Vipingo Ridge is a urban settlement located along the Malindi-Mombasa Roas in Kilifi County and is one of the most sought after holiday home destinations in the country. Alastair Cavenagh, the chairman and founder member of Vipingo Ridge refers to it as “Coast’s Muthaiga”.
Some of the most prominent individuals in the country have homes in Vipingo while others have played guest at the golf course. Some of them include late billionaire philanthropist Chris Kirubi, outgoing Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, outgoing Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho, former First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, and former Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi, among others.
Vipingo ridge overlooks the Kilifi Coastline, and according to a report by the Standard, whoever wants a piece of plot with a beach, s/he must be ready to part with over $330,000 (about Ksh36 million).
The former rally-driver if famed for his heroics in the sport, most notable, his 1999 and 2010 rally championship wins. He has not lost his athletic touch and still participates in water sports, sky-diving, and motorcycling.
Cavenagh’s four bedroomed Vipingo villa rests on half an acre plot. The house opens up to what residents of the posh estate call Vipingo’s “Lake Victoria”. The house also has view of the nearby fairways and faces the green on the 16th hole.
“This place is safe as you might have already seen. Many are the times I forget to lock the house.
“That is one reason people come here,” says Cavenagh.
He was born in Wales over 54 years ago and has an entrepreneurial background that goes back to the 1980s when he worked for tea company based in Hamburg. For over 10 years he lived and worked in Germany and Switzerland.
The Vipingo Chairman relocated to Kenya in 1994 and continued with the tea business. He later transitioned to the importation and distribution of petroleum products in Sub-Saharan Africa. For the last 18 years, he had been the Executive Director of Dalbit Petroleum Limited.
Cavenagh together with his friends hatched the idea to develop a golf estate after securing prime land in Kilifi.
“I, together with a few of the other directors had no prior experience in real estate. All we were looking for was a small piece of land, 300 acres for a golf course near the beach.
“However, what we got was not adequate but the same people who were selling us that piece of land told us of this 2,800-acre property that was up for sale. That is how the idea of a golf estate came about. Though golf has been one factor influencing settlement, many are attracted by the secure environment,” says Cavenagh.
His cost him a whooping Ksh21 million.
“I spent about Sh21 million on my house. I think that is among the least amount spent on home construction around here,” Cavenagh says.
According to a resident of the golf estate who spoke to the Standard, they each pay a monthly fee of Sh48,000 to maintain the public amenities: The also pay land rates and for garbage collection.
“If we were living in a similar home in Nyali, I would still pay Sh60,000 monthly for all the services, including security. It is a deal for me, maybe not for those buying property for prospecting purposes,” the resident only identified as Jane stated.
In Vipingo ridge, the houses are in all shapes and sizes. Still, there are certain parameters that must be met by all developers in order to maintain some kind of order and standard. Most houses have a flat roof that ensures each homeowner has unobstructed view of the ocean, golf course or the countryside.
Cavenagh believes that a few things can make someone successful in business. This includes financial discipline.
“As I said previously, I believe understanding the business environment is key together with proper financial discipline and the ability to identify and empower key management positions to whom decision-making responsibility can be delegated. I do not believe in companies run by ‘yes men’ at managerial level,” he told how we made it in Africa during a past interview.
He notes that Kenya is a wonderful country with massive potential and opportunities in numerous fields. According to him, there is a rapidly expanding middle class with disposable income as well as a largely untapped and underdeveloped human resources sector. With the emergence of the oil and gas industry and the investment that this sector will generate, hopefully significant investment will follow into training and education.
“This will enable Kenyans to benefit from the discoveries, creating more jobs elevating more people out of the poverty bracket. In addition to this, the country has the most fantastic natural environment, superb game parks and coast line which provide some of the best tourism experiences that the world has to offer,” he says.