This is our mission.
That you find refuge from the busy-ness of everyday life, to make space for reflection, for conversation, for deep reconnection, finding time to stop and smell the flowers, watch the birds or just read that book you’ve been meaning to read, taking deep, long breaths full of fresh air, stress melting away, looking up to the surprise of an elephant walking past.
We choose community and connection over commercialism. We choose financial health over fixation on profit and growth. And we choose the idea of turning guests into friends over volume tourism.
We believe this is the essence of luxury.
The story of Olepangi
Olepangi is the result of a deep-rooted desire of Elizabeth Loker and her late husband Clinton Lucy, to turn an area of dry, un-fertile land into a sustainable farm. Using only organic practices (helped by our horses!) Olepangi opened in 2014 with what is now an ever- changing garden, highly productive 1.5-acre vegetable patch and a small but efficient dairy herd. Food makes a house a home and every meal at Olepangi consists of our own produce whilst ensuring all our other ingredients are of the best quality, sourced from our local community.
It all began in a tent. We bought our first plot of land in late 2011 and slowly pieced together various adjoining plots.
There was nothing here. No running water, certainly no electricity. No fences. We built it all from scratch.
Originally bought as a weekend escape for our family, the idea to create a riding safari company and lodge was quickly formed.
We began fencing the property and embarked on a massive tree-planting project, planting more than 4,500 trees. Tree planting is ongoing and close to our hearts. Paddocks were created and horses arrived, starting in 2012 with 7 horses. We now have anywhere from 10 to 20 horses, including our small number of breeding mares. Our belief is that you can never have too many horses!
Elizabeth’s college roommate, Liz Calabrese, a well-respected architect based in Vermont, USA, came on board in 2012. One of the world experts on Biophilic Design, Liz helped us to think about how we could build spaces that would play their own part in better connecting us and our guests to nature. And so, our biophilic journey began: She designed the fun and funky buildings you will see on the farm such as the Round House, the Party House, the beautiful
Olepangi House built completely on a curve and of course the pool and pool house inspired by the “boteh”, an ancient Persian symbol representing the tree-of-life.
People often say to us, “The Party House is such a successful space.” And the reason is biophilic. We evolved as a species living in caves with a wall to our backs, often elevated in high spaces with views down the valley to be on watch for predators or invaders and with the sound of water in the distance. The Party House is designed with all these elements in mind. It is an extremely cosseting, comforting space where guests tell us they immediately feel at home.
If you’d like to read more about this, recommend the books The Biophilia Effect by Clemens G. Arvay and The Nature Fix by Florence Williams.
“Most people don’t need convincing to go out and enjoy nature. We are inherently drawn to the natural world, or born “biophiliacs.” The attraction to the natural world is in our genes. When we take a walk outside, we immediately notice how much better we feel.”
- Marc Bekoff, PhD, professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder
Our Food - Fresh From The Farm and Local Area
We often reflect on exceptional food, the role it plays in our lives and indeed the experience of being a guest at Olepangi. We ask ourselves; what is food without friends and family? Perhaps only fuel to get us to the next task or obligation? What are friends and family without conversation and connection? Perhaps only a sense of duty without heart-felt commitment or love?
So, in thinking about the food we eat, we are reminded of the metaphor and the need not just to feed our bodies, but to feed also our minds and spirits as well. To create a space where we find our joy, breathe clean air, pause to reflect, stare into the long distances, ask the meaningful questions - we need space to grow and restore, a
place to foster deep connections and connect with the life around us.
That being said, exceptional food does play an enormous part in engaging our senses. Creating farm-to-table, fresh, healthy and tasty food doesn’t come without passion and real resolve to make it happen. We regularly have a Culinary Artist-in-Residence who works to teach and to learn, always looking for innovation and better ways to integrate the garden in to the kitchen. Yum! We are proud to have such a committed team!
Because we believe in the health of our environment, our bodies, and our soils, we
choose to grow organically. This is our passion and each day we learn something new.
When we originally bought our farm, like much of the land in the area, it was overgrazed and lacking in basic nutrients. The red-sandy subsoil is now the foundation for our farming practices and with lots of TLC and organic matter, our soil is now full of life. A big shout out to our horses for playing their part in producing so much manure for us!
“There is so much love about Olepangi, a place where cliche hospitality phrases like ‘home away from home’ and ‘slice of paradise’ indeed find true meaning!”
- Nomad Magazine
Olepangi Farm wouldn't be possible without the dedication and support from an amazing team.
From the staff in the kitchen who make food with care and love, to the housekeepers who make sure your rooms are cozy and comfortable, to the syces who manage and exercise our horses, to student volunteers who help host your stay . . . they all add that little bit of magic that makes the farm a little piece of paradise.
We are proud of the fact that most of our lodge and farm staff are from the local area and many have progressed from low-skilled jobs to higher-skilled jobs. Many of our staff came to us as casual workers cutting grass, one is now an assistant chef in the kitchen and several others run our household and can give amazing massages!
And let's not forget the famous dogs Zsa Zsa and Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery (aka Monty), Lady Clementine Churchill (aka Clemmie), and Dame Gertrude Bell (aka Gerttie) . . . the farm would simply not be the same without them.
Please feel free to approach any of the staff to find out “their story” or if you need any help with anything.
“Arriving at Olepangi Farm after being in the bush was like arriving in paradise, the gardens are food for the soul, the cottages are exactly what you dream your own guest home will look like and the hosts Clinton and Elizabeth were so generous with their time, making us feel like long lost friends.”
- Gabarone, Botswana
The community in which we live
We are very involved in the local community often organising gatherings on the farm for our neighbours. If you would like to visit the local school, please let us know and we will try to arrange this. The local schools love guests dropping in for a game of football or to help teach a lesson. We also have a program where we teach the children in the community about horses and horse management.
We like to encourage our guests to get involved. If you’d like to make a donation to one of the local schools, we (and they) would be delighted. For example, $500 will pay for the making and delivery of 20 double school desks.
Please talk to us about how you might like to contribute or any ideas you might have.
“Thank you for having us, making each and every one of us feel welcome with your fabulous hospitality, impeccable service, delicious food and of course time with the horses.”
- Ferelith & Family from Botswana
In the belief that you can never have too many books, too many horses or too many flowers . . . we luxuriate in all of these, particularly our flowers. One of our gardeners once said, "but isn't that going to be too many flower seeds?" Ha! ha! we say, we'll just put more flowers in our guests rooms!
Our lush soils are perfect for growing flowers! And we do that in abundance. From brightly-coloured snapdragons to outrageous dahlias to sublime lavender to perky little zinnias to tall-standing sunflowers, the garden is a ridiculous riot of flowers. And we can't think of anything better than weaving our way around the flower-filled paths, picking some as we go and giving our bees a good reason for providing us with what, we think, is the best honey EVER.
We've just recently implemented drip irrigation and we marvel at how successful this has been in reducing our water consumption. Why didn't we do this years ago?