The Safari Collection’s newest property Solio opened its doors on 1st August, completing the group’s circuit of luxurious camps and lodges in some of Kenya’s most beautiful locations.
Nestled in the valley between the dramatic slopes of Mount Kenya and the rolling peaks of the Aberdare Mountains, Solio Lodge is located on the Solio Game Reserve, which was established in 1970 to provide a refuge for wildlife which would otherwise be deprived of suitable habitat and is now an immensely important contributor to Kenya’s conservation efforts. The reserve, which is internationally recognised as the most successful private rhino breeding reserve in Kenya, is home to over 74 Black Rhinoceros and 155 White Rhinoceros, as well as numerous other species including buffalo, zebra, giraffe, lion, leopard, cheetah, an abundance of birdlife and plains game such as eland, oryx, impala, waterbuck, thompson’s gazelle and warthog.
The Safari Collection’s properties – Giraffe Manor, Sasaab, Sala’s Camp and now Solio – are owned and operated by Tanya and Mikey Carr-Hartley, whose family have a long-standing relationship with the Solio Reserve. In 1962, the Earl of Enniskillen approached Mikey’s grandfather Tom Carr-Hartley to assist with removing all wildlife from the land. Carr-Hartley was a well regarded game-tracker and Hollywood’s go-to man for movies requiring Africa’s wild animals as exotic co-stars.
In 1971, Solio Reserve was purchased by the Court-Parfets, a conservationist couple who rightly decided to use the land to protect and breed endangered animals. Once again, they turned to Tom Carr-Hartley, this time accompanied by his four sons, to repopulate the land with the animals that had been relocated ten years before.
Today, the Carr-Hartley family has returned to Solio, building a lodge which makes the most of the area’s natural resources whilst also offering a sense of exclusivity, privacy and luxury to its guests. The stunning thatched property comprises six opulent cottages – built using entirely local materials – with large feature windows to take in the panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and Mount Kenya beyond; spacious private decks; a separate lounge area warmed by a corner fire (Solio is high in altitude and can be cold art night), and large bathrooms with double sink, bath and shower.
As with all Safari Collection properties, Solio has been built on strong environmentally sustainable principles and will be involved in a range of community and conservation projects. Activities will include horseback riding, walking, game drives, trout fishing trips to Mount Kenya, helicopter flights and expeditions to the Aberdare Mountains.