Kenya is the birthplace of term safari (Swahili for a journey). Ever since the railway cut through to the hinterland in 1900, famous names such as Hemmingway, Finch Hatton, Roosevelt and many more have come here on safari and left spellbound having experienced the wonders of this magical land. Big game, untouched tribes and stunning landscapes combine to produce what is often described as the holiday of a lifetime.
Sosian is a 24,000 acre private wildlife conservancy which prides itself on managing a unique blend of tourism, conservation and traditional cattle ranching in Laikipia’s highlands. Accommodation manages to be luxurious while maintaining a warm and homelike atmosphere making for an extremely relaxing stay. The warm and welcoming hosting dedicated to making sure everyone has the holiday of their dreams is one of the main reasons for the enduring popularity of this game experience. The ranch lies at high altitude (5500 ft), which makes for a perfect climate with no record of malaria. Riders wishing to have a relaxed adventure, travelling with non-riding companions or families in school holiday season and honeymooners will find few better places in Kenya.
Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.
Review received from GB of Redditch on 17/09/2015
Sosian's speciality is in providing a totally private game viewing experience, away from the restrictions of National Park rules. This sense of freedom and exploration means that they can offer action packed adventures in the surrounding Laikipia wilderness. Trekking, bush walks, riding, camel safaris, game-drives and night-drives all offer a multitude of unique ways to see game. The guiding is of the highest standards which complement the huge range of activities available. As well as looking for wildlife, there are other activities available which include fishing, archery, tennis, rafting, tubing down the river and swimming in the rivers after jumping frm the waterfalls. A visit to a nearby Samburu settlement should not be missed and provides a fascinating insight into traditional pastoral life which has not changed appreciably in hundreds of years.
With a beautifully built stable yard for 26 horses, Sosian has always ensured a varied string of well- schooled and well-mannered horses to suit all abilities and rides are tailored to ability. To ride out in the bush guests must be experienced and confident at all paces. Riders should be able to control their horse when cantering in open country and stay seated in case their horse spooks. At times the terrain is rough and riders must look out for holes in the ground. For beginners and young children there are shorter rides close to the lodge, as well as lessons in the sand arena. Children's ponies are also available for younger riders.
The horses are generally thoroughbred or thoroughbred cross, with the tough native ponies originating from Ethiopia. Besides being stabled at night to protect them from lion, the Sosian horses otherwise live a very natural existence running as a herd during the day which makes for very easy horses to work with, as they are genuinely happy & relaxed animals.
A simple cross country course provides a bit of fun for the experienced riders and a real achievement for the more novice riders.
English tack is utilisd and all the horses are schooled to be light in the mouth and responsive to the leg. Many of the best horses have been bred at Sosian and they range from 12hh children’s ponies to 16.2hh horses.
Sosian Ranch has an expanding herd of 600 + head of Boran cattle (Kenya’s very own zebu breed developed from the native stock) including a pedigree breeding herd and small dairy. A tour of the ranching side of Sosian is another fascinating activity not to be missed. Guests can lend a hand with dipping, weighing and vaccinating and learn about the trials of keeping unfenced cattle in this wild environment full of large predators. Sosian is well known for its delicious home cooking using fresh ingredients from the garden and its warm and friendly hospitality. There are lots of wonderful places to eat including picnics by the river, lunches by the swimming pool and bush dinners around an open fire followed by camping under the stars for the more adventurous.
As well as big herds of elephant, zebra, buffalo, numerous species of antelope, giraffe and hippo; lion, leopard, cheetah and spotted hyenas are regularly spotted. Sosian is home to some rare and endangered mammal species such as Jackson’s hartebeest, Grevy’s zebra, Reticulated giraffe, striped hyena and aardwolf. There are three packs of African Wild Dogs in the area and sightings of these endangered predators are prolific. Sosian works closely with the Laikipia Predator Project collecting data on wild dogs and lions to protect both these species. The birdlife is spectacular and large raptors such as Martial Eagle, African Hawk Eagle and Bateleur are resident and often seen.
Sosian’s dramatic landscapes are wild and varied with open plains, acacia forest and riverine valleys. Large Kopjes, rugged escarpments and other promontories provide spectacular view points across Laikipia’s endless landscape.
Sosian’s original ranch house was built in the 1940’s by Italian artisans, beautifully restored in recent years to accommodate up to 14 people, whilst maintaining the welcoming atmosphere of a private home, known now as Sosian Lodge. Seven cottages are dotted throughout the garden, a wonderful haven dominated by verdant greenery and flowers, all set against a back drop of Mt Kenya with views for miles over the Laikipia Plateau - true unspoilt Africa. Each cottage lies with its own private veranda and en-suite fully plumbed bathroom. The lodge has a beautiful rock swimming pool, set beside a soaring open-sided thatched roof house, spaced with hammocks, comfy day beds and an open bar, a tennis court, riding manege and organic vegetable garden.
