Betty Meserve is the proud owner of Ole Samara Lodge, a 12-acre property that sits on the banks of Burguret River, off the Nyeri Nanyuki highway.
Although the place is relatively new, it is fast attracting couples and revellers looking to spend the holidays near the scenic edge of Mt Kenya.
According to Business Daily, guests pay between Ksh10,500 and Ksh47,500 for a night at the lodge.
However, what’s surprising is that Betty initially built the lodge as a retirement home for herself and her husband.
This is their journey as told by WoK:
Betty Meserve Settling in Nanyuki
Initially, Betty and her husband, who is a diplomat in the Kenyan government, were looking for a place to retire around Nanyuki.
They were tired of living in Nairobi, and they settled on Nanyuki because of its cosmopolitan nature and closeness to nature.
Initially, the owner was neither willing to sell nor subdivide the land they wanted.
The couple ogled over it for six years before a neighbour agreed to sell them part of the property, which expands to about 100 acres.
They bought 5.5 acres and built a small cabin where they could spend weekends. Eventually, they bought more land around the place to protect their investment.
The place is a natural paradise and a habitat for numerous birds and colobus monkeys.
Ole Samara Lodge
The idea to build cabins on the property was born when they moved in fully from Nairobi in 2017. Rather than cutting trees, they built around the vegetation, where there were open spaces.
The first cabin wasn’t for guests, but the couple soon spotted an opportunity for a business idea due to the numerous guests touring the area.
Currently, the lodge boasts six units, which make up their standard rooms.
In October 2021, the couple built their first luxury tent. They soon built several others when they saw the demand because most of the clients were families with young children.
Eventually, they even built a swimming pool.
Currently, the lodge has three luxury tents and six suites, some of which have kitchens for self-catering.
When starting out, they tried to source most of the construction material locally. However, they bought materials like Mazeras from the coast where it was cheaper.
For the first cottage, they used a local stone, which was very hard, costly, and difficult to dress.
For the others, they sourced machine-cut stones from Meru and hired a foreman from Nyahururu to build the cabins.
Wood was sourced from local timber yards but tiles were sourced from Nairobi for variety.
As for the decor, most of it was imported or sourced from Nairobi.
Being in Nayuki, the lodge attracts guests for a number of reasons.
To begin with, it is located next door to The Nook and the Trout Tree Restaurants. The latter is famed for its treehouse structure and fresh trout fish.
Guests are also attracted by the Mt Kenya Safari Club and game drives at the nearby Solio Lodge, which is a sanctuary for endangered rhinos.
The nearby Ol Pajeta Conservancy and the Samburu National Park are also prime tour destinations.