Kenya: Innovative Ideas for a Unique Property

Letters / Opinions

Oscar’s letter: development proposals on his property in Kitengela, on the edge of Nairobi National Park

Oscar from Kenya sent us a letter outlining a project proposal on his property near Nairobi:

A few years back I bought a property in Kenya, the country I grew up in. It is situated at Kitengela, just south of Nairobi National Park, about 30 km by road (but actually only 6 km across the Park).

There are two reasons why I suddenly have to take extra care of it:

1) The institute that inititally rented 20 acres of the property for 10 years, the Boston-based School for Field Studies Wildlife Management Centre, has decided to move elsewhere.
2) My ex girlfriend, who had bought a central part of it years ago at the same time as me, wants to sell her part, and quite quickly too (I can buy it if I get the money together).

Before point 2 was announced to me the other day I had already thought of moving to the place and see if I could start a business there. Many ideas came into my head, but they would all need the involvement of others. Here they are:

– Meditation & Workshop Centre with sannyasin community
– Restaurant serving Champagne breakfasts and organic meals  to park visitors (there’s now an ‘official’ foot bridge across the river to the Hippo Pools and the National Park so tourists can cross over to me)
– A Japanese restaurant
– Camp site for travellers
– Shop with terrific Africana
– Rent out part of it to Kitengela Glass for an art training school
– Rent out a piece to Permaculture Kenya (to whom I am already lending some land and helped them establish the organization) to develop an ‘Africa Permaculture Centre’.

If any of you feels a hunch, hears a bell, and feels excited to talk to me about any of the projects, I am more than thrilled. This is my email address:


And here are the details of the property so that you get a clearer idea:

This very ‘special’ piece of land comprises 120 acres with almost 1 km along the south side of Nairobi National Park and the Mbagathi/Athi River between the Hippo Pools and Sosian Gorge. It is L-shaped with one leg following a forested side valley to the south; it is the only land adjoining the Park that has both cliffs and flat land facing the river and the Park. It is surrounded on three sides by the Nairobi National Park and quite secluded.

20 acres of the land are enclosed by an electric fence and this is the property the wildlife centre is vacating in December. On it there are the following buildings:

4x 3-bed houses
6x 2-bed houses
15 2-bed student cottages
8-room office building
Garage / workshop / store
A huge building for lecture hall / dining room / kitchen / library / computer room

The current value of the property which I want to buy back from my ex (it is located in the middle of my property) is between US$60,000 – 70,000, for which I am looking for a loan or a gift (even from various sources). To start anything, and to build a house for myself with more comforts than the existing ones, I would need a total of about $135,000.

I wonder if there is someone with good business acumen who could see a chance and would like to join in?

All the best

Update 1st November 2010:

After a meeting with the ‘permaculture’ group it was decided to start a trial test and farm on the land; two students will live there to look after it.

Also planned is a visit in December of the participants (some from the USA and from South Africa) of a Permaculture Design Course (PDC) which will be held in Kitui. They will come and stay a night to see his place and make a survey.

Oscar hopes to teach the locals in the area how to grow healthy food in dry and arid conditions, though the first test garden will be in the lusher part of the shaded valley.


Swami Prem Oscar lives close to Nairobi in Kenya where among many other activities he also conducts exciting wildlife, traditional people, and film safaris. His life took a dramatic turn in January 2008 when a small plane he piloted crashed in the Chyulu Hills; yet he miraculously survived. He has a long way to recover from his serious injuries; however, he has bounced back strongly and continues with incredible energy and has many plans…

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