Max Hastings wrote about his time in Laikipia "it is amazing how soon one becomes indifferent to the outside world, concerned only for the big events taking place within one's own horizon." Sosian embodies this notion. In this great wilderness you find both beauty and comfort but the only thing worth thinking about is what you intend to do with your long African day. Sosian is dedicated to the conservation of wildlife and is a member of the Laikipia Wildlife Forum, working to protect Laikipia's wildlife through sustainable land uses such as eco-tourism.
Single supplement exemption - one single supplement is allowed free of charge when booking as a group.
Family offer - the third child sharing a triple pays conservation fees only.
We're avid readers here at Unicorn Trails and have selected several books connected to this ride. If you're interested in reading more about the area before you travel, or want to get into the cultural background, here are some suggestions that may inspire you. Click on the links for more information.
Going Down the River Road - Meja Mwangi. This is a good introduction to East African Literature.
The Safari Companion - Richard E. Estes (Chelsea Green, UK) This book aims to explain not only what animals you're looking at, but also what they're doing, and its illustrated explanations make fascinating reading.
The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals - Jonathan Kingdon (Natural World, UK) A detailed and comprehensive catalogue of African land mammals, illustrated with photographs and distribution maps for each species.
Kenya from the Air - Anne Arthus-Bertrand and Anne Spoerry (Thames and Hudson, UK/Vendome, US) Superb images of the country from the eagle's viewpoint.
Marsh Lions - Brian Jackman and Jonathan Scott (o/p). Beautifully produced and painstakingly researched study of the lions and other animals around the Musiara Marsh in Maasai Mara.
Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.
With a beautifully purpose built stable yard for 26 horses, Sosian has always ensured a varied string of well- schooled and well-mannered horses to suit all abilities and rides are tailored to ability. The horses are generally thoroughbred or thoroughbred cross, with the tough native ponies originating from Ethiopia. Besides being stabled at night to protect them from lion, the Sosian horses otherwise live a very natural existence running as a herd during the day which Sosian firmly believes results in such easy horses to work with, as they are genuinely happy & relaxed animals. English tack is utilised and all the horses are schooled to be light in the mouth and responsive to the leg. Many of the best horses have been bred at Sosian and they range from 12hh children’s ponies to 16.2hh horses.
Out in the bush the terrain is rough and at times riders must look out for holes in the ground. The varied terrain makes for interesting riding, through rivers, along tracks and across more open country, where you can canter, jump and gallop. Riding is a peaceful and yet an exciting way of becoming part of the landscape and experiencing the surroundings.
For beginners, novice riders and children there are shorter rides close to the lodge, as well as lessons in the fenced sand arena.
From intermediate onwards to ride out with big game - riders must have considerable riding experience and be confident at all paces, so that they can handle a horse in open country and cope with close encounters with big game should it arise. Rides tend to be 2-3 hours in the morning and/or evenings, with groups no bigger than 8 riders.
Novice riders can be accommodated with advance notice with short rides close to the lodge and riding lessons in the fenced arena.
The weight limit is strictly 210 lbs or 95 kgs.
The weight limit for this ride is 209 lb/95 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
Guests are accommodated in an elegant 1940’s ranch house that has been beautifully renovated. Within the lodge gardens there are also cottages each with 2 separate bedrooms. There is more space for children if needed, in the family cottage, which has a further interconnecting room to sleep another three children, with their own bathroom. All the rooms are en-suite and have their own private verandas. Included in the rooms are dressing gowns, pure cotton bedlinen, a lounge area and mosquito nets.
The Family Cottage:
This cottage can either be a 2 or 3 bedroom unit, accommodating a family of up to 7 people. There is a double room with an interconnecting twin or triple, which has its own bathroom (with a bath). The double room also has an en suite bathroom (with a shower). There is also a twin en suite (with shower) room next door, with separate access through its own door.
Listening Service: for younger guests who may need to go to bed before their parents, a member of staff can be provided to sit on the veranda outside their room, offering peace of mind whilst you have dinner.
The Honeymoon Cottage:
Also known as the Italian Cottage (because it was built by Italian artisans) this is set in its own private garden area with extra privacy. It is the largest of all the rooms with bedroom, walk through closet and large bathroom with twin basins, shower and bath.
Within the grounds there is a beautiful solar-heated swimming pool, a large shaded pool house with open bar, a hard-surface tennis court (complete with a Wimbledon tennis net!) and an organic vegetable garden. There is also a small shop at Reception with the main aim of supporting local Kenyan artisans. With a large variety of Kenyan products you will find something for everyone, whether it be kikoys, jewellery, bead work, belts, safari gear or flip flops. Cash or credit cards are accepted and the proceeds go directly to the local women’s group to offer more opportunities to young girls in the area.
