To get to Wileli House, branch off the Mai Mahiu – Naivasha road at the junction just before you get to Naivasha town. Take left turn to the Moi South Lake Road and drive past scores of Naivasha lodges and camp sites that Nairobi’s middle class love to visit, “to escape the unforgiving city life”. So, drive on. Drive right past Kengen and according to Wileli house website, “to the end of the tarmac”. Get to a small town (marketplace) where you will find a Junction. This is where the tarmac ends. You will find a signboard that shows you that should you choose to go to the left, Naivasha Kongoni Lodge – not to be confused with Kongoni Lodge – awaits you 600 Meters away. (Naivasha Kongoni Lodge is a sister company of Wileli House). At this point, the instructions on the website say you should turn right. But because there is no Wileli House signboard pointing to the right and your proudly African self believes humans more than maps, pull over, pull down your car window and ask the residents if the know Wileli House. Try not to laugh when they ask, “Na huyu Wileli…anafanya wapi?” You will laugh later. For now, you need to find Wileli House because it’s getting dark…
As if on cue, Wileli staff , Elijah , with whom we had been in communication all through (until his phone went off a few minutes ago), called us and encouraged us to drive on to the right, sign boards or not. “From there, Wileli House is only 7 kilometers away”, he assured before warning that the road was a bit dusty. The road turned out to be dusty indeed – far too dusty. We would learn later that it was not always that dusty but the area MCA recently had the road dug up, presumably in preparation for an upgrade to an all weather road.
But for lots of dust and road-hogging motorbikes, the drive was uneventful so far. We had driven on for a while when Elijah called and said he thinks we have passed because surely by now we should have arrived! On explaining where we were – we had just passed some farm – it turned out to be true that indeed we had passed Wileli House and needed to reverse and head back. This time with beady-eyed expectation, we caught a glimpse of a brown signboard written “Wileli Wildlife Conservancy”. Later we would understand why there were no signboards all the way except for this easy-to-miss one at the gate.Wileli House wants to be discovered.
It was going to 8:00PM when hubby and I finally arrived to Wileli House, to a hearty welcome by staff into a tastefully furnished homey lounge. A chat with staff revealed that, once a private holiday home, Wileli House was converted by its owners into an exclusive luxurious lodge tucked inside an expansive Wildlife conservancy. A key selling point of Wileli House is the privacy and personalized service it offers its patrons.
Dinner was served – a five course meal. For the next hour we had our taste buds tantalized with steaks and sauces and everything in between. Beryl , the waitress was kind enough to spell out the names of the sauces which the chef seemed to have a special mastery for. I noted them on my phone and promised myself to give them a try, at home. Watch out Instagram!
After dessert Elijah showed us to our room a few meters away – one of the three luxurious chalets, Swiss chalets if you like (Oh, Switzerland!), set atop a hill, nestled among trees. The exterior is creatively decorated with rock details – at first glance it looks like the rooms are practically drilled out of the rock – and in the interior, generous amounts of wood are artistically used, to create a warm unique delightful space.
It was refreshing that the bed and other furnishing actually did look as good as they had looked in the website! The balcony opened to a private heated Jacuzzi. In the morning, we would be able to enjoy enjoy the endless view of the plains below and the breathtaking view of game, just a stone’s throw away.
At our request breakfast was served outside. The air was crisp and clean and zebras roamed free just outside the electric fence nearby. After breakfast Elijah offered to take us for a nature trail at the conservancy, which would allow us to get up close and personal with the animals. Of course measures would be taken to ensure our safety. We were sorry to decline, mainly because we had not carried the right attire. No heels please. Besides, back at our chalet, a heated Jacuzzi was waiting to be indulged into…
As a Wileli House guest you get to dictate not only where you would like to have your meals but when you would like to have them. We signed up for a 2 O’clock lunch but that didn’t stop us from showing up an hour later! Blame it on the Jacuzzi. No. Blame it on the tranquil homely atmosphere where you don’t realize time passing, where you have to be dragged out when it’s time to check out. Blame it on everything Wileli.
Of course all this luxury comes at a premium. A night at Wileli House will cost you what the average Nairobian pays for rent in a month. But hey , this life is not a rehearsal. You’ve got to experience the good stuff once in a while!
The Wileli House experience was one of the best experiences I had last year. It got me writing my first ever review on TripAdvisor!