A behind-the-scenes safari with Governors’ Mugie House

A Kenyan lodge promises crowd-free game viewing and a safari model changing the nature of conservation tourism as we know it.
Written by Melanie du Toit
07 February 2022

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Governors’ Mugie House opened its doors just as COVID-19 was knocking the world off its feet, but two years later, Governors’ Camp’s newest portfolio member remains at the top of our ‘to visit’ wishlist. And with safari hotspots crowding up again, it’s the perfect destination to enjoy a safari free from the masses.

Kenya Map

Mugie House and the Laikipia Plateau
An image that encapsulates Laikipia and its seemingly endless expanse. Source: Governors’ Camp Collection

Kenya’s Laikipia Plateau is considered the country’s pastoral heartland, dominated by livestock farms harkening back to the colonial era. It’s also an essential wildlife corridor connecting West Laikipia to the highlands of Mount Kenya.

Crowd-free game-viewing and rare species draw those in search of a truly exceptional safari. Pictured is one such creature, the Beisa Oryx. Source: Governors’ Camp Collection

In recent years, the landscape has morphed into one of East Africa’s most exclusive safari destinations, brimming with wildlife, dotted with the who’s who of safari lodges, and catching the eyes (and passports) of world travellers and conservationists alike.

There are approximately 8,500 reticulated giraffe left in the wild – and Laikipia is home to several of them. Source: Governors’ Camp Collection

Nowhere is this more true than at Governors’ Mugie House, Governors’ Camp Collection’s latest offering. As one of only two properties available to guests on a 50,000-acre private wildlife conservancy, visitors can enjoy all the perks of low density tourism along with the region’s rare and endemic wildlife.

Mugie House
With the help of a Nairobi-based interior design company, Mugie House is home to European-sourced antiques, lovingly restored in Kenya. Source: Governors’ Camp Collection

Cattle ranching meets conservancy

Mugie Conservancy is the stage where a new era of conservation success is playing out. Mugie’s vision is focused on the protection of the landscape and its wildlife; the upliftment, employment and education of local communities; the preservation of essential wildlife corridors; and the promotion of Kenya through tourism. In short: theirs is the 21st century, safari version of having your cake and eating it, too. 

Tracking lions at Mugie House
GPS and VHF radio technology allows for free-ranging cattle ranching and successful lion tracking. Source: Governors’ Camp Collection

To achieve this, the conservancy is home to Governors’ Mugie House, multiple community empowerment projects (such as a school and a farm), and a low-impact, free-ranging cattle ranch that continues the area’s legacy of livestock farming, while preserving the natural equilibrium of the environment and its inhabitants.

he Mugie Conservancy boasts the highest lion density among Laikipia’s ranches. Source: Governors’ Camp Collection

Using GPS trackers fitted to select members of two resident lion prides in the conservancy, community herders can keep their cattle away from potential predators while still allowing their herds to roam free.

Governors’ Mugie House

The Nairobi-based White Elephant Trading Company artfully rendered the pre-existing Mutamaiyu House (the conservancy’s original family home) and crafted additional structures from scratch to bring about Governors’ Mugie House’s hilltop hub of understated refinement.

Mugie House
The White Elephant Trading Company was tasked with Mugie’s interiors. Source: Governors’ Camp Collection

Eight stone cottages offer sweeping views of Laikipia’s seemingly endless expanse, while the main guest areas bring visitors together for al fresco dinners, afternoons poolside, sundowners overlooking a watering hole, and even a round of golf on the nine-hole course.

Mugie House
Tee off in the bush at the lodge’s nine-hole golf course. Source: Governors’ Camp Collection

Days in Laikipia

Early starts are the order of the day at Mugie with game drives giving guests the chance to see members of the resident Akimat and Lisa lion prides, and marvel at the landscape that is home to Kenya’s second highest density of elephants (best viewed while enjoying a bush breakfast at Mugie Dam). You can also visit the local community to see conservation and upliftment in action. 

Mugie House
Mugie Conservancy’s bloodhounds are vital to the area’s anti-poaching efforts. Source: Governors’ Camp Collection

The conservancy’s bloodhounds serve a vital purpose, but also are a leading attraction for visitors. The hounds form an integral part of the anti-poaching efforts in the area and guests can meet the dogs, their handlers, and take part in mock training exercises to understand how these canines track and catch poachers. 

Mugie House
A handler with his bloodhound. Source: Governors’ Camp Collection

Elsewhere on the conservancy, lazy afternoons spotting animals from the viewing platform await, as do spa treatments and visits from Mugie’s resident reticulated giraffe. Tala took up residency at Mugie Conservancy’s headquarters when she was orphaned in 2014. While free to come and go as she pleases, you’re likely to spot Tala wandering near the HQ. 

Tala the giraffe at Mugie House
Tala, the reticulated giraffe. Source: Governors’ Camp Collection

Merging Mugie with the Mara 

Governors’ Mugie House’s Laikipia location makes it the perfect complement to a full circuit Kenyan itinerary following the Masai Mara and Great Rift Valley. 

When combining an itinerary with multiple Governors’ properties, you can expect a dedicated COVID-19 committee who will oversee a strong set of health and safety protocols at all times during your trip. 

Mugie House
Image source | Governors’ Camp

Just about ready to go? Click below to start planning your trip or to send an enquiry.

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