Sosian is well known for its delicious home cooking using fresh ingredients from the garden - they are passionate about food! Being so remote, popping into town is not always very easy, so over the years they have nurtured their own extensive kitchen garden and have become largely self sufficient, growing their own salads and vegetables. Pigs are reared on the farm and high quality, farm fresh beef, chicken and lamb from is sourced from the neighbours.
With these wonderful ingredients, the head chef has no problem producing wholesome, organic, home cooked meals throughout your stay at Sosian. Any dietary requirements fcan be catered for, for all the family.
Mealtimes - Fine Dining, Picnics & BBQ’s
Every mealtime is different at Sosian…whether it's a 3 course meal in the dining room or a bush breakfast under an acacia tree, your hosts will keep you guessing where your next meal will pop out from! Guests love to dine out in the bush and a candlelit bush dinner is a very special experience. Sosian will also cater for the smaller members of the family and offer child-friendly options and early suppers for those needing an early night!
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.
From September 2015 onwards, all visas must be applied for online.
Visa processing time after application and payment is seven days.
VISA applications by visitors to Kenya will be made via www.ecitizen.go.ke
Nationals who require VISA to enter Kenya can now apply for their eVisa via www.ecitizen.go.ke
The British Consulate in Nairobi is at Upper Hill Road, Nairobi, PO Box 30465 - 00100 Nairobi. Telephone: (254) (20) 2844000. Email: ConsularSection.email@example.com.
The Kenya High Commission in the U.K is at 45 Portland Place, London, W1N 4AS. Telephone: (020) 7636 2371.
Due to the altitude (Nairobi is at 6500 feet) Kenya has a pleasant temperate climate year round despite being on the equator. There are rains in April/May and again in November/early December. June/July/August can be a little colder particularly at night and July can herald some cloud cover which is not unpleasant for riding. March is the warmest month although temperatures are still good for riding.
Anti-malaria precautions should be commenced prior to arrival in Kenya. There may be other health risks, which you can contact your doctor about prior to leaving.
For up to date information on specific health concerns please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website can be found at www.masta.org. You can also check the Department of Healths website at www.dh.gov.uk.
Anti-malaria precautions are recommended - see your doctor for details. Sunscreen and a mosquito repellent containing DEET should be packed.
Voltage and plugs are the same as the UK.
Whilst staying at the lodge there is electricity to charge your camera equipment.
Whilst we encourage guests to disconnect from the outside world and reconnect with themselves, we do also understand that this can be impractical at times. For this reason free WiFi is offered in the lodge reception area. Please be aware that given the remote location 1st world connectivity speeds cannot be guaranteed.
Layers of clothing - this is the best option as mornings and evenings can be chilly but the middle of the day can be very hot. Safari clothing should ideally be in muted safari colours such as beige and khaki and ideally not black or white which can startle wildlife and attract insects.
Half chaps and gloves
Long sleeved cotton shirts - these are recommended to keep the sun from burning.
Lightweight waterproof jacket
Evening/day wear (casual, including shorts, skirts, lightweight trousers, shirts etc)
Comfortable shoes/boots/trainers for walking
Camera and charger
Copy of your passport/visa/travel insurance
Kindly note that there is a 15kg weight limit for the light aircraft transfers and luggage should be packed in soft bags - not hard suitcases.
This lodge can be booked all year round per night with a recommended minimum 3 night stay.
2019 Mid Season: 3 Jan - 30 Jun; 1 - 30 Sept; 1 Nov - 19 Dec
2019 High Season: 1 Jul - 31 Aug; 1 - 31 Oct
2019 Peak Season: 20 Dec 2019 - 2 Jan 2020
|Riding days||Product item description||£|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||per night||589|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||Teen 12-17yrs double per person per night||439|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||Child 2-11yrs double per person per night||295|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||Single room per night||789|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||Conservation fees per adult per night||83|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||Conservation fee per teen per night||63|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||Conservation fee per child per night||40|
|Riding days||Product item description||€|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||per night||689|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||Teen 12-17yrs double per person per night||515|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||Child 2-11yrs double per person per night||345|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||Single room per night||919|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||Conservation fees per adult per night||97|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||Conservation fee per teen per night||74|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||Conservation fee per child per night||46|
|Riding days||Product item description||$|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||per night||775|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||Teen 12-17yrs double per person per night||579|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||Child 2-11yrs double per person per night||389|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||Single room per night||1,029|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||Conservation fees per adult per night||109|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||Conservation fee per teen per night||83|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||Conservation fee per child per night||52|
|Riding days||Product item description||SEK|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||per night||7,265|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||Teen 12-17yrs double per person per night||5,425|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||Child 2-11yrs double per person per night||3,629|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||Single room per night||9,685|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||Conservation fees per adult per night||1,019|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||Conservation fee per teen per night||775|
|2019 - Peak Season||per night||1||Conservation fee per child per night||485|
‘Going down the river road’ by Meja Mwangi this is a good introduction to East African Literature.
