Escapism. The very essence of travel. To escape the drudgery of routine, to experience something new and awaken your sense of wonder, to recharge, rejuvenate and come back with a renewed sense of joie de vivre to weave magic into the fabric of everyday life. Segera fits that very bill and is the kind of place bursting with overwhelming beauty in all aspects that you would expect celebrities to fly in on their helicopters, stay for a while, away from the hoi polloi and then jet out again, because of the bespoke luxury and privacy that is offered by this beautiful property. I can understand why someone would want to just escape in solitude at a place as beautiful as this but as much as I’d just love to while away time sat on the comfy daybeds by the sparkling salt water pool or better still, not leave the luxurious confines of my own villa, the itchy feet in me want to explore this fabulous property. And that niggling feeling in the pit of our stomachs that we are all familiar with, FOMO, has me wanting to ensure that I have investigated every nook and cranny and experienced all I want to so that I have no regrets when I am back home…
…and I am not disappointed! Beyond the confines of my comfort zone there exists a whole world waiting to be discovered!
Within the Retreat
A Treasure Trove of Memorabilia
I am enthralled at the collection of memorabilia that is found at the Retreat. What seem like ordinary pieces to someone none the wiser are actually objects steeped in history, pretty much making them timeless. Artfully dotted around the aptly named Explorer Lounge in the Farmhouse you will find original plane engines, telescopes and other related explorer type tchotchke’s and in the Michael Poliza Room you will find an antique typewriter on a beautiful antique wooden desk. Perhaps the most amazing and open mouthed gawking type memorabilia for me: original framed letters from none other than David Livingstone, penned in cursive style of yesteryear that I find so fascinating, to be found in the living room at Segera House.
And as if this weren’t enough, the Retreat has a Jeep that I think made the journey from Cairo to Cape Town, one of the first Rolls Royce cars ever made, and the most amazing piece of machinery: the very same yellow Gypsy Moth Bi-Plane that is associated with the romance of Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen in the movie Out of Africa. Yes, THAT very same bi-plane that soared over Kenya’s stunning landscape in the movie! Our guide at Segera proudly tells us that the owner of Segera believed that the Bi-Plane should return to Kenya, where it belongs and so bought it at an auction in Paris making his dream of seeing the yellow wings soar in Kenyan skies once again come true. The privilege of experiencing a unique flight over the Kenyan savannah in what is fondly known as G-AAMY is a prestigious honour bestowed upon ardent supporters of Segera’s 4C projects (Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce) and so we didn’t get a chance to experience a flight but I was honestly just excited to see this beauty…and hopefully one day, I will return to Segera to soar in the skies in it! #Wanderlustlist!
An Art Lovers Paradise
I confess that I know very little about art, which is a pity because for an art lover, Segera would be the equivalent of paradise. From the work of art chandelier and stunning paintings in the Stables to the thought provoking and eclectic pieces dotted around the sculpture gardens, I find myself wandering from one piece to the next, being immersed into a cultural safari of sorts. There is a noticeable African theme running through the pieces and between the bronze sculptures and steel works, Segera owns a collection out in its beautiful gardens that is guaranteed to make any art collector green with envy.
Segera is linked with Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) on the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town which houses one of the largest collections of contemporary art in the world. If what I can see in Segera is anything to go by, then I’d be brave enough to say I’d love to visit MOCAA to see even more: though I maintain my confession that I will still be none the wiser when it comes to interpreting or appreciating the pieces!
I won’t torture myself by going to the gym when on holiday but I am a sucker for a spa. I can’t remember why I didn’t have a massage (there is a whole range of treatments available) but I did check out the steam room within the Rasul Tower, which is built in the same manner as the Wine Tower, in a little alcove of its own, which was a warming treat in the cold Laikipia evening. Oh, and part of wellness for me is simply lazing around in cosy alcoves with my journal, penning out my thoughts. I did lots of this on the terrace overlooking Mt. Kenya and amidst the fluffy pillows of the day bed on our deck overlooking the savannah, at one point watching a whole herd of elephants peacefully grazing away!
A Sleep Out?
One evening after dinner, Wanderlustmate M and I returned to find this sign outside the steps leading up to our villa:
The Swing Bed in the little patio beneath our villa was all cosily made up with fluffy pillows and a comforter and a mosquito net, and the warm glow cast by the hurricane lamps lit up and placed artfully around the patio made the whole scene look welcoming. The chilly Central Kenya evening breeze deterred us from hopping into the Swing Bed in the first instance and we made our way up to the comfort of walls in the Villa above. Guiltily climbing into bed in the Villa, Wanderlustmate M and I looked at each other and chastised ourselves for being such chickens, especially given the effort to make our stay at Segera that much more special with this opportunity. So, we sheepishly made our way back down, clambered into the Swing Bed, which was all toasty and warm thanks to the hot water bottles placed under the covers, and decided to brave a Sleep Out in the ghost like silence of the savannah underneath an inky dark sky. We were just about being lulled to sleep by the gently rocking bed and then we heard the cactus fence behind us rustling furiously as if an animal was trying to get through it… and our imaginations ran wild with what this animal could possibly be…just the thought of something wild coming to sniff us out (overactive much?!) was enough to make us jump out and go right back upstairs to the comfort of the Villa again! Yup, #confession! In hindsight, I wish we had been brave enough to last the night, but then there wouldn’t be this confession to make, would there?