Kenya may be known for its sprawling plains and impressive wildlife, but its burgeoning art scene is not to be overlooked. From boutique Nairobi hotels to satellite galleries in the heart of the African bush, spend 11 nights exploring Kenya’s inspiring landscapes and artists. Begin in Nairobi, the thriving capital city and emerging mecca for art collectors, for two nights at 148 Nairobi. This 8-room art filled hotel used to be the private the private home and studio of artist/designer Anna Trzeblinski. When not soaking in the ambience, you may wish to visit Giraffe Sanctuary, which borders the property, or meet the elephants at the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. Spend a full day on a guided visit to exciting galleries such as Banana Hill, One Off and Red Hill.
Next, journey north to the Laikipia Plateau. This huge wilderness area is made up of private ranches, game sanctuaries, and community lands. Rugged hills, lava plateaus and rocky escarpments dominate the landscape. Spend three nights at Segera Retreat, designed with sustainability at the fore. You’ll have your pick of activities, from joining foot patrols through the bush, game drives in search of endangered animals like patas monkeys, Grevy’s zebra and wild dog, to planting trees in the Wangary Maathai Memorial Forest, and cultural visits with the local Samburu to learn about centuries-old traditions and daily life.
A real highlight of Segera, though, is the arts focus. As a satellite of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (ZMOCAA) in Cape Town, Segera displays a wide range of contemporary art from Africa and its Diaspora. Its regular exhibitions of locally and internationally acclaimed artists highlight intercultural relationships in order to safeguard cultural heritage and diversity. The on-site sculpture garden lets you explore art-in-context with bronze, stone, and steel works, land and earth art, outdoor projections, site-specific installations, and more. Their artist-in-residence program, in cooperation with ZMOCAA, hosts leading contemporary artists that guests can meet personally, perhaps dining together, visiting their studio, or attending artist talks and other social activities. Guests can also enjoy Segera’s interactive C4C, which merges natural history, art, and a “dreamer’s exhibition” to explore the possibilities of holistic sustainability.
Continue your journey to the world-renowned Masai Mara. Here, on the Olare Motorogi Conservancy, experience a different kind of art: the painstakingly crafted Mara Plains Camp designed and owned by the Jouberts—award-winning filmmakers, conservationists, and National Geographic Explorers-In-Residence. Their artistic sensibilities have informed even the smallest details of Mara Plains. Large wooden doors from the coast reflect ancient Swahili heritage, deep red and purple accents speak to the region’s great Maasai chiefs and warriors, and the camp’s entire layout has been designed to maximize the beauty of surrounding acacia-dotted plains and seemingly endless horizon. Over the next three days, roam thousands of acres of exclusive, low-vehicle density wilderness in search of big game such as lion, wildebeest, giraffe, leopard, and more.
Round out your safari at Peponi, on the coastal island of Lamu. Lounge on quiet beaches or explore the archipelago on a traditional dhow, perhaps visiting the ruins at Takwa. Deep-sea fishing, or snorkeling the reefs at Manda Toto and Kiniyka, you may encounter turtles and dolphins. Explore mangrove forests or historical sites within Lamu’s winding streets and massive stone buildings. The town itself is a designated World Heritage Site, and is the oldest inhabited Swahili settlement south of the Sahara.
2 Nights – One Forty Eight – Nairobi
3 Nights – Segera Retreat – Laikipia
3 Nights – Mara Plains Camp – Olare Motogori Conservancy, Maasai Mara
3 Nights – Peponi – Lamu Island
Price starts at $11,200 per person based on two travelers sharing.
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