Gogar Farm House, Rongai
Gogar House (by kind permission of John Haycraft)
A feature of our safaris is the option to stay in our home, on our 4,000 acre working farm. It provides a real opportunity to get off the beaten track and under the skin of the country; to glimpse the lives of people to whom Africa is home. Both the house and the farm retain much of their old-world character and charm and provides an insight into our farming life-style.
For many who come on safari with us this is one of the highlights of their trip.
The house consists of a number of separate buildings largely the original mud and thatch houses built by my grandparents to replace their tents when they first came to Rongai in the early colonial period. Part of the farm was originally owned by Denys Finch-Hatton of "Out of Africa" fame. The original house on his part of the farm still stands today, though I have no evidence that he ever used it as his home.
The main house has a big sitting / dining room, and a TV / Children's room with a long colonial style veranda looking the lawn and gardens to the 20 metre swimming pool.
Most of six double bedrooms are original thatched houses dating back almost 100 years to the very early colonial days. Each room has a double or twin beds and has it's own bathroom. Some have adjoining sitting rooms into which more beds can be moved for families with younger children. The houses themselves are separate, arranged around the lawn and gardens, affording each a degree of privacy.
This is not a hotel and does not have such facilities as televisions and telephones in the rooms, it was built as a private house and much of its charm comes from the homely and welcoming old-colonial feel. We encourage every guest to treat the house as though it was their own: to feel free to come and go as they wish throughout the grounds, and to peruse the bookshelves, or walk a couple of minutes past the tennis court down by to river looking at the bird life.
We are always delighted to show anyone who is interested the dairy, beef, or crops. Ours is one of the leading farms in East Africa, combining a respect for the environment with appropriate farming techniques ensuring the long term welfare and sustainability of the land and the local community. The Friends of the Mau Watershed Area (an NGO) and the The Vanessa Grant School for children with special needs are both based on the farm.
From Gogar farm we may visit Lake Nakuru, Lake Bogoria, Lake Baringo or any number of other places of interest in the Rift Valley. Optional evening walks on the farm with the dogs will give you a picture of farming life in Africa.
You can also take a stroll from the farm house into Rongai town itself. This is a typical African country village: a few shops, a post office, a station (the passenger train does not stop in Rongai any longer), a local market, a couple of bicycle repair shops, barber shops and a fuel station. A good taste of African culture at the village level. Rongai was also the original setting for the book that inspired the Oscar winning movie "Nowhere in Africa".
Guests can choose to come with their own vehicle and be independent, or arrange a transfer from Nairobi, or an easy 50 minute charter flight (prices available on request) into the farm's airstrip, big enough for twin engine aircraft.
Some safaris also include lunch stops at farms and homes along the way with friends of ours who are more than happy to extend their hospitality and give you more of an insight into an Africa off the tourist routes.
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