and constructing a traditional bush shelter. They are shown a range of medicinal uses for indigenous trees and shrubs in an entertaining yet educational manner. These include the toothbrush tree, wet wipe tree, poison arrow tree, upset tummy shrub, antiseptic and disinfectant shrub and the chewing gum tree! The guide will also explain the traditional methods that the Maasai use without compromising their environment.The Club is suitable for children as young as six years old although parental presence is recommended to help ensure children drink plenty of water along the way, reapply their sun cream and keep themselves protected from the African sun.
There is a delicious children’s menu so little ones will be excited to get back to the ranch and tuck in. With each hike designed to leave the children feeling invigorated yet tired from all the fresh air, exercise and education, plus a full belly of food - a good night’s sleep is guaranteed! This also enables a relaxing evening for the parents to enjoy Olarro’s first class cuisine in peace. For those more energetic children still requiring entertainment Olarro can arrange more relaxed games such as Jenga (the Swahili word for ‘build’) back at camp.Children over 12 and adults can enjoy unique night drives with the use of night-vision binoculars. This minimises the disturbance to the natural behaviour of wildlife and allows guests a clear view of strictly nocturnal animals. These night vision binoculars offer the chance to see two of the most magnificent of predators, the Leopard and Lion, at their most active and most interesting hunting and catching prey rather than lying under a shady tree by day.
At the end of the children’s stay, Olarro provides a fun questionnaire and a "diploma certificate" for the O.J.A.C members to complete which is followed by the presentation of their certificate, providing a lasting memory of their stay and achievements.
Although the lodge does not offer specific conference facilities but small events can be accommodated.
Weddings and honeymoons
Olarro makes an ideal honeymoon destination, more especially since it offers the chance of observing the annual wildebeest migration. Wedding and honeymoon packages are offered.
Safari wildlife highlights: wildebeest migration, lion, cheetah, leopard, elephant, zebra, hippo, spotted and striped hyena, giraffe, oryx, gerenuk, impala and Grant’s gazelle. Birds: 425 recorded species.
Unique selling points of Olarro
One advantage of being on a private Conservancy is the wide range of activities offered. These include mountain biking with a private guide, bush walks, daily game drives and specialized bird watching with our licensed guides. Specially prepared picnics can be provided for breakfast or lunch and drinks and gourmet appetizers for sundowners. Unique to Olarro are night drives using infra red night vision binoculars to spot nocturnal game in their natural habitat with minimum disturbance to their behaviour.
An optional experience and one of the highlights at Olarro that requires pre bookings is a scenic helicopter flight into the Masai Mara, taking off from the lodge’s private helicopter pad at dawn. After an exhilarating flight into the reserve, guests have the rare opportunity to float over the million strong wildebeest and zebra migration in a hot air balloon, followed by a sumptuous champagne breakfast in a remote part of the Masai Mara.
Olarro offers a Spa with two treatment rooms offering a range of world class Thera Vine beauty and relaxation treatments in a unique African setting.
We have an excellent team of Maasai guides – Mike, Jackson and Solomon - who ensure that activities at Olarro are fun, insightful and memorable. They even equip you with a Species Checklist for you to identify and remember all the variety of birds and animals you will see and all our guides are excellent with children.
Game drives are scheduled from 6.30am to 8.30am and 4.00pm to 6.30pm, which are the best times of day for game viewing. The route covers the Olarro Conservancy and the adjoining Olkinyiei Ranch which is the breeding ground for the Loita wildebeest and home to many other species.
Night game drives are scheduled from 8.30pm to 10.00pm, on request. Guests are taken for a safari within the conservancy where they can view nocturnal animals with night vision goggles. These include the White Tailed Mongoose, Bush Babies, African Kangaroo or Spring Hare, Feraux Owl and the Montane Night Jar.
Olarro conservancy has many picturesque locales within its boundaries in addition to the wide variety of flora and fauna. Our guides can take photographers on a special safari to make sure they get all the shots from their wish list.
Your guide will take you on a very enjoyable and informative nature walk in the conservancy to see and learn about different shrubs & trees that have traditional medicinal use, foot prints of different animals, animal droppings, different stones like quartz and granite, flowers and fruit trees. Nature walks are scheduled from 9am to 11.30am and 3.00pm to 5.00pm.
Olarro is a bird watchers’ delight, home to over 100 species of birds that are found in the conservancy. Our guides are a store house of knowledge on birds and will take you for a Bird-watching Safari walking within the conservancy. The walks are scheduled from 6.30am to 8.30am.
We have special mountain bikes and guests can go with the guides for bike rides along the biking trails in the conservancy.
This is an interesting tour to gain a firsthand experience of Maasai life and culture. It includes a visit to the local Maasai village to see traditional maasai homes, crafts at work such as beadwork, wood carving and Maasai customs such as the rituals that a Maasai goes through from childhood till they become a Warrior and finally an Elder. You can also see traditional Maasai dances such as the Warrior jumping contest and the women dancers and experience other aspects of Maasai life such as fire making, spearing and archery. These safaris are arranged on special request and the time is
The multi-level pool near the Spa is open from 8.00am to 6.00pm. The pool area is a great place to relax and unwind and you can order drinks from the pool bar.
The Olarro Spa is designed for pampering in luxury. Guests can unwind at the spa lounge by the pool before or after a treatment chosen from our carefully selected range of therapies and treatments. Each treatment is specially designed for relaxation, energising or even to relieve any aches or pains. We use high quality Thera Vine spa products in all our treatments.
Conservation at Olarro
The 4 C’s – Conservation, Community, Capacity and Commerce - are the watchwords of this venture. Our aim is to create a self-sustaining tourist operation, with the dual goal of improving the standard of living for the local Maasai community. We have developed a 20- year fully comprehensive community assistance plan to improve the lives of the people, who are key stakeholders in this conservation project. The plan focuses primarily on much needed medical and educational assistance, as well as support for a livestock programme. Olarro has installed technologically advanced solar and wind energy systems and plans to also have its own bio gas recycling system to generate fuel for the lodge and local Maasai community and has undertaken an active environmental initiative program on the Group Ranch through ACX and CSA – internationally accredited environmentalists.