Escapism. The very essence of travel. To escape the drudgery of routine, to experience something new and awaken your sense of wonder, to recharge, rejuvenate and come back with a renewed sense of joie de vivre to weave magic into the fabric of everyday life. Segera fits that very bill and is the kind of place bursting with overwhelming beauty in all aspects that you would expect celebrities to fly in on their helicopters, stay for a while, away from the hoi polloi and then jet out again, because of the bespoke luxury and privacy that is offered by this beautiful property. I can understand why someone would want to just escape in solitude at a place as beautiful as this but as much as I’d just love to while away time sat on the comfy daybeds by the sparkling salt water pool or better still, not leave the luxurious confines of my own villa, the itchy feet in me want to explore this fabulous property. And that niggling feeling in the pit of our stomachs that we are all familiar with, FOMO, has me wanting to ensure that I have investigated every nook and cranny and experienced all I want to so that I have no regrets when I am back home…
…and I am not disappointed! Beyond the confines of my comfort zone there exists a whole world waiting to be discovered!
Within the Retreat
A Treasure Trove of Memorabilia
I am enthralled at the collection of memorabilia that is found at the Retreat. What seem like ordinary pieces to someone none the wiser are actually objects steeped in history, pretty much making them timeless. Artfully dotted around the aptly named Explorer Lounge in the Farmhouse you will find original plane engines, telescopes and other related explorer type tchotchke’s and in the Michael Poliza Room you will find an antique typewriter on a beautiful antique wooden desk. Perhaps the most amazing and open mouthed gawking type memorabilia for me: original framed letters from none other than David Livingstone, penned in cursive style of yesteryear that I find so fascinating, to be found in the living room at Segera House.
And as if this weren’t enough, the Retreat has a Jeep that I think made the journey from Cairo to Cape Town, one of the first Rolls Royce cars ever made, and the most amazing piece of machinery: the very same yellow Gypsy Moth Bi-Plane that is associated with the romance of Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen in the movie Out of Africa. Yes, THAT very same bi-plane that soared over Kenya’s stunning landscape in the movie! Our guide at Segera proudly tells us that the owner of Segera believed that the Bi-Plane should return to Kenya, where it belongs and so bought it at an auction in Paris making his dream of seeing the yellow wings soar in Kenyan skies once again come true. The privilege of experiencing a unique flight over the Kenyan savannah in what is fondly known as G-AAMY is a prestigious honour bestowed upon ardent supporters of Segera’s 4C projects (Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce) and so we didn’t get a chance to experience a flight but I was honestly just excited to see this beauty…and hopefully one day, I will return to Segera to soar in the skies in it! #Wanderlustlist!
An Art Lovers Paradise
I confess that I know very little about art, which is a pity because for an art lover, Segera would be the equivalent of paradise. From the work of art chandelier and stunning paintings in the Stables to the thought provoking and eclectic pieces dotted around the sculpture gardens, I find myself wandering from one piece to the next, being immersed into a cultural safari of sorts. There is a noticeable African theme running through the pieces and between the bronze sculptures and steel works, Segera owns a collection out in its beautiful gardens that is guaranteed to make any art collector green with envy.
Segera is linked with Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) on the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town which houses one of the largest collections of contemporary art in the world. If what I can see in Segera is anything to go by, then I’d be brave enough to say I’d love to visit MOCAA to see even more: though I maintain my confession that I will still be none the wiser when it comes to interpreting or appreciating the pieces!
I won’t torture myself by going to the gym when on holiday but I am a sucker for a spa. I can’t remember why I didn’t have a massage (there is a whole range of treatments available) but I did check out the steam room within the Rasul Tower, which is built in the same manner as the Wine Tower, in a little alcove of its own, which was a warming treat in the cold Laikipia evening. Oh, and part of wellness for me is simply lazing around in cosy alcoves with my journal, penning out my thoughts. I did lots of this on the terrace overlooking Mt. Kenya and amidst the fluffy pillows of the day bed on our deck overlooking the savannah, at one point watching a whole herd of elephants peacefully grazing away!
A Sleep Out?
