If recent developments are anything to go by, the area around the foothills of Mount Kenya is emerging as a hot spot for residential and commercial real estate. The region already has a well-developed tourism infrastructure including luxury bush lodges, hotels, conservancies, ranches, game parks and holiday homes, which entice more local and foreign investors.
As a result, property in Laikipia county to the east and north of Mount Kenya has seen rent increases due to rising demand for housing. Located approximately 10km from Nanyuki town, seats one such property, Maiyan Luxury Homes.
We visited the development during a media tour organised by the Kenya Tourism Board recently. Maiyan, (a Maasai word meaning God’s blessing), is strategically located for residents and guests to enjoy all that the county has to offer— from scenic game drives, guided nature walks, bird-watching, mountain climbing, exhilarating camel treks to authentic cultural experiences. It is located in over 84 acres of natural lush landscape on a backdrop of Mt Kenya and Lolldaiga Hills, with a view of Abedares from the Rooftop pool lounge in all the villas.
“Looking at all the surroundings, we saw that there’s potential to have some kind of family, friends, couples, individuals, conferencing, team building and weddings space,” said Omar Ikram, General Manager Maiyan. Standing on an area that was previously a bush, Maiyan was designed to host a wide variety of people. “We’re trying to welcome families and children of all ages, inspiring the sense of discovery and fascination that resides in all of us. This is from the villas, water park, children’s area, restaurants, sports and recreational activities.
There is also conferencing and training, relaxation in the spa and spiritual reflection in our chapel,” said Omar. The property is being managed by Falcon Heights Management Company, which currently manages the successful Falcon Heights Hotel in Nanyuki.
The first phase of the development sits on 62 acres. “Maiyan constitutes of only 20 per cent building footprint, leaving the remaining 80 per cent as natural space. This low-density planning structure allows the project to stay true to its surroundings, encouraging residents and guests to walk and explore the community as much as possible,” Omar said.
The community-based project recruits 90 per cent of its workforce from the surrounding area, with the youth undergoing training before being fully absorbed. The first 21 plots and 12 villa units were put on the market in July 2014; the majority of these were sold out in the first three months.
Situated along the cobblestone road which seems to spin to each villa, the plots and clusters are joined together by tributary access roads and pathways. To protect homes from the strong winds from Mt Kenya, over 2,000 trees have been planted.
With a scenic view of the Lolldaiga hills, the resort encourages investments by giving 65 per cent of the profit to the investor (from renting out to guests and tourists), with each three-bedroomed ensuite going for Sh30 million. “The plots, governed by a set of design guidelines, allow owners to build their dream homes while staying true to the aesthetics of the development.
This includes furnishing the villas to our standards that costs a client Sh4 million without legal fees; provision of treated, portable and irrigation water, as well as electricity and sewer trunk lines are provided to each plot,” Omar said.
The clusters are set on two to three acres, with duplex villas hosting two units each and a rooftop pool lounge. Each cluster has well-manicured gardens, a children’s play area, an outdoor barbeque area and a communal swimming pool. Each villa is no more than 80m from its clusters’ central parking area and can be accessed on foot or by golf carts provided by the management.