Kenya’s skyline is fast changing with the sprouting of luxury resorts and homes targeting those in the diaspora, investment groups as well as companies.
The latest is a multi-billion project to be built in Naro Moru near Nanyuki in Nyeri. The Sh5 billion resort, sitting on a 123-acre piece of land that lies on the way to the tourism circuit of the region, is an addition to the growing trend of luxurious holiday homes.
According to Mr Reginald Okumu, a real estate consultant and the project manager of the development dubbed Mt. Kenya Holiday Homes, the changing lifestyles and accumulation of wealth by Kenyans has created the need for development of holiday homes and resorts, which they can retire to as well as hire out to earn tidy incomes.
“People have accumulated wealth and we have seen a shift of their desire to build or buy just ordinary homes where they would retire to later in life. Things have changed now and there is more inclination especially by the wealthier Kenyans and investors to own luxurious holiday homes, which they can also rent out,” said Mr Okumu in an interview.
Mt. Kenya Holiday Homes borders a railway line which has the Rift Valley lying on one side and Central Kenya region on the other, with the location being spruced up by a panoramic view of Mt Kenya, the second highest mountain in Africa and the Aberdare Ranges on the other side.
A nine-hole golf course is 85 per cent complete, and the breaking ground on phase one of the 95 four-bedroom luxurious homes is scheduled to commence next this month.
The three phase development is to take about three years, and already, according to the project manager, 40 per cent of the units in phase one have been bought. The resort will also have wining and dining areas, a gym as well as conference facilities.
Each of the units costs Sh25 million but the value is projected to reach Sh50 million in about five to 10 years according to Mr Okumu, given the fact that demand for land is ever rising, with the impending low interest rate regime set to spark more uptake in the real estate sector.
“We are going to add additional 400 beds to the market, but the demand for accommodation facilities keeps rising, putting margins in the industry to about 25 per cent in normal seasons, with the same even doubling in high season,” he said.
The popularity of holiday homes and resorts is also emerging as a boost to efforts by the Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) to diversify offerings away from the traditional beach and safari that Kenya is famed for.
The board is now marketing the country as a destination for golf, sports and cultural as well as eco-tourism. The focus is now on other niche products like bird watching, agro-tourism and conference tourism.
In 2009, Kenya bagged the ‘Best Undiscovered Golf Destination’ award by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO), with the Kenya Tourist Board, later in 2012, being named the ‘Best Tourism Board in Africa’ by World Travel Awards.