Richard E. Estes "The Safari Companion" (Chelsea Green, UK) This book aims to explain not only what animals you're looking at, but also what they're doing, and its illustrated explanations make fascinating reading.
Jonathan Kingdon "The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals" (Natural World, UK) A detailed and comprehensive catalogue of African land mammals, illustrated with photographs and distribution maps for each species.
Anne Arthus-Bertrand and Anne Spoerry, "Photos by Yann Arthus-Bertrand Kenya from the Air" (Thames and Hudson, UK/Vendome, US). Superb images of the country from the eagle's viewpoint.
Brian Jackman and Jonathan Scott "The Marsh Lions" (o/p). Beautifully produced and painstakingly researched study of the lions and other animals around the Musiara Marsh in Maasai Mara.
Sosian offers a huge range of activities including guided walking and tracking, horse-riding, camel safaris, game-drives, night-drives, fishing, archery, tennis, river kayaking, tubing and waterfall jumping. Guests are also welcome to join the ranch manager for a morning to learn about ranching in Kenya.
Camels have been part of the northern Kenyan landscape for hundreds of years and are kept as livestock for their milk and meat. Contrary to popular belief, if well looked after they are very well tempered. Sosian camels are friendly and at times can be overly affectionate! Camel riding is a fun activity and typically a ride will last 40 minutes or so and allows you to see the bush from a great vantage point.
Bringing you closer to the bush and further from modern frills, fly camping in bedrolls under the stars is an adventurous experience. Dinner is eaten by the campfire and most nights guests will drop off to sleep listening to distant lions, hyena and leopard but yet sleep better than they can remember...
Sosian is situated at a junction of many different tribal areas in Northern Kenya, a very diverse area rich in traditions and untouched by western development. Samburus, Pokots, Turkanas and many smaller tribes live in the area and by special arrangement guests at Sosian may pay a visit to a local village.
The villagers are very proud to show their cultural traditions and your visit emphasises the importance of these traditions. Dances of courtship, fertility and marriage, jewellery making and fire making are explained in detail and it is then possible to go inside some of the houses in the village to see how these very proud people live and how strongly their customs are ingrained in their society. This is a fascinating excursion from Sosian for both adults and children and an important part of a safari holiday to Kenya.
Activities nearby include quad biking, helicopter rides and scenic flights.
Sosian conservancy has exceptional scope for viewing wildlife in its natural habitat, being a haven for over 70 species of mammals, 30 species of reptiles and over 350 species of birds.
The density of the wildlife population in Laikipia ranks second only to the Masai Mara in Kenya and the area supports more endangered mammals than anywhere else in East Africa. Rare species in the area include the endemic Jackson’s hartebeest, Grevy’s zebra and reticulated giraffe. Laikipia also boasts the second highest population of elephant in Kenya, with around 6000 resident in the area, of which several hundred can be seen on Sosian at one time.
The northern grassy plains are home to wildlife such as oryx, gazelle, zebra, ostrich and cheetah, whilst the southern end of the conservancy, full of acacia woodland, is home to elephant, buffalo, giraffe, lion, leopard and wild dog to name a few.
Sosian is fortunate to have 15km of the beautiful Ewaso Narok River running through it, with huge Yellow Fever Acacia trees and beautiful waterfalls, offering a lifeline to much of the wildlife in the area, particularly during the dry seasons. Hippo are a common sighting and the birdlife is spectacular.
Kenya's history dates back to many centuries from the internal diaspora or the early settlements and migrations. Then came the formation of the various language groups who developed their own religions, traditions, governments and ruling systems. Then came the white settlers, which was followed by the fight for liberation, which gave birth to the Mau Mau freedom fighters and the rise of the Kenyan heroes.
English is the official language while Swahili is the national language. That means that government and education are in English, while everything else tends to be in Swahili. And, in actuality, most of government is in Swahili also. In addition to these two languages, most of the people in Kenya also speak their "mother tongue" - their tribal languages.
In Kenya it is possible to leave Nairobi, a city with a thriving business heart powered by the latest information technology, and drive in just a few hours to a place where life is lived in accordance to tradition and custom, where warriors armed with spears drive cattle into thorn brush enclosures to protect them from lions at night.
Kenya is three hours ahead of GMT and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram.
The international dialling code is +254.