By Ferdinand Mwongela

At one time, Laikipia provided many hideouts for rich men, probably attracted by the scenic landscape. One of these places is the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. From this haven, Mt Kenya seems to be only a stone throw away and on the other side lies the endless stretch of land drifting towards Northern Kenya.

One of the attractions in the conservancy is the Ol Pejeta House, now part of the Serena Hotels stable. Apart from the luxurious setting of the colonial style ranch house, one of the riveting stories behind the house is its ownership.

The Ol Pejeta House whose owner, Adnan Khashoggi, was riddled with controversy and mystery.

The house was built by Adnan Khashoggi in the 1970s, reportedly for millions of dollars. For those not in the know, Khashoggi has over decades been a source of controversy and mystery. He has had dealings with powerful people across the world including former US President Richard Nixon, American defense contractors, the Saudi government and Libyan President Colonel Muammar Gaddafi among others.

Khashoggi’s famed parties

The Saudi born billionaire, who reportedly made some of his fortune as an arms broker, has at one time or other been tied to arms smuggling, prostitution and even terrorism.

He used the house as a hideout from his international wheeler-dealer compatriots and rumour has it that he would fly straight to his house and customs officials would follow him there to clear him and his group. Impressive by any standards.

It is in the magnificent structure that he threw his parties and entertained women, another of his foibles. The house has a spacious living room and an even more spacious suite, Khashoggi’s own; another suite belonged to his wife. Even today, Khashoggi’s suite is expansive by any definition.

The house is built to hold quite a number of people and with Khashogi’s famed parties, it was a perfect place in the wild.

The upper floor balcony faces out towards the plains of Laikipia and it is possible to observe wild animals without stepping out of the house.

Khashoggi owned numerous properties across the world but he found himself hounded by his activities. For a time in the 1980s, he lived in Marbela Spain, but he now lives in Monaco.

Serena Hotels have re-done the place to a luxurious glow, but even when walking through the house and enjoying its present state of luxury, its history niggles at the back of your head.

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