A feature on Olepangi Farm
What inspired you to join the hospitality industry?
From childhood, I have always had a passion for service and for looking and taking care of the needs of others.
I also love meeting and interacting with people from all over the world and in the process, learning about the various world cultures.
What makes Olepangi Farm special?
Olepangi Farm is unique in a sense that it’s not your ordinary lodge or camp setting where things are done in a particular structured way.
Our guests are involved in shaping their experiences, what they wanted to do and they even set their times around the activities.
It’s also ideal for a weekend getaway, from the hustle and bustle of the city. You get to enjoy just sitting by the bar or poolside, relaxing with a book or just watching the scenic surroundings.
Other activities entail spending time around the farm, including horse riding, farm walk and milking cows.
What is the most challenging bit about being a GM?
The main challenge is working with semi-literate and sometimes illiterate staff from the community and being expected to train them into becoming professionals.
Our guests are mainly English speakers, it is hard getting staff from the locality to appreciate, not only the need to communicate effectively in English with guests, but also to provide professional service to them.
It takes a lot of training and time to be able to achieve this. Also working in an off the grid environment, there are those constant challenges of inconsistent hot water supply, because we are purely solar powered.
How is tourism in Laikipia picking up?
It is picking up gradually and after the damage caused by the pandemic, there is a lot to look forward to with optimism.
The main challenge is that it’s difficult to sustain local tourism as they mainly come over the weekend, so the rest of the week, we are always empty. We miss international tourists!
How can the government improve tourism in Laikipia, especially with the conflicts?
The government through the Kenya Wildlife Service should ensure that they sensitise and amicably solve the issue of human/wildlife conflict by, for example, compensating families that lose their livestock through wild animal attacks, and timely compensating families who have lost their loved ones.
The government should also provide soft loans to hotel and lodge operators to help them stay in business.