One evening after dinner, Wanderlustmate M and I returned to find this sign outside the steps leading up to our villa:
The Swing Bed in the little patio beneath our villa was all cosily made up with fluffy pillows and a comforter and a mosquito net, and the warm glow cast by the hurricane lamps lit up and placed artfully around the patio made the whole scene look welcoming. The chilly Central Kenya evening breeze deterred us from hopping into the Swing Bed in the first instance and we made our way up to the comfort of walls in the Villa above. Guiltily climbing into bed in the Villa, Wanderlustmate M and I looked at each other and chastised ourselves for being such chickens, especially given the effort to make our stay at Segera that much more special with this opportunity. So, we sheepishly made our way back down, clambered into the Swing Bed, which was all toasty and warm thanks to the hot water bottles placed under the covers, and decided to brave a Sleep Out in the ghost like silence of the savannah underneath an inky dark sky. We were just about being lulled to sleep by the gently rocking bed and then we heard the cactus fence behind us rustling furiously as if an animal was trying to get through it… and our imaginations ran wild with what this animal could possibly be…just the thought of something wild coming to sniff us out (overactive much?!) was enough to make us jump out and go right back upstairs to the comfort of the Villa again! Yup, #confession! In hindsight, I wish we had been brave enough to last the night, but then there wouldn’t be this confession to make, would there? 😉
Beyond the Retreat
The NAY PALAD Bird Nest
A collaboration between NAY PALAD and Segera, the Bird Nest is probably one of the most unique and inspiring living spaces in the world. A literal bird nest set up high on a wooden platform, this room out in the wilderness is one where adventurous wanderlusters can fulfil their dreams of sleeping under the stars in luxury. Although we did see the NAY PALAD Bird Nest and have the opportunity to tour it, we were requested not to take pictures at the time we visited as it was yet to be unveiled to the world. We were incredibly honoured to be amongst the first guests to witness this stunning room. More details about this fascinating room out in the wild can be found on the official Segera website.
No trip out in the wilderness is complete without a game drive and Laikipia boasts a plethora of wildlife to be enjoyed. We were lucky enough to see large herds of elephant and buffalos as well as plains game grazers and browsers like the Reticulated Giraffe, Antelope and Common Zebra.
We even saw a Lion, who was lazily sunbathing in the early morning sun one minute and standing up like the King of the Jungle the next moment, ambling over to his super cute looking Lioness!
Laikipia also has some brown spotted Hyenas and the endangered Grevy’s Zebra, which we did see, and is rumoured to have Cheetah, Leopard and sometimes African Wild Dog which we weren’t quite lucky to come across.
Early morning game drives are the best time to see the most wildlife: and a bush breakfast is quite a tempting treat as a reward for sacrificing sleep, but I love sundowners the best. There is something indescribable about watching the sun melt away into the horizon with a drink in hand, and whether you’ve had a successful game drive or not, toasting to simply enjoying the moment and being alive!
A glimpse of how it all comes together:
We were given a tour of Segera’s behind the scenes facilities to help us understand how the concept of the 4Cs come together in perfect harmony. From a walk through the vegetable gardens to see the produce that is organically grown to support the Farm-To-Table kitchens, to seeing the solar farm and understanding a little about how electricity is generated and how the water and waste recycling systems are implemented, it was truly an eye opener to see just how much work goes into making this Retreat one that is sustainable, eco-friendly and luxurious all in one.
A parting shot: snippets from the pages of my Journal:
I am sat in a warm bath on our elevated private deck, soaking away the dust of our game drive earlier. The sun is setting, casting its warm glow around the land as far as my eyes can see. Dusk is approaching, and all I can hear is the rustling of leaves as a herd of elephants that are right outside our room munch away. I take a moment to gather my thoughts, feeling incredibly fortunate to be having this magical experience in the heart of Kenya, in the lap of luxury. It has been a wonderful few days out at Segera with fabulous company and beautiful experiences and I am almost nostalgic because I hate goodbyes. I console myself by saying that goodbyes are inevitably the start of a brand new adventure, and one must end before another can begin but being out at this ranch is an adventure that I could happily be on for a long while – it has felt like home away from home and I almost don’t want to get out of the tub: because if I stay ensconced in the warmth of the tub, I won’t have to leave…will I?
Until next time, Happy Wanderlusting! xoxo