Solio Ranch is among the best places in Africa to see black and white rhino! The lodge is owned by luxury property company The Safari Collection and run by Ava Paton, who has worked in the tourism industry for many years.
ACCESS & LOCATION:
Solio Lodge might just be the ultimate in Laikipian luxury safari! If you are keen on rhino, the location is truly one of Africa’s hotspots. However, due to its position between the Aberdare mountain range and Mount Kenya, the lodge can actually get a bit chilly – but with all those fireplaces, this is seldom a problem.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES:
The communal areas at Solio Lodge are housed within a very grand and contemporary building, with brick walls, glass windows and a sweeping thatch-tiled roof. Inside, everywhere feels wonderfully airy and there is plenty of light. There are breathtaking views to the east, over the savanna as far as Mount Kenya! In the lounge area, two comfortably cushioned sofas curve around a fireplace, while in the dining space smart leather upright chairs circle elegant glass tables. Both areas look out over the lodge’s well-kept gardens and there is further seating just outside the doors. At the centre of the gardens is the dining deck, erected around two tall acacia trees. Guests gather here for pre-dinner drinks or to enjoy breakfast and lunch, weather permitting. The lodge’s shop is located up a flight of steps from the lounge area. It sells a variety of gifts and craft items – and there are a few cushioned chairs here too, forming another pleasant area for guests to relax and enjoy views of the garden and the Ranch beyond, including a busy waterhole!
Solio Lodge’s guest accommodation comprises six sumptuous cottages, three either side of the communal building. The style of the cottages is very similar to the main lodge – they are equally spacious and filled with light from floor-to-ceiling windows. All can be configured as doubles or twins – and numbers 5 and 6 are linked, so they may be booked as a group or family unit. The décor of each cottage is contemporary chic, with a particular theme to its soft furnishings and artwork, such as ‘Zebra’ and ‘Banana Leaf’. There is an ample lounge area with snug corner fireplace, separated from the bedroom via a bar incorporating sound system, reading material and fridge! The bathroom has a fireplace too, which is lovely in cold climes. It also has flush toilet, twin washbasins, rainfall shower, and freestanding bathtub. Finally, each cottage has a veranda, perfect for taking in amazing views!
The food and drink deserves a special mention too, as many ingredients are sourced from the lodge’s own vegetable and herb garden – and Ava herself is a fabulous chef, having spent five years in Italy perfecting the art of fine cuisine! Breakfast comprises a mix of hot and cold dishes, lunch a variety of pastas and salads followed by desserts, and dinner a medley of bar snacks before a formal meal. Tea, coffee and cakes or biscuits are available in the main building all afternoon – and hot beverages may be brought to guests’ rooms with the early-morning wake-up call!
There are some excellent activities available from Solio Lodge. In total, Solio Ranch occupies over 25,000 hectares, of which more than 7,500 hectares comprise wildlife conservancy! For decades, the conservancy has provided a haven for black and white rhino – and today, both types may be sighted on day and night game drives. Other mammals include lion, leopard, cheetah, buffalo, zebra, giraffe, oryx, impala and warthog. The birdlife is fantastic, with over 300 resident and migrant species! Guided walks are ideal for birding, as well as spotting all the small things that are not always noticeable from the vehicle. Guests can also explore the area on horseback or mountain bike. Trout fishing is possible in nearby Aberdare National Park, while a helicopter ride transports travellers to Mount Kenya! Back at camp, there is the opportunity to take a tour of Solio Lodge itself, which is well worth it for anyone intrigued by the running of the property.
Spa treatments may be enjoyed in the privacy of your own room. Children of all ages are welcome – the wildlife-rich plains of Solio Ranch yield plenty of easy viewings, the guides offer bush-craft skills as well as night walks in the grounds, and the garden is great for